Any weekend in North Texas is probably a great one to catch live Texas country music. But on rare occasions, you can find distinctly different styles of Texas country concerts on the same weekend.
Feb. 17 and 18, fans can see firsthand how flexible "Texas country" as a genre-tag really is. This weekend is a great time to sample all of it.
Jack Ingram, Charlie Robison and Bruce Robison
These three are part of the small group of singer-songwriters who unwittingly helped create the current Texas country landscape. In the late '90s, each released killer records. By 1999, Ingram and the Brothers Robison had built reputations for tight live shows and well-crafted songs, thanks to a tour that spawned a revered live record and a million great memories. The Unleashed Live tour is a reunion of sorts, but more than that, it's three giants of the game showing everyone how it's done.
Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. at House of Blues 2200 N. Lamar St., Dallas. $29-$145. livenation.com.
Granger Smith (and his alter ego Earl Dibbles Jr.)
There's not a more polarizing figure in Texas country than Dallas native turned mainstream hit maker Granger Smith. His comments in The Boot in 2016 comparing Texas country to the "minor leagues" upset plenty of folks, though he's winning hordes of new fans across the country thanks to big-time radio hits such as "Backroad Song" and "If the Boot Fits." Even before his mainstream success, his brand of country was a more polished, pop-friendly one that's not much different than what's on Top 40 country radio. Smith's viral sensation alter ego, Earl Dibbles Jr., is a overalls-wearing, tobacco-spitting caricature of well-meaning country boys everywhere. Don't be surprised if you like his songs more than Smith's.
Feb. 18 at 9 p.m. at Billy Bob's Texas, 2520 Rodeo Plaza, Fort Worth. $16-$22. billybobstexas.com.
Mardi Gras Texas Style
This yearly day of country debauchery inside Fair Park's Automotive Building has become one of the biggest days on the Texas country calendar. Featuring 20 acts on five stages, this all-day affair isn't for the faint of heart, as colorful beads are tossed and bare chests are flashed at dizzying paces. Fresh off of their individual Billboard chart successes, high-powered headliners Cody Johnson and Casey Donahew Band are two of the biggest acts in the Texas country scene today. Shooter Jennings, Shane Smith and the Saints and Mike Ryan give fans a reason to show up early.
Feb. 18, 2-11:30 p.m. at the Automobile Building at Fair Park, 1001 First Ave., Dallas. $35-$295. prekindle.com.