Not bad, not bad at all.

Here’s some irony for you: A best-of list of Texas/red-dirt country from the last 15 years.

Why the irony? Well, that mainly comes from my perspective. Back in the late 1990s as the whole pop vs. traditional thing was raging — leading up to the masterpiece that was “Murder On Music Row” — a lot of people defending the crappy pop country from people like Shania Twain were citing as validation of their tastes the No. 1 songs and albums those artists (loosely speaking) were cranking out, as well as the awards they were winning from mainstream music organizations. So out of nowhere come people like Pat Green, Cory Morrow, and Roger Creager, who were never gonna be No. 1 on any kind of mainstream music chart or win any kinds of awards but were still making great music, both covers and originals. So from the start I always thought any kind of awards, charts, or best-of lists were, for lack of a better term, anathema to the whole concept of Texas music.

All that said, I must confess this list isn’t bad at all. It probably would not differ too much from my own. I might have swapped “17” and “Feelin’ Good Again,” though. Back in 2002, or even 2005 — when I bought Cross Canadian Ragweed’s self-titled “Purple” album — I might have thought differently, but with the advent of all the songs about how great the little podunk hometowns were I came to think it was even more of a great song because of its contrasting viewpoint. I might have said it before, but while the memories of my own smaller hometown weren’t that bad I still felt like Cody Canada and Jason Boland were tapping the well of my soul when they wrote that song.

And now that I think about it, as far as Deryl Dodd goes I might have gone with “That’s How I Got To Memphis.” Technically it goes back 16 years, as it first appeared on his 1996 debut One Ride In Vegas; but it also appeared on his 2002 cd Pearl Snaps. And yeah, it was a cover of an old Tom T. Hall song that was also recorded by God only knows how many other artists, but I still think he made that song his own.

And after a bit of discussion with Sabra in which she pulled up a few of REK’s other songs since ’97, I’d have to say that “Shades of Grey” would probably take the place of “Feelin’ Good Again.”

Still, though, not bad at all. I shall have more to say about the comments to the Dallas Observer post later…

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