The Top 10 Texas Music Songs of 2018
SAN ANGELO, TX — Every week the CDX Traction Texas Chart tracks the number of “spins” at radio stations of singles released by Texas Country and Red Dirt artists throughout Texas and the region. From that weekly data, what follows is the year-end chart of the top songs of 2018 based on those spins, officially known as “Monitored Airplay.” Texas music charts have been historically untrusted, but the CDX chart is credible for what it does, recording artist Dalton Domino told me last year.
According to the chart, the #1 song clocked in at 13,506 spins this year. The #10 song was reported to have received 9,128 spins. Here’s the list and videos of each of the top 10 songs of 2018.
10. Mike Ryan: "The Rewrite"
Mike Ryan hails from the same congressional district as San Angelo, CD-11— from the city of Granbury. On his record, Blink You’ll Miss It, is the #10 Texas Music Song of the year, “The Rewrite.” The Fort Worth Star-Telegram called the song the “rallying cry for the broken-hearted.”
Ryan explained that the inspiration for the song was a girl breaking up with him. Then, after re-pursuing her to change her mind; he eventually discovered he didn’t want her after all. Hence, the song is a re-write of the original love song into something completely different. Brad Paisley performs the guitar licks on “Rewrite.”
9. Kyle Park: "Ain’t Nobody Hotter"
Kyle Park is from Austin, and he grew up in Leander, a suburb of he Capitol City. He’s been on the Texas Music touring circuit since pausing college at Texas State in the mid-2000s to pursue music.
Park landed #9 on the yearly chart with “Ain’t Nobody Hotter.”
Park’s music videos are quite good. In this one, he’s working at a fireworks stand pursuing a girl because there’s “Ain’t Nobody Hotter.”
8. 'Turnpike Troubadours: "Something to Hold On To"
From Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the band that fans call simply “Turnpike” landed at #8 with “Something to Hold On To.” Turnpike’s lead singer Evan Felker may have been looking for just that “something” this year when he abruptly left his wife to date Miranda Lambert. The two met when Turnpike was opening for Lambert’s concerts. Within weeks, however, Lambert dumped Felker due to what People Mag reported was ‘he broke her rules.’
The lyrics go like this, “This ol’ world has taken, Taken me for a ride.”
7. Jon Wolfe: "Any Night In Texas"
The uncouth, but hardworking cowboy courts a girl from Uptown Dallas and doesn’t feel worthy. That is the theme of “Any Night in Texas,” according to Jon Wolfe’s interview with the Rolling Stone a few months ago.
The Miami, Oklahoma native’s sound is traditional country and the catalyst for his entry into the Texas music scene was the experience of being Hays Carll’s roommate in Houston in the mid-2000s. The song is from the record with the same title released in 2017.
6. Reckless Kelly: "Moment In The Sun"
From Idaho, via Bend, Oregon, brothers Cody and Willy Braun moved to Austin in 1996, founded Reckless Kelly, and have been contributing true musicianship to the scene ever since.
“Moment in the Sun” comes from their ninth studio record that was released in 2016.
5. Casey Donahew Band: "What Cowboys Do"
I learned this in my first interview with Casey Donahew in 2007. He dropped out of Texas A&M in College Station around 2002 after learning he could play and sing Texas music. He finished his degree at UT-Arlington in finance. But he’s still a “Former Student” if you know what I mean.
The Burleson native enjoys a high level of popularity and headlining shows 13 years after one of his first LPs with the single, “White Trash Story.” That one sort of became the iconic song for Donahew. “What Cowboys Do” is on his 2016 LP All Night Party.
4. Josh Abbott Band: "Girl Down In Texas"
The Texas Tech grad who used to travel to San Angelo almost every Thursday night to perform here has made an industry out of songs about Texas, starting with his first break-out hit, “She’s Like Texas.”
The #4 Texas music song of 2018 is about another girl down in Texas. This single is from his 2017 LP Until my Voice Goes Out.
3. Cody Jinks: "Must Be The Whiskey"
Denton native Cody Jinks released his new LP Lifers on a new label (Rounders) and “Must be the Whiskey” was the first single off that record.
Like Kevin Fowler, Jinks used to headline a heavy metal band. His metal band played all around Fort Worth and was named “Unchecked Aggression.” Then, he found performing southern rock (or Texas country) was truer to his roots and made him more money. Jinks is rumored to be coming to the Riverstage in May 2019.
2. Cody Johnson: "On My Way To You"
Cody Johnson has recorded on his own independent label until this LP, Ain't Nothin' to It. His latest album was a 50/50 partnership with Warner Music Nashville.
Johnson didn’t write the song, but he said the words connect with him.
“From the first time I heard it, I went, ‘Oh, my Lord. What is this?’" Johnson recalled to Billboard. "It seems autobiographical of myself, from my journey to my wife, to the career path that I've taken. It talks about the bumps, and the bruises, and the hard times along the way, and the negatives that wind up being the positives. And man, and it spoke so hard to me. I thought, I said, ‘Did Tony Lane and Brett James know that we were cutting a record? Did they write this specifically for me?’"
After a drought of popular artists booking shows in San Angelo, it was Johnson’s show at San Angelo’s Riverstage in June 2016 that opened the floodgates for other artists to visit here. His was a very well attended show and tickets pre-sold briskly, satisfying the promoters and the word spread. According to Tulsa World, Johnson is the most streamed indie country artist.
1. Aaron Watson: "Run Wild Horses"
An Abilene artist named Aaron Watson recorded the number 1 single of all of 2018. The song, Watson told TheBoot.com, was a response to other so-called love songs recorded by a younger generation on the Texas music scene about silly things like taking a girl to a bonfire. Watson said Wild Horses is a more serious, deeper song—the kind he’d write for his wife.
The wild horses are a metaphor for the deep love and desire a man has for one special woman.
What did his wife say? TheBoot.com again wrote that after Aaron sang the song the first time to the wife, Mrs. Watson said, "Oh my goodness, that's kind of graphic.”
"Well, you know, that's how it gets sometimes,” Aaron answered.
That's the CDX top 10 for 2018. Missing from the list is Koe Wetzel, the artist who, in August 2018, sold more tickets to a San Angelo Riverstage event since the Blaine's Picnics in the early 2000s. He placed at #86 with his single "Austin" with 2,668 spins. That song was recorded after his 2016 LP "Noise Complaint" was released, but is a favorite song for many Wetzel fans. But not on the radio, apparently.