Author Archives: Amanda

About Amanda

I am a corporate communications major and a second year student at UT.

My Country Music Adventure

Throughout the semester I have noticed a huge dominance of country music in both the Austin culture, and my own culture overall that I had no idea was really there. My sister and I share a Spotify account, and she has been both shocked and confused at the different types of country music that I have found myself downloading throughout the past few months. It’s crazy to think how ever- present the country world really is, and it has definitely made me more appreciative of the music and everything that comes with it. Here are a few of my adventures that document the change I have experienced.

  1. Two- stepping in Luckenbach

image2One Saturday some friends and I decided to go two- stepping in Luckenbach, Texas. It was definitely a drive, but we wanted to get the full country effect of country dancing. The dance hall was completely wooden, very rustic and genuine. I felt like a Southern belle in the era of Waylon Jennings just by being there. There was a band performing, with people dancing the night away. Much to my dismay, they never played the famous track, “Luckenbach, Texas,” but it still was a night to remember.
2. Willie Nelson Statue

image1Another thing I did as part of my country adventure was visit the ever famous statue of Willie Nelson. There on the corner of 2nd and Lavaca Street stands the American icon himself. 2nd street is now known as Willie Nelson Boulevard. The massive statue sits right outside the Austin City Limits studios. Seeing as Austin is known as a music capital, and of course a proud advocate for the, “Keep Austin Weird” culture, it’s only fitting that a musical superstar with a hippy lifestyle praised by his fans be constructed in bronze right outside the studios. He is now even a resident of Austin, and continues to excite the Austin community with his performances consistently.

3. Cowgirl Hall of Fame

The Cowgirl Hall of Fame is one of my favorite parts about my hometown, Fort Worth. Since it was built in 2002, I have been visiting ever so often, especially when we have our touristy family members in town. It wasn’t until I took this course that I realized how the brave outlaw cowgirls were connected with country music. The HOF is an empowering place for women in the country culture, as it, “celebrates women, past and present, whose lives exemplify the courage, resilience and independence that helped shape the American West.” To me, the abundance of Cowgirl HOF’s across the country have instilled a sense of pride and honor among country women, especially musical artists. Women have come a long way in country music, and it’s places like this that could have inspired women to make their mark in country music. It made me feel proud of both country music and its culture to honor women in such a noble manner.

I highly recommend taking a trip to any of these places. It might not be your usual weekend agenda, but they are sure to be worth your while!


Filed under Blog Post 5

Beloved Queen of Country Pop Bids Us Adieu: Shania Twain’s Farewell Tour

At 50 years old, Shania Twain has decided to put an end to her touring days, but there was no way she wasn’t going out with a bang. On October 27, Twain serenaded audiences one last time, as she performed her last concert of her career in her homeland of Canada.

In March of 2015, Twain announced her final journey of performances that would consist of 48 cities and be called “Rock This Country Tour”. Touring for the first time in over 10 years, the superstar traveled through both Canada and the U.S., dazzling fans with their favorite hits from various years and records. Her setlist included hits such as, “Come On Over,” “You’re Still The One,” and “Any Man Of Mine,” to name a few.

Though the touring has come to an end, Twain deserves major props for all that she has accomplished in country music through her impressive voice and outstanding songwriting abilities. She has made major strides for women in the industry, receiving five Grammy Awards, 27 BMI Songwriter Awards, induction into the Canada Music Hall of Fame, and even secured a headlining position for her show, “Still The One,” at Las Vegas’s Caesar’s Palace for two years. Her sassy and energetic persona is exuded through her fun, upbeat songs, as well as her midriff bearing appearance that she became well known for. She has also sold over 75 million albums worldwide.

The touring may have come to a halt, but Twain will continue to bring happiness to her fans as she plans to release a fifth album while she is still 50 years old. She may be done traveling but this is not the end of her career.

“It’s still me, it’s still my voice. The songwriting will be recognizable, but it’s much more introspective and it’s very autobiographical,” Twain said about her upcoming album. Fans are beyond excited to see what Twain’s got in store for her loyal followers that have kept her old songs in their repertoire for years, despite the lack of new releases from her. It will be interesting to see an older, more mature version of the pop country diva, as she is now in her 50’s, and has gone through much more heartbreak andTh hardship of life, through her brutal divorce involving her best friend stealing her man, as well as issues with her voice due to various illnesses.

Being a Shania Twain fan since I was a little girl, I am saddened to realized that one of my most valued role models is at the point in her career where she is done with touring, but am overjoyed to hear that we will still get to hear new music from her, and fall in love with the fierce and fun artist all over again, through her meaningful, and easy to adore songs.

Twain has meant so much to so many people over the years, whether it’s due to a memory of dancing to her hit, “You’re Still The One” at their wedding like my own parents, screaming “Man, I Feel Like A Woman” at every karaoke party, or blasting “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” in the car with your girlfriends. We can’t wait to see Twain come back better and stronger than ever.


Filed under Blog Post 4, Country Pop, Live Music

5 Reasons Why The Country Music Lover Would Love Nashville TV Show

ABC’s hit TV show, Nashville has just begun its fourth season and its popularity is only continuing to grow. It has a large fan base and audience, but I believe that any country music listener could easily become a fan of the show. The show features all aspects of country music. TV Guide even says that its plot lines can be told by real country songs. Check out these five reasons why any country music lover would also become a lover of the show, Nashville.

1. The Tunes

Clearly, the biggest thing country music listeners like about country is the music. Nashville surprisingly devotes a significant amount of time each episode to pure music, whether this is through extravagant concert performances of the characters, or footage of them writing/ creating songs. The entire show is centralized around the music, so when watching the viewer is completely immersed in the sounds of country.

All different sounds are included through each character, with the more gentle and innocent sounds of Rayna’s two daughters, the fierce, Miranda Lambert-esque songs of Juliette, and the bro country vibes of Luke, just to name a few.

2. Attractive People

What is there not to love about some good- looking cowboys and country queens? It seems like every star of the show is fortunate in the good looks department, making the country music lover even more in love with these characters and the show.

We’ve got the blonde hunk in Will Lexington, the handsome, high profile city boy in Jeff Fordam, and the tough, chiseled man in Deacon Claybourne. Of course the country queens are all gorgeous, with the timeless, classic beauty in Rayna James, the blonde bombshell in Juliette Barnes, and the natural prettiness of Scarlett O’connor.

3. The business side of things

Not only can we watch the drama unfold between all of the characters, and get to hear some great music along the way, but we also get to see a little bit more into the way that the country music world works. A lot of episodes focus on the production of the music, the process that goes into signing an artist to a record label, as well as the booking and publicity events that consume most of the artists’ lives.

This lets the country music lover get to get more insight into the way that the music we love so much is created and developed.

4. History and Famous People

The truly devoted country music lover probably has a good intellect of the historical aspects of country music, or artists that have been prevalent in the country music world for a while. Nashville constantly references the ever- famous Grand Ole Opry where the most famous of performers have sung.

The show even has many famous country performers guest star on various episodes. These artists include Kellie Pickler, Carrie Underwood, Brantley Gilbert, Luke Bryan, Vince Gill, Kelly Clarkson, Sara Evans, Kip Moore and Trisha Yearwood to name a few. 

5. The Outfits

The fabulosity of the gowns, cowboy boots, and sequined ensembles throughout the show is outrageous. Everything is bigger and better in this show, especially the girls’ hair. The women are always dressed to the nines, and the men even get dolled up from head to toe in their cowboy hats, denim, big belt buckle, and boots. The country boy swagger is taken to a new level in this show. Rayna and Juliette always seem to be in some type of over the top sequined and tight gown or outfit. Even Scarlett has her own intense wardrobe with a more subtle, earthy country girl feel.

The glamour and fame is clearly embodied through many of the characters on the show. However, many aspects of themes central to country music are highlighted constantly in the episodes, such as being a hard worker, valuing family, and being a loyal person despite the insane, complicated business of the country music industry. The show has made great waves for country music, exposing more people to the genre, gathering more fans for it, and even adding some great songs in the mix. I highly recommend the show, no matter what type of country music you may enjoy.


Filed under Blog Post 3, Movies and TV

Dixie Traitors or Dixie Outlaws?

Almost everyone in America during the year of 2003 knew about the dramatic public announcement made by the Dixie Chicks during a concert in London. This caused a massive stir when the group announced that they were “ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas,” and that they were not in support of the war and violence that was occurring. Many people saw this as complete and utter disrespect for America, the government, and most importantly the U.S. troops who were sacrificing their lives on behalf of the country. The group even saw a major decline in record sales and popularity.

the-dixie-chicks-protestGrowing up, the Dixie Chicks were my all- time favorite singers. I spent hours listening to their CD’s on my boombox, making up dances to their songs with my friends, and memorizing the lyrics that glorified girl power and being a southern girl. When the London concert incident happened, I could not have been more upset. I had so much respect for those women, and looked up to them very much, so when my parents told me I was no longer allowed to listen to them I was simply heartbroken as a little girl. I come from a conservative, Republican family, and I know I was just one of hundreds that banned the Dixie Chicks’ music from their household.

I can see exactly why what the Dixie Chicks did was disrespectful and dishonorable, but looking back on historical artists of country music many of them were so widely known or popular because of their “outlaw” status. After reading and learning about Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Merle Haggard to name a few, I realized that the Dixie Chicks could easily be considered outlaws. They didn’t go to jail or shoot anyone, but they stood up for what they believed in while bashing very important figures, and did so in a highly public manner. Clearly their rebelliousness didn’t produce a positive result or increase their popularity as some outlaws experienced, but they were acting out in classic outlaw behavior that was very prevalent in country music throughout history. They didn’t care what their label or fans would think, but wanted to say what they were feeling, even if it was disrespectful and would cause a major backlash. Very similar situations and decisions are what gave some artists in history that very reputation of being an outlaw. However, because the Dixie Chicks were displaying the opposite of patriotism, which is such a huge part of country music, there is no way that they could receive any type of positive feedback from it. There’s no turning back once you do something like that. But is rebelling this drastically not outlaw status even more?


Filed under Blog Post 2

Christianity and Country Music

One of the most meaningful communities that I identify with is the Christian community. Ever since I was little I have found the God’s word to be a source of refuge, support, and strength throughout my lifetime. When listening to country music, I have found that a good majority of artists have expressed similar feelings about their faith and what it stands for through one song, or many songs throughout their careers. This is one factor that made me take a liking to country music growing up. Some may say that faith in country music can be hypocritical if for example an artist releases a song that praises God, but also cites stories about partying or sinful things. However, it’s my belief that so much music today consists of songs about bad judgment or “sinful” things, and it’s refreshing to hear someone talk about their faith. Also, because Christianity is all about our acknowledgement of not being perfect and needing God, the songs with faith and sin are simply more real and genuine.

Ever since I was little, I have always felt that my faith was something that made up who I am and gave my life a purpose. Whether I was going through a breakup, struggling with family issues, or stressing about school I knew that I would always have someone to look to for help when life got crazy. I always knew that I was nowhere near perfect, and it was comforting to know that someone was always looking out for me and would forgive me no matter what.

When looking at country music from a Christian standpoint, I found myself able to relate to a lot of songs. I didn’t come from a small town, have parties out of a truck bed and sit around fires, but I did enjoy the way that so many country artists stated their faith and what it meant to them, whether it was simply one line of a song or the complete meaning of it Artists like Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, and Faith Hill were people that were known to express their love for God through their music. Throughout my teen years I went through many different phases of the genres of music I liked to listen to, and still change it today, but country has always been somewhat of a quiet constant for me because I always respected it due to how so many artists shared my faith. Whether the song stated things like, “God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy,” as Billy Currington does or more devotional things like, “When I get where I’m going and I see my maker’s face I’ll stand forever in the light of his amazing grace,” as Brad Paisley does, I still found myself taking a liking to the song.

One song in particular was one of my favorite ones growing up, called “Jesus Take The Wheel” by Carrie Underwood. The song describes a girl getting into a car wreck, which puts her life into perspective and makes her want to give her life up completely to God. Though this is a situation that not all people can relate to, if you take it metaphorically many Christian listeners can relate to it, as I did. There are events in my life that have caused me to want to strive to be a better person in order to glorify God.

Being a part of the Christian community has most definitely played a role in the type of music that I listen to. I certainly don’t listen to only gospel music, and even listen to what some would say is the complete opposite through rap/ hip- hop, but it is a nice refresher to hear such faith- filled songs in the country genre that I can relate to. In the end, it has made me feel as though country is a more genuine, tell- it- like- it- is genre.


Filed under Blog Post 1