Author Archives: Claudia Boyd

My Country World in Austin, Texas

When looking into my degree plan, I saw that I had to take one last rhetoric class in order to fulfill my core requirement. Now I have to be honest, I have never been been a fan of any sort of English class, but I am happy to say that is no longer the case. I actually looked forward to this class every week and will be sad when it is over. Unfortunately, however, all great things must come to an end… And may I now present to you: my country music experiences outside of the classroom..

  1. Coupland Dance Hall

So coming from Fort Worth, I have been toGetImage.ashx my fair share of Billy Bob’s concerts. After coming to Austin I was wondering if I
would ever get to experience the same kind of country music culture. Let me tell you, the Coupland Dance Hall out in Coupland, Texas is all of that and more. When my sorority had a date function there, I was so excited to check it out. From the stringed lights to the country two step this place has it down to a T.

  1. Austin City Limits1501734_10203808627229961_2094592200129301172_n

Even before I applied to the University of Texas, I had always dreamed of going to ACL Festival. As soon as I got in I knew that was my first order of business, I bought a ticket. One year later and I was still just as excited for my second time. There is really nothing like going to a big field with all of your friends listening to awesome live music. Because the names were somewhat familiar to me at the time, I attended both the Dwight Yoakam and Sturgill Simpson concerts. My dad had recently introduced me to Sturgill Simpson and encouraged me to attend his concert. He was right on about his unique and traditional country sound.

  1. Nashville

My roommates have always told me to sit down and watch an episode of the hit ABC show Nashville, but I could never find the time. When I found out that I could write about this show for my blog post. I sat right down on the couch and started the pilot episode. Little did I know that pressing play on that remote would have me completely compelled by a tv show. I understand that some people think that the drama is unrealistic or the acting is bad, but the music will change their mind on the overall perception of the show. In a previous post I looked further into the duo Lennon and Maisy, but they are just one example of the talent on the show. I encourage anyone who loves a drama filled tv series to give it a try.

NashvilleS4415Overall I have really enjoyed this past semester. I not only learned about the history of country music, how to analyze it, and what it means, but I learned how to appreciate it for more than just a twangy sound.

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Filed under Blog Post 5, Concert, Live Music, Movies and TV, Nashville Sound, Texas

Giving Thanks: Top 5 Country Songs about Thanksgiving

As we gear into the holiday season, it is important for us to think about our blessings and giving thanks to our friends in family. Most people value the food and parties as the most important part of the holidays, but we should take a step back and focus on what really matters, our friends and family. Now, country music discusses many topics such as drinking, tailgating, heartache, and love but what does it have to say about being thankful, here is a countdown of what I believe to be the top 5 country songs about Thanksgiving.

5. Pat Green, “Lucky” (2004)

Pat Green hopes that we win a million dollars or date a supermodel, but he also gives us the story of a regular guy. He says that the biggest victory in life fall  “beneath this red, white and big blue sky/With your job, your car, your family, your friends/The love of a girl that you know will never end.” That is what we should truly be thankful for and what aspects of life we are lucky to have.

4. Willie Nelson, “I’m Alive” (2008)

Willie Nelson sings, “As for me, I’d like to thank my lucky stars / That I’m alive and well,” He wants us to focus on the most important and little things in life that most people take for granted. Being alive and well is something we should be very thankful for, and this hit by Willie Nelson reminds us of this.

3. Blake Shelton, “God Gave Me You” (2011)

At first listen, this song sounds like it is merely a love song, but digging deeper this song is more than a story of a hopeless romantic. The song can be applied to any important person in our life. It is a song to show us that we are never alone. It is ironic that this song, for Shelton, is about his ex-wife Miranda Lambert. I wonder if he now applies this song for new girlfriend and fellow Voice coach, Gwen Stefani. Either way, this song reminds us if what were truly thankful for, friends and family.

2. Travis Tritt, “It’s a Great Day to be Alive” (2000)

“And it’s a great day to be alive / I know the sun’s still shinin’ when I close my eyes / There’s some hard times in the neighborhood / But why can’t everyday be just this good.” The chorus of this song reminds us to be thankful for everyday. Tritt also tells us that even when we are having hard days to take a step back and look at all that we have to be thankful for.

1. Martina McBride, “Blessed” (2000)

This CMA nominated hit by Martina McBride is the #1 song about Thanksgiving because she explains the little things of life we are blessed to have. The chorus states that, “At the end of every day / I have been blessed / With so much more than I deserve / To be here with the ones that love me / To love them so much it hurts / I have been blessed.” This song discusses our blessings in a humble manner and reminds us to thank God for the gifts we have been given that are “so much more than I deserve.” Martina McBride truly encompasses all aspects of Thanksgiving in this beautifully written song.

Before you dive face first in the turkey, think about what you are thankful for. Hopefully this list gets you into the Holiday spirit and makes you realize how blessed we are. Happy Thanksgiving!


Filed under Lists, Reflection, Song Analysis

Nashville’s Newest Stars: A Closer Look at the Dynamic Duo, Lennon & Maisy

lennonmaisy-4_3The casting directors of the hit show Nashville had a moment of genius when casting the roles of Rayna James’s daughters. They selected none other than the Canadian sisters Lennon and Maisy Stella. Who are they you might ask? Well, Lennon (16) and Maisy (12) started their singing career by performing covers for hit songs such as “Call Your Girlfriend” and “Ho Hey” on their YouTube channel. So, lets take a closer look at these young stars.

Born into a musical family, with both parents in the music business, the girls became interested in the music world from a very early age. Lennon even got her first guitar when she was five. Her father, an experienced guitarist taught her how to play and from then on she was hooked. The most surprising fact about the sisters is that neither of them has ever received lessons or professional vocal training, they both play numerous instruments and sing in two-part harmony without prior instruction. The girls have written songs together in their early years and played at various shows and festivals alongside their parents before being discovered by Nashville.

NASHVILLE - "Someday You'll Call My Name" - Rayna immerses herself in her kids' lives and her husband's campaign, and is sobered to learn that she and Teddy are facing financial ruin; Juliette offers Deacon an exclusive contract to write and tour with her; and Juliette's troubled mother, Jolene, re-enters her daughter's life in dramatic fashion. Meanwhile, Scarlett and Gunnar's big break with Watty is threatened, on "Nashville," WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/KATHERINE BOMBOY-THORNTON) LENNON STELLA, MAISY STELLAAlthough music was the girls’ true passion, Maisy had always been interested in acting and decided to try it out. She had been featured in several different commercials and music videos growing up so acting became her second love. When her agent became aware of a role in a new ABC show that was being filmed in Nashville, Maisy immediately saw it as a a sign and auditioned. During the final stages of the auditioning process, the casting agents discovered that Maisy had an older sister, Lennon, and decided that the girls would be a dynamic duo on the show. Lennon & Maisy began starring in the ABC drama Nashville in October 2012 and have become a nationwide hit. Their sweet and innocent sound as captivated viewers. They have truly become some of the most popular young artists in the Nashville scene. If you haven’t heard them sing before, trust me you will be listening for hours.

Their first hit, Lennon and Maisy’s cover of “Call Your Girlfriend” by Robyn and Erato showed their potential as artists and hooked viewers on their sound. Using empty containers of butter as musical instruments, the girls displayed an aspect of creativity that was hard to match.

Their cover of “I Wont Give Up” by Jason Mraz shows the range of their voices and the beauty of their two part harmony.

Finally Maisy’s performance of “Have a Little Faith in Me”, by John Hiatt, shows the 12 year olds ability to harmonize with any voice.

I hope you have become interested in these young artists, because trust me they are taking not only the country music world, but entire musical kingdom by storm.


Filed under Blog Post 4, Movies and TV, Nashville Sound, New Country, Women

Country Music Truly Keepin’ It Real

18428The other day my dad and I were discussing my Rhetoric of Country Music class and he asked me if we have looked at the actual rhetoric of lyrics. When I told him we were learning about the history of country music, he replied with, “You have to look at the rhetoric and strategies behind a certain James McMurtry song. These days whenever we think about which genre of music contains the most bizarre and catchy songs we think of Hip Hop and Rap. Look no further because I am about to show you how one country song tops those charts and truly “keeps it real.”

Have you ever heard “Choctaw Bingo,” by James McMurtry? If not I suggest you to give it a listen you will not be disappointed. Now some might say this isn’t a country sing, but I beg to differ, the bluegrass feel of this song definitely puts it in the country genre. I am serious, this song is the epitome of outlaw country. It makes sense that the artist, son of famous author Larry McMurtry, would cross the boundaries of country music and come up with the most unreal situations you could think of.

So how to describe “Choctaw Bingo?” Basically it is 9 minute song about a family reunion in a heavy meth county brought together by “Uncle Slayton” who resembles almost an alter ego of Uncle Sam. The song begins with,

“strap them kids in

give ’em a little bit of vodka

In a Cherry Coke, we’re going to Oklahoma

To the family reunion for the first time in years

It’s up at uncle Slayton’s ’cause he’s getting on in years”

I mean the first verse should have listeners’ eyes wide open and curious what else James McMurtry will rattle off next. The narrator starts the song by asking the other person to pack up their children and sedate them with vodka and, later, Benadryl… come on man.. Let me tell you he does not disappoint in bringing us the most outlandish and absurd song I have ever heard.

The song continues to talk about the family members and their backgrounds from Uncle Slayton who goes to Choctaw Bingo to bring money home to his Asian bride, to cousin Roscoe and his many packages of cigarettes to the second cousins who stop at a truckstop to buy a rifle. “Choctaw Bingo” is the “people of walmart” song of the 21st century.

So country music can also step up to the plate with bizarre and outrageous songs just like popular Rap songs. Don’t believe me? Just watch.


Filed under Blog Post 3, Outlaw, Song Analysis

Taking You Back to Those Friday Night Lights

Its Friday afternoon, (in my case) around 3:30, and the final school bell rings. You run out to your car, roll down the windows, plug in the auxiliary cord and its time to jam on the ride home and get ready for some of the most unforgettable nights of high school. Country music is the first thing I think of when I remember the flashy bright lights of Friday night football. Here is a playlist that I hope will help you reminisce on some of the best times of our lives.

Of course “Boys of Fall,” by Kenny Chesney is first on the list. Every lyric gives me the chills, but the beginning really stands out, “When I feel that chill, smell that fresh cut grass/ I’m back in my helmet, cleats, and shoulder pads/ Standin’ in the huddle listenin’ to the call/ Fans goin’ crazy for the boys of fall.” I am sure everyone remembers either being on the field, or supporting your team to victory. The end truly encompasses the aspect of team when it says, “You mess with one man, you got us all/ The boys of fall.” Coming from a high school where our athletic teams were such a big deal, this song takes me back to the track where we stood in our cowboy boots and football jerseys watching our friends out on the field. This is the song that most likely was played in a graduation video that immediately brought tears.

“Fireworks” by Hudson Moore is a song that really hits home. This song is one that would be played at max volume the whole way home. Coming from Fort Worth as well, Hudson Moore does a great job in honoring Fort Worth high school football. “football/game on a Friday night/ the whole town came just to watch us fight/ i’ll never forget the last game we played/ they turned out the lights but everybody stayed.” This song gives an image of the whole school celebrating a win.

“Red Dirt Road” by Brooks & Dunn. This song highlights some of the memories of high school for example, “It’s where I drank my first beer/ It’s where I found Jesus/ Where I wrecked my first car/ I tore it all to pieces.” Although this song doesn’t directly mention high school football, it brings us all back to the memories of those crazy and unforgettable four years.

“If I Could Do it Again” by Corey Smith is another song that instantly makes us nostalgic. This song contains many lyrics that eventually become senior quotes and words to remember when you are in the middle of high school. It says, “If I could do it again/I’d do it the same/ Not one regret/ I wouldn’t change a thing.” This song is all about living with no regrets and making the best of the time we have.

“Friday Night” by Eric Pasley is a song about finding that high school first love and wanting to be that Friday night that everyone looks forward to. “I wanna be your Friday night sweet ride/Summertime sunshine barefoot in the moonlight/ I wanna be your jackpot hot spot/Wide open road in a candy apple rag top/I wanna set you free, I wanna take you high/I wanna be, wanna be your Friday night/ Oh your Friday night.” It makes me think of that high school boyfriend and looking forward to getting to be around them at the football games Friday night.

So if you are ever in the mood to roll down the windows and turn the volume on max, I hope these songs will make you think of the past and those Friday night lights.


Filed under Blog Post 2, Lists, Reflection, Texas