As we reported back in early May, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation is celebrating its 100th birthday in unique fashion this year.
The Foundation is releasing Texas Wild, a record featuring “well-known Texas musicians and rising stars” covering tunes from Lone Star State-bred songwriters.
The full project will see the light of day this fall, but another new single dropped earlier this week: Ryan Bingham (with help from the Texas Gentlemen)’s take on Toadies’ immortal “Possum Kingdom.”
It’s an inspired choice, honestly: Bingham’s whiskey-and-gravel voice is ideally suited to following in the footsteps of similarly gruff Toadies front man Vaden Todd Lewis, who, in press materials, was quite complementary of Bingham’s take. (Toadies is returning the favor by covering Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” for the compilation.)
“I love how Ryan made the tune his own, it brought out the swampy, gritty vibe,” Lewis said in a statement. “Cool stuff.”
Toadies guitarist Clark Vogeler concurred: “Ryan Bingham and The Texas Gentleman bring their style to the tune, imbuing it with a uniquely haunting touch,” he said in a statement. “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.”
The Walker Lukens-produced record features an eclectic mix of Texas artists and songs, including several North Texas-tied acts. The album will be released this fall digitally and on vinyl, with an additional single forthcoming next month.
“Ryan Bingham wanting to do ‘Possum Kingdom’ is exactly what makes an album like this special; a big artist in one genre taking a chance by doing a popular song in another genre,” said Lukens in a statement. “Plus, Richard Bowden’s fiddle solo is one of the coolest things ever happening at our studio.”
The cover art for all three singles and Texas Wild itself, designed by illustrator Mishka Westell, will feature Texas native wildlife, and album sales will benefit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. While no details are yet available, press materials indicate there will be some live events around Wild’s release. Those interested can sign up for updates at texaswildalbum.org.
Some of the tracks featured on Texas Wild are below.
- Fat Tony featuring Paul Wall, “(Hey Baby) Que Paso” [Sir Douglas Quintet]
- The Texas Gentlemen, “(That’s Right) You’re Not from Texas” [Lyle Lovett]
- Shane Smith and the Saints featuring Hayes Carll, “Pancho and Lefty” [Townes Van Zandt]
- Luna Luna, “Si Una Vez” [Selena Quintanilla]
- Ryan Bingham, “Possum Kingdom” [Toadies]
- The Suffers, “My Maria” [B.W. Stevenson]
- Shakey Graves featuring Jess Williamson, “True Love Will Find You in the End” [Daniel Johnston]
- Sir Woman featuring Ray Wylie Hubbard, “Texas Sun” [Khruangbin and Leon Bridges]
- Adrian Quesada featuring US and the Soul Supporters, “Say My Name” [Destiny’s Child]
- Sarah Jaffe, “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” [Willie Nelson]
- Toadies, “Since U Been Gone” [Kelly Clarkson]
Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.