Author Archives: Alyssa Buchanan

About Alyssa Buchanan

Sophomore Advertising major

My Kind of Country

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:

  1. FullSizeRenderDance 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.
  1. 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.
  1. IMG_0762The 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!


Filed under Blog Post 5, Dancing, Movies and TV, Texas

Peace Out Hurricane Patricia

In light of the recent storms that hit Austin, Texas this weekend and last, it seems most appropriate to talk about a few country hits that are on the “must listen to while it’s raining” list. If there is one thing that a country artist likes to sing about, it is feelings. And especially feeling those feelings when it’s dreary outside. Even if the song doesn’t deal directly with rain, it will probably make you nostalgic for spending time with you favorite people on a day that calls for multiple movie marathons, popcorn, board games, and warm, home-cooked food. Some may argue that these song choices are better suited for after a break up, but if you think about it, a break up is just a rainy day for your emotions (and maybe your eye balls).

  1. Colder Weather by Zac Brown Band

Hitting number one in 2011 on the Billboard of Hot Country Music, this song is easily a go to. Singing about “colder weather” and leaving the people you love is just plain depressing. The slow melody is entrancing; making you want to be around the people you love. The song only adds to the sentimental feelings and longing that come along with a rainy day.

  1. Diamonds and Gasoline by Turnpike Troubadours

Another slow and steady paced song, Diamonds and Gasoline is easy to follow and has a strong sense of honestly and truth to it. Just like the lull of rain on a windowpane or the street, the rhythm puts you in a calm and peaceful mindset. In the midst of rain or a thunderstorm, the need for serenity is high. Though the song didn’t get much recognition by chart topping, those who follow the Turnpike Troubadours can attest to its emotional appeal.

  1. I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack

The second number one of the Billboard of Hot Country Music on the list, topped the charts in 2000. Lee Ann Womack uplifts her listeners throughout the song to “feel strong when you stand beside the ocean” and not to sell out. On a rainy day, a little empowerment goes a long way, and is by all means necessary so as not to get bogged down by all of the gloom.

  1. When It Rains by Eli Young Band

Sometimes there are those days where your motivation has left, you can’t help but feel alone, and you feel like you’ve been set back into equilibrium when it starts to rain. Somehow the rain makes you feel a little less lonely. This song sings directly to that, saying, “Yeah the sun may brighten your day but if I had my way I would take the rain.” Winning Song of the Year in 2011, it is clear that more than a few people can relate to feeling their best on a rainy day.

  1. 19 You + Me by Dan and Shay

A feel good song is crucial in completing the playlist for a rainy day. Although the rain may bring you down, its always reassuring to hear that you are loved. It’s that song you dance around in the kitchen to while making a nice dinner in because the weather outside is unfavorable. A more recent song, it topped the charts for US Billboard top 100 in 2013-2014. No better way to finish out the list than a little revitalization.

But why listen to certain country songs when it’s raining? Because the genre really supplies the listeners with a plethora of songs that talk all about rain all of the feelings that come with it: love, loneliness, companionship, and tranquility. There are many other songs that fall into these categories, but these are a few that I think fit best. And no matter what, any country is easily the right choice for some rainy day jams.


Filed under Blog Post 3, Lists, Reflection

Kellie Pickler Loves The Camera

Kellie Pickler is back!!! And this time not starring on someone else’s show. Now she has her own.

I know that Idol is now a thing of the past, but it seems to be a reoccurring stepping stone for many artists, but one in particular. Pickler began her career as a contestant on American Idol season 5, catching the attention and hearts of America, country music fans, and obviously the judges with her infectious smile, surprisingly bold voice, and strong country accent.

She went on to be the 5th runner up on season five of American Idol, where the legendary Carrie Underwood out shined her and took the win. Pickler’s American Idol debut did not end with a win, but little did she know that she had already won over the heart of country music fans worldwide. Pickler signed with BNA Records and 19 Recordings as a recording artist in 2006, the same year of her American Idol gig. Another big win for Kellie in 2006 was the release of her debut country album Small Town Girl, which reached Billboard 200 Top 10 at number 9, selling 79,000 copies within the first week.

If you know Kellie Pickler at all, you know that she came from a hard home life. Born in North Carolina, her mother left when she was only two years old, and her father was in and out of jail due to drug abuse. Kellie was put in the care of her grandparents when she turned 12 and they raised her into adulthood. She worked at sonic and competed in beauty pageants as a late teenager before her Idol audition. Her story is saddening, but also relatable to so many. Her loving and endearing attitude about her situation and her family was inspiring, and shone through in her singing and song writing.

I can remember specifically jamming to “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful,” Pickler’s leadoff single on her self-titled second album in 2008. Kellie Pickler was someone girls could look up to, and a person who proved that no matter your situation, you can rise above.

Kellie’s will to rise above and conquer shone through as she won season sixteen of Dancing With The Stars with her partner Derek Hough. America could not get enough of the sweet southern girl who was constantly defying the odds.

After an impressive and still on-going music career the present and future with Kellie is notable. Get ready to see 29 year old Kellie starring in her own docu-comedy TV show “I Love Kellie Pickler” premiering this November 5th! She and her husband Kyle Jacobs are going to be giving viewers an inside look at their every day lives.

So if you remember the sweet, good-humored, relatable girl from American Idol, tune in. And if you don’t remember, and her successes and prevailing spirit didn’t convinced you that her show will be worth watching, I don’t know what will.


Filed under Blog Post 3, Movies and TV

Country Music: Today’s Time Machine

Country music does something well that many other genres struggle with: elicit a feeling of nostalgia. In a society such as todays where new conflicts arise daily and happiness is rarely depicted, a subconscious yearning for the “good times” dwells in a lot of people, and country music as a whole plays well into this need. Whether a memory of love or hate, summer or winter, family or friends, country music can bring you there. Just like that, an artist becomes a friend and a song becomes a happy place.

Thinking back on important times in my own life, it’s not hard to remember which country songs I have carried with me from it.

High school: freshman year.

It was a new school, but same quirky me. I hoped to thrive and learn, and of course have the perfect group of friends. Obviously all of this was wishful thinking. No better song to sum up my expectations and then, reality, than the classic Taylor Swift song that I jammed to on my way to the first day of 9th grade, “Fifteen.”  Hearing this song brings back all my excited and awe filled emotions from that day, and I cant help but reflect gladly on a year that didn’t begin or end the way I had imagined.

First love: a one and done ordeal.

What a weird but happy time it is to find a person whom one connects with so easily and matter-of-factly, a great time really. Country music does this topic well; everyone has a first love.  “Sunny and 75” by Joe Nichols, always takes me back to those times where I was sitting shot-gun next to my person going who-cared-where, feeling inarguably content. Country love songs highlight that feeling of when your time is consumed by the person you love, and how just looking at them makes you smile. A happy-go-lucky song, a first love must.

Summer: now please!!!

No matter how much I love winter, every time I hear  “Beachin'” by Jake Owen, I get excited for those hot June and July days. The beach, friends, no school, 4th of July, swimming, free time: summer has all things that are good. A song that connects with these good times is a great way to get people to relate to your music, especially teens and young adults. So many artists do this well like Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, and Brad Paisley to name a few.

Home: with the people who love you.

Families can have all different types of dynamics, but there is something special about each. Being in college and away from my family has made me incredibly aware of just how much I depend and count on my own family for just about everything. Feelings like missing home, growing up, and moving forward all remind me of my family. Listening to “The House That Built Me” by Miranda Lambert gets me every time, because it reminds me of how I grew up and became who I am now.

Genres like rap, indie, and techno are in a different universe when it comes to making listeners feel nostalgic. Song from those genres might remind me of certain people or memories, but they don’t take me back to them like country music does. There are so many other country songs that make me nostalgic from the things previously listed and more, which is another reason this genre stands alone when it comes to eliciting nostalgia. Every story has two sides, and country music is able to touch on them both. A genre that can evoke so much feeling SHOULD stand a part from the others. In an ever-changing present, it is comforting to be reassured by the past.


Filed under Blog Post 2

It Must Be The Little Things

Everyone can agree that peer influences get to just about everybody. Who hasn’t heard from their parent’s “If your best friend (insert relevant name here) jumped off a bridge, would you too?” And while many people might not be prone to bridge jumping, there are definitely things one would do just because they took note of who else was doing it around them.

The home stretch of the teenage years is upon those in college. And though there are the occasionally murmurs of “I’m not ready to grow up”, or “I want to be young forever”, it’s not that hard to unite together in remembrance of some awkward, strange, and overall laughable teenage memories that have shaped each and every person into who they are today.

Being 19 years old does still categorize me with all other teenage girls, but I’m not ashamed.

Teenage years are pretty horrendous, especially for girls. From boy problems, to friends, school, sports and everything else in between, it’s pretty easy to get caught up in what everyone else around you is doing or saying. This makes focusing on bettering and truly becoming you much harder. Because of this “tunnel vision”, as sung by Justin Timberlake, it wasn’t hard to jump onto the country music bandwagon. Watching older girls go to country concerts and dress up with all of their friends and then post endlessly about it on all social media outlets, inevitably lead me to believe country music was “cool”.

Having limited access to downloading music because of pretty strict parents made my country music bingeing consist of mainly Taylor Swift (no complaints there), Eli Young Band, and Miranda Lambert.

Now I will not argue about whether or not Taylor Swift should still be considered a country artist, for that you can refer to CBS news. However, I will defend Taylor’s first singles from when she was up-and-coming.

Taylor Swift has accomplished and will continue to accomplish many musical feats, but what she is most well known for is writing songs that are relatable for teenage girls. One that brings me back almost all the way to pre-teen Alyssa is “I’d Lie”. It was the first song I listened to when I got a car at age 16, and easily is my absolute favorite throwback song to play on road trips.

Because country music was introduced to me through Taylor Swift (try not to cringe) and a few other bands/artists during my teenage years, I view the genre as youthful and playful. Hearing those country songs on the radio that talk about boys, friends, school, sports, and everything in between, never fails to remind me of high school friends and finding myself.

Country music as a whole has the power to influence every listener differently, no matter the age or gender. One can say that it can’t be put into a specific box. As society grows and transforms, so does country music. Whatever way country music makes you feel- it is catchy, and therefor a prominent and influential  genre. All genres have this potential, but country music hits it right on the nose.

The little things in life can have a much bigger impact on one than might be led on, and I am living proof of that. And on top of that, peer influences during teen years are so weighty. They affected the type of music I listened to, and still listen to, to this day. Makes you wonder what other influences have done and/or will do?


Filed under Blog Post 1, Country Pop, Women