Jul 6 2014

MY Texas

So back in 2011, a couple of fellow Red Raiders of mine, who also happen to be Texas country musicians, Josh Abbott and Pat Green, released a hit single called “My Texas.” I first became aware of the song walking out of a Texas Rangers game, probably last summer. As is the case with most Texas country songs, the music is unremarkable in terms of strong hooks or memorable melody, while the lyrics are generally the focus. From the beginning, the song’s intention is clear; this is designed to be a crowd-pleaser at Red Dirt concerts and fests. Abbott and Green take turns naming parts and activities associated with our large, glorious state. Take a listen for yourself. You’ll get the idea pretty quickly.

As you can ascertain, the lyrical structure is the same throughout the entire song, even the chorus. Three things are named recognized as Texas activities, with the final repeated coda that, if you haven’t done these things, then “you ain’t met my Texas yet.” Pretty straightforward, immediately familiar, and, especially if you’re a Texan, ultimately very fun to hear for the first time.

The chorus changes every time, but with a basic structure repeated – rodeos, fellow Texas country artists, and random Texas cities and areas are name-dropped. Some of the recommendations make sense (eating Cooper’s in Llano, hiking through Big Bend) and some feel like they were fishing for ideas (an Abilene sunset? Having your hair blown back by Lubbock winds? Really?)

Overall, this song has an ideaology built into it that makes it such a hit for the Texas country crowd – it’s a celebration of our state’s diversity in geography, it hearkens back to that timeless Texas pride and feeling of exclusivity, and it recalls things most of its listeners have actually done.

As a whole, I LOVE the idea of this song. As a born-and-raised Texan, in theory the premise is novel. In practice, however, there was very little of the song I related to, which was a disappointment, though not a surprising one. I’m not, I suppose, what one would describe as a typical Texan, and definitely not a Texas country music fan. These guys know their audience, and I’m not a member of that club.

I suppose, when I first heard the song, it irked me there was absolutely no mention of Austin whatsoever. Again, this wasn’t surprising, as Austin isn’t really a hotspot for Texas country fandom or the cliche good ol’ boy culture surrounding it. But there are so many iconic things about this city that are overlooked by this culture. And in reality, it’s very arguable Austin is the city Texans should be MOST proud of.

So I immediately wanted to write my own version. A parody, if you will. And initially, I wanted it to be all about Austin. And it turned out that way, mostly. But while working on it, I started to realize there were parts of my life that weren’t about Austin at all, but were absolutely about Texas. I’ve traveled all across this state, and lived in three different areas of it, and I have no intention of ever leaving it. I firmly believe this state should be celebrated. And I admire that celebration in this Josh Abbott/Pat Green song, even if I don’t necessarily identify with 100% of it.

So eventually my version evolved into a song about my personal experience with Texas, Austin and beyond. There are references to Amarillo, Lubbock, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Marfa, even my hometown of Gruver. I strongly encourage other proud Texans to take this song and make it their own; what started as a fun little activity on a day off from work morphed into a personal, nostalgic, proud experience. And it ultimately made me like the song more, even if I’m still not in love with the melody.

Below are my lyrics to my personal version of the song “My Texas.” Compare them to the original ones, if you’re so inclined. Why I decided to spend an afternoon and do this, I don’t really know. It’s 100 degrees outside, and this seemed more exciting than going out and sweating at a bar or a pool or whatever. People who have known me for an extended amount of time might enjoy some references, while others might not recognize those references at all, and vice versa. Such is the celebration of a diverse life lived in many places, but all in one wonderful state. Enjoy, and thanks for humoring me.

If you never took a dip in Barton Springs

Went to Cadillac Ranch and painted things

Watched Tim Duncan get five rings

Then you ain’t met my Texas yet.

 

If you’ve never gotten drunk on Rainey Street

Had a Live Oak Hef, man it tastes so sweet

Stopped at El Vaquero for a bite to eat

Then you ain’t met my Texas yet.

 

If you haven’t crowd surfed down at Emo’s

Sang “Backyard” at a One Wolf show

Kissed a girl at SX you just met

Then you ain’t met my Texas yet.

 

Never been to Hope Gallery and made your mark

Saw the Marfa lights right at dark

Smoked a bowl down at Zilker Park

Then you ain’t met my Texas yet.

 

If you’ve never been to Buddy Holly’s grave

Got Buzzed from 512 IPA

Caught a foul ball at a Rangers game

Then you ain’t met my Texas yet.

 

Never heard Pantera on your radio

Sang “Tyler” at a Toadies show

If you never been to Fun Fun Fun Fest

You ain’t met my Texas yet.

 

Never hung with KTXT folks

Learned to two-step at Broken Spoke

Had a Lonestar Beer and didn’t choke,

Then you ain’t met my Texas yet.

 

Never had a Democrat at Torchy’s Tacos,

Gotten throwed at a Bun B show,

Didn’t know Franklin BBQ’s the best

Then you ain’t met my Texas yet.

No, you ain’t met my Texas yet!