Author Archives: Jordanne Mickle

About Jordanne Mickle

Jordanne Mickle is a sophomore radio-television- film turned education major. She enjoys watching television, hanging out with friends, and listening to country music. Growing up in Houston, she graduated from a school where country music wasn't cool. But she didn't care. At the The University of Texas, she is a part of a non-denominational Christian ministry called The Navigators. She would really like recommendations for more country music artists to listen to, so if you have any recommendations shoot them her way.

Growing with the Genre: Jordanne’s Experiences

As the spring semester progressed, I dove into a few different country experiences that gave me a bigger picture of what it means to be a fan of country music. I attended my first concert by seeing Eric Church at the Frank Erwin Center, visited the Willie Nelson, went two-stepping at Midnight Rodeo, and watched O Brother,Where Art Thou? By doing more than just listening to country music, my appreciation for the genre has increased.

When I arrived at the Frank Erwin Center, one thought took over my mind. This Eric Church concert better be worth the cold trek I took to watch him. Long story short, I was impressed. Eric Church’s Outsiders Tour may have been my first concert experience, but it will not be my last. I learned that hearing the artist perform a song live portrays the emotion and story of a song a lot better than just listening online. Now whenever I hear an Eric Church song on Spotify, I think back to that cold March day and how I took a big step in appreciating an artist and his ability to connect with his audience as a whole and individually.

As for visiting the Willie Nelson statue, I actually did not know anything about Willie Nelson other than what he looked like before I took Rhetoric of Country Music. I felt very out of the loop, because of this. He’s such an enormous part of the development of country music. When I heard about his involvement in the Austin live music scene, I now understood why he is memorialized in Austin as opposed to Nashville.  Now that I know some of his history, I feel more educated about the genre and would definitely be more willing to listen to older songs from artists like Willie and Hank.

Dancing at Midnight Rodeo, although not a new concept to me, was my second favorite activity next to my concert experience. I feel like music is not complete unless there’s some form of dancing connected to it. Although I did not attend a night with live music, I still enjoyed dancing to the hits of yesterday and today. I feel like places like Midnight Rodeo would deeply benefit from either having a section of the night or one night a month specifically playing some of the oldies. Midnight Rodeo does stay true to its name in the fact that it plays country music past midnight. However I feel if they keep playing more and more hip-hop and pop hits to cater to the younger audience, it will lose its title as a “honky-tonk”. I feel that this was the activity that I felt the most immersed in the country music scene, out of the four I’ve chosen, despite the other music genres thrown in the mix.

Finally I liked the movie, because it showed that country music still has its place in the cinema. Granted, O Brother Where Art Thou? takes place in the 1930s South.  I feel that country music often gets overlooked when it comes to movie soundtracks, because people think that country music has to stay in the country. I’m not saying, “Let’s put a George Strait song in this super hero flick as the theme song”. However if a character is driving a car, it’s not realistic that every character that drives a car listens just to hip-hop and pop. Why can’t the character be listening to a nice George Jones or Dolly Parton song? Overall, I have to say I really appreciate that these experiences were part of the class. It really put the history of country music and its current songs into perspective. I definitely want to try more things on the list, in particular Chicken S*** Bingo sounds like it could be a blast. In a culture where hip-hop and pop rule the masses, country still rings in at number one to me because of the themes, lifestyle, and experiences that come with it.


Filed under Austin, Dancing, Live Music, Movies and TV, Music Videos, Outlaw, Storify

Dancing Past Midnight

This past Saturday I went dancing with some friends from my campus ministry, The Navigators. It was this time, in particular that was the most fun for me even though I’ve been to Midnight Rodeo many times. I was trying to figure out why this time was so special compared to other times that I’ve been. This is roughly how my night went…

My friend, Bethany, picked me up around 10:15 and we were at Midnight Rodeo by 10:35 or so. Once there, I and Bethany’s two other passengers went to the under 21 line to get those big, black T’s on our hands. Bethany went to the 21 and up line to get her indestructible “I can drink” bracelet. Once inside we saw UT Navigator alumni, Abby. We caught up with each other while we waited for the guys to arrive. It was not long before the whole group was there.

I had never danced with Trenton (2nd guy from the right in the second row) before. He sang along to the music and was so encouraging when we completed just about every turn.

I danced with all of the gentlemen in our group, who varied in two-stepping skills and willingness to talk while dancing. Cody (3rd from the left in the second row) even taught me a new move. I probably will not be able to do that move with him again, because he is graduating; however I really appreciate that he took the time to help me improve in my two-stepping skills. I didn’t get to dance to “Copperhead Road”, because I was due to watch the drinks. Nonetheless, I was able to dance to “Footloose” after I remembered the steps as well as “Cupid Shuffle” and “The Cha-Cha Slide”. While I re-hydrated, I entertained the table of friends with funny faces and interpretive dancing to various songs.

I think what I enjoyed the most about this particular visit to Midnight Rodeo was that it was a nice break from working at night (I’m a night supervisor for the dorms here on campus), and overall I was really relaxed. The fact that it would probably be the last time I could dance with my favorite partner Demyan (1st from the right on the second row) was ringing in my head a majority of the night, but I did not let that get me down. Side note: Demyan is my favorite two-step partner, because he is the closest to my height, closest friend-wise, isn’t afraid to laugh at himself, and is so reassuring when I suck at following. Using that as an excuse, I think I danced more than I ever have.

This is Elizabeth. She’s a Tim McGraw fan and liked to sing along with me when neither of us were on the dance floor.

For the first time ever I actually danced with a stranger, two of them as a matter of fact. One guy was decent at leading. The other, well let’s just say I had to lead the whole time because he did not know how to lead. I will give him props though. He approached a group of at least five girls to ask for a dance, even if it was a cheesy “my friends have a bet going” spiel. My night ended when my friend dropped me off at my dorm around 2:30 AM or so. One of my coworkers was working at the front desk and was surprised I was not working that night. If that doesn’t say anything about how much I work, I don’t know what does.

Overall, I would have to say that I enjoyed this trip to Midnight More than any other one even though I didn’t see a guy dancing with a chair (a common thing I’ve witnessed before). Was it because of the seniors and the large group? Maybe. Could it be that I just really needed the break? Quite possibly. Regardless of the reason, I enjoyed myself and I encourage others to go to Midnight Rodeo. What fun memories do you have of two-stepping? Do you enjoy going with a large group or just a few people? Let me know about your two-stepping experiences in the comments.


Filed under Austin, Dancing, Texas

Too Lesbian for Country Radio?

As I checked Facebook for the millionth time today, I saw two topics that really interested me. The first was that The Walking Dead now has a spinoff show called Fear the Walking Dead set to premiere sometime in the summer, while The Walking Dead is in between seasons. The second topic of interest was about the Little Big Town song “Girl Crush”.

People in Idaho, and I imagine elsewhere, were demanding “Girl Crush” not be played on the radio, because “the lyrics promote the gay agenda”. As I read the article, I couldn’t help but think of the close-mindedness of my fellow country music listeners. And the second thought in my head? Were these people even listening to the lyrics? I can understand if people were using their selective hearing and thought it was about a lesbian romance. However, if you actually listen to the song you should be able to tell that it is about a jealous woman who wishes, essentially, that she was the woman her ex now loves. “I want to drown myself in a bottle of her perfume” is not because the narrator of the song wants to be with said woman, but because the ex likes this woman and perhaps if the narrator smelled like this woman the ex might like her more. That’s why the lyrics, “yeah ‘cuz maybe then you’d want me just as much” make sense. If the song were about lesbians, that line would not make sense.  I, myself, enjoy the way Charlie Worsham words his opinion on the situation:

girl crushExcuse me if this sounds rant-y, but it is 2015. Why do people have to complain every time they hear something they do not like? Why are people so easy to offend? Let’s look at more components to this little ordeal. The song was written by three women Lori McKenna, Liz Rose and Hillary Lindsey. I can’t think of any other song out right now that has this much girl power backing it. Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild said this back in December, “there are not many women on the radio and not many ballads with that kind of lyrical content. I’m excited.” Is this song facing backlash just because it is “about pushing the gay agenda” or is it just too “sexy” for some people.

The song is currently ranked 17th on the Country Billboard charts. I would think it would be ranked lower had it actually been about lesbian lovers just due to how conservative the country music audience tends to be, but who knows. On the reverse of this argument, I do understand why the radio stations are complying with these demands for the song to not be played. The radio needs to have listeners to make money. If one song keeps the audience from listening, you can bet that the radio will stop playing it. I just think if we keep complying with people to get offended like this, when they really shouldn’t be, it will be harder for people to accept one another and be more open minded. If you think this song is about lesbians and it angers you, I just hope you will  listen to the song again with an open heart and open ears. And if this song was about a lesbian romance, how is that bad?

What do you think about “Girl Crush”? Why do you think this song is receiving so much hate? Leave your thoughts in the comments.


Filed under New Country, News, Song Analysis

“He Stopped Loving Her Today”: A Comparison

As I scrolled through Facebook the other day and just as my roommate was talking about auditioning for The Voice, I came across a video from NBC’s The Voice. I used to watch The Voice when it first aired, but due to a lack of time I stopped watching it. Anyway, sometimes a video will pop up on my newsfeed, and when that happens I check it out. They have to be a pretty good singer, right? Well, Cody Wickline certainly was. Cody sang the great George Jones classic “He Stopped Loving Her Today”, most likely trying to appeal to Blake. Donning a black cowboy hat and an acoustic guitar, it didn’t take long for one of the judges, Adam Levine, to turn around. However, eventually all judges turned their chairs after realizing how much talent Wickline has. Even though Christina, Pharell, and Adam made their plea for Wickline to join their team, he ultimately chose to stick with country and be a part of Team Blake.

After listening to Cody Wickline’s version of the hit song, I had to listen to the original. You can’t help but notice how similar Wickline’s sound is to the original. Wickline has a slightly smoother sound, in my opinion which could be just the audio quality, but there is something to be said about George Jones’s ability to have so many number one hits without the use of autotune technology. In both versions, you can definitely feel the emotion behind the lyrics; there is a sense that Wickline has a connection to the original song either through experience or just by listening to it as a kid. It is such a simple song that really focuses on the voice and lyrics rather than having heavy instrumentals. That is part of the reason this song was a good choice for Wickline to perform in the blind auditions. Country is a strength for Wickline, so it will be interesting to watch as the season progresses if and how he will adapt to various songs in different genres.

Just to bring in one more artist to compare, I also listened to Alan Jackson perform the song at the Grand Ole Opry in May 2013 to memorialize George Jones seeing as he had recently passed away. Alan Jackson definitely sticks to the classic sound and simple performance style of the song and performs it beautifully. Listening to all three versions, I came to the conclusion that unless you are just a bad singer you can’t really mess up this song. Its simple instrumentals, deep lyrics, and popularity in the country music genre makes it a great song to give tribute to the classic country subgenre and George Jones.

What is your favorite version of “He Stopped Living Her Today”? Do you watch The Voice? Do you think Cody Wickline will make it far in the show? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.


Filed under Classic Country, Movies and TV, Reviews, Song Analysis

Blake Shelton the Sketch Actor? Hee Naw

Hee- Haw, Farm Hunk, and a Wishing Boot; what do they all have in common? They were all bits on the past episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by country star Blake Shelton. After the deflate gate sketch and opening credits all attention was on the man of the night as Blake, or as he calls himself, “the Justin Bieber of country music, just a trouble-makin’ cutie”.

Blake and the cast start off trying to make light hearted “gotcha” jokes in the style of a comedy show Blake watched when he was younger called Hee Haw. It turns around on Blake turning him into the butt of the gangs’ jokes and he retorts, “This isn’t a roast…come on…nice country jokes”. This was not my favorite bit of the episode, but I can appreciate Blake using something he knows well to entertain his audience and introduce everyone watching to a different kind of comedy.

After his opening monologue, Blake stars in a Bachelor-esque sketch where the women keep wanting to steal him for a conversation. This was probably my least favorite sketch. I found it to be very repetitive, but that wouldn’t be Blake’s fault. He was simply saying the lines that were written for him. If I hear “tell me about yourself” one more time, I might scream (internally). The sketch does capture the essence of The Bachelor in its first few episodes each season with its slightly crazy women trying to say what the bachelor wants them to hear just to last another week. Blake’s character even tries to scare them away from his home town in Iowa but the women just love it. Plus, take a look at Blake’s wig in this sketch; it’s a little unsettling. Although, it wasn’t my favorite sketch of the night it still made me laugh at times.

In my opinion, the show stealer was definitely Wishing Boot. The song first implies maybe a God as “something out there watching over you”. But this is SNL, so instead of a song about a God, we have a song about a magical wishing boot. I’m not sure if it’s the personality this inanimate object has or how people react to it, this song just makes me laugh.

I can agree with CMT that the Family Feud skit was only “so-so”. Facing The Voice judges against American Idol judges seemed like the easy way out and they overplayed Blake and Adam Levine’s bromance. This was the first half hour of the show with Blake’s performance of Neon Light at around the halfway point. After SNL’s news skit, Blake played a parole board member deciding on a prisoner’s execution. This performance was not worth talking about. It was a time killer and Kenan Thompson stole this scene. Later, Blake plays a local artist who helps an old man write a song for his late wife. It starts off really sweet, but then the truth comes out. The funny, sad truth. This is why Blake hosted, so he could have funny songs in his episode.

Then we hear Boys ‘Round Here as Blake’s second song performance of the night. However the show ends with a bang and Blake’s best acting of the night. Blake acts as a heckler at a magic show who interrupts the show wishing for various powers, and guns as different body parts. I feel this is when Blake finally had a part that he really enjoyed.

Blake seemed pretty pleased with himself for doubling as host and musical guest this past weekend. I would say he did a pretty good job considering he isn’t an actor. But Blake, please stick to being that southern boy from Ada.

How do you think Blake did hosting SNL? What was your favorite or least favorite sketch? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Filed under Movies and TV, USA