Many people have asked me what it’s like to be in this class and what we do. Well, I can honestly say I have learned more about the history of country music and artists in the country world than I could ever imagine. This class has taught me to expand my horizons and given me an insight on new experiences, which I’m about to list.
1. I went two-stepping for the first time
I can honestly say I never would have though my first two-stepping experience would have been in Austin, Texas, but I’m so glad it was. I had no idea that going country dancing was a pretty popular thing for UT student to do. It was a very nice break from the usual sixth street adventures for a couple of reasons. Most of the men there were gentlemen who knew how to really twirl me around the dance floor, and I was able to learn new dances to songs I’d never heard before. It was definitely a memorable experience
2. Watching the 2015 CMA’s
This one stuck out a lot to me. I’m going to focus my attention on Miranda Lambe.rt because not only did she do an amazing job performing, but she also won Female Vocalist of the Year. I think I want to focus on this because Miranda went up there and performed like the badass she is with her pink tinted hair and accepted her award in a “Chris Stapleton” t-shirt. Miranda has influenced my outlook on country music a lot because she is such a strong female role in country music. Even with the recent divorce from Blake Shelton, she still gets up there and shows everyone what she is about and I think that is amazing.
3. Reading Texas Music Magazine
Actually, a big article that stuck out to me was “When Dallas Rocked”, which is all about how Austin is overstating that it is the “Live Music Capital of the World”. This article is all about a film that explains that Dallas use to be the place to be for music back in the day. I thought this was super interesting because I’m not from Dallas and I don’t go there often, so I never thought of it as being a big music scene. Then again, I think I am bias to Austin because I have experienced the live music here. This article did make me think of country music on a bigger level and how it’s a big deal for some places to have the claim of where things began. It gives me another perspective of how important music is.
Whether it’s two-stepping or reading articles, I never knew I could gain so much knowledge from this class. I’m so happy I decided to be a part of this adventure and I thoroughly enjoy teaching my family what I have learned about country music and the important roles it plays in our history. These experiences have taught me a lot and were a lot of fun, I can’t wait to continue my understanding of country music in the future. I started this semester with little to no true background information on country music, and I can honestly say I feel like I have learned a lot. I have a different outlook on certain songs and catch myself analyzing what they mean and picking out the instruments I hear in the background. I’ve also made it a habit that if I hear of an artist I’m not familiar with, I will immediately look them up and listen to their music. I think country music and these experiences have most importantly taught me to be open minded and aware of the music around me.
Imagine every time you got into the car to go to a basketball practice, church or just out to dinner you knew exactly what to expect. Well, for my siblings and me, we did know what to expect. My dad would always play 3 country artists. I grew up in a small town in Maumelle, Arkansas and I can honestly say listening to these three country artists almost every day truly shaped sweet memories of my childhood.
I know what you’re probably thinking… “Of course, who didn’t listen to him?”, but you’re right! To me, listening to Garth Brooks is a classic memory. Now, my dad and I tended to be a bit theatrical at times, so when it was just him and I in the car on the way to some event, we would always play “When the Thunder Rolls”. What a better song to play when you’re planning on acting and being all dramatic, right? I mean, really, who can’t resist to belt out and dance during the thunder parts of the song. The next most played Garth Brooks song was, of course, “The Dance”. My dad knew this one a lot better than I did, but I enjoyed it just as much.
Here we go, another wave of childhood memories come flooding back anytime I hear ANY of the Dixie Chicks songs. “Good Bye Earl” is still my jam until this day. While at the time, I only thought of it as a fun, upbeat song, I still bolt it out today knowing it is about domestic abuse. I think it’s a song that catches people’s attention and brings awareness to a serious issue. “Ready to Run” also deserves a huge honorable mention because my sisters and I use to act out that song all the time. While these are two of my favorites, every Dixie Chicks song that comes to mind has a unique place in my heart.
I saved good ole Shania for last because it’s a personal favorite. Her songs bring back probably the sweetest memories I have. Mainly because my dad belted out her songs louder than anyone, and if you knew my dad, you’d know why this was such a funny and entertaining site for me. “That Don’t Impress Me Much” and “Man! I Feel like a Woman” are easily my top two favorite songs by her. I mean, come on, can you imagine your father singing “let’s go girls” at the beginning of the song “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” and that not bringing a smile to your face? I didn’t think so.
No matter what I tell people about my childhood from Arkansas, no story is told without mention of at least one of these country singers. That is how I know country music has touched my life and I have grown a genuine sentimental value from listening to it.
I don’t know about everyone else, but there is nothing quite like discovering old music and falling in love. It seems like a simple task, but how are we suppose to know where to look if we don’t even know what we are looking for? Stumbling upon music I never knew even existed can be so exciting!
One of the songs I’m talking about is Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”. It all started one day when I was watching 90210 on Netflix (yes, judge me), and one of the characters song this beautiful song that I couldn’t get out of my head. I googled the lyrics and a couple minutes later there it was! I had no idea it was a Dolly Parton song, and that fact made me love it even more. While the song is really not suppose to be too heavy, it comes across as a deep plea to another women not to steal her man. The song was so popular at the time (1973) that many people performed covers of it. Long story short, I fell in love with it, and you should check it out, too.
Another country music song I didn’t know existed until my friend played it in her car was “If I were a Boy” by Reba McEntire. I know this song is a cover, but I still had no idea it even existed! I was so excited to hear it because Reba is such an inspiration and she sings this song so well. She adds the country “emotional” element to this song, which does it great justice. “If I were a Boy” sends a great message to men about how women really think about the things they do.
Lastly, “Busy Man” by Bill Ray Cyrus would have gone completely unnoticed by me if I had not discovered it while I was finding songs for my Buzzfeed article. In fact, a discovered quite a few songs when I was looking for the perfect one to include in my article. “Busy Man” made me feel sad. It reminds me of how people work, work, work their way through their life, but don’t ever slow down to enjoy the little moments that could mean a lot. I included it here because it’s a good reminder to enjoy life as it is and don’t take anything for granted.
Whether it’s through a new Netflix series, friends or just by yourself, discovering new country songs can be fun. If there is one thing I’ve learned, never hesitate to show your friends new songs! You’ll never know who will fall in love with what you show them or how much a song can help get someone through a hard time.
Not many people in Texas can say they don’t know how to two-step. I however, had never had that experience until recently. A couple weeks ago some friends and I decided to go to Midnight Rodeo for fun. Going to midnight rodeo seemed like a fun alternative to our usual Thursday’s down on good ole 6th street. I distinctively remember walking into that dark venue. I could hear the “clicking” of boots all around me, smell the slightest hint of beer from the bar, and see a crowd around the dance floor. It was the definition of a Texas dance hall.
Many girls and guys watched others dance around the floor like elegant swan swimming through the lake. I had no idea how many different way people could make two-stepping their own. You could tell there were classical two-step moves, but couples added spins, flips and twirls to their routine. If you’ve never two-stepped before (like myself), it was definitely an intimidating site.
Sure enough, my friend pulled me to the dance floor and began two-stepping. Now, it’s a very easy dance once you get the hang of it, but different songs have different speeds which means you need to adjust how fast or slow you two-step. Thankfully, my friend was a veteran two-stepper and he was patient enough with me. As soon as I got the hang of the basic two-step, he could tell, then began adding in twirls to the mix. It was a crowded dance floor and you have to move to the music so you don’t run into anyone. He lead me around people so smoothly, even I was in shock.
They played many songs, but I’d have to say my favorite part of the night was when they played “Copperhead Road” and every single person in the venue stood up and began to line dance. I know this isn’t two-stepping, but it was neat to see everyone be able to participate (especially the people who didn’t have partners to two-step with). The stomping of boots and hollering of people proved to be unusually comforting for me. It’s probably because it represented a community of people who have something in common coming together to enjoy a dance with one another. Overall, the experience was new, fresh, and exciting for me. I love doing things outside of my comfort zone and this definitely proved to be worth it.
Most people assume that being the youngest child of a family is synonymous with being a spoiled brat, but I think otherwise. Has anyone ever thought that maybe a child is a spoiled brat because their parents allow that? I, for one, am the youngest of four children and work for everything in life. For me, this is easily relatable to classic country music. Many songs like Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” express hardworking woman, without discriminating against age or what number child you are.
Sure, there will be spoiled brats that just so happen to be the youngest child, but that goes for all stereotypes.
There’s more to being the youngest than just getting people to see you for you. Some of the biggest issues of being the youngest child are “How will I get people to stop stereotyping me?” or “Will I ever be able to break out of the shadows of my older siblings?”
Frankly, I can’t help if my parents look at me as their “baby” because I am. I’ll admit that, but it doesn’t mean I had any control over the matter. As soon as people hear I’m the youngest of four kids, they automatically begin to assume I’m either a trouble maker (which in fact is my sister-number 3) or I get what I want. While “The Baby” by Blake Shelton tunes into the youngest child stereotype, it also does a great job of describing how my mother sees me.
The same concept could go for people who are only children or the middle child. No matter where you are in the pecking order, it seems like you have a stereotype. Truth be told, I did tattle when I was younger, but as far as I’m concerned everyone has at some point or another. It even seems like youngest children get the most grief from their older siblings when they get older about their past. However, I’ve always found comfort in country music growing up. No matter how much my siblings and I fought, when we turned on Garth Brooks or the Dixie Chicks, we put all matters aside.
Despite what others may think, I know many youngest children who actually end up baring the most responsibility of any of their siblings. Getting a job and paying for my own things came naturally to me, but when I’d treat myself to things, I still would get stereotypical thoughts that my parents paid for it. If there is one thing that country music has taught me, and that I’ve been able to relate to my situation, is that hard work won’t always go unnoticed. If I keep fighting against these stereotypes, people may see me for me, not as the youngest child.