Texas’ landscape is vast and full of variety. From mountains to piney woods, wetlands to plains and deserts. The same could also probably be said of the state’s musical landscape, as well.
It’s why Texas Parks and Wildlife have partnered with a few well-known Texas musicians to reimagine some classic Texas songs. It’s called “Texas Wild” and its produced by Texas musician Walker Lukens.
Lukens spoke with Texas Standard on the process of pairing the artist with the song, other singles to look forward to this summer, and their first single – “(Hey Baby) Que Pasó” from Fat Tony and Paul Wall, based on the original from the Texas Tornados. Listen to the story above or read the transcript below.
This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity:
Texas Standard: After all these years, you’ve accomplished so much in that time. What drew you to this project?
Walker Lukens: You know, I think it’s just a crazy crossover of my two loves, which is being outdoors and music. So when the project was brought to me, I just couldn’t believe that they were doing this to start. I mean, it’s like, okay, so a state agency wants to make a record of songs to commemorate their 100 year anniversary. So like, “so wait, sorry, tell me this one more time.” It’s all classic songs so we already know the songs are good. Okay, great. And then you want to get younger Texas artist to do it. It’s such a weird collection of my passions all in one project.
I think it’s such a cool idea, I got to be honest with you. The first single just released. It’s Fat Tony featuring Paul Wall, and it’s a cover of “(Hey Baby) Que Pasó?” Tell us about this classic and how you decided to pair it with Fat Tony and Paul Wall.
Well, you know, I think if you grew up in Texas and I did, you know, Doug Sahm called this the San Antonio National anthem. I think honestly, to some extent, you could call this the Texas national anthem because I grew up hearing this every single day of my life in Houston on Six Flags commercials on TV. So I’ve always known this song, and when this project came together, you know, I think it’s a great example of a classic that could just use a modern take, you know? It’s so fun, the original’s so fun, and I think that when you’ve got a song that, you know, people are really familiar with – and I think most Texans are really familiar with the song – it gives you a great canvas to play with, you know?
And so basically, you know, I love funky music – R&B music. And I think the thing about funky music is you just slow it down. So as soon as we slowed it down, it’s like, “Oh, well, this could be like a hip-hop song. I reached out to Fat Tony and, you know, originally he was really set on doing a La Mafia song. He really wanted to do “Un Millón de Rosas,” but I was like, “Well listen, man, I’m down to do whatever you want, but I think you would sing this really well.” And I sent him a little demo of the beat, and he was like, “Oh, I got to do this. I got to do this. Can I wrote my own rap?” And I was like, “sure.” And he’s like, “can we ask Paul Wall to do it? And I was like, “sure, man. Yeah, yeah.” So, yeah, it all happened very organically.