40. "Dreams and Gasoline" - Rob Baird
While he's still a young gun with only a couple of albums to his name, Rob Baird has established himself as a fine writer with a distinctive voice. You know that song you hear on the Range or the Ranch that makes you say, "Dang, who is singing that?" It's probably Baird, and the song is probably this classic tale of what a person needs to be truly free.
39. "Ragged as the Road" - Reckless Kelly
Few have traveled the roads of this country more than the men of Reckless Kelly. In this chugging road anthem, inspired by Woody Guthrie's book, "Bound for Glory," the guys put on a roots-rock clinic.
38. "July in Cheyenne (Song for Lane's Momma)" - Aaron Watson
Over the course of 12 albums, Aaron Watson has been as "country" as Texas Country can get. And there's hardly anything more country than singing about a rodeo hero. This moving ode to fallen rodeo legend Lane Frost immediately shot to the top of Watson's fine catalog upon its release in 2012.
37. "The Old Man" - Jack Ingram
In his earliest, post-SMU days, Ingram was hell-bent on rising above "party singer" status. This story of some sage advice given by an old guy certainly went against the norm for many bands playing Adair's Saloon at the time. And indeed, it has stood the test of time, as drunk frat boys yell for this tune at Ingram shows to this very day.
36. "Trains I Missed" - Walt Wilkins
Narrowing down a list of any kind can be daunting, especially when it's time to look at the work of arguably the state's most gifted songwriter (some say that's not an argument). This 2007 track offers the age-old philosophical question of "What If?" in a rootsy, warm package that few others could provide.
35. "Worth the Fight" - The Departed
When Cross Canadian Ragweed broke-up, Cody Canada got to quick work with the Departed. While the group's first album of original material, Adventus, saw Canada head into a different direction than before, the album's lead single is a blistering rocker with the signature Canada attitude.
34. "Boomtown" - Dirty River Boys
Before this El Paso four-piece became arguably the best band touring Texas, it had to get the word out via mostly empty rooms and a couple of EPs. More than any other song from their early days, "Boomtown" encapsulates the wild nature of this group's thrilling live show and ability to write a song the crowd can sing-along with.
33. "Bad Liver And A Broken Heart" - Hayes Carll
The most rocking song from Hayes Carll's best complete album was written by Scott Nolan. In this fist-pumper, Carll begins tellingly with "Arkansas, my head hurts." Who wouldn't want to hang with Carll on a bender in the Ozarks?
32. "Ten Years Pass" - Sunny Sweeney
Sunny Sweeney is a true honky tonk angel (the kind Kevin Fowler sings about, no doubt), and this song about going back to her hometown after a decade proved she could offer an atmospheric rock-tinged number with the hardcore country of her earliest work.
31. "Carolina Mornings" - Micky and the Motorcars
It's entirely possible that Micky and Gary Braun may never outrun the shadow of their older brothers in Reckless Kelly, but that doesn't mean they haven't produced some fantastic roots rock. Just like their older brothers, the younger set has traveled many a mile, and this melodic, catchy tune covers a lot of that ground.