Author Archives: Talia

More Than Just Listening To Country Music

FullSizeRender (3)From the moment I saw that this was a class I knew I had to take it. I was really excited to be able to spend a whole semester discussing country music.  Every time someone asked me what classes I was in I loved to tell them Rhetoric of Country Music because most people would get super jealous or be surprised that this was even a thing. I’ve always enjoyed country music and since I needed another rhetoric course what better way than to spend it learning more about a topic I was very interested in. This class has taught me to look at the bigger picture, whether that be about a specific song, an artist, or the industry as a whole. Behind every decision there is much more work and thought than often assumed. This class also allowed me to see and understand how others perceive certain artists and songs and how everyone interprets things differently. From the day I found out about this blog I couldn’t wait to start exploring some of the lists options, as this assignment gave me a reason to go to concerts, go dancing, or be a tourist. However, as usual I procrastinated and kept telling myself next week. So the three events outside of class I’m going to talk about are not as cool as I planned but I have viewed them differently than if I had not ever taken this class.

CMA 2First off I want to talk about the CMA’s. I usually try and watch all the music award shows just because they are usually funny, involve some sort of drama, and feature some great performances. This year was different not only because of our class but because I watched it in my boyfriend’s apartments with two other guys commentating. (Their opinions were quite different.) Like I said above I wasn’t let down because Carrie and Brad did make me laugh, the Blake and Miranda drama was clear, and I got to see some great collaborations and performances. The biggest headline of the show was of course Chris Stapleton; I mean between the awards and his performance with Justin Timberlake his career was changed forever.

CMA 1Three things I noticed while watching this show as opposed to other years was how the live performances are planned as a way to draw the most viewers across all ages, music preferences, and genders, how who votes on the awards affects who wins, and how hard it must be for a music genre to try and please everyone. I have always been one to whine every time I see the performers list and it features a pop singer and a country singer.  It always upset me to see this mix because I obviously wasn’t watching this for Justin Timberlake or Fall Out Boy but this year after discussing I class the changes in types of subgenres in country music and how important growing fans is I saw things differently. I also paid more attention to how the voters of each award affected who won…if the CMA’s were a fan based voting show I believe things would have been much much different. For example: I highly doubt Stapleton would have left with as many awards as he did. My final point ties into the above 2 in a way as for any music genre from its origins there have been changes but overtime some changes can make or break the industry. Those who work in the industry are constantly trying to find a way to stay current while also not losing those who have been a fan for many years. I always think of the music industry as being fun and easy but now I see how much more it really involves.

Second, I watched Urban Cowboy. I probably would have never picked this movie on my own but with some insistence by my boyfriend we watched it. Urban Cowboy was made in 1980 so as you can imagine its not filled with all of todays pop culture slang and special effects. Its simple and to the point. This movie was interesting to me as it is based around a local honky tonk known as Gilley’s in Pasadena, Texas. As I am from Fort Worth, Texas I never knew until I saw this that Gilley’s wasn’t originally located in Dallas. This movie helped share with the rest of America what the country style involved. The main characters worked hard during the day to party hard at night and on the weekends. They were mostly middle class, they two stepped, drank beer, had big hair, boots on, tight jeans, and weren’t afraid to start a bar room brawl. For me it was quite shocking to see Travolta playing a cowboy as I often mentally just see him playing his role in Grease. This movie reminds of how living in Texas has shaped how I perceive the cowboy life and how music strongly music strengthens the image of cowboys and country life. I grew up around a place similar to Gilley’s known as Billy Bob’s so as I watched this I saw how even with some of the technological changes the Billy Bob’s I go to today is still similar to that of 1980. Yes, most of the people who attend today aren’t “real cowboys” but they still portray the character. Because I took this class I was able to think further than just what happens in the movie about how country music has kept the honky tonk alive, as well as kept people wanting to live a cowboy lifestyle no matter where they’re from.


Last, I wanted to share my experience of a date event my sorority has known as Barn Bash each fall semester. I went to this event last year as a freshman, but now as a sophomore after spending a semester in our class I saw it a little bit differently. So you know what Barn Bash is, its a night that the girls in our sorority ask guys to come with us to a western venue, dress in boots and western wear, do some two steppin’, eat barbeque, and if your old enough do some drinking… This year our event was at Star Hill Ranch, a popular event venue out in the hill country about 40 minutes west of Austin. The venue itself is set up like a little town on a dirt road made up of old buildings from across central Texas. It has a chapel, multiple little house buildings, a reception hall, windmill, a little convenience store/saloon. Here in Texas it is very normal to have events that are western themed; like us multiple other sororities or groups have similar country style events. After having our class I realized how important Texas is to country music and the country image. Being a native Texan, even from Fort Worth, I can’t imagine not regularly seeing people in boots, women with big hair, local two stepping joints, and the like. This year, looking back on the event I am very thankful to be from a state where this a thing, where we can walk out on a dirt road, look at the stars, and then get out on the dance floor and do some two stepping while singing some George Strait.

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I am very thankful to have taken this class and broaden my perspective on country music and its importance and relationship to my own life!


Filed under Austin, Blog Post 5, Reflection, Texas

Who is John Michael Montgomery?!

Have you ever heard songs like, “Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)”, “I Swear”, “Life’s a Dance” or “I Can Love You Like That”? Well John Michael Montgomery is the man who sings these iconic songs. John Michael Montgomery was one of the biggest hits of the 90’s and today many of his songs still play on the radio and are recognized by individuals of all ages. However, he, himself is unrecognizable and unknown by most.

jmmToday John Michael Montgomery is one of my favorite country singers of all time, but not to long ago I was singing his songs without knowing who he even was. As soon as I learned that I would be writing these blogs I knew I had to do one on John Michael Montgomery because he is too good for my generation and even beyond to not continue to listen to and know!

John Michael Montgomery has released eleven albums since his career took of in 1992 when he released his debut album featuring “Life’s A Dance”, and “I Love The Way You Love Me”. He has had thirty singles on the Billboard Charts and seven of which that went number one. He has won multiple awards through the CMA’s and ACM’s. Montgomery was born in 1965 in Danville, Kentucky to a family who instilled his love for music in him early on. By the age of fifteen he was singing regularly with his family which ultimately led to him being seen and then signed by Atlantic Records.

I was drawn to John not only because his career took off in my favorite time period of country, the 90’s, but because his love songs are incredible (I am a sucker for love). It is the between his voice, which focus’ on country’s traditional roots, and his deep emotional connection with his fans, and his piercing looks that all make him stand out from other balladeers of the 90’s.

Like I previously said, many of Montgomery’s songs play frequently on the radio and are even easily recognized lyrically and musically but their titles and who sings them is unknown. I want to point out three of these love songs that you may or may not have heard before, but that you need to listen to and remember the name and artist of, because if you ever have been in, are in, or plan to be in love these songs will make you feel like never before. My top three favorite love songs of his are “I Can Love You Like That,” I Love The Way You Love Me,” and “I Swear.” Each of these breaks down what love should really be about.

“I Can Love You Like That” expresses a man saying he can fulfill all the dreams and hopes a woman can have about love. From a young age women are shown love stories through fairytales, movies, and more for example like the song shares Cinderella or Romeo and Juliet. He shares that he will do and love her in the ways she always wished for but never thought were true.

“I Love The Way You Love Me” reveals that one of the reasons behind his love for her is her love for him. He shares that its the simple things she does like laughing or taking long baths that all make up part of why he likes her. Its the way she puts up with him and does little things like cooking for him that also play a part in it. This song reminds you that true love should be when you love and accept everything about a person.

“I Swear” relates back to the original promise behind love, that it will be meaningful and last forever. This song mentions the oath that’s taken during a marriage ceremony such as “for better or worse,” and “until death do us part.” It promises love that will last as appearances may change and things get hard. He compares this promise to things that are very constant such as the moon and stars and shadows.

Each of these songs are extremely powerful and full of feeling. I hope that you will enjoy them as much as I have. I know as a guy you may not want to admit it that you like love songs, but at least give them a chance or check out some of his other songs. He covers whimsical fun topics, family, and military life as well. John Michael Montgomery is an amazing musician that changed the 90’s and my generation needs to remember!

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Filed under Blog Post 4, Lists, New Country

Trade Adkins: A man worth listening to!

Moms Night Out Premiere at TCL Chinese Theater - Red Carpet Featuring: Trace Adkins Where: Los Angeles, California, United States When: 29 Apr 2014 Credit: Brian To/WENN.comAfter hearing that Trace has a new album set to come out sometime in January of 2016 I knew I wanted to write my blog post about him. I have been raised a fan of Trace Adkins and I believe everyone needs to check him out or at least give him a second chance. Trace Adkins has been around since the middle of the 90’s but recently he has been sliding under the radar of all the flashy new young stars. Among teens and young adults he is certainly not as popular as artists like todays Sam Hunt and Luke Bryan but most can still say they recognize his classic deep voice in a few of his songs such as, “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk”, “You’re Gonna Miss This”, and “Ladies Love Country Boys”.

I know many people think Trace only makes cheesy overly country songs such as “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” or “Chrome” but his music varies much more than that. However, sometimes a cheesy country song is just what the mood calls for. If you’re not afraid of a catchy tune that’s just plain fun you should check out, “Brown Chicken Brown Cow”, or “Ala-Freakin-Bama”.

Besides these light songs he has much more serious songs that deal with religion, family, love, and the military. As a fan of love in general some of my favorites are Adkin’s ballads. That deep voice and his passion and honesty make him stand out from just any other artist. “This Ain’t No Love Song” and “Love Will”.  Trace Adkins is also a family man who has been married twice and has five daughters that he isn’t afraid to sing about. Of course most people know and have been touched by “You’re Gonna Miss This” but if you enjoyed that song or if family is important to you you should check out “Just Fishin”.

Besides just his music Trace Adkins does incredible things for many different charities. He is most well known for the work he does with Wounded Warriors, but he also works with and supports St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital, USO, Animal Rescue Foundation, and many more. My dad is a part of an organization in Fort Worth called the Fort Worth Air Power Council that works with service men and women, raises money for their families, and helps aid the wounded and veterans. Through this organization I have got to hear many stories through members who have worked directly with Trace and shared how amazing of a man he is. Trace Adkins has multiple songs about the military if have a family member or friend whos serves, yourself, or just support our military you may want to listen to “Semper Fi”, “All I Ask For Anymore”, “Arlington”, or “Till The Last Shots”.

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Another part of why I love Trace Adkins is that he is very down to Earth and real. Trace has suffered loss, been through divorce, he’s been shot, he has had problems with alcohol and has been to rehab, and he’s a dad to five. Trace Adkins doesn’t try to be perfect by any means. He lives his life and supports what he cares about. His career has never been about attention its just him doing what he loves and I believe everyone can appreciate that.

Trace Adkins may not be everyone’s cup of tea and I can accept that. Although, if you haven’t listened to him in awhile or just aren’t sure about him just take some time to try and listen to a few of the songs I mentioned or explore on your own. Trace Adkins is a man that I root for and love supporting and I hope maybe my blog will gain him a few more fans as well! Also, definitely have an ear out in January for his new album and first single off the album titled, “Jesus and Jones”. (The meaning behind the title is quite special and very true for many country singers so I am very excited to hear it!)

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Filed under Blog Post 3, News

September 18th, the day I finally saw Garth Brooks!










I have grown up listening to Garth but it wasn’t until junior year of high school that I actually became fully obsessed. It all started with my first love who also happened to be long distance. Garth was our thing. “Wrapped Up In You” was officially our song. Whether we were finally together driving around his small town or I was back home sitting in class with my headphones in Garth was playing. Even though that relationship ended horribly I was left with a new relationship with Garth. When I heard Garth Brooks would be touring again I immediately called my mom and told her I was going to find a way for us to see him. Financially I wasn’t sure how though. My grandma didn’t react to well when I posted on Facebook that I would sell my car, kidney, and sister just to go see him in concert! Lets just say no one understood how badly I wanted this. At the time he hadn’t announced his Dallas date only the Houston ones. Too quickly those days came and passed and I didn’t get to go, but not too long after I heard news that he was coming to Dallas.

After enough whining, hinting, and begging my mom(who secretly also was dying to go) came up to me and said, “Talia, we are going one way or another. The day that tickets became available mom and I were sitting with our laptops ready to buy at 9:59AM. Some how through our lovely internet connection or big businesses our immediate reactions to the clock switching to 10AM were not fast enough. I almost broke down. Thanks to Craigslist and my mom and I’s savvy shopping we found tickets for a pretty reasonable price within the next hour. It had been seventeen years since Garth was in Dallas I wasn’t going to wait until I was in my 30’s for him to make it back.

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That day I drove home from Austin, got all dolled up, and made the 45 minute trip to Dallas. I think I was shaking with excitement the whole day. The show ended up not starting until an hour after it was supposed too since the previous show ran over but I didn’t care Garth was way better than sleep. When the countdown finally reached zero and I first saw his silhouette I broke down. I cried for probably the first ten minutes of the show and a couple times through out. Only twice have I ever been so happy; my first Opening Ceremonies and watching the US Mens National Basketball Team in London(I cried at those too)! Throughout the whole music industry Garth Brooks is one of the most amazing performers ever! From the sincere softer songs like “The River” and “The Beaches of Cheyenne” to the fun and upbeat songs like “Callin’ Baton Rouge” and “Friends In Low Places” the concert never lost my attention. Garth finished his concert with an encore of course as he promised he would keep going if we stayed loud. His very last song was one I feel is often forgotten but I absolutely love, “Standing Outside the Fire.” If you’ve never heard it I highly recommend it. When he finally said his goodbyes, bowed, and thanked the crowd I was left stuck in place. I did not want such an amazing night to end. I left that concert around 2AM with a T-Shirt, Koozie, iPhone pictures and a memory that will last forever! IF YOU EVER HAVE A CHANCE TO SEE GARTH BROOKS, GO! YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT!!!



Filed under Blog Post 2, Dallas, Garth Brooks, Live Music

What’s Texas Without Country Music & Vice Versa

Senator William Blakley once said “Texas is neither southern nor western. Texas is Texas.” As a born and raised Texan I couldn’t be more proud of where I come from. Whether you’re from Texas or not it is well-known that Texans are a proud bunch. I may be a bit biased but I would say no such state has a reputation as big as ours. Texas is known for our delicious food, beautiful landscapes, colorful history, intense sports culture, and country music. Yes, a majority of what Texas is known for is a bit stereotypical, although Texas is a lot more than just Redneck cowboys. However, this cowboy culture I believe is part of how Texas and country music have become so intertwined and well-known.

I can’t imagine a Texas without country music or country music without Texas. They need each other! Growing up I had mixed feelings about country music but since I was about fifteen I fell in love and never looked back. Country music, yes is influenced by the south as well as the west but its relationship and influences with Texas are like no other. There are easily over a hundred country songs about or at least mentioning Texas. Without Texas there would be no George Strait, Pat Green, Miranda Lambert, Neal McCoy, Robert Earl Keen, Willie Nelson, Tanya Tucker, and many more. Texas has its own subdivision of country for goodness sake.

As a Texan I find country music as the most relatable of genres, but not because I’m always in boots and riding on a horse but because I can turn on the radio and hear songs about my own city, places I have driven through, ideals I cherish, and things I have actually done. My Texas by Josh Abbot and Stockyards by Casey Donahew Band are perfect examples of how my association as a country music fan and a Texan coincide. Some lyrics from the song My Texas are things which I have done here in Texas such as, “You haven’t been to the Ft. Worth stock show,” “Sang “Everclear” at a Creager show,” and “Haven’t had a kolache when you go through West.” These memories are part of who I am and hearing songs sang about them I realize these are pastimes of a group of people like me. These are things Texans do. Texans are proud of what makes up our vast state and our people. Many country songs share this. One of the most obvious and proud is from Little Texas’ God Blessed Texas. “God blessed Texas with His own hand. Brought down angels from the Promised Land. Gave them a place where they could dance. If you wanna see Heaven, brother, here’s your chance. Well, I’ve been sent to spread the message. ‘God blessed Texas’” I’m sure this pride can come off cocky to out-of-staters but we just want to share with everyone how incomparable and wonderful Texas is.

I am a fan of many genres of music but when country comes on it creates a feeling that is hard to describe. I relate to country and those who sing it relate to me. As a Texan I may be surrounded by some country music but it’s the reality and actions of being Texan that make the lyrics seem to be a part of me! George Strait says it perfectly in If It Wasn’t For Texas, “I wouldn’t be a Willie fan. Nobody’d swim the Rio Grande. I wouldn’t be an American, if it wasn’t for Texas. “


Filed under Blog Post 1