Texas Music

When you hail from the hub of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, the Mexicos (New and Old) and the Gulf Coast, geography tends to have its way with the tunes you play. And that will come across in the records that you make, not to mention your reasons for making them in the first place. This is an assertion (for the record) that has nothing to do with myths. And it has nothing to do with those Patricians that claim residence here so as to avoid taxation there. And, just so the reader knows the writer is aware, there is no bandwagon to pursue, no thriving scene to be exploited and taken advantage of. No such thing exists. In fact, it's likely the opposite. To see it one need only take a gander at that lot of pearl snaps and dancehall recitals getting put on by guys and gals working the MTV model. Now if making money means it's successful, well...then it is  (popular among today's first and second generation Texans anyway). But most of us aren't worried about that, not concerned because we've seen the inevitability of it time and time again. They'll get their fill of Texas and then take out on the road for Nashville (or an equivalent district) long before the cows come home. So there. This is not about them either.

From Buddy Holly to Janis Joplin to Stevie Ray—when it comes to music, Texans are especially proud, proud to produce music that reflects a unique and diverse culture. Making music in Texas, you see, doesn't necessarily mean that you  have to own a saddle (though most do). In truth, you don't even need to have a shiny belt buckle. It's not about the way you talk, the way you walk, or what you drive or what you shoot. It's about what you do when the music is in you.  It's about being in tune with your surroundings, absorbing everything, and then learning how to translate that into a note, a song, a jam, a record. Now then, while it is true that these things could come from any given state that is united under Old Glory, there are some unique requisites that come with this territory known as Texas.

Take the bottomlands to the flatlands; stand atop a mesa; ride a tumble weed to the piney trees then perch yourself in a Live Oak up on a hill country cliff:  When the place that you play in is big enough to consume more than half of the states in New England, your sound, proportionately speaking, ought to cover a lot of ground. You've got to take it all in, take it all in and then put it all back out in a way that's true to the roots that you come from. And even though the sound that you produce may, in truth,  have as much to do with geography as it does virtuosity, in the end, the music still has to be more—more than popular, more than enhanced with ecstasy, more than hyperactive crescendos, more than moving your capo a step up the neck so as to change the key of your next tune, more than ego and image, more than attitude. Being from the Lone Star should raise the bar well above all of that. A band that's born in the great State of Texas should have a mandate to incorporate blues, folk, jazz, country, bluegrass and rock music into its repertoire. Indeed, they should do that and more.

They should listen, neither afraid to grow into those empty spaces nor to sit back in awe of the distances. They should be willing to make changes and yet fierce to maintain what's come down through the ages. They should be neighborly, hospitable, honorable and all-inclusive. The heritage of Texas music in this day and age is less about a need to take a judgmental stand and more about what you can do when you take the stage. It's about kinder forms of action and example, playing  in a grateful way that just happens to produce 40 minute instrumentals, three and four part vocal harmonies, and guitars that play dual lead. And all that is as it should be—done with grace, with awe, and a sense of gratitude that recognizes all of this is but a gift given to our custodianship, a part of this majesty known as creation. But there is one more thing. A band from Texas has to be able to make good records.

Writing good songs, combining those into good records, and then taking that music out on the road and letting it grow in a way that not only reflects the place that you come from but all that you have become since the day you were born, Texas music must well up from the soul. And, by this definition, The Peach Truck could not be any more Texan.

 

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