Author Archives: Annie G

Fitting Country into College

Editor’s note: This is an example of Blog Post #5.

There’s not much free time when it comes to your sophomore year of college, sometimes it seems like your professors are piling on the work just for the fun of it. But I somehow managed to fit in a few country themed events this semester. So without further ado, in no particular order, are my top three fun country themed events from the first semester of my sophomore year of college.

  1. IMG_9315Brad Paisley Concert (and it was for free!)
    Apparently one of the perks of going to the best University’s in the world is getting to see one of your favorite country stars for FREE. The weather wasn’t the best, in fact it was pretty gross, with 10 inch thick humid air hitting me like a brick, but somehow I still had fun. The best part by far was watching Brad Paisley perform and seeing the UT Tower in the background. It definitely made me realize how great this school is and how much I love the influence country music has on this state.
  1. On Wednesdays, we watch Nashville
    Two words: Rayna James. And five more: I wish I was her. This show is ADDICTING y’all. The producers have managed to keep almost all of the scenarios relatable and realistic, but yet it’s about a country music superstar and the other superstars that surround her? Props to them. The star power of Rayna, Luke Wheeler, Juliet Barnes, and all of the other fictional country music singers on the show are counterbalanced by the raw talent of Rayna’s daughters, Daphne and Maddie. Between their sound and the musical styling’s of Deacon Claiborne, these characters keep the show grounded and bring country music back to its roots. It’s great to hear pop country sounds mixed in with the sweet sound of just a voice and guitar.
  1.  Surprise! I went two- stepping.
    This actually isn’t very surprising since this is Texas, but still fun nonetheless. When someone suggests going two-stepping, I’m always immediately on board. This isn’t to say I’m good at it. In fact, I spent most of the night tripping over myself and elbowing a lot of people in the face, but it was so worth it. Honestly, “dancing” around in circles and laughing at how ridiculous I looked compared to the country-dancing veterans was one of the most entertaining things I did all semester.

10641040_777644538959654_1514473168129487529_nSo there you have it, proof that I did leave my room/library this semester. And to say it was worth it would be an understatement. I learned a lot too, that country music isn’t just Luke Bryan shaking his butt in a huge arena- it has roots dating back further than I even imagined. It’s grown and evolved and gradually transformed into the music I hear today. Luckily, all three of the things listed above helped further that understanding. I saw today’s country with Brad, got a mix of it with Nashville, and danced to all kinds of music in a way that generations of country music lovers have done before me. What could be better?


Filed under Austin, Blog Post 5, Concert, Country Pop, Dancing, Lists, Live Music, Movies and TV, Reflection, Texas

The Country Music Apocalypse: What Would Happen If You Took the Country Out of Texas?

Texas: the land of fried foods, the occasional redneck, and a deep-rooted love of country music. Country music is what makes Texas, Texas. Even if you don’t like country music, if you live anywhere within the borders of the great state you’ve heard a song or two. But what would happen if you took the country music out of Texas?

preserve_wildlife_trucker_hat-rb1d363b5d4f944d4a1272486f736606c_v9wfy_8byvr_512First, all hell would break loose. Cowboy boots would be thrown into dumpsters, no longer necessary for two stepping, plaid shirts would be burned, jeans wouldn’t be so tight, and the teased hair would deflate. Cowboy hats would be replaced with standard baseball caps, the kind without tears and without questionable sayings like “Preserve Wildlife Pickle A Squirrel.” There would probably even be a little less glitter in the world. Who knows what Dolly Parton would wear, with her go to outfit options wiped out like a bad disease.

Next, the iconic Texas dance halls would fall. Without country music, there would be no more two steppers and live bands to serenade them, and the barren dance floors would be closed to the public for good. Places like Gruene Hall, which launched the careers of Lyle Lovett and George Strait, and Luckenbach, which was the inspiration for one of Wayl0n Jennings’ hits, would be torn down and replaced with hippie bars or even worse- a shopping mall.

Without country music, there would be no Texas State Fair in Dallas or the epic Houston Rodeo every year. What’s the point of buying overpriced fried food and stomping around in cowboy boots trying to win cheap prizes if you can’t watch Luke Bryan shake it for you after? Say goodbye to Big Tex and that oversized Ferris wheel; they’re already dead along with your favorite Little Big Town jam.


Finally, country radio stations would be replaced with more teeny bop pop and rap music that just consists of people talking while someone punches a keyboard in the background. Top 40 stations would take over the state, which probably means the end of pick up trucks and long rides through back roads with the windows down.

So where would Texas be without country music? There would be no more cowboy boots or hats, teased hair, fairs, dance halls producing huge country sensations, or radio stations playing country music. Could it be that this elimination of country music would result in Texas turning into…the North?! Who knows what would really happen if this nightmare were to actually happen, but it’s safe to say that we all hope it never does.


Filed under Blog Post 4, Country Symbols, Dallas, Dancing, Live Music, Texas

What A&M and Miranda Lambert Have in Common

In 2007, Miranda Lambert released her song “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”, a classic story about an insanely jealous, gun toting ex girlfriend stalking her boyfriend and throwing things at him in a bar. All of this is completely normal, apparently. And she’s honestly kind of proud of it.

While I can’t say I really identify with Miranda in this situation, it’s still a pretty entertaining song. It’s probably how ridiculous the whole idea is that makes it so good, not many people know what its like to go to 30 bars to try and find your ex boyfriend just to get drunk and throw things at him. But yet it’s so easy to picture it happening that listeners can still relate to it. It also helps to realize what not to do after a breakup, no matter how bad the other person messed up.

We all have some sort of crazy ex though; the one that just can’t seem to get over you. Most likely you haven’t been stalked and assaulted by your ex, but there’s always that one that’s just a little crazy. Usually it just means they can’t stop calling or texting you or even the ones that keep showing up in your life trying to get back with you.

The closest experience I have to this song would be being a UT student and interacting with Texas A&M students. In this situation, the A&M students are the crazy ex. It’s been almost 4 years since these two teams last played each other, and since A&M was beat by the amazing Texas Longhorns. And yet, they still can’t seem to get over us.

To this day, they refer to The University of Texas as “TU”, which is apparently a huge insult. They’re so into hating on us that they even sing about us in their fight song, saying “’They eyes of Texas are upon you’/That is the song they sing so well/So goodbye to Texas University/We’re going to beat you all to.” This song screams “craxy ex-girlfriend” over and over again, just like at the end of Miranda’s song.

I’d say the fact that they feel so strongly about us to incorporate us into their school song says a lot about their sanity levels. But its not just the song that makes them the crazy ex in this relationship, it’s the fact that after 4 years of not playing each other they still sing it. In the words of Mariah Carey, “why you so obsessed with me?”

MC giphy

The cult that is Texas A&M literally breeds their students to hate UT, while UT students somehow manage to find other things to concern themselves with. Meanwhile, Miranda is following her ex around with a pistol and physically assaulting him while he’s just trying to mind his own business. Maybe these two aren’t exactly equivalent, but you get the picture. Hopefully A&M can learn to get over us one day, and Miranda can learn to leave the gun at home after a breakup.


Filed under Blog Post 3, Country Pop, Reflection

How Sara Evans Helped Me Get Over My First Breakup

So picture this: I’m 14 years old, I’ve been in high school for 6 months, and am awkward as can be. I still hadn’t quite figured out how the whole public school thing worked and I missed the 43 people I’d gone to school with for the past 10 years. Dressing myself was still a struggle because I’d only ever worn a uniform, and I was only so good at making new friends. I blame all of this on private school, but that’s beside the point.

Lets rewind to October 2010, my second month of high school. Enter the boy…we’ll call him Charlie. Charlie asked me to homecoming after I only knew him for two weeks and it was a HUGE deal. A boy? Liked me? It was crazy! The homecoming date progressed into a five-month relationship- this was monumentally long considering it was basically a middle school level relationship.

Unfortunately for my freshman year self and fortunately my future self, the relationship ended. At the time, it felt like the sky was falling. How could I possibly recover from being broken up with? I wallowed in self-pity for way to long, going over and over the heartbreak of the breakup.

That is, until one morning while I was getting ready for school and listening to Today’s Country Radio on Pandora, Sara Evans’ “A Little Bit Stronger” came on. This is the song that changed it all. Her country twang and singing style was different from most other female country singers so it caught my attention. This song in particular was exactly what I needed to hear. I guess you could say it “spoke” to me. The line “Even on my weakest days, I get a little bit stronger” ,in particular, got me out of bed and pepped up that day.

For about a month after that, I listened to that song every morning, day, and night. I would belt out the song along with her, I’m pretty sure the entire neighborhood could hear me singing “I’m better off without baby” at the top of my lungs. I credit this song as the inspiration for my high school comeback. From here on it got better. I figured out how to dress myself and made amazing friends, but I couldn’t have done it without Sara.

As my one-sided relationship with Sara Evans progressed, I discovered I identify with her a lot. She’s got opinions about country music that I can’t say I disagree with, mainly that there needs to be more equality in the genre, which is seemingly dominated by male artists. I loved a quote I found from her saying that she’s “excited to hear any song that’s not about drinking, or beer, or trucks, or partying, or jeans…” which can be found in this Rolling Stone Article here. I find her music refreshing, it’s different from most other songs on country radio stations right now. Not saying that every song about beer and trucks are horrible, but her music offers a nice reprieve from the common themes.

Lucky for me, these opinions of hers have led her to write songs that speak to people. Songs that tell a story and lift people up. And that help a teenage girl get over her first breakup and conquer the world of public high school.


Filed under Blog Post 2, Country Pop, Reflection, Song Analysis, Women

Music to Helicopter Parents’ Ears

For me, the country music craze started around 6 or 7 years ago when I was in middle school. I attended a private Catholic school from age four to fourteen. Over the years, I came face to face with the definition of helicopter parenting. From monitoring their kids Facebook’s to their text messages, these parents knew and controlled every aspect of their child’s lives.

A huge thing that these parents were against was today’s rap and pop music. The constant cursing- these kids weren’t even allowed to say “fart”, mind you- and drug and sexual references led these parents to hide this kind of music from their children’s innocent little ears. Here’s where country music- a genre constantly referencing God and promoting Christianity- comes into play.

I really didn’t notice the growing popularity of country music in my friend group until I joined my private school’s basketball team in sixth grade. The team parents set up a carpool system to divide up who would take all of us to get an after school snack before practice or who would drive us to the away games. I ended up spending a lot of time in my friend’s parent’s cars through this and in turn, led me to spend a lot of time listening to country music. Who knew “She’s Country” by Jason Aldean could be considered a warm up song?!

Of course, even country music features songs that could be deemed inappropriate, but the drug and sex references are considerably less frequent in country music than in pop or rap songs. It also helped that these parents had the uncanny ability to filter the songs that came through their car speakers.

Personally, my parents never really controlled my life like some of my friend’s parents. My parents had me when they were older and just weren’t interested in spending all of their time monitoring my life. Granted, they still forced me to add them on Facebook and weren’t into me watching R rated movies, but they never looked at my phone or told me what music I could or couldn’t listen to. Because of this, I had no idea all parents weren’t the exact same way. In fact, I had never really heard country music before (outside of Robert Earl Keen or the Dixie Chicks) until my friends’ helicopter parents were constantly driving me to sport practices.

At first I absolutely hated this genre. I hated being forced to listen to it even more, especially since it wasn’t even my parents forcing me to listen to it. I went from hardly ever being told what I could or couldn’t do by my own parents to being forced to listen to a certain type of music by my friend’s parents. But I quickly got over this, mainly because the country music fad literally took over my private school. Our school dances featured country music more than any other genre. Imagine jamming out to “Big Green Tractor” at your eighth grade dance- I mean how much “jamming” can you actually do to a song about riding through a cornfield on some guys tractor. But we somehow found a way, and my love for country music grew quickly.

Today it’s pretty much all I listen to, and when I hear those old Jason Aldean songs I soft smile at the thought of middle school and my friends’ crazy parents. The parents have lightened up since then, but country music stayed with all of us.

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Filed under Blog Post 1, New Country, Reflection