Texas Living

9 Texas Country Music Acts to Watch in 2019

By Abby Kinsinger 1.2.19

Built on fiddles and folk songs, ballads and bluegrass, country music has made all kinds of noise since its red-dirt roots.

But the genre’s true trademark is the earnest, honest, and relatable stories country music tells. Maybe it’s that human touch that has attracted so many new approaches to the Texas country music scene today, where there’s something for everyone in both the culturally rich sounds (from outlaw country to mariachi-rock) and almost folkloric stories. (In what other genre can an artist write one chorus pining for a letter from his lover and another about hitching a ride to a Taco Bell?)

Whether you’re devoted to the classics or searching for the unexpected, here are nine Texas country music acts worth following in 2019.

Randall King - Rsign Country Music Star

Photo by Trevor Paulhus

Randall King

  • Monthly listeners: 79,639
  • For fans of: George Strait, Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley
  • Hometown: Hereford, Texas
  • What we love: King recollects his childhood riding shotgun in his dad’s truck, radio turned up, memorizing the words to the songs on FM country radio for hours on end. With hits like “Another Bullet” and “Mirror, Mirror” — a fast favorite from his recently released self-titled album — it doesn’t take long to hear the influence of those country greats, but King’s staying power comes from a unique, emotionally charged brand all his own. Don’t miss his string of Texas shows from Midland to McKinney in early 2019.

Blue Water Highway

  • Monthly listeners: 81,854
  • For fans of: The Avett Brothers, The Lumineers, The Lone Bellow 
  • Hometown: Lake Jackson, Texas
  • What we love: Named for the storied roadway that connects their hometown with Galveston, Texas, the five-piece band describes their music as the soundtrack for their lives. Expect jubilant harmonies, R&B soul, and storytelling as compelling as the sound itself.

Sarah Hobbs

  • Monthly listeners: 1,475
  • For fans of: Loretta Lynn, Carrie Underwood, Kacey Musgraves
  • Hometown: Jefferson, Texas
  • What we love: Hobbs is a self-proclaimed devotee to the traditionally Texan outlaw country genre. After taking home the prize as Big Star 97’s 2017 New Female Vocalist of the Year, Hobbs paid homage to the Lone Star State with the release of her second album, Texas Made, last year.

Parker McCollum

  • Monthly listeners: 297,038
  • For fans of: John Mayer, Ryan Bingham, Townes Van Zandt
  • Hometown: Conroe, Texas
  • What we love: Shortly after the release of his second full-length album, Probably Wrong, 26-year-old McCollum was tapped as one of the top new country artists to know in early 2018 by Rolling Stone. The singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist hasn’t slowed down since. Catch the tail end of his tour across Texas early this year.

Photo by Mike Brooks


  • Monthly listeners: 6,839
  • For fans of: Old 97’s, The Jayhawks, ZZ Top
  • Hometown: Dallas-Fort Worth
  • What we love: Part of Vandoliers’ appeal is that they don’t quite fit into any music genre — you’ll hear true Texas country, but laced with the sounds of punk, ska, and Tejano. It fits their namesake — frontman Joshua Fleming says “vandolier” was his dad’s name for urban cowboys.

Courtesy of Jesse Raub Jr.

Jesse Raub Jr.

  • Monthly listeners: 10,717
  • For fans of: Merle Haggard, Hank Williams Jr., Cody Johnson 
  • Hometown: Magnolia, Texas
  • What we love: Raub has spent more than a decade playing across Texas, and the result is a style that speaks to his amalgamation of experiences; part true-country twang, part gritty rock ‘n’ roll. He’s currently preparing for his fourth studio album, the first he’ll also coproduce. 
Shane Smith & The Saints

Courtesy of Carved Records

Shane Smith & The Saints

  • Monthly listeners: 126,502
  • For fans of: Band of Horses, Mumford & Sons, Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Hometown: Austin, Texas
  • What we love: The fiddle-backed quintet has been selling out shows across the state since releasing their second album, Geronimo, in 2015. Brush up on their two buzzy new singles, “Hurricane” and “Mountain Girl,” and look out for more good stuff in the new year. 

Courtesy of 4-Tay Artist Management

Koe Wetzel

  • Monthly listeners: 343,617
  • For fans of: Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jack Ingram, Pat Green
  • Hometown: Pittsburg, Texas
  • What we love: The 2017 album Noise Complaint shows Wetzel’s mastery of the kinds of country riffs you just can’t get out of your head. Their follow-up album is already in the works, but in the meantime, catch up with Wetzel and the rest of his band at shows across the South in 2019.

Charley Crockett

  • Monthly listeners: 119,830
  • For fans of: Willie Nelson, Ray LaMontagne, Leon Bridges
  • Hometown: San Benito, Texas
  • What we love: With rave coverage from Billboard, Rolling Stone, NPR and more, Charley Crockett is far from undiscovered — but with a new album out last month, it’s a safe bet that you’ll hear plenty more about the spaghetti-western-style rambling man in 2019.

Looking for more Texas-made music? Check out our ultimate Texas road trip playlist.

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