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5 Of The Best Rodeo Songs By Texans

5 Of The Best Rodeo Songs By Texans

We’ve all heard rodeo songs, but what are the 5 best from Texans?

And before the email gets out of control, yes, Oklahoma and Wyoming have some pretty fine songwriters as well.  They also have some of the country’s best rodeos.  But since I’m in Texas!

The songs focus on the cowboy life around the rodeo, and because there’s no need to rank anything Chris LeDoux does, and simply name him king of rodeo music, there’s a special look at his songs and life.

If you’re wondering what the allure of the rodeo is, for me, it’s born out of the working life of a cowboy and cattle ranching in the American West.

It’s a true celebration of the cowboy spirit and a living tribute to what many endured to create a life in an environment few saw the potential in.

 

1  “July In Cheyenne”  (Aaron Watson – Amarillo TX)

Songwriter: Aaron Watson

 

Originally written for Lane Frost’s mother as a tribute to her son, once Aaron started playing the song out live, he knew it was something special.  The song commemorates the passing of a young bull rider who was injured after completing a successful 85-point ride on a Brahma bull named Takin’ Care Of Business.

After dismounting and falling in the dirt, he was hit in the side by the bull, breaking several of his ribs. He got up and started running to the side of the ring, then fell as he was signaling for help.  His broken ribs punctured several vital organs. Lane Frost passed away before making it to the hospital.  He was 23.

 

2  “Farther Down The Line”  (Lyle Lovett – Klein TX)

Songwriter: Lyle Lovett

 

Released in 1986 on his self-titled debut album, this one was recorded by Willie Nelson.  This is a great rodeo metaphor song, with the chorus acting as the counter to the verses.

 

3  “I Can Still Make Cheyenne”  (George Strait – Poteet TX)

Songwriter: Aaron Barker (San Antonio TX) and Erv Woolsey

 

Released in 1996 on the Blue Clear Sky album, the song went to #4 on the US Country Chart.  It’s a third person take on a cowboy’s relationship ending – over the phone.  For me, the verse after the chorus is a simple, but effective way to resolve the “now where does the verse go”?

 

4  “Bull Rider”  (Puss N Boots – Nora Jones and Sasha Dobson)

Songwriter: Rodney Crowell (Crosby TX)

 

Johnny Cash recorded this one on his 1979 album Silver. It reminds m a bit of “A Boy Named Sue” in the reflective nature of the lyric. Basically it’s a list of observations about a bull rider and what happens in 8 seconds. Also pretty neat: the somber context with the peppy back beat/accompaniment.

 

5  “The Only One I Know (Cowboy Life)”  (Cody Johnson – Huntsville TX)

Songwriters: Shane Minor and Jeffrey Steele

 

This one’s on Cody Johnson’s latest album Gotta Be Me (2016).  Yes – the imagery is great, and it’s well written.  My favorite part? The line meter in the verses.  It’s pretty unique, especially if you consider it’s a Texas country song and they tend to fit a “type.”  This is a good one to listen to if you want some phrasing inspiration.

 

 

And Then There’s Chris LeDoux!

No ranking required . . .

He’s the father of the rodeo song and killer live show.

He’s always part of any list that starts with “the best rodeo anything”!

 

 

“Whatcha’ Gonna’ Do With A Cowboy” (1992)

 

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