The 10 Country Songs Every Dallasite Should Know

You can't call yourself a Dallasite if you don't know the words to "St. Ignatius."
You can't call yourself a Dallasite if you don't know the words to "St. Ignatius."
Melissa Hennings

For a city so laden with Western stereotypes — the cowboy hats, the boots, the big hair — Dallas isn’t necessarily a city of country music fans. But it's a city that has richly contributed  to the history of  country music, so at least a basic understanding of the genre is pre-requisite for living here. These 10 country songs should be an essential part of any Dallas music fan’s repertoire.

10.  “A Bitter End” - Deryl Dodd

Deryl Dodd had a ridiculously promising career as a solo artist before being sidelined by a serious illness.  He was a fixture of the Texas music scene before moving to Nashville for his seemingly inevitable success as a smooth-voiced balladeer. This track is Dodd’s highest-charting release, peaking at No. 26 on the Billboard Hot Country Charts in 1999. It’s a sort of nostalgic taste of what could’ve been, and perhaps a metaphor for, as Dodd intended, that other "Big D" that ain't Dallas. AM

9. “Northeast Texas Women” – Willis Alan Ramsey

Country music, especially from the 1970s, has never been too concerned with political correctness. Written by Dallas native Willis Alan Ramsey, this tune has been covered by a host of greats, including Jerry Jeff Walker, Ed Burleson, Jimmy Buffet and even Houndmouth. This 1972 gem features a whimsical, laid-back rhythm and don’t-take-too-seriously lyrics such as, “You better run tell the world/You gotta have a Lone Star Girl/With her cast iron curls/And her aluminum dimples.” Ramsey even shouts out the Trinity River, which, unlike singing about Texas women, is actually pretty rare. KD

8. “Attitude and Driving” – Jack Ingram

Though Ingram has been an Austin guy for a decade or so, he’ll always be the SMU grad who started out playing Adair’s Saloon in the '90s. This roots-rock tune recalls early-days Steve Earle and will likely be one that gets shouted for at Ingram concerts forevermore. It can be found on the two live albums he recorded here in North Texas, Live at Adair’s (1995) and Live at Billy Bob’s (2003). In those early Adair’s days, Ingram found himself to be the object of hard-partying frat boy musical desires, but this song, among many others, is a showcase for an artist that’s never fit neatly into any of the category that folks have tried to pin him in. KD

7. “Crazy Girl” – Eli Young Band

This isn’t the best song in Eli Young Band’s catalog, but it may be the most commercially successful country single to come from an artist that calls North Texas home. Of course, it was also written by former Dallas resident and hit-writing machine Liz Rose (“Girl Crush,” anyone?), so that only ups the urgency on why a Dallas-dwelling country fan should have this one committed to heart. It’s safe to say that many already do since in 2011 it was Billboard’s No. 1 U.S. country song for the entire year, and in 2012, the song was awarded Song of the Year honors at the 2012 ACM Awards. KD

6. “The Back Side of Dallas” - Jeannie C. Riley

Hailing from Anson, Texas, nearly 200 miles away from Dallas, Jeannie C. Reily is undoubtedly one of Texas’ most influential women. She’s best known for “Harper Valley PTA,” the 1968 anthem that eventually spawned a film and TV series, but “Back Side of Dallas” is a deep cut that any Dallasite should know. It’s sort of nostalgic, really, for all those nights that you’ve spent in Deep Ellum contemplating your bad decisions. AM


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