A Whole ‘Nother Country For Folk Music

by | Apr 8, 2008

Texas is uncommonly musical.


I’m listening to Hayes Carll’s new release, Trouble In Mind, out today on Lost Highway. It’s bound to be big in honky tonks from Odessa to Beaumont, for Carll drips Texas from every pour in his body. In a good way.

Another Texan I’m listening to these days is Jimmy LaFave. Pop Matters reviewed his 2007 release, Cimarron Manifesto, a record I have in my collection. Here’s a passage from the article:

LaFave’s sound is much more Red Dirt than Red State, although geographically speaking, it would be easy to assume that, if the media were to be unquestionably believed, it reflects a “Hey! Everything’s alright!” musical mentality. On Cimarron Manifesto, LaFave recognizes that everything is not alright. Picking up the protest song mantle, he delivers the oh-so-Guthrie, “This Land”, combining a folk-based, traveling road song with a subdued sadness and depression regarding the state of the country. Tackling the subjects of poverty and war, the song invokes images of a Steinbeckian dust bowl in a contemporary setting: “I see people / Just stranded by the road / They’re hopeless and forgotten / While the milk and honey flows.”

LaFave moved to Oklahoma during his high school years, and that state also plays into his writing and music. In fact, he put out an album named Texoma in 2001.