Author Archives: Marissa Gallardo

About Marissa Gallardo

Hi, my name is Marissa Gallardo. I am a Communication Sciences and Disorders major with a focus in Speech Language Pathology. I was born and raised in Southern California; however, a few years ago my family moved out to Missouri City, Texas (Southwest Houston Area). I have a lot of Southern California influences on my music preferences, but I am excited to learn more about country music! Country music artists I really enjoy include not limited to: Rascal Flatts, Brooks and Dunn, Chris Young, Blake Shelton, Kenny Chesney, sometimes Brad Paisley. Since I didn't grow up with traditional, honky tonk country music, I often don't have a lot of knowledge of this music.

Marissa Gallardo and Country Music

This semester I was able to take a deeper look at country music, not only through Rhetoric of Country Music but also from my own experiences. I saw Eric Church in concert, watched Nashville, saw Dierks Bentley perform at the Houston Rodeo, and saw the TX State Museum Country Music display.

This semester I was able to take a deeper look at country music, not only through Rhetoric of Country Music but also from my own experiences. I saw Eric Church in concert, watched Nashville, saw Dierks Bentley perform at the Houston Rodeo, and saw the TX State Museum Country Music display.

Coming into Rhetoric of Country Music in the beginning of the semester, I expected the majority of the students would be interested in learning more about country music, like I did, but I soon found out that I certainly did not know as much about country music as I believed that I did.  I have been continuously impressed by the knowledge of country music and the vast opinions and tastes of everyone’s unique perspective on country music.

I was excited to begin the country music experience project and also continue enjoying country music as I begin to see it in a new light.  I began the project by brushing up on some country music history in San Marcos on the Texas State campus. I actually stumbled upon their country music display by accident.  Along with other important figures in Texas history, country music artists and live music in Austin specifically has played a very important role.

Both the Dierks Bentley and the Eric Church concerts were incredibly fun.  I had a very unique experience in each of the venues, the Frank Erwin Center and the Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo.  A concert is one of the most personal ways you can interact with an artist, and many find that after they go to a concert they find a new appreciation for the artist and their genre; this is all very true for me.  Country music touches the lives of so many people, and a concert gives the audience a shared experience; you connect with the artist and the people around you.  Being able to see country music “in action” in the country music community was the best way to understand how and why country music affects people the way it does.

I have watched Nashville from the very beginning!  My mom and I love having shows that we watch together, and Nashville has been a great addition to the list.  Fusing country music and drama seems like a hard task to accomplish, and it can’t get better than Nashville.  I think it is important as someone who is studying country music on a deeper level that we understand how country music is represented in the general public, outside of die-hard country fans.

This course has certainly shaped the kind of music I have listened through during the semester but, perhaps, not in the way you would expect.  While we focus on country music in class, it has made me more and more interested in other genres, how they function in society and how they relate to country music.  I began listening to country music because of my parents; with that notion, I also reflected in all of the music that I enjoy as a reflection of my parents and siblings.  From Ska to Bakersfield Country to Reggae to Texas Country and back again, my taste of music has expanded, my appreciation of all music continues to grow.


Filed under Austin, Class work, Reflection, Storify, Uncategorized

Eric Church v. Concert Experience

What an experience! I bared the cold to go to the Eric Church concert on Wednesday at the Frank Erwin Center. Although I knew who Eric Church was, I didn’t know very many of his songs and was honestly not sure if I was going to enjoy myself at the concert. Now thinking back it’s really hard to differentiate between liking the artist and enjoying the concert. In my opinion, the concert was okay, but I really liked Eric Church and have a new found interest in him as an artist. Confusing, right? Not really once you start to think about all of the things that can affect a concert experience.

The openers, Drive-By Truckers, were a rocky start. The guitar drowned out the vocalist to the point that I really didn’t understand what he was saying the entire time. Their stage presence was so-so; they seemed more involved with what was happening on stage and not the audience, at some points completely turning away from the audience. Watching from high above (in a seat where even the jumbo viewing screens were blocked), it was obvious that the crowd was not feeling them either. The general admission floor was practically at a complete stand still. Because I am more attuned to really active floor audiences that come with other genres of music, this was really surprising, but as it continued, it became more and more obvious that it wasn’t just because this was a country music concert. Continuing to scan the audience, I noticed that nearly everyone around me had their phone out and was scrolling through Facebook and Twitter feeds. If people don’t even want to put their phone down to listen to you, you are doing something wrong! When a high pitched squeal rang out in the Frank Erwin Center, a guy behind me summed up there entire performance perfectly, “That was the best thing I have heard all night!”.

Already frustrated with the night, my friend and I decided to snag some seats down closer to the stage. Once we sat down, crossing our fingers to not have an awkward encounter with someone saying “Umm.. That’s my seat”, the view of the stage was epic. We waited for Eric Church anxiously. As he began with a few of his more well-known songs, it became obvious that the people we were sitting by were ready to party, and party hard. The couple immediately next to us proceeded to make-out, grind on each other (at one point the guy picked the girl up in a very intimate position to say the least) and scream the entire night. When Church played “Smoke a Little Smoke”, a few brave souls decided it was the perfect time to light up a smoke, not the legal kind. The smell surrounded us, and the crazy woman next to us was intent on finding out who she “needs to be friends with” to have a little fun of her own.

Now don’t get me wrong; Eric Church was phenomenal! His stage presence and audience interaction was incredible; from playing fan favorites to telling stories to signing boots that were thrown on stage, Eric did it all and gave us more than we could have ever imagined for a Wednesday night concert. No matter how fantastic an artist’s performance is, a concert experience can be hindered by anything from openers to the people around you. With this in mind, in the future, I would like to ward you against intertwining the two. Eric Church was awesome! My experiences at the concert were not quite as good, but that does not mean I think poorly of the artist.

How was your experience? Has a bad experience at a concert made you think differently of an artist in the past?


Filed under Austin, Live Music, Reflection, Reviews

Best of Brooks and Dunn

Deciding on an album for the Album Analysis Paper was an EXTREMELY difficult process, for me at least. I went through album after album, artist after artist, and I still question “Have I made the right choice?”. Because I decided on a Rascal Flatts album, I thought it was only necessary to highlight one of the artists that I tossed around as an option. Even then it was still difficult to decide… Garth… Kenny… Brad… Carrie… but seeing as though Brooks and Dunn was the first concert that I had ever been to, country or otherwise, I decided a playlist of my favorite Brooks and Dunn songs would be the best choice.

Although no longer together, I had the honor of seeing Brooks and Dunn in concert three times! I definitely have a special place in my heart for this duo and what better way to show my love for them than through a playlist of my own (in no particular order).

“That Ain’t No Way to Go”

This Brooks and Dunn classic was the last single to drop from their 1993 “Hard Workin’ Man” album and was the sixth No. 1 single for the country duo. Although sad lyrics, this catchy song has a way of sneaking its way into your heart and your head.

“Play Something Country”

This 2005 boot-stomper was the 20th and final No. 1 single for Brooks and Dunn, but it was quite a way to go out! This fun song makes you want to get up and dance, obviously to “something country”. The call out for honky-tonk tunes was heard loud and clear!

“Red Dirt Road”

With the classic sound of Brooks and Dunn and the relatable topics of “Red Dirt Road”, you can’t go wrong. There is no surprise that country fans agreed as this song soared to No. 1 and still continues to be a country music anthem.

“She Used to Be Mine”

‘She Used to Be Mine’ was another hit from the pair’s 1993 “Hard Workin’ Man” album, and yes, yet another No. 1. This is a beautifully sad song about a long lost love that will never be forgotten.

“My Maria”

A cover of B. W. Stevenson’s original ’70s Top 10, “My Maria” was also a chart-topper for Brooks and Dunn. It is definitely one of my favorites; you really can’t have a Brooks and Dunn playlist without this 1996 Song of the Year and Grammy Winner.

“Neon Moon”

Yet another No. 1, “Neon Moon” is a slow dance, Brooks and Dunn Classic from their album “Brand New Man”(1992). Turning 23 years old this month, this song still draws the crowd to the dance floor and remains one of my all-time favorite country songs.

“Boot Scootin’ Boogie”

You can’t get more country than a little “Boot Scootin’ Boogie”! A 1992 again from their album “Brand New Man” this song makes you want to throw your boots on and head out to a dancehall.

“Brand New Man”

What a beautifully romantic country song! This song speaks to me and obviously too many others as it was yet another No. 1 for the country duo.

“Ain’t Nothin’ ‘Bout You”

This No. 1 from their “Steers and Stripes” (2001) album went on to be their second biggest hit. Personally, when I think of Brooks and Dunn, this is the first song that comes to mind. The passion and love in this song is inspiring and most definitely deserving of its No. 1 status.

“Only in America”

Who doesn’t love a country song describing the beauty of the American Dream! This song combines relatable life stories and the patriotism of true Americans to create, you guessed it, a No. 1 hit!

There is so much to love about Brooks and Dunn, and this is just the surface of their legacy in country music. This playlist reflects my favorites but what did I leave out? The beauty of music is that everyone experiences each song, artist, and album completely differently. What are your favorite Brooks and Dunn songs?


Filed under Lists, Music Videos

Influences on the Big Band Sound of Western Swing

Because of our recent focus on country sub-genres and our talk with Christine Warren, I have taken an interest in Western Swing.  As I was listening to some of Bob Wills’ music, I recognized a certain sound: Mariachi Music.  Mariachi music includes, similar to Western Swing, a fiddle or violin, blaring horns, a variety of string instruments and the traditional “Big Band” Sound.  These similarities struck a chord with me because of my interest in learning more about older country music (I have little knowledge before Neo-Traditional George Strait and Pop country Garth Brooks) and because of my love of Mariachi music and my Hispanic culture.

To further understand the influences of traditional Mexican music on Western swing, we must listen to the King of Western Swing himself, Bob Wills.  His interesting band leader qualities and his high pitched interjections make for lively dance music.  The big band sound is key to the inner workings of Western Swing as well as Mariachi music.  Now here is Bob Wills…

I have chosen this next video that features Los Lobos singing “El Pescado Nadador” because although it is not heavily traditional mariachi music it does feature many of the same qualities.

Wanting to look more into Mexican and Tejano influences, I stumbled across Radio Cultures: The Sound Medium in American Life.  I found that not only is Western Swing and later forms of country music influenced by the instrumentation of mariachi bands but also by German and Czech polka bands.  One of the easiest sounds to pin point as a similarity between Western Swing and Mariachi Music is the fiddle and, in some cases, the violin.  The following video features violinists from Mariachis Los Arrieros and the Quebe Sisters’ fiddlers as they demonstrate the similar sounds of the two distinctly different genres and their ability to get the crowd dancing.

Big names that were influenced by this traditional Mexican music include Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly, Freddy Fender and Linda Ronstadt. Much of the western swing style with other incorporated influences eventually morphed into the beginnings of Rockabilly.  The exploding horns in the beginning of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” exemplify the obvious Mexican influence on country music.

Understanding the intricacies of artists’ influences is a difficult task but it does make for some inspiring findings.  If there is any one thing that I love about country music, it is its ability to transcend one specific influence and incorporate a variety of genres and styles.

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Filed under Class work, Country Subgenres, Music Videos, USA, Western Swing

SNL Gets a Taste of Blake Shelton

imgresBlake Shelton’s success continues to sky-rocket from his win on the Voice and his chart topper, “Neon Light”, to his debut as host and musical guest on Saturday Night Live. Saturday Night Live got a jump start after a few sluggish weeks. The pop country star brought a smile to many faces with skits including “Farm Hunk”, a parody of the Bachelor, and “Wishin’ Boot”, a satire of inspirational country ballads. Blake’s humor and wit stole the show!

This year’s SNL cast has definitely not been as strong as years past, but Blake’s wonderful comedic and musical performances gave the show just what it needed. Shelton’s humble roots shown through in his Hee Haw-themed opening monologue. While sitting on a bale of hay, Blake did a “little pickin’ and grinnin’” as he tried to draw out laughter with good old country jokes. Blake killed it with country self-parody throughout the episode.

imgres-1Although using stereotypes of the south and country music, you’ve got to love a man that can laugh at himself! The highlight of the night was “Wishin’ Boot”, a song that satirized typical inspirational country ballads. Blake was accompanied in this pre-recorded skit by the hilarious Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant. This terribly catchy (and I mean terrible), country song had the crowd laughing hysterically, and I was no exception. Although obviously a bad country song, “Wishin’ Boot” was undeniably funny!

imgres-2The episode’s rendition of the Bachelor, “Farm Hunk”, was hilarious as the female contestants tried to “steal him [Shelton] away for a sec”. This skit gave the audience some good laughs even though the majority of the comedic lines came from the strong female cast. Still, even with a strong cast by your side the typically hilarious “Family Feud” skit was not as funny as expected from this reoccurring skit. “Family Feud” contestants were comprised of the coaches from the Voice and the judges from American Idol. Once again, Kate McKinnon stole the spotlight with an impersonation of Keith Urban. Blake, playing himself, had a few good lines mentioning his beautiful and talented wife, Miranda Lambert.

Blake Shelton’s comedic versatility was refreshing and just what SNL needed; not to mention his phenomenal musical performances with songs like “Boys ‘Round Here” and “Neon Light”. In the words of Blake Shelton, he is “kind of like the Justin Bieber of country music — just a trouble-makin’ cutie.” Blake was welcomed with open arms to the SNL family, and hopefully, we will see him host again in the future.

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Filed under Live Music, Movies and TV, Reviews, Song Analysis