The triple-digit temperatures of the Texas summer are definitely here. And while the stars at night are indeed big and bright, the sun at noon will burn you soon.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Mariana Zapata once wrote about Texas weather, “We had two seasons: fifty weeks of summer and two weeks of something between a semi-brutal winter and a crappy spring.”
Sure, the summer heat index in Texas is somewhere between OMG and WTF. But there is a place where you can find a little relief from the blazing sun. The Frio River winds through the heart of Texas Hill Country. Frio means “chilly” or “cold” in Spanish, and the water is surprisingly cool in this special river because it flows shallow and is crystal clear from spring-fed waters.
This Texas treasure is the premise of our newest Spire on Spotify Playlist, Vol. XX: Floatin’ ol’ Frio. And it comes to us from our favorite Texas Longhorn, as well as the person who wears SPF 100 all summer long, EVP of Client Service and Planning Mike Stopper.
What is the name of your album?
It’s called Floatin’ ol’ Frio. Life just slows down when tubing down the Frio River in Uvalde County during a hot Texas summer. The perfect mix is made of songs you want to sing loud and proud while sipping on a cold beverage and soaking up sun and togetherness.
How would you describe this mix?
This mix two-steps through the best hits from Lone Star State music artists, like George Strait and Lyle Lovett, and sounds even better with good company and a cold one in hand. It pairs well with summer river tubing, Shiner Light beer, swimming holes, Texas Hill Country, bonfires, and burnt ends (bacon, that is).
What was the inspiration behind it?
In “King” George Strait’s song, “All My Ex’s Live in Texas,” the second verse goes, “I remember that ol’ Frio River, where I learned to swim.”
For nearly a decade, my wife’s family comes together from Houston, Austin, and Dallas for a long weekend in Concan, Texas, in southern Hill Country. Anywhere from five to seven families all rent one large cabin along the Frio River. You wake up to nature and picturesque sunrises, and go to sleep under the bright stars of the Texas sky. In between, you make your own meals, listen to Texas country music, float the river, sip a Shiner, and repeat.
What is your favorite song, and why?
The 1995 song “I Like Texas” by Pat Green—or Pat f****ing Green, as his fans usually chant— really shaped the landscape of the Texas Red Dirt sound. This song references Shiner Bock, Luckenbach, and various rivers and cities throughout the Lone Star State. It’s also the victory song played after the final out when the Texas Rangers win a home game.
If your playlist was a brand, what would it be and why?
The mix is quintessential Shiner—totally chill and Texan.
Any specific memory that comes to mind when you listen?
Kevin Fowler’s “100% Texan”—a Texas anthem from a longtime Texas artist. Down the road from the Frio Cabins is a dance hall called House Pasture Cattle Company. They serve a mean chicken-fried steak and have outdoor concerts on a small stage. Kevin Fowler is one of the artists we’ve seen there, so it was cool listening to him on a playlist during the day and on stage the very same night.
What makes your playlist unique?
You could say it’s the soundtrack of Texas pride. I absolutely love the food, drink, twang, history, and sights of the Lone Star State. Each of the songs and artists on this mixtape of Texas makes me prideful that we live in such an amazing place. Because “I’ve been sent to spread the message …‘God blessed Texas’.”
Thanks, Stopper. Let’s all take his advice and pop the top on a cold one then float the Hill Country river they call “the cold one.” Stay tuned to the Spire Blog and Spotify Channel for the release of our next chill playlist.