‘Lone Star Lowlands’ offers compilation of breezy Texas music

Francisco Marin


What would the soundtrack to a Texas summer sound like?
Over the past two years, Numero Group has meticulously gone through myriad basement tapes, originally recorded in Mickey Rouse’s legendary Lowland Studio out of Beaumont. The long-forgotten tracks, once destined to a lifetime of obscurity, are once again seeing the light of day as part of Numero Group’s Local Customs album series.
All 22 songs on the album, recorded between 1969 and 1973, are shining examples of Texas’ own brand of Americana. Lone Star Lowlands is a collection of understated genius — breezy, sunny songs perfect for that weekend road trip on the back roads to the coastal plains of East Texas. From the rough-and-tumble Southern blues of Circus’ “Love of the Morning” to the introspective, moody instrumentals of Mother Lion’s “I’m the Fool,” no song’s inclusion on the album is accidental.
What’s even more interesting is how some songs predate many popular modern indie acts today. Sage’s “I Found My Music,” for example, could have easily been written by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy during his Yankee Hotel Foxtrot phase, while Hope’s “Tomorrow” sounds like a four-track demo of an early Kings of Leon B-side.
But most essentially, these songs aren’t just entertaining — they’re vital. Beaumont was a harbinger of some truly fine music in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and much like a yearbook or an old, washed-out photograph, these songs are a slice of life long forgotten through the decades.
Be sure to include Lone Star Lowlands and its included artists in the canon of great Texas music; though many of these artists have fallen into time-worn obscurity, Numero Group has crafted one of the finest compilations of summer-drenched pop ever created.
The album is available for purchase here.
Grade: A+