Songs about Texas cities are a country music tradition that traces back for about as long as there’s been country music. And that tradition has some stone-cold classics in its midst: Marty Robbins’s “El Paso,” George Strait’s “Amarillo by Morning,” and Waylon Jennings’s “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)” among them.
While fitting in alongside that batch is a tall order for a new song from anyone, it’s heartening to hear Jason Eady pay homage to that tradition with his new song, “The Other Side of Abilene.” That track—which comes from the Fort Worth singer and songwriter’s forthcoming sixth album, Daylight And Dark (which is out next week)—is a twangy, melancholy, waking-up-alone sort of song that evokes Abilene as an idea and as a place. This nuanced evocation is as much part of the city song tradition as the ringing steel guitars and the male/female harmonizing that Eady calls up in the choruses.
“Living in Fort Worth, I pass through Abilene a lot when I’m heading west, and I always think of Abilene as the gateway to West Texas,” Eady explains. “Once you pass through Abilene, you enter that part of the state that is wide open.” Seeking out wide open spaces and looking for some space are themes that run deep in Texas music, and you can find them on “The Other Side of Abilene.”