The Turnpike Troubadours are the greatest country music band to ever do it.
You could argue otherwise, but you’d be wrong.
In a time when real country music isn’t played on the radio, and some people have gone as far to say country music is dead, Turnpike has been the saving grace for just about everyone craving real country music. The Oklahoma based band became one of the first Texas/Red Dirt bands to gain a strong national following, drawing attention to the scene and paving the way for many of its popular acts at the moment.
The band has a refreshing, and yet almost old-timey sound, and has continued to be one of the driving forces keeping the fiddle alive in country music. Not to mention the songwriting of Evan Felker is arguably the best in the business. These traits helped them gain not only a large following across the entire country, but one of the most loyal fanbases in all of music. When the band announced their indefinite hiatus back at the end of May 2019, many fans were devastated, but remained hopeful for their return. Soon after, though, all hell broke loose across the world with the Coronavirus pandemic and everything else that has happened. Coincidence? I think not.
Since the hiatus was announced, the band’s fiddle player Kyle Nix has released his debut album Lightning on the Mountain & Other Short Stories, which if you haven’t checked it out already, was a banger of an album. But even more recently, and more importantly, Evan Felker has said he is doing well, has gotten sober, and is starting to consider making music again soon. While we don’t know if this is the beginning of a solo career for Felker, or if the band is getting back together, this was still the best news any Turnpike fan has heard in 2020.
So, in anticipation of potential new music at some point, it only felt right to make sure people are listening to Turnpike again, and hopefully for some, maybe even the very first time.
And perhaps the best thing about Turnpike is that if every fan wrote down their favorite songs, no two lists would look the same. Their catalog is THAT deep.
That being said, here are my 20 favorite Turnpike songs at the moment.
20. “Every Girl” (Diamonds & Gasoline)
19. “Sunday Morning Paper” (A Long Way from Your Heart)
18. “Southeastern Son” (Goodbye Normal Street)
17. “The Housefire” (A Long Way from Your Heart)
16. “Long Hot Summer Day” (Diamonds & Gasoline)
15. “Come as You Are”
As the only Turnpike single that hasn’t been released, “Come as You Are” is often overlooked. If you haven’t heard this one, you’re missing out.
14. “Pay No Rent” (A Long Way from Your Heart)
13. “The Funeral” (The Turnpike Troubadours)
12. “Before the Devil Knows We’re Dead” (Goodbye Normal Street)
11. “Something to Hold on To” (A Long Way from Your Heart)
10. “Gin, Smoke, Lies” (Goodbye Normal Street)
9. “The Mercury” (The Turnpike Troubadours)
8. “7 & 7” (Diamonds & Gasoline)
7. “Doreen” (The Turnpike Troubadours)
6. “Gone Gone Gone” (Goodbye Normal Street)
5. “Whole Damn Town” (Diamonds & Gasoline)
4. “The Bird Hunters” (The Turnpike Troubadours)
“And I was beginning to deal with it ending, the old dog had pointed while part of me died And a flutter of feathers, then a shotgun to shoulder, I thought of the Fourth of July She’ll be home on the Fourth of July, I bet we’ll dance on the Fourth of July”
If this part of the song doesn’t give you chills, there might be something wrong with you.
3. “1968” (Diamonds & Gasoline)
“There ain’t a thing in the world to take me back Like a dark-haired girl in a Cadillac On main street of an old forgotten town The sun light shines in fine white lines On weathered stores with open signs They may as well just close ’em down”
This is one of the greatest opening verses out there, paints a perfect picture of the scene.
2. “Good Lord Lorrie” (Goodbye Normal Street)
“Lorrie lit a cigarette and smiled, and waved the smoke out of her face With her black hair brown from the summer sun, green eyes looked around the place And she told me that she loved me and I grinned and grabbed her hand and said, “I know” Let’s get from here now darling if we’re going let’s go on and go”
Another one of the best opening verses out there, gotta love it when Lorrie gets involved. If you have any friends that claim they don’t like country music, just send them this one.
Everyone loves this song.
1. “Diamonds & Gasoline” (Diamonds & Gasoline)
“And I would buy for you a diamond, or myself some gasoline If I can’t afford you darling, then I can’t afford to dream And is it time I should be moving? Is it time I settle down? Will I sit still or will I feel the wheels a spinning round?”
Best song off the best album…
You can’t beat it.
Every single other Turnpike song, there literally isn’t a bad one. Honestly, other than my top four, the rest could change 30 minutes from now. There’s just too many good Turnpike songs to choose from.
Despite all of the uncertainty surrounding the future of Evan Felker and the Turnpike Troubadours, one thing is for sure; These guys have made four very special records that have impacted millions of people across the world, and their music will continue to do so as long as real country music fans exist.
Hopefully, though, more great music is on the way.