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:
- Dance 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.
- 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.
- The 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!