A common misconception is that Texas music is the familiar red dirt sounds of musicians such as Cross Canadian Ragweed, Stoney LaRue or Jason Boland. It is also misclassified as the outlaw sound of Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, David Allan Coe, Waylon Jennings or Billy Joe Shaver. The truth is that Texas music is much more complicated than any simple classification scheme can represent. All of these musicians are fine examples of Texas music, but each borrows from multiple musical styles including country, Western swing, musica tejano, zydeco, blues, and honky tonk to produce a Texas sound – some are not even Texans.
To reach a fuller definition of Texas music, we have to incorporate musicians who bring us many other musical styles – the fugues of Brahms, the operas of Puccini, the jazz saxophone of Ornette Coleman, the accordion of Clifton Chenier, the blazing piano of Marcia Ball, and the blues of such diverse figures as Blind Lemon Jefferson and the Vaughan brothers. And of course, Texas music includes the sounds of Buddy Holly and the Crickets who not only inspired such important musical groups as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, but also launched a musical revolution. Texas music encompasses a multidimensional heritage where current musicians are the end products of over four centuries of blending cultural and musical styles – starting long before we even became a Republic.
It’s the dichotomies that exist which have always attracted me to our State’s music. We have fans of the Light Crust Doughboys and their brand of Western swing as well as fans of Janis Joplin. We have the fans of Selena as well as those of Townes Van Zandt. Though people may not always agree on which style of music they find most appealing, there is room for all. For those of us that enjoy a cross section of musical genres, we have the best of all worlds.
That is the philosophy that brought this site into existence. We want people to have a choice in their music. If they choose to stay focused in one area, say Texas blues, that’s great. However, we encourage everyone to participate in the other genres as well. Who knows? You may find out why the polka is alive and well in Texas!
Posted by: John South
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