Author Archives: Walker Dyess

About Walker Dyess

My name is Walker Dyess, and I am from Fort Worth, TX. I have listened and loved country music since I can remember, especially Texas Country. I have always followed the industry, and look forward to learning more about the origins of country music.

Unexpected Influences

Note: This is an example of Blog Post 5.

Country music has been a huge influence on me as a person ever since I can remember. Everyone knows that I am passionate about the genre and constantly listen to it throughout each day. The genre has instilled beliefs and values into me that make me the man I am today, and I am thankful for that. I will even go as far as to say I would be a much different person if I had never adopted listening to country music. Although I have been around country music all my life, I still have a lot to learn from it. When I signed up for this class I expected to learn a lot about the genre, but wasn’t sure specifically what it would be.

PATThe first activity I completed this semester was to go see a live country show. I have been to so many country concerts in my life, and didn’t think this one would be any different. The only thing I did differently at this concert was to be aware of how this environment influenced me at that particular moment. The concert I chose to attend was a Pat Green concert here in Austin at the Fiesta Gardens. The concert was smaller than a usual Pat Green concert, because he was playing for a student organization to help them raise money for charity. The concert was as anyone would expect. People dressed in jeans and cowboy hats, and of course beer and fried food were being sold. What this concert taught me was how important a good venue is for a concert. The Fiesta Gardens is an open-air venue surrounded by a large lawn, setting the perfect tone for country music. The barn like feel gets you excited to hear country music, and the food and drinks that are available also set a good tone. When picking concerts to go to I now research the venue beforehand to see if looks fitting, I would recommend doing this.

COUPLANDThe second activity I completed was to go two stepping at a dancehall. I went to The Old Coupland Dancehall in Coupland, Texas. I went just last week, and there was a small country cover band playing. It is safe to say I have two left feet, and openly despise dancing. Despite that, I was forced onto the dance floor at the beginning of the night for what felt to be the longest three songs of my life. What this experience taught me was that you do not have to be listening to a big name singer to enjoy a dancehall. This cover band was a local Austin cover band that no one knows; yet I still had a great time. Now I am confident that I can go into a small dancehall on a random night when a local band is playing. After all I could have just as much fun doing that as I do seeing a famous artist.

Last Sunday I ended my semester activities by watching the Academy of Country Music Awards. The event was held in Las Vegas this year and hosted by Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley. When I watched the awards I noticed how many people it takes to make an album or send a star on tour. During the acceptance speeches the artists often spoke of many names that I did not recognize that helped them earn the award. All the fans hear about is the stars, not about the producer who is working long hours to make sure the album is perfect. We also don’t hear about band managers or the guys that are working behind the scenes at a concert. These people are just as important and need more recognition.

All in all I have learned more about country music this semester than I would have ever imagined. It is something I enjoy learning about, and am eager to learn more. I have now realized I have so much more to learn, its just a matter of opening my eyes and looking at the music and its surrounding in more depth. I am excited to continue my journey of learning about country music, and cant wait to see what else the genre has to offer me.


Filed under Austin, Awards, Blog Post 5, Dancing, Texas

Town Lake Country Series

Rockin RiverCountry music has always gone hand and hand with warmer weather and water. As summer begins, country artist begin to release new albums and singles made for the season, and things that go along with it. Songs are filled with lyrics about cold beer, the scorching summer sun, bathing suits, and great times out on the water with friends. Summer country songs are usually up beat and high-spirited, and the good ones will make you want to roll the windows down as you sing along. Around this time of year all I want to do is float the river or hop on a boat at the lake with friends and listen to country music. Fortunately enough, my hometown of Fort Worth has recognized the relationship between country music and water. They have done so by bringing a concert series called “Rockin’ the River” to town.

“Rockin’ the River” is a concert series held on the Trinity River in Fort Worth every summer from June to August. Each Thursday an up and coming Texas country artist will preform at Panther Pavilion. This is an elevated stage that sits on the riverfront, and the downtown skyline serves as a backdrop for the stage. Past performers include The Damn Quails, Cody Jinks, Brandon Rhyder, and I have even witnessed a performer do a backflip off the stage into the river.

Admission to this event is free, all you have to do is rent a tube to float in the river if you don’t bring your own. Backwoods is also there so fans can rent kayaks and paddle boards to relax in as they listen to the concert. Of course there is beer and food available for purchase when you arrive. Don’t feel like getting in the water? You can grab some lawn chairs to throw out on the lawn by the water. Lastly, the night is ended with a small firework show. It makes for a great summer evening.

The reason I bring this concert series up is because I love it so much, and have enjoyed it many summers in the past. My only question is why does Austin not hold a series similar to this one? Yes, there is Blues On The Green in Zilker Park during the summer, but that’s just not the same. Austin needs to take advantage of Town Lake. I propose a developer comes into the Zilker Park/Town Lake area and build a stage that hangs over Town Lake. Then we to could float in the lake and listen to our favorite Texas country artists here in Austin. If fans did not want to get in the water, the developer could also make a lawn area near the stage so lawn chairs could be laid out. Just as Panther Pavilion has the skyline as a backdrop, the Austin stage could use the Austin skyline as a backdrop. After all, Town Lake is located in the middle of downtown Austin.

Not only would this be good for country music fans, it would be good for the city as a whole. Local businesses could sponsor the concert series, and benefit off of it. For example, Austin Kayak could be there to rent out kayaks and offer demos. A local brewery such as 512 Brewing Company could sell beer at the event. Local food trucks could find parking on the lawn to serve hungry fans. Yeti could rent out coolers and show new products. At the end of the night you have happy country fans, and local businesses that have advertised and profited off the concert. How would y’all feel about an event similar to the one I described?


Filed under Austin, Austin Food, Blog Post 4, Concert, Live Music, Texas

Why country music needs more appreciation

Country Sterotype Today many people claim that all country music sounds the same, and that the genre is “boring”. I often read articles and watch videos that poke fun of country music, saying all the artists talk about is beer, women, and trucks. The genre acts like a roller coaster, having extreme highs and the lowest of lows. The past decade has been trending towards the lower end for country music, and it is time Americans start appreciating the genre once again.

Growing up all my family and friends listened to country music, but when I went to high school I began to see I was part of the minority as a country music fan. This came to be even more apparent to me as I enrolled at the University of Texas. The majority of students seem to enjoy pop, rap and electronic music. I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND IT.

Let me explain why I think country music should be more appreciated, and climb back up to one of the most popular genres in America. What I am about to say may be filled with stereotypes, and is in no way intended to offend anyone. This is just simply my amateur opinion. First of all rap music is just a disgrace to our society. These men and women are without a doubt very talented, but as a whole spread negative messages to our youth. The songs are filled with lyrics talking about taking hard-core drugs, and often associate themselves with violent crimes. Not to mention I frequently hear rappers refer to women purely as sex objects. This is not what I want my society listening to, and I sure don’t want our youth idolizing these men.

Now let me move on to “pop” music. I feel as if this genre is more focused on the fame of the artist more than the music. The artists don’t seem to care about their fan bases, nor do they have a link with their fans. They are in the industry to get as famous as possible, so they can get as rich as possible. There is nothing special about this genre and the music is hard to identify with. I want the musicians to have lived the songs they sing, and have a connection with the fans they are producing music for. Personally I just don’t think this is the case with pop music.

Last but not least, let me give you my opinion on electronic music. This kind of music may be unique, but I just don’t see the talent in it. Just about anyone can put together a decent song on the computer pushing a few buttons. You do not need to have a great voice or a gift of playing instruments. I feel anyone who is familiar with computers and has any kind of rhythm can make this music. Plus what is a concert if you don’t have someone playing instruments and singing? Anyone can stand there and hit the play button on their Mac, then throw their hands up as if they are doing something.

These are just few of the many reasons country music should be noticed and appreciated once again. Yes, every song may be about God, beer, patriotism, momma and tan lit women, but that is what America is all about. The musicians believe in what they sing and love their fans. The songs preach hard work, religion, taking care of women and family and supporting our troops. These are things we as Americans need to focus on and the foundation of our great nation. No, the genre is not perfect, we may have a few songs about getting too drunk or bar fights, but the good outweighs the bad. I hope Americans comes to realize this!


Filed under Blog Post 2

The World’s Largest “Special Place”

dba142784160e7b3ceeab568e7be169aThink of that one special place that always seems to put a smile on your face, and erases every worry you have ever had. For some this may be a family ranch, or a little secret cove out on the lake, it could even be your grandparent’s house. I’m sure when you are there, you are relaxed, and reminisce on all the great times you have spent there with family and friends. This place has shaped you into the person you are today, and taught you a few lessons during your journey of life. For George Strait and I, that “little” special place happens to be 268,820 square miles large. We call this place Texas.

In 2005, George strait released the album Somewhere Down In Texas, on that album was the song “Texas”. Although the song was never released as a single, it reached the national spotlight, and became one of George’s fan favorites. In this song, George pays tribute to his special place, and explains how it has molded him into a man. He also takes the time to list off a few things Texas has to offer up to the every day person.

In this song he addresses the fact that if it wasn’t for Texas, the Cowboy’s would have never been in the Super Bowl. George Strait grew up watching the Cowboy’s as a child, and has been seen on the sidelines during Cowboy’s games. Similar to many Texas citizens, he is passionate about the team, and I’m sure watching the Cowboy’s takes him back to watching games as a boy. This could have been a reason he decided to end The Cowboy Rides Away Tour in AT&T stadium. He also addresses that he would not be an American if it wasn’t for Texas, nor would people risk their lives crossing the Rio Grande. George is a proud American, and does not shy away from the fact that if it wasn’t for Texas joining the US in 1845, he probably wouldn’t be an American. When he sings the lyrics “Nobody’d swim the Rio Grande,” he captures the power of Texas, by explaining that the state offers so much opportunity that people are willing to risk their lives to get here. We often take the benefits of living in Texas for granted, but George wants to reaffirm that we are blessed to live here.

George also makes it a point to list off just a few destinations that make Texas such a special place. He mentions the Alamo, which of course has had a great effect on Texas history, and still serves as a tourist destination for people nation wide. Fort Worth is brought up, a city in which George has found himself playing in very frequently. He has built a connection to the city through his music, and also realizes the city encapsulates the western aspects of Texas. Austin is also mentioned, a city that make one appreciate the diversity Texas has to offer.

He also pays tribute to a fellow Texan who he respects, and shares a passion for music with, Willie Nelson. He realizes the state of Texas and older musicians like Willie motivated him to go to Tennessee to make music. In the last stanza of the song, Strait sings “it made me the man I am”. He was born and raised in Texas, and is thankful that the state has helped him grow and mature along the way. George recognizes Texas is his special place, and has no intentions on leaving. Where is your special place and what effects has it had on you?


Filed under Uncategorized

The love relationship between Texas and Country music

Billy+Bob's+TexasI was born and raised in Texas and never plan on leaving. This is the place I call home, and it has made me into the man I am today. Just as Texas has shaped me, country music has also influenced my community and I. Everywhere you go in Texas, people are listening to country music. Country music helps tell the lives that Texans live, as well as helps get us through our days. TEXAS IS COUNTRY MUSIC, AND COUNTRY MUSIC IS TEXAS.

The people of Texas listen to so much country music we have even made a sub genre of country music, which we cleverly named Texas country. This is music for the Texas people, made by the Texas people. Texas country is usually a little “rougher” and less polished than Nashville country, and in some cases is more highly regarded by the Texas community.

Country music has also made the Texas community fortunes, and creates jobs for many Texas citizens. There are Honky-tonks in every large Texas City, where the community flows to Friday and Saturday nights to enjoy country music’s best. Here they spend money on tickets, booze and memorabilia, which is taxed in order to support the community. These Honky-tonks also hire bar tenders, sales members and managers, which creates employment opportunity for the community. Many times the musicians that these people flow to see are Texans. After all, the king of country music is from South Texas. George Strait has made enough money to buy a large nation singing country music. Many Texans have followed his lead and moved to Nashville to chase their dream of making a living off of country music.

Texans enjoy country music because the songs become their life anthems. The musicians sing about the things we care about here. We love our trucks, mommas and hunting in the great outdoors. Everyone watches football on Sundays with their families and friends. We love to have a good time with friends, and drink beer at the ranch or lake. We also love our country, and remember those who sacrifice their lives for our freedom. This is what country music is based on and what the musicians preach, the songs even unite us as a community. When we are sad we listen to slow country music to go along with our pain. Up beat country music can also accommodate our Friday and Saturday nights out with friends. Texans have always listened to country music; it is passed down from generation to generation. It is the one genre that people of all ages can unite and listen to, and has even helped instill Texas values and beliefs into our younger generations. We love what the songs preach, love the people who sing the songs, and you can bet we will do everything to make sure country music stays a part of Texas culture for years to come.

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Filed under Blog Post 1, Texas