Let’s help keep the Texas music scene alive during the coronavirus crisis.
Here’s a selection of the artists I’m listening to (and supporting) during the pandemic. How about you?
1. Red Mango Vinyl (Austin), “Lead Me Away”
I first heard this band at the Moontower Saloon in South Austin and they put on a spectacular show. I have now seen them at several different venues, including Stubb’s, and I am blown away every time with their tasteful mix of alternative rock, soul, and blues. Their lead vocalist is mesmerizing!
2. Ooey Gooeys (San Marcos), “Sidney”
Most people think Jazz is a lost art. But, San Marcos’ Ooey Gooeys brings new creativity and energy to the genre. Combining indie rock with jazz, this band brings exciting and utterly ingenious notes one after the other. If you get a chance to catch one of their shows, you will not be disappointed.
3. Trent Turner (Austin), “I Won’t Tell Your Secret”
Trent Turner and the Moontowers is one of my favorite Austin acts. They combine roots blues with an insurmountable rock energy. You definitely need to check this band out, and they play several nights a week in Austin almost every week. (Except during pandemics…) Turner’s guitar playing is some of the best I have ever seen.
4. Ryan Ross Band (San Marcos), “Over”
I first found the Ryan Ross Band years ago in San Marcos under a different name – Dry River Religion. They have since changed members and gone a new direction, but their frontman, Ryan Ross, never ceases to amaze me. They are one of the best red dirt country bands in Texas, and they definitely need to be on your radar as one of the biggest new names in country music.
5. Ray Wiley Hubbard (Wimerberley), “Snake Farm”
If you’ve ever driven down I-35 between New Braunfels and San Antonio, then you know exactly what this song is about. Hubbard is a legend of the Texas Music scene and has written many country hits, including the honky-tonk ballad “Redneck Mother” (later recorded by Jerry Jeff Walker). Warning – if you listen to this one, you might just be singing it in your head for the rest of the week.
6. Koodookoo (Austin), “Over the Hump”
If you like jam bands, then Koodookoo is a group that you can’t miss. Not only do they play their instruments insanely well, but the vibe that they bring together as a band is unrivaled. Koodookoo puts on a very fun live show. I have to say that their drummer, Connor Marshall, is the unsung star of the band with his unmatched energy and pocket.
7. Toadies (Fort Worth), “Possum Kingdom”
Any Texas music playlist wouldn’t be complete without Toadies. The hardest hitting band on this playlist, Toadies were huge in the ‘90s with a few hits off their 1994 debut album, “Rubberneck,” but subsequently fell out of the public eye soon after. However, I saw them live a little over a year ago, and they still have it.
8. The Trishas (Austin), “Mother of Invention”
This all-girl alt-country group is one of my favorite country bands. All of their songs are so catchy that it’s hard to pick one for this playlist. However, “Mother of Invention” off their most recent album, “High, Wide & Handsome,” is my top pick. Their songs touch on themes of the South, love and motherhood, bringing a much-needed feminine energy to the Texas country music scene.
Cullen Parker served as an editorial assistant at Texas Lifestyle Magazine and is an Agricultural Communications and Journalism student at Texas A&M University. Before the pandemic, you could often find him outdoors or playing a concert with his band in Austin or College Station.