Texas road trip playlist: Sing your way across the state, from ‘Galveston, oh Galveston’ to the ‘West Texas Town of El Paso’

UNITED STATES - CIRCA 1940: Color postcard with a map of the state of Texas, It highlights several scenes and vistas particular to the state, The postcard was published by E,C, Kropp Company of Milwaukee (Photo by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images) (Transcendental Graphics, Getty)

Texans’ love for Texas runs deep and unsurprisingly, the musically-inclined among us tend to share a common muse – the state itself.

Musicians have written endlessly about their affection for‚ and occasional vexation toward, the Lone Star State. There are thousands and thousands of songs about Texas. So many so that the sheer number of Texas tunes has spawned its own subset of songs – songs about songs about Texas.

In one such tune, aptly titled “Songs About Texas,” Pat Green sings, “I tell you friends there’s a song in every town,” implying that there’s a song about every Texas town.

A thorough internet search proves that Green isn’t entirely right, but he isn’t entirely wrong either. Though there isn’t a song for every one of the state’s many places – our great state boasts more than 1,200 incorporated cities – there are several stellar songs about Texas towns, which we’ve started assembling here.

The music showcased in our playlist stretches across decades, genres and, of course, the state’s varied geography. On the list are Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys’ “I’m a Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas,” Waylon Jennings’ “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)” and George Strait’s “Amarillo By Morning.”

You can peruse the full list of songs about Texas towns below or listen here.

As with any playlist, this is a work in progress that we’ll continue editing and building. You can share your song recommendations with us in the comment section below.

Happy listening friends.

MORE MUSIC: The Lone Star State in song: 100 loud and proud Texas tracks sure to satisfy the Texas-obsessed Texan in us all

Abilene: “Abilene,” Waylon Jennings

Key lyrics: “Abilene, Abilene / Prettiest town I’ve ever seen / Women there don’t treat you mean / In Abilene, my Abilene”

Amarillo: “Amarillo By Morning,” George Strait

Key lyrics: “Amarillo by mornin’/ Up from San Antone/ Everything that I got / Is just what I’ve got on / When that Sun is high / In that Texas sky/ I’ll be buckin’ at the county fair / Amarillo by mornin’ / Amarillo I’ll be there”

Bandera: “Bandera Waltz,” Ernest Tubb

Key lyrics: “I danced with an angel one night ‘neath the stars / While cowboys were singing and playing guitars / The tune they were playing was a beautiful waltz / And they called it Bandera and the Bandera Waltz”

Beaumont: “Beaumont,” Hayes Carll

Key lyrics: “All the way from Beaumont / With a white rose in my hand / I could not wait forever babe / I hope you understand”

Brownsville: “Brownsville Girl,” Bob Dylan

Key lyrics: “Brownsville girl with your Brownsville / Curls, teeth like pearls shining like the / Moon above / Brownsville girl / If you show me all around the world, Brownsville girl, you’re my honey / Love”

China Grove: “China Grove,” Doobie Brothers

Key lyrics: “When the sun comes up on a sleepy little town / Down around San Antone / And the folks are risin’ for another day / ‘Round about their homes / The people of the town are strange / And they’re proud of where they came / Well, you’re talkin’ ‘bout china grove / Oh, China grove”

College Station: “Traveler’s Song,” Flatland Cavalry

Key lyrics: “Well, I miss College Station / Them boys were good to me / Well, I burned North Gate down / I been the life of the party / I seen that twelve man town / Through a tailgate sea”

Corpus Christi: “Corpus Christi Bay,” Robert Earl Keen

Key lyrics: “I worked the rigs from three to midnight / On the Corpus Christi Bay / I’d get off and drink till daylight / Sleep the morning away / I had a plan to take my wages / Leave the rigs behind for good / But that life it is contagious / And it gets down in your blood”

Dallas: “Dallas,” The Flatlanders

Key lyrics: “Did you ever see Dallas from a DC-9 at night? / Well Dallas is a jewel, oh yeah, Dallas is a beautiful sight / And Dallas is a jungle but Dallas gives a beautiful light / Did you ever see Dallas from a DC-9 at night?”

Del Rio: “Rio,” Duran Duran

Key lyrics: “Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand / Just like that river twists across a dusty land / And when she shines, she really shows you all she can / Oh Rio, Rio dance across the Rio Grande”

Dumas: “I’m a Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas,” Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys

Key lyrics: “I reckon you all don’t know me at all / I just got here today / My home is way down in a little town / It’s not so far away / Everybody for miles around / Calls me by my name / Now that I am in your fair town / You must do the same / For I’m a / Ding dong daddy from Dumas / You ought to see me do my stuff”

El Paso: “El Paso,” Marty Robbins

Key lyrics: “From thirty thousand feet above / The desert floor, I see it there below / A city with a legend / The west Texas city of El Paso”

Fort Worth, “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind?” George Strait

Key lyrics: “Cold Fort Worth beer, just ain’t no good for jealous / I’ve tried it night, after night / You’re in someone else’s arms in Dallas / Does Fort Worth ever cross your mind?”

Galveston: “Galveston,” Glen Campbell

Key lyrics: “Galveston, oh Galveston / I still hear your sea waves crashing / While I watch the cannons flashing / I clean my gun / And dream of Galveston”

Haskell: “West Texas Highway,” Lyle Lovett

Key lyrics: “I’m mighty glad / You were going my way / In your brand new clothes there / And your great big Chevrolet / I’m going down to Haskell / Got a woman down in Abilene”

Houston: “Houston (Means that I’m one day closer to you),” The Gatlin Brothers

Key lyrics: “Houston, Houston means / That I’m one day closer to you, oh honey / Houston, Houston means / The last day of the tour and we’re through / Well honey, you and God in heaven above / Know I love what I do for a living, I do / Ah, but Houston, Houston means / That I’m one day closer to you”

Huntsville: “Huntsville,” by Merle Haggard

Key lyrics: “They caught me on a caper that I planned for days / And proved everything I’ve done / I’m on my way to Huntsville / But I’m looking for a chance to run”

La Grange: “La Grange,” ZZ Top

Key lyrics: “Rumour spreadin’ ‘round / In that Texas town / About that shack outside La Grange / And you know what I’m talkin’ about / Just let me know if you wanna go / To that home out on the range / They got a lot of nice girls”

Laredo: “The Wheels of Laredo,” The Highwomen

Key lyrics: “On a winter night in Webb County, Texas / On the North Bank of the mighty Rio Grande / I was watching the jungle fires a-burnin’ / Across the border of a not-so-distant land / And the echoes of the church bells that were swingin’ / Could be heard from Guadalupe Market Square / There was a girl down there in the south side of the river / She had feathers tied into her long black hair”

Levelland: “Levelland,” James McMurtry

Key lyrics: “Flatter than a tabletop / Makes you wonder why they stopped here / Wagon must have lost a wheel or they lacked ambition one / On the great migration west / Separated from the rest / Though they might have tried their best / They never caught the sun / So they sunk some roots down in the dirt / To keep from blowin’ off the earth / Built a town around here / And when the dust had all but cleared / They called it Levelland, the pride of man / In Levelland”

Lubbock: “Lonely Lubbock Lights,” Aaron Watson

Key lyrics: “So I’ll drive all night long / Until I find where we went wrong / But there’s no love in sight / Just those lonely Lubbock lights”

Luckenbach: “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love),” Waylon Jennings with Willie Nelson

Key lyrics: “Let’s go to Luckenbach, Texas / With Waylon and Willie and the boys / This successful life we’re livin’ / Got us feuding like the Hatfields and McCoys / Between Hank Williams’ pain songs and / Newbury’s train songs and ‘Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain’ / Out in Luckenbach, Texas, ain’t nobody feelin’ no pain”

Marfa: “Marfa Lights,” Kaitlin Butts

Key lyrics: “Oh I’ll be your cosmic cowgirl / If you’ll be my moonlit sky / I’ll chase you around low and high, yeah / We’re just out of reach, we’re just out of sight / Like the Marfa lights / Like the Marfa lights”

Memphis: “Memphis Texas,” Cooder Graw, Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez

Key lyrics: “If you’d like to get to know me / I know who I am / Lay off that sweet talk / Let go of my hand / Just take one step back / And give me some space / Don’t stay away / And I’ll take you someplace”

Midland: “Fair to Midland,” Dwight Yoakam

Key lyrics: “Fare to Midland is all that I need / If I had fair to Midland, I’d take the first seat / On a fast train, bus, or plane / Which ever proved the quickest way for me”

Nacogdoches: “Buenos Noches Nacogdoches,” Billy Walker

Key lyrics: “Buenas noches Nacogdoches / I bid farewell to you, I’m leaving town today / Buenas noches Nacogdoches / I’ll shake the dust off my boots and ride away”

Pecos: “Pecos Promenade,” Tanya Tucker

Key lyrics: “Lead off with the Cotton-Eyed Joe / Buckin’ winged, and heel and toe / Hold me close for the Pecos Promenade / Big sign hangin’ by the door / Sawdust on an old dance floor / Tip your hat for the Pecos Promenade”

Port Arthur: “Port Arthur Waltz,” Harry Choates

Key lyrics: “He, mignonne / I know I’m leaving Port Arthur, jolie fille, chérie / Oh, chère, mais, moi j’connais, j’mérite pas ça”

San Angelo: “San Angelo,” Marty Robbins

Key lyrics: “North of the border of Old Mexico / I rode one day to the cowtown of San Angelo / A hot sun was glowing, a hot breeze was blowing / Still not as warm as the lips that I waited to kiss”

San Antonio: “New San Antonio Rose,” Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys

Key lyrics: “Deep within my heart lies a melody / A song of old San Antone / Where in dreams I live with a memory / Beneath the stars all alone / It was there I found beside the Alamo / Enchantment strange as the blue up above / A moonlit pass that only she would know / Still hears my broken song of love”

San Benito: “The Valley,” Charley Crockett

Key lyrics: “I’m from San Benito, Texas / Down a dirty dusty road / There was sugarcane and cotton / How I used to watch it grow”

Santa Fe: “Santa Fe,” Augie Meyers

Key lyrics: “Headin’ on down to Santa Fe / Seem like I have / Lost my way / There was something I did not see / But, oh Lord she had a hold on me”

Selma: “Velma from Selma,” Augie Meyers

Key lyrics: “Velma from Selma / Won’t you please tell me what to do / You wanna be my lover / We got some ground to cover / ‘Cause I sure don’t wanna be no enchilada”

South Padre: “Somewhere Between Texas and Mexico,” Pat Green

Key lyrics: “South Padre Island to the Brownsville Bay / My heart is healing with each breaking way / But I got some real friends and they’re ready to go / Somewhere between Texas and Mexico / Somewhere between Texas and Mexico”

Sweetwater: “Sweetwater, Texas,” The Charlie Daniels Band

Key lyrics: “And if the good Lord see the way / To let me live one more day / I’m so tired of being alone / Gonna ride a white horse over Durango Mountain / And make Sweetwater Texas my home”

Terlingua: “Terlingua Sky,” Gary P. Nunn

Key lyrics: “The nights would pass so quickly / But there’s a feeling that still lingers on / As we pass around the tomb / That big yellow moon lights us up / ‘Neath the Terlingua Sky”

Texarkana: “Texarkana,” R.E.M.

Key lyrics: “40, 000 stars in the evening / Look at them fall from the sky / 40, 000 reasons for living / 40, 000 tears in your eyes”

Waco: “Wacko from Waco,” Billy Joe Shaver

Key lyrics: “I’m a wacko from Waco, ain’t no doubt about it / Shot a man there in the head but can’t talk much about it / He was trying to shoot me, but he took too long to aim / Anybody in my place, would have done the same / I don’t start fights, I finish fights, that’s the way I’ll always be / I’m a wacko from Waco, you best not mess with me”

Waxahachie: “Waxahachie,” Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall and Jack Ingram

Key lyrics: “Waxahachie, are you still on 35? / Are you still an all-night drive from Louisiana? / Waxahachie, I can be there by 4 a.m. / Looking for a long-lost friend / That’s what you’ve always been / Waxahachie / Ooh, Waxahachie”

Wichita: “Wichita Lineman,” Glen Campbell

Key lyrics: “I hear you singing in the wire / I can hear you through the whine / And the Wichita lineman / Is still on the line”

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Help us build our Texas towns playlist. What did we miss? Don’t see a song about your Texas town? Share your recommendations in the comment section below.


About the Author:

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team in 2019. When she’s not hard at work in the KPRC 2 newsroom, you can find Bri drinking away her hard earned wages at JuiceLand, running around Hermann Park, listening to crime podcasts or ransacking the magazine stand at Barnes & Noble.