Walt Wilkins
Walt Wilkins At a glance — and even on closer inspection — Walt Wilkins really doesn't fit the profile of your everyday Texas country artist. At least, not the modern mold. At 45, he's a good decade older than most of the big young dogs on the scene, including pack leader Pat Green. But you gotta wonder where Green and so many others who have come in his wake would be today if not for the quiet but profound influence of Wilkins and his songs. If Ray Wylie Hubbard is, as some young writers have called him, sort of an Obi Wan sage of Texas songcraft, then Wilkins kind of is, too; think of him as the younger but still wizened and battle-scarred Ewan McGregor to Hubbard's Sir Alec Guinness. To wit: where most of the songwriters on the Texas scene today discovered legends through records handed down from their parents or older siblings, Wilkins was just old enough as a teenager growing up in Austin in the mid-'70s to see his heroes live and in their prime. Years later, when the upstarts back in Texas where grumbling about Nashville from afar, Wilkins was in the very belly of the beast, subverting the system by writing songs from the heart instead of by the book — and subsequently landing cuts of several of those songs on mainstream records. All the while, he still made frequent trips back to his native Texas, where, thanks in no small part to one of his biggest fans — Green — several of his songs had taken on anthem status: "Poetry," "Carry On," "Who's to Say" and most notably, "Songs About Texas."