A Rookie Guide to the Dallas ACM Awards

I am a Texas virgin. I’ve never messed with Texas. I’ve never set foot in Texas. In fact, the closest I’ve ever been was probably the time Miranda Lambert showed me her yellow rose tattoo.

But that’s all going to change over the next 365 days. I have to become an expert on Dallas/Fort Worth area before the 2015 ACM Awards are held there exactly one year from Monday (April 19). 

Obviously, there are things about Texas we all know and love. Then there are the things that are a little off-the-beaten path. After going on a virtual reconnaissance mission with the help of a couple of friends in Dallas, I combined all those things to create one big list of some of the things I already love — and will eventually — love about Texas.

1. Miranda Lambert

2. Kacey Musgraves

3. The Dixie Chicks

4. The must-eat jalapeño-and-cheese burger at Whataburger

5. The people watching and boutique shopping in the Bishop Arts District

6. The food trucks parked at Klyde Warren Park

7. The craft beers being made in Deep Ellum

8. The Tito’s vodka being made in Austin

9. For the edgier among us, the live music at Trees

10. The lemon squares at the flagship Neiman Marcus store

11. Fancy Tex-Mex at Mi Cocina in Sundance Square

12. The White Elephant Saloon in the Fort Worth Stockyards, where you can hear great live music, play shuffleboard and get your boots shined

13. The sliced brisket sandwich at Hard Eight

14. The old movies theaters — the Granada, Majestic and Kessler — turned into music venues.

15. The playlist I’m bound to make for the trip: Chris Young‘s “Text Me Texas,” Doug Stone
Strait, George Strait‘s “Amarillo by Morning,” Jason Aldean‘s “Amarillo Sky,” Trace Adkins‘ “There’s a Girl in Texas,” Joe Diffie‘s “Texas Size Heartache,” Alabama‘s “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas,” Chris Cagle‘s “Laredo,” Little Texas‘ “God Blessed Texas,” Waylon Jennings‘ “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love),” Tanya Tucker‘s “Texas When I Die,” Kinky Friedman’s “Asshole From El Paso,” Dixie Chicks’ “Lubbock or Leave It” and newcomer Justin Adams’ “Texas.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.