What are your Texas summer songs? Here are a few of ours

Ilana Panich-Linsman / KUTX

From Sly Stone to Beyoncé, you don’t have to look hard to find Texas artists on many a summertime mix.

Texas Standard | David Brown, Kristen Cabrera & Raul Alonzo / Published August 11, 2023 3:19 PM CT

How will you remember the summer of 2023?

Through the years, this red hot season has been romanced by music with considerably more staying power than the season itself. With Texas so rich in music and talented songwriters, there just have to be other summer songs with a Texas pedigree worth celebrating.

To talk about these Texas songs of summer, the Standard was joined by Susan Castle, a longtime music host at KUTX in Austin and part of the team behind the Texas Music Experience at TMX.fm.

Check out a few of her picks below, and be sure to submit your own favorites!

‘Cool Water’ – Roy Rogers and Dale Evans

This classic Western number – a duet with celebrated Ohioan cowboy singer Roy Rogers and his Uvalde-born wife, Dale Evans – evokes what a classic Texas summer is for Castle. The song was written by Bob Nolan, another member of Rogers’ group, The Sons of the Pioneers.

Born in the Chicago area, Castle said that Old West image of Texas remained prominent in her mind up to when she moved to the Lone Star State in 1990.

“It really conjures up the thirst that you get after a long, hot summer in Texas,” Castle said.

‘Hot Fun in the Summertime’ – Sly & The Family Stone

From the dreamy crooning of the Western sound to the infectious rhythms of funk, for her next pick Castle turns to Denton’s own Sylvester Stewart – better known as Sly Stone.

It’s with his group Sly & the Family Stone that Castle highlights “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” though Castle posits that the song more than likely referenced the funk pioneer’s new digs in San Francisco – where his family relocated when he was young – rather than his Texas summer days.

“It celebrates school being over for the summer and going to the county fair in the country sun, which sounds a little bit too quaint for the Texas heat that we have been enduring since June,” Castle said.

‘Possum Kingdom’ – Toadies

The 1990s was the era in which grunge became a force to be reckoned with, and Texas certainly had representation in the genre with groups like Fort Worth’s Toadies.

Castle highlighted undoubtedly the band’s biggest hit with 1994’s “Possum Kingdom.” Named for an actual state park in Texas’ Palo Pinto County, the track’s darker subject matter might come as a surprise to those who know it as a summertime song.

‘Crazy in Love’ – Beyoncé

For her next pick, Castle turns to a song that was undoubtedly the anthem of the summer of 2003 (the B-side for which is, funnily enough, “Summertime”).

Houston’s own Beyoncé was just striking out on her own solo career after the success of Destiny’s Child, and from that first lead single of “Crazy in Love,” Queen Bey showed the world that dominant hold she would exert over pop and R&B for decades to come.

‘Summer Breeze’ – Seals and Crofts

Jimmy Eugene Seals and Darrell George “Dash” Crofts, childhood buddies from Texas, were known for this 1972 hit.

The mellow number was given a bit of a soulful rock edge when the Isley Brothers covered it 1974.

‘It’s Hot’ – T-Bird and the Breaks

There’s one thing many Texans will agree on this summer: It. Is. Hot.

Such is the sentiment for Castle’s last pick, the aptly named “It’s Hot” by Austin’s T-Bird and the Breaks – a new release inspired by the current heat wave.

“I would say it was definitely inspired and written for the current hellacious summer of 2023 that we’re having all over Texas – actually all over the world – but specifically here in Austin,” Castle said. “There is definitely nothing quaint about this song.”

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