Gaby’s Country Music Experiences

I knew that coming to school in Austin would be an experience. Coming from San Antonio, I was highly influenced by my hispanic background and the traditions of my own city. I always had the mindset that living in Austin would be an absolute culture shock. What I realized this semester is that these two cities, though very different, share one thing: country music.

Country music is has always held a high position in my life. I grew up listening to it and two-stepping was something you learned as a toddler. Seeing all the available country music opportunities in Austin made it a welcoming community. Unfortunately, my transition into college life has been rough, therefore I spent more time at home on the weekends rather than exploring all that Austin had to offer. That does not mean that I did not notice the country music influences around me. Though I did not go out and get to do as much around Austin as I had hoped, I used what free time I had to expand my country music experiences.

I do think that being in this Rhetoric of Country Music class has made me more aware of the role country music plays in everyday life. For one of my friends’ birthdays we went to Midnight Rodeo. We donned our dresses and cowboy boots, which was a normal outfit for myself but not the particular friend who was from Florida. I instantly noticed that she was changing her normal preferences to fit in and go two-stepping. She would have never listened to it in her spare time, but when thinking of a good place to have fun, two-stepping was her first choice. Sam Riggs was performing that night and it was an absolutely amazing show. This just showed me that country music, though people stereotype it as sad, is also what people look at as fun. Boots are essential when you got to UT, and they symbolize the carefree fun time that comes with living in Texas.

Watching television now constantly has me relating everything to country music. I started watching Nashville, which is all about country music. However, before this class I had no desire to watch it except for the fact that I loved Connie Britton. I was hooked as soon as I started. It was an amazing view into a world I realized I knew nothing about. Of course it is fictional, but that does not mean everything that goes on in the show is completely invalid. Viewers get to see the backstage view that otherwise is a mystery. I understand the added drama draws in viewers, but I think of that as a good thing. Once again, people who have not otherwise been exposed to country music are avid watchers of the show. Sure they might enjoy the drama and spectacle of the show, but country music is influencing their lives whether or not they realize it.

My favorite time of the year in San Antonio was rodeo season. I have gone to the rodeo almost every year of my life. This year I went to go see Hunter Hayes. Even before the performance began I noticed all the country music influences in the events. They used clips from country songs to pump the crowd up and get them involved. When Hunter came on stage, I found myself analyzing the performance. I noticed the country influences of other artists, and also how he could be considered more country pop. I listen to country music differently after this class. The lyrics, instrumentation, and delivery are all components I find myself recognizing on songs that I have listened to for years. I see this as an advantage. I am a journalism major so this training to look deeper and find a message is a great quality to have developed.

Another thing I noticed was that I was much more excited for the Academy of Country Music Awards. They took place in Dallas which made me feel pride for my home state. I watched the performances intently. I listened to each song from the categories and compared how they were similar and different. I can’t help but feel nothing but pride when an event like this takes place somewhere so close to me. One of my friends got to go to the show and I was extremely jealous. However, I realized something. Watching the performances live would be amazing, but the song doesn’t change. The lyrics are the same whether you are in a giant arena or a small dorm room. Country music isn’t about where you hear it, but about what you hear.

This semester has flown by, but my time here in Austin is nowhere near over. I have a few more years to expand my country music experiences. Hopefully once I am more comfortable here I will stay on the weekends and explore museums or iconic country music spots. I do know that Austin’s country music audience is large. Sure people joke about it being awful and annoying. Little do they know that it influences their life too. Boots are essential when you got to UT, and they symbolize the carefree fun time that comes with living in Texas. These are country staples and they find their way on people who don’t even listen to the music. They play country songs at sporting events. Whether people realize it, country music is making it into their lives. Country music can not hurt anyone, if anything it only opens people’s eyes to different ideas about life.


Filed under Austin, Awards, Live Music, Reflection, Texas, Uncategorized

2 Responses to Gaby’s Country Music Experiences

  1. Taylor Campbell

    I really liked your Storify. I think you did a great job including a variety of videos, pictures, and tweets. Your reflection is really well thought out, I can tell that you put a lot of time into it. Be careful about redundant statements/saying the same thing multiple times throughout the post. I really liked the line that says, “Country music isn’t about where you hear it, but about what you hear.” Great job!

  2. Thanks, Gaby. One thing I really enjoyed about your post was the way that you placed the country music that you have experienced in Austin in the context of the state of Texas. You’re probably right that what happens in the “Republic of Austin” is just a segment of a broader phenom that’s also playing out in San Antonio and Dallas. I definitely understand taking the weekends to get away from the University and go home, but am glad that the project seems to have convinced you to spend a few more weekends in town than you otherwise might have.

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