Higher Plains

Texas is a state of small towns. I don’t live in one and likely neither do you, since a full 85 percent of us are now urbanites. And yet, it’s the mite-size Mayberrys and the one-horse hamlets that remain the soul of this place. Self-reliance, neighborliness, and a thirst to own a little land are, among a native’s other virtues, all stubborn holdovers from our frontier days.

The Texanist

Q: After eighteen years of exile in California, my wife and I were able to retire and move back home. One of our retirement dreams was to get a condo on South Padre Island—by far the best Texas beach. After visiting recently, we are reconsidering. The SPI that we remembered had a great beach, not one with so much vegetation. Can you recommend other Texas beaches that now rival the old SPI? 
Chuck Fox, San Antonio

The Hit List

The two dirtiest words that ever get thrown around in Nashville are “Urban” and “Cowboy.” But using them to condemn all late-seventies and early-eighties country pop unjustly assails some brilliant songs—like, for instance, the twelve below. So why get hung up on whether they are truly country music? Just call them “country yacht rock” and get over it.


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