The Hodgepodge: Red Dirt Favorites

Reckless Kelly

Once again, I found myself in a busy work week, and a long weekend of traveling and shutting out the rest of the world didn’t help either when it came time to write this week’s feature. I have no ideas simmering this week, so today I’ve decided to list a few of my favorite Red Dirt/Texas songs and albums. I’ll link most songs discussed and embed to the page, but I encourage all of you to listen to these and seek them out. I’m a big Red Dirt country fan and continue to expand and discover new songs and artists on a fairly regular basis.

Just to reiterate, these are my personal favorites. This list is not a top songs or “best of” list. And as always, I’d love to hear other recommendations if I overlooked a favorite of yours on this list.

Some Favorite Red Dirt Albums

Reckless Kelly’s Wicked Twisted Road – The title track of the album is probably my favorite Reckless Kelly song of all time, but this whole album is great. With hit after hit like “Seven Nights in Eire”, “Motel Cowboy Show” and “Baby’s Got a Whole Lot More”, Reckless Kelly delivers a solid album from start to finish. If you’ve never really listened to this band before, Wicked Twisted Road is a great place to start.

Wade Bowen’s Lost Hotel – Just as a simple country album, regardless of region or radio popularity, Lost Hotel stands as one of the best. Bowen delivers some powerful vocal performances on a few well written ballads and balances them with excellent upbeat country songs. Without a doubt, Lost Hotel is Bowen’s best album.

Seth James’ That Kind of Man – Seth James is a background player in Texas country, but his lone solo album is a constant on my iPhone. James has one of the best singing voices I’ve heard, delivering songs with captivating and powerful vocals. For a short time, James was also a part of Cody Canada’s new band, The Departed, where he and Canada swapped vocal leads on the band’s album Adventus. But James’ solo album is one to listen to over and over again.

Turnpike Troubadours’ Diamonds & Gasoline – This is an album loaded with great song after great song from the Oklahoma country band. Opening with “Every Girl” immediately followed by “7&7” sets a great mood and proves that country music can be fun without mentions of fireball shots. The album also includes a title track that tugs at your heart and the intriguing story of “The Funeral.” Diamonds & Gasoline is an album that doesn’t get old.

Some Favorite Red Dirt Songs

“Hank” Jason Boland & The Stragglers – An excellent country protest song about the state of country music. As great as the song is, it’s poignant with the hook line “Hank Williams wouldn’t make it now in Nashville, Tennessee.” That’s just a sad thought.

“Oh Tonight” Josh Abbott Band feat. Kacey Musgraves – Back before Musgraves’ big break, she collaborated with Josh Abbott on this love song. Her inclusion here is welcome and adds a great layer to the song. Both Abbott and Musgraves offer up great vocal performances on a great production.

“Alabama” Cross Canadian Ragweed – I’ve become a huge fan of Cody Canada’s over the past year, digging into the Ragweed discography along with The Departed. He’s written and recorded many songs I love, but this rocking love song stands as one of my favorites.

“Lost and Found” Randy Rogers Band – This breakup song from The Randy Rogers Band is one of their many great songs. I love the melody of the song and Rogers’ vocal delivery pulls at your heartstrings as he realizes how he messed things up in the relationship.

“Used To Be” The Great Divide – Written by Red Dirt founding father Tom Skinner, “Used To Be” reminisces of the way things used to be in a small town. Between the great upbeat lead guitar riff and the lyrics, “Used To Be” may be the quintessential Red Dirt song.

“Crazy Eddie’s Last Hurrah” Reckless Kelly – For those who think Tyler Farr is redneck crazy, let me introduce to Crazy Eddie. This song is absolutely absurd, but it’s so over-the-top that you can’t help but enjoy it. If you want to write a ridiculous break up song, this is how it’s done.

Upcoming/Recent Country Music Releases

  • Tomorrow, The Turnpike Troubadours will release their new, self-titled album.
  • Eric Paslay has hinted at new music which will be revealed tomorrow.
  • Tim McGraw has announced the title of his next album, Damn Country Music. 
  • Next week, Don Henley will release his first solo album in 15 years. Cass County will hit the shelves on September 25.
  • Sunny Sweeney and Brennen Leigh sang a song together at a recent acoustic show in Austin, Texas.  “But If You Like Country Music” finds two men at the far ends of the political spectrum finding common ground in Merle Haggard. It’s a fun, witty song that you can’t help but enjoy.
  • Toby Keith’s newest single off 35 MPH Town is called “Rum is the Reason.”
  • Jana Kramer has a new album due out October 9 called Thirty One. The album features her current single “I Got The Boy” as well as her previous single “Love.”

Today in Country Music History

  • In 1923 country music’s first big star, and most influential singer/songwriter, Hank Williams, is born in Mount Olive, Alabama.
  • Reba McEntire makes her first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry in 1977.

Today’s Country Music history facts come courtesy of RolandNote.

Throwback Thursday Song

“Your Cheatin’ Heart” – Hank Williams. In honor of Hank’s birthday, it only seems appropriate for today’s throwback song to be one of his best. Hank recorded “Your Cheatin’ Heart” in one of his last recording sessions before his death at age 29. The song’s release immediately following Williams’ death propelled him to an instant success.

Non-Country Suggestion of the Week

Foo Fighters – Songs From The Laundry Room. This four-song EP was originally compiled and released strictly for Record Day 2015, but Grohl and company re-released it for mass-consumption this month. Songs From The Laundry Room consists of demos of early Foo Fighters’ songs recorded in the early 90s, one cover of “Kids in America” and a previously unreleased song called “Empty Handed.” If you’re a fan of the Foo Fighters, this is a great EP to add to your collection.

Tweet of the Week

This fake “Drunken Martina McBride” twitter account is one of my favorite parody accounts. She pulls no punches when it comes to calling out bros on their stupidity.

An iTunes Review To Which I Shake My Head

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 9.36.27 PM

This was for Brett Eldredge’s Illinois. I listened to the album, and I don’t quite know where this reviewer heard “that true country sound” because I sure didn’t. Some crappy lyrics throughout the album, especially on “Drunk On Your Love” which is one of the dumbest, unoriginal songs ever. And don’t even get me started on that awful disco song he sang with Thomas Rhett.

19 thoughts on “The Hodgepodge: Red Dirt Favorites

  1. Raymond September 17, 2015 / 11:19 am

    I didn’t hate the Brett Eldredge record. I didn’t like it but I don’t hate it more or less lukewarm about it. Will it be remembered years from now. No! But it’s not awful although the Thomas Rhett collaboration, Fire, and Shadow as well as Lose My Mind aren’t that solid or really good actually awful.

    I am really excited for Jana Kramer album I am expecting a decent album like her debut.

    Eric Paslay i am indifferent torwards he can certainly write a solid song and has nice production but with the exception of She Don’t Love You i have found his singing to be rather weak.

    The mainstream looks like they’re about to have a ton of songs about to be released. Thomas Rhett has a new song called Die A Happy Man ( I’ll wait for the album review) Lauren Aliana and Ashley Gearing both have new songs out well Lauren will be tomorrow. Cassadee Pope and her new song which I’m indifferent torwards as well (Solid singing like Cassadee has a really strong voice but cliché lyrics and a bland production). Craig Morgan and Joe Nichols have new songs out. Also there’s some speculation Granger Smith Backroad Song will be the new OTV. Also I am curious if you’re going to review LoCash I Love This Life now that it’s looking more and more like a future #1 (solid sales decent callout great radio promotion) which I Love This Life is like the definition of guilty pleasure. Finally there is no official audio but guess who might send out a new song Raelynn and it’s called “Welcome To The Zoo”

    Dustin Lynch also announced his new song Mind Reader I am curious of what your thoughts are on that. I find it to be pretty nice.


    • Josh Schott September 17, 2015 / 11:39 am

      I highly doubt we will review “I Love This Life.” I don’t want to legitimize an act like LoCash by writing about them.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Raymond September 17, 2015 / 1:08 pm

        I’m assuming it’s the name that makes you wanna avoid this song.

        What about the others that I have mentioned.


    • Derek Hudgin September 17, 2015 / 1:38 pm

      Brett’s album could have been worse, but it wasn’t good at all. I expect a decent album from Jana Kramer, I also didn’t mind her debut. I hope there’s more like “I Got The Boy” on there. I’m excited for Eric Paslay’s new music, as that seems to be the best possible mainstream release on the docket expect for Carrie Underwood. Most of the mainstream releases seem very underwhelming.


      • Raymond September 17, 2015 / 1:43 pm

        Really Craig Morgan, Joe Nichols and Lauren Alaina from what I hear they are all pretty good . I understand Granger and Raelynn definit thumbs down.


        • Josh Schott September 17, 2015 / 1:51 pm

          I actually won’t be surprised if they’re all bad. Morgan hasn’t released a good song in ages, Lauren Alaina’s new “History” song is straight pop and the little bit I’ve heard of Nichols single it’s formulaic. The other two obviously suck.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Raymond September 17, 2015 / 2:43 pm

        History isn’t the song it’s called Next Boyfriend. Craig well different tastes surprised really since I really liked his last song We’ll Come Back Around. Joe Nichols to me sounded lie a nice blend of contemporary and country.


      • Raymond September 19, 2015 / 7:23 pm

        Oh Derek I actually gave another listen to Jana Kramer debut album and man I actually didn’t realize how great it was. With the exception of Maddie & Tae, Jon Pardi and Kacey Musgraves maybe Kip Moore’s debut album I have found Jana’s debut album to be really great and shows a nice respect for the country genre as a whole as I found the songs to be more traditional than pop actually. I still am only expecting a decent album since Steven Tyler apparently is on it (bleh).

        Who knew ought of all the new singles officially released Thomas Rhett Die A Happy Man would be the best I mean it will be the only good song but kudos to Thomas for releasing it.Lauren Alaina I can’t tell on the one hand her voice once again shines thru and it certainly isn’t directly pop but it’s for sure more of the pop-country that Carrie Underwood did Blown Away era. Craig Morgan’s song I am just so indifferent torwards. Joe Nichols has a solid modern feel for country (and sounds decently country) but is definitely checklist. Finally Eric Paslay song is well garbage.

        I did say Ashley Gearing had a new song titled Train Track and it’s definitely not bad here’s the link.


  2. southtexaspistolero September 17, 2015 / 12:03 pm

    That is a GREAT list of Red Dirt favorites. I share many of them, particularly the Jason Boland cut. If you don’t have the album it comes from (2004’s Somewhere in the Middle I would very highly recommend it. Boland’s duet with Billy Joe Shaver on “Thunderbird Wine” from that album is my all-time favorite cover of any of Shaver’s songs.

    Oh, and the Eleven Hundred Springs original version of “Hank” (titled “Hank Williams Wouldn’t Make It Now in Nashville, Tennessee”) is really great too. The song was written by Aaron Wynne, who at the time was that band’s steel guitar player.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derek Hudgin September 17, 2015 / 12:54 pm

      Thanks! I do enjoy Boland’s music and that album is one I keep coming back to. I’m not as familiar with Jason Boland’s catalog as I’d like to be; I just need to sit down and listen to it one of these days.

      Liked by 1 person

      • southtexaspistolero September 18, 2015 / 11:20 am

        It’s all very good. We have everything except for The Bourbon Legend, which I think is out of print.

        As for CCR, I would highly recommend everything they’ve record up to and including 2005’s Garage. They kinda lost me with at least the album after that, but maybe I should go back and give it a listen.

        Fun fact (that you may already know) about “Lay It All On You” from the Wade Bowen album: it was previously recorded by the Randy Rogers Band on their 2004 album Rollercoaster, which IMO is another essential Red Dirt album. That album also features the RRB versions of “Again” and “This Time Around,” which were of course also recorded by Ragweed. Excellent stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Derek Hudgin September 18, 2015 / 5:07 pm

        That RRB album is excellent! I hadn’t listened to it all before. I knew that Randy and Cody had written “This Time Around” together, but I had no idea of Randy’s recordings of “Lay It All On You” and “Again.”

        And yeah, I really like Ragweed’s Self-Titled (Purple) Album, and Soul Gravity and Garage are great as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      • southtexaspistolero September 22, 2015 / 6:29 pm

        Yeah. Funny thing about my acquisition of the RRB album and CCR’s Garage: I had been looking for the RRB album for a while and finally gave up on finding it in the stores, so I went looking for the Ragweed album…and then I found Rollercoaster…and Ragweed’s “This Time Around” was the reason I was looking for Garage


  3. Derek Hudgin September 17, 2015 / 3:53 pm

    Since Tim tweeted it, I updated the news of his next album title in the Upcoming Releases section.


  4. Zack September 17, 2015 / 4:59 pm

    My favorites…..

    William Clark Green
    Turnpike Troubadours
    Jason Boland
    Randy Rogers Band
    Wade Bowen
    Whiskey Myers

    Admittedly not as familiar as I’d like to be with Texas country. I have been studying the charts closer though and discovering a lot of awesome stuff!


  5. Lisandro Berry-Gaviria September 17, 2015 / 6:54 pm

    While I have listened to Reckless Kelly’s latest album “Long Night Moon” and all of Wade Bowen’s discography, I haven’t listened to any of the other albums you listed, Derek. Like Zack, I’m not quite 100% acquainted with Texas/Red Dirt country, as I only started delving into it only I discovered CP. It helps that Megan posts the Texas country charts every week on her blog.

    I think “Lost Hotel” is Bowen’s best album, too, and “Long Night Moon” was pretty good. I haven’t listened to any of the Turnpike Troubadours’ music, except the lead single “Down Here” from their upcoming album. I found it to be excellent.

    I cringed at Eldredge and Rhett trying to sing falsetto on “You Can’t Stop Me.” If that song gets released as a single, it’ll be a sure contender for my worst song of the year. Oh, and I just realized this—“Lose My Mind” has a total of SEVEN songwriters. Of course, that’s only half of the total number of songwriters credited on Rhett’s song “Vacation.” -__- But still, it’s pretty ridiculous.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. petemarshall724 September 17, 2015 / 8:03 pm

    My favorite red dirt songs are:
    Cross Canadian Ragweed “Alabama”, “Dimebag”, and “17”
    Randy Rogers Band “Down and Out”, “Back in my arms again” and “When circus Leaving town” and “Ought to be”


  7. Megan Conley September 17, 2015 / 8:47 pm

    My favorites in the Texas/red dirt scene are Randy Rogers Band, Jason Eady, and Wade Bowen. Anyone here that has not listened to the Randy Rogers band album “Burning the Day” and/or Jason Eady’s album “daylight and Dark,” please correct this. =)


    • Zack September 17, 2015 / 10:25 pm

      Oh damn, how did I forget Eady? Shame on me! Daylight & Dark truly was an excellent album from start to finish, I didn’t discover until December last year, but it was probably the only album of 2014 that would have even had a fighting chance of competing with Sturgill Simpson for my AOTY.

      Liked by 1 person

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