Monthly Archives: November 2015

How Austin Changed My Perspective of Country Music

Coming from a small town in southern California, I never really understood the impact that country music has had on numerous people and places all across the U.S. Since coming to Texas, I almost had no choice but to integrate myself within the country culture that this state is so proud of sharing. I was hesitant at first to give up my California roots, but after experiencing country music’s influence in Austin by participating in two-step dancing, attending a country concert, and watching the a country music award show, it has really furthered my appreciation and knowledge of this genre, and ultimately changed my perception of country music overall.

IMG_0841First off, I have been a dancer my entire life, but two-stepping was something I never knew how to do. When I went to Broken Spoke here in Austin for a chapter wide mixer, it was my first time really learning this style of dance. I remember not knowing any of the songs that I was dancing to that night, unlike everyone else. But since dancing and listening to the variety of country songs that played that night, it really increased my interest, and intrigued me to learn more about this genre. With that said, this night definitely marks the foundation of where my appreciation for country music all began.

Also, about a month later, my friends convinced me to go to the Josh Abbot Band concert with them. It wouldn’t have been my first choice to go see them in concert, but since tickets were cheap and I was beginning to like country music I decided why not! I never realized how big of fans my friends were of the Josh Abbot band until I heard them belting at the top of their lungs to “She Likes Texas.” Unfortunately, I didn’t join in, as I was unfamiliar with the song after only being minimally exposed to country music thus far. But, after seeing the whole crowd sing along to several of the band’s songs, it really showed me what I am missing out on when it comes to this genre of music. Since this concert, I have taken a greater interest in the genre by familiarizing myself with other popular country artists, and expanding my music library to create a more diverse array of songs.

Lastly, after experiencing both these events, as well as taking this class, I was inspired to watch the 2015 Country Music Awards. It was amazing for me to see just how many country artists I recognized that performed, were nominated, or won awards, such as Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan, Hank Williams Jr., and Chris Stapleton. Because I am now familiar with country artists and have an appreciation for the history of the genre, watching this show was a much more enjoyable experience for me. Since watching this show, it really made me realize just how much my knowledge of this genre has progressed since being first exposed to country music.

Overall, my perception of country music has tremendously evolved over the course of this class. I originally came with stereotypical thoughts regarding this genre, and since have really come to appreciate what this genre has to offer. Not only was I able to learn about the history and techniques behind country music by taking this class, but I was also able to experience this genre first hand through interactive events that have ultimately expanded my knowledge of the genre, and influenced me to take an active role in furthering my appreciation for country music.

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Filed under Austin, Blog Post 5, Concert, Dancing, Movies and TV, Reflection

My Kind of Country

Coming into this class I was really unsure of what to expect. Country music was one of my go-to playlists since my parents liked to listen to it on our long car rides, but outside of just casual listening I was clueless about the genre. Looking back to the first assignment in this class where we were asked to identify with one community and explain how that community has shaped our outlook on country music, I can easily say that my view was much more surface-level than I thought. It has been so intriguing studying the history of country music, and the added knowledge and insight from peers has made it a much more attractive learning experience. Personally, it has been exciting to see just how much country music really does play into not only mine, but others’ daily routines, even beyond the classroom. Here are a few things I found to be exciting:

  1. FullSizeRenderDance Across Texas (formerly Midnight Rodeo): There aren’t many true dance halls around anymore, but luckily Austin has a few that are easy to take advantage of (though I highly doubt anyone in college refers to them as “dance halls”). One night a group of friends and I all decided to divert from the regular go-to weekend spots and try something different. I broke out my one pair of cowboy boots that my mom bought from a sketchy dude-ranch in San Antonio that I solely wear for football games, and we headed to Dance Across Texas. I’ve got to say, it was so much fun. I had picked up a few line dances from my camp counselor days, and got a little too excited when footloose came on. It was a great experience to be immersed in country music, celebrating it in a way that has been passed through generations, dancing to country songs both old and new.
  1. Texas Music Magazine: Being that this class began in August of 2015, I was curious as to what had been happening with country music earlier in the year. I went to Texas Music magazine’s February 15th issue, which talked about the upcoming “Big Nac Music Festival,” and was happy to see my girl Miranda as a main story topic. As I read further, it was easy to see that country music was the main focus of the magazine. What we learned in class became visibly true; Texas takes a lot of pride in its large outflow of country stars, even in a mega-small town like Nacogdoches.
  1. IMG_0762The Voice: As a The Voice TV show fan since it’s beginnings in 2011, I was a big advocate for Blake Shelton, the resident country star coach of the show. He recently won Season 7 of the show with Craig Wayne Boyd, a country artist. Three out of the eight total seasons of the show have resulted in a country artist winning it all. This goes to show you that America has got to be a country fan, as they are the main voters. These facts show that the reaches and roots of the genre are far and wide all across the country.Experiencing a timeless celebration of country music through dancing, reading up on past country music feats, and seeing how country music is loved across the nation, has made me truly appreciate country music. It has become a much more renowned genre to me, and I’m thankful to have been able to broaden my country music horizons throughout these experiences and the entire semester in this class. Now when I listen to country music I will be able to enjoy it even more!


Filed under Blog Post 5, Dancing, Movies and TV, Texas

Maybe The Band Perry Won’t Live Forever

We all have accepted the fact that Taylor Swift has flown away from the land of country music, and those few fans that admired her country tunes are still somewhat offended by this realization. Pop is trendy. Pop is in-the-moment flare. Pop is, well, overplayed and nothing special. I lose almost all respect for country artist that desert their home for the five seconds of fame in Pop Land (yes, I did just make up a new continent). The country music genre is home to meaningful, insightful, legendary stories in the form of music that lives on for decades after. Who has ever said the same of Pop music? Oh that’s right, no one. This leads me to my topic of frustration today: The Band Perry’s treacherous venture into the land of Pop-Rock music.

The trio’s new single, released in mid-August, title “Live Forever,” is anything but country. Let me tell you, the first time I heard this song was on a Pop station on my XM radio last week. I paused on the station I normally would’ve immediately skipped when I saw the name of a band I admired. Confused as to why a Pop station would play music from a country trio, I quickly became horrified. I stared in disbelief at the screen displaying the album cover and the song title. There is no way this is the same band that plays so many of my favorite tunes, I thought to myself as the upbeat, Disney-theme-sounding chorus played through my speakers. I don’t get it! I thought bands weren’t allowed to copy each other’s names… and why would someone else want to call their band “The Band Perry” as well? I was trying to think up any alternative other than the truth, which was that the song playing through my speakers was, sadly, The Band Perry.

It’s not that I despise the song itself. It’s catchy and decently written by the trio. Take a listen yourself in the music video I posted up top. The video, on a quick side note, is also very creative and brings back nostalgia for summer freedoms and being with friends, just as many country songs do. The thing that really gets my hair in a knot is the fact that the band decided to turn to the Pop-rock genre for this single. The song isn’t played on country stations. Why? Because it’s not country. It’s played on Pop stations. Popular country music blog, Taste of Country, gave the song positive reviews with praise for its “big,” “vivid” sound. I just can’t stand the fact that great, successful country bands think they need to drift over to the Poppy side of music to stay popular. Are we country fans not good enough? It’s almost like a stab in the back. We like these bands because they play music we like in a genre we love, not because they belittle themselves to the pop-culture and make crappy, not-at-all original tunes. I don’t see the overwhelming need for The Band Perry to join the Pop side of things. Stick to country music please, your fans love you for that.


Filed under Blog Post 4, Country Pop, Song Analysis

Taking my Country Education Outside the Classroom

It was the spring of 2015, and I along with thousands of other sophomores-to-be were logged on to our computers for that fateful day that was registration. In the seconds leading up to my assigned registration period I was clicking refresh over and over so as to have a fighting chance to secure myself a spot in the best classes for fall of 2015. It ended up being my worst registration period to date. I was waitlisted in half of my classes and the other half were with teachers I didn’t want. However, I did have one successful endeavor: I got into Rhetoric of Country Music. I have always been a country fan, but this class pushed me to explore the genre even more. Here are just a few fun activities I was able to do this semester, all inspired by my rhetoric class!

1. Free Brad Paisley Concert!IMG_4801

What’s better than kicking of the school year with a country concert? Kicking it off with a free country concert. And what’s better than a free country concert? A free Brad Paisley concert! I have always been a big Brad Paisley fan, so going to a school that can bring him to perform just across the street from campus is amazing. Attending that event certainly started the year off right, got me excited for my new rhetoric class, and reminded me just how much fun country music can be! (Check out my second blog post for more fun details and pictures from the event).

2. Watching the Country Music Association’s 49th Annual Awards Show

chris-stapletonThe 49th CMA Awards was certainly an event for the history books! This year the Academy decided that they were going to try out a new strategy to attract fans by scheduling several unique duo performances. These included Justin Timberlake with country newcomer Chris Stapleton, Fall Out Boy with Thomas Rhett, and Hank Williams Jr. with Eric Church. My favorite duo of the night though was Brooks and Dunn with Reba; the combination of these two classic artists was unparalleled. The biggest surprise of the night, however, was the success of the underdog Chris Stapleton. I’m sure half of the country world, like myself, had no idea who he was before that night, but they certainly knew him afterward. He managed to win Album of the Year, along with BOTH New Artist of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year, something I would have thought nearly impossible before this year. There is no doubt that Stapleton produced shock and awe all over the country that night, and I’m glad he did because he is now one of my favorite artists across all genres!

3. Visiting the Willie Nelson Statue

After watching the CMA’s and seeing so many new artists gaining success in theimage3 country music industry, I decided that it was high time I learned about some of the classic country artists that made the genre what it is today. So, like any good starving college student, I mooched a ride off of one of my friends with a car and headed on down to the Moody Theater to visit the great Willie Nelson’s likeness cast in bronze. A native Texan, Nelson has had a huge impact on the state and the country as a successful outlaw county singer. It is said that his performance in 1972 at the Armadillo World Headquarters was the beginning of the famous Austin music scene as we know it, which is why it is only fitting that he be given a statue at ACL Live at the corner of Lavaca and 2nd street, which was renamed Willie Nelson Blvd. in his honor. Now, as future generations walk through the doors of that infamous theater, they will be reminded of where it all started.

I had an absolute blast exploring country music this semester throughout Austin and beyond, and the lesson that stuck with me the most is that country music is ever evolving. From the early hillbilly sound to today’s bro country and everywhere in between, country artists have remained creative and inspired over the past century, and I can’t wait to find out where they will take us next!


Filed under Austin, Blog Post 5, Reflection

A Whole New World of Country

Four months ago, I was one of those girls that “true” country music fans hate. Most of my favorite country songs fell into the “bro-country” genre, and were from the likes of Luke Bryan, Chris Young, and Blake Shelton. I’m happy to say that the Rhetoric of Country Music class has opened my eyes to a whole new world of country music. This course has not only taught me extensively about the history of the genre, but has allowed me to better experience the country music scene here in Austin and beyond. Three of my favorite experiences are listed below:

1. Texas Music Magazine

I read the November 2014 issue of Texas Music Magazine to get a flashback to what was happening in the country Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 6.23.21 PMmusic world a year ago. This issue features a variety of interesting, well-written content including: a discussion of Miranda Lambert at the CMA’s, a review of Glen Cambell’s documentary I’ll Be Me, an interview with James McMurty, a Q&A with Steve Young, and more! I was expecting to see a greater representation of genres, but the content in this issue makes it quite clear that country dominates the Texas music scene (yay!).

2. Sturgill Simpson @ ACL Weekend 1

IMG_2410In a sea of alternIMG_2422ative and rap artists, I found the time to catch Sturgill Simpson’s show on Saturday, October 3rd at the Austin City Limits music festival. My country-music-loving friend tagged along with me, and despite not knowing much of Sturgill Simpson’s music, we still had a great time listening and (making an attempt at) dancing. My favorite song he played was Railroad of Sin; all of the guitar solos were so much fun! Overall, it was definitely an older crowd and the atmosphere was a lot more calm than most of the other shows I went too. I didn’t get a chance to see Dwight Yoakam so I’m glad Sturgill Simpson was there to provide me with my country music fix!

3. Dallas (2012)

giphy (11)Despite being a radio-television-film major, I’m not a big television-watcher. In order to broaden my horizons a little bit, I decided to check out a few episodes of the show Dallas on Netflix. Unfortunately, this show reminded me exactly why I don’t enjoy TV dramas and soap operas (sorry Dallas fans!)–I found it to be painfully overdramatic and ridiculously corny. For those who haven’t seen the show or it’s 1978 CBS predecessor, Dallas follows a family who strike it rich drilling oil in the great state of Texas. Despite my distaste of the plot and acting, the first few episodes did include some great country songs–one of my personal favorites being Josh Turner’s “Your Man”From what I gathered, the series provides a decent mix of country songs from different sub-genres and time periods. It also included many songs from different genres (alternative, rock, etc.).

Coming into this class this past fall, I was a little worried about not being as knowledgeable about the older artists and the history of the genre as some of my peers. Although this worry turned out to be true (I embarrassingly didn’t know who Merle Haggard, Conway Twitty, and Alan Jackson were four months ago…), I am so thankful to have gotten the opportunity to expand my country music horizons.

Whether it be through reading a magazine, seeing a live show, or watching a television series, this class has helped me enjoy the genre in a whole new way. I have gained a deeper understanding of country music’s progression throughout time, and grown to appreciate the genre and its impact. Listening to country will truly never be the same!


Filed under Blog Post 5, Reflection