Now more than ever, Texas country extends well beyond the homemade CDs and sweaty barroom gigs the scene sprang from decades ago. These days, even the best independent artists with the biggest fan bases have to find new ways to reach the same ears so many other singer-songwriters are vying for.
One way to infiltrate a fanbase's consciousness are well-produced, easily digested videos. Several of the biggest names from the Lone Star State have taken to YouTube to connect with fans in a deeper way.
Here are some of the best ways Texas country artists are broadcasting beyond simple music videos.
Wade Bowen's Garage Mahal
Waco native Wade Bowen has reeled off an impressive string of album releases over the past few years. And his work with twangy BFF Randy Rogers not only continues in the form of live shows and duet albums, but keeps getting better. In Garage Mahal, Bowen invites musical friends into his home's converted garage for classic cover songs and stories. They show off his range: He's covered tunes from Bruce Springsteen to Creedence Clearwater Revival.
Granger Smith's Yee Yee TV
Though he's become a national mainstream draw, Dallas native Granger Smith grew up in the Texas country scene and his popular redneck alter-ego Earl Dibbles Jr. was recorded before he landed his first chart-topper. Now in its fourth year, Yee Yee TV, named after Dibbles' catchphrase, is a docu-style road diary connecting the dots in Smith's career from clubs to arenas.
Bruce Robison's The Next Waltz
With a handful of massive mainstream hits to his name as a songwriter, Bruce Robison has somehow managed to fly under the radar when it comes to his own solo-performing career's stellar catalog. Though he's the star of many Next Waltz clips, most episodes are dedicated to highlighting other notable talents including Sunny Sweeney, Jerry Jeff Walker and the Turnpike Troubadours. The impeccably produced channel features artist interviews with Robison and in-studio performances. The quality is so high here it feels more like an award-winning HBO series than a YouTube collection.
Casey Donahew's Celebrating 15 Years of Independent Music in 2017
Looking back on a run as one of the most successful bands in the Texas country scene, this series only has three episodes at this point, but it still goes deep. One episode is dedicated to the bass player's history with Donahew and another is devoted to the group's relationship with the legendary hometown honky tonk Billy Bob's Texas. With old footage, viewers get a cool look into the unseen moments in the band's history.