Author Archives: Joseph Schooling

I Guess Country Ain’t That Bad After All

Wow! I can’t believe the year is finally coming to an end. I can still remember walking into class feeling nervous because I had no knowledge about country music or what it meant. Thankfully, the class turned out to be a great experience and I’ve learned more about country music this semester than I ever thought I would in my lifetime.

  1. The Movie Cars


After scanning the list of movies, I decided to watch something familiar. Earlier in the semester, I wrote a song analysis on “Life is a Highway”, which was featured in this movie. On a Saturday night, I decided to grab one of my teammates, Tripp, to watch the movie with me. Tripp was reluctant at first, but I eventually persuaded him into watching it with me and he turned out to be pleasantly surprised. I can vividly remember us cheering for Lightning McQueen and singing along to the soundtrack (trying to sing at least). Although I’ve seen Cars numerous times, it never gets old. I enjoy everything from the plot to the songs, especially “Life is a Highway”. However, watching Cars this time around had a greater meaning as I had a new appreciation for country music and the movie.

  1. Reading the Texas Music Magazine

Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 1.19.09 PM

A couple of days ago, I had no clue the Texas Music Magazine existed so I decided to give it a try. To my surprise, it had a bunch of interesting articles to pick and choose from. After scrolling through different “E-Zines”, I came across an article on the CMA Awards. Among a star-studded field, George Strait was honored as Entertainer of the Year, and Miranda Lambert took home another Female Vocalist of the Year trophy. In both of their interviews, Strait and Lambert seemed to be very down to earth. Although both artists have won numerous CMA Awards, Strait and Lambert always praise other nominees for their hard work and success. This not only proves that Strait and Lambert are amazing singers, but also humble and great people to be around. At the end of the night, Strait teamed up with Alan Jackson to pay tribute to the late George Jones by duetting on Jones’ classic, “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” What a night it must have been!

  1. Threadgill’s


After reading all the posts about Threadgill’s, I decided to give it a shot. I’m not really familiar with southern-style cooking but I figured I’d like it since I love food in general. A bunch of friends and I decided to try this place out after practice one day and we were amazed by how delicious it tasted. I ordered the chicken fried chicken breast with extra gravy and a side of mashed potatoes and green beans. Usually, we’re pretty hungry after practice so I told the waitress we’d definitely have some dessert at the end… the carrot cake looked amazing so I thought I’d try it out. However, the portions were a little bigger than I expected and I held my head down in shame as our waitress applauded our valiant attempt to bite off more than we could chew. Overall, I definitely recommend this place to anyone looking for a place with great food and music!

This class has been one to remember. I came in with no expectations whatsoever but came out with a better understanding about country music and its attributes. Despite not knowing anything about country music, the class provided me with a deeper perspective of what country music is all about. It’s not always about how good a song performs on a chart, it’s about the story behind every song. Thanks for making this semester more manageable!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Blog Post 5, George Strait, Uncategorized

Remembering Joey Feek

As many of you might know, I don’t have many personal country music experiences. Due to my lack of country music knowledge, I decided to search for a person, dead or alive, that has influenced or affected many over the course of his/her life. After doing some research, I came across a country duo called Joey+Rory and found their story not only inspiring but also a reminder that life’s short.

Aaron-and-Indy-2Joey+Rory is an American country and bluegrass duo formed in 2008 composed of Joey Martin Feek and Rory Lee Feek, who were husband and wife. Joey was the duo’s lead vocalist, while Rory sang background vocals and played the guitar. The duo placed third on CMT’s competition Can You Duet in 2008. That same year, they signed to Sugar Hill/Vanguard Records, releasing their debut album The Life of a Song. The album’s lead-off single, “Cheater, Cheater”, was a Top 40 hit on the Billboard country charts, while the album debuted at number ten on the Billboard Top Album Country Charts.

On March 4, 2016 Joey Feek passed away after losing her long battle to cervical cancer. Joey left behind her husband and two year old daughter, Indiana. Rory Feek documented their life together and later his wife’s diagnosis on his blog. In it, he writes a weekly post about their life’s experiences such as playing with their daughter and visiting friends and family.

On March 4th, Rory wrote his last blog post titled “A Dream Come True”. This particular post, along with a couple others, really highlighted the importance of treating each and everyday as a gift. In his opening sentences, Rory writes: “My wife’s greatest dream came true today.  She is in Heaven. The cancer is gone, the pain has ceased and all her tears are dry.  Joey is in the arms of her beloved brother Justin and using her pretty voice to sing for her savior.” Rory explains how glad he is because his wife’s pain is over, and that he’s going straight back home to the South.

Joey Feek had many characteristics of a Country Music singer such as being family oriented and religious. One of her famous quotes was, “We have a lot of hope up there. You draw off of that, but more than anything, you draw off of Christ.” Celebrities such as Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood, along with many others, communicated their condolences through social media. Through these reactions, I can see that Joey meant a lot more than just an artist. She always had a smile on her face, even on her deathbed.


Leave a Comment

Filed under Blog Post 4

Prom With A Country Twist?

I went to high school at The Bolles School which was a boarding/day student preparatory school in the beautiful city of Jacksonville, Florida. It was a pretty conservative school with a very ethnically diverse population. Kids from all over the world (Spain, China, Greece etc) went there as it excelled not only in sports, but also in the classroom.

Anyway, moving forward to my senior year of prom… I’m not sure what prom is like in other schools but I’m sure it’s all the same. We dressed up in fancy tuxedos, took pictures at a location, and then hopped into a limo that took us to the dance. There were poker and black jack tables, picture booths, the whole 9 yards. We had a “lock in” till 10pm for some security reasons so basically we’d dance around, eat, and have a great time. The last song was usually a slow song where you’d slow dance with your date (by slow dance I mean step back and forth while slowly turning around in a circle).

This was when “Wagon Wheel” by The Old Crow Medicine Show came on, and I must admit, was probably the first country song I actually fancied and took the effort to find out the name of it. Which brings me to share a little cool things about the song. When I first googled the song, the Darius Rucker version, which was released in 2013 popped up. In my humble opinion, I thought this version was a rip off. For starters, Rucker’s music video gets kinda weird half way through. He’s basically playing the guitar on a railroad (which makes sense), but then switches to him literally “thumbing” a ride to a bar in Tennessee to play in. In the bar, the bouncer tries to stop him from going in. From what I’ve gathered, the bouncer either stops him because he’s looking at this pretty white girl, or because he’s black. Either way, I find that part a little odd.

I find the original version and music video a lot more relatable and traditional. The music video portrays a more traditional and conservative setting, which helps bring out the “country” in it. The twang in Ketch Secor’s voice helps bring this song about a hitchhiker traveling from New England through Virginia trying to get to his lover in Raleigh, North Carolina to life whereas Rucker’s version lacks the persona and character needed.

While this song has reached platinum and gold certification in the U.S. and Canada respectively, it has been scrutinized by some. The song was written by Bob Dylan and later modified by Ketch Secor. In an article by the Nashville Scene, it claims Wagon Wheel was a by product of Dylan’s “Rock Me Mamma”- which was scrapped in the 70s. Secor picked up the song and tweaked the verses around the song’s chorus to make it a hit.

hqdefaultIn all honesty, I think Secor and his band should be praised for turning a scrap, kept alive only by bootleggers, into a one of the best country songs out there. This song also happened to be the band’s ticket into the Grand Ole Opry. So props to Secor and his band members for turning a broken record into a magical piece that will always hit home in my eyes.


Filed under Blog Post 3, Dancing, Hall of Fame

My First Rodeo

998x484-crop-singapore5 years ago, I would have never ever thought about going to Auburn, Alabama for a rodeo. I’m from a small city in SouthEast Asia called Singapore. Singapore is the most expensive city to live in followed by Paris, according to BBC News. We have a population upwards of 5 million, and it takes about 20-25 minutes (without traffic) to drive from one side of the island to the other. As you can see, Singapore is one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

17290545Singapore has a very diverse culture. It holds the one of, if not, the biggest beach party in the world called “Zouk Out“. Every year, famous artists such as Afrojack, Alesso, and Avicii etc. will come and perform, along with others. It’s kinda like ACL except it focuses more on house and EDM, whereas ACL hosts a larger variety of artists.

As you can already tell, I haven’t mentioned the words “country music” a single time. Well, if you’ve jumped to the conclusion that country music and Joseph Schooling can never be found in the same sentence, you’re right! I used to despise country music. I always thought it sounded awkward, and it seemed like every country song I heard either told a tale about God or stereotyped cowboys.

22612__mg_4644fHaving said that, I moved to the U.S. in the summer of 2009 and slowly started to hear a hint of country creep into my life. Fast forward to the Spring of 2015… right after NCAA’s, a group of guys (Kip Darmody, Will Glass, and John Murray) and myself decided to drive 13 hours to Auburn, Alabama to the Alpha Psi Rodeo, where the guest singer was none other than Brad Paisley. I was kinda reluctant to drive all that way to a rodeo, but I thought, “hey 4 close friends on a long ass road trip to the deep south. this could be a story to tell in the future!”

So we journeyed 13 hours on Friday after class, drove 10 hours to Mobile, AL and crashed in Will’s place for the night, and continued on to Auburn the following day. We got to the venue at around 9am, set up a tailgate, and started pounding beers. To be honest, I didn’t get my hopes up too much before the trip. I didn’t think a city boy like myself could handle being at a rodeo with people roaming around in cut out shirts, boots, and jorts. To my surprise, I had a blast! I mean, I’m sure all the beers and bloody marys definitely helped get through the day, but seeing a live Brad Paisley concert wasn’t all that bad. We got to meet a ton of new people, and I started to appreciate country music in a way I’d never thought could be done for myself. I’m almost glad Kip convinced me to go on that trip with them. It gave me a broader outlook on life, and it taught me not to be so naive. So for that, thank you, Kip!


Filed under Blog Post 2, Concert, Live Music, Rodeo

A Different Perspective

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 9.25.59 PMBorn and raised on the other side of the world in hot and humid Singapore, I never listened to country music. I was surrounded by every genre of music except country. We associated country music listeners with rednecks, hicks, and cowboys.

I came to the U.S. under the impression that I would always despise the awkward sounding twang that always seemingly sang about trucks and religion. This different perspective of mine would change when I committed to swim for the University of Texas.

I am a part of the Men’s Swim and Dive Team, and even on my recruiting trip, guys would listened to all types of country music. I sat there pretending to like country but in reality, tried to block it out by either talking to others or play on my phone.

A year and a half later, I’ve slowly become accustomed to country music. Guys on the team such as Will Glass and Jack Conger listen to songs such as, “Outlaw Women” by Hank Williams Jr. and “Creepin” by Eric Church. I wouldn’t say the Swim Team uses country music to distinguish us from the rest, but most guys on the team are from Texas so they grew up listening to country.

However, we could relate ourselves to country music. In my opinion, country music symbolizes a laid back lifestyle with strong morals and beliefs. Most guys on the team are religious and very family orientated. I’m an only child, but I feel as though I have 35 brothers. We eat, swim, and even study together on a daily basis and that allows us to form a strong bond.

I can’t think of another group on campus that has to jump into a freezing pool and 6am in the morning, go to class, and then hop into the pool again at 3pm. Now, you might question what does this have anything to do with my community and country music. Well, country music reminds me of my family and home. When I listen to country, it transports me 10,000 miles away back to Singapore where I’m with family and friends. It reminds me that I also have a family here and that very thought gives me a sense of security that I can rely on any of my team mates for help.

Who would have ever thought that country music would have brought me closer to my team by appreciating what they have given me- comfort and love.


Filed under Austin, Blog Post 1, Outlaw, Texas, USA