The Ten Best Texas Country Songs of 2013
This past June, we provided a list of the 10 best Texas Country/Red Dirt/Whatever tunes in 2013 up to that point of the year. With 2014 looming, we're still not sure what the nebulous terms slapped onto the songs and bands that made up that list really mean. With an entire year of music to listen back upon, we do know it's been a great year, regardless of which brainless box one tries to shove these fine acts into.
Courtesy of William Clark Green
A few of the songs from our June list made it onto this one. Those tunes were great then, and seem greater now as we've had months to let them seep deeper into our skin. The ones that didn't make the cut on this go 'round are still noteworthy, but were caught in the end by some other songs that hit us a bit harder down the home-stretch. Of course, those numbers are still fine examples of Red-Texas-Dirt-Country, none the less.
Perhaps more than any recent year, 2013 has shown itself to be a time when younger acts could make larger splashes than before while many respected vets have had to continue producing quality records instead of resting on their previous successes (except for the pandering Kevin Fowler -- "How Country Are 'Ya?" Really?). With more festivals, television shows, websites and record labels supporting this style of music continually popping up, it's exciting to see a slight clash of the grizzled and fresh. Make no mistake, such a meshing is a fantastic thing for fans who thirst for more on a weekly basis.
It's not a stretch to say the mix of generations, sounds and styles represented on the list below would likely be impossible a decade ago. There's much to celebrate in a variety of ways. Please enjoy.
10. Zane Williams - "Sure Felt Like Goodbye"
The star of Troubadour, TX saw his kitschy "Overnight Success" (the title track to this 2013 album) go higher on the Texas charts than any other song of his had before. But it's the lead single from that album which best represents Williams ability to successfully offer a polished tune ready for mass consumption while still keeping the spotlight on his earnest, heart-tugging writing.
9. - Cody Canada - "17"
From the Departed front-man's first solo album, this acoustic take on the breakout hit from Cross Canadian Ragweed is kind of a big deal. While Canada became one of the region's biggest names while fronting Ragweed, this is far from the best vocal performance of his career. In fact, Canada admits to having a relatively roughed-up voice for this recording, and it shows, but that's also part of the magic. The symbolic nature of including beloved Ragweed tunes on his album is significant, as it represents the falling of a bitter veil Canada has been holding since the acrimonious break-up of his first band. The 11 minute, 22 second track contains not only a raw-boned version of the song, but Canada's own story behind the song and what it has meant to him personally. He sings "You're always 17 in your hometown," and for Canada, he'll always be the voice behind the songs that made Ragweed a national draw. And it's great that he's totally cool with that.
8. Dirty River Boys - "Desert Wind"
While we wait for the band's next full-length record, the El Paso-born quartet released a single that should tide us over rather well. The studio version of the song boasts a Springsteen power vibe, that may (or may not) represent a new twist to the band's deliscious roots-punk blend.