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.
First 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.