Vandoliers Share the Great Texas Songwriters Who Inspired Them [LISTEN]
As the Texas band Vandoliers get set to drop their sophomore album on Friday (Feb. 22), they're looking back at some of the great Lone Star State songwriters who have inspired them. The Dallas six-piece has assembled a playlist of some of their favorites for The Boot's readers.
Vandoliers have learned their craft from some of the best songwriters and performers that Texas has produced over the years: On this playlist, you'll find some throwbacks, such as Ray Price, and some up-and-comers, including Cody Jinks.
"Texas has been a breeding ground for songwriters and bands for ages," Vandoliers frontman Joshua Fleming tells The Boot. "Maybe something is in the water here."
"I’m kind of obsessed with his vernacular, his stories of being a ‘Nam vet and his knack for making working-class music," Fleming explains. "He’s a hero of mine because I relate to his place on this planet, 'born in the land of plenty, but now there ain’t enough.'"
"Thunderbird Will Do Just Fine" by Eleven Hundred Springs, meanwhile, is what Vandoliers consider a "perfect country and western song," Fleming admits. Eleven Hundred Springs' frontman Matt Hillyer provided inspiration for Vandoliers as a band, after Fleming saw the open for the Reverend Horton Heat in Fort Worth "in the middle of the hottest summer I can remember."
"It was my first time to see them, and I was instantly hooked," he adds. "I even copied Matt’s 'Raise Hell' sticker on the back of his guitar."
And then there's Jack Ingram's "Blaine's Ferris Wheel," an homage of sorts to San Angelo's famous Blaine's Pub -- a spot that, according to Fleming, every Texas music lover or musician ends up at "at some point."
"I wasn’t around those parts when Blaine was alive and kicking, but Jack Ingram thankfully was," he continues. "Brilliant cadence, wonderful descriptions and a great story make this song so special."
Want to hear "the saddest song that has ever been written"? Try Billy Joe Shaver's "Ragged Old Truck." "It’s hard to hear a man sing about failing to kill himself, dropping acid in downtown Nashville and recounting his own downward spiral," Fleming says. "It’s absolutely gut-wrenching, but I’m thankful he lived through so we could all have a song to turn to when we find ourselves in the same situation."
In Fleming's eyes, the songs on this playlist cover the diverse spectrum of Texas songwriting and Lone Star State independence. He points to the inclusion of "Chelsea Hotel '78" by Alejandro Escovedo, a song that listeners may not consider "country," but is definitely "Texas."
"Down here we are a melting pot of influences. This is a state where punk rock has twang, where country music is rebellious and loud," Fleming muses. "No one has defined the ethos of being a Texas artist the way Alejandro Escovedo has, and he is a treasure to our state ... He is a dying breed of bad ass and will always influence my writing to push boundaries, mutate and speak my mind."
Press play below to hear Vandoliers' complete Spotify playlist of Texas artists -- more than two hours of some of the state's best songwriting from across generations and genres. Visit Vandoliers.com for more on the band's upcoming new album, Forever.
Listen to Vandoliers' Playlist
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