Author Archives: Michael Casarez

Women in Country Music

dolly-partonTwo weekends ago I was astounded to find that an old friend had stopped in town for Halloween and so we met up for lunch on Sunday afternoon. We somehow started talking about country music and I told her about my Rhetoric of Country Music class and she told me she wished she was in our class. And we continued to talk about country music and what we like, who we like, and why like it. As I listened to her I got lost in her pretty blue eyes and wondered what it would be like for a girl like her to be country music artist. I know this all sounds a little stupid but i thought more and more of what it might be like in a day of the life of a female country music artist. I feel as though i reached a few conclusions.

Women have traditionally been excluded from country music because the music industry in general up until the 1970’s was a boys club. But with the emergence of women like Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton women gained some momentum in the country music scene. They defined the role of women in country music at the time but there was certainly much progress to be made. Another influential female country music artist was Sammi Smith, who was a part of the Outlaw country movement in the 70’s. These women opened a door into the world of the country music industry that couldn’t have been opened without very strong personalities and a very carefully crafted deliveries.

Today you see female artists such as the Dixie Chicks, Alison Krauss, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, etc. They all seem to draw from the inspirational careers of the women mentioned above. Women have come a very long way in the music industry in general but specifically there is much more credit given to the prominent women of country music. There is a loud voice within country music and she’s fighting for even more say. The demographic that country music serves is a traditional group but a shift is coming as women gain more say in every facet of our lives.

miranda-lambert-cover-story-3a-billboard-400Furthermore, female country singers seem to have very strong voices. Carrie Underwood, Kimberly Perry of The Band Perry, Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum, and Miranda Lambert are all great examples of women that have some very powerful voices present both in and outside of the recording studio. Popular among some of these female artists are songs centered around anger and frustration and they let that be known in their music. The popular phrase “Hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn” rings true in the voices of these prominent women.

They are a force to be reckoned with in the future and the men of the country music industry will have to step aside as women gain a more prominent role in the country music industry. I will observe with interest and and an open mindedness to see how the women of country music will prevail.


Filed under Politics, Women

Small Time Country: Texas Style

I have been exposed to a lot country music in my time growing up Texas, but something that strikes me is the fact that a lot of people these days don’t seem to listen to as much Texas country music as one might think, especially those that live here. I have only recently been immersed into the Texas Country music scene and over the past 2 or 3 years its has grown on me like wildfire. For me at least Texas country has the flare and rhythm that Nashville and big time artists are missing.


Last year I went to Music Fest in Steamboat, Colorado. Don’t ask me why there is a giant Texas country music festival in Colorado. There just is. And it’s a ton of fun. But I digress, while at Music Fest I saw many performers from Turnpike Troubadours, Cody Johnson, Randy Rogers, Cory Morrow, Jack Ingram, Roger Creager, Kevin Fowler, etc. and I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t heard these people before. They were all so good and I found myself no being able to get enough. There was something about the voices, the messages, and the fiddle that captivated me.

I learned that I loved the Red Dirt sound with the over-powering fiddle and the drunken lively audience that made Texas country so much more fun to listen to and dance to, among other things. I realize that not everyone likes a good ho down but I just couldn’t see how people wouldn’t like this music or at least appreciate it. The Texas country music scene has slipped back under the radar from its glory days in the 70’s with Willie and Weylon and perhaps many of the artists prefer it that way. Willie and Weylon were known as outlaws for a reason.

I suppose that could be a factor as many Texas country artists consider themselves outlaws refusing to conform to the industry standard that Nashville has set. I understand this and trust me, it makes the whole experience a lot more fun for those of you looking for a good time and a rowdy crowd.

Cody JohnsonA few artists I recommend for those of you wanting to dip your toes into Texas country check out Cody Johnson who’s hit single “Me and My Kind” is at the top of the Texas charts and Kevin Fowler who’s “100% Texan” and “Beer, Bait, and Ammo” are classic. Also, check out the Josh Abbott Band who gained some national attention for their single “Oh, Tonight”.

I realize that a lot people do, in fact, listen to Texas country music, but I want to get the word out that Texas country is more than just music its a life style, a story, a wild ride, but more importantly a good time.

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Filed under Live Music, Texas

Zac Brown Band Live!

I recently went to a Zac Brown Band concert. I’ve been to a lot of country music concerts in my time ranging from obscure Texas country to big name country stars and I have never had as much fun at a single live music showing than I did when I saw Zac Brown. I actually went only a few days ago so I heard everything that they have put out thus far including “Chicken Fried”, “Toes”, “Day of the Dead”, and Keep Me in Mind”. However, that wasn’t all they played. They did awesome covers of “Ride the Lightning” by Metallica, and “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by Charlie Daniels and “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.

Everything about their show was fun and lively. From the hard core jam sessions in the middle of a song to launching t-shirts into the crowd. Everything they did was fun simply because they looked like they were having so much fun. At one point Zac Brown brought a little girl on stage, signed his guitar and gave it to her. She did what I probably would have done as well, burst into tears right on stage. Furthermore, towards the end of the show they came out in glow in the dark skeleton suits and masks to perform their new single “Day For The Dead” successfully surprising the entire crowd, including myself.

Overall, the concert was a good portrayal of their playing style and the energy that they exude. Every song they played had emotion and heart behind it which made it easy to jam and sing along to. They got the crowd up and out of their seats and dancing in the aisles with beer and nachos livening up the festivities. They are crowd pleasers and their music allows for a lively and energetic atmosphere. Better yet every song they played sounded just as good if not better than the studio recorded versions. Its hard to do that. It tough for artists to carry over successfully from the studio to the stage but they do it so seamlessly as if each show is their first show exuding confidence and a respect for the crowd.
I just want to point out that the Zac Brown Band may not be entirely original in their predominantly southern sound but they are fresh and welcoming and their shows certainly are of a high caliber. They have a great knack for moving the crowd and giving the people what they want… One hell of a show! If there was ever any doubt in my mind about the Zac Brown Band before its certainly gone now. They have a “feel good sound for hard times” as Zac Brown says himself. I am grateful I got to see them live and I hope everyone else gets a chance to do so because its truly an incredible show to see.


Filed under Live Music, New Country