All Hail West Texas

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All Hail West Texas
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 19, 2002
LabelEmperor Jones
ProducerJohn Darnielle
The Mountain Goats chronology
The Coroner's Gambit
All Hail West Texas
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[1]
Pitchfork Media(8.2/10) (Initial release) [2]
(9.0/10) (Reissue)[3]
Tom HullB+ ((3-star Honorable Mention)(3-star Honorable Mention)(3-star Honorable Mention))[5]

All Hail West Texas is the sixth studio album by the Mountain Goats. After the slight increase in production values on The Coroner's Gambit album of 2000, All Hail West Texas was the last Mountain Goats album recorded entirely on John Darnielle's trademark Panasonic RX-FT500 boombox until 2020's Songs for Pierre Chuvin. Similarly, it marked the end of an era for the band, as it was the last album by the Mountain Goats to feature only John Darnielle until 2020.

The cover states that the album consists of "fourteen songs about seven people, two houses, a motorcycle, and a locked treatment facility for adolescent boys." Many of the songs explicitly refer to places in Texas, and evoke a lifestyle ethos born of the vast expanses of desert and highway found in West Texas itself.[citation needed]

Several songs were written to appear on the record that were not included in its final version. Three were given away on the Tiny Mix Tapes website ("Song for God", "Warm Lonely Planet", and "Waco"). Darnielle said there was a full set of fifteen outtakes that he intended to release for free one day, but he destroyed them after hearing about the leak of Hail and Farewell, Gothenburg. It is not known whether that set included the three listed above.

When the promotional copies of this album were sent out, a unique General Highway Map of a part of West Texas was included in the mailing. Apparently, this was not acknowledged by any of the critics who received it.[6]

In May 2013, Darnielle announced that Merge Records would reissue All Hail West Texas on July 23 of that year, on vinyl for the first time.[7] The announcement included a link to an explanatory essay by Matt Fraction.[8] The reissue includes remastered versions of the original recordings, seven previously unreleased tracks contemporary to the original album, and a new 1,800-word essay by Darnielle about the album and his writing process.[9][10]


All Hail West Texas was well received by critics compared to other albums created by the Mountain Goats. Critics point out the use of the Panasonic RX-FT500 and how the album had a more raw sound than a studio recording.[11] It is also mentioned that the "wheel grind" of the tape recorder itself is heard throughout the album. Some of the album's critics hold that the general direction of the album is hard to follow.[12] The 2013 reissue was given the title of "Best New Reissue" by Pitchfork Media.[13]


This album has been the focus of the first season of the I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats podcast hosted by John Darnielle and Night Vale writer Joseph Fink.[14] Each episode also features an original cover version of a song, which was released as a compilation available for purchase on Merge's website under the title I Only Listen To The Mountain Goats: All Hail West Texas[15]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics and music by John Darnielle.

1."The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton"2:37
2."Fall of the Star High School Running Back"1:49
3."Color in Your Cheeks"2:40
5."Fault Lines"2:38
7."Pink and Blue"2:29
8."Riches and Wonders"3:57
9."The Mess Inside"3:35
10."Jeff Davis County Blues"3:14
11."Distant Stations"3:04
12."Blues in Dallas"4:15
13."Source Decay"3:47
14."Absolute Lithops Effect"4:08
Total length:43:13

2013 reissue bonus tracks[edit]

15."Hardpan Song"2:00
16."Answering the Phone"2:29
19."Jenny (alt. take)"2:52
20."Tape Travel Is Lonely"2:36
Total length:62:02


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Pitchfork Media initial review
  3. ^ Pitchfork Media reissue review
  4. ^ Popmatters review
  5. ^ Hull, Tom (December 2013). "Recycled Goods (#115)". A Consumer Guide to the Trailing Edge. Tom Hull. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
  6. ^ Letter from Craig Stewart of Emperor Jones Records dated 18 August 2004
  7. ^ Darnielle, John (2013-05-13). "Requiem for Red Southern Curl". Archived from the original on 2013-09-21. Retrieved 2013-09-20.
  8. ^ Fraction, Matt (2013-05-13). "Notes on imaginary extent, lost, deleted, and unrecorded tracks written, performed, recorded for or during the period of time in the life of John Darnielle that would produce "All Hail West Texas" not included in this collection because they are all imaginary". Retrieved 2013-09-20.
  9. ^ "Merge Records Store". Archived from the original on 2013-06-07. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  10. ^ "Mountain Goats to Reissue All Hail West Texas". Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  11. ^ Schneyer, Jeremy. "The Mountain Goats: All Hail West Texas". Retrieved 2012-10-18.
  12. ^ Haney, Shawn. "All Hail West Texas". Retrieved 2012-10-18.
  13. ^ Zoladz, Lindsay (2013-07-23). "All Hail West Texas". Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  14. ^ Rettig, James (7 September 2017). "Hear A Preview Of New John Darnielle Podcast I Only Listen To The Mountain Goats". Stereogum. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  15. ^ "Stream The Mountain Goats Tribute Compilation I Only Listen To The Mountain Goats: All Hail West Texas". Stereogum. 2018-04-05. Retrieved 2020-08-09.

External links[edit]