Other categories on this list include: Best Dressed of 2016, Best Comeback of 2016 and Best Country Newcomer of 2016. Only one artist pops up to “win” multiple categories. This year has brought tremendous variety to country music, with newcomers matching legends for the biggest hits and progressive country rockers competing with traditionalists. Has country music ever sounded so diverse?
The late and Merle Haggard wafted in and out of Austin, as both were good buds with Willie. About that same time, Willie released his "Outlaw" album and the press coined a new label for Willie, Waylon, Haggard and their "Progressive County" picker friends in Austin. They then, collectively, became known as "The Outlaws," which, in view of their attitude and lifestyles was far, far more appropriate.
Despite the book's title, progressive country is only one of the many expressive forms Mellard draws upon. In pursuit of other moments and materials sometimes the music gets pushed to the background. The first chapter ("The Empire of Texas: Lone Star Regionalism Sets the Stage, 1936–1968") explores the contradictions of the 1930s and 1940s writings of the Lone Star regionalists (folklorist , historian , and naturalist ) associated with the . This discourse glorified Texas's Anglo reputation for rugged individualism while advocating for , laying the foundation for the tenets of progressive liberalism later incorporated into the movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Later, Mellard examines 1970s nostalgia promulgated in the liberal and the (published in Austin), providing an account of the anxieties surrounding the "Vanishing" Texan and the retrenchment of Texas masculinity. In "You a Real Cowboy?: Texas Chic in the Late Seventies," he reviews the iconic films (a 1978 Broadway play adapted for film in 1982) and (1980), as well as the television soap opera (1978–1991), connecting these representations of Texas popular culture to national phenomena ( or the ) that accompanied and influenced the reddening of the United States and the westernizing of the .