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

5 Responses to A Whole New World of Country

  1. Kaki Miller

    Hannah, I can totally relate to how you felt at the beginning of this class. My country taste before this class was limited to more recent releases, the Carrie Underwood, Rascall Flatts, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley type of performers. But when I got to learning about the “older” sounds of country music, I was intrigued. I will admit I did not immediately fall in love with some of the songs Dusty played in class, I did enjoy being exposed to the old school classics. I feel so cool when I am listening to country radio stations and I actually know who they are talking about when they talk about Merle Haggard. This class has been very valuable when it comes to a deeper knowledge of country music.

  2. Annie G

    This class definitely made me realize how much I didn’t know about country music and I’m glad I’m not the only one. Sadly, I havent done a single thing on your list but I did see Eric Church at ACL a couple years ago. He keeps his concerts pretty entertaining but it was still a whole not calmer than some of the other concerts I had attempted to enjoy that weekend. I definitely think country music concerts tend to be a bit tamer than some pop and rap concerts and, honestly, thats what I love about them! I’m glad you were able to enjoy that too!

  3. Matt Wills

    It’s really cool to hear about the experiences you have had because of country music class. I think that Rhetoric of Country Music was a lot more valuable than most rhetoric classes because it really opens your mind up to all of the awesome events and things that Austin has to offer. Without this class, there is no way I would have found out just how big the music scene in Austin really is. Not only was it a really interesting class, but it got all of us to go out and enjoy the city we live in! I’m glad to see that i wasn’t the only one who got a lot out of this class.

  4. Ginny Montalbano

    Great post! It sounds like you had a great ACL experience. Every year I’ve been out of town and so I still haven’t been! I gave Dallas a try too last year, and agreed with what you thought! It’s great they even though you weren’t able to see Dwight you were able to see someone else. I liked the diverse music they featured and appreciated the country music they incorporated into the show but found it very overdramatic. It’s really awesome how this course has taught us so much the history of country music and we can see who influenced our favorite modern singers in style and songwriting.

  5. Adam Keyrouze

    I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one who was able to see Sturgill Simpson at ACL! Even though he wasn’t one of the ones I was most excited for, he definitely had one of the bets sets of the weekends! It definitely was an older crowd making it calmer but that made it so much better like you said! Could not have agreed more with this arcticle! Also I was just as nervous about coming into this class and not knowing older artists, since my favorite artists included Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, and Toby Keith but I feel like a lot more people felt like this than we realize! This class has been a pleasant surprise!

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