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Country music from Texas has been a popular since the spread of the cowboy culture in the late 1800s. Texas helped popularize country music through the world and the state’s rich and varied traditions continue to redefine country music.
Texas country's roots lie in the Outlaw country movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Texan artists such as Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and David Allan Coe retreated from the Nashville Country Music scene to Austin, Luckenbach TX, College Station and Houston. Other artists who were inspired by this movement included performers like Guy Clark, Jerry Jeff Walker, Steve Young, Kris Kristofferson, Joe Ely, Terry Allen, Steve Earle, and Townes Van Zandt. All these stars have rated higher than 43 on the Texas Music Scene charts.
These artists were followed in turn by the work of singer-songwriters such as Pat Green, Robert Earl Keen, Max Stalling, Wade Bowen and Cory Morrow.
While the genre has roots in Texas, Oklahoma artists such as Jason Boland, Stoney LaRue, Mike McClure, and Cross Canadian Ragweed have had a major influence on Texas Country. For this reason, "Red Dirt Music" is becoming a more popular term for the genre to pay homage to its Oklahoma influence. The term was coined in reference to the miles of red dirt that is common throughout the two states.
Robert Earl Keen's No. 2 Live Dinner, released in 1996, had it all; comedy accompanied with "a sharp wit, a laid-back cowboy style, and an eye for detail... combined in his songs that are as easy on the ears as they are packed with insight". Keen's home calling came after a short stint in Nashville, where he quickly became uncomfortable. His 1996 live album release truly showcased the “wide range” of the talented Texas musician and popularized the single "The Road Goes On Forever", a song many music fans regard as the paradigm for Texas 'Country anthems'. Joe Ely and other Texas musicians have recorded cover versions of “The Road Goes On Forever”.
2000s and the Texas Influence in Nashville
Cory Morrow, a Houston native, had been on the Texas scene since the mid-90s. With the release of his fourth album Outside the Lines, Morrow found more mainstream success on the country music charts. Pat Green, also an artist from Texas, began his career as part of the Texas country scene later went on to widespread commercial success with gold album Wave on Wave after switching to a "Shania Twain/ Garth Brooks" Nashville style of country music. The album's title track hit No. 3 on the U.S. Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart and won a Grammy nomination for Best Country Song.
Kevin Fowler, a former hair-metal/glam rocker was Dangerous Toys guitarist from the late 1980s until 1993, followed by his own founding of Thunderfoot, a Southern rock band based out of Austin. Originally from Amarillo, he self-released his country debut album One For The Road in 1997. This followed with his smash independent follow-up album, Beer, Bait, and Ammo. He has since found national success, on a major label.
Texas country's influence continues to be felt in the mainstream music genre with artists such as Jack Ingram, who had already established a name for himself in Texas country, who won a CMT Music Award in 2007 and the 2008 Academy of Country Music award for New Male Vocalist of the Year. He has also scored top 25 singles on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart with songs such as "Love You" and his cover of Hinder's "Lips of an Angel". Another one of his singles, "Wherever You Are", went to number one on the Billboard Chart.
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