Generally speaking, Texas doesn’t simply engage in battles with other regions over who’s best: it wins them. But the odd exception is country music, where the tension between Texas and Nashville has provided an ongoing sideshow between fierce, iconoclastic rebels who pick the Lone Star State and those whose exes all live in Texas, and thus feel the need to hang their hats in Tennessee. The country music industry resides in Nashville, which means that if you’re going to have a career as a country musician in Texas, you have to be okay with doing things your own way.
That’s something that Libby Koch, the Houston-based singer/songwriter who came back to Texas from Nashville as she pursued a transition from lawyer to musician, understands intimately. And on “Back To Houston”—from her forthcoming album Just Move On—she sings her story with a little twang, some slide guitar, and a lot of heart.
The song initially appeared on Koch’s 2009 debut as an acoustic ballad under the name “Houston,” but it got reinterpreted as an uptempo country stomper this time around—with some much-needed perspective. “Looking at the song, I felt like it could use some editing—and that’s a skill I developed from being a lawyer,” she says. “I felt it was fitting to call the new version of the song ‘Back To Houston.’ Revisiting the song took me right back to that place and time.”
“Back To Houston” is about an age-old tension between Texas and Tennessee in country music, but it’s also about the other factors that go into that kind of decision—bad loves, good friends, and the promise of a brighter future. Hearing the updated version it seems especially clear—obviously—that Texas is the right call after all.