Monthly Archives: October 2014

Country Music and Me

My relationship with country music is complicated to say the least. We’ve always recognized each other, acknowledged the other existed, but we were never friends.

Unlike my friends, I grew up in a non-country household. My first concert was KC and the Sunshine Band, so basically disco, not exactly something to brag about to your friends. I remember riding to volleyball practices with my friend and her mom and they would blast George Straight and sing along. When I would innocently ask “Who’s that?” their jaws would drop to the floor, big eyes staring at me in disbelief, questioning,”How do you not know the King of Country?” All I could think to myself was I have no idea

Miranda Lambert

Miranda Lambert firing up the crowd at Rodeo Houston.

I went to my first country concert at the age of 14. My friend took me to see Miranda Lambert at the rodeo before she was a mega star. I remember listening to those firecracker songs like “Kerosene” and “Gunpowder and Lead” and being in total awe, kind of shocked by the whole ordeal.

After that day, I began a very long distance relationship with country music. I stopped complaining as much when my friends would turn the radio stations over to 93Q and 100.3 The Bull. I started watching more country award shows and watching those made for television concerts. I was paying attention but I wasn’t interested… yet.


Waiting for Joe Nichols to perform at Day in the Country.

The summer after my freshman year of college was when country wouldn’t stop knocking on my door. My friends desperately wanted to go to a Day in the Country in the Woodlands, which is basically a big country music fest with lots of acts playing all day. I dragged my heels a little bit, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t like it.

I listened to acts like Joe Nichols, Easton Corbin and the Eli Young Band. At the time, I had no idea who any of them were but I still enjoyed it. Slowly, I was finding myself looking up songs on my own and my friends stopped asking me who sang every country song that played on the radio, which was a little unfortunate since they’d give me a quarter every time I got one right. I guess it was happening a little too often for these poor college kids. Anyways, a few weeks later I got to see Lee Brice, Chris Young and Brad Paisley perform on Brad’s summer tour. That got me hooked. From Lee’s beautiful “Love Like Crazy” to Young’s crazy deep voice and Paisley’s incredible guitar skills, my mind was blown. I gained a new appreciation for this music I spent most of my life trying to avoid.


Watching Josh Abbott Band perform last October in San Marcos.

Now, I can proudly say I’ve been to many country concerts from big venues to small county fairs, and I’ve enjoyed every single one of them. It’s true when they say it’ll grow on you; it finally caught up to me. Country music and I spent a long time avoid each other, figuring the other out and eventually becoming friends. Thanks to this class and my country enthusiast friends, I hope this relationship continues to grow.

Thanks for listening to me rant and if you’ve had any similar instances with country or maybe just became a fan like myself, I would love to hear about it!


Filed under Reflection

Murder On Music Row

Artists“Murder On Music Row,” is a popular song originally written by Larry Shell and Larry Cordle in 1999 and later covered by George Strait and Alan Jackson in what came to be a hit duet. When I first heard this song I didn’t fully understand the point it was trying to get across. However, when I heard this song for a second time on one of George Strait’s ‘greatest hits’ CD, I became aware of its lyrical meaning.

This song created much controversy in the music industry because of its criticism towards mainstream country music at that time. The lyrics criticize the on-going trend of pop music integrating it’s way into country music. Strait and Jackson agreed with the meaning behind this song by making their own cover together.

Country music tends to have this reputation of “twangy” songs, fiddle playing, drinking and love stories. The lyrics state, “For the steel guitars no longer cry and fiddles barely play.” It seems as if the country sounds were being taken out of country music around the time the song was written. “They said no one would buy them old drinking and cheating songs.” Traditional country music was slowly dying due to the new style of music and new upcoming artists. The song refers to Meryl Haggard by stating, “Why, the Hag, he wouldn’t have a chance on today’s radio.” Because of the way country music was changing so much, if people heard Meryl on the radio they wouldn’t know what to think.

Murder_on_Music_RowIf you listen to “Murder On Music Row,” which I suggest you do, the sound ties back into the meaning of the song by keeping the true country sound. With the twang in their voices, the fiddle in the background, and the acoustic guitars, Strait and Jackson relay a message to the country music industry, striving to keep the traditional country music alive. As two true country artists, they saw what country music was turning into and what it was soon to become. Strait and Jackson may be seen as the saviors of traditional country music in the era of its changes.

As it seems, many agree that pop country has taken over and “murdered” true country music. It has changed drastically in the past decade, leaving fans questioning, “what is true country music?” If the new music is not classified as country, then what is it?

Lyrics found at:

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Filed under Movies and TV, Music Videos, New Country, New Traditionalism, Song Analysis

Rebel’s Honky Tonk!

703918A few weekends ago, I ventured out with a few of my girlfriends to Rebel’s Honky Tonk, which is a country dancing bar on 5th street. (It apparently now changed its name to Rowdy’s Saloon and made a few changes, but I went there when it was called Rebel’s Honky Tonk, so that’s how I refer to the place now.)

I have been to Midnight Rodeo a few years back, which is pretty much a similar concept as Rebel’s, so this was my official second time to get my two-stepping on. As someone who grew up overseas and mostly in the north, Country music has never really been my thing until I moved to Austin for school. My first time to a country dancing bar, Midnight Rodeo, was definitely an experience; I was a little freshman that did not really know much, and this huge dance floor in the middle filled with everyone who already knew how to two-step was too overwhelming.

Since this was my second time to a country dancing place, I already knew what to expect. I remembered to put on my cowboy boots, and started listening to some country songs a few hours before heading out as my “pre-game.”

When my friends and I got there, it was about 10 p.m. and it was not crowded at all. There were a few people on the dance floor, and others scattered throughout the bar, just drinking beer and chatting. The first thing I noticed was that the dance floor was not as big as Midnight Rodeo’s, and there was a huge mechanical bull! My friends and I first got a few drinks and started chatting up, and shortly after, the bar started to get pretty crowded. I could tell a lot of the people there were much older than us, and I spotted some serious cowboys, with their fancy shirts, Wrangler’s jeans, boots and even the cowboy hats.

I think Rebel’s tried to play mostly country songs, with a few modern dancey songs here and there, to please both younger and older people. Since I already made it clear that I don’t know much of the older country songs, there were only a few songs I recognized that night. I can’t remember all names, but I remember singing along to Eli Young Band’s “Drunk Last Night,” and Darius Rucker’s “Wagon Wheel.”

At one point my friends tricked me into going on the dance floor with them, and I attempted to two-step to some country song that I’ve never heard of, and this old-ish gentleman who looked like serious two-stepper helped me out, which was very nice of him. As the bar got more and more crowded, I could see more people two-stepping on the dance floor, and more people using the mechanical bull, overall just enjoying themselves with some good ole’ country music with friends.

I had much fun that night at Rebel’s. I think it’s really awesome that you can see find a spot to get your country dance on in downtown Austin. Being inside and hanging out with people there made me feel like I was in some small town Texas, fully experiencing “the South” – the music, the mechanical bull, friendly people, and the whole atmosphere.


Filed under Austin, Dancing, Live Music

Girl in A Country Song

Maddie and Tae's first single - "Girl In A Country Song"Ever listen to the lyrics of country songs? I mean really listen? I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes, I just play music and sing along without even knowing what I’m singing about. It becomes second nature after you hear a song a couple of times; the lyrics are constantly stuck in your head, the beat is catchy, and you can’t help but belt out the latest Luke Bryan song at the top of your lungs in the car. But when you really listen to the lyrics, sometimes you catch things that you overlook during a normal, relaxed listen.

To combat this lack of awareness, new duo Maddie and Tae released a song titled “Girl In A Country Song” in July. When I first heard this song on the radio, I couldn’t help but laugh and turn it up, because every single lyric was SO TRUE. Here’s a sampling of the lyrics:

“Bein’ the girl in a country song / How in the world did it go so wrong? / Like all we’re good for / Is looking good for you and your friends on the weekend / Nothing more / We used to get a little respect / Now we’re lucky if we even get / To climb up in your truck, keep my mouth shut and ride along / And be the girl in a country song”

And that’s not even the best part. The song takes so many jabs at the typical lyrics of a male-sung country song, from Luke Bryan’s “That’s My Kind of Night” to Thomas Rhett’s “Get Me Some Of That.” These girls take sarcasm, humor, and attitude to a whole new level, but at the same time, they really are trying to draw attention to a huge issue in modern-day country music.

Role reversal from the music video

When objectifying women is the norm of a genre and people don’t think twice about it when singing along, that’s a problem. Most people associate lyrics like that with rap songs, where they constantly talk about women shaking what they’ve got for the men around them. So when did it become so accepted in country lyrics? The sad part is that I’m completely guilty of the “in one ear, out the other” habit when listening to songs. But this song really made me stop and think about the songs that I listen to, especially this lyric:

“Aww no, Conway and George Strait / Never did it this way / Back in the old days / Aww y’all, we ain’t a cliché / That ain’t no way/ To treat a lady”

They said it perfectly. What happened to the old George Strait songs when a woman was treasured? The Conway Twitty songs about his “darlin’” rather than the generic label “girl.” You know, I honestly couldn’t even tell you. All I know is that I genuinely wouldn’t want to be the girl in a country song.

Girl In A Country Song – Maddie and Tae (music video)


Filed under Bro Country, Music Videos, Women

Bro, That’s what Country is all about.

Has anyone else every heard of a subgenre of country music called “Bro Country?” Well… Neither have I, but I found this Time article interesting so I decided to look into it further.

Blog post 2 pic 2The well-known Country music duo Florida Georgia Line is the epitome of what is known as Bro Country. It has a really relaxed sound to it, and it makes you think about all the good times that you’ve had with your boys (I’m not sure if girls can relate as much with this topic). Bro Country is all about the bros and that kind of lifestyle. It involves: parties, drinking, and girls, of course!! Other artists that portray this kind of vibe are Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, and Luke Bryan.

The debate over bro country not only divides guys and girls, but also the frat boys and the “old farts.” In response to this situation between the kids and the old men, Blake Shelton comments: “Well that’s because you (old men) don’t buy records anymore, jackass. The kids do, and they don’t want to buy the music you were buying.” The turning point from the older side to the bro side of country was most likely with the release of the song Cruise by Florida Georgia Line.

From then on out, artists used guitars as opposed to fiddles more often, and the sound of Country music in general seemed to shift. It shifted to a more relaxed, younger sound that seems to only be growing in popularity. The appearance of the modern day country artist changed along with the sound, as well. These artists are now covered in tattoos, tank top wearin’, young, party hearted frat boys it seems. Country music has seemed to move to be very modern, and this shift has only occurred in the past few years.

Country star Kenny Chesney is a firm supporter of the Bro Country movement, as displayed in his song “No Shirt, No Shirt, No Problem.” He is a very laid-back and carefree country artist, making him display what being a bro as all about. In his newest album, the track “Wild Child” he describes the kind of girl that country boys are interested in. Chesney says: “If you didn’t wear cut-off jeans or a bikini top, or sit on a tailgate and drink, then you really weren’t worthy.” The Bro Country movement lets everybody know exactly what they’re lookin’ for in life and that it’s all about having a good time.

Comment and let me know what y’all think. Thanks for reading!!


Filed under Bro Country