Wasn’t Raised With It, but Wish I Had Been

1401x788-GettyImages-476930506“It’s only $25, and I guess I don’t have anything else planned that weekend”, I thought to my fifteen year old self when a friend of mine insisted that I go to a concert with her. I had never listened to much country music, but it was the middle of July and I figured it could be a fun way to spend my night.

I went online and bought the ticket, and a few weeks later we were on our way to the Sleep Country Amphitheater in Ridgefield, Washington, listening to “Country Girl” by Luke Bryan on repeat. I had no idea who Luke Bryan was, and the name Tim McGraw was only vaguely familiar. Little did I know, I was on my way to see two of the biggest names in country music. We walked into the amphitheater in our jean shorts and flannels, trying to fit in with the ‘country’ crowd, found a spot on the lawn to lay down our blankets and took our seats. Soon enough, everyone was on their feet singing and dancing along to each and every song throughout the night.

This was my first real exposure to the world of country music, and I never looked back. I started listening to Luke Bryan religiously, and found myself switching to the country radio stations in the car on my way to school. I had a couple of friends who would listen along with me, but more often than not, I was quickly shut down and someone else would switch back to the Top 40 or plug in their aux cord – anything to get away from the country they so clearly couldn’t stand to listen to. It wasn’t until my freshman year of college that I really learned what country music was.

I had spent the past few years listening to whatever I found on the radio, but I had never heard of Pat Green or Bart Crow Band. I remember it perfectly, standing in a crowd surrounded by my new college friends, wondering why I was waiting around on this hot day for someone I’d never heard of to come out and play (Pat Green). Even when he did come on stage and start playing, I thought he was great but didn’t know a single word to a single song. I had no idea how all of my friends from Texas knew every word and got more excited with every song he played.

The first true country song that I really loved was “Wear My Ring” by Bart Crow Band, but even then I wasn’t fully aware that I was listening to Texas country. Wear My Ring was just the song I’d learned from listening to it over and over again during football season on game days, and had eventually learned the words and started to sing along. Now, I go back home to Portland, Oregon over breaks and play real country for my family and for those friends who originally showed me the genre.

My mom is from Sweden originally and doesn’t have much interest in country music, but my dad was raised in Lubbock, and is unbelievably proud of being a Texan. He went to UT for undergrad and for law school, and couldn’t contain himself when I made the decision to come here myself. He can’t stop smiling when he comes to visit, and even in my third year here he still loves to take me around campus and around town to show me his favorite college hang outs – sometimes he’ll even bring his boots and take me two stepping. Although I didn’t grow up around country music and the idea of boys wearing cowboy boots and white wash jeans every day seemed like something from another universe, UT has absolutely shown me a new culture and what real country is, and I’ve learned to love it all.


Filed under Blog Post 2, Texas

7 Responses to Wasn’t Raised With It, but Wish I Had Been

  1. Shira Yoram

    I remember you mentioning your first country music concert experience in class. I think it is so awesome that started listening to a whole new genre of music after going to just one country concert! Then to hear that you went to go see Pat Green is really cool because you got to hear a country artist that is on the other side of the spectrum from Luke Bryan. I started listening to country music around 3rd grade. Even growing up in Texas I found so many people who weren’t fans of country music, which never really made sense to me. So I think it’s so amazing that someone from the other side of the country has found country music to be a great genre.

  2. Cassidy Wilson

    I related this post in so many ways! The Luke Bryan picture caught my eye and I couldn’t stop reading. Wear my ring is also one of my favorite “Texas Country” songs. I feel like concerts are so much different on the West Coast when it comes to country music. Tickets for Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean sell out in minutes but in Texas it’s a whole other brand. I agree with you, I have truly enjoyed learning this new side of country music out in Texas. I feel like a whole new atmosphere comes with it too! I am glad someone else can relate to these experiences as well!

  3. Mackenzi McAfee

    I love your story of how you started listening and loving country music! Its funny actually, I was quite literally obsessed with Luke Bryan when I was 16 or so! Country Girl Shake it For Me was my anthem and every time that catchy freaking song came on I nearly came out of my seat dancing or made a complete fool out of myself if I was out at a bar or something when it came on. I too LOVE Bart Crow Band and Wear My Ring will always have a special place in my heart! For some reason that song takes me back to my Junior year of high school when life was soo000 easy and my friends and I would spend our days goofing off jamming to songs like that. Loved your post! Thanks for sharing!

  4. The theme of this article is very interesting, how you didn’t grow up with country music, but now wish you had of been. I have really enjoyed hearing everyone’s stories out of state, and how they have learned to appreciate country music like you have. Luke Bryan and Tim McGraw seems like it must have been a great concert, and a perfect one to get you into country. They are much more mainstream and “pop”, which allows for an easy transition into country if you are use to pop. I also think its awesome you were able to make the transition to Texas Country when you came to Austin. Things are much different down here, and it seems like you have adapted to the culture and learned to love it. Thanks for the article!

  5. Kevin Lefkowitz

    Thank you for posting this article! It is really cool how you were able to take one good country concert experience and use it to get into the genre as a whole. It makes sense that Luke Bryan and Tim McGraw were the singers who brought you in because of their being on the country-pop end of the spectrum. When I tried getting my friends to listen to country, they were the first singers I showed. Their songs are so catchy and they make it really easy to get into. Its so cool whenever someone from out of state embraces the Texas culture.

  6. Brittney Haynes

    You didn’t grow up with country music and still managed to go to a concert before me (who’s been immersed in it from a young age). I feel the urgency to attend my first one! 🙂 I loved how you painted a picture for the reader on your “journey of discovery” of country music. I’m glad you know the genius that is Pat Green. Also, I enjoyed the relationship you share with your dad. Ps. Keep on cutting on your country station even when your friends change it, they need guidance!

  7. Timothy Harakal

    Thanks for this post! I always enjoy hearing stories of how people got hooked on different genres or artists just from a live show. Once, while in Chicago, my family and I wandered into a local park and heard a live show from some band from Scandinavia. Turns out, their music was so catchy and fun that people started getting up and dancing together in the area in front of the stage…and I’ve been listening to this same band (nordic folk – I know, right? Not a genre I probably would have started listed to on my own accord) ever since. So I’m glad you decided to give up twenty bucks and an evening to discover a genre that you’re now becoming more and more involved with! I’m sure you and I both will definitely(and hopefully) say yes the next time we have a similar opportunity for discovering great new music.

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