Throughout my life, I never really had a preference of what kind of music I listened to. I mostly listened to pop music, but that’s really only because that’s what was on the radio every time I got in the car. On a Sunday afternoon in March of 2013, I was driving around, when I got a call from my friend. She told me that she had gotten two free tickets to the George Strait concert at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and wanted to know if I wanted to go with her. I, of course, was in shock. This was THE concert that everyone wanted to go to that year.
It was the king of country music in his final show at the rodeo, and I was given an opportunity to go, for free. People paid hundreds of dollars for their tickets, and I was going for free. I didn’t really know what to expect as I entered Reliant Stadium that evening for the concert. I had never really been into country music, but I think that’s because I lived in Ohio for most of my childhood and it really isn’t popular at all there. When George Strait entered onto the stage riding a horse, I knew I was in for a wild ride.
He played his set, with everyone going crazy every time he came to a popular song such as “Amarillo by Morning” or “How ‘bout them Cowgirls.” As the concert drew to a close and Strait left the stadium, my friend and I started to do the same. Luckily we hadn’t gotten too far when he turned around and came right back out on to the stage for what would be his first of two encore performances. At this point we were completely star struck; I had never experienced anything like that show. It was the most reserved of the shows I have seen at the rodeo, however it was also the most powerful. He didn’t try and amplify his performance with flashy lights and sound effects; all he needed was his horse and his guitar to make this one of the greatest performances I will ever see in my life.
Although I wasn’t the biggest fan before, I can now say that country music is definitely my music of choice. I never really thought I would stray from the comfort of pop music, what I knew and loved, but George Strait showed me what real music is like that night, and I now know that country music is really the only music for me.
Since I’ve been researching Loretta Lynn a lot lately, I started thinking about how the only reason I was interested in her was because my Grandma told me that Loretta is her favorite country singer. This made me realize that I really didn’t know much about her beforehand, because she is not someone that people of my generation will go out of their way to listen to. As someone who considers herself an avid listener of country music, this was very hard to process. I was starting to wonder if she had just been completely forgotten about, as I had not heard her name in a while.
Imagine my excitement when I received a message from my mother about Loretta Lynn on the CMAs. Kacey Musgraves was performing “You’re Looking at Country” for the award show audience, and in the middle of the song stopped and introduced Loretta Lynn as the “Queen of country music.” Loretta walked out in a sparkly long dress and finished off the song as a duet with Musgraves.
The best part of the performance, in my opinion, is looking at the audience’s reaction. The second Lynn came on stage, everyone in the building was on their feet with a round of applause that could bring any performer to tears. The duo finished out the sound, harmonizing perfectly and standing side by side with their arms around each other. The audience was going crazy, and I think this could be attributed to the possibility that seeing Loretta Lynn on stage was very unexpected.
Aside from the research I have been doing on her the past few weeks, I have not really heard her name thrown around much. I feel like people are so focused on who the next up and coming country stars are, that they forget to take a step back and look at some of the most influential performers of the country music history. Loretta Lynn made waves across the country, topping charts year after year; so how could someone so big just fall off the grid? Back in the day, Lynn was all over the country world, and this just shows that she is not ready to be forgotten.
The Queen is has put herself back on the throne, and this can only mean good things for her, especially in the midst of her Coal Miner’s Daughter tour, which is continuing next weekend. From everything I’ve learned about her recently, I know that Loretta is a pretty amazing lady, so I cannot wait to see what she is going to do with the rest of the tour, as she never ceases to amaze and inspire those around her, and this is clearly seen in the adoration that fans showed her last week.
I recently caved in to the pressures from society, and all of my friends, and made myself an account on Spotify. I had never really understood what the big deal was, because I had music on my ITunes and listened to the radio whenever I was in my car. I got my fix of music, both country and other, or so I thought. I went online and decided to take the plunge and create an account just to see what all of the hype was about.
Needless to say, my life has been changed forever. I went for the Premium option since it’s half off for students, and why not spend more money as a broke college student. I didn’t really know what I was doing, as I was new to the Spotify experience, so I just started clicking random things and searching for random music.
Of course, being the fanatic I am, my first search was for anything country. I stumbled upon a playlist titled Country Nights, which contained a mix of country-dance music and many songs that you might hear on your typical country radio station. To say that I listened to this playlist non-stop in all of my free time would be an understatement because I listened to this music even when I should have been studying or paying attention to other things. Imagine my excitement when I realized the true glory of Spotify playlists; they are continuously adding new music.
In the past week, there have been five new songs added to the list: “Burnin’ It Down” and “Tonight Looks Good On You” by Jason Aldean, “Drink It Up” by Kenny Chesney, “Lonely Tonight” by Blake Shelton ft. Ashley Monroe, and “Day Drinking” by Little Big Town.
“Burnin’ It Down” by Jason Aldean Like a lot of Jason Aldean’s music, this song has a very pop feel, with the addition of some techno/alternative hints at the beginning of the song and a little bit throughout. It is trying to be a slow, more intimate song, but the background bass and electric sounds are leaning more toward a dance song. The words themselves are kind of country, but, honestly, I don’t think the song really fits Jason Aldean’s personality. Even though Jason has, as of 5 days ago, a fiancé 10 years younger than him, he is typically seen as more of a family man with his 2 young daughters. This song, however, is a very sexual song, which, aside from his photographed affair in 2012, is not typically Jason’s style. Overall, I’d say this is more R&B than country in its makeup.
“Tonight Looks Good On You” by Jason Aldean Just like “Burnin’ It Down,” this song has a very techno background feel throughout the song. My feelings about this song are pretty similar to my feelings of “Burnin’ It Down.” I don’t think that this is really a country song, and honestly I think that Jason is pulling a Taylor Swift move and drifting toward pop music. I don’t know if it’s intentional, but I think these songs are definitely showing this dramatic change in his production standard. Only time will tell whether this is a good move or bad move for Jason.
“Drink It Up” by Kenny Chesney This song is totally country in my opinion. It has a strong rock influence, but I think that in this case it really adds to the country feel. The drinking theme throughout the song is one that is very frequently used in country music, and the asymmetrical rhythm gives the song more of a rough, redneck feel. Kenny Chesney has come on to many people’s radars recently with the popularity of “American Kids,” but I definitely think that this is one of my favorite songs of his I have heard.
“Lonely Tonight” by Blake Shelton ft. Ashley Monroe Before I saw this song appear on the playlist, I had never heard of Ashley Monroe, so I was very skeptical at first. However, as normal, Blake Shelton did not disappoint with his song or his duet partner. This song encompasses everything that I think of when I think of a country love song. The lyrics flow without being overwhelmingly cheesy, and the song tells a story. That, plus the fact that Blake and Ashley’s voices perfectly complement each other, makes this song perfect in my eyes.
“Day Drinking” by Little Big Town This song has been playing for a while now on country radio stations, so, having heard it before, I was very excited when I saw it had been added to the playlist. The whistling at the start of the song sets that initial country feel that is portrayed so heavily throughout the song. Like “Drink It Up” by Kenny Chesney, this song plays off of the theme of drinking and having a good time that is so prevalent in so many country songs. This is just a really happy, feel good song, which I think will stay in the country scene for a long time, especially with the catchy beat that will make people want to sing along.
Although not all of the recently posted songs are one hundred percent country in my eyes, I love how great this playlist is. I’m really looking forward to seeing what songs are posted in the coming weeks, because I have already discovered some great new music, and I can’t wait to see what’s next!