Monthly Archives: November 2014

America, Freedom, and Toby Keith

captain-america-and-george-bush-freedomMany people disagree with Toby Keith and his views on what it means to be an American. Artists such as The Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines have been known to speak out against Keith and his personal opinions. A week after 9/11, Toby Keith came out with a single titled “Courtesy of the Red White and Blue (The Angry American).” Keith noted on 60 Minutes II that it only took him 20 minutes to write this song.

I guess 20 minutes was all that was needed to express how Keith was feeling. In the first verse he explains how his father served in the army and how his nation is now under attack. When listening to this song we realize Keith is fully supportive of the war for various reasons. Critics have bashed this song for creating the appearance of Americans to be insensible. According to the CBS News review of the song, Natalie Maines stated that “she was embarrassed George Bush was from Texas” and that the song “made country music seem ignorant” (Leung).

But really, how in any way is this song ignorant? I enjoy listening to Toby Keith for this exact reason. He has a way of bringing out the patriotism for America to his audience. Keith has built his credentials for being a true American and has a great way of expressing it through his music. In fact, after releasing this song, CBS News stated that Keith has never been more famous or wealthy. The year the song dropped he will gross more than $45 million from his music.

Lyrics such as “We’ll put a boot in your ass, It’s the American way”, is one of the specific lines out of the song that has seen criticism for Toby Keith. Seeing this criticism, it makes me wonder what the people who speak out against Keith would want to listen to after 9/11? I was only in first grade when the twin towers went down, but I can assure you that if I were in high school when it happened and had heard this song, I would be so ecstatic to put a boot in the Taliban’s ass. I would not want try to make peace with the terrorists after 9/11, and I don’t understand how any true American can bash Toby Keith for stating how he feels about it.

toby-keith-WI-0109-lg-216x300Keith didn’t stop after seeing that some people did not agree with him. He went on to create an album titled Shock ‘N’ Y’all, which contains a collection of songs that some humanistic people might see as controversial. One specific song is titled “The Taliban Song.” Keith says, “Now, The Taliban song is a funny song. It’s about a peace-loving Afghanistan man who’s trying to get out of Afghanistan while the Taliban evening news report is telling everybody to remain calm.” Keith is representing the patriotic American that’s in most of us and by listening to his music we can relate. So yes, Natalie Maines and friends, justice has been served and the battle has raged, and I hope you’re sorry you messed with Toby Keith because he speaks the truth for the U.S. of A.

Leung, Rebecca. “Courtesy Of The Red, White & Blue.”, 28 Oct. 2003. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. 


Filed under Politics, USA

CMT’s 40 Most Influential Artists

CMT_logoThe folks at CMT are releasing the names in their list of country music’s 40 most influential artists of all time. So far, the list includes some obvious names, with George Strait at #5, Johnny Cash at #8, and George Jones at #10. Surprisingly, it also includes a number of performers who are not country themselves, but who have nevertheless influenced the genre in notable ways, including Michael Jackson (#12), The Beatles (#14), and Led Zeppelin (#32).

Yesterday, the site revealed its entry for #4 — Dolly Parton. (Great choice.) Now, the question is, what artists will claim the top 3 spots?

It’s not an easy question to answer. There are a lot of classic country performers whose names haven’t appeared yet–Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family, Gene Autry, Roy Acuff, Bill Monroe, Ernest Tubb, Chet Atkins, Lefty Frizzell, Webb Pierce, Kitty Wells, Marty Robbins, Waylon Jennings, and Tammy Wynette to name just a few. Despite Dolly’s high ranking, the list is shy on female performers, and Wells–the first woman to truly crack country music’s “men’s club” wide open–would be a deserving contender. Given the list’s overall modern bias, I guess it’s also possible that Shania Twain, the Dixie Chicks, or even Blake Shelton could find a place in the top 3, but I doubt it.

Here are my off-the-cuff predictions for the last names to be revealed:

Stagecoach: California's Country Music Festival 2010 - Day 1#3. Merle Haggard. Like Dolly, Merle’s been on the scene since the 1960s and has become one of the genre’s most respected elder statesmen. I think #3 is a little high (not a diss — I think he’s great), but it’s hard to imagine CMT leaving Bakersfield’s favorite ex-convict hanging.

Elvis-Presley#2. Elvis Presley. Like I mentioned, the list includes several artists who are more associated with rock/pop than country. Realistically, Elvis probably deserves the #1 spot, as country music has never quite recovered from “Heartbreak Hotel,” which topped all the charts in 1956. But he just can’t win this fight because…

bestcountry-hanksplash#1. Hank Williams. More than 60 years after his death, ole Hank remains one of country music’s favorite inspirations and most recognizable icons. It will be a complete and utter rebellion if any other artist claims the top spot.

So there you have it. It’s not clear when #3 and #2 will be announced, but #1 will be revealed on December 1. What performers do you think might make the final 3? Who are you surprised to see on (or omitted from) this list?

(P.S. Yes, you’ll get credit for commenting on my post. I want love, too, y’all.)


Filed under Awards, Lists

Texas Country is My Kind of Country

As many of you know, Austin, Texas is known as “The Capital of Live Music.” When I first moved to Austin I had heard about all the great local events with live music, but I never expected it to be a weekly thing. Growing up just thirty minutes away from Houston, if I wanted live music I had to drive there, and most of the time it was only really famous artists. I love any type of live music, but my favorite, is Texas Country. Texas country, unlike Nashville country, is true to its roots. To me, Texas country brings back the original country music sound. Now I am not saying I do not like the “new country,” otherwise known as country-pop, but something about  Texas country brings back the homey feel.

Cody-JohnsonFor example, I go to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo every year, which they bring in big performers at the end of every rodeo. I have seen a numerous amount of country artists perform there such as Brad Paisley, Lady Antebellum, Zak Brown Band and even Clay Walker. However, every year in my hometown, we hold the Pasadena Rodeo in September. Not only do they have rodeo fairground events, they also bring in smaller, upcoming country artists, which are usually the “Texas country” bands. Texas country music has always been one of my favorite types on music. From Josh Abbott Band to Cody Johnson, I have always stuck with the little “Texas” bands.

Randy-RogersThis past weekend, I went to the Nutty Brown Café to see Randy Rogers Band play. Listening to country music, hearing the fiddle play, while in a crowd filled with cowboy boots, I really felt like a true Texan. Along with going to the Nutty Brown Café, I have gone to many festivals and fairs where Texas country bands performed. A few of those are The Strawberry Festival and The Gator Festival. Sounds redneck right? I love getting to wear my boots and listen to some true country music.

Although Texas country bands don’t always make it big, they are considered big to us Texas country lovin’ fans. They may not make it big nationally but here, they seem to be pop-stars. My sister recently moved to California, and says that not many people have heard of bands like Josh Abbott, Randy Rodgers, and Kyle Park. If you look at their tour dates, it seems as if they stay in southern states like Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and of course, Texas.


Filed under Reflection, Texas

Women in Country Music

dolly-partonTwo weekends ago I was astounded to find that an old friend had stopped in town for Halloween and so we met up for lunch on Sunday afternoon. We somehow started talking about country music and I told her about my Rhetoric of Country Music class and she told me she wished she was in our class. And we continued to talk about country music and what we like, who we like, and why like it. As I listened to her I got lost in her pretty blue eyes and wondered what it would be like for a girl like her to be country music artist. I know this all sounds a little stupid but i thought more and more of what it might be like in a day of the life of a female country music artist. I feel as though i reached a few conclusions.

Women have traditionally been excluded from country music because the music industry in general up until the 1970’s was a boys club. But with the emergence of women like Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton women gained some momentum in the country music scene. They defined the role of women in country music at the time but there was certainly much progress to be made. Another influential female country music artist was Sammi Smith, who was a part of the Outlaw country movement in the 70’s. These women opened a door into the world of the country music industry that couldn’t have been opened without very strong personalities and a very carefully crafted deliveries.

Today you see female artists such as the Dixie Chicks, Alison Krauss, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, etc. They all seem to draw from the inspirational careers of the women mentioned above. Women have come a very long way in the music industry in general but specifically there is much more credit given to the prominent women of country music. There is a loud voice within country music and she’s fighting for even more say. The demographic that country music serves is a traditional group but a shift is coming as women gain more say in every facet of our lives.

miranda-lambert-cover-story-3a-billboard-400Furthermore, female country singers seem to have very strong voices. Carrie Underwood, Kimberly Perry of The Band Perry, Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum, and Miranda Lambert are all great examples of women that have some very powerful voices present both in and outside of the recording studio. Popular among some of these female artists are songs centered around anger and frustration and they let that be known in their music. The popular phrase “Hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn” rings true in the voices of these prominent women.

They are a force to be reckoned with in the future and the men of the country music industry will have to step aside as women gain a more prominent role in the country music industry. I will observe with interest and and an open mindedness to see how the women of country music will prevail.


Filed under Politics, Women

The Queen of Country Music

loretta-lynn-real-ageSince I’ve been researching Loretta Lynn a lot lately, I started thinking about how the only reason I was interested in her was because my Grandma told me that Loretta is her favorite country singer. This made me realize that I really didn’t know much about her beforehand, because she is not someone that people of my generation will go out of their way to listen to. As someone who considers herself an avid listener of country music, this was very hard to process. I was starting to wonder if she had just been completely forgotten about, as I had not heard her name in a while.

Imagine my excitement when I received a message from my mother about Loretta Lynn on the CMAs. Kacey Musgraves was performing “You’re Looking at Country” for the award show audience, and in the middle of the song stopped and introduced Loretta Lynn as the “Queen of country music.” Loretta walked out in a sparkly long dress and finished off the song as a duet with Musgraves.

lorettaThe best part of the performance, in my opinion, is looking at the audience’s reaction. The second Lynn came on stage, everyone in the building was on their feet with a round of applause that could bring any performer to tears. The duo finished out the sound, harmonizing perfectly and standing side by side with their arms around each other. The audience was going crazy, and I think this could be attributed to the possibility that seeing Loretta Lynn on stage was very unexpected.

Aside from the research I have been doing on her the past few weeks, I have not really heard her name thrown around much. I feel like people are so focused on who the next up and coming country stars are, that they forget to take a step back and look at some of the most influential performers of the country music history. Loretta Lynn made waves across the country, topping charts year after year; so how could someone so big just fall off the grid? Back in the day, Lynn was all over the country world, and this just shows that she is not ready to be forgotten.

The Queen is has put herself back on the throne, and this can only mean good things for her, especially in the midst of her Coal Miner’s Daughter tour, which is continuing next weekend. From everything I’ve learned about her recently, I know that Loretta is a pretty amazing lady, so I cannot wait to see what she is going to do with the rest of the tour, as she never ceases to amaze and inspire those around her, and this is clearly seen in the adoration that fans showed her last week.

Take a look for yourself:


Filed under Classic Country, Reflection, Women