Author Archives: Courtney Gonzalez

About Courtney Gonzalez

I am currently a Sophomore at the University of Texas majoring in Actuarial Science. Prior to moving to Austin I lived in Houston Texas. I grew up with country music my whole life but I think my best memories are at the Houston Rodeo. I've gone with my family for as long as I can remember and have also participated in the livestock show these past couple of years!

Courtney’s Country Journey

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Filed under Austin, Class work, Reflection, Storify

The Beverly Hillbillies

Flipping through the channels I stumbled upon a show called “The Beverly Hillbillies.” Now I do not have cable so I usually find myself watching the black and white station more than in color. I know a 20-year-old college girl probably wasn’t their ideal target but I’ve been told that I’m an old soul as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is my absolute favorite movie. “The Beverly Hillbillies” was right up my alley as it is filled with corny jokes, banjo instrumentals and all around good humor.

First aired in September of 1962, “The Beverley Hillbillies,” initially deemed as unsophisticated by some critics, quickly rose to become a very popular show in America. Its episode “The Giant Jackrabbit” is still to this day the most watched half hour episode of a sitcom. I think this is one of the funnier episodes that I have watched.

The_Beverly_HillbilliesThe Clampett family was (I’m sure) a huge pull for audiences because they are amusing and likeable. While the show does give the image of simple-minded country folk it is all in good humor and doesn’t aim to do harm to any class of people. The hillbillies are the ones that come out on top in both money and familial ties the end. Besides the actual visuals of the show the music, whether it be the introduction or in the background, is very vital. At the beginning of every episode their theme song, The Ballad of Jed Clampett, is performed. It is a very catchy bluegrass tune, which was performed by Flatt and Scruggs. I didn’t know this at the time, but I watched an episode in which they were the guest stars.

This video is only a snippet of the entire episode, but I feel that it highlights their talent. It shows the influence of country music on “The Beverly Hillbillies” though there really is no other genre that would be suitable for this show. You can see in this episode that even the cast enjoys singing and dancing along with Flatt and Scruggs, as they are very gifted and charismatic. I invite all of you to sit and watch an episode of “The Beverly Hillbillies.” I know that anything that is black and white is a deterrent for television viewers now a days, but I think it is nice to go back to a simpler time when good honest humor didn’t have to have “R-Rated” references to be funny. Watch an episode and tell me what you think! Did it put you to sleep or did you enjoy the simple comedy?

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Filed under Hillbilly, Movies and TV, Reflection, Reviews

I Want a Love like Johnny and June

FullSizeRenderRecently I visited Waterloo Records in Austin where I purchased Johnny Cash’s At Folsom Prison vinyl. For starters if you have never listened to this record it is a must! It was recorded at Folsom Prison so you can hear the prisoner’s reactions to Cash’s songs. It is truly an amazing record. On the back of the record was a copy of a letter Cash had written about prison and his experiences in prison.

This letter peaked my interest as I realized how little I actually knew about Johnny Cash. I love this letter for many reasons but mostly because he shared his experiences in a way that made me see how much he understood these men at Folsom Prison. Having been in prison a few times, he voiced his opinion on the “rehabilitation” of prisoners and their reemergence’s into a society that was to welcome them with open arms. Through this descriptive letter you can almost hear the frustration in Cash’s deep bass voice. It is a moving letter and does its job in exposing some of the flaws of the prison system. Moving away from his bad boy image I want to focus in on my primary interest, Johnny and June.

JohnnyCashJuneCarterCash1969June appears twice in Cash’s At Folsom Prison and wow do they make a great team. From what I have read they had a relationship that was incomparable. It took a couple of times but when Cash proposed in 1968 at a live performance in London, Ontario June finally said yes. She was a great supporting force in his life as she helped him overcome his drug addiction. She was completely devoted to him and he the same. Cash’s letter to her on her birthday is one for the records according to Taste of Country, Rolling Stones, Huffington Post and more.

o-HOUSE-OF-CASH-2-570Can you feel his emotion in this letter? His deep unwavering love for June is heart stopping and admirable. Even after her death Cash was completely devoted to her. In his last public appearance he said, “The spirit of June Carter overshadows me tonight with the love she had for me and the love I have for her. We connect somewhere between here and heaven. She came down for a short visit, I guess, from heaven to visit with me tonight to give me courage and inspiration like she always has.” You can’t tell me that you don’t want a love like Johnny and June’s.

Heidi Newfield’s song “Johnny and June” about sums it up for me. What about you?


Filed under Country Symbols, Outlaw, Reflection

Welcome to Rodeo Houston

FullSizeRenderThe 2015 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLSR) has sadly come to an end on this past March 22nd. Featuring artists from all different genres, such as pop, alternative rock and country, Rodeo Houston is a hub for great music. It is also a great place to let loose, eat good food, and watch champion bull riders! Besides the show my favorite part of the rodeo is the calf scramble. While I personally never participated in the calf scramble, my little brother did, and my dad is part of the calf scramble committee. Therefore I get to be up close and personal with it every year.

Now for those of you that don’t know, HLSR gives kids the chance of winning a $1500 scholarship if they catch a calf. The scholarship will fund their FFA and 4H projects for the upcoming year. They are also encouraged to show their heifer or steer at the next year’s livestock show. It is a great program that allows many kids to raise animals they wouldn’t have been able to if not for the scholarship. After the scrambling, the kids and audience get to enjoy another few events, and then (my 2nd favorite part) the CONCERT!

635624440226186392-DSC-0535This year I had the pleasure of seeing Blake Shelton and, boy, was it a great performance! He has a charisma on stage that makes the audience feel apart of the show. He talked about The Voice (, his wife Miranda and everyday life. My favorite thing he said was, “I’m sure there’s other things a lot of you dudes would rather have been doing tonight than sitting in here listening to me sing, but I want you to know that you did it for the right reasons—you did it because she wanted you to come out here.”(Blog) There were quite a few headshakes from men in the audience but when he followed up with “Doin’ what she likes” the men grabbed their sweet hearts and swayed right along.

Apart from playing all of his new radio hits he went back to the very first song he ever wrote. “Austin” separated the long time Blake fans from the newly acquired ones and brought everyone back to where he started. Since then he has grown into a great musician and entertainer.

I encourage everyone to go to the rodeo at least once in his or her life because it’s a unique experience. I mean riding rides at the carnival, eating funnel cakes and watching barrel racers isn’t an everyday thing for most people. I highly anticipate the rodeo every year and really enjoy it every time I go!


Filed under Live Music, Reflection, Reviews, Texas

Two Steppin’

This past weekend I had the chance to visit Austin’s very own Midnight Rodeo. Not sticking to only traditional country music, Midnight Rodeo would switch up their two stepping to the wobble. While it was predominately country music so that I could practice my two stepping skills, I was able to take a break and get out on the dance floor with my gals and drop it like its hot because boy was it hot in there.

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I got the privilege to go with a large group of my gal pals, which supported the old saying “the more the merrier.” While as a group we had the most fun at the breaks when songs like “Uptown Funk” came on, individually we enjoyed the country songs better because, honestly, where else can you find that kind of entertainment? Either grabbing a free guy or one of our friends we danced in circles around the dance floor to every country song that played. Being such a social event, country dancing is hard not to enjoy even if you are sitting that song out and just watching.

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Now please don’t think that because we all own a pair of cowboy boots and live in Texas we are automatically great country dancers. My group and the dance floor ranged from first time dancers that had never laid a foot in a dance hall to pros who incorporated flips into their two-step. It truly was amazing to watch the expert dancers who made it look effortless. I fell right in the middle of those two being able to do the steps and a couple simple turns. I think we all enjoyed ourselves just the same no matter the skill level we were at. You could feel the energy and heat coming off of the dance floor from the people that were there to have a good time.

Now I challenge you to go and try it! This tutorial, excuse the woman’s outfit, shows you the very simple basics of two stepping. However, I believe getting out there and doing it is the best way to learn! Starting with a slower paced song will help you get your footing and eventually you will be able to keep up with a faster paced beat!

Tim McGraw’s “Just to See You Smile” is one of my favorite two stepping songs that you can try out at home with your cat, dog, cow or what ever else you have running around the house. I hope you try out you closest country dance hall and enjoy the experience as much as I did!


Filed under Austin, Dancing, Texas