18 Of The Best Songs About Texas: Lone Star State Playlist

Written by Laura Macmillan
Last updated

Of all the U.S. states, none quite compare to Texas regarding local pride. The Lone Star State is known for its beautiful landscapes, cowboys, and country music, and this can be showcased by the thousands of songs about this great state. 

Because there are so many songs that are written about or mention Texas, it can be challenging to choose the very best ones, but we wanted to select some favorites that spanned Texas’s more than a century-long history. 

So below are 18 of what we think are the best songs about Texas ever to be recorded about the Lone Star State. Let’s get started.

1. “Beautiful Texas” by Willie Nelson

Any list about Texas music would be incomplete without including at least one Willie Nelson song. The famous country singer is from Abbott, Hill County, and is not only one of country music’s most well-known musicians but also one of the most recognizable Texans. 

“Beautiful Texas” was released on the 1968 album Texas in My Soul, and the song embodies a genuine love of The Lone Star State. The lyrics talk about the history of the state and the connection that people from Texas have with it.

When listening to the song, you can truly envision the landscape of Texas and agree with Willie Nelson that the state has abundant beauty.

2. “Texas (When I Die)” by Tanya Tucker

“Texas (When I Die)” is a classic by Texan singer Tanya Tuckers. The song is about how there’s no place on Earth she’d rather be, and if she doesn’t end up in heaven, she hopes she’ll go to Texas, as it’s the closest to it she’d ever been.

There is even a reference to listening to Willie Nelson, which gives the feeling that even though Texas is the second-largest state in the United States, it still offers a small-town feel. 

Although it was originally written and recorded by Ed Bruce, Tanya Tucker’s cover gained much more popularity. It even made it to fifth on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs charts. 

3. “All My Exes Live in Texas” by George Strait

“All My Exes Live in Texas” is a tongue-in-cheek 1987 classic that you’ll likely hear anywhere you go in the state. However, unlike many of the other songs on this list, the narrator doesn’t currently reside in Texas but wishes he did. 

He reminisces about his favorite places in Texas and declares how much he longs to be there, but instead lives in Tennessee because his complicated romantic history makes it difficult to return home.

Despite the somewhat wistful lyrics, Strait’s song is upbeat and doesn’t take itself too seriously, which led to its widespread popularity. 

4. “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)” by Waylon Jennings

“Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)” is another classic country song recorded by Waylon Jennings and is all about wanting to get back to his roots in Texas. 

Waylon sings to his love about walking away from their life filled with riches and fame but wanting the simple things of Luckenbach, Texas.

The song featured on Jennings’ 1977 album Ol’ Waylon, and not only does it also reference Willie Nelson, but he actually sings the song’s final verse. 

Waylon Jennings is another of Texas’ classic Outlaw Country singers and delivers an infectious ode to a small town with this song.

5. “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)” by Alabama

Despite being performed by a band that is from Alabama, not Texas (as their name suggests), “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)” is a fan favorite in the Lone Star State. 

This lively song tells of an encounter the narrator has in a Houston bar while performing! Said cowboy declares how much they are enjoying the music, but can’t overlook the fact they don’t have a fiddle in their band. Aptly enough, this song does include plenty of fiddles!

Originally released as a B-side on the 1984 album Roll On, this hit unexpected popularity, which it maintains to this day. 

Related: Our list of songs about Houston.

6. “Texas Flood” by Stevie Ray Vaughan

While most of the songs on this list are Texas’s preferred genre, country music, Stevie Ray Vaughan is one of the most world-renowned blues musicians and a downright icon in Texas. In fact, there’s even a Stevie Ray Vaughan statue in Austin’s Town Lake Memorial Park. 

“Texas Flood” was released by the Dallas native on his first album with the group Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble on the 1983 album of the same name.

A very different mood than most of the other songs on this list, the song embodies a very different but common experience of Texas life: extreme flooding that affects the telephone lines in the area, making it impossible to reach loved ones. 

Related: Listen to more songs about Dallas here.

7. “Too Far From Texas” by Stevie Nicks

Decades after her first album with Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks released her 2001 solo album, Trouble in Shangri-La. “Too Far From Texas” tells the story of a woman whose lover has gone back home to London to be with someone else, and she’s left in Texas mourning his loss. 

In this song, the narrator paints Texas as a lonely place, and nothing can make it feel like home when he’s not there. 

Although Nicks is not from the state, this song is recorded with Texan singer Natalie Maines, and it shares a lovelorn sentiment that’s so often found in country music. 

8. “The Yellow Rose of Texas” by Various Artists

“The Yellow Rose of Texas” has been sung since at least 1858. It has undergone many variations and has been performed by various prominent artists, including Willie Nelson and Elvis Presley. 

However, the earliest interpretation is far more controversial despite the song’s more recent transformations, as it was first sung as a minstrel song. After that, a popular variation of the song was created during the Civil War. 

The current lyrics have removed the offensive language. Instead, they simply tell the story of a man in love with a woman he left in Texas that he intends to go back to visit because he misses her so much. 

9. “Dime Store Cowgirl” by Kacey Musgraves

One of Texas’s most beloved artists, Kacey Musgraves, has remained true to her small-town Texas roots, perfectly illustrated by “Dime Store Cowgirl.”

This song is all about how happy going home to Texas makes her, especially now that she’s been away long enough to appreciate it. Every young person growing up in Texas dreaming of heading to the big city can relate to this song.

Recorded as a part of her 2015 album Pageant Material, “Dime Store Cowgirl” is an anthem for anyone whose roots are in the Lone Star State.

10. “Austin” by Blake Shelton

Blake Shelton has become a household name and is one of country music’s top performing artists. But before he was a superstar married to Gwen Stefani, he was just getting his big break with his bittersweet 2001 single “Austin.”

Fans of Blake Shelton may wonder why he has a song titled “Austin,” considering he’s from Oklahoma, but the name refers to a lost love who constantly talked about wanting to return home to her beloved Texas city until one day she did. 

11. “Waltz Across Texas Tonight” by Emmylou Harris

In 1995, Emmylou Harris released Wrecking Ball, which was a steep departure from her typical crooning country. But nestled in this seminal album is a classic song about the Lone Star State titled “Waltz Across Texas Tonight.” 

The song evokes images of Texas, including huge night skies filled with stars, endless rivers, and roads that seem to go on forever.

Harris initially considered omitting it from her album but, fortunately, didn’t. After all, the at times poignant “Waltz Across Texas Tonight” with haunting background vocals is a beautiful anthem for the state.

12. “La Grange” by ZZ Top

Unlike any other song on this list, “La Grange” is one of the most uniquely Texan songs you can think of, delivered in the unparalleled style of ZZ Top.

It was released on ZZ Top’s 1973 album Tres Ombres and climbed the Billboard Top 100 charts to become one of the band’s most successful songs ever released. 

The song tells the story of a brothel that’s located in a “shack outside La Grange” and is all about delving into the small-town dynamics in Texas. 

While perhaps not suitable for younger audiences, the song is a Texas classic and is just as relevant today as it was nearly five decades ago. 

13. “The Bluest Eyes In Texas” by Restless Heart

A classic 1980s love song, “The Bluest Eyes In Texas,” tells the tale of a man who lost his love and is filled with regret, Texas-style. The song was the single from Restless Heart’s 1988 album, Big Dreams in a Small Town.

“The Bluest Eyes In Texas” was inspired when one of the writers, Van Stephenson, unexpectedly reunited with a high school flame.

Judging by the lyrics, this surprise encounter may have had an effect on him as big as Texas itself.

14. “Houston Is Hot Tonight” by Iggy Pop

Another departure from country music, “Houston Is Hot Tonight,” is a hit rock song from Iggy Pop’s 1981 studio album Party

The story of this song is all in the name, and you can almost feel the inescapable humid heat, even after the sun sets in Texas when you listen to this song. 

Iggy Pop hails from the Midwest, and the song shows his appreciation for the warm Texas weather after dealing with harsh Chicago winters.

15. “Streets of Laredo” by Various Artists

“Streets of Laredo” is a classic ballad that has been popular amongst cowboys since the early 1900s.

It’s been performed and recorded by many prominent country artists, including Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, but perhaps the most popular modern recording of the song is by country singer Marty Robbins.

The song tells the story of a man who listens intently to a dying young cowboy’s tale. While the story is tragic, it’s become popular because of its prominence in American folklore and exemplifies how sad and beautiful country music can be.

16. “Travis County” by Gary Clark Jr.

“Travis County” is a song from Gary Clark Jr.’s 2012 album Blak and Blu. This genre-bending song is upbeat and blends elements from rock and blues. It portrays the story of a young man who gets wrongfully arrested and imprisoned in Travis County. 

Gary Clark Jr. is from Austin, the county seat of Travis, and produced a breathless performance with this frenzied garage-rock song. 

17. “Texas Sun” by Khruangbin & Leon Bridges

“Texas Sun” sees neo-soul musician Leon Bridges team up with the Houston-based trio, Khruangbin, to deliver a song about falling in love with the Texas landscape and appreciating the Texas sun on your face. 

This upbeat tune is the perfect summer anthem as the Texas sun shines down on you. Even if you’re not from Texas, you’ll have a hard time not wanting to have the experience yourself. 

18. “London Homesick Blues” by Jerry Jeff Walker & Gary P. Nunn

“London Homesick Blues” has an origin story that adds to the richness of the song. 

Jerry Jeff Walker and Gary P. Nunn were collaborating on an album, and at one point during a small show they were playing in Luckenbach, Texas, Jerry Jeff Walker asked Gary P. Nunn to play the song he’d been singing earlier under a tree.

The narrator seems to be living in London but all they can think about is Texas, its places, people, and country music. In the end, all they want is to leave the cold and go back to hit up a Texan bar.

Summing Up Our List Of Texas Songs

We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of the best songs about Texas.

The Lone Star State has perhaps more songs than any other U.S. state written about it, and native musicians of Texas show their undying love for it through their music. 

While most of the songs on this list are country songs, there are also rock, blues, and more, and these songs span decades and touch on the good and the bad parts of Texas’s history and landscape. 

But did we miss any songs off this list that you think should be on here? Let us know, and we’ll add it in!

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Laura has over 12 years experience teaching both classical and jazz saxophone and clarinet. She now resides in California where she works as a session and live performer.