Garth Brooks’ “Friends In Low Places” has been one of my favorite songs ever since I got into college. This song is one of best drinking anthems around. There aren’t many songs that people that don’t listen to country music know, but this seems to be one of them as a lot of bars that will play this some time throughout the night. And I swear, a majority of the place will start belting out this song no matter how good they are at singing or not. To add on to that, this just happens to be one of my favorite songs of Garth’s. One of things about this song that stuck out to me, is it brought me back to listen to some older music. Not too old but more of his music and George Strait’s too. The country they played is what true country music should sound like unlike today’s singers that like to add rappers to their song to make a remix. You also don’t see too many still wear the big cowboy hat like Garth and George. You could also see this as a love song. He talks about giving up on a girl after she left him. One of the big things about Garth Brooks, is that he has never wavered from country music. And that shows in the beginning line of the song, “Blame it on all my roots, I showed up in boots…”. That’s all you need to know about Garth in regards to if would ever leave country for another genre. It seems as if his girl was cheating on him and he’s taking ways to get over him. Like by confronting this guy at black tie affair. You could tell that he wanted to get back even and this guy didn’t want anything to do with him. Garth says he’s got friends that are in low places, so he has people who can do anything to help him get back. I believe there is also a little piece of this song about Austin, when he talks about going to the oasis, which happens to be a restaurant out on Lake Travis. Good chance that’s not what he’s talking about even I’ve always thought it was that.
Monthly Archives: February 2016
“First and foremost, allow me to introduce myself, my name is Scotty McCreery…and we are here for one reason and one reason only, and that’s to sing you some country music”, is how Scotty McCreery tends to start some of his shows. Even from the first few minutes of his performance, you’re guaranteed to get some good ‘ol country music.
Scotty McCreery, 22, a country singer who is best known for winning a “tiny little show” (as he likes to call it) called American Idol. At 16, he auditioned for the show with Josh Turner’s “Your Man” and “Put some drive in your country” by Travis Tripp, and because of his deep voice and lower register people were blown away. McCreery, went on to the show and eventually became season 10’s American Idol.
Although Scotty is a country singer, he is more of a “new country/ kind of bro country” kind of guy. His first album Clear as Day has more of a “traditional country” music with the banjos and the guitars as well as a pop sound, but the second album See You Tonight, has pop/rock elements. Each album does have a few distinct songs that prove he’s a country singer. His first single, “I Love You This Big”, is country enough to be country, but also not too country that the average Top 40 listener wouldn’t be able to enjoy. One of his favorite songs is “Carolina Moon” from his second album. He said that his focus on the third album is to have the same sound as this song, a more “traditional country sound”.
At his shows he likes to explain that the producers would try to get him to sing songs that were out of the country music genre on Idol, but he would refuse because that is not who he was. He then asks the audience if it’s okay if they keep it country for the rest of the night. Of course, a lot of the fans are country music fans so that makes them happy, and the rest of the fans are Scotty fans and let’s be real for a second, they’ll cheer for anything he says!
It makes sense that he’d want to keep it more traditional. I mean, he’s been influenced by many country artists. He says that because of his sister he listed to artists like Backstreet boys, he was singing thing’s like “Conway’s Hello Darlin’…and Elvis Presley too, lord have mercy!”. Before starting his medley he likes to say that “nowadays things have changed a little bit, and it’s not a good thing or a bad thing because everything changes over time, but for me it does not change the fact that I, Scotty McCreery, have a love for country music. So with that said, I’d like to sing you…and take you back.. and sing you some good old fashion country music”. With his little spiel out of the way, he goes on and sings songs like “Mama Tried” by Merle Haggard, “Blue Suede Shoes” by Elvis Presley, “Mountain Music” by Alabama or “Check Yes or No” by George Strait. With every tour, he changes the songs in his medley. There’s two things that remain true within this medley, he always plays an Elvis song because like he likes to say “Elvis was my duuuuuuude”, and that he likes to reiterate that “I am country!”.
In case you’re interested in hearing him impersonate Elvis Presley:
And here’s him covering two more classic country songs at the Grand Ole Opry just for the heck of it!
When I think of a female country star, I think of Dolly Parton. The stereotypical country queen is a blonde bombshell with a big country voice, big country hair, and big country boobs. Country music is a genre that has continued to outshine other genres with unparalleled natural talent and has radiated a theme of natural beauty derived from its blue-collar roots of not caring what others may think. However, throughout the previous couple of generations, I feel as if a few particular country stars have conformed to Hollywood influences on beauty preservation and have lost a sense of the reality of growing old.
When I think of beauty-gone-bad, I think of Dolly Parton. Not only is she one of the most talented stars in the industry, Dolly Parton is the image of what most people think of when they think of country music. From the beginning of her career, Dolly was obsessed with her looks and always strived to be “prettier”, even though she was already one of the prettiest girls in the industry. From the singer’s never-ending thirst for satisfaction, she quickly crafted a signature look. Ms. Parton’s big blonde hair and massive breasts could be spotted from miles away, but for her that was never enough. Dolly posed for Playboy Magazine in 1978, shifting her from “classic country” to a more sexualized image that greatly contributed to her desire for “bigger and better”.
Dolly Parton’s career continued through the decades, with each era adding more and more plastic surgery to her look. The singer once admitted, “if I see something sagging, dragging or bagging, I get it sucked, tucked or plucked. It takes a lot of money to look as cheap as I look”. Parton’s recognition to her spoiled beauty really makes me sad for her, because I feel as if so many beautiful people are so caught up in impressing others that they don’t let themselves naturally grow old. Especially within a genre that prides itself in cultivating such down-to-earth people who care more about the music than the image, I am surprised to see so many stars defy that ideal and conform to the media’s expectations on how to look.
Dolly Parton not only inspired future country singers with her musical talent, she also set a signature tone for the image of the female country star. Several proceeding singers began to craft the stereotypical look and also succeeded in spoiling their natural beauty. Reba McEntire, Kellie Pickler, and even Kenny Rodgers were a few that didn’t take growing old as an answer.
Although this whole article has seemed like a rant against plastic surgery, I do believe that if it weren’t for Dolly Parton’s strive for ageless beauty, she would not be the cute bubbly character that we all know and love. Dolly Parton may have allowed unnatural influences to shape her self-expression, but she created an image that will forever be embellished in the country music hall of fame and has put a serious imprint on the future generations of stars. Despite the plastic surgery, Dolly Parton radiates ageless beauty on the inside and out.
If this is not the cutest, most accurate video of Dolly Parton, then I don’t know what is…
My Monday started out as one of the best Mondays one can have—my parents handed me two front row tickets to see Toby Keith at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo that evening. The excitement that poured over me to finally have the opportunity to see one of the first country stars that influenced my love for the country genre was surreal. Immediately I opened my Spotify app to start preparing for my night, I started out with some classic oldies like “I Wanna Talk About Me” and “Beer for my Horses” before I decided to try a few songs off of his new album… Meh. At first I didn’t even think about the fact that Toby had released a new album within the past couple of months and I hadn’t heard a thing about it… I realize now that that was the first red flag.
Towards the end of the day, after endlessly hyping myself up and teaching my ill-informed boyfriend some of my favorite Toby songs, we were just about ready to head to the rodeo. We spent the first hour or two walking around the stockyards and eating corndogs, completely submerged in hundreds of fellow fans wearing Toby paraphernalia—it was Toby Keith mania. Nothing made me more excited to hear him play than to be surrounded by so many other people who shared the same passion for his music as me. As the sun went down and the trailers started packing up their livestock, we headed for the entertainment arena.
The rodeo was amazing. I have grown up going to the show every year of my life, yet never growing tired of seeing the same events in the same order with the same smells and the same atmosphere. There’s something so comforting about returning every year to an event that seems to never be influenced by change.
As soon as the last bull rider barely made it past his eight seconds of whiplash, the lights went down and I actually got butterflies in my stomach. Toby came out in a Ford truck with nothing other than a Red Solo Cup shooting through the sunroof. As hilarious as I thought that was, it wasn’t less than a minute later when my excitement vanished and I quickly felt a yawn engulfing my face.
Everything was off. The drums and the guitar were louder than the vocals; I could barely even hear him considering I was in the front row. The dancers had little energy and were completely off beat. And unfortunately the worst of all was how wasted Toby was. I had seen drunk performers before, such as Pat Green and Tim McGraw, and obviously I had had something to drink as well because drinking and country music go so well together, but there was something so sad and disappointing to see someone who you liked so much as child now as a fat old drunk. He played some of the songs I knew, but mostly many songs that neither the audience nor I had ever heard of, which was obvious by the amount of people sitting down or leaving. I made myself stay until the end in hopes of hearing my all-time favorite song, “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue”, but left in complete disappointment as he never even sang it. There was something so upsetting to me about seeing him in such a bad state, almost like going back to a place you loved when you were young and innocent, only to see it old and corrupted. Although I still will probably jam out when I hear an old Toby Keith song on the radio or at a party, I won’t forget the fact that his song speaks the truth, he really just ain’t as good as he once was.
Chris Stapleton is new but old and he’s the real deal. He was born in Lexington, Kentucky in 1978 making him 38 years old. He moved to Nashville in 2001 to begin his music career but settled as merely a songwriter for 15 whole years. That’s a lot of time to put in to make hundreds of songs that ultimately became someone else’s. Six of those songs became number ones including, “Never wanted Nothing More,” by Kenny Chesney, “Love’s Gonna Make it Alright,” by George Strait, and “Come Back Song,” by Darius Rucker. The problem is, everyone knows these songs but there’s not a chance anyone knows Chris Stapleton wrote them. It’s about time he gets a little credit around here. He finally got behind the mic in 2015 and started making a bigger name for himself. His debut album, Traveler, did really well and won this small town country and bluegrass artist tons of awards. It reached number one on the Billboard 200. He also won awards for Best Male Vocalist, New Artist of the Year, and Album of the Year.
The best thing about Chris Stapleton is that he is a new artist but he has an older more authentic style of music than everything else on the radio right now. He’s not in it for the fame he just loves playing good music. Nashville Scene Magazine said, “While critics agree that Stapleton’s literally overnight success is changing the trajectory of modern country music, ushering in a new era of commercially viable substance, success isn’t changing the man himself.” He seems just like a really talented normal guy who happens to be climbing up the fame ladder. Knowing that he is a humble guy makes me appreciate him and his music that much more. You get the sense that his music is organic, true to who he is, and just a form of self-expression. He clearly loves what he does and that kind of passion goes a long way. The humble artist told Nashville Scene magazine, “I think it would be radical to have this little, tiny stage that only fits the band(…)The audience can get as close to you as they want to get, on the floor, and not a lot of bells and whistles, and [we] just walk out there and play music. I think that would be a radical thing to do in an arena-type setting. I think if I went and saw that, it would blow my mind.” He wants to bring back the good ole country we once had and move past the modern day poppy crud. I’m all for Chris and I think he has the potential to really impact the world of country music. Keep doin your thing Chris Stapleton, we’re really picking up what your putting down.