Texas Road Trip Playlist: Sing Your Way across Texas

These road trip songs will make your next drive across Texas a memorable one whether you’re driving a roadster or an RV

Texans’ love for Texas runs deep and unsurprisingly, the musically inclined among us tend to share a common muse—the state itself.

Musicians have written endlessly about their affection for and occasional vexation toward the Lone Star State. There are thousands and thousands of songs about Texas. So many so that the sheer number of Texas tunes has spawned its own subset of songs—songs about songs about Texas.

Blue Bell Creameries, Brenham © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In one such tune, aptly titled “Songs About Texas,” Pat Green sings, “I tell you friends there’s a song in every town,” implying that there’s a song about every Texas town.

A thorough internet search proves that Green isn’t entirely right, but he isn’t entirely wrong either. Though there isn’t a song for every one of the state’s many places—the great state of Texas boasts more than 1,200 incorporated cities—there are several stellar songs about Texas towns which I started assembling here.

Corpus Christi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The music showcased in my playlist stretches across decades, genres and, of course, the state’s varied geography. On the list are Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys’ “I’m a Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas,” Waylon Jennings’ “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)” and George Strait’s “Amarillo By Morning.”

You can peruse the full list of songs about Texas towns below.

Davis Mountains in West Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“No Place But Texas” by Willie Nelson

Key lyrics: God painted the bluebonnets in the fields / By a tough little scrub oak on an East Texas hill / And he plucked the star from a lone star sky / And he put it in the twinkle of a cowboy’s eye / The wide open spaces he made wild and free / Texas as far as any eye can see / And he made her sons grow tough and strong / They still cry when they hear a sad song

Related: Ultimate Road Trip Playlist: Sing Your Way Across America

Abilene: “Abilene” by Waylon Jennings

Key lyrics: Abilene, Abilene / Prettiest town I’ve ever seen / Women there don’t treat you mean / In Abilene, my Abilene

Enchanted Rock © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Amarillo: “Amarillo By Morning” by George Strait

Key lyrics: Amarillo by mornin’/ Up from San Antone/ Everything that I got / Is just what I’ve got on / When that Sun is high / In that Texas sky/ I’ll be buckin’ at the county fair / Amarillo by mornin’ / Amarillo I’ll be there

Bandera: “Bandera Waltz” by Ernest Tubb

Key lyrics: I danced with an angel one night ‘neath the stars / While cowboys were singing and playing guitars / The tune they were playing was a beautiful waltz / And they called it Bandera and the Bandera Waltz

Greater roadrunner somewhere in West Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Beaumont: “Beaumont” by Hayes Carll

Key lyrics: All the way from Beaumont / With a white rose in my hand / I could not wait forever babe / I hope you understand

Brownsville: “Brownsville Girl” by Bob Dylan

Key lyrics: Brownsville girl with your Brownsville / Curls, teeth like pearls shining like the / Moon above / Brownsville girl / If you show me all around the world, Brownsville girl, you’re my honey / Love

Fredericksburg © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

China Grove: “China Grove” by Doobie Brothers

Key lyrics: When the sun comes up on a sleepy little town / Down around San Antone / And the folks are risin’ for another day / ‘Round about their homes / The people of the town are strange / And they’re proud of where they came / Well, you’re talkin’ ‘bout china grove / Oh, China grove

College Station: “Traveler’s Song” by Flatland Cavalry

Key lyrics: Well, I miss College Station / Them boys were good to me / Well, I burned North Gate down / I been the life of the party / I seen that twelve man town / Through a tailgate sea

Corpus Christi Bay © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Corpus Christi: “Corpus Christi Bay” by Robert Earl Keen

Key lyrics: I worked the rigs from three to midnight / On the Corpus Christi Bay / I’d get off and drink till daylight / Sleep the morning away / I had a plan to take my wages / Leave the rigs behind for good / But that life it is contagious / And it gets down in your blood

Related: Visit SIX Iconic Texas Landmarks on One Road Trip

Dallas: “Dallas” by The Flatlanders

Key lyrics: Did you ever see Dallas from a DC-9 at night? / Well Dallas is a jewel, oh yeah, Dallas is a beautiful sight / And Dallas is a jungle but Dallas gives a beautiful light / Did you ever see Dallas from a DC-9 at night?

Fort Stockton © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Del Rio: “Rio” by Duran Duran

Key lyrics: Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand / Just like that river twists across a dusty land / And when she shines, she really shows you all she can / Oh Rio, Rio dance across the Rio Grande

Dumas: “I’m a Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas” by Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys

Key lyrics: I reckon you all don’t know me at all / I just got here today / My home is way down in a little town / It’s not so far away / Everybody for miles around / Calls me by my name / Now that I am in your fair town / You must do the same / For I’m a / Ding dong daddy from Dumas / You ought to see me do my stuff

Brooks County Courthouse © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

El Paso: “El Paso” by Marty Robbins

Key lyrics: From thirty thousand feet above / The desert floor, I see it there below / A city with a legend / The west Texas city of El Paso

Fort Worth, “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind?” by George Strait

Key lyrics: Cold Fort Worth beer, just ain’t no good for jealous / I’ve tried it night, after night / You’re in someone else’s arms in Dallas / Does Fort Worth ever cross your mind?

Bishops Palace, Galveston © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Galveston: “Galveston” by Glen Campbell

Key lyrics: Galveston, oh Galveston / I still hear your sea waves crashing / While I watch the cannons flashing / I clean my gun / And dream of Galveston

Haskell: “West Texas Highway” by Lyle Lovett

Key lyrics: I’m mighty glad / You were going my way / In your brand new clothes there / And your great big Chevrolet / I’m going down to Haskell / Got a woman down in Abilene

Goliad © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Houston: “Houston (Means that I’m one day closer to you)” by The Gatlin Brothers

Key lyrics: Houston, Houston means / That I’m one day closer to you, oh honey / Houston, Houston means / The last day of the tour and we’re through / Well honey, you and God in heaven above / Know I love what I do for a living, I do / Ah, but Houston, Houston means / That I’m one day closer to you

Huntsville: “Huntsville” by Merle Haggard

Key lyrics: They caught me on a caper that I planned for days / And proved everything I’ve done / I’m on my way to Huntsville / But I’m looking for a chance to run

Fayette County Courthouse, La Grande © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

La Grange: “La Grange” by ZZ Top

Key lyrics: Rumor spreadin’ ‘round / In that Texas town / About that shack outside La Grange / And you know what I’m talkin’ about / Just let me know if you wanna go / To that home out on the range / They got a lot of nice girls

Laredo: “The Wheels of Laredo” by The Highwomen

Key lyrics: On a winter night in Webb County, Texas / On the North Bank of the mighty Rio Grande / I was watching the jungle fires a-burnin’ / Across the border of a not-so-distant land / And the echoes of the church bells that were swingin’ / Could be heard from Guadalupe Market Square / There was a girl down there in the south side of the river / She had feathers tied into her long black hair

The Big Tree © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Levelland: “Levelland” by James McMurtry

Key lyrics: Flatter than a tabletop / Makes you wonder why they stopped here / Wagon must have lost a wheel or they lacked ambition one / On the great migration west / Separated from the rest / Though they might have tried their best / They never caught the sun / So they sunk some roots down in the dirt / To keep from blowin’ off the earth / Built a town around here / And when the dust had all but cleared / They called it Levelland, the pride of man / In Levelland

Related: The Spotlight Shines on Unique Small Texas Towns

Lubbock: “Lonely Lubbock Lights” by Aaron Watson

Key lyrics: So I’ll drive all night long / Until I find where we went wrong / But there’s no love in sight / Just those lonely Lubbock lights

King Ranch © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Luckenbach: “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)” by Waylon Jennings with Willie Nelson

Key lyrics: Let’s go to Luckenbach, Texas / With Waylon and Willie and the boys / This successful life we’re livin’ / Got us feuding like the Hatfields and McCoys / Between Hank Williams’ pain songs and / Newbury’s train songs and ‘Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain’ / Out in Luckenbach, Texas, ain’t nobody feelin’ no pain

Marfa: “Marfa Lights” by Kaitlin Butts

Key lyrics: Oh I’ll be your cosmic cowgirl / If you’ll be my moonlit sky / I’ll chase you around low and high, yeah / We’re just out of reach, we’re just out of sight / Like the Marfa lights / Like the Marfa lights

Kerrville © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Memphis: “Memphis Texas” by Cooder Graw, Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez

Key lyrics: If you’d like to get to know me / I know who I am / Lay off that sweet talk / Let go of my hand / Just take one step back / And give me some space / Don’t stay away / And I’ll take you someplace

Midland: “Fair to Midland” by Dwight Yoakam

Key lyrics: Fare to Midland is all that I need / If I had fair to Midland, I’d take the first seat / On a fast train, bus, or plane / Which ever proved the quickest way for me

Nacogdoches: “Buenos Noches Nacogdoches” by Billy Walker

Key lyrics: Buenas noches Nacogdoches / I bid farewell to you, I’m leaving town today / Buenas noches Nacogdoches / I’ll shake the dust off my boots and ride away

Monohans Sandhills State Park near Pecos © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pecos: “Pecos Promenade” by Tanya Tucker

Key lyrics: Lead off with the Cotton-Eyed Joe / Buckin’ winged, and heel and toe / Hold me close for the Pecos Promenade / Big sign hangin’ by the door / Sawdust on an old dance floor / Tip your hat for the Pecos Promenade

Port Arthur: “Port Arthur Waltz” by Harry Choates

Key lyrics: He, mignonne / I know I’m leaving Port Arthur, jolie fille, chérie / Oh, chère, mais, moi j’connais, j’mérite pas ça

Related: Texas is BIG—Beautiful & Diverse

San Angelo: “San Angelo” by Marty Robbins

Key lyrics: North of the border of Old Mexico / I rode one day to the cowtown of San Angelo / A hot sun was glowing, a hot breeze was blowing / Still not as warm as the lips that I waited to kiss

San Antonio © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

San Antonio: “New San Antonio Rose” by Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys

Key lyrics: Deep within my heart lies a melody / A song of old San Antone / Where in dreams I live with a memory / Beneath the stars all alone / It was there I found beside the Alamo / Enchantment strange as the blue up above / A moonlit pass that only she would know / Still hears my broken song of love

San Benito: “The Valley” by Charley Crockett

Key lyrics: I’m from San Benito, Texas / Down a dirty dusty road / There was sugarcane and cotton / How I used to watch it grow

Guadalupe River © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Santa Fe: “Santa Fe” by Augie Meyers

Key lyrics: Headin’ on down to Santa Fe / Seem like I have / Lost my way / There was something I did not see / But, oh Lord she had a hold on me

Selma: “Velma from Selma” by Augie Meyers

Key lyrics: Velma from Selma / Won’t you please tell me what to do / You wanna be my lover / We got some ground to cover / ‘Cause I sure don’t wanna be no enchilada

South Padre Island © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

South Padre: “Somewhere Between Texas and Mexico” by Pat Green

Key lyrics: South Padre Island to the Brownsville Bay / My heart is healing with each breaking way / But I got some real friends and they’re ready to go / Somewhere between Texas and Mexico / Somewhere between Texas and Mexico

Sweetwater: “Sweetwater, Texas” by The Charlie Daniels Band

Key lyrics: And if the good Lord see the way / To let me live one more day / I’m so tired of being alone / Gonna ride a white horse over Durango Mountain / And make Sweetwater Texas my home

Big Bend National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Terlingua: “Terlingua Sky” by Gary P. Nunn

Key lyrics: The nights would pass so quickly / But there’s a feeling that still lingers on / As we pass around the tomb / That big yellow moon lights us up / ‘Neath the Terlingua Sky

Texarkana: “Texarkana” by R.E.M.

Key lyrics: 40, 000 stars in the evening / Look at them fall from the sky / 40, 000 reasons for living / 40, 000 tears in your eyes

Texas Ranger Museum, Waco

Waco: “Wacko from Waco” by Billy Joe Shaver

Key lyrics: I’m a wacko from Waco, ain’t no doubt about it / Shot a man there in the head but can’t talk much about it / He was trying to shoot me, but he took too long to aim / Anybody in my place, would have done the same / I don’t start fights, I finish fights, that’s the way I’ll always be / I’m a wacko from Waco, you best not mess with me

Waxahachie: “Waxahachie” by Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall, and Jack Ingram

Key lyrics: Waxahachie, are you still on 35? / Are you still an all-night drive from Louisiana? / Waxahachie, I can be there by 4 a.m. / Looking for a long-lost friend / That’s what you’ve always been / Waxahachie / Ooh, Waxahachie

Shiner © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wichita: “Wichita Lineman” by Glen Campbell

Key lyrics: I hear you singing in the wire / I can hear you through the whine / And the Wichita lineman / Is still on the line

Worth Pondering…

You’ve heard the old Willie Nelson country music song with the lyrics, “On the road again. Just can’t wait to get on the road again…” We’ll be singing this song for sure.