Monthly Archives: December 2014

Songwriting Is No Easy Task

I’ve written songs on and off from a pretty young age. Or I should say I’ve partially written songs. I almost never finish them, because halfway through or so I become hypercritical and decide I hate everything. There will usually be one part of the song that feels right, that actually says what I want to say and how I want to say it, while the rest doesn’t seem to measure up. When I do finish a song, that’s sort of the end of the road. I almost never share what I’ve written with anyone else.

For these reasons I was immediately hesitant when our final project was assigned that included the option to write an original song. I knew I could compile a playlist easily enough, but for me that felt like taking the easy way out. I’m pretty fond of expressing my opinion, and writing a song about a current social issue seemed like a great way to do that. If I could get it done. I was suddenly determined to finish a damn song, one I knew other people would get to see.

And so it began. The complete and total lack of any creative inspiration. I had no idea where to start, or even what I wanted my topic to be! Luckily, I remembered that on my phone I’d kept a few recordings of lines to songs that had popped into my head, but never been developed beyond that. I decided to listen back through them and see if anything sparked. There very first one I listened to was the lines, “Danger, Danger/I look it in the eye/ sometimes I get to wonderin’ why I’m not afraid to die.” I had forgotten all about them, but suddenly I could clearly see the direction I wanted to go.

Those lines became the basis for my chorus, which I was able to finish not long after. Then once again I was stumped. By now I knew that I wanted to tackle the issue of alcoholism, but I still wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to address it from. After thinking about it for probably too long, I decided I wanted the song to be written from the female perspective of someone who acknowledges she has a problem, if only vaguely, but at this point doesn’t believe she can change. While I didn’t want the song to be a cry into your Ben & Jerry’s type, I still wanted to convey some sense of sadness behind the wildness of the narrator’s life. I wanted to show that even though she tries to make it seem like she wouldn’t want things any other way, it’s more that she’s resigned herself to the pain.

Once that decision was made the song flowed pretty easily. Faster than any song I’ve written before. Even so, once it was done I still questioned/am questioning every line. The thought of other people reading what I have written, something that I care about, well it’s kind of terrifying. It’s a very vulnerable position to be in having others be able to judge something that comes from a personal place. I have such respect for the artists who do it all the time. Ultimately, I think it’s that vulnerability that can make music so unifying and beautiful.


Filed under Reflection

Dancing on the Grave of Country Music

Florida_Georgia_Line_Nicholas_ZaludNever before had someone expressed my feelings better than I could myself, but Jaime-Paul Falcon did just this in his review of the Florida Georgia Line and Jason Aldean concert at the Gexa Energy Pavilion in Dallas on October 25th. I do not like bro-country because it is not real country. If I showed you a picture of two guys dressed in jeans with chains hanging from their belts and cut-off shirts (that had their own band’s logo on it..) that show their tattoo-covered arms, I doubt you would guess that they are considered to be country artists. I doubt this because country artists are typically considered to be classy, all American boys/girls. Bro-country artists include rap in their songs, which makes no sense to me, wear outfits like the ones I just described, and have no real musical talent (in my opinion). I know I sound harsh, but I just can’t help how much I dislike bro country.

jason-aldeanAnd neither can Jaime-Paul Falcon. He explained my feelings about bro-country better than I ever could. He stated that he would “gladly endure [ebola] so long as I never again have to suffer the experience of sitting seven rows back from the stage while Florida-George Line and Jason Aldean gleefully danced on the grave of one of the most purely American forms of art”. Harsh, but true. So many country artists in the past (George Strait, Conway Twitty, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn – the list goes on and on) have made great songs that had meaningful lyrics, beautiful instrumentation, and are genuinely good quality songs and bands like Florida Georgia Line and Jason Aldean are most likely making some of these artists roll over in their graves.

These great artists didn’t make songs about drinking booze and picking up girls in their jacked up pickup trucks – they sang about love, heartbreak, and the country lives they actually lived. Tyler Hubbard and Scott Stapp of Florida Georgia Line and Jason Aldean did not grow up on farms or live the lives they describe in their songs. And neither did their audience. As Falcon described it, “I swear it’s like the people who love these songs don’t realize that none of them are actually farmers”. Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line also constantly sing about partying and drinking beer and getting girls. That’s not what I want to listen to – I want to hear about love and living the best life possible.

I definitely recommend reading this review for any country fan, especially those who do not think bro-country is real country music. It is humorous, witty, and in my opinion, true. Bro-country is not country music. I’ll admit, I often catch myself bobbing my head to songs like “When She Says Baby” and I know every word to “Cruise”, but I do not think these are good quality songs or are real country.


Filed under Bro Country, Country Pop

Hey, Jason Aldean

For my birthday, my awesome roommates bought all three of us tickets to go see Jason Aldean perform at the AT&T Stadium in San Antonio! I was super excited to have had the chance to share this experience with them because this was the first official concert I had ever been to! Not to mention, that this was the end of Jason Aldean “Burning it Down” tour. Jason Aldean is probably one of my favorite country artist and knowing that I was going to be able to see him perform live was super exciting! Getting to San Antonio was a bit hectic because there was so much traffic but while we impatiently waited, it allowed us to get our vocals warmed up!

Florida Georgia LineWe FINALLY made it to San Antonio and the concert started at approximately 7:30 p.m. As we were going up to our seats Florida Georgia Line was performing on stage already! From our section, we were able to see them straight ahead! Some of the earlier songs they performed were “Anything Goes” to “Here’s to the Good Times.” Their performance lasted for about an hour but within that hour they were able to execute a great performance! Florida Georgia Line knew exactly how to get the crowd going! While performing they would run from one side of the stage to the next trying to engage as much as possible with the audience. As their performance was getting close to an end they performed “Stay” and “This is How We Roll.” Their performance ended with “Cruise” and the crowded went wild!

Jason AldeanAs we all impatiently waited for Jason Aldean to come out, I couldn’t help to notice that the stadium had reached its full capacity! On stage there were four video screens and a giant letter A. Aldean came out performing his first single in 2005 “Hicktown.” He got the crowd moving with “My Kinda Party” and “Fly Over States.” One of my favorite parts about concert was when he performed “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson. Even though she appeared on a pre-taped on the screen, I found out that was still pretty awesome that he was able to perform that song! Aldean did not take a break during his performance. He sang for about an hour straight! There was a time when he teased the audience in making us believe that he was going to sing “Burning it Down” but he assured the audience that he was going to perform it later on. He finally performed “Burning it Down” and the audience went crazy! He followed the song my performing “Dirt Road Anthem” and “Crazy” which at this point I had already lost my voice.

I can finally be able to scratch off my bucket list seeing Jason Aldean in concert! By far this has been one of the best experiences ever but I was so glad to have had the opportunity to share this with my closest friends! They are just awesome!!


Filed under Bro Country, Live Music

The Cowboy Rides Away

houston lsrThroughout my life, I never really had a preference of what kind of music I listened to. I mostly listened to pop music, but that’s really only because that’s what was on the radio every time I got in the car. On a Sunday afternoon in March of 2013, I was driving around, when I got a call from my friend. She told me that she had gotten two free tickets to the George Strait concert at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and wanted to know if I wanted to go with her. I, of course, was in shock. This was THE concert that everyone wanted to go to that year.

It was the king of country music in his final show at the rodeo, and I was given an opportunity to go, for free. People paid hundreds of dollars for their tickets, and I was going for free. I didn’t really know what to expect as I entered Reliant Stadium that evening for the concert. I had never really been into country music, but I think that’s because I lived in Ohio for most of my childhood and it really isn’t popular at all there. When George Strait entered onto the stage riding a horse, I knew I was in for a wild ride.

GS 2013He played his set, with everyone going crazy every time he came to a popular song such as “Amarillo by Morning” or “How ‘bout them Cowgirls.” As the concert drew to a close and Strait left the stadium, my friend and I started to do the same. Luckily we hadn’t gotten too far when he turned around and came right back out on to the stage for what would be his first of two encore performances. At this point we were completely star struck; I had never experienced anything like that show. It was the most reserved of the shows I have seen at the rodeo, however it was also the most powerful. He didn’t try and amplify his performance with flashy lights and sound effects; all he needed was his horse and his guitar to make this one of the greatest performances I will ever see in my life.

Although I wasn’t the biggest fan before, I can now say that country music is definitely my music of choice. I never really thought I would stray from the comfort of pop music, what I knew and loved, but George Strait showed me what real music is like that night, and I now know that country music is really the only music for me.


Filed under Live Music, New Traditionalism, Reflection, Texas

“Just Give it Away”: Country’s Best Breakup Songs

Since we had a greatest love songs blog posted this morning, we might as well just go ahead and cover the greatest country music break up songs while we’re at it! So thanks Brittany for helping me come up with my blog post idea.

Breakup songs are the BEST. When you’re in the “cupcake” phase of love, usually those songs listed in Brittany’s article below are the ones that have been put on repeat on your iPod. But just as fast as something so beautiful as love can come together, it can fall apart just as fast. And who doesn’t like to blast a mad, revengeful breakup song when they have just been dumped? I know I do!

So here’s my favorite country break-up songs:

  • How can anyone make a playlist about any country song and not put a George Strait song? This song was written about a divorce and all the harsh feelings and emotions that follow a divorce. In the song, they’re deciding who’s going to take what and how the money is going to be divided and both parties are just so nonchalant and don’t want any memories of the other person, hinting the break up was ugly.

“How do You Like me Now?” by Toby Keith

  • A classic Toby Keith song. This music video is quite comical and I have personally loved this song since it came out. This song is about a guy who wanted this girl in high school but she wasn’t interested and then 20 years later he hits her up and shows her what she could’ve been. He keeps making references to how he’s on the radio and in her ear and she cant get rid of him because he’s so famous.

“Bye Bye” by Jo Dee Messina

  • This song is a little older also. It’s about the narrator and her boyfriend who can’t make up his mind on what he wants with her. So she “got a lead foot down on my accelerator”,” I ain’t ever lookin back, and that’s a fact”. She doesn’t need his indecisiveness.

“How Am I Doin” by Dierks Bentley

  • I swear Dierks Bentley’s songs never disappoint me. This song is about an old girlfriend calling her ex and asking how he’s been. After she asks “how am I holdin up since you did me wrong,” he goes on to explain to her how amazing his life has been. All the things she held him back from doing , he says “wait one minute, I failed to mention, those tears I cried are tears of joy” and then goes on to tell her all the things hes enjoying in his life that she never gave him.

Whatever your need or situation after a breakup, there is a country song for every mood and feeling. There are a few of my particular favorite ones and I hope you enjoyed listening to them!!


Filed under Lists, Song Analysis