Hailing Houston: Songs about the Bayou City to add to your playlist

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Songs that show Houston love
Here are just some of the songs that show Houston love.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- From Willie Nelson and Solange to ZZ Top and Yolanda Adams, Houston boasts a long list of talented musicians who are either from Houston or have shown the city love in their lyrics.

Like the diversity of this city, you'll find the music that describes it spans multiple genres, people and experiences.

Whether you're looking for a mix of Houston anthems to cruise to on the road or you're just on the hunt for some new music, here are a few selections you could add to your list.

Bloody Mary Morning by Willie Nelson

If you ever need to forget an ex, it appears Houston might be a good place to start fresh.

Nelson talks about "flyin' down to Houston" after his baby left him without warning, so he leaves Los Angeles to head to Texas.

According to Rolling Stone, the song is autobiographical but that aspect wasn't really grasped at first.

It was later re-released, appearing on his album Phases and Stages.

Houston Bound by Lightnin' Hopkins

Add some Houston blues to your playlist from musician Lightnin' Hopkins.

Hopkins, whose real name is Samuel John Hopkins, was from east Texas but spent much of his career in Houston, particularly Third Ward. It's said that he played his guitar on Dowling Street.

A Texas State Historical marker was dedicated to him in 2010 on the grounds of Project Row Houses.

Midtown by The Suffers

This group from Houston serves up what it calls "Gulf Coast Soul" as an 8-piece ensemble led by frontwoman Kam Franklin.

In "Midtown," the love song reflects on a relationship with a former lover who has moved on while also weaving in, "Please let's go back to the bar on McGowen."

In the music video, that bar happens to be Leon's Lounge.

Rothko Chapel by David Dondero

"But there's this place in Houston, Texas, seems like the perfect church to me. Reminds me of your heart and how comforting the cold, black void could be," Dondero croons on this track.

The musician says the song is about some of the churches and chapels he's visited while touring, but the Montrose chapel seemed to have enough of an influence to become the title of the song.

"I'm not much of a religious person, but I do find inspiration in architecture and art," he explained on his website.

City of the Swang by Bun B. featuring Mike Jones and Slim Thug

Bun B has been a large part of the Houston rap scene and continues to do so today. First starting off as a member of UGK (Underground Kingz), a duo with the late Pimp C, and then solo with the release of four studio albums.

"City of the Swang" talks about all things Houston, from the pro teams to the candy paint and swangas you'll find in our city's slab culture.

Bun B also gives props to Houston rappers like Scarface, Paul Wall, and Chamillionaire and the late DJ Screw, who's credited with introducing the "Chopped and Screwed" technique (the slowing down and remixing of a song) into Houston music in the 90s.

Houston by R.E.M.

Although alternative rock group R.E.M. is no longer together, their song "Houston" might still resonate with some as it was written in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

The band talked to NPR in 2008 explaining that "Houston" deals with challenges of faith in response to what happened to the storm's victims.

The city of Houston played a huge role in helping thousands of evacuees who stayed at the Astrodome for shelter.

Bow Down by Beyonce

Beyonce made sure to be clear everyone knew she was talking about Houston from the opening lines of "Bow Down."

The singer gives nods to Houston artist Pimp C and UGK, mentions Frenchy's fried chicken and talks about keeping it "trill."

East Houston Blues by Rodney Crowell

Crowell is a native Houstonian who doesn't shy away from talking about where he came from. In this song, he explains that he grew up in the Third Ward. The track "talks about poverty and petty crime but also communicates the joy of music," he said on his website.

You'll also hear about Dowling Street and Navigation Boulevard.

Crowell has an entire album named "The Houston Kid," which features the song "Telephone Road" and explores his tough upbringing. In this one, you'll hear mentions of the Astrodome and Prince's Drive - In.

Steve Earle also has a version of "Telephone Road."

Welcome to H-Town ft. Tedashii & Dre Murray by Lecrae

Rapper Lecrae talks about his Houston roots in this ode to the Bayou City.

The song opens with shout outs to different parts of Houston including the northside, the southwest, northeast and northwest.

Along with talking about the different streets of Third Ward where Lecrae grew up, the song makes references to Houston culture and schools such as Yates and TSU.

Houston #1 by Coldplay

The British group dedicated this song to the city in the days following Hurricane Harvey. They were forced to postpone a show in Houston at the time due to the storm.

Instead, they created a song with lyrics that say, "I'm dreamin' of when I get back to Texas, Corpus Christi, Harris County, Galveston. There's a harmony that bonds down there in Houston."

Coldplay performed the song in Miami since they had to miss the Houston show. You can read the lyrics and watch the performance here.

If you're pining to hear some love for the Gulf, songs have been written about Galveston, too. Check out "Galveston" by Glen Campbell, "Who's the Blonde Stranger?" by Jimmy Buffett and Bruce Springsteen's "Galveston Bay."