Growing with the Genre: Jordanne’s Experiences

As the spring semester progressed, I dove into a few different country experiences that gave me a bigger picture of what it means to be a fan of country music. I attended my first concert by seeing Eric Church at the Frank Erwin Center, visited the Willie Nelson, went two-stepping at Midnight Rodeo, and watched O Brother,Where Art Thou? By doing more than just listening to country music, my appreciation for the genre has increased.

When I arrived at the Frank Erwin Center, one thought took over my mind. This Eric Church concert better be worth the cold trek I took to watch him. Long story short, I was impressed. Eric Church’s Outsiders Tour may have been my first concert experience, but it will not be my last. I learned that hearing the artist perform a song live portrays the emotion and story of a song a lot better than just listening online. Now whenever I hear an Eric Church song on Spotify, I think back to that cold March day and how I took a big step in appreciating an artist and his ability to connect with his audience as a whole and individually.

As for visiting the Willie Nelson statue, I actually did not know anything about Willie Nelson other than what he looked like before I took Rhetoric of Country Music. I felt very out of the loop, because of this. He’s such an enormous part of the development of country music. When I heard about his involvement in the Austin live music scene, I now understood why he is memorialized in Austin as opposed to Nashville.  Now that I know some of his history, I feel more educated about the genre and would definitely be more willing to listen to older songs from artists like Willie and Hank.

Dancing at Midnight Rodeo, although not a new concept to me, was my second favorite activity next to my concert experience. I feel like music is not complete unless there’s some form of dancing connected to it. Although I did not attend a night with live music, I still enjoyed dancing to the hits of yesterday and today. I feel like places like Midnight Rodeo would deeply benefit from either having a section of the night or one night a month specifically playing some of the oldies. Midnight Rodeo does stay true to its name in the fact that it plays country music past midnight. However I feel if they keep playing more and more hip-hop and pop hits to cater to the younger audience, it will lose its title as a “honky-tonk”. I feel that this was the activity that I felt the most immersed in the country music scene, out of the four I’ve chosen, despite the other music genres thrown in the mix.

Finally I liked the movie, because it showed that country music still has its place in the cinema. Granted, O Brother Where Art Thou? takes place in the 1930s South.  I feel that country music often gets overlooked when it comes to movie soundtracks, because people think that country music has to stay in the country. I’m not saying, “Let’s put a George Strait song in this super hero flick as the theme song”. However if a character is driving a car, it’s not realistic that every character that drives a car listens just to hip-hop and pop. Why can’t the character be listening to a nice George Jones or Dolly Parton song? Overall, I have to say I really appreciate that these experiences were part of the class. It really put the history of country music and its current songs into perspective. I definitely want to try more things on the list, in particular Chicken S*** Bingo sounds like it could be a blast. In a culture where hip-hop and pop rule the masses, country still rings in at number one to me because of the themes, lifestyle, and experiences that come with it.


Filed under Austin, Dancing, Live Music, Movies and TV, Music Videos, Outlaw, Storify

4 Responses to Growing with the Genre: Jordanne’s Experiences

  1. Shelby Conine

    Midnight Rodeo sounds so fun! I’m so jealous that you got to go out there and two-step, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do but never quite had the time for. Additionally, I really liked your points about country finding its place in the modern times. Seeing country music in other films like Pixar’s “Cars” and its extensive soundtrack done by Rascal Flatts is perhaps a sign of progress for country music breaking into the film industry.

  2. Keaton Schlueter

    The first time I ever saw or heard Eric Church was at ACL last year. I agree that he definitely puts on a fantastic show. Having heard him live before actually having heard any of his songs on the radio is probably a big reason that he is one of my favorite new country artists. Also, I love dancing at Midnight Rodeo. There’s always a nice mix of new and old songs and people. Like Shelby mentioned, I loved your points about country music finding a place in modern times. Oh Brother, Where art Thou? has an awesome soundtrack, even though there aren’t any particularly “new” songs.

  3. James Pruitt

    I love that you watched O Brother Where Art Thou for one of your experiences. “Man of Constant Sorrow” is one of my favorite songs, both the Bob Dylan version and the “Soggy Bottom Boys” version. Although I didn’t attend the Eric Church show, my first concert was George Strait so I can relate to your experience. I’m glad you had a good time with your Country Music Experience and I hope you continue to find new things Austin has to offer. I’d suggest visiting the Broken Spoke.

  4. Jordanne, thanks for this post. I had no idea (and am kind of shocked to find out) that Eric Church was your first concert experience EVER. I am glad that the class convinced you to go — despite the cold, which I agree, was terrible. I can think of a lot of films with some country music in them, but now that you mention it, I think you are right that the country songs that play are rarely the “hero” songs in the films. You mentioned that you would be interested in attending more concerts in the future. How else do you think these experiences will change how you consume country music?

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