Monday, February 9, 2009

I can never define Texas Music.

I draw a blank every time i try to define Texas Country to someone who has no idea what I'm talking about. I usually rifle through a list of the larger stars of the music and hope something pings in their head. A song, a show advertisement, a friend of a friend's roommate who went to this great concert, nothing? At the same time I hope that person doesn't find shared ground with me because he recognizes said artist for his newest "sell out" song on CMT while the band blinds the camera lens with bedazzled denim jackets and coaxed choreography. (That of course is a bit too far but it was a fun mental image.) No usually i see this absolute sense of understanding in their head that I'm talking about some kind of country western hee-haw show I went to and had a grand old time listening to some guy blow into a whiskey jug for accompaniment. Of course by that point I have completely lost in defining what the music is to the guy or gal.

To those uninitiated to Texas country or Texas music it really covers a wide array of genres. Generally Texas Country is not just bass plucking and yodeling garbage.(There are of course a couple bands that have taken that route and became quite successful in their minimal efforts. Always an exception.) The band I play in The Cody Hughes Davidson Band for example, has a lot of blues and southern rock in it. I play a dark toned harp on most of the songs and that is not something most people would attach to a "country" style music. There are people like Roger Creager who has a Tex-Mex sound to a lot of his songs. Many of his songs feature the accordion which makes its own arguments by itself as an anti-country sound. Cory Morrow made his name by making his music an amalgamation of bluegrass, blues, swing, and outlaw on stage. The concerts I have seen him in are high powered, fast guitar, and soulful singing. Then of course there are the bands who just fall into their own thick stew of genres and time lines, but still stay under the umbrella of Texas Music. Band of Heathens, Josh Abbott Band, and Stephanie Briggs and the Oso all have very little in common with one another other than the fact that they have extraordinary talent and have all been associated with the Texas Music scene. No it isn't that regular vision people get when you associate the word "country" to a style of music. Of course there is country down in those roots somewhere worming about. Some bands bring that style closer to the surface and others shove it real deep. It's there, but it is not what defines this music. What does though?

It's a hard thing to make a finite definition of what all can be considered Texas Music, but to make a vague attempt it could be defined as such. Any music made in Texas that in one way or another is an eclectic sound including, at some base point, acoustic guitar, with some sprinkle of country style, with the addition of any other musical style, genre, tone, or magical potions.
Cop out I know, but the whole subject of this post is about how impossible it is to define. Where else is there such an enormous mix of style, tone, lyrical choice, and sound living under one roof? It's a very cool thing but miserable when you set out to make a post about defining it. Find a band support their efforts to make their music the way they like to and enjoy the show.


  1. I love Roger Creager...I think the fact that he incoporates the "Tex-Mex" sounds into his music makes him genuine Texas country artist.

  2. Here's some Texas guys that I like: Ted Roddy and the Tearjoint Troubadours, Gary Primich (Can play anything on harp-sadly, he's no longer with us), Sonny Boy Terry (Houston's harp ace), Delbert McClinton (gave John Lennon a harp lesson), Doug Sahm (Whoa--the granddaddy of them all-he's gone, but left a legacy or eclectic Texas)and last but not least, Jimmy Vaughan. Anyway--

    See ya--