Author Archives: Keaton Schlueter

About Keaton Schlueter

My name is Keaton Schlueter. I am currently a Junior here at the University of Texas and am studying Biology/Premed and hope to become a Cardiologist in the future. I was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas before I decided to move here for school. I grew up listening to country music, and some of my favorite artists include George Strait, Garth Brooks and Eli Young Band. I have two older brothers and enjoy camping, traveling, snowboarding, playing drums and listening to as much live music as possible.

Keaton’s Experiences in Country Music


This class has really taught me a whole lot about country music that I didn’t know before. Through experiences such as two-stepping at Midnight Rodeo, seeing the Willie Nelson statue in downtown Austin, reading about Billy Bob’s in the Texas Music Magazine and watching the ACM Awards, I have earned a great deal of respect for the entire country music scene and view country music in a whole new light.


Throughout this semester I have learned so much about country music and the whole country music scene in general We have covered everything from the roots of country music, to the greats like George Strait, to good ol’ Texas country, brand new country and beyond. I felt like I knew a lot about country music coming into this class, especially being from Cowtown, or Fort Worth, Texas. I could have never imagined just how much about county music I have learned from this class. Doing the experiences for this class have also really helped me to appreciate just how much country music has had an impact not just on me, but on the entire music community.

One of the best experiences I have had with country music, not just this semester, but in general, was two-stepping at a few dance halls in Austin and Fort Worth. I think one of the most important things about country music is that you are able to two-step to it. Not only was learning how to two step fun for me, I also enjoyed just watching people dance around the floor. Anytime a “classic” song came on, there was a whole mix of young and old people who seemed to appear out of nowhere, singing the words and dancing along, it was a really nice experience to see.

Speaking of dance halls, the article I read over Billy Bob’s was actually a really great article. It’s always a bit nostalgic to read anything pertaining to Fort Worth. As I mentioned earlier, I was born and raised just outside of Fort Worth, so I’ve spent a lot of time in the Stockyards and been to the Rodeo and Billy Bob’s a good number of times. I felt like I was an expert of everything to do with Fort Worth coming into the class. However, on one of the very first weeks of class, we read a chapter from “Honky Tonk Debutante” that was all about Fort Worth, and I learned a whole bunch of stuff about the history of Fort Worth that I never knew about, so that was something really cool to me, and it made me really appreciate this class.

Another thing I did this semester was actually sit down and watch the ACM awards. I used to watch that every year with my grandparents, but hadn’t watched in a few years when the whole “Bro-country” music scene started to take over. Even still, I sat down and watched it this year, and was actually pleasantly surprised by the show. Now, that doesn’t mean I agree with everyone that won some of the awards, but I think that happens with any awards show I watch, but still, I felt like the ACM show had a really good mix of old and new country. They even kicked off the show with one of my favorites, the King of Country, George Strait. I watched this year with a more open mind to some of the newer artist that performed, and actually found myself enjoying their performances as well as those of my favorites like Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson.

Overall, this class has taught me so much about the history and the meaning behind a lot of things relating to country music. We learned about everything from themes that frequently appear, to the lyrics used, to the structure of the songs. Now, every time I listen to country music I find myself actually trying to find the meaning of the song, instead of just listening for the fun of it. I have a whole new sense of appreciation for country music thanks to this class, and I find myself enjoying every little experience I have with it. From country standards like two-stepping, to something as simple as seeing the statue of Willie Nelson in the middle of busy downtown Austin, this class has opened my eyes to a whole new world of country music and I know that this newfound sense of appreciation will stick with me for a long time.


Filed under Austin, Awards, Class work, Classic Country, Country Pop, Dancing, Reflection, Storify

The 50th Anniversary of the ACM Awards

Another year has passed and another ACM awards show has come and gone. This star studded event moved from its traditional home in Nashville to the great state of Texas this year, and managed to set a new world record for most attendants at a live awards show. While there were many great performances throughout the night, I felt there were a few performances that stood out among the rest.

The show started off with the presentation of its first milestone award to the King of Country, George Strait.

George also happened to get by far the loudest crowd reaction of any of the artists throughout the whole night. He performed his classic “All My Exes Live in Texas” followed by his new single “Let it Go”. I feel like there is pretty much no better way to start off a country awards show than by having one of the best in the business kick it off. I also liked that he performed one of his classic songs that everyone knows, followed by something brand new. With all the songs today revolving around partying and drinking and having fancy lights and electric guitars playing, it was nice to pay homage to the classic sound of country music. During the performance, there were some fancy lights in the background, but mainly it was just George Strait and his band. No running through the crowd, no electric guitars, just plain and simple country music.

Later on in the show, Garth Brooks received another of the Academy’s milestone awards. He performed a song off of his latest album called “All American Kid” which is dedicated to all the men and women of the Armed Forces.

I liked this performance because it paid homage to the troops and celebrated patriotism. There are lots of songs that celebrate patriotism, and I think that’s one of the more important themes in country music that not a lot of artists really sing about nowadays, so I found it kind of nice to hear the crowd cheering and see all of the artists saluting our troops.

Finally, Alan Jackson performed “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?”

I personally thought this was the best performance of the night. Even though the song was performed at the show for the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombings but written for September 11th, I feel like the meaning still got across. It covers a sad subject, but it also reminds us to cherish the simple things, and again I think that’s something very important to country music. I think a lot of artists today try to get the meaning of simplicity and loving the simple things in life across in most of their songs, and I felt like this performance by Alan Jackson really hammered that meaning home.

While I may not agree with all the award winners, I still felt like this was one of the better ACM shows that I have watched. There was a good mixture of both new and old country artists, and the fact that they had two special performances for the troops and the OKC bombings made me really enjoy this 50th anniversary of the ACM Awards.

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Filed under Awards, Classic Country, Country Pop, Live Music, Movies and TV

The Many Sounds of Zac Brown

A few days ago, one of my friends, who is a huge Zac Brown fan, shared a video with me on Facebook. It was of a performance they did a few weeks ago on Saturday Night Live with Chris Cornell. A song from their new album called “Heavy is the Head”.

This song sounds more like a heavy metal song than a country song, and my friend seemed rather shocked with this new Zac Brown sound. I can’t say I really blame him, and he probably wasn’t the only one. I think most people are accustomed to the “Chicken Fried” Zac Brown, and while I also think that he does a phenomenal job writing and performing country music, it’s pretty clear that he’s trying to move on and develop a new sound. I don’t think this is the first step he has made toward developing that new sound, either.

A few weeks ago, I picked up the latest album from the Foo Fighters called Sonic Highways. Now I know what you’re thinking, the Foo Fighters are not even remotely close to being a country band, and I completely agree. However, they have a song on this new album called “Congregation” which was written and recorded in Nashville and features Zac Brown on guitar.

This is clearly not a country song. Even before this new album though, Zac Brown and Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters have been playing together. When Zac Brown debuted his song “Day For the Dead” on the 2013 CMA awards, it featured Dave Grohl playing drums onstage with the rest of the Zac Brown Band.

This song, to me, has a bit more country sound to it, and it features the classic Zac Brown beanie that everyone knows and loves. However, I think this is about the time that Zac Brown started moving out of country music and more into rock. If you go on YouTube, you can find a ton of videos of Zac Brown covering Metallica, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath and a lot of other classic rock bands, and he does an excellent job of it.

Personally, when I got to high school I kind of started listening to more classic rock along with some country music, and to see someone like Zac Brown who seems just as comfortable performing new country music as he does performing oldies rock hits is pretty awesome. There are some people who probably think of Zac Brown as a purely country artist, but the truth is he and his band are extremely talented. With that kind of talent, I say if they want to mix in some rock and roll with country, more power to them.


Filed under Country Rock, Live Music, Music Videos, Southern Rock

A Short List of My Favorite Garth Brooks Songs

Since I decided to analyze Garth Brooks’ second album No Fences for my project, I’ve found myself listening to a lot of Garth the past few days and I’ve found myself reminiscing about all the songs that I have grown up on and loved throughout the years. So naturally I decided to compile a playlist of some of my favorite Garth songs to share with you guys.

First and foremost, I want to put “Friends in Low Places” on here, which I’m sure most of you are probably pretty familiar with. Not the regular album version though, but “the long version” of the song that Garth only plays live. This version includes a third verse that not a whole lot of people know. I’ve always found it really interesting that Garth has versions of certain songs he only plays live, such as “Friends in Low Places” and “The Thunder Rolls”.

“Belleau Wood” is a lesser-known Garth song that tells the story of a soldier in World War I at the Battle of Belleau Wood. I’ve always really loved this song because it was my grandfather’s (who served in WWII) favorite song.

“Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)” is the story about a cowboy who has been competing for years and just doesn’t have the strength to keep at it anymore with the stress of being away from home all the while watching a younger crowd taking over the business. My Dad really loves this song and I can always remember listening to it with him when I was younger.

“Mom” is one of the singles off of Garth’s newest album, and obviously I can’t listen to it without thinking about my own mom. It’s a very pretty and sad song and a perfect song to get everyone in a room to have a good cry, so if you’re in that kind of mood, I highly recommend it, just make sure you have a phone nearby to make a call to your mom when it’s over.

“Standing Outside the Fire” is probably the first Garth Brooks song I ever heard, and it’s been one of my favorites for a long time. It’s about living life to the fullest and is a sort of inspirational song.

“The Dance” is a song I thought would be a fitting finale to this short playlist. It’s considered one of Garth’s signature songs and is a good love/heartbreak song.

Garth Brooks has been one of my favorite country artists for as long as I can remember. He has had countless hits and has a sound that can’t be copied or reproduced by anyone except Garth. He also has a good mix of different sounds in his music, fusing country music with rock and pop to create his distinct sound and style, and through the years he has kept making hit songs and without changing his style, and I really admire him for that. I’ve also heard that he is an excellent live performer, so I’m hoping he announces some Texas tour dates in the future so I can experience his one of a kind music for myself. I realize this is a pretty short playlist, but of course I couldn’t fit all of my favorite songs on here, but do you guys like Garth Brooks and notice any songs I may have left out?


Filed under Live Music, Music Videos, New Country

Let the Music Play

There are probably not a whole lot of places better than Fort Worth, Texas to experience some good country music. Growing up just outside of Fort Worth, I have been surrounded by country music basically my entire life. It was the only thing played in my house growing up and I can always remember my mom playing some of her old Willie Nelson records and my grandparents dancing around their house to George Strait and Alan Jackson songs.

I had always loved listening to country music when I was young, but I never really developed the appreciation I have for it today. Until one day, just after my 16th birthday, my mom came home with some tickets to see Robert Earl Keen at a local music and arts festival.

For those of you that may not know who Robert Earl Keen is, here are a few of my favorite songs that he has written.

I remember being excited to experience my first country concert. I had been to some concerts before then, but they were all rock concerts, so I was really looking forward to seeing one of my favorite country artists perform.
I remember walking through the entrance to the festival that day, and I immediately noticed that every single person had on either boots or a cowboy hat. The opening band was already playing, yet there were more people interested in going to the outdoor bar than watching them, so my brother and I managed to get right up to the front row just as the opening band was finishing up their set. You could feel the crowd start to pack in towards the stage, and you would hear the occasional “yee-haw” from the crowd, as they grew anxious to see the headlining artist.

When Robert Earl Keen stepped out onstage, the crowd went wild. I had never experienced anything like it, and as the show went on I felt myself get lost in the music, and I really enjoyed watching the older people dance around. The crowd sang every word to every song, and their intensity didn’t die down until the last note was played on the second encore song “The Road Goes on Forever”.

That concert really opened my eyes to the world of live country music, which I never thought I would enjoy so much. Ever since that concert, I have developed a new sense of appreciation for country music, and nowadays I find myself really looking forward to any chance I get to go see a country artist perform. Although I might spend most of my time these days listening to some rock band, I still have a soft spot for country artists, and if I hear it at a bar or on the radio, or even on my iPod, I always find myself letting the music play and singing along.


Filed under Live Music, Texas