Country Music

Died And Gone To Houston: A Honky-Tonk Jukebox

Besides the whomping pullout section with brief thumbnail sketches of every artist playing Saturday's Houston Press Music Awards showcase on Washington Avenue, in this week's print issue of the Press you'll find a feature story Rocks Off was proud to co-write called "Died and Gone to Houston." The somewhat unlikely popularity of Robert Ellis & the Boys' recently concluded Wednesday residency at Mango's has introduced many young Houstonians to the classic country sounds of Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Merle Haggard, George Jones and many others, while showing both the city and anyone else who cares to pay attention that honky-tonk ain't just for hicks anymore. If it ever was, that is.

Meanwhile, Mike Stinson, whose recently recorded song gives the article its title, moved here from Los Angeles last year and has been greeted warmly by audiences across a wide range of venues, from McGonigel's Mucky Duck and the Continental Club to Blanco's and the West Alabama Ice House. (Stinson plays Under the Volcano tonight.) Reaching both born-and-bred honky-tonkers and people who have never two-stepped in their life, both Stinson and Ellis & the Boys are helping extend Houston's honky-tonk legacy - which stretches back well before World War II - into the new decade.

Mike Stinson, "Died and Gone to Houston (demo)"

Mike Stinson, "Died and Gone to Houston (demo)"

But you can read all that in the story. Rocks Off hopes you do. As a bonus, we thought we'd throw a few dollars in our digital jukebox and show you all what a rich legacy that is with a few songs that were either written here, recorded here, about here or by people who lived here at one point in their lives.

Obviously it's far from a complete list, but it ought to give you some idea. As much as the rodeo or Urban Cowboy, this is Houston, y'all. Get your boots on.

Floyd Tillman, "Drivin' Nails In My Coffin"

George Jones, "Why Baby Why"

Johnny Bush, "Whiskey River"

Frankie Miller, "Blackland Farmer"

Willie Nelson, "Night Life"

Gene Watson, "14 Carat Mind"

Freddy Fender, "Before the Next Teardrop Falls"

Townes Van Zandt, "White Freight Liner Blues"

Steve Earle, "Fort Worth Blues"

Fiddlin' Frenchy Burke, "Big Mamou"

Rodney Crowell, "Ain't Living Long Like This"

Nanci Griffith, "Spin On a Red Brick Floor"

Robert Earl Keen, "Swervin' In My Lane"

Lyle Lovett, "That's Right (You're Not From Texas)"

Hayes Carll, "Faulkner Street"

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray