Author Archives: Kaki Miller

Country Beyond the Music

When I saw Rhetoric of Country Music as a class option last spring during registration, I immediately signed up. I figured, I listen to country music a lot of the time, so this class should be fun and interesting. I totally underestimated how much I would learn about the different kinds of country music, improve my blogging and rhetoric skills, and genuinely enjoy learning about older artists who I previously had no knowledge of. Since acquiring more knowledge on the genre, experiencing different “country” activities has had a whole new meaning.

  1. Two-Stepping the Night Away

In September, my friends and I boarded a bus to an unknown destination. All we knew was to wear a country looking dress and cowboy boots (my favorite shoes.) The bus ride was long, about 45 minutes, but we entertained ourselves blaring country music and dancing the whole way there. We arrived at Coupland Dance Hall in Coupland, Texas, which had a southern-comfort atmosphere and a HUGE dance floor. While I had a great time at Coupland, there are many other options closer to Austin for people wanting to two-step:

  1. I’ve Always Wanted To Go To Nashville…

But it looks like for now I will have to stick with Nashville the TV show. I first heard about the show a few years ago, and my sister watched it religiously as it aired on ABC every week, so I ventured to watch a few episodes. The cast list has two of my favorite actresses as stars in the show: Rayna Jaymes and Hayden Panettiere. While I fell in love with Rayna during her time on Friday Night Lights, I love her as Connie Britton on the show. Hayden was introduced to me as a Disney actress, I think it was Ice Princess, and how typical of a young Disney star to emerge as a talented singer as well as actress. While I didn’t know about Lennon and Maisy before the show, their cover of “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers is better than the real version in my opinion. This show does a great job of producing songs with a nice country twist to them.

  1. Kacey Musgraves…. I Feel Like I Know Her Personally

As I did some browsing through Texas Music Magazine’s online site, I came across a feature written about Kacey Musgraves and I felt a sense of pride. Something about dedicating 2 weeks worth of research into one person connects you on a weird, personal level with them, even though it is definitely one-sided, I feel like I know everything about her and coming across an article written so positively about her makes me feel like one of my good friends is being honored. The article described why she was deserving of being the magazine’s artist of the year, and many of the points the author hit were running right along with mine! It felt cool knowing that I had similar thoughts with an artist who gets paid to write for a famous magazine.

Rhetoric of Country Music will be one of those classes that I will specifically remember as a favorite college class. It was a class I looked forward to every day because I knew I would learn something new that interested me every time I went to class. I learned more about a genre I thought I was an expert in and I learned how to be a better writer. Classes like these are the most valuable in my opinion because they combine the interests of students with academic progression, which is the most beneficial for learning.

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Filed under Austin, Blog Post 5

Spooky Country Songs To Get You In The Halloween Spirit

One of the spookiest weekends of the year is upon us. Ghosts, witches, zombies and werewolves roam the streets for Halloween weekend. While it is so easy to find country songs about Christmas, it is rare for anyone to think of country music and Halloween together, but there are definitely songs out there that get their spookiness on. Listening to them around Halloween time can really escalate their meanings. The night of this spooky holiday is all about the “scaries,” and to get you in the mood, here is a list of 5 of the spookiest country songs through out time that I have complied from research, and from songs that I have personally found to be appropriate for Halloween vibes.

  1. “It’s a Monster’s Holiday” by Buck Owens

I can’t help but start this list off with this song. If it doesn’t get you in the Halloween mood I am not really sure what will. If you can’t tell merely from the title, this song is all about the creatures that encompass the meaning of Halloween. Dragons, zombies, Frankenstein, gremlins, goblins, Dracula, and Wolfman are all of the monster’s that are being celebrated during the Halloween season. Buck Owens sang one of the most directly Halloween related songs that I have found, and I like it.

  1. “Two Black Cadillacs” by Carrie Underwood

Don’t ever cheat on Carrie Underwood. “Two Black Cadillacs” is only one of many songs that she has about a cheating boyfriend or husband, but it is arguably the most serious. It is about a wife teaming up with “the other woman” to take out the guy that they both thought was theirs. The music in the song along with the lyrics create an eerie sounding threat that would scare me if I was a cheating guy. The song is very vague about how the women killed the husband, but its sound and the lyrics do make a convincing point to be scared of two pissed off women.

  1. “Creepin’” by Eric Church

Eric Church’s song Creepin’ is a song is about him looking back on a previous relationship, but his lyrics take it further than him just being reminiscent about his loss, the imagery makes it creepy. “Your cocaine kiss and caffeine love, run under my skin and into my blood.” This line could make any listener’s blood quiver, and the chorus following adds to the creepiness factor. “Ivy crawlin’,” “living in glass,” “like a honeybee beatin’ on my screen door,” and the 30 times the word “creepin’” is used all contribute to the eeriness. I realize that this song won’t really scare anyone, but it’s tune and sound along with vivid imagery make the song perfect for this Halloween season.

  1. “Ghost Riders in the Sky” by Johnny Cash

Have you ever wondered what hell looks like? Well for a cowboy it would be endlessly chasing around a bunch of mad cows and never being to catch them. And what’s worse? They seem to be devil cows. In this song, Cash has painted a picture of cowboy hell. I picture a very scary setting that is filled with blood and demons, and that is often what I run into on a Halloween night (but the things I run into aren’t real, so I am ok with it.)

  1. “Better Dig Two” by the Band Perry

This song is actually a bit disturbing if you really pay attention to the lyrics. The Band Perry’s song “Better Dig Two” is about a girl who is so freaky obsessed with her husband that she plans to die if they are ever separated by death or divorce so she won’t have to see him with someone else. She talks about their burial process as the pre-chorus (one of the catchiest parts of the song) for if he dies before her. This girl takes “till death do us part” very seriously, to the point where its spooky.

As Halloween approaches, listen to these songs with this more spooky perspective in mind. When I did, it made me even more aware of the eeriness in so many of these songs. There are many other songs out there that could be included on this list, so as you are listening to country music this week, try to be more aware of the lyrics to see if there is a scary factor that you didn’t even notice before.


Filed under Blog Post 4, Lists, Song Analysis

The Rivalry of the Red River Takes a Country Turn

txouIn light of the Red River Showdown this past weekend, it is only appropriate to take the rivalry of states to a whole new level—country music. Since 1900, the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma have been meeting annually to see who has the better football team. But the rivalry has extended to far beyond the field. People from both states claim their state is the best at everything. So let’s take a look at the country music that has been produced from both states and see who can claim the title “best” country music.

Arguably one of the most famous and successful country artists to come out of Oklahoma, Carrie Underwood has definitely proven herself as worthy of being bragged about. In 2008, she was inducted into the Grand Ol Opry and into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame the next year only three years after winning season 4 of American Idol. She has won seven Grammy’s, 17 Billboard Music Awards, 11 Academy of Country Music Awards, and eight American Music Awards. Other than being heavily decorated in the awards department, Underwood has had 12 singles reach the number one spot, including her first country release “Jesus Take the Wheel.” Its safe to say Oklahoma gets a point for Carrie.

A legend in country music for decades, George Strait has produced songs and albums that will go down in history as some of the best country music ever written, especially if you are talking to a Texan. Strait was born in the small town Poteet, Texas. His first album, Strait Country, focused on the more traditional country sound instead of the pop country that was popular during the 80s. Since the beginning of his career, Strait has produced 44 number-one hits on Billboards Hot Country Songs chart, which smokes the previous record that was held by Conway Twitty at 40. Selling more than 100 million records in his career, Strait is recognized as one of the best-selling artists of all time. With the nickname “King of Country,” I think Texas has earned themselves a point for having claim on George Strait.

Another artist who identifies their roots in Oklahoma is Toby Keith. Keith’s first album, produced in 1993 went platinum; “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” was released has been one of his greatest hits. Another accomplishment and what many attribute as one Keith’s most notable releases was his song “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American.)” He was named Entertainer of the year by the Academy of Country Music in the two years following the release of his patriotic response to the 9/11 disaster. Keith is also decorated with many other awards, including ACM’s Album of the Year and Top Male Vocalist. He has had 20 singles that have reached #1 in the country charts over his career thus far, and I am sure more are coming. Point Oklahoma.

In 1933, the next country artist from Texas who has had an undeniably impressive career was born in Abbott, Texas. Willie Nelson, one of the most famous names in country music in history, has been a leader in outlaw country and a reason for the country music scene in the state of Texas. After producing over 100 singles since the start of his career, 33 of those singles have taken the number one spot in overall charts, meaning Nelson’s music is appealing to people from all over the world. A multi-time Grammy award nominee and winner, three time recipient of Single Record of the Year from the ACMA’s, American Music Award’s Country Artist of the Year multiple times, and winner of AMA’s Favorite Country Single (also multiple times,) Nelson has won substantial awards an impressive amount of times. I’m throwing another point to Texas on behalf of Willie.

Both states have more notable artists as well who have made huge impacts on country music. Here are some of the big names from each of their respective states:

OKGarth Brooks, Vince Gill, Reba McEntire, and Blake Shelton.


txWaylon Jennings, Kenny Rogers, Clint Black, Robert Earl Keen, The Randy Rogers Band, Jack Ingram, Pat Green, and Eli Young Band.



While I am trying to remain as unbiased as possible, it seems as though the list of country artists from Texas seems to exceed the list from Oklahoma. While Oklahoma has produced some undeniably successful country stars, I think the Lone Star State has the right to claim the win on this one. And how about that Texas win this weekend?


Filed under Blog Post 3

From American Idol to My Ultimate Girl Crush

From the moment Carrie Underwood walked on stage in front of the original (and arguably best ever) three judges of American Idol, I immediately developed the biggest girl crush on this random girl from Oklahoma with pipes that could take anyone’s breath away. Sometimes I go back to watch her first audition and I still get goose bumps. Carrie Underwood dominated season four of American Idol from the beginning, winning the hearts of fans from all over the country.

For me, there is no artist on my iPod that I listen to more frequently. Walking to class, going on a road trip, dancing in my room (no shame,) really almost everything I have ever done I have done it at least once while listening to Carrie Underwood. There is something about her music that is so relatable, especially to girls my age.

She is humble and from a small-town, and unassumingly beautiful. I look up to her in so many ways, but the most impressive thing that she has done in my opinion is keeping a level head and being normal when the pressures of Hollywood so often push stars into strange phases just so they can gain more popularity *cough Miley Cyrus cough.*

MileyA huge moment in my life was my first Carrie Underwood concert. The atmosphere and show that she put on were exuberating. She played some of my favorite songs such as “Last Name,” “All-American Girl,” and “Get Out of This Town.” Seeing how much fun she was having and hearing how amazing she sounded live created one of the coolest feelings I have ever felt. I am sure the whole audience felt the same way, but for me I realized that singing is something I could want to pursue.

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved singing. In middle school, I started singing a little bit more publicly, but after high school and through my first couple years of college I have been pretty low-key about it—literally. If you were to ask any of my college friends, none of them would have any idea that I love to sing and it might be something that I want to make a career of. I’m not saying that I am as good as Carrie Underwood, but she has inspired me to pursue music.

Whether or not I ever make it big like her is honestly highly unlikely, I get that. But I will always love singing along with her as if I was on stage.


Filed under Blog Post 2, Country Pop

What’s Your Weekend?

Up to this point, I have been going to school my entire life. From lower to middle to high school and now college, I have always tried to identify myself with the institution I am a part of at the time. There has been no school that I have been more connected to and now happy to be involved with besides UT. Since I can remember, I have dreamed of being a University of Texas student, wearing burnt orange on game-day at DKR, joining a sorority like my mom, learning more than I could ever imagine scholastically, and living in Austin, Texas. In every single one of those aspects of this new college life I am living, I have had close encounters with country music. At tailgates before games, country music is always on the loud speaker. When I am road tripping with my sorority sisters, the playlist we make is always an assortment of our country favorites. Walking from class to class, I can usually squeeze about three of my favorite Rascal Flatts songs in, and that is why I sometimes take the long route on purpose. And of course, Austin is known as a musical hub for artists of all kinds, but especially country.

My passion for UT and the Texas Longhorns started on the steps of my Aunt Pearl's house in Austin, Tx in 2000.

My passion for UT and the Texas Longhorns started on the steps of my Aunt Pearl’s house in Austin, Tx in 2000.

Despite all of these wonderful aspects of the college community I have entered, there are definitely times when I feel challenged. School work can pile up faster than I ever imagined, the stress of finding a real job one day always seems to be looming in the all too near future, and honestly some days are just plain hard. Weekdays can seem endless sometimes, and a weekend break is all I can think about to motivate me or at least remind me of why I do love this place so much.

The song “Crushin’ It” by Brad Paisley reminds me so much of how I feel sometimes while I am in college. The song starts with Paisley saying how nice it would be for some reassurance from others or overcoming a dry spell. For him, his weekend is his opportunity to kick back and enjoy the smaller things that he appreciates. Weekends are his comfortable constant in life. Despite the problems he deals with during the week, he knows that eventually his Friday night and beer will be there for him. In the same way, the comfort of country music and all the aspects that I love about the University of Texas community are “the weekend” in my life that make me feel like I am “crushin’ it” too. It’s about looking forward to what you know you love and embracing every aspect of those things.


Filed under Blog Post 1, Country Pop, New Country, Reflection, Texas