As the saying goes, there must be something in the water! There is something about the Texas music scene that defies typical musical conventions. This, of course, comes as no surprise to the millions of Texas music fans. The variety of music that hails from the great state is as expansive as the West Texas plains. While Austin is known as the “Live Music Capital” of the world, there are plenty of fertile musical breeding grounds in Texas.
Today, I will WOW you with some of the musical greatness that came from or had ties to Texas in 2010. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, it is just a few of the albums that I have had in heavy rotation over the course of the last year.
|Old 97’s||The Grand Theatre Vol. 1||Dallas band gets back to their roots and write good music without trying to be anything more than they are. After 17 years it is good to see them comfortable in their own skin.|
|Spoon||Transference||Not as much of gloss and a lot more rock is what make this album great. Not shying away from the darker textures, Spoon creates a less poppy album and the laxity of Transference is the strength of the album.|
|Reckless Kelly||Somewhere In Time||A fine album of cover songs to their one time mentor Pinto Bennett.|
|Roky Erickson & Okkervil River||True Love Cast Out All Evil||Concise production shapes the sorrow of the Austin icon Roky Erickson’s life and ultimately the optimism of his return.|
|Court Yard Hounds||Court Yard Hounds||2/3 of the Dixie Chicks show that sometimes less is more. Jakob Dylan adds his dusky dulcet tone for a quick duet.|
|Alejandro Escovedo||Street Songs of Love||The fierceness of the guitar and the bombastic instrumentation belie the emotional elements of the lyrics.|
|Arcade Fire||The Suburbs||Currently Canadian, Butler boys do hail from the sterile Houston suburb known as the Woodlands. This is a great album and also made my 2010 Year in review.|
|Ryan Bingham||Junky Star||Former rodeo star hits the big time with Golden Globe and Oscar win and a current Grammy Nomination for his work on the “Crazy Heart’ soundtrack. His 3rd album is no fluke either. His whisky and cigarette vocals are the perfect vehicle for his forlorn tales.|
|Randy Rogers Band||Burning the Day||One of the hardest working bands in the state. Over 200 dates over the past years. Still time to record and release their 5th album.|
|Norah Jones||…Featuring Norah Jones||The list of collaborators is what makes this album genius. You have the rap community represented with Talib Kweli Q Tip, and Outkast, the rock genre is fortified by Foo Fighters, and Ryan Adams is a genre chameleon so several are covered with his efforts. Also, Willie Nelson adds his own brand of greatness.|
|Walt Wilkins||Agave||A true Texas troubadour. No one does it better then Walt. The words of a poet delivered honey sweet with a calm, familiar feel. Need to see him live if you ever have the chance.|
|Tommy Alverson||Texas One More Time||With a twinkle in his eye, and a beer in his hand, Tommy makes music that makes you feel fine. When Tommy sings, it feels like a warm summer night and for that moment you are carefree. Highly recommend you see him live, you won’t regret it.|
|Six Market Boulevard||Running On Seven||I caught these boys live one Sunday afternoon at a local barbeque joint. Nice, strong debut album.|
|Mike Ryan||The First One||Great voice, laid back attitude, and interacts with his fans. Ballsy covers of Lenny Kravitz and Conway Twitty. Need to see him live to fully appreciate his brand of greatness.|
|Bruce Robison||From the Top||Amazing songwriting that has made many country artists famous. This album finds him paired with Rodney Crowell and it is an effort steeped in simplicity. When you write as well as Bruce, you don’t need to add a lot of fluff.|
Great music awaits!