Seated proudly in the heart of Texas, the city of Dallas is a destination for both local and nationwide travelers. It’s a hub for transportation, the arts, and country music.
Country music in this area is actually a mix of blues, gospel, folk, and early rock n’ roll. Over the decades, it added all the accouterments we’ve come to expect from country music and now occupies its own genre on Billboard.
With its many charms, it’s no wonder multiple artists have written songs about Dallas. Read on to discover them for yourself, and feel free to sing along!
1. “Dallas” by Alan Jackson
“Dallas” by Alan Jackson is a song where the narrator mourns the distance between him and his recent ex-wife. They got married at a young age, and she hasn’t forgotten her hometown, missing it so much that she ends up leaving him.
He imagines where she may be driving in the car he bought her and wishes “that Dallas were in Tennessee.”
The music is the typical blend of Southern country-rock, with a slide guitar, shuffle drumset pattern, and piano interjections. Throughout the song, he refers to his girl as “Dallas,” a nod to her geographical roots.
2. “Dallas Days and Fort Worth Nights” by Chris LeDoux
“Dallas Days and Fort Worth Nights” by Chris LeDoux is a fun tune that tells of a working man who lives a double life.
A professional in Dallas by day, he dons his cowboy boots after his shift ends to go dance in Fort Worth, kicking up his heels with girls and having a marvelous time before he returns to his day job again the following morning.
The lively fiddle reflects the song’s playfulness and then shares the stage with a guitar solo before the final chorus.
It’s upbeat and a bit crazy, suggestive of the good time the working man is having once he escapes the drudgery of his job.
Related: Check out our post on the best songs about Houston here.
3. “Dallas” by The Flatlanders
Next, we have a song called “Dallas” by The Flatlanders where the narrator describes how the city of Dallas is both beautiful and cruel.
Calling it a “jungle” and reflecting on how the city lights look from a plane, he uses heavy metaphors to compare Dallas to a “rich man with a death wish in his eyes” and also “a woman who will walk on you when you’re down,” leading us to believe that it’s not the easiest place to thrive in.
Regardless of its challenges, he paints a picture of a city he loves. The wistful sounds of gentle guitar and vocal harmonies set this song into a laid-back folk groove, letting a harmonica play in between the lines.
4. “Dallas” by Jimmy Buffett
Continuing the theme of Dallas as a disreputable city, Jimmy Buffett’s “Dallas” is a song where the lyrics call it a place where you “sing the blues” and where the narrator experienced people “doing [him] wrong.”
However, he does find some comfort in a female companion who lives close by and decides to stop in to see her while he’s in the area.
This tune pre-dates Buffett’s “Margaritaville” days for a chill vibe that flirts with the country genre while not exactly committing to it.
It’s a flavorful slice of 1970s American rock, and it’s easy to see how Buffett may have jumped from Dallas to the tropics after hearing this easy breezy song.
5. “Dallas” by Steely Dan
The theme of Dallas as a place of bad memories persists in this 1977 classic by Steely Dan. In their song titled “Dallas,” the singer regrets the time he spent and the money he lost as he bids goodbye to the city and continues on his way.
Less country than rock, this tune features a typical guitar/bass/drums combo, with the addition of an electric piano line reminiscent of The Doors and vocal harmonies on the chorus.
“Dallas” was sung by Steely Dan drummer Jim Hodder. Three years after this recording, it was covered by Poco on their album Head Over Heels.
6. “Dallas After Midnight” by Ray Wylie Hubbard
Although singer-songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard was born in Oklahoma, he spent time in his childhood in Dallas, providing the basis for his song “Dallas After Midnight.”
His blend of folk, rock, and outlaw country led him to a Songwriter of the Year Award in Austin in 2018.
This slow-rolling tune tells the story of the narrator and his friend robbing a liquor store. They try to escape to Mexico but get caught en route after a high-speed car chase.
When appearing before the judge and asked why they’d want to commit this crime, they answer that it’s “hard to live in Dallas when you’re white trash and poor.”
7. “Welcome to Dallas” by Big Tuck
Taking a break from the country scene, the rap track “Welcome to Dallas” by Big Tuck gives us a glimpse into the rough side of the city.
Discussing murder, turf wars, and other threats and referring to Dallas as “Danger City” paints a dark picture of the city not found in other genres that praise it.
Cedric Lee Juan “Big” Tuck’s material is authentic, as he’s a native of Dallas. He was part of Dirty South Rydaz, also a Dallas-based rap group.
His tracks “Southside Da Realist” and the album Purple Huck helped pave the way for hip-hop artists in the area.
8. “Fort Worth and Dallas Blues” by Lead Belly
Though the lyrics of “Fort Worth and Dallas Blues” by Lead Belly don’t explicitly mention Texas cities more than once, this 1935 song holds historical significance.
Its strumming guitar twang and repetitive blues lyrics represent the folk/country traditions of the time and indicate the African-American influence on North Texas music.
Huddie William Ledbetter, known as “Lead Belly,” was a Louisiana native foundational in the rise of Southern folk music in the early 1900s.
His meld of blues, gospel, and folk music would become pivotal in forming several genres. Many states claim him as an early influence on their regional sound—Dallas is no exception.
9. “Blues in Dallas” by The Mountain Goats
This quirky indie tune titled “Blues in Dallas” by The Mountain Goats showcases the electric piano and single voice but is otherwise musically sparse.
It features a traveler pining for his love and wondering if he’ll see them at the gates of heaven. He seems to have a lot of patience, stating that he’ll wait for as long as it takes for them to meet again.
From their 2002 album All Hail West Texas, this song doesn’t exactly scream Dallas in the lyrics or storyline. However, it mentions tourists in Dealey Plaza, a local shopping and entertainment landmark.
10. “If You’re Ever Down in Dallas” by Lee Ann Womack
To finish, we return to good old-fashioned country music with this song from Lee Ann Womack’s 1998 album Some Things I Know.
“If You’re Ever Down in Dallas” is a swing/shuffle pattern tuned melded with slide guitar, fiddle, and other staples of the Western country genre for a rollicking and danceable tune.
In the lyrics, the female narrator asks her former lover to look her up “if [he’s] ever down in Dallas.” She regrets the choices they’ve made that pushed them apart and wonders if he’s lonely like she is.
The lively music belies the sadness in the lyrics, almost as if the woman singing is trying to stay casual and hide her broken heart from when they parted.
Summing Up Our List Of Dallas Songs
Though it has a mixed reputation, Dallas never fails to inspire artists.
Love, crime, broken hearts, and interesting encounters mingle to create unforgettable stories through music.
Whether country, hip-hop, or blues, there’s something for everyone in these songs written about Dallas.