Texas country music is better than anything Nashville can produce. Yeah, I know this is a bold statement. But, I can argue it for days and I’ll always win, so I can say it. There’s songs that I like every know and then from mainstream country for the soul reason they’re catchy, but when you get down to the nitty-gritty of the actual music, nope. I understand that it’s personal taste, and some people like pop country, but I will always prefer and respect the traditional sound more. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are independent artists and such in Nashville, so I’m mainly talking about the giant corporations producing quantity over quality. I guess growing up in the cowboy capital of the world and having a dad that sneezes Texas country has somewhat influenced me, but I mean whatever it’s still better.
First off, let’s reflect on the history of the genre (history is important). During the depression, things changed. Dance halls popped up in Texas and Oklahoma with music mixed between cowboy country and big-band jazz, creating the western swing. Milton Brown was one of the leaders in this genre (Stephenville represent). With World War 1, urbanization and industrialization swept the country creating a new society. People started to address taboo topics such as alcoholism, divorce, and infidelity in a new genre called honky tonk (badonkadonk). Finally, Austin comes into play with the progressive country, generating outlaw singers such as Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. Nashville had to acknowledge their success and started incorporating the edgier sound into the mainstream. From here on out, Texas has been home to numerous successful artists, all who are not fixated on fame or money but creating great music birthing red dirt country.
Sound is huge in music (obviously) but it’s not everything. The culture, the artists, and the performances are just as vital, and this is really where Texas excels. Back-roading and listening to Florida Georgia Line IS NOT the same as listening to someone who has probably back-roaded on the exact same county road (omg my country is showing). Texas artists are more relatable, they grew up around us and understand what living in the country actually is. I promise you that I have never country girl shook it for anyone and the guys actually do know how to do the dougie (well some maybe). Point is, red dirt artists grew up on red dirt and are still choosing to live on it.
I have personally met texas country singers (and have seen them at Walmart getting ice cream). I get the appeal of fame and admiring someone that’s untouchable in the sense of social status, but that’s why we have the Kardashian family. It’s special to be able to talk to the artist about their actual music and real life subjects as to fan-girling over their Armani suit on the red carpet. They don’t have to remind you on their social media that “they’re just people too” because you never forget that. They act as your equal (with super musical powers).
Standing front row at City Limits (bar and venue in Stephenville) and having your favorite singer sing to you doesn’t happen in Nashville (I don’t care how rich you are). Dancing at Gruene Hall or Billy Bobs with the sound of WCG’s band is uncomparable to anything else. The atmosphere can not be duplicated anywhere else in the world. Let’s not forget that we have our own forms of Coachella. Chilifest, Larry Joe Taylor Festival, and Rhymes and Vines are the best things to happen since the creation of corn dogs (Barefoot has a booth at LJT so I better see you). Nashville artists don’t have festivals like we do (they do, like WE Fest but ours are better).
I believe that good music is determined by how it makes you feel rather than how it’s produced. If Nashville want’s to produce records in the studio without an actual band then good for them, but that doesn’t change the fact that the lead singer didn’t help write a single song. The work the artist puts into their music is heard and noticed. I respect the artist living from stage to stage making next to nothing because they love what they do. Passion is attractive and I will always choose to listen to it.