Is Texas Country as Appalling as Nashville's Brand?
9. Bri Bagwell, "Hound Dog"
One sad way Texas and Nashville are a lot alike is that both country charts are a virtual sausage party; the next female act after Bagwell this week is the Rankin Twins at No. 36. So it's up to this tall drink of water from Las Cruces to contend with all that testosterone all by her lonesome -- by vowing she can be just as low-down as the boys.
8. Mark McKinney, "Stolen Cash"
This track is swimming in banjo, harmonica, steel guitar and an irresistible singalong chorus. That's pretty country all right; "spent that night like stolen cash" is a clever line, too.
7. Reckless Kelly, "The Last Goodbye"
Nothing fancy, just a simple, plain-spoken ballad about how when it's over, it's really over this time. (Maybe.) In other words, the sort of song Nashville lost interest in about 20 years ago.
6. Kyle Park, "Fit For the King"
George Strait tribute ingeniously woven out of about three dozen Strait song titles. Texas country is light-years ahead (or behind?) Nashville in terms of respecting its elders. (See also: Kevin Fowler, "Don't Touch My Willie"; Bruce Robison, "What Would Willie Do.")
5. Wade Bowen, "Songs About Trucks"
The pickup-song backlash reaches Texas country... and mentions several different makes of trucks along the way. Nicely done.
4. Green River Ordinance, "If It Ain't Love"
Interestingly, but not surprisingly, some Texas country acts (like this one) exhibit a heavy Ryan Adams influence. That's a plus, in case you were wondering.
3. Josh Abbott Band, "She Will Be Free"
This Lubbock group has been arguably the hottest act on the Texas scene for a while, and this tearjerker wants to be the moment at every show where guys squeeze their dates extra tight. Frankly it's a relatively dull moment on JAB's otherwise very good 2012 album Small Town Family Dream, but kudos to Abbott et al. for drawing attention to a very serious subject -- sex trafficking, right here in the good old U.S. of A -- in the 12-minute video.
2. Will Hoge, Strong"
As heard in a recent Chevy truck commericial. Moving on...
1. Cody Johnson, "Ride With Me"
The No. 1 song currently on Texas country radio celebrates the pleasures of female companionship on the open road, but in a convertible. It's no better or worse than an average Keith Urban song, but hey -- at least there ain't a diamond-plate tailgate in sight.
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