It’s hard when you’re a huge fan of a non-mainstream artist, but you have no one to talk about them with…
When it’s your turn on the aux and some Koe Wetzel would be fire right then but no one else knows him, when song references don’t hit, and “Have you heard of Cody Jinks” flies right over heads, it’s a very frustrating experience.
Now, you know if they would just stop for a second and take a real listen, your friends would love it, but every time you try to play Texas Country, they dismiss it immediately. “If it was good it’d be on the radio.”
So you try to wedge a song in here and there, someone says it sounds okay, you keep pushing it, talking about it until they give in and say “Okay yeah, I’ll really listen.”
This is a big moment. Make or break, a conversion or prolonged dismissal. If you pick to deep into the catalogue you might turn them away because of the major shift in sound, but if you don’t pick deep enough in, they might shrug it off as the same as radio country. Can you hit ’em with Sunny Sweeney’s “Bottle By My Bed” right from the jump? What do you play them?
Fortunately for you, we have some suggestions. Here’s the first 6 songs to play when first showing off Texas Country.
Parker McCollum – “To Be Loved By You”
Probably the best transition from Nashville to Texas is by way of Parker McCollum, the Texas act who’s blown up into the mainstream, earning his first Number 1 song with “Pretty Heart”. You can’t really go wrong with any Parker song, but I recommend “To Be Loved By You.” It’s catchy and clever, just enough Texas to make it good, but not too much to scare someone away.
Cody Johnson – “On My Way To You”
For the last few years, Cody Johnson has been expanding past the Lonestar state borders and has turned into quite the national superstar. “On My Way To You” shows off the vocal power the sub-genre has, as well as the emotional writing often featured.
If a country fan doesn’t like Cody Johnson, might have to rethink the whole country fan thing…
Whiskey Myers – “Ballad of a Southern Man”
Pretty much every country fan knows and likes songs about being a “country boy/girl.” So pretty much everyone will appreciate this OG southern pride anthem from Whiskey Myers. The substance is similar and message is clear: They’re proud to be a good ole boy.
Randy Rogers band – “Kiss Me In The Dark”
Okay, this would work best for someone who has an ear for more classic country sound, so current fans of artists like Riley Green and Luke Combs, or any fans of fiddles might find their path to the Texas scene through Randy Rogers Band. There’s few that sum up Texas Country better than Randy Rogers, so might as well start them out with a legend.
Koe Wetzel – “Austin”
Just the persona of Koe Wetzel is enough to convince a lot of people to hop on and take a ride, adding this level of musical talent feels almost wrong… should one person hold all this power? But seriously, “Austin” is a hell of a song, with classic Koe rock, strong vocals and the best xylophone use in a song pretty much ever.
I’d say you could sum him up with this one and “February 28th, 2016”; combined you get just about the whole picture.
Cody Jinks – “Must Be The Whiskey”
Okay, this one is the biggest test on the list. Cody Jinks’ style is very unique, for some an acquired taste if not familiar with the driving beats, to the point lyrics and almost talking style of singing. For some the love is instant, for some like me, it took a few times listening to fully understand it, but when it hit, a whole new world was opened.
Mix in this one, “Hippies and Cowboys” and, if all else fails, hit them with the “Loud and Heavy” bomb. Instant victory is almost certain.
And after those six, you hit ’em with some Turnpike, the Jamie Lin Wilson, Josh Abbott Band, Sunny Sweeney, Flatland Cavalry, William Clark Green, all the rest, and then congrats, you have a fan for life.
Give ’em the Whiskey Riff Texas Country playlist and the rest is history.