Author Archives: Brittney Haynes

Going Out With a Bang!

Thanks for the Memories card with colorful background with defocused lights

Before enrolling in Rhetoric 309K, I thought I knew country music. I had grown up listening to it, I had an AMAZING playlist on my iTunes, and I even knew the lyrics to nearly all of Randy Travis’ songs, and I’m not a fan of today’s country radio. So I believed myself to be an expert… until second question into class when we were asked, “What makes a song ‘country’?” It was really hard for me to come up with an answer other than, “you just know when it’s not!” I had a great time learning about the origins and evolution of country music, and what factors go into making a song popular at the time, but I had the most fun getting to explore the extent of country music influences around Austin!

Threadgills-Austin-sign-photoFirst stop: Threadgill’s!!

I had always wanted to try Threadgill’s since freshmen year, when a professor suggested it to me when I told him I was a total Foodie! For some reason I never had gotten around to doing it until I found out it was the list of things to do for this class. And I’m so glad I had a reason to go, because it is some of the best southern-style, home cooking you can eat (other than your grandma’s house of course!). A group of friends and I went after church for their Sunday Brunch Buffet and while we were enjoying our food we also got to appreciate live bluegrass gospel music from a local band. It was delectable food served in a brilliant atmosphere, filled with country music memorabilia. I have already been there five times this semester! (This may be a slight problem, but it’s too good to pass up!) I suggest you give it a shot if you haven’t visited already.

Read all about it!

Usually I’m one of those girls who just reads a magazine while waiting in the checkout line, but I decided to go ahead anScreen Shot 2015-11-29 at 3.43.29 PMd subscribe to a one-year digital subscription of “Texas Music” for this class. I actually enjoy the magazine, because it highlights musical artists and bands from Texas only and also covers different musical events in the state. I didn’t know Texas had so much hidden talent. I actually starting YouTubing (yes that’s a verb!) some of the artists that were featured and now I can say I’m a fan to some. It’s an entertaining magazine that covers all genres of music, so it’s really nice to just pick up and find out what’s happening in the Texas music world. I’m cheap though, so once this year is up I will be unsubscribing. (It’s still a great magazine though!)

A night out… actually several nights out!

This class has given me an excuse to go out dancing almost every other weekend. I was able to take some of friends who had never been before and guess what… My other blog post, “We’re Going Boot Scootin’,” was actually a great guide for them. (These things really do help!) Broken Spoke was the go-to place for us on Friday nights. Even though it was an older crowd, we still had a lot of fun and it was just nice to have a night of carefree dancing to some of the greatest country hits. I had the honor, and yes I will say honor, to dance with the best two-stepper I have ever seen. HE was so smooth I literally didn’t have to put much effort into anything, he spun me so much I was confused. It was  so much fun!

Thanks for the Memories!

While exploring Austin’s country scene I was pleasantly surprised to find the rich history that this city holds. It was nice to have the opportunity to experience a lot of the atmosphere’s I wouldn’t have normally went to on my own . Now, I just have to binge watch “Nashville” on Netflix, and life will be complete! I’m thankful  for the opportunities to made this semester oh so memorable.


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“If I could write a letter to me”… 5 country songs that portray exactly what you want to say your younger self in college!

Brad Paisley’s classic song, “If I could write a letter to me,” tells a story of a man listing everything he wish he would have told “his self at 17.” As a graduating senior of UT Austin, I listen to that song and think, “What would I want to tell myself introat the beginning of college if I had the chance?” While we are deep in the trenches of college it is easy to become overwhelmed with the pressure to succeed, the inconceivable amount of course work, the constant battle to get a decent quantity of sleep each week to see the bright light at the end of the tunnel. Every college needs a letter from their future self to know that, all that you’re going through in the moment is so worth it, whether you can conceive the thought or not. This list is compiled of country songs that can do the speaking for you. Check out the five things your 18 year-old self would have loved to have known as you struggled through freshmen year. The playlist progresses as the different struggles of each new year presents themselves, from freshmen year to that glorious final year, and beyond!

Freshmen Year:

1) If You’re Going Through Hell (2006)- Rodney Atkins

Wise words to your younger self: ““If you’re going through hell. Keep on going, don’t slow down, if you’re scared, don’t show it. You might get out before the devil even knows you’re there.”

The Great Transition! This is the year that you are leaving the comfort of your high school network and your parent’s house to make it on your own in this big ol’ world. There are always hard times in life and it is easy to succumb to the challenges, but you have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and get through it. This song is jammed packed with inspirational lyrics that can help anyone know that they can 1st songmake it, and it’s the exact words your younger self would’ve love to hear their first semester of college (and every semester after that!) Think back to how you felt that dreadful first year at a new University; struggling emotionally, academically, financially, and if you pledged a fraternity, physically. You probably didn’t know a lot of people and you often felt at your lowest point. Looking back at those times now after you’ve graduated, made tons of friends, and found that dream job, it’s easier to encourage yourself. Keep pressing on during the hard times and soon enough you’ll find that you’ve made it through to the other side.


Sophomore Year:

2). Find Out Who Your Friends Are (2007)- Tracy Lawrence

Wise words to your younger self: “You find out who your friends are, Somebody’s gonna drop everything.”

You’re a year in, and now that you have better footing on how to manage all that college throws at you, it’s easier to focus on your social life. Run out of gas, can’t pay your rent, lose your job, these are the events that help weed out the real from the fake. When the struggles of life hit you, a lot of people who you thought were your “friends” easily jump ship and somehow forget who you are when you ask for help, but these are the2nd song times when you find out who your true friends are. It’s a good reminder to your younger self that you’ll meet tons of people in college; some good, some bad, some who you will just speak to in passing, and then those who are going to be lifelong friends. A journal entry in Harvard Magazine read that college friends are special because, “showing someone a matured version of oneself is different from growing through those changes together,’’ meaning that as you experience life together the bonds you create now will stick with you because it’s helped you mature as a person. You’re younger self would appreciate to know that their true friends are out there, those one’s who will “never stop to think ‘what’s in it for me?”

Junior Year:

3). It’s Five O’ Clock Somewhere (2013)- Allen Jackson ft. Jimmy Buffet

Wise words to your younger self: “it’s five o’clock somewhere. It’s always on five in Margaritaville, come to think of it.”

Around this time you have finally reached 21 and can legal go out with friends for drinks whenever you want. The stress that comes with classes, your job, and extracurricular activities can really take a toll on you, and what’s the3rd song best way to deal with the stresses of life? Drowning them out at your favorite bar/lounge. It’s okay to go out and have a couple drinks to take your mind off of the hassles that are waiting for you when return home. I think we would have all loved to hear, “Yes, it’s okay for you to be drinking at noon, because remember, it’s five o’ clock somewhere! You are in college; it is basically a way of life. Don’t worry you’re going to be fine in the future… trust me!”


4). Wasted (2005)- Carrie Underwood

Wise words to your younger self: I don’t wanna spend my life jaded, waiting to wake up one day and find that I let all these years go by wasted.”

Also during this time you are thinking more of your future plans, while at the same time reminiscing about the first half4th song of your college life. No one wants to look back on their life and have to constantly say, “I wish I would have done…” Regrets are a terrible thing to live with, so why wouldn’t you want to live life to the fullest? To quote Ellie from the Pixar film “UP,” “Adventure is out there,” it’s just up to us to go out and explore. Your younger self should know this in college, because life could easily just pass us by as we try to earn a degree and we won’t experience all of what college has to offer. So, go on that study abroad trip to Spain, join that intermural team, rush that sorority or fraternity you always wanted to join, take that summer internship you’ve been dreaming about, go on spontaneous road trips on the weekends, fall in love with the cute guy/girl in your OChem class. According to New York Times Magazine, research says that the biggest regret that people have is a lost romantic opportunity, not that they didn’t go to class enough, or their study habits. We would have loved to have known that while being cooped up in the library for hours instead of enjoying some of the best years of our lives.

Senior Year:

5). You’re Gonna Miss This (2008)- Trace Adkins

Wise words to your younger self: “You’re gonna miss this. You’re gonna want this back. You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast”

This is it! You’ve made it to the finish line! It’s so easy to only think of the future and how badly you want to be there. Especially in college, you want to hurry and graduate in four years to escape the course load, the stress of tests, the fact that you’re always broke, the haunting thought of how much debt you’re accumulating, but when they day comes, as happy as you’re going to be… you’re going to miss it. The all nighters that gave you so much hell, the late night talks about life with your roommate, all the amazingly fun events on campus, the parties, tailgating at sporting events, even your professors. I know 5th roomthat it seems like you’re always having to “go to this meeting,” or “finish this paper,” but you’re actually as free during this time than you will ever be. Samantha Matt, a writer for Huffington Post, wrote on her blog that one thing she missed about college was “having more free time,” because once you get in the real world with real life responsibilities there isn’t much room for messing around. It’s an amazing feeling to embark on a new journey in life, yet it’s a bittersweet farewell to the chapter that you’re closing. So please listen to Trace’s words and head his advice when he says, “These are some good times, so take a good look around. You may not know it now, but you’re gonna miss this.” Take in every moment, the bad along with the good; you’re going to need stories to tell your grandkids in the future.


6). Find Yourself (2006)-Brad Paisley

Wise words to your younger self: “When you go through life, So sure of where you’re headin’, And you wind up lost, And it’s the best thing that could have happened, ‘Cause sometimes when you lose your way, It’s really just as well, Because you find yourself, Yeah, that’s when you find yourself.”

You’re fresh out of college with a degree in something that you love. The world is at your fingertips right? You are on your way to living the life you’ve always dreamed of right? This isn’t true for everyone. Sometimes it’s hard to find a job that fits the degree you have. Sometimes what you thought you loved doing doesn’t give you fulfillment you assumed it would. Or maybe you didn’t get the job that you had been banking on and are left completely confused. This song is a reminder that life is a journey and whatever road you end up taking, it ultimately leads you to become the person you were always meant to be. Take some to travel, find a new hobby, take a job that you would have never considered in college. All of these things could bring out skills, passions, and characteristics out of you that were completely unnoticed earlier in life. As life progresses you will inevitably find out who you were created to be and fulfill the purpose that you are called too. So even if things aren’t looking the way you planned, doesn’t mean that you aren’t taking steps toward your destiny.

In her blog, “11 things I wish I knew before going to college,” Sarah Bourassa writes that one of those things was to “stay one step ahead.” Which is so good, because like many people who have already graduated, you would have loved someone who has gone ahead of you to guide you through the roller coaster ride you would be on for the next four or so years. I’m sure that there are plenty of other things that you would love to tell your younger self that is unique to you, but I believe these songs cover a lot of our sentiments, when it comes to doing college over again. Even though all these songs speak to different areas of our lives while in college, they all point to the same purpose; great advice that would make getting those treacherous four years with a little less scars and whole lot more joy. Even though, it may be too late for many of us to get insight from this post, you have the opportunity to send it someone you know who is just at the starting gate to give them a leg up, while also giving them some awe-inspiring country hits to listen to.













































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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

I heard God Today

111652025For many people, upon hearing the phrase, “country music” the first idea that comes to their mind is one of the three: drinking, trucks, or heartbreak. Personally, one of the things that I have always loved about country music was the fact that faith and God was intertwined so heavily in the songs of multiple artists over the years. The list contains performers from Johnny Cash to Carrie Underwood to Randy Travis. The prominence of faith in country songs range from subtle hints to the most blatant lyrics one could listen to.

The fact that country music generated in the south (AKA The Bible Belt), a place known for deep religious roots, it isn’t hard to understand why there are a plethora of songs that tell listeners about God, the concept of heaven, or miracles being done. I love how the genre has artists that sing about the values that they hold dear to them, despite some backlash from critics.

The prime example of this is Carrie Underwood. Underwood had recorded the song, “Something in the Water,” that tells the story of her being baptized and how it changed her life, with lyrics such as: “So I followed that preacher man down to the river/ and now I’m changed/ and now I’m stronger.” Despite criticism from her atheist fans Carrie was quoted expressing to Glamour magazine, “I’m not the first person to sing about God, Jesus or faith [or] any of that, and I won’t be the last. And it won’t be the last for me, either. If you don’t like it, change the channel.” I admire her strong stance for her faith and the fact that she isn’t going to waiver because some people may not like it.

Despite the fact that religion and Christianity is a controversial topic that usually isn’t heard in other genres Brad Paisley said it best when he sang, “And tellin’ folks Jesus is the answer can rub ’em wrong… But this is country music and we do!” My love for country music will never change because this is the only field of music that sings about concepts of value and ones that are important to me.

I have compiled a list of my Top 3 Favorite Faith Filled songs and why they mean so much to me…

1). I believe by Brooks and Dunn

I love the story in these lyrics because it tells of times when people go through hard times of loss and the only way to find the strength to get through it is by reading the Bible, praying, and understanding there is more after this life ends.

2). Three wooden crosses by Randy Travis

This song makes me tear up every time I listen to it because it tells a story of how we should love every person, no matter his or her walk of life, because every person is important. The song is from the point of view of a preacher who is telling a story of a horrible car accident, where a preacher, teacher, farmer, and a hooker. The preacher gave the hooker his “blood stained bible,” as she was the only one to survive. The hooker ends up being the mother of the narrator (the other preacher), who changes her life due to the bible she received that night.

3.) Jesus Take the Wheel by Carrie Underwood

This song resonates with me so much due to the fact that I have had to tell Jesus multiple times “take the wheel!” When life gets hard or unbearable at times, I know I can’t get through it myself and I need help from Him to guide me the direction I need to go.


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Country Couple who’s “Livin’ on Love”

Everyone wants a love “like Johnny and June,” but I want a marriage like Alan and Denise. I’m not downing the wedding of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, but I have always admired the nuptials of Alan Jackson and his wife, Denise. Most girls fantasize about this idea of a grand wedding and then living happily ever after with the man of their dreams, but I’m not most girls. I like to consider myself a realist! Now don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to marry my husband, but I also know that it isn’t going to be a bed of roses everyday after that, but that doesn’t mean, despite the ups and downs, that a marriage can’t end up being all one had hoped for. The Jackson’s embody that perfectly.

Once Upon a Time…

The local Dairy Queen, where all small town love stories start! It’s true in this case anyway. Their relationship began in 1976 when Alan threw a penny at his future wife during a group hangout one night, which ultimately led to him following her home. (Kind of creepy if you asked me, but if she liked it, I love it!)

After finally working up the nerve to ask her to marry him, the high school sweethearts were wed on December 15, 1979. Three daughters and a country music career followed shortly after. It’s true, the saying, “Behind every successful man is a woman.” It was Denise who jump started Alan’s profession by approaching country star Glen Campbell while working as a flight attendant and told him about her husband, who was looking to become a country singer. Campbell eventually helped Alan get a record deal with Arista Records.

For the love of Fame!

As Jackson began to rise in the country music realm as a crowd favorite, his home life popularity was plummeting to dangerous altitudes. The couple eventually split in February 1998, upon Denise learning of an affair that Alan engaged in during their marriage. The 49-year-old Grammy Winner was quoted saying, “We were just kids when we started out. We didn’t ever have the chance to fall in love as adults and to learn who you are before making a commitment. I think we lost some of that original feeling. I did anyway.” Even though stepping out on your wife isn’t commendable, I do admire his transparency and honesty with his fans. It just goes to show that no one is perfect, not even the celebrities we hold to high esteem. And in true Alan Jackson form, he recorded a song named “I wish I could back up,” that showed his regret and remorse for his actions.


After just four months of separation the two decided to work through their issues and rekindle their romance. Denise credits a lot of their success to her deep-rooted faith, as she worked through the forgiveness process with her husband, stating, “God took our mess and made something wonderful out of it. It took us going through that to finally have the kind of relationship we both always wanted.” The couple renewed their vows on their 20th wedding anniversary, and continues to keep one another at the top of their priority list. This year they will be celebrating 37 years of marriage.


I admire this couple so much, because they just show that one truly can have it all: fame, faith, and family. It may not always be honeymoons and sunny days, but marriage is a wonderful experience that requires work and time. Despite the ups and downs of life if two people truly love one another and are committed to the vows you take, you can actually have the love and marriage that so many country songs portray. So, yes even though there were trying times, please give me a marriage like Alan and Denise.

“Remember When” is, in my opinion, Alan’s ultimate love song to his wife as he looks back on his life with her. He describes their love from their first time together, through raising their children, and describes how they will “remember when” as they continue to grow old together. My heart literally melts when they slow dance in the video and he sings directly to her in that moment. You’ve can’t help but to fall in love with them as a couple!


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