Author Archives: Kelby Floerke

Gaining Knowledge Through Experience

Over the course of the past few months I have had the opportunity to expand my knowledge on country music, not only through my class about country music but through my own personal experiences. Throughout the semester I have watched the movie Walk the Line, went two-stepping at Mercer Street Dance Hall in the good ol’ town of Dripping Springs, and my favorite was seeing the talented Ryan Bingham at Stubbs! All three of these things have changed my outlook on country music in a positive way and here is exactly why:

1.Walk the Line

Walk-the-Line-movie-01Around a month ago, I sat down and watched the movie, Walk the Line. This is by far one of my favorite movies, it’s the perfect example of a classic love story. Not only am I a fan of Johnny Cash’s music, I absolutely love Reese Witherspoon. I recently read an article over her about how she only accepts roles that have strong leads, and June Carter is just that. Since the movie, I’ve been hooked on Johnny Cash’s hit, “Get Rhythm”.

2. Two-Stepping at Mercer Street Dance Hall

mercerOne random weekend, a friend invited a group of us to go see his step-dad play at this teeny tiny dance hall in the town of Dripping Springs. His step-dad is the guitarist in a band called The Warhorses. This small town Texas band has an EP of five songs, with my favorite one being “Leave Me Alone”. Throughout the night, they played their five songs and the rest of the songs were dedicated to playing cover songs. Songs included artists like Randy Rogers Band, George Strait, and Wade Bowen. This night filled with two-stepping was the perfect getaway, especially because two-stepping is one of my favorite hobbies!

3. Ryan Bingham at Stubbs

binghamOn Halloween night, I spent my time seeing one of my favorite artists, Ryan Bingham. This Americana songwriter was a blast to see for the second time in concert! I was fortunate enough to gather some good friends and spend time with them as well as have pretty good spots to enjoy the live music! My favorite song by him is, “The Poet” on his album, Junky Star. He puts on an awesome show because he is naturally a good performer and his authenticity makes him enjoyable to listen to.

Over the semester, I found it actually pretty easy to complete some of the things on the list. I think this is because sometimes we don’t realize how much country music is naturally incorporated into our lives. Seeing Walk The Line was something I enjoyed watching during my free time and I learned a little bit about one of country music’s finest. The last two, two-stepping and seeing a live concert, was also something I thoroughly enjoyed.  With all of this, this semester has helped me realize how much I really do enjoy country music and how this class has helped me appreciate the love I have for it.

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Filed under Austin, Blog Post 5, Reflection, Texas, Uncategorized

Chris Stapleton Is Killing The Country Music Scene

One of my favorite performances performed at the CMA Awards this year, which almost all would agree, was Chris Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey”. Written by Dean Dillon and Linda Hargrove, this song was originally sung by one the most famous country music outlaws, David Allan Coe.

In the early 80s, George Jones also released a version of “Tennessee Whiskey”, reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. His version was made popular from what most considered him to have had a very distinct voice. Compared to Coe, Jones voice is much more soft, conveying a sense of compassion and more personable than Coe.

But my favorite version of “Tennessee Whiskey”, performed by male vocalist of the year and new artist of the year, Chris Stapleton. His blues-ey sound gives this song just what it needs to make its listeners turn this song on full blast while listening to it. The harmonization between Stapleton, Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton’s wife, Morgane Stapleton gives it that blues feeling, not to mention the saxophone and trumpets in the background. This performance is one that will go down in country music history. I should also mention that Justin Timberlake’s, “Drink You Away” was followed by, “Tennessee Whiskey”, which also brought the audience to their feet. It was truly a performance of a lifetime.

Although Stapleton is just starting to gain recognition as a solo artist, Chris Stapleton has actually written many famous songs most of us have heard, “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright” sung by George Strait and “Come Back Song”, sung by Darius Rucker. He has proven himself as a great song writer and now we have seen his capacity as a performer which has catapulted him into the country music world. His album “Traveller, was awarded album of the year at the CMA’s this year, something his listeners should have expected nothing less because of his talents and great singing career.

chris and justinSo many people are claiming that Chris Stapleton is doing one heck of a job in putting country music back in country music and I could not agree more. I am tired of hearing this “rapping country music” on the radio – sorry Sam Hunt. So, Chris Stapleton – we applaud you and thank you for bringing back and incorporating country music’s roots into your songs. I look forward to learning more of your songs and cannot wait for another album.


Filed under Awards, Blog Post 4

4 George Strait Songs That Deserve That #1 Seat


“Unless you’re God or George Strait, Take Off Your Boots”. Known as the “King of country music”, George Strait has released 59 #1 singles. Believe it or not, some of his greatest songs didn’t quite reach that #1 seat and here is a list of four that deserve it:

1) “Marina Del Rey” released in 1982

Released as a single from his album, Strait from the Heart, this is a song about a memory made with a love a man met while in Marina Del Rey. “As we looked into each others’ eyes/ We found our bodies lost in paradise/ Like castaways in Marina Del Rey.” We sense the affair between the two characters as something they will remember for the rest of the their lives. This song embodies notions listeners want to feel – passionate love.

2) “Amarillo by Morning” released in 1982

“Amarillo by Morning”, also a single released from the album, Strait from the Heart, describes the life of a rodeo man. Strait sings about the love the narrator has for rodeo life stating, “I ain’t got a dime but what I got is mine, I ain’t rich but Lord I’m free”. This song is relatable to many people who do what they love simply because they enjoy it.

3) “The Cowboy Rides Away” released in 1984

I know what you are thinking, “The Cowboy Rides Away” has to be a #1. Nope, but it sure deserves to be. From the album, Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind, this song tells us about relationship that has had its ups and downs. The song concludes by telling us “the last goodbyes the hardest one to say. This is where the cowboy rides away”. This song always seem to be the last song played at a dance, where you’re sure to see a full dance floor.

4) “Cowboys Like Us” released in 2003

“Cowboys Like Us” reached #2 on Billboard Hot Country Singles from his album Honkeytonkville. This song is an ode to all the real cowboys still left out there. “Cowboys like us sure do have fun/ racin’ the wind, chasin’ the sun.” I picture a bunch of boys on horses, wearing cowboy hats riding down the pasture having a genuine good time. How can you not love that? “There’ll be no regrets, no worries and such/ For cowboys like us.” This carefree way of life brings out the inner cowboy in all of us.

From break ups and heartache to love and passion, George Strait has sung about it all. These four songs symbolize the true meaning of country music. We applaud George Strait’s talents and the fact that he has had so many #1’s, but hey these songs deserve that count to be 63.


Filed under Blog Post 3, Lists, New Traditionalism, Song Analysis, Texas

My Country Music Tradition

What is tradition? Every family has those quirky things they do that have become ritual. Only your family gets it, but you wouldn’t have it any other way.

My family has so many traditions and I am very thankful for that. From having a white elephant party each year before Christmas to cooking “beer butt chicken”, I love all the unique traditions my family has and I know I will pass those on to my family when I am older.

One of my favorite traditions takes place on the way to my favorite place, Concan, Texas. Ever since I can remember, we turn right into Sabinal and as soon as we pass the train tracks, we have to listen to country music singer, Owen Temple. The 45 minutes it takes to get from Sabinal to Concan are some of the best times. I bet most of you reading this have probably never heard of Owen Temple, but that’s what makes this tradition for my family even that more special. He was my dad’s favorite artist and would always play at a small venue in Concan when I was younger.

concanThe feeling of knowing you will have a fun and relaxing weekend on the river is unbeatable and I’ll always associate that feeling with Owen Temple’s music.

My most-liked song by this small town artist is “Passing Through”. Although the song is directed towards a person he loves, I take the lyrics and associate them with the town I love.

“The sun comes up on a distant hill/ I loved you then and I always will/ I just roll the windows down/ Passing through your hometown”. These few lines are my favorite because I am sure you can imagine driving through the hill country, watching the sunset, blaring music with the windows down. A trip to Concan without Owen Temple on the speakers would discount the trip.

That is the cool thing about country music, everyone is able to interpret meanings of songs in their own way. One song can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Or you are able to associate a song with a memory, or in my case associate a song with a tradition. Whatever the case, country music means a lot to its listeners.

Next time you hear the country song play on the speakers that you can sing every word to, embrace it and sing your heart out.


Filed under Blog Post 2

Meeting My Texas

People from across the nation and even people across the globe have certain stereotypes regarding Texans. Whether it is, “everyone rides horses to school,” or “everyone owns a cowboy hat,” every Texan can relate to the stereotype of Texas as being “country” or “redneck”.

As a native Texan for over 19 years, I am proud to be able to identify myself with this community. I am fortunate enough to see some of the most beautiful sunsets, eat some of the most delicious food and surround myself with good friends. Being a Texan I am able to relate to tons of country music songs because a lot of the lyrics reference this sense of community I feel every day.

UnknownOne particular song that I am able to relate to is a song by The Josh Abbott Band called “My Texas”. Josh Abbott refers to Texas as a person. Abbott states different things to do in Texas and if you have not done these things, then you haven’t “met his Texas yet”. In the second verse of this song, he references floating down the Frio River, hearing red dirt music on your radio and eating Cooper’s in Llano. He then ends by saying if you haven’t done these things then you haven’t “met his Texas yet”. I relate to this song and the community of being a Texan because I grew up going to Concan, Texas, which is located on the Frio River. I cannot count how many times I have floated down it- too many to remember! I also grew up listening to red dirt music, including artists such as Mike McClure band, The Great Divide, Cross Canadian Ragweed and many, many more. Most of my road trips consist of blaring “Texas Moon” by the talented, and one of my favorite red dirt artists, Stoney LaRue. The verse ends by mentioning eating Cooper’s in Llano. Although I have never had Cooper’s Barbeque in Llano, there is a Cooper’s Barbeque in New Braunfels, my hometown. My mother can always count on Cooper’s barbeque to save the night for dinner after a long day at work. Out of the 24 references he makes about Texas, I’ve done, seen or can connect to 20 of them. I say with confidence that I have met “his” Texas!

Being able to relate to this song in particular has given me a deeper sense of being in the Texan community and also helped me shape my outlook on country music. I am able to appreciate it more because I am able to relate to many of the lyrics included in many country songs.

Let’s see if you’ve met Josh Abbott’s (and my!) Texas yet!


Filed under Blog Post 1, Texas