You can find songs about Texas in just about every genre of music: There's Bruce Springsteen with "Galveston Boy"; Explosions in the Sky with "From West Texas"; Iggy Pop with "Houston Is Hot Tonight" ... and we could go on (and on and on). But no genre produces more songs from or about Texas than country music.
Crafting a Top 10 list of country songs about Texas is an unwieldy job, but somebody's got to do it. Below, you'll find The Boot's picks for country's best tunes about the Lone Star State.
"If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)"Alabama
Texas-Loving Lyrics: “If you’re gonna play in Texas, you gotta have a fiddle in the band / That lead guitar is hot, but not for "Louisiana Man" / So rosin’ up that bow for "Faded Love," and let’s all dance / If you’re gonna play in Texas, you gotta have a fiddle in the band.”
Pay no mind to the band's name; this song is all about Texas. In fact, it’s a handy how-to for any musician looking to please the crowds when they visit the Lone Star State. Namely: You'd better have a fiddle, because that’s the only way you’re going to be able to do justice to “Cotton-Eyed Joe,” “Faded Love” and “Louisiana Man.”
Texas-Loving Lyrics: “The lonesome sun was setting low / And in the rear-view mirror, I watched it go / I can still see the wind in her golden hair / I close my eyes for a moment, I’m still there / The bluest eyes in Texas / Are haunting me tonight.”
Like so many songs about Texas, this song isn’t just about missing Texas … it’s also about missing a girl. In this case, it’s a girl with the “bluest eyes in Texas,” and it’s hard to tell if the narrator misses those eyes or the midnight Texas sky more.
Texas-Loving Lyrics: “I’ve been away for a while / But it still brings a smile / When I think of the way it goes / Now I’ll sing it to you / Just so we both can do / That old San Antonio stroll.”
“San Antonio Stroll” tells the story of a girl dreaming of, and finally being able to go to, the square dance in town and dance the San Antonio Stroll with her mom, her dad and her sister (and her husband-to-be). The song was Tucker’s fifth No. 1 single.
Texas-Loving Lyrics: "'Cause God blessed Texas with His own hand / Brought down angels from the Promised Land / He gave them a place where they could dance / If you wanna see Heaven, brother, here's your chance"
If you've ever gone line dancing, chances are pretty good that you've done some steps to this tune. Although the band Little Texas actually got its start in Nashville, its founders hailed from Texas, and the influence clearly stuck. It shouldn't be a surprise that a band with the word Texas built into their name would write one of the ultimate Texas tunes.
Texas-Loving Lyrics: “Galveston, oh, Galveston / I still hear your seawinds blowing / I still see her dark eyes glowing.”
This song, which has been adopted as the official anthem of Galveston Island and Galveston, Texas, has some controversy behind it: Jimmy Webb, who wrote the song about a soldier dreaming of the girl and the city he loves while waiting for battle, described it as an anti-war song and criticized those who viewed it as upbeat or patriotic in any way.
Texas-Loving Lyrics: “He figured she’d gone back to Austin / ‘Cause she talked about it all the time.”
“Austin” was Shelton's debut single, and it reached the top on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart. It’s a classic “boy meets girl, girl leaves man and goes to Austin, girl calls man’s answering machine a year later and discovers that he’s been keeping very busy but still loves her” story. And P.S.: The story has a happy ending.
Texas-Loving Lyrics: “Between Hank Williams’ pain songs / Newbury’s train songs / and "Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain" / Out in Luckenbach, Texas, ain’t nobody feelin’ no pain.”
This song centers around a couple that has become too entrenched in “high society” and needs to get “back to the basics of love.” And the place to do so? Why, Luckenbach, Texas, where the narrator promises good country music and no pain. Willie Nelson joins Jennings for the song's last verse, making the narrator’s case for relocation that much stronger.
Texas-Loving Lyrics: “Out in the West Texas town of El Paso / I fell in love with a Mexican girl.”
This ballad tells the story of an El Paso cowboy who falls in love with a Mexican girl named Faleena, kills another one of her suitors in a duel, flees town and eventually returns, only to be killed himself. But that’s not all! There’s also horse theft. "El Paso" hit the top of the country and the pop charts when it was released, earned a Grammy and was named by the Western Writers of America as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.
Texas-Loving Lyrics: "All my ex's live in Texas / And Texas is the place I'd dearly love to be / But all my ex's live in Texas / And that's why I hang my hat in Tennessee."
Although the narrator of this song -- as he reminds us several times -- currently lives in Tennessee, it's only because of his turbulent love life in the Lone Star State. "All My Ex's Live in Texas" is the story of a man whose time in Texas was certainly ... well, busy. While recounting the poor fortunes of all his exes, he name-drops Texas cities landmarks, from Galveston to Texarkana to the Frio River.
Texas-Loving Lyrics: “You can live on the plains or the mountains / Or down where the sea breezes blow / But you’re still in beautiful Texas / The most beautiful place that I know.”
This song comes off of Nelson’s album Texas in My Soul, and while just about every song from that record would fit on the list, "Beautiful Texas" earns this spot because it's an anthem, pure and simple. It’s not a metaphor for falling in love with a girl, it’s just a straightforward love song about Texas. If you’re on the fence about Texas, this tune's descriptions of “cotton green pastures” and “beautiful bluebonnets” should change your mind.