Staff Trax: Jasper TX, Randy Rogers Band, Freddie King and The Walker Brothers
Jasper TX -- "Summer"
I first heard Dag Rosenqvist (aka Jasper Tx) on his 2005 debut I'll Be Long Gone Before My Light Reaches You. Intrigued initially just for the fact that a Swedish guy chose a moniker with such negative connotations, I was shocked to find how beautiful the music actually was. Since then, I've liked each and every effort, especially 2007's In a Cool Monsoon. Ambient to be sure, but full of interesting surges of melody, "Summer" is the perfect summation of Rosenqvist's milieu. Like Terry Riley's legendary, neo-classical epic In C, Jasper Tx is perfect music to paint your house by. --Darryl Smyers
Randy Rogers Band -- "In My Arms Instead"
I've been growing more and more tired of what has been recently trotted out as "Texas country." I've said to just about anyone I can, that "Red Dirt" country has become more a grouping of hair-dyed REO Speedwagon revivalists and that they hardly resemble anything that represents a distinction between the country music that is being offered in Texas and that of any other region. Here, the new red dirt rockers seem to worry more about what embroidered pattern is on the flaps of their jeans back pocket than how the catalog of Ernest Tubb, Bob Wills and Willie Nelson blazed a trail for lovers of original music in this state, enabling them to even wear an Affliction shirt while singing about how the Guadalupe River is so kick-ass. But Randy Rogers gets it. If you've seen his band live, you know they really get it, too. His self-titled album from 2008 remains an underrated modern country gem. Similar to my Jamey Johnson pick a few weeks ago, I highly suggest this album for country haters who have yet to really digest any of the genre's current crop of underappreciated greats. -Kelly Dearmore
Freddie King -- "Going Down"
I've been a casual fan of Freddie King ever since my guitar teacher (the great Josh Alan Friedman) taught me "Hideaway" back in eighth grade. But it wasn't until I heard this song as the opening-credits song for the hilarious and incredibly offensive HBO Danny McBride series Eastbound And Down that I realized just what a badass King was. With that rocking staccato piano part, overdriven bass, relentless drums and scorching guitar leads, I had mistakenly assumed it was by some Cream-inspired '60s or '70s blues-rock band. Once I found out otherwise, my interest in the Texas Cannonball, the greatest of the three blues Kings (sorry, B.B. and Albert), was once again renewed. --Jesse Hughey
The Walker Brothers -- "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore"
Back when I worked at KLUV, this was one of those songs that started and 30 seconds into, I was in the control room wondering who it was. (The same happened with Todd Rundgren's "Hello It's Me.") Pretty much from then on, I was a Walker Brothers fan and slowly jumped into Scott Walker's solo material. Yeah, yeah, yeah, "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" might sound a little too much like a certain Phil Spector single by the Righteous Brothers, but the Walker Brothers' catalog is pretty flawless when it comes to orchestral pop. This song happened to be used in a teaser for AMC's upcoming TV series, The Walking Dead, and while it might seem like a left-field choice, it fits perfectly. -Eric Grubbs