Monthly Archives: March 2016

We’re Goin’ Boot Scootin’

Kendalia-793x526There is nothing more fun than to grab a group of friends on a Friday night, head to your favorite honky tonk, grab a couple of cold ones, and spend the entire night dancing to some of your favorite country hits. If you have never had this experience before; 1). I’m sorry! 2). This post is for you! Think of me as your country fairy-god mother, I’m here to lay out the beginners guide for you!

First things First: Attire!

The best part about going out is the fact that you get to dress up! (Even the guys will admit to it!) Now if you’re going to a western bar you have to look the part.

-Men, put on a pair of your best pair of starched Wrangler jeans (yes your butt looks great), Nicest pair of cowboy boots, an attractive button-down shirt, and your sexiest cowboy hat (don’t take it off because, yes, you do look like a different person without it!) That’s pretty much all you need, you’re all set!

-Now ladies, slay in your hottest dress or most formfitting jeans you own, pair them up with your own amazing boots, killer jewelry, a gorgeous face, and the most teased hairstyle you can come up with (Remember: the higher the hair, the closer to God!) Now you’re ready for a night on the town!

Location, Location, Location

Now that all the prework is done, it’s time to find a place to go for the night! Since I’m located in Austin, I can only give you suggestions of a couple of places around here. I do advise that you do a Google search to find places near you!

1). Broken Spokelocated at 3201 S. LAMAR BLVD.   AUSTIN, TEXAS 78704. This place is known as the “Last of the true Texas Dance halls.” You could enjoy great live music, a friendly crowd of regulars, wonderful food, and cheap drinks. Also, if you have two left feet on the dance floor every Wed.-Sat. lesson are held from 8:30-9:30. Come out and experience a “must” in the Austin area.

2). Dance Across Texas: Formerly known as Midnight Rodeo, this dance hall is located at 2201 E Ben White Blvd. Austin, TX 78741. This is another awesome place known for its tremendous atmosphere to have a good ol’ hoedown. With the “best dance floor in Austin,” you and your friends are sure to have a fun night, not to mention the low prices on drinks. With live music mixed with a DJ I’m sure there is a selection of music for every person.

3). Old Coupland Inn and Dance hall: If you don’t mind the drive this place is located at 101 Hoxie St Coupland, TX 78615 (a 35-minute drive outside of Austin). This isn’t your ordinary “pickup joint,” this place has a family atmosphere where you can enjoy dinner and a night out dancing. Known for its light and fun atmosphere, Old Coupland is really a place to have an old fashion good time.

Practice Makes Perfect:

If you don’t know many of the line dances that are seen in dance halls, fear not; remember I’m here to help! Now for the most part, people are usually nice enough to help you catch on with hands on experience, aka, get out there and fake it till you make it! Which is perfectly fine to do and actually really fun, but if you want to hone your skills I would suggest watching the YouTube videos of Miguel Guzman. He has tutorials of all the great line dances and breaks them down well enough so that anyone could learn. Maybe the week leading up to your outing you could spend a couple of minutes a day learning the steps to some of your favorites. It’ll be more exciting than your homework anyway! That way you could surprise your friends when you’re keeping up with older folks who’ve been doing it for years on the dance floor.

Don’t rock the jukebox:

If there happens to be a jukebox at the place you decide to attend, please I beg you, KEEP IT COUNTRY!!! You are at a dance hall, not a nightclub or a rock concert. There are plenty of hits by George Strait, Brooks & Dunn, and Alan Jackson! Don’t be that person who halts the dance floor and has hundreds of eyes glaring at them all night. DON’T BE THAT PERSON! Enjoy the fun, authentic, Texas experience of a dance hall. Trust me it’ll be something you’ll never forget!

Be back by Midnight… or 2 AM!

As your country fairy-god mother, I have given you pretty much everything you need to have a great night out with friends, it is my hope that you take these nuggets of wisdom and use them well! Now go out, have fun, be great!


Filed under Austin, Blog Post 4, Honky Tonk, Live Music

Kenny Chesney: Still Goin’ Strong

LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 18: Recording artist Kenny Chesney performs at the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Festival at MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 18, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

Without a doubt, Kenny Chesney has transcended the generic success of many country music artists, propelling himself to superstardom. However, the most surprising characteristic of his career is the longevity as well as popularity with new and younger audiences. Unlike many of his contemporaries, such as Toby Keith or George Strait, Chesney shows no sign of slowing down. Having been to one of his concerts, I know first hand the kind of energy and interaction he continues to bring, not leaning on his previous fame for popularity, but instead ensuring the audience has a good time. However, this is nothing new for Chesney, as this can-do attitude was shown even at the beginning of his career.

chesneythrow-x600After spending years performing in the country bars and clubs of Nashville in the early 90s, the Knoxville native finally caught his break when he auditioned for music executive Troy Tomlinson. Commenting on his talent and lyrics, Tomlinson was the first to catch onto his personal drive, stating in an interview, “more than anything there was a kind of this ‘I-will-do-it’ look in his eyes – I was really drawn in by the fact that he was so set on being successful in this business.” It was because of this enthusiasm that Chesney landed his first record deal in 1994 for his album “In My Wildest Dreams,” exactly two decades before his most recent album “The Great Revival” in 2014.

However, Kenny Chesney’s continued relevance is not only attributed to his strong work ethic and success-oriented mindset, he is one of the few country artists from the 90s that has continued to change his sound to match the constantly evolving genre itself. For example, while both “She’s Got It All” (1997) and “Somewhere With You” (2010) topped the country charts in their respective years, it’s clear to see the differences in styles between the two. The former displays the typical twangy tones of old school country while the latter employs a faster pace tempo, incorporating electric guitar riffs and strong chorus’ to tie the song together, a style that is far more popular with the contemporary country music crowd.

One of the more distinctive characteristics of Chesney is the frequency of his tours and album releases. Since 2001 alone, he has released a staggering 12 albums and has gone on over 14 tours with the hottest stars of today, such as Miranda Lambert, the Zac Brown Band, Eli Young Band, and Eric Church. Suffice to say, I doubt there were many critics who believed that the 1998 Country Music Awards New Male Vocalist of the Year would continue to put up successful album after album up, continuing to win awards even up to 2015, with claiming his third Country Music Awards Crystal Milestone Award from the same organization. Overall, it makes me glad to see how an artist so devoted to the craft continues to please the fans and master his art from his discovery in the early 90s to continuing to pump out number 1 hits to this day.


Filed under Blog Post 3

Cody Johnson: Give a Cowboy a Kiss

51-atxl1“I don’t want to be labeled as ‘Texas’ or ‘Nashville.’ I am me: Texas, outlaw, cowboy, country, and a God-fearing man using the gift He gave me.” That is how Cody Johnson, better known by fans as “CoJo,” describes himself as an artist and that is exactly why I think he one of the most unique artists out there today. He is a hard-working man from east Texas that is living out his dream to be a country artist. His music is downright full of talent and so relatable that he makes you feel like you’re living out each song. I became hooked on his music when I first heard “Texas Kind of Way,” but his latest album absolutely did not disappoint and got me hooked for good.

What I think is so unique about Cody’s music is its unique mix of Country and Rock, which resembled Garth’s enthusiasm and Chris LeDoux’s style to some extent. His music is honest, heartfelt, and meaningful, and he sings about parts of his life that contribute to where he is today. Growing up in East Texas, he was a country boy that liked to hunt and fish, and family was very important to him. His “ag science” teacher is actually responsible for convincing him for form a band, and he realized he was in love with the music and everything about performing at a talent competition. He starting singing in small bars and dance-halls and began selling CD’s out of the back of his truck during three years of bull-riding. He is a true cowboy, born and raised, and his dedication to his dream makes me respect him as both an individual and an artist.

Cody is a pro at packing dance-halls to max capacity, and even better at holding smaller acoustic shows. I have seem him perform on three separate occasions, and each of those I had the absolute best time singing his songs at the top of my lungs. His music is exactly what I think of when discussing what “real” country music is. He gives each show his absolute best effort, whether it’s a crowd of thousands or a just a few. He genuinely loves the music and that is extremely evident after going to a few of his shows.

After releasing his latest album, Cowboy Like Me, Cody had me so obsessed that I marked my calendar 6 months in advance for his concert at Midnight Rodeo in Austin. Up until the day of the concert I learned every song on the album backwards and forwards, and I have listened to each song so many times its as if he should know me based on number of Spotify plays! There’s no other way to explain how big of a fan I am other than to mention that I somehow ended up with his concert setlist that was taped to the stage in front of him (of course I had it signed)!!!

FullSizeRenderHis album is jam packed with upbeat, two-stepping songs that make me come out of my seat every time. “Dance Her Home” is the first track on the album, and its about a cowgirl walking into a bar and him hoping she’ll “give him have a chance at romance” so he can dance her home. “Me and My Kind” is a catchy tune about how his ex-girl just cannot deal with cowboys like him anymore. “Baby’s Blue” is a heartfelt love song about how his baby needs him by her side when he’s at work late, but he is more than willing to walk away for her. “Cowboy Like Me” is a unique story that touches every heart, pouring out honestly about how “every time I go home, I think I’ll find her gone, but she’s still there and still wants to be, in the arms of a cowboy like me.” Finally, “Give a Cowboy a Kiss” is a song with a story line that resembles “if you give a moose a muffin,” talking about what happens after you give a cowboy a kiss. Hot dang, would I love to give that cowboy a kiss!!


Filed under Blog Post 3

An Interview With Country Music’s Rookie

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetThere’s a new artist in town, and it’s my good friend Tyler Dial. His country style is fitting in well with today’s top 40 hits. He’s been at it for a while, and is only getting better. Over the summer his single “Damn Good Time” debuted on Sirius XM’s The Highway. I was lucky enough to grab a second of his time from a busy practice schedule, and sat him down for an interview. Here’s a look into the journey of a promising, hungry artist.

What started your dream to be a singer?

  • I was in middle school when I saw some older guys play “Hotel California” and I thought it was the coolest thing. I made it my goal that year to learn guitar and learn how to sing so that by the time the talent show rolled around, I’d be ready. Ever since I played “Free Fallin’” in 7th grade, I was hooked. The next year I played my first live country song, “God Love Her.”

Why country music?

  • Some of my first memories are riding in the car with my dad listening to guys like Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, James Taylor, and the Dixie Chicks. Their music was ingrained in me at an early age, and as I grew up I started to discover country music on my own through artists like Keith Urban, Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, and Sam Hunt.

What sorts of things have stopped you?

  • I don’t think anything has really stopped me. A lot of people tell me I’m not ready yet or I’m too young but I try to tune the naysayers out. When people don’t believe in my vision, that’s okay, hopefully they’ll come around one day.

Could you tell me a little bit about how BBVA Compass noticed you, and the story with them?

  • Yeah! Our partnership with BBVA has been very mutual. They saw something in me and my music that aligned with their brand. So they stepped up and helped us take my first single, “Damn Good Time” to radio. It’s a song that matches with their #livebright brand. They have been such a blessing and an amazing partner to work with.

What does living in Austin, the music capital of the world, do for someone like you?

  • I always thought Nashville would be where I would become the best artist I could be. But it turns out that Austin is the city that is challenging me to be a better artist. When I lived in Nashville this past summer, I learned the skills of becoming a great songwriter, but here in Austin, I find the inspiration to write great music and be a better artist.

What styles did you grow up listening to? Did that affect the singer/performer you are today?

  • Like I said earlier, I got my knowledge of music from my dad. I always stayed true to the music I was introduced to as a kid. Especially when middle school came around and my friends were listening to artists like Lil Wayne and Akon. I would listen to artists like Keith Urban, The Counting Crows, and John Mayer.

What was your favorite performance you’ve ever done?

  • That’s hard because I feel like we are always raising the bar. Even this past weekend we had one of my favorite performances on 6th street. Every gig and every rehearsal we are getting better as a band. I typically view a performance as a success when I’m able to engage the crowd.

What motivates you when you write?

  • Every day life experiences honestly. I’m also motivated by what I hear on the radio and see on the Internet. When I hear artists doing unique and cool things, it motivates me to do the same. I’m also very competitive. I’m always trying to make the best music possible.

Who inspires you to keep working everyday?

  • My dad is really the one who is always challenging me to be a better artist. He knows how important it is to never be content. He’s also the one who shares my vision so when I’m not executing it, he makes sure I change things up.

What type of song are you working on next?

  • I’m working on a bunch of new material. Currently I’m trying to write songs that are timeless like the Eagles’ “Take It Easy.

What do you like most about what you do?

  • My favorite part about being a musician is the live performances. I know it’s a little selfish to say but being on stage and being the soundtrack to someone’s Saturday night is so cool to me.

Finally…what did you learn in your semester in Rhetoric of Country Music that you remember most?

  • Rhetoric of Country Music gave me such a great knowledge of the history of country music. Being able to listen to my idols’ idols was very cool. The class made a huge impact on how I view country music and how I view myself as a country artist.

Tyler is always at work on his music. Even during class I’d peek over and see him researching ways to improve his skills. UT Student by day, artist by night. You can either catch him walking past the Tower, or find him on Spotify, Youtube, SoundCloud and even iTunes. I do see a lot of potential in him, and I encourage you to give him a listen and come to his next performance! You could very well be witnessing country’s next best.


Filed under Austin, Blog Post 3, Concert, Live Music

Town Lake Country Series

Rockin RiverCountry music has always gone hand and hand with warmer weather and water. As summer begins, country artist begin to release new albums and singles made for the season, and things that go along with it. Songs are filled with lyrics about cold beer, the scorching summer sun, bathing suits, and great times out on the water with friends. Summer country songs are usually up beat and high-spirited, and the good ones will make you want to roll the windows down as you sing along. Around this time of year all I want to do is float the river or hop on a boat at the lake with friends and listen to country music. Fortunately enough, my hometown of Fort Worth has recognized the relationship between country music and water. They have done so by bringing a concert series called “Rockin’ the River” to town.

“Rockin’ the River” is a concert series held on the Trinity River in Fort Worth every summer from June to August. Each Thursday an up and coming Texas country artist will preform at Panther Pavilion. This is an elevated stage that sits on the riverfront, and the downtown skyline serves as a backdrop for the stage. Past performers include The Damn Quails, Cody Jinks, Brandon Rhyder, and I have even witnessed a performer do a backflip off the stage into the river.

Admission to this event is free, all you have to do is rent a tube to float in the river if you don’t bring your own. Backwoods is also there so fans can rent kayaks and paddle boards to relax in as they listen to the concert. Of course there is beer and food available for purchase when you arrive. Don’t feel like getting in the water? You can grab some lawn chairs to throw out on the lawn by the water. Lastly, the night is ended with a small firework show. It makes for a great summer evening.

The reason I bring this concert series up is because I love it so much, and have enjoyed it many summers in the past. My only question is why does Austin not hold a series similar to this one? Yes, there is Blues On The Green in Zilker Park during the summer, but that’s just not the same. Austin needs to take advantage of Town Lake. I propose a developer comes into the Zilker Park/Town Lake area and build a stage that hangs over Town Lake. Then we to could float in the lake and listen to our favorite Texas country artists here in Austin. If fans did not want to get in the water, the developer could also make a lawn area near the stage so lawn chairs could be laid out. Just as Panther Pavilion has the skyline as a backdrop, the Austin stage could use the Austin skyline as a backdrop. After all, Town Lake is located in the middle of downtown Austin.

Not only would this be good for country music fans, it would be good for the city as a whole. Local businesses could sponsor the concert series, and benefit off of it. For example, Austin Kayak could be there to rent out kayaks and offer demos. A local brewery such as 512 Brewing Company could sell beer at the event. Local food trucks could find parking on the lawn to serve hungry fans. Yeti could rent out coolers and show new products. At the end of the night you have happy country fans, and local businesses that have advertised and profited off the concert. How would y’all feel about an event similar to the one I described?


Filed under Austin, Austin Food, Blog Post 4, Concert, Live Music, Texas