Do y’all like Texas country music? If you do, you’ll like our rundown of this week’s Weekly single recap as we take a look at 8 Texas/Red-dirt centric music singles and the new Toby Keith single (and a new mainstream contender) in this week’s Weekly Single Recap!
Jon Wolfe – It All Happened In A Honky Tonk
The title track to his latest album, “It All Happened In A Honky Tonk” has a neo-traditionalist feel to it that is decidedly mainstream country music. Not quite the throwback that some of the tracks on the album have, the song nonetheless showcases Wolfe as a talented and promising up and comer who could break out if things break the right way for him (he has a history of failed label deals in his past). While uptempo and contemporary and name-checking classic country stars, the song doesn’t feel like a rock song with painted on steel guitars or name-checking for the sake of name-checking. Nope, it’s genuinely covered in a production that suits Wolfe’s vocals and the song never sounds anything but country.
Walt Wilkins – “Just Be”
After a decade writing in Nashville, Walt Wilkins returned to his home state of Texas and with “Just Be,” he showcases the simplicity and honesty and true beauty that great country music can give to the restless spirit. “Just Be” is about sitting and unwinding and getting out of your hectic life for a minute in order to ‘stop and smell the roses,’ so to speak. “Just Be” is a brilliant song from a brilliant new album called Plenty (Ride Records). Walt’s a gifted vocalist worthy of anyone’s time to seek out.
Jason Cassidy – “Ride of your Life”
A neo-traditionalist for the most of his debut album, Jason Cassidy showcases a new, rock-n-roll attitude on this remixed version of “Ride Of Your Life.” Yes, the lyrics are pretty much ‘cliche’ for modern country music (Florida Georgia Line and Jason Aldean’s new singles have the same theme). (Girls, beer, trucks on dirt roads, dancing’ on a tailgate, etc). Still, that all being said and it’s hard to not enjoy both the ‘twangy guitars and thumping melody of “Ride of Your Life” combined with Cassidy’s country as a dirt clod vocal. You could put this country boy in a rock production but you’re never gonna lose that twang.
Toby Keith – “I Like Women Who Drink Beer”
This song is simply Toby Keith at his best with a simple and direct lyric that finds Toby singing about the difficulties of being a blue collar guy married to a high-society woman and how he feels better outside of the ‘high rise life’ and how he doesn’t need need all of the things the woman with all her money has. Instead, all he needs is a down-home woman and that he knows what he likes, girls who drink beer.
Green River Ordinance – “Dancing Shoes”
Once signed to Virgin Records rock/pop division, GRO has since gone the indie route and as a band from Texas, their roots were never all that far away from country music. Yes, they were polished pop/rock but if you listen to “Dancing Shoes” and their Under Fire album, you’ll hear a band that could easily be the next big thing in modern country music. “Dancing Shoes” is one of the best-written songs we’ve heard in a while and it certainly is deserving of the Top 10 Texas Music Chart placement it currently has.
Vince Hatfield – “Sometimes You Gotta Get Away”
Like Jon Wolfe, Hatfield is a neotraditionalist country artist. The melody dances behind Hatfield as he sings about getting out of your own way and enjoying the simpler things, like losing yourself and letting go and enjoying life’s finer moments saying, “Sometimes you gotta get away, to find your way back.” Singing in a mode that recalls George Strait melodically and Don Williams musically, this is a song that should give hope to fans who are tired of the loud, louder and loudest approach of modern country radio.
Ricky Young – “The Day That I Die”
Here a song that’s a perfect example of a modern country story song. The story is told over a busy arrangement that still manages to help sell the lyrics rather than detract from them and that’s good as this Lee Brice/Jon Stone-penned tune is certainly something with strong lyrics. Vocally, Young is strong-voiced with a style that’s familiar, fresh and emotive all at the same time and showcases a promising new talent.
Cody Canada & The Departed – “True Love Never Dies.”
A track from This Is Indian Country, Cody’s first album with his new band The Departed after a long run as the frontman of Cross Canadian Ragweed, this tune is one slice of funky country music. Honestly, Canada’s guitar grooves are something to marvel at here while the band colors in the melody around a lyric about a guy who will never give up loving someone, even if the relationship is over.
Kevin Fowler – “Here’s To Me And You”
The latest single from the Texas Country star’s latest album Chippin’ Away, “Here’s To Me And You” is a song with a strong hook as big as the ocean. This is modern country music that doesn’t hide its country sounds for loud rock guitars (Something the former 80s hair band member could easily do). Kevin Fowler is well aware of his roots and what has made him a household name throughout the Southeast and Southwest. It’s songs like this and “Hell Yeah, I Like Beer.” Kevin Fowler is loose, loud and crazy most of the times but this one fits a mainstream sensibility and could very well be his break-through if mainstream will allow room for him outside of silly ditties like “Pound Sign (#?*!)”
John David Kent – “Runaway”
A talented singer/songwriter, JDK is one of Texas Music’s best-kept secrets with a strong voice and a propensity to deliver strong heartland country rock songs that sound as good (if not better than) what is commonly on mainstream country radio stations. If mainstream radio wants to harken to the 1980s, why not the part of 1980s music that wasn’t Guns N Roses and Bon Jovi and instead was more John Waite or John Mellencamp? The imagery of their songs is present here in a song that is one of my favorites of 2012 so far.