My 3 1/2-year-old daughter recently injured her hand, requiring reconstructive surgery and an ongoing recuperation period. One of the therapies we’ve tried (her choice) is listening to Western Swing music on CD and watching YouTube videos of Bob Wills, Don Walser, and Hot Club of Cowtown.

We’ve always listened to music during the bedtime process, an evolving playlist of non-children’s music, usually albums with songs that I can sing to. These have included Don Walser’s albums, The Archive Series (Vols. 1&2). Walser was an old-time Texas country singer who died in 2006. I used to go hear him play a lot during my last couple of years in Austin, and once at the Mercury Lounge when I was living in New York. Walser mixed originals and covers, including some Bob Wills songs. At first, I would put a CD on at the beginning, but as my daughter got older, she started asking for specific songs on each CD.

I still don’t know what makes her pick up a particular song, things like Alejandro Escovedo’s cover of the Rolling Stones “Sway” from his More Miles Than Money album, Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s “Santa Fe Thief” (she liked the line “Look over yonder”) And Don Walser’s version of Bob Wills’ “Take Me Back To Tulsa”. Which led to my explaining that people do other people’s songs. I found a YouTube video of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys doing the song (with Luke Wills singing). Which also led to a weirdly sped-up video of Hot Club of Cowtown doing it, and then videos of Hot Club of Cowtown doing “Big Ball in Cowtown” (also covered by Don Walser), and videos of Don Walser doing some of his originals (mainly “The John Deere Tractor Song”).

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