If it were any state other than Texas, I'd say a state-specific music magazine was a waste of paper. But Texas being what it is, namely big and diverse, and Texas Music being what it is, namely insanely great writing that's tightly focused and beautifully illustrated, this is one music magazine that always has me yearning for more, more, and more...
Texas Born, Texas Bred...
I love the way Texas Music manages to keep its focus right where it belongs -- deep in the heart of the Lone Star State. They don't go off on tangents talking about New York acts, or the Nashville scene, or God forbid, that armpit of musical mediocrity known as Branson. No sirree! This is a magazine that knows its focus, and keeps its focus.
What it says is what it is. This magazine is about music in Texas. It doesn't lose its focus by getting off on movie or book reviews (which is what made me quit reading rags like Rolling Stone, many years back). And its one of the very few magazines in the entertainment industry that manages to resist the temptation to become yet another cheap imitation of that monument to insignificance, People magazine.
Keepin' it real, keepin' it interesting, keepin' it real interesting. Could be a challenge when you've got a tight focus, but Texas Music rises to the challenge like a champion.
Most states would probably have a tough time coughing up enough musical acts to keep readers interested for one or two articles, never mind a quarterly magazine. In a state as big as Texas, that just isn't a problem.
Flip through the pages of any issue and you can't help but realize how many acts are out there that you never even realized were Texas acts.
Everybody knows about the Lone Star State's biggest names: ZZ Top, Willie Nelson, Beyonce and Destinys Child. But what about acts like the Steve Miller Band -- did you know they were from Texas? I sure didn't. Maybe I'm the last human on earth to get the message, but I think a lot of folks just don't realize how many great musicians there are coming out of Texas.
Flipping through the current issue, I see some really excellent articles about Jessica Simpson, the Dixie Chicks, and Lyle Lovett. Though he wasn't actually born in Texas, Johnny Cash evidently had himself a soft spot for Texas, and hightailed it down here just as soon as he could -- at least that's the story in the current issue, and a darn fine story it is!
Mixin' It Up...
There's a heck of a wide range of musical styles that are native to Texas, and Texas Music does a creditable job of tackling them all. It would be easy to think of them as focusing on just country music, since I have a feeling that's what most folks outside the state probably think that all of us Texans have blasting out of the speakers as we cruise across the plains in our pickup trucks.
Truth is that pickups pickup more than just country stations, and we actually have both kinds of music: country AND western! That's a joke, son! There's plenty of stations dealing out everything from classical to rap.
My favorite style is, of course, tejano (as if there were ever a need for any other style to exist). For an english-language magazine, Texas Music even prints regular stories about some of tejano music's hottest acts. The current issue has an excellent article about Intocable, whose modern twists on traditional conjunto impresses fans far beyond the band's roots down near Laredo.
A Holistic Whole...
Texas Music is a great magazine. Every issue is chock full of in-depth articles about every kind of music heard in every corner of the Lone Star state. They cover up-and-coming acts, and mainstream stars who've already paid their dues.
The magazine covers the people, the sounds, and the venues that make listening to Texas style music such a sublime pleasure.
I love this magazine and recommend it to anyone who loves good music -- not just folks in Texas, but folks everywhere that notes are heard.