Josh Abbott Band songs keep Texas country music vital while putting its namesake’s maturity as a songwriter at the forefront. He wrote quality material fresh off Texas Tech’s Lubbock campus, with life experience and age later sharpening his lyrical depth. With his impeccable taste in music, stacked supporting cast and natural talent, Abbott earned Steve Earle comparisons before turning 30. A string of fantastic independent albums, and a refusal to conform to whatever’s happening in Nashville, allowed an already blessed artist to keep on gifting listeners with memorable country songs, including these 10 picks.
10. “Deep in the Heart of Texas”
You’ll notice that Abbott waves his Lone Star State flag proudly on many of his better songs, including this nod to when pop-inspired country honored its Texas roots.
9. “Small Town Family Dream”
Like a lot of their contemporaries, the Josh Abbott Band perform songs about small towns, high school sweethearts and other common topics. Yet while others drop buzzwords, Abbott paints vivid lyrical pictures of each songs’ characters and their surroundings.
8. “Wasn’t That Drunk” (with Carly Pearce)
Front Row Seat, a 2015 concept album about a failed relationship, exposed the talents of Carly Pearce two years before her song “Every Little Thing” fully signaled her mainstream arrival.
7. “Front Row Seat”
There’s not a dud on the band’s before-mentioned 2015 album, but what helps it stand out (beyond Pearce) is this heartfelt confessional that ties the album’s themes together.
6. “Oh, Tonight” (with Kacey Musgraves)
A breakthrough song for all involved, Abbott’s band teamed with Kacey Musgraves in 2010, three years before Same Trailer, Different Park changed her musical fortunes.
5. “She’s Like Texas”
It’s super easy nowadays to hate any country song about a nameless woman. But they don’t have to be divisive, based on this Abbott Band classic that actually tells you more about her than the tightness of her britches.
4. “Texas Women, Tennessee Whiskey”
You’ve probably picked up on this by now from prior song topics or from your own top 10, but these are just two of the Josh Abbott Band’s favorite things.
3. “Until My Voice Goes Out”
This modern string band anthem serves as Abbott’s statement of purpose, circa 2017. He intends to sing real country songs as long as he’s drawing breath.
Loving, losing and trying to forget never sounded more creatively rich or emotionally devastating than they do on this cut off Front Row Seat.
1. “My Texas” (with Pat Green)
Two of the great modern voices of Texas music explain the true Lone Star State experience in a love song, of sorts. It’ll make you want to catch the first plane to Dallas, Austin or Houston.