Country Music Stars From Texas: George Strait, Waylon Jennings, and Others Who Hail From the Lone Star State

by Jacklyn Krol

It’s no surprise that some of the great country artists are from the great state of Texas. Discover how their home influenced them, what they love about it, and hidden gems.

Miranda Lambert and Her Texas Roots

Miranda Lambert was born in Longview and raised in Lindale. She labels herself as “an East Texas redneck girl,” according to Good Housekeeping.

“The joys of country life,” she told Southern Living of her hometown. “We lived on a farm with a big garden and rabbits and hogs–some were pets and some were for food. It taught me how to live off the land, and that small-town life made me who I am.” Growing up she performed at her favorite Texas dance hall, Gruene Hall. “It’s a gritty open-air beer joint and the oldest dance hall in the state,” she added. “To me, it’s really the heart of Texas. You don’t know the Lone Star State until you’ve experienced Gruene Hall.”

Lambert loves the state so much that she made a song about it, “Texas As Hell.” She sings, “If you ain’t redneck / Don’t waste your time / Because right now I’m in a lonestar state of mind.”

George Jones’ History

George Jones was born in Saratoga and raised in Colmesneil. He got his start in music by performing in Pentecostal churches in the area.

Jones released his hit “You Can’t Get The Hell Out of Texas” off of his 1981 album, Still the Same Ole Me. He was later inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame.

Waylon Jennings and Texas Music

Waylon Jennings knows how much Texas influenced his music. He released “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)” in 1977 off of his Ol’ Waylon alum.

“Music is such a big part of everyday life in Texas,” he told SPIN. “Every other house has a guitar or fiddle and somebody who knows how to play it. The big thing on weekends, back when I was growing up, was singing. Either you go somewhere where they’re havin’ a barn dance or a talent show or you go to somebody’s house. If we went to Grandma’s house, somebody started singin’ and somebody played the guitar. I think that’s why there are so many artists comin’ out of Texas.

Willie Nelson and His Start

Perhaps the most well-known Texan country star is Willie Nelson. Nelson’s heritage is apart of his everyday life, including his music. Raised by his grandparents in Abbott, he is also credited with helping create the country Austin music scene. Nelson performed all over the state and quickly became a household name. He also took future Texas citizen, Charley Pride, as his opening act. He also picked cotton up when he was a young child and performed at one of the several churches in the town.

“It goes all the way back to where I was born,” Nelson told The New Yorker of his life story and influences. His town had roughly 400 citizens. “Used to say the population never changes, because every time a baby’s born a man leaves town,” he added. “So, anyway, I grew up in that town, and—excuse my language, but our motto down there was all we know how to do is fight, fuck, and throw rocks. [Laughs] It was fun. We fought bumblebees, each other—it didn’t matter. We just had a good time wrestling and boxing and growing up, like kids do.”

George Strait and His Songs About the State

George Strait was born in Poteet, Texas. His love for music was born there.”The great thing [in Texas] is that you can hear live bands in every town,” he told USA Weekend. “Live music is very important in Texas. It was good for me to go through that. I may not have been ready to play big arenas without that experience. Hell, I still get nervous about performing.”

Finally, Strait seems to have the most music concerning the state. Some of his hits include: “Amarillo By Morning,” “All My Exes Live In Texas,” “Texas,” “Take Me To Texas,” among others.

Lee Ann Womack

Lee Ann Womack was born and raised in Jacksonville. She later moved to Nashville once she signed with a major record label to launch her country music career.

After years in the machine, she returned to Texas to record The Lonely, The Lonesome & The Gone. The move influenced her music and her life.

“I had always heard about SugarHill and knew that George Jones cut all his first stuff there,” she told Texas Monthly of the legendary recording studio. “I just thought it’d be fun to get out of Nashville. When you’re making a record in a Nashville studio, you walk into the lounge, and you’re running into other artists and other label people, and they’re all talking about chart numbers. But you go down to a place like SugarHill, or a studio in Austin, and people are just talking about music. It’s just a much different vibe.”

Kacey Musgraves and Her Texas Beginnings

If you can’t tell by her drawl, Kacey Musgraves was born in Golden, Texas, with a population of 600. She was later raised in Mineola. Her album, Same Trailer Different Park was inspired by her hometown.

Her aunt runs the local art gallery and the place is known for its sweet potatoes and annual festival. “It’s actually really fun,” Musgraves told The Guardian. “All these old ladies get together and they have sweet potato pie-cooking contests and they crown a Sweet Potato Queen and a Little Miss Tater Tot.”

She even attempted to win the coveted title. “I definitely tried out for the Little Miss Tater Tot. I’m pissed that I didn’t get it. I don’t know what the hell happened, but I’m still bitter.” After her high school graduation, she moved to Austin where she continued to pursue music and the rest is history.