Nightly Song
Musings on Songs that Strike a Chord Tonight

All My Ex’s Live in Texas by George Strait

All My Ex’s Live in Texas

Performed by George Strait Written by Sanger D. Shafer and Linda J. Shafer

You can hear the recorded version here. You can hear a live version here. You can buy a download for iTunes here.  

There are plenty of downhearted songs about past loves, but not this gem from George Strait. It’s as breezy, graceful and fun as a spring day on the porch with a cold beer. Everything works together to create a gem of a country song: the well-honed craftsmanship of the songwriting, the consummate musicianship that skips the flash in favor of playing in service to the tune and George Strait’s honeyed and laconic voice that fits the song so well.

This track provides another example of how George Strait finds popularity in the too-often derivative and bland contemporary country music market while keeping true to his country music touchstones and country-swing roots. You can hear Bob Wills, Merle Haggard and Hank Williams loud and clear in his music. Strait has the knack for picking songs right for his voice and style and his performances all contain an organic integrity: the pedal steel and fiddle open this song not because of some formula, but because they are absolutely perfect for opening the song.

Play “All My Ex’s Live in Texas” and you know you’re in the hands of a master when Strait sings the opening chorus with its irresistible hook:

All my ex’s live in Texas
And Texas is the place I’d dearly love to be
But all my ex’s live in Texas
And that’s why I hang my hat in Tennessee

What a great jukebox tune. You can dance to it, toast to the sentiments or just tap along.  The opening verse catalogues all those Texas exes:

Rosanna’s down in Texarkana
Wanted me to push her broom
Sweet Eileen’s in Abilene
She forgot I hung the moon
And Allison’s in Galveston
Somehow lost her sanity
And Dimple’s who now lives in Temple’s
Got the law looking for me

No attempt to analyze, no moaning, no deep thoughts, just a run through the past saved by the hook and the chorus. The song shares some kinship with Jackson Browne’s “Take It Easy,”  another song with a list of women that put a guy on the road.)

The second verse finds the singer recalling some youthful frolicking in the Texas of his younger days:

I remember that old Frio River
Where I learned to swim
But it brings to mind another time
Where I wore my welcome thin

Yet the memory reminds him why he’s on the road and living in Tennessee. The lyrics then take an odd turn – perhaps autobiographic for songwriter Sanger Shafer – about using meditation to recall the past

By transcendental meditation
I go there each night
But I always come back to myself
Long before daylight

The structure of the song and the discipline of the songwriting pull us back to the chorus as George glides along. The song ends with some chuckles:

Some folks think I’m hidin’
It’s been rumored that I died
But I’m alive and well in Tennessee


George Strait qualifies as a living legend given that he has 57 number one hits and enough awards to fill multiple rooms in his home. You can learn more at his website and entries for George Strait at the Country Music Hall of Fame and County Music Television (CMT). This song earned nominations for Song of the Year at the Country music Awards and Country Song of the Year at the Grammies.

Sanger Shafer co-wrote this song with his fourth wife, Linda, so he has some experience with Ex’s. Safer also wrote Strait’s hit, “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind?”, which he co-wrote with a different wife. He’s a prolific songwriter who has penned hits for the likes of George Jones, Moe Bandy and Lefty Frizzell and is a member of the Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.


One Response to “All My Ex’s Live in Texas by George Strait”

  1. Hi George you are my favorate singer. I love All my ex’s live in Texas

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