Best Songs About Austin

Welcome to Austin, the Lone Star State’s capital and “The Live Music Capital of the World.” This vibrant city has earned its reputation for its thriving music scene, from the annual South by Southwest festivals to the legendary Austin City Limits.

Many talented musicians call Austin their birthplace, and countless others have been inspired by its charm, writing songs that pay homage to this beautiful city. So, let’s put on our cowboy boots and get ready to groove to the best songs about Austin, Texas.

1. “Austin” by Blake Shelton

Song Year: 2001

What better way to start this list than a song simply titled “Austin”?

The song was country artist Blake Shelton’s very first single from his self-titled debut. And what a debut it was. “Austin” was #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for five weeks straight.

Shelton shares about leaving a recording on his answering machine in his song. The message is directed towards a woman he deeply cares for, who has returned to Austin. Shelton’s lyrics convey a sense of emotion and connection to the woman he loves.

2. “From Austin” by Zach Bryan

Song Year: 2022

It’s probably safe to say that Zach Bryan is the only country singer on this list born in Japan. But he got his country roots, honestly, growing up in Oklahoma.

Always moving through town to town when you are in a band, it is difficult to have a long-term relationship despite having found the woman you love.

The singer knows he must leave Austin to allow his love the opportunity to settle down in a stable relationship, no matter how much it breaks his heart.

3. “London Homesick Blues” by Jerry Jeff Walker 

Song Year: 2015

Jerry Jeff Walker is homesick for Texas. Who can blame him?

When the Austinite travels to London, England, to play the bars there, he realizes how much he wishes he was home. The only friend he had there was his guitar.

There is nothing like the friendly people, pretty women, and good country music you find in Texas. Walker sings about the fact that England has no sense of humor, no cowboy boots, and no heat. He can’t get out of there fast enough.

4. “Dublin Blues” by Guy Clark 

Song Year: 1995

Jerry Jeff Walker is not the only Texas musician suffering the blues. Folk and country legend Guy Clark also pine for his home state.

Clark had a long, successful career of over 40 years, recording 20 albums. His songs have been covered by the likes of Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, and Jimmy Buffett.

Finding himself alone in Dublin, rolling cigarettes, Clark wishes he was back in Austin with a cold margarita.

5. “Dime Store Cowgirl” by Kacey Musgraves

Song Year: 2015

Born in Golden, Texas, Kacey Musgraves is golden herself, winning numerous Grammy and Country Music Awards for her blend of country, pop, and folk music.

In “Dime Store Cowgirl,” Musgraves recounts her journey to the Austin city limits. She embarks on a cross-country trip, taking in various sights along the way. However, Musgraves remains true to her country roots regardless of where she travels.

The song serves as a testament to her unwavering identity and connection to her upbringing.

6. “Sangria Wine” by Jerry Jeff Walker

Song Year: 1999

Jerry Jeff Walker sure loves his “Sangria Wine.” Getting drunk with your friends, what’s not to love?

Migrating from New York and busking across the country, Walker made Texas his home and started a family. He would live in Austin until his death in 2020.

“Sangria Wine” was a favorite song performed at his birthday celebration in Austin every year. Some of country music’s biggest stars would come out to celebrate with Jerry Jeff.

7. “South of RoundRock, Texas” by Dale Watson

Song Year: 1995

Dale Watson perfectly captures the imagery of the city just “South of Round Rock, Texas”: Austin.

The world’s live music capital is kicking every night with the two-step and a heaping dose of Southern hospitality. It is no wonder that Watson is a legend in Austin who performs there frequently. His career has spanned more than 40 years and is still going strong.

8. “Texas on a Saturday Night” by Willie Nelson

Song Year: 1995

One of the most recognizable figures in country music is the outlaw himself, Willie Nelson. He helped pioneer outlaw country, leading a group of rebels who created their genre of music. 

“Texas on a Saturday Night” is Nelson telling it like it is: there is nothing quite like a Saturday night in Texas. Even the bright lights of Las Vegas or New York City do not compare to the honkytonk fun of a Saturday night in the Lone Star state.

Nelson was born in Abbott, Texas, just north of Austin. His song celebrates all of Texas, from San Antonio to Dallas to Amarillo.

9. “Austin Prison” by Johnny Cash

Song Year: 1966

If anyone knows a thing or two about prison, it’s Johnny Cash. He famously performed concerts in front of San Quentin and Folsom prison inmates.

The sheriff comes looking for Cash to take him to “Austin Prison” for a murder he is supposed to have committed. However, in the song, the singer is having none of it. Despite being convicted and sentenced to death row, he manages to escape and get far away from Austin.

10. “Midnight in Austin Texas” by Renee Olstead

Song Year: 2009

Born in Houston, Texas, Renee Olstead shows she is more than a country girl. She has a little bit of swing in her, too.

“Midnight in Austin Texas” is a jazzy number, unlike many songs about the state capital. Olstead tells a stranger how it would be a shame to spend a Saturday night in Austin alone. She is not looking for a long-term relationship, just a little fun.

11. “Amy’s Back in Austin” by Little Texas

Song Year: 1994

Country rock band Little Texas earned a Grammy Award nomination for their song “Amy’s Back in Austin.” It peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

A young couple in love heads out on the road together, but soon things fall apart. Whether it was the arguing or her missing her momma, the singer laments that he is alone and that Amy returned to Austin.

12. “Alleys of Austin” by Michael Martin Murphey

Song Year: 1973

Michael Martin Murphey believes Austin is like Heaven. Maybe Heaven is a little like Austin.

From his album Cosmic Cowboy Souvenir, theTexan singer-songwriter’s ballad “Alleys of Austin” compares the ways Austin and Heaven are like one. From funky jam sessions to Jesus cruising in his Ford, it sounds like the two may have more than a few things in common.

Murphey ends with the image of the water from the sea rising to Heaven and then raining down onto Austin below.

13. “Austin in My Sights” by The Bluescasters

Song Year: 2005

The Bluescasters may have formed in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but they had Austin in their sights.

The rocking blues band picked “Austin in My Sights” as the first song on their debut album, Five Dimes. Austin is calling, even if it means leaving your woman behind.

As the “Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin has lured many musicians who wanted to get their big break in the music business, and Austin is just the place to make it happen. 

14. “Lost in Austin” by Mystery Jets

Song Year: 2012

The Mystery Jets hail from London, England. But they love Texas.

The indie rock band appeared at the SXSW festival and decided to rent a country house-turned-recording studio in Austin for a couple of months. The result was their album, Radlands.

Their song “Lost in Austin” is a trippy track daydreaming about life on another planet. Maybe another lonely person is out there wondering the same thing.

15. “A-Town Blues” by Wayne Hancock

Song Year: 2001

Wayne “The Train” Hancock may have been born in Dallas, but he made Austin his home. 

Life on the road going from one honky tonk to another can give a musician the “A-Town Blues.” Hancock delivers the rockabilly as he pines to be back in Austin.

The song is the title track of Hancock’s fourth album. Country swings at its finest.

16. “Christmas in Austin” by Shelley King

“Christmas in Austin” by Shelley King

Song Year: 2012

Just in time for the holidays. 

Shelley King gives us an upbeat take on “Christmas in Austin.” There may not be snow, but there is plenty of Christmas spirit.

Christmas in Austin may look different than in New York or Boston, but the holidays are all about having a good time with friends and family.

17. “Right About Now I’d Like to Move to Austin and Buy a Purple House” by Drew Blackard

Song Year: 2008

“Right About Now I’d Like to Move to Austin and Buy a Purple House” sums up Drew Blackard’s mindset: just chill.

The singer-songwriter has composed a soft melody, reflecting on the concept of relocating to the city of Austin, embracing a slower pace of life, and allowing nature to flourish. Austin serves as a symbol of hope during life’s unexpected turns.

18. “Austin City Limits Sign” by The Bart Walker Band

Song Year: 2011

The Bart Walker Band rocks. What else would you expect from a guy who jammed with Stevie Ray Vaughn’s band Double Trouble?

The guitar-driven track with Walker’s bourbon-soaked vocals is the perfect road trip music while driving towards the “Austin City Limits Sign.” The song’s title is also a nod to the long-running country music showcase, Austin City Limits, in production for nearly 50 years.

19. “11 Months and 29 Days” by Johnny Paycheck

Song Year: 1976

Johnny Cash was not the only country artist that sang about getting locked up in an Austin prison. Johnny Paycheck also did his time.

“11 Months and 29 Days” is country twang at its best, lamenting getting busted in Austin and hoping the beer will stay cold. And oh, keep your hands off of Johnny’s woman because he won’t be in the slammer all that long.

20. “What Would Willie Do” by Gary Allan

Song Year: 2001

Gary Allan pays homage to the great Willie Nelson with his song, “What Would Willie Do.” 

In his album Alright Guy, Allan portrays Willie as an inspiration. No matter what goes wrong in your life, all you have to ask is, what would Willie do?

Willie changed his luck by moving to Austin and starting over. Despite his troubles with his wife and the IRS, the country legend would keep going for another night, another show. This perseverance was an inspiration to many country artists, Allan among them.

21. “Sweet Tequila Blues” by Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez

Song Year: 2005

Another couple of musicians who miss Austin are Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez. Their country duet, “Sweet Tequila Blues,” features Taylor on acoustic guitar and Rodriguez on the fiddle.

Taylor originates from New York, whereas Rodriguez was raised in Austin. Individually, they possess outstanding musical ability, but together, their chemistry is unparalleled. Their cohesive sound results in a steady country beat, reminiscent of the train that they yearn would take them back to Austin.

22. “Designs on You” by Old 97’s

Song Year: 2001

Alt-country band Old 97’s formed in Dallas, Texas, with the lead singer Rhett Miller born in Austin. The band has a unique sound, blending country with indie rock.  

“Designs on You” is a love song of sorts; a singer in a nightclub has designs on a woman who is about to be married to someone else. He suggests they could have a “secret thing,” but he wants to be honest: his feelings run deeper than just friends.

23. “Horseshoe Lounge” by Slaid Cleaves

Song Year: 2000

Slaid Cleaves has made his home in Austin, Texas, by way of Washington, D.C. The singer-songwriter lists some great country music artists as his influences: Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, and Woody Guthrie.

Cleaves reflects on his missed opportunity with a woman at the famous Austin bar, the “Horseshoe Lounge.” It is still being determined if this was a result of chance or if it was predetermined. In some cases, events occur with intention, while in others, they may never come to fruition.

24. “Can’t Go Back to Austin” by Doug Sahm

Song Year: 1984

Doug Sahm was born in San Antonio, Texas, and was a key figure in the development of Tex-Mex music. His long hair, sunglasses, and cowboy attire were part of Sahm’s distinct country character.

Sahm formed the Texas Mavericks in Austin in the mid-80s. “Can’t Go Back to Austin” is a country western song about being in a band and having an affair with an attractive woman. However, he knows he’ll get punched out by her guy if he ever returns to Austin.

25. “Austin Night” by Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash

Song Year: 2005

Like a lot of musicians, the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash arrived in Austin and fell in love with the city.

The city filled with stardust did its magic– Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash would go on to perform with country legends Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and George Jones. Even Johnny Cash himself invited the band to record at his home studio.

The honkytonk, neon lights, and music in Austin will stop you in your tracks. This is what an “Austin Night” is all about. Experience the world’s live music capital, and your life will never be the same.

26. “Austin State of Mind” by Lucas Cook

Song Year: 2008

Want a tour of some of the best places Austin has to offer? Just take a trip with Lucas Cook. Buckle up; it’s going to be a crazy ride.

“Austin State of Mind” is a fun song with the band dancing around Austin’s hot spots: 6th Street, the Hula Lounge, Devil’s Cove, and more. You cannot help but have a good time when you are in an Austin state of mind.

27. “Nights of Austin” by Shane Smith & The Saints

Song Year: 2013

Shane Smith grew up in Terrell, Texas, but moved to Austin to pursue his love of music. Along with The Saints, Smith fuses rock and country with electric guitars, drums, and a fiddle.

“Nights of Austin” illustrates what the grind of playing the music circuit is all about. Nights seem to blend, so much so that Smith hardly remembers any daylight in Austin.

Top Songs About Austin, Final Thoughts

It may only be the fourth largest city in Texas, but Austin is number one for music. It boasts the most live music venues per capita than any other city in the United States.

Not only is Austin a mecca for country singers and songwriters to display their exceptional talent, but it also inspires excellent songs about a great city.

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