Evaluating a magazine by any single issue is a fraught exercise. There aren’t enough pages to fully capture a place as grand and nuanced as Texas. But in the case of this issue, I’m inclined to note how well the stories span the state, beginning with our cover package. In a way that few people can, our tireless wandering scribe Jordan Breal reveals hidden gems twinkling beyond the big-city lights. We do our fair share of touting the noteworthy hotels, eateries, and shops in our metropolises—and they deserve that attention. But it’s also the case that all across Texas you can find places to eat, stay, drink, and be entertained that are just as modern and sophisticated, so long as you know where to look. (As an aside, anyone inclined to go out and explore using this guide may find a few hidden gems of their own.)

In our profile of up-and-coming country music singer Aaron Watson, we visit his hometown of Amarillo, where he formed the work ethic that has since carried him to the top of the Billboard charts and, now, to the release of his thirteenth album. Watson’s story is a distinctly Texan one—that of an aspiring singer who went to Nashville and was told he didn’t have what it takes. So he came back home and proved the naysayers wrong. All the while, he has remained humble, grateful, and devoted to his fans.

Our indefatigable Michael Hall files a dispatch from San Antonio in what may be the waning days of Obamacare. We report on people forced to leave their homes around Lake Diversion, outside Wichita Falls. We talk with Javier Palomarez, the Dallas-based president of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, about his (late) embrace of President Trump. And to make sure we are covering both the geographic and the chronological range of Texas, the great Stephen Harrigan shares with us an excerpt from his forthcoming book about the history of Texas, beginning with a scene from when the Spaniards, starving and desperate, arrived on the shores of what is now our beloved state.

While we can never canvass the entirety of Texas with every issue, we are committed to telling the whole state’s story, and in the pages that follow I think you’ll see that we made a worthy show of it.

Happy reading,
Tim Taliaferro