Living in Texas I have grown up a fan of country music. My parents always listened to it, my friends liked it, and there were so many great concerts that were available. I had my favorite artists and could hold a conversation about the genre, but I never knew the history or roots of where it came from. Since I needed a rhetoric class and liked country music, I thought this course would be a good fit for me. Coming into the class I did not know what to expect, but throughout the semester I have learned to love country music even more since I now know the story behind it. Here is a list of some activities I did this fall to further my learning experience even more!
1.Saw Abe Mac perform live.
This live country music performance was different than any previous ones I have attended. This West Texas native hasn’t “made it big” yet and the environment I was in made it even better. In a hotel in a little town called Marathon, I got to listen to this musician play the music he loves while I ate my dinner and proceeded to dance afterwards. Not only was his performance great, the whole experience was great. I was surrounded by people who all loved country music and enjoyed the life of a small town. It made me appreciate all the singers who aren’t famous and still playing traditional, non-pop country music.
2.Watched the Country Music Association Award show.
I have watched the CMA Awards before, but not like this. This time I didn’t fall asleep and was actually interested to see who won the awards. Normally I just watch the performances and zoned out the rest, but being in this class makes me appreciate the music a lot more. My favorite performance (like everyone else’s) was Chris Stapleton and Justin Timberlake. It was one that will definitely go down in history and it is confirmed that JT will be releasing a country album that I am looking forward to. I think that everyone who won deserved it and I am glad that Stapleton took home three trophies.
3.Read the November 2014 issue from Texas Music Magazine.
This issue was from this month a year ago and it was interesting to see how things have changed, or haven’t changed, in this time. In the section discussing the 2014 CMA Awards, Miranda Lambert won Female Vocalist of the Year, just like she did in 2015. But what caught my eye the most was an interview with Steve Young. While he wasn’t like most rebellious Texas outlaws, he became a father figure for those like Waylon Jennings and Steve Earl. In fact his song “Lonesome, On’ry and Mean” was “turned into the theme song for the Outlaw Movement” by Waylon Jennings, even though Young isn’t quite sure that Jennings knew what the song was about. In the last question he is asked why he lives in Nashville since he doesn’t seem like a Nashville guy. In his answer he compares Austin to Nashville in an interesting way. He says, “people tell me all the time I seem more like an Austin guy…there’s no way I’d want to live there, even though Nashville is becoming more like Austin every day with growth and traffic and gentrification.” People always try to compare the two cities and it is funny to see that they aren’t that different in some ways.
This class has taught me a lot about the history, people, roots, and structure of country music. I thought that I knew a decent amount about it, but going through a whole semester taught me that I actually didn’t know a whole lot. I had been to countless concerts but seeing Abe Mac, a non-famous country singer, in such a small town made me appreciate the roots of the genre. Watching the CMA awards to actually know who won revealed to me that I have taken a greatest interest into the sound and songs of country. And lastly, reading Texas Music Magazine, which I didn’t know existed, is evidence that the genre is alive and people do care about the history and current events. Throughout the semester I have learned a great deal about artists and songs that I would never have known without this class. I hope to continue to read blogs and articles about what is going on in the country music world so I can stay involved.