Monthly Archives: November 2014

Darius Rucker

dariusJust like everybody else, I probably listen to music everyday. I love listening to music when I am getting ready to go somewhere. It tends to put me in a really good mood. My go-to station on Pandora is Darius Rucker! The majority of the time I feel like his station is always on point! I feel like I can relate to his music so much! Rucker is a solo country artist who first began in a band called Hootie & the Blowfish. In the mid-90s his band would perform pop/rock songs. Unfortunately, this band did last very long and Rucker launched his solo career singing R&B and country.

One thing that I enjoy about Rucker’s music is that most of his songs have a positive vibe. The very first time I heard one of his song’s, It Wont Be Like This for Long, I immediately fell in love. This song is in his album Learn to Live. Even though this song is talking about someone’s child and how eventually one day that child will be on their own. I can relate to this song in two different ways. In one way, coming from a family of five older siblings (which I am the baby of the family) I feel like in my parent’s eyes, I will always be their baby. When I was in high school, I felt that my parents were in denial that sooner or later I was going to have to leave their home and go off to college. Those four years were probably the fastest four years of their lives. The day that they brought me to college was the day first time that I had ever seen my mother cry. Seeing my mom cried made me feel sad! I didn’t want to see her like and I felt horrible and right away I though if I had made the right decision about attending college in a different city. Without a doubt, my parents were very understanding and supportive about my decision of leaving home and furthering my education. In another way, I look back and realize that little girl that my parents dropped off in college is now a senior at the best university there is! I can’t believe that four years have passed by so quickly! I now think sooner or later I will be going through the same thing! It gives me the chills knowing that one day I will be the one dropping off my own kids in school!

Another favorite song by him is I Got Nothin’ . There is obviously no perfect relationship. In a relationship, you are going to have to probably go through the highest and lowest points (if you are in a “serious” relationship) and there are going to be times when you really don’t have anything to say. Arguments are inedible. Who knows how long they are going to last. In most cases, someone in the relationships is not going to want to make things worse and they are not going to say anything. I fell like this is the message he is trying to send out. That if you don’t say anything you are going to lose the one you truly care about.


Filed under New Country

Country Music in Video Games

Before I took this class, most of the country music I had encountered had been at rodeos or the radio.   These mediums traditionally play a specific type of country music, so I never really considered myself a fan based off of what I heard. This changed, however, once I was introduced to Hank Williams’ music. His music was simple, somewhat folk-sounding, and placed a lot of importance on story telling. His music was completely refreshing for me and I was instantly hooked on country music. Ironically, I was introduced to Hank Williams through a video game, something that did not even exist during Hank Williams’ time.

TheLastOfUsThe aforementioned game was my brother’s (seriously) copy of The Last of Us, a 2013 game about the zombie apocalypse. It is a beautiful, cinematic game that follows two characters, a hardened survivor and a little girl, as they struggle to survive the end of society. It definitely picked up on the zombie trend of the last couple years and appeals to a younger gamer audience. In fact, The Last of Us has sold over 7 million copies since its release a year ago.

I have included a video of one of the scenes that features Hank Williams. In this scene, protagonists Ellie and Joel playfully banter during one of their few peaceful moments. After a few moments they pop a Hank Williams tape into the cassette player and Hank Williams’ song “I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive” begins to play. Joel comments that the tape is a “good one” and Ellie hopelessly remarks that it is better than nothing. Joel (the older survivor) appreciates the tape, while Ellie says that it is better than nothing.

Note:  this video has some colorful language and themes, only watch if you can handle such material.

To me, this was a very telling moment for both characters, as well as Hank Williams’ music. His music is instantly recognizable to the older survivor, while sounding obnoxious and revolting to the younger girl. I believe the same goes for real life, as mature audiences will appreciate the timelessness of old country music while younger audiences will instantly dismiss the music as sounding hillbilly. In a heart-warming change of taste, however, Ellie declares that “this isn’t that bad”.

I feel like Ellie and Joel’s exchange has some relevance to country music. Younger audiences (like Ellie) usually haven’t been exposed to very much country music, at least not classics like Hank Williams. After listening to the tape for just a few moments, she has already developed a taste for country music. I feel like this is true for most people: they say that they don’t like country music, but once you show them the “right” artist or song, their taste dramatically changes. The Last of Us did this to me by simply including Hank Williams’ music in the game. Although I didn’t know of him beforehand, I liked his music once I heard it and it opened me up to more country music.

In a world dominated by technology, there are nearly an infinite number artists and songs available to listen to. Many younger audiences tend to gravitate towards music that they are familiar with, such as hip-hop or pop or even electronic. The Last of Us managed to alter my own musical preferences simply by showing me some old Hank Williams songs and letting me know of their existence. It is sort of like a gifted basketball player who has never picked up a basketball; the second he does, it will just feel right to him. Similarly, when I first heard Hank Williams I knew that I had to learn more about this type of music. In a world dominated by technology, I can at least appreciate that some forms of modern media still pay homage to old country music legends.


Filed under Honky Tonk, Movies and TV, Reflection

Making a Music Video

Scene from video 2

When I registered for the Rhetoric of Country Music class last spring, I figured that we would be listening to lots of music, reading lyrics, learning about the history, and watching videos to learn about the rhetoric of music. I never would have thought that we would have an assignment where we would have to make a music video to a country song. At first, I had no idea what I would do with my group, or what song we would choose, but I knew this would be an interesting and fun experience.

My group was made up of Jessica Jakobeit (JJ), Tori Horvath, and myself and we started looking for a song that we would like to make a video for. We could have chosen a song with a video already but we wanted to make one for a song that does not have a video already. That part was a bit complicated because there were a lot of songs that we liked but they already had a music videos. Eventually we started looking into Carrie Underwood songs and I mentioned one of the songs from her first album, Some Hearts. I had always liked her song “Starts With Goodbye” because I could relate to that song at one point in my life, so I thought that that song would be interesting to make a video for. We listened to the song as a group and started brainstorming ideas for it.

Picture from video

Kyle and JJ laughing while recording the video

The next class day, we started to record the different scenes that we would have in our songs. Since we did not have a guy to play a role in the video, we got a friend of ours, Kyle Moore, to be a part of it. I thought he was a good choice to be in the video because he loves country music, maybe even more than some of us in the group. We had to record some scenes outside, well all of the scenes outside and it was not the best weather to be outside because it was so cold. It took us the entire class period to record and I even had to meet again with JJ after our dance class to finish up. After we had all the scenes we needed, we started to put the video together, which was my favorite part. We used the footage that we got and got to add some transitions and other details to it to try to show a story that the song was talking about. It was fun getting to play with different features on iMovie and it was just fun in general, mostly because we were laughing at ourselves. Well we would laugh at Kyle and JJ but it was in a friendly way and I think they did amazing acting. I believe it took us like 3 hours in total to finish the video but I think it came out pretty good for not having almost any experience in making videos.

This project is definitely one of my favorites ever and I am really proud of what we did. I hope everyone else in class had as much fun as we did and I would love to hear about your own experiences about making a video.


Filed under Class work, Music Videos, Reflection

Student-Made Music Videos

If you’re joining the Country Music Project for the first time, welcome! The students enrolled in the “Rhetoric of Country Music” course at the University of Texas have spent the last couple of class periods preparing music videos for some of their favorite country songs. The purpose of the activity was to give them an inside look at the process of making a video to accompany a song, and to practice their skills at bringing their favorite songs’ stories to life. Please note that these videos were created for entirely educational purposes and do mean to infringe upon the rights of any of the artists involved in the original recordings.

Miranda Lambert’s “Dry Town” (2007). Video by Gerrit Cook, Brittany Fietsam, and Lejla Pracic.

Kacey Musgraves’s “Follow Your Arrow” (2013). Video by Mikey Casarez, Carilu Martinez, and Elizabeth Stack. [Note: The video includes footage from Burning Man (Nevada) and Austin’s Zilker Park.]

Taylor Swift’s “Jump Then Fall” (2008). Video by Alyssa Hazen, Minsu Kim, Dena Lipper. and Tamar Oren.

George Strait’s “Here for a Good Time” (2011). Video by Amy Burt, Hannah Parmer, and Ramie Payne.

George Strait’s “I Saw God Today” (2008). Video by Holly Kern, Zane Gurwitz, and MaKayla Markey.

Carrie Underwood’s “Starts with Goodbye” (2005). Video by Tori Horvath, Jessica Jakobeit, and Alina Monzón.

Hank Williams’s “I Won’t Be Home No More” (1953). Video by Mark Anderson, Brent Borman, and William Glass.

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Filed under Class work, Music Videos

The Houston Rodeo

Every city has its “signature event”. That signature event is a special occasion, whether one day long or a month long, that makes that city special and different then any other city. New York City has New Year’s Eve at Times Square, New Orleans’s Mardi Gras and Dallas’s Texas State Fair, Houston’s is the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Houston-RodeoThe Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo began as the Houston Fat Stock Show and Livestock Exposition in April 1932, adding rodeo in 1938. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is the world’s largest live entertainment and livestock exhibition. Now held annually in March, the show draws nearly 2 million people, with more than 1.2 million attending the rodeo and concerts in Reliant Stadium. Rodeo Houston has earned the status of the highest-paying regular-season rodeo with its innovative Super Series format. Since 1932, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has committed more than $230 million to the youth of Texas.

What a lot of people don’t know is that the Houston Rodeo is far more then a provider of live entertainment and amusement for the residents of Houston. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is also a charity that benefits youth, supports education, and facilitates better agricultural practices through exhibitions and presentation. Since its beginning in 1932, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has committed nearly $375 million to scholarships, research, endowments, calf scramble participants, junior show exhibitors, School Art participants, and other educational youth programs.

Growing up, I loved going to the rodeo for the carnival rides and of course, the great live music that comes every year. During the month of March, everyone knows that the place to go to is the rodeo. After school, during the weekends, my friends and I would be there without a fail. I love everything about the rodeo. The crazy rides that would make me and my friends nauseous and dizzy for hours, the greasy fried food that would give us stomach aches for weeks, and the live music that was engraved in our hearts and mind for years, all make the rodeo experience something special.

I started going to the rodeo when I was in the 9th grade, which was in 2009. Every year, the rodeo lineup is different, maybe some retuning artists, but never exactly the same. My very first country experience was during the Houston rodeo. Everyone wearing cowboy boots, drinking beer, and dancing around was my first impression of the “country culture”, and I loved it!

DSC_0215Here are the some of the lineups of the Houston Rodeo in the past few years:

2009 Entertainment Lineup
March 3 Rascal Flatts
March 4 Alan Jackson
March 5 Clay Walker
March 6 Gladys Knight and Solange
March 7 Trace Adkins
March 8 Jonas Brothers
March 9 Lady Antebellum
March 10 Toby Keith
March 11 Reba McEntire
March 12 Brad Paisley
March 13 Clint Black
March 14 Josh Turner
March 15 Ramon Ayala and Alacranes Musical
March 16 Darius Rucker
March 17 Keith Urban
March 18 Gary Allan
March 19 Pat Green
March 20 Taylor Swift
March 21 Brooks & Dunn

2010 Entertainment Lineup
March 3 Dierks Bentley
March 4 Kenny Chesney
March 5 Mary J. Blige
March 6 Jason Aldean
March 7 Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato
March 8 Tim McGraw
March 9 Darius Rucker
March 10 Rascal Flatts
March 11 Brad Paisley
March 12 Toby Keith
March 13 Blake Shelton
March 14 Grupo Pesado and El Trono de México
March 15 Lady Antebellum
March 16 Keith Urban
March 17 Gary Allen
March 18 The Black Eyed Peas
March 19 Eli Young Band
March 20 Brooks and Dunn
March 21 Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez

2011 Entertainment Lineup
March 1 Clay Walker
March 2 Trace Adkins
March 3 Sugarland
March 4 Janet Jackson
March 5 Billy Currington
March 6 Selena Gomez
March 7 Tim McGraw
March 8 Keith Urban
March 9 Martina McBride
March 10 Rascal Flatts
March 11 Lady Antebellum
March 12 Gary Allan
March 13 La Arrolladora Banda El Limón and La Leyenda
March 14 Kid Rock
March 15 KISS
March 16 Miranda Lambert
March 17 Zac Brown Band
March 18 Alan Jackson
March 19 Brad Paisley
March 20 Jason Aldean

2012 Entertainment Lineup
February 28 Alabama
February 29 Kid Rock
March 1 Lady Antebellum
March 2 John Legend
March 3 Luke Bryan
March 4 Big Time Rush
March 5 Eli Young Band
March 6 Enrique Iglesias
March 7 Blake Shelton
March 8 ZZ Top
March 9 Reba McEntire
March 10 Chris Young
March 11 La Original Banda El Limón and Duelo
March 12 Zac Brown Band
March 13 Miranda Lambert
March 14 The Band Perry
March 15 Jason Aldean
March 16 Train
March 17 Brad Paisley
March 18 Alan Jackson

One of the main reasons why I love the rodeo is because of the great combination of pop and country artists that make the lineup so fun and appealing to all types of crowds. It is interesting to see the different artists that come every year, because while the rodeo works hard to maintain the concerts mainly country, with time more and more pop artists come and perform at the rodeo. While there are artists like Maroon 5 and Usher perform for those who are less into country, and then there are artists like Blake Shelton and Brad Paisley return every year for all the country lovers out there.

DSC_0280The Houston Rodeo is a great time for families and friends to hear great music, eat good food, and enjoy each other’s company. I strongly recommend going, it really is a unique and fun experience for everyone!


Filed under Live Music, Texas