Author Archives: Zane Gurwitz


If I were to ask you to identify this group of menalabmaI would assume most of you would not know who it is. Don’t worry I did not either until entering the Rhetoric of Country Music class. However, although you do not recognize them I guarantee you have heard their songs.  This group of men came together to form one of the most successful country bands of all time, Alabama.  They originated out of, yes you guessed it, Alabama. The band began with three cousins, Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry, and Jeff Cook. They later added their drummer Mark Herndon who was not blood related, just a talented musician. They began their success in the 1980’s with over 27 number 1 hits and seven multiplatinum awards. When you think about that in today’s music industry, that is A LOT of success. Their most popular songs consist of “Song of the South,” “Mountain Music,” “If You’re Gonna Play In Texas,” and “Tennessee River”. Now I am almost positive you know who I am talking about now. If you are any type of country music fan, or just a fan of music in general, I am fairly certain you have heard a few, if not all of those songs.

This band is a perfect example of a simple group of men coming together, playing instruments, and singing.  This is something I think is missing in todays country. Of course it exists in Texas Country, but the more popular/modern country does not have this type of music anywhere. I realize that society has changed since then of course, but it just goes to show that you do not need to add special affects to a singers voice or any other enhancements to be successful. This band is considered of the most successful country bands of all time and if you listen to their songs compared to todays country, you can see how simple and pure it is.  Their songs were relied more on the lyrics rather than the beat of rhythm of the song. I think that is something that modern country has turned away from. It is more about appealing to the listeners ear rather then the audience connecting to the lyrics.

Alabama was considered a country/rock group during their time. To put that into perspective, in today’s society, Florida Georgia Line is what the music industry considers country/rock now. I know I am not alone in saying these two are in no comparison. Not taking anything away from Florida Georgia Line of course, but this is just an example of how much country music has changed in society. Our expectations as an audience is not near the same as it was 30 years ago and to me, I wish it were not that way.



Filed under New Traditionalism, Reflection

Texas vs Pop Country

Growing up in Texas, country music is what  I have listened to just about my whole life. Now by all means, I do not consider myself a complete connoisseur of country music, but, I have been around it enough to distinguish the difference between a Texas country and a Pop country artist.

nutty brownTo begin, in my opinion, country music has evolved over the years into what now could be considered pop country.  This includes upbeat tunes with a band in the background, with a strong emphasis on the instruments and not so much the vocals. To me, artists that fall under this category would be: Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, Florida Georgia Line, Eric Church, Lee Brice, Keith Urban, Carry Underwood, Lady Antebellum, and many more. These are the faces of what the country would consider country music nowadays. In no way, shape, or form am I trying to take anything away from them. I listen to all of them and love all their music. I am actually currently listening to Florida Georgia Line as I write this. But, these artists have a completely different sound then that of Texas Country music. Pop country has taken away the traditional country music and has made it more hip. Which is understandable due to how our culture has attracted to this pop country and taken it as “Country”.  But in my opinion, Texas Country is what keeps the traditional country music and sound alive.

To help you with some Texas country artists heres a few: Aaron Watson, Randy Rogers Band, Josh Abbott, Zane Williams, Turnpike Troubadours, Eli Young Band, Josh Gridder, Wade Bowen, and many others. Although most of these names sound very familiar to those of you from Texas, I could guarantee most country fans outside of Texas have never heard of most of them. One of the main differences between the two types of country is the sound and voices.  Texas country artists, for the most part, have a more rough  and raspy sounding voice. Their music is usually slower paced with less instruments. In Texas country, it usually consists of a drummer, guitar, violin, and banjo. Some songs Texas country songs will just consist of the artist and guitar, as it was in older country. Pop country will have these as well as electric and steel guitars which give it a more upbeat and rock sound.

One main difference between the two types of country is the venue in which they perform.  Texas country artists most of the time perform at outdoor venues in front of a crowd no larger then about 2,000 people. Some venues such as Floore’s Country Store, Nutty Brown Cafe, Gruene Hall, and Midnight Rodeo are popular places for these artists to perform. On the other hand, pop country artists perform at bigger venues such as sports arenas in much bigger crowds. KEITH-URBAN-IN-CONCERT

In retrospect, Pop and Texas country are both great to listen too. Pop country has just taken a little of the traditional sound out of country music but is still pleasant to listen too. Texas country keeps things more simple with lyrics and sound as the country music used to be.


Filed under Country Pop, New Traditionalism, Texas

Selfies with Brad Paisley

I know your initial reaction would be to think this is my phone and Brady Paisley taking a selfie with it. Well………..unfortunately this is not my phone, but, if you look closely I am in the background waving frantically at the camera. So as Brad gave the phone back to the girl in the front row, she was quickly swarmed with people, such as myself, entering their phone number to send out the picture.

IMG_1074On September 4th, I visited Brad Paisley for the second time, this performance was at the Austin 360 Amphitheater. The first time I saw him perform was in 2011 at the Houston rodeo. Although I was not within spitting distance of him in 2011, I was still very impressed with his performance.  That was my first time seeing him live and really listening to his music. Quickly after the performance I was downloading all of his songs and had them on repeat. Along with having a great voice, Paisley is just a very entertaining performer. He is always moving around the stage and keeps the audience engaged. At one of Paisley’s concerts you will be sure to hear most of his classics which include: “Camouflage,” “Then,” “Ticks,” “Mud on the Tires,” and then to end the concert of course he sings “Alcohol”. Along with many more of his greatest hits, these were probably his most popular songs and really got the crowd involved.

While having big expectations from the first performance, Paisley definitely pleased my needs the second time around. Even though Carrie Underwood did not make a special appearance to sing “Remind Me,” it was still a great performance.  Although he performed a majority of the same songs, he still impressed me with his lyrics.  One thing you will be sure to get at a Brad Paisley concert is the same voice and you hear on the radio. His voice on the radio and his voice live are exactly the same which shows there is no tampering in his albums. Side note, one lucky boy even received a guitar from Paisley himself after playing a song with it then signing it.

IMG_1057One interesting thing I learned at this concert was how much Paisley uses the violin in his songs. Besides  Paisley strumming the guitar most of the time, I would say the violin was the second most used instrument in the band. The violinist also received the most solos, behind Paisley of course, and was very impressive during this performance. Overall, Brad Paisley always puts on a great show. You will never die of boredom or stop tapping your foot along with the rhythmic melody is his songs.  I would strongly encourage anyone to get see a concert of his if the opportunity is available, you will not be disappointed.

I would like to hear about anyone else’s experience at his one of his concerts or any other thought yall may have! Thanks for reading.


Filed under Live Music, New Country