Country Music in the Golden State

Born in Orange County and raised in Temecula, California, my perspective of country music is different from many of those in Texas. For about 18 years of life, I’ve lived on a family vineyard in Southern California Wine Country. Even though we live on dirt in the middle of horse country, my parents mostly listened to the calm melodies of Jazz music while my younger sister and I listened to whatever was on the Top 100. Country music was never a go to choice for music in our household. That quickly changed at the age of 14 when I entered high school and discovered Kenny Chesney’s “Shiftwork” and Gretchen Wilson’s “Redneck Woman.” After that I never turned back and became an avid country music fan in all areas of my life.

My family and I have attended well over 50 country concerts all over Southern California including many front row experiences in the pit for Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, Chase Rice and Dierks Bentley. This is where my community in Southern California differs from that in Texas. Before moving to Austin in January of 2015 I had never heard of Turnpike Troubadours, Randy Rogers, or Pat Green. Now, a year later, I am beginning to listen to Texas Country almost the same amount of time as “Mainstream Country”. I find myself sometimes changing the station from Sirius XM’s “The Highway” to “Country Y2K” or “Prime Country” to get my fix of old school country.

Don’t get me wrong, Luke Bryan is still a favorite of mine as well as that entire style of country music. When I go visit home my friends and I spend our weekends line dancing at The Temecula Stampede. Yes, I said line dancing not two stepping. I once went to Dance Across Texas, formerly known as Midnight Rodeo, here in Austin and was stunned by the difference in dancing style compared to back home. At Dance Across Texas, it was mainly two stepping and when it came to the few line dancing songs the steps were completely different from those that I am used to. It is pretty much the complete opposite at the Stampede in Temecula. We line dance a majority of the time to songs such as “Crank it Up” by Colt Ford or even “God Blessed Texas” by Little Texas with a couple intermissions for two stepping to songs like “House Party” by Sam Hunt or “She’s Like Texas” by Josh Abbot Band.

Simple differences like these above have influenced my view on country music based on growing up in my community in Southern California. Unlike many that hate on the new songs by artists such as Sam Hunt and Florida Georgia Line, I really enjoy their music and watching them perform at concerts. At the same time I also have a love for artists including Garth Brooks, George Strait and Josh Abbott. My interests for all types of country music has lead me to have a very diverse collection of playlists and songs for every geographic community I am apart of.


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4 Responses to Country Music in the Golden State

  1. bdh999

    I liked reading your article because I got a sense of who you are as a person. The fact you enjoy Sam Hunt along with George Strait, shows that you’re very open-minded when it comes to music and you truly appreciate the talent that an artist brings. I, who has never been to California, also enjoyed reading on how country music is experienced in a different state, like how line dancing is more prominent than two stepping there! I wouldn’t have guessed that. I’m glad that you got to hear some of the good ol’ Texas Country though… there’s nothing like it!

  2. Mae

    I loved reading your article, as it is so nice to hear a Californian’s view on great Texas bands like Josh Abbott and Turnpike. I have to say I personally became a huge country fan the time I saw Josh Abbott live at the rodeo. I really like your open-minded nature to the values and traditions of a different state, as it is very typical for everyone to always be a little bit biased to your own traditions. You should definitely get a group of people together and head over to Crider’s Dance Hall in Hunt, Tcxas sometime.. It is where I grew up learning country-style dancing and having a blast with the country side of my personality.

  3. Laura Morales

    I really enjoyed reading your post! I was raised in California as well, and the majority of the music I listened to were the stuff that was on the Top 100. But surprisingly I discovered country music in the Bay Area. My first real exposure to country music came from seeing someone perform at a county fair. I remember casually passing by a set and she was playing country music. There was only one other person there. It might have been because she wasn’t really well known or because not a lot of people were into country, but from that day on, I started listening to country. Whenever I go to the rodeo in Austin, I see people just sitting and enjoying the music of smaller artists, and it makes me happy that people are able to appreciate the music of not as well known artists, because that is what got me hooked!

  4. Olivia English

    I felt like I could really relate to what you wrote here, Cassidy! I am also from out of state and was not raised listening to country music, let alone Texas country the way many UT students did. I had never heard of Pat Greene, but now can sing along with all the native Texans during football season. I think it’s awesome that you and your friends back home go line dancing! My dad grew up in Lubbock and Tyler, so I grew up two stepping, even though I didn’t really know what two stepping was until I got to school here. I love the way people from entirely other walks of life can come together over a genre of music, and even bridge communities the way you’ve brought your love for country music to school and back.

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