'Texas Wild' features well-known Texas musicians as well as rising stars covering classic Texas tunes. Proceeds support Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. Courtesy of TPWF.

July 6, 2023

An album in the works showcasing Texas artists aims to drum up support for state parks.

The album Texas Wild is expected to be released this fall by Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, in partnership with Rambler Sparkling Water, as part of its 100th anniversary celebration of Texas State Parks.

Austin-based singer/songwriter Walker Lukens serves as musical producer for the project, which blends traditional Texas genres like blues, cumbia and country with modern sounds like hip-hop, R&B and electronica.

Texas Wild is an album that encompasses that wild, untamed spirit for which Texas is best known,”  said Anne Brown, executive director of Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, the official nonprofit supporting the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “Incredible artists from across the state have come together to put their unique stamp on Texas classics, resulting in an exciting playlist that music fans will want to play on repeat. We’re thankful for the many talented artists who made this extraordinary album possible.”

The album features well-known Texas musicians as well as rising stars covering classic Texas tunes.

The 'Texas Wild' singles and album covers feature illustrations by Mishka Westell.

The first single (Hey Baby) Que Paso sung by Houston rappers Fat Tony and Paul Wall was released in May on Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music.

The song was originally written and released 40 years ago by Augie Meyers and his band Sir Douglas Quintet in 1983. The song’s 1990 version was recorded by supergroup Texas Tornados, composed of some of country music’s most prominent artists, including Meyers, Flaco Jiménez, Doug Sahm and Freddy Fender. 

San Antonio native Sahm, a member of both the Douglas Quintet and Texas Tornados, referred to the song as the “San Antonio national anthem.” 

The Texas Wild version injects elements of R&B and hip-hop with a new musical arrangement by producer Walker Lukens, members of Grupo Fantasma, The Texas Gentlemen, Sir Woman and vocals from Fat Tony and Paul Wall.

A second single from the album Possum Kingdom, performed by Austin native Ryan Bingham and The Texas Gentlemen, was released on Thursday. 

Possum Kingdom, was originally written and released by the Fort Worth-based alternative rock band Toadies on their 1994 album. The song would become the band’s most successful and well-known release. 

Almost 30 years later, the Texas Wild version adds elements of blues, rock and country in a new musical arrangement produced by Texas singer-songwriter Lukens, with vocals from Bingham and backing band The Texas Gentlemen.

“Ryan Bingham and The Texas Gentleman bring their own style to the tune, imbuing it with a uniquely haunting touch,” said Toadies guitarist Clark Vogeler. “A lurid and chaotic violin pairs with the guitars creating an original appeal. This is a great cover that takes the song to new places,” 

Texas Wild cover. Illustration by Mishka Westell.The second single "Possum Kingdom" was released this week. Illustrations by Mishka Westell.

The Toadies have also signed onto the project and will perform Since U Been Gone, made popular by Burleson High School alum Kelly Clarkson.

Other well known musicians adding their voices to the album include Dallas singer-songwriter Ray Wiley Hubbard, featured on Texas Sun by Sir Woman.

Sarah Jaffe, a singer with roots in North Texas, will perform Willie Nelson’s Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground.

Some of the other classic Texas hits covered by emerging artists include Townes Van Zandt’s Pancho and Lefty and (That's Right) You're Not From Texas by Lyle Lovett.

Texas illustrator Mishka Westell created unique block print style art for each of the three single releases and the album cover art, which features Texas native wildlife, including a screech owl, mockingbird, and other Texas critters. 

Sales from the album will benefit Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, which has raised and invested more than $235 million to advance Texas' outdoor traditions and conserve state wildlife, habitat and natural resources since founding in 1991.

A third single will be released in August with the full digital and limited-edition vinyl release coming in fall 2023. Sign up for presale alerts on the Texas Wild website.


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