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Texas has a reputation as the Lone Star State, the state where everything is bigger, the unwavering red state, and the Alamo. One thing Texas is not known for is its humility. Intrepid and braggadocios but charming nonetheless, Texas is not one to let its triumphs go unnoticed. It should therefore be no surprise that its capital Austin is the self-proclaimed “live music capital of the world.” With a name like that, is there even a need to review why it is a concert lover’s destination? Let’s do it anyway.

Texas has been the stomping ground of some of the most iconic musicians of all time

One obvious reason to indulge in a state’s music is to appreciate the talent of its artists. Texas is no exception to the rule, and being such a massive state, there are tons of talented musicians to follow. In fact, nonprofits such as the Texas Music Museum dedicate themselves to documenting the history of Texan musicians who made extensive contributions to pop, soul, and rock and roll.

Furthermore, Texas prides itself on this “homegrown” artistry, with writers at places like the Houston Chronicle criticizing music capitals that are supported by transplant musicians. Controversies about which musical capital ranks supreme aside, Texas has been home—at least at some point in time—to an astounding number of iconic musicians. Among them are: Willie Nelson, Beyonce, Selena, Solange, Buddy Holly, Bob Wills, Lead Belly, Lydia Mendoza, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Janis Joplin, T-Bone Walker, Ornette Coleman, George Strait, Dixie Chicks, Roy Orbison, Clarence Brown, UGK, Kris Kristofferson, ZZ Top, Waylon Jennings, Miranda Lambert, and St. Vincent. Across genres, races, genders, and schools of thought, Texas-born musicians continue to make their mark in music.

Texas is one of the world’s country music mascots, having developed its own brand of country over the last hundred years

Texas has fashioned its own forms of country, blues, jazz, gospel, rock and roll, Tex-Mex, soul, and other genres, but overwhelmingly, when the broad deserts of Texas are mentioned, cowboy boots and country tunes come to mind. These days, Texans openly admit that they did not invent country western sounds. In the 1820s, southerners made their way further down the landmass to what was once Mexico and now Texas. With them, travelers brought guitars, banjos, and fiddles, instruments derived from a variety of national origins. In big, isolated Texas, distinct regional characteristics emerged. The fiddlers played with slower tempos and single bow strokes, choosing to focus on melody over technique. The guitarists played with swinging rhythms and expansive chord variety. This set the foundation for swing and honky-tonk music that would come in the 1900s.

Since Texas became part of the United States, modifications to its musical roots have come and gone. Notably the honky-tonk and outlaw country music movements took over with musicians like Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. This style brought courser, amplified tunes to urban listeners. All the while, country and its successor genres have been in conversation with developments in blues, jazz, gospel, and other styles of music. This process continues to this day. For people looking to watch concerts, expect Texas to be proud of its music past and country traditions. Listeners will find two-step dances, rodeos, saloons, and other quintessentially country venues around the state.

Texas offers unusual live music experiences that cannot be found elsewhere

Have you ever flown in to Austin? Unlike most airports, Austin’s greets newcomers with live local acts. Waterloo Records has a post at Gate 15. Between the gates, listen to anything from folk to jazz, to R&B to county to folk to who knows what else. That type of hospitality is unforgettable.

For listeners who want to be thrown into something a little more bizarre, honky-tonks like The Little Longhorn Saloon host chicken dung bingo. This game is everything it sounds like and so much more. Whether that is a good thing or bad thing, it will surely keep players on their toes. Live music livens up these events even more, with country, rockabilly, folk, and rock and roll acts on stage. The Little Longhorn Saloon presented over six hundred groups in the last year alone. Needless to say, this is not your grandmother’s bingo hall, unless she is from Texas.

So, for people who want to watch concerts that are more than just concerts, head to Texas. The options for music entertainment are over the top, which will surely create a memorable experience.

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