There are a lot of elements that make “Little Bit of Texas,” the new single from Carlos Washington’s Steel Horse Swing, sound and feel like a treasure of a track. The beat in the song is easily one of the more infectious I’ve listened to in any country release this season, while the vocal Washington adds to the mix himself is as warm and inviting as they come, but neither is the key source of catharsis here. That role belongs to the string play exclusively; the biggest instrumental highlight in the track, the fiddle and guitar dueling that transpires here undeniably justifies picking up “Little Bit of Texas” and its parent album all by itself. A touch of the past meets a glimpse into the future in this song, and for my money, that makes it quite the unique find indeed.
Carlos Washington doesn’t want us to feel his Texas energy through his vocal drawl alone; in fact, if it weren’t for the surrounding instrumental faceting, I don’t think his singing would be as captivating as it is here. The lyricism is rustic but as evocative as any of the string parts are, and by using the percussion to frame both entities simultaneously, there’s scarcely an instance I could point to where the music doesn’t sound sleek and well-arranged. Washington strikes me as the kind of songwriter who doesn’t like to leave little details to chance in the studio, and for all of his hard work, we’re rewarded with a very fetching song in “Little Bit of Texas” without dispute.
Listen to “Little Bit of Texas“
“Little Bit of Texas” has a toned-down flamboyancy that lends it a Grand Ole Opry-brand of theatrics I would love to experience for myself in a live performance. It’s clear that Washington is a musician who likely finds even more inspiration when he’s on top of the stage belting out his verses than he does inside the four walls of a recording studio, and this could be one of his most alluring numbers in this regard. Of all the songs on his 2019 LP Little Bit of Texas, I can definitely understand why this has been the biggest takeoff tune in the whole of the tracklist – to some extent, it’s the record’s crown jewel.
If this is just a taste of what Carlos Washington’s Steel Horse Swing have still have in the tank for the 2020s, I do believe “Little Bit of Texas” won’t be the last big hit for the band, nor their namesake singer/songwriter. Country music will always be one of the most endearing genres in all of the American pop culture lexicon, and through the dedicated efforts of artists like Carlos Washington, its greatest elements of integrity will remain intact for another generation of fans to appreciate and learn from. This isn’t the only good song of its kind making its way into the headlines in the month of May, but for me personally, it could well be one of the best to see widespread release in 2020 overall.