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Five Texas Folk Singers and Songwriters Who Changed the World for the Better

Wesman Todd Shaw started playing the guitar when he was 12 years old. He loves nothing more than to pick one up and pluck some strings.

Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson

1. Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson was born in Abbott, Texas, on the 30th day of April in the year 1933, and was welcomed into a world suffering through a great depression at the hands of eurofilth bankers that create such situations for their own personal gain. Willie's entire family was inclined to enjoy music, and his grandfather bought him his first guitar at the age of six and taught him a few chords.

Willie still remembers those chords and quite a few more of them too! He's basically a self-taught guitarist that uses a totally unique playing style on a semi-obscure Martin guitar to a great effect that surely you have heard before and will hear and enjoy again and yet again.

The music of Willie Nelson is very varied due to his extremely long and still popular recording and touring musical career. He's aged and changed with the times and always managed to have a huge appeal to everyone that knows of him due to his strong everyman personality, blue-collar working-class values, and fight for the rights of persons oppressed by a big capitalist government that seeks profits rather than any sort of morality.

Willie Nelson has been one of the strongest supporters of the legalization of marijuana, a plant that grows out of God's green Earth and is forever miscategorized as some sort of drug. Drugs are what are made in pharmaceutical company laboratories—marijuana has been a medicinal herb for more than 5,000 years longer than it has been called a drug by ignoramuses and fear mongers in America.

Despite the obvious contradictions in the erroneous classification of medicinal plants by liquor and tobacco moguls, Willie Nelson tops this list of Texas Giants for his Farm Aide efforts and his undying love of the common men and women that fight to make a living by farming and producing natural crops and not Monsanto sterility and ethnic cleansing GMO stuff.

Townes Van Zandt, Tragic Hero

Townes Van Zandt, Tragic Hero

2. Townes Van Zandt

Townes Van Zandt was one of the greatest songwriters to have ever lived. The one person that could possibly be compared to him would be the more famous Bob Dylan. Though Dylan's work is immense and powerful, the songs of Townes Van Zandt are very different and more troubling, as Townes was a troubled man throughout his life.

There is no beauty without pain, and Townes truly drank himself to death, and because of his erratic behavior, he wasn't exactly the type of person that always could make his scheduled appearances in either the studio or the stage. He was mostly penniless during his lifetime, and who are we to judge him when we've got his lyrical artwork to enjoy? Towns was a singer besides being a songwriter—but most often, his songs are known in the incarnations they take in the singing of persons other than Townes. Willie Nelson and others helped make his masterpieces more well known, with songs such as Poncho and Lefty.

Tears are the normal reaction to hearing a Townes Van Zandt song, and Waiting Around To Die is one of his best, and please enjoy the fine words of wisdom offered to all from Uncle Seymour in the brief interview.

Townes Van Zandt was born in Forth Worth, Texas, to a very wealthy family of oil mongers on March the seventh 1944. He died from complications from years of substance abuse on new years day 1997, and we've all been singing the Forth Worth Blues every single day since that time—but not in mourning, in the celebration of a lyrical genius who lived and died, and who left the world an absolute treasure, a wealth of songs.

Steve Earle

Steve Earle


3. Steve Earle

Texas Rebel for the common man, Steve Earle has been one of my favorite artists in the entire world for so long that I can hardly remember not being a fan of his. Steve Earle, however, probably doesn't consider himself nearly so powerful as the rest of us who are cognizant of him. He isn't the least bit shy about anything—and is a man to pattern yourself after regardless of your sex, sexual orientation, religion, or anything else.

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Steve Earle is absolutely and totally honest about everything. The man will not give you a false opinion even if it means that he's going to insult you. He speaks his mind without any fear of the repercussions, and such men in this world of corporate greed and envy are very rare indeed.

The music of Steve Earle is all over the place. He's played Rock, Country, Folk, Bluegrass, and his own weird and creative styles of fusing all of the previously mentioned styles into his own unique voice.

Steve is also a poet, wrote a song for Elvis that Elvis Presley was too high on prescription medications to record, and many other artists who have taken his songs and ran with them. He's written songs that people have described as perfect in every conceivable way.

Despite the songwriting genius and moral high ground of honesty that Steve Earle has honed to as close to perfection as is possible for sinful humans - he's a total devotee of his close friend who has passed, Mr. Townes Van Zandt. Steve once proclaimed something like,

"Townes Van Zandt is the greatest songwriter to have ever lived, and I'll jump on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that."

To which Townes Van Zandt replied,

"No, you won't; Bob Dylan's bodyguards will remove you."

Steve Earle was born in Virginia on January the seventeenth in 1955, his family returned home to Texas before Steve's second birthday, and there he was raised in several locations around San Antonio. Steve makes waves wherever he goes for the things that he says, he's a political activist of the highest order, and only persons like Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger can compare to him.

Steve Earle is also very well known to be a former drug addict. Drugs are a gateway, nothing more, and nothing less—into the spiritual realm, and it can get very scary there. The thing about drugs is that it opens the mind, and allows persons like Steve and I to be free of mass media lies, implied thoughts of compliance and conformity. It's a very unsafe route to take, but if you take like Steve did, and then come out on the other side alive—you are then free with your own mind to ignore the lies implied and sold to the masses as truth, you can then recognize lies for what they are, and what doesn't kill you has made Steve Earle stronger.

The Pride of Lubbock, Texas, Buddy Holly!

The Pride of Lubbock, Texas, Buddy Holly!

An all around great guy, and a totally different kind of star from a different time.

An all around great guy, and a totally different kind of star from a different time.

4. Buddy Holly

I'm totally aware that you might not consider Buddy Holly a folk singer—but you should think about just exactly what a folk singer is. Folk music is often after the fact, as what was once new becomes old, and passes, after a time, into that netherworld of FOLK, tradition, and mythology. Buddy Holly was once a rock and roll singer and songwriter—but those days died with the man who made the music.

I grew up with a Buddy Holly fanatic as a father. Heck, he's right next door as I write this, and he's only an older Buddy Holly fanatic now. Buddy Holly's music has had an absolutely gargantuan impact in this world, and without Buddy Holly, we would never have really had much of an Elvis Presley, The Beatles would have sucked, and even Led Zeppelin wouldn't have been half so magnificent Heck, even Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood made a go at Buddy Holly Classics with Blind Faith.

My earliest memories in life and some of my earliest photographs are of me in diapers and a straw cowboy hat standing on top of a plastic toy box with a ukulele in hand while singing about someone called Peggy Sue for the enjoyment of my parents and my older sister. No, you certainly can not see those photos—you have to be an attractive female (preferably from Galway) and have earned such rights.

Buddy Holly was born in the El Llano Estacado city of Lubbock, Texas, on September the seventh 1936, and he went on to revolutionize American music, and to also influence all of those British Invaders that we all loved so much. Perhaps his music doesn't seem to have such a Texas flavor to you—but that is merely because you are so accustomed to it now, and you can't taste it anymore.

Buddy Holly is a Rock and Roll and Folk American Music and Historical Icon that only Elvis Presley can rival. He died in a plane crash on February the third, 1959—far, FAR too soon, and some say that that was the day that music actually died. I disagree, music still lives in Texas, whether or not corporate filth media plays it much or not.

Originally from New York, we Texans have officially adopted Jerry Jeff Walker as one of our own.

Originally from New York, we Texans have officially adopted Jerry Jeff Walker as one of our own.

5. Jerry Jeff Walker

Jerry Jeff Walker isn't from Texas—but he lives in Austin, Texas—the liberal capital of the Southern United States and the capital city of Texas.

Austin has a larger capital building than Washington D.C. does—do you know why? I'll answer!

Everything in Texas is better than anything everywhere else; that's why!

The music of Jerry Jeff is full out folk perfection full of roots and dreams of the common man—wholesome in its altogether colloquial wisdom. Texas has its own style of music, several of its own styles of music, and everything else. No matter how hard the rest of the nation wishes to imitate, there is only Texas and the flattery that the rest can and routinely does offer.

Though Jerry Jeff Walker has made famous songs by others of great notoriety such as Ray Wylie Hubbard—he's also a song writer of his own, with his own things to say, and even when he's saying what has already been said elsewhere—he's added his astounding authority to the words of others as he honors them by repeating them.

I've nothing but platitudes and honor for a man that went awol from a military that does not protect America—but rather serves a corrupt to the core secular humanist satanic world order system. I spit on the pseudo morals of the rest—to go busking about singing songs in honor of the salt of this corrupt Earth.


I hope that you've found something to enjoy in these five fabulous Texan singers and songwriters—there are lots of styles here, and as many or more omissions of those that should have, could have, would have been listed here, and could possibly be brought up in a second installment of this genre of online publication.

The world is shaking, and time is dwindling; we should all enjoy what we've got, burn a television or a Monsanto poison field, and listen to some music.

Questions & Answers

Question: How about Newbury, Coe, Keen as folk singers?

Answer: First of all, I consider David Allen Coe as part of the "outlaw country" music movement, or at this point in time, a classic country singer and songwriter. I feel as though the outlaw country people should have their own webpage, and that the music is significantly different from what I'd consider folk music.

Robert Earl Keen could possibly be thought of as a folk music guy. He certainly did some folk music on some of his best known albums. He has a great mix of styles, and is not unlike Steve Earle in that.

Of course Mickey Newbury deserves recognition, and was one of the great hippie cowboy guys and a fantastic songwriter. Perhaps another webpage with a different title would be the best place to discuss him. I'm certainly not done writing about the heroes of Texas music.

© 2011 Wesman Todd Shaw


Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on March 07, 2018:

Hi Tiana! I did not know he was from my state. Or maybe it is his state?


Anything of mine this old needs a serious re-write anyway, and maybe I'll get to it. Thanks!

Tiana Dreymor from Columbus, OH on March 07, 2018:

I know this has been 5 years ago, but I'm just seein' it for the first time. I don't know who to take off your list, but Kristofferson should be #1 above and beyond. And YES, he was born in Texas. Brownsville, TX, June 22, 1936.

Allam on May 14, 2015:

Ray Wylie Hubbard wrote "Up Against the wall Redneck Mother" not jerry jeff

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on July 17, 2013:

Howdy Paul, a lot of those you mentioned I'd classify as bluesmen for sure, and that would, in my opinion, be another article altogether.

Of course blues is a form of folk music, it's just that it is a very distinct form of folk music; and thus the different classification in my mind.

I might be mistaken, but I don't think Kris K is a Texan, but Ray Wylie certainly is a great Texas Folk guy!

Paul Deeds from Berkeley on July 16, 2013:

I have no argument with this list, but I'd throw Blind Lemon Jefferson, Leadbelly, Bob Willis, Lightnin' Hopkins, Flaco Jimenez, Albert Collins, and T-Bone Walker into the mix if you're going to do part 2. Ray Wylie Hubbard, Kris Kristofferson, Janis Joplin, and "Gatemouth" Brown ain't bad either.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on July 08, 2012:

Thanks very much, Sherry!!!!!!

Jerry Jeff sure seems like a nice guy :)

Sherry Hewins from Sierra Foothills, CA on July 07, 2012:

Truly giants among men. Love them all, but really have a soft spot for Jerry Jeff Walker. Up and awesome.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on July 07, 2012:

MILES COLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Miles Cole from Nashville, Tennessee on July 07, 2012:

I can get by with no mention of Mickey Gilley but no Freddy Fender?

I'm Joking

Good piece

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on August 28, 2011:

Hey thanks Sue Swan!!!!!!!!!!!!! :=D>

Sadly, our politicians are always there to make the state look like the place where the nuts live, but the folks who speak negatively of Texas have typically never been here.

Sueswan on August 28, 2011:

A wealth of talent out of Texas.

Voted up and awesome.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on August 26, 2011:


You know - I hate to say or think about it - but I get a lot of really ugly and mean spirited comments about Texas, and of course, they tend to ALL come from people that have never been here.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on August 26, 2011:

A lot of Talent comes out of Texas. Fantabulous selection here!

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on August 25, 2011:

Heck Yeah kittythedreamer - I think you'd find something that you'd enjoy from the other two as well, as they are all. . . .at least in my mind semi similar.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on August 25, 2011:

MisBehaved Woman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My beer is here for the day, and I'm trying to figure out what to talk about next.

I've got beer, hubpages, and a dream!

Kitty Fields from Summerland on August 25, 2011:

Well, who doesn't love Willie Nelson and Buddy Holly? I know I love them...their the epitome of American music, in my opinion. Steve Earl is awesome, too. Never heard of the other guys, to be honest. I'm sure I should be ashamed of myself for admitting that! Great write-up, yet again. I'm really enjoying your music history hubs.

Truckstop Sally on August 24, 2011:

Oh absolutely! Willie will be around for years -- at least in my mind! A legend!!

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on August 24, 2011:


Sounds like he might have been LIVING that song then!!!

Thanks Sally! I've never actually got to go see him, really - but I was in Forth Worth doing something once when he was playing there - and could hear it and enjoy it.

Luckily, I think he's still going pretty dang strong for his age!

Truckstop Sally on August 24, 2011:

Great hub! Some of my favorites. In college, I heard Willie in concert. He played Whiskey River at least 2 times (maybe 3) . . . but who's counting? Ha!

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on August 24, 2011:

Hey thanks jseven!!!! I don't know nearly enough of Willie's music - just the stuff that everyone else has heard a thousand times.

Buddy Holly - sadly, I'm the same way. Mostly out of these, I'm a HUGE fan of Steve Earl. I don't like all of his stuff, but over the years he's done LOTS of different songs that are just amazing, and his lyrics are very powerful.

Joey from Michigan on August 24, 2011:

I loved Buddy Holly and will have to listen to these other ones. I am not a big fan of Willy's voice, but I love his heart for people. Voted up and interesting!

50 Caliber from Arizona on August 24, 2011:


"It's really sort of a prop. I don't ever wear it much. Some day when I go busking for quarters on the street corners - I'll wear it as a prop!"

That works! I do that at Pioneer day celebrations and get people to give up 5 to 20 bucks for a picture of vacation with an old desert coot. 300 in a weekend a few years back in small town Kearny, Az. I was there doing the fake gunfights in the street ever 3 or 4 hours, I'd fall down or the other guy would. Got paid for that but the 300 was for cash and family albums

MisBehaved Woman from Lost Causes, NM on August 24, 2011:

Awesome read!! Glad I waited to enjoy it this morning; excellent way to start off the day. Off to go fire up my classic country playlist and try to write...again!

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on August 24, 2011:


My dad gave me that hat. He's got some nice ones. I forget what brand it is, but it's not a really expensive one or anything.

It's really sort of a prop. I don't ever wear it much. Some day when I go busking for quarters on the street corners - I'll wear it as a prop!

50 Caliber from Arizona on August 24, 2011:

Wesman, nice hat but you need to sweat stain it and get it trampled by a few horses, spill beer on it puke on it and a whole host of other things. I want to change my avatar to my 40 year old stetson that is butt ugly, yet I wear it almost every day. In summer it stinks, if I fan the air with it, it knocks 3 buzzards off a shit wagon from a half mile away hahahahahahahahahaha

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on August 24, 2011:

Thanks Dusty!

I guess I missed seeing the thing of FB. I probably got carried away with a thread where a jazz guitarist in Italy was threatening to have a sort of mentally challenged man on my friend list killed. Lots of absurdity on my facebook account some times.

I realized after I got started that I was going to have to be more brief, or this would turn into a five thousand word thing that nobody would ever look at for it being too big.

It sucks to have to leave Ray Wylie Hubbard or Robert Earl Keen out - but I could have made a ten person list that would have then been a whole freaking book!

I'm sort of on a Texas writing kick at the moment - I see people from elsewhere in the country forever talking smack about Texas - and none of those people have been here, so they know exactly jack spit about what they are talking about!

I liked that Steve Goodman thing the other day - I don't think I'd ever really heard him, despite having always heard of him.

John Prine is really freaking awesome! I love all his lyrics, wish I had half the clever he's got!

50 Caliber from Arizona on August 24, 2011:

Wesman, great article and I dig all these dudes. When you asked me I tongue in cheek shot back a list and can see I got 3 right and totally forgot Van Zant and Steve Earl! I listen to these guys weekly, music runs 24/7 out here and I'm on a John Prine binge right now, he and Steve Goodman, got lyrics that frame me often in thought and attitude, but throw in these guys and the music builds a home in my heart, thanks for the great read!, dust

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on August 23, 2011:

Back at ya my friend! Thank you for the follow! You might enjoy some of my country music hubs :)

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on August 23, 2011:

Heck Yeah Sunshine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think I'm going to like you just fine, my new friend!!!!

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on August 23, 2011:

Thank you DDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love em' all, and then a whole lot more besides!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on August 23, 2011:

Not a chance!!! :)

David Sproull from Toronto on August 23, 2011:

Wow, talk about some titans of music here!

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on August 23, 2011:

LOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!!! I was half skeered that I'd skeer you off wit that !!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on August 23, 2011:

Great point! That's not to easy to find these days. Heck I don't think it even exists! Hopefully it does though (insert positive thinking) :)

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on August 23, 2011:

Thank You! I especially love music that wasn't made with profits in mind!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on August 23, 2011:

Looking forward to your next one! I LOVE hubs honoring musical talents....any genre is fine with me BUT country is my favorite!

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on August 23, 2011:

THANK YOU VERY MUCH SUNSHINE625!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah - I love all of em' and several more that I didn't mention here - I'll prolly do another similar one for Ray Wylie Hubbard, Robert Earl Keen, and Larry McMurtry

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on August 23, 2011:

Fan-freakin-tastic!!! I appreciate the music of all the talented artists you mentioned. Willie Nelson and Steve Earle being my favorites! Excellent tribute hub to all of these amazing artists. Thanks for sharing!

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on August 23, 2011:

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

daskittlez69 from midwest on August 23, 2011:

Willie Nelson is an awesome person. Thanks for the great hub.

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