Category Archives: Blog Post 4

I Don’t Dance

DF-29558.DNGIn the movie “We Bought A Zoo,” Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) takes a huge risk in buying a zoo for his home.  He took a giant step out of his comfort zone, and so I figured I would follow suit. Mine was on a much smaller scale, I asked a girl to come two stepping. Well I asked my friend’s girlfriend to find me a dancing partner, but hey, I ended up with a real nice girl to dance with: Hannah.

It sounds like something small, but dancing lives a country mile outside of my comfort zone. As we were waiting for just the right song to come on, my heart pounded. Other than the country music playing, nothing was familiar to me.  Most people expertly swung their partners around the wooden floors, completely at ease. Their complete confidence only made me feel more unsure of myself. All that was running through my head was Lee Brice’s “I don’t Dance.” I thought back to my first inspiration for coming, Benjamin Mee, and his tagline quote of the movie: “You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”

(It sounds even better coming from Matt Damon”)

I took my twenty seconds of courage when I grabbed Hannah’s hand and said “Alright let’s give this a shot.” Thankfully, she was an experienced dancer and happily showed me how to two-step.  I was, well, bad. I struggled to remember all three steps of two stepping. Maybe it was my lack of rhythm or the constant distraction of my partner’s smile, but as George Strait’s familiar twangy voice was filling my eardrum, I couldn’t help but have a good time. Just like Lee Brice, I was out there spinning her round and round… or at least trying to.

“You wanna take a break?” Just the words I wanted to hear had finally come out of Hannah’s mouth. I happily walked off the dance floor and took a much needed break. People watching while talking to Hannah became my favorite part. I could casually listen to some of my favorite country songs, and watch people slide across the dance floor in perfect unison. Giant belt buckles, bright shirts, and unique dance moves lead me to realize that I was deep in the heart of Texas.

(Distracting Right?)

As George Strait’s “Check Yes or No” began to play Hannah looked at me and smiled. Before I knew it, I was dancing and singing along to one of my favorite country songs. This was the first time I had felt at all in rhythm, and although I didn’t know too many steps, I was on cloud nine.

While my second left foot slowly began to act like a right foot, I enjoyed myself more and more. Guided by Rodger Creager, Luke Brian, Eric Church, Randy Travis, and of course George Strait I stopped focusing on the steps and more on the experience.

I have a huge thank you to say to Dusty, for giving such an open assignment that I could take a step out of my comfort zone, and Megan and Townley for convincing Hannah to come dance with me. But most of all, Hannah for teaching me how to two step. I am very blessed to have the people around me that I do, even if I am not blessed with the gift of dancing.


Filed under Blog Post 4, Dancing

Country: Coping with Sadness

Whether it is the song played during the first dance at a wedding or the radio somehow reminding you of a deceased loved one, music has a long history of being intertwined with our deepest emotions. Yet this doesn’t just seem to be the case for the listener, as many artists use stories of their most painful memories as inspiration for their art. There have been many instances where I’ve listened to a song and reflected on how much sorrow is carried within the lyrics. Country music in particular has staked a reputation for generating a great deal of these morose melodies, present both in classic country as well as the current contemporary trend. While this may be true, the question still remains whether such music is simply the result of inspiration though somber events, or some much more personal to the artist.

Luke Bryan

Luke Bryan

In Luke Bryan‘s song “Drink A Beer” from his 2013 album Crash My Party, Bryan tells about losing his best friend, which many assumed to be him referring to his brother who died in 1996, as well as detailing the grieving process he faced afterwards. When asked about the transparency within his music in a Rolling Stone interview, the country singer offered a simple answer, saying that opening up his personal life offered a sense of reliability, especially for those undergoing similar tragedies. Because the loss of both his brother and sister coincided with his progressing country music career, Bryan considered them less as inspiration but rather “completely immersed” within his career. To him, the sadness simply flowed out from who he is as an artist, rather than anything deliberate.

Yet sadness and loss within country music is not just experienced by the listeners. In my favorite country song of all time, “When I Get Where I’m Going,” by Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton, this duet talks about the struggle of living in such a broken world, facing many “sins and temptations” and experiencing “pain and darkness.” When asked about this, songwriter Rivers Rutherford answered in an interview that when the statement “Where I get where I’m going” came up, the only thing he could think about was heaven, since he had just lost his grandfather. Because of the this, the whole song was shaped around this idea of loss and redemption. However, the idea wasn’t picked up until Rutherford connected with Paisley, who had just lost a close aunt, and agreed to sing it uncut in it’s entirety. This shows that even during the songwriting process, the mutual feelings of loss connects beyond just the lyrics, as it creates an understanding beyond that which can be explained by words.

It is for this reason that I believe the mutual understanding of personal struggle to be so powerful that it connects individuals, whether in it’s initial development or public broadcasting, on an intimate level that country music has seen great success in utilizing.

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music”

-Aldous Huxley


Filed under Blog Post 4

The Fascinating Story Behind “Convoy” and the Secret Trucker Lingo

“Convoy” by C.W. McCall is one of the most interesting songs in all of country music because of its defiant, unique story. It is about a fictional group of truckers that organize a protest over Citizen’s Band (CB) radio using their own made up code words. Although the story in the song is fictional, it is inspired by real protests and the CB radio fad.

CBRadioCB radio was a relatively cheap radio that, unlike amateur radio, could be used by anyone without a license. For these reasons CB radio become incredibly popular in the 1970’s. CB radio caught on the same way social media and online communication does today. People were excited to have a platform that would connect them to strangers all over the nation for practical and personal uses. CB radio was used for everything from small businesses communicating with employees to hobbyists just looking for entertainment.

convoy_trucksTrucker drivers also began to using CB radio to communicate, especially after the United States enforced a nationwide 55 mph speed limit during the oil crisis of 1973. This, among other regulations, angered truckers who then used their CB radios to form convoys. Convoys were groups of truckers that drove together down highways faster than the speed limit because the police couldn’t catch all of them. Convoys would also tell each other where police officers set up speed traps, if there was a roadside emergency, or even block off roads with their trucks in protest. Because police would also listen to the CB radio channels, the trucker drivers developed an elaborate slang including code names called handles to protect their identities. After hearing about this unique dialogue, McCall and songwriter Chip Davis bought a CB radio which inspired them to write “Convoy”. The song is filled with this trucker slang including lyrics like “Ah, breaker one-nine, this here’s the Rubber Duck. You gotta copy on me, Pig Pen, c’mon?”. If you are curious, you can find a list of the slang online to figure out what the lyrics mean.

“Convoy” topped the country and pop charts and was included in Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Country Songs convoy_movieof All Time in 2014. After “Convoy” was released, people became obsessed with CB radio and trucker culture. Millions of people in the United States began buying CB radios to join in on the fun and even created their own handles and slang words. Many other songs and movies about truckers were made including an action-packed, fairly successful movie that was also called “Convoy” and was based off of the song. The movie featured none other than Kris Kristofferson as the lead trucker, Rubber Duck.

In 1979 another oil crisis emerged causing another wave of protests, but this time it became violent. Many truckers went on strike and would use CB radio to threaten those who didn’t. Some of the more extreme truckers would even throw rocks or shoot at the trucks of drivers who were not participating in the strike. This violence lead to the decline in popularity of trucker culture, culminating in the murder of a truck driver in 1983.

Despite its unfortunate ending, the rise of trucker culture was a fascinating trend. “Convoy” was instrumental in creating and recording the history of this fad. Although seemingly light and fun, the song has a captivating story about serious political issues and how technology can unite people all over the country.


Filed under Blog Post 4, Movies and TV

Discovering Classic Country: William Michael Morgan

I was sitting at home the other night, scrolling through the recent releases on iTunes as I tend to do sometimes. I’m not sure whether it’s the fact that I’m in this class or just the fact that country music has been growing on me lately, but I decided to check out what was popular in Country instead of Rap/Hip-Hop like I usually do. Then I stumbled upon William Michael Morgan‘s self-titled “William Michael Morgan – EP”.

William-Michael-Morgan-EPEven just from the album cover, I could tell this was going to be a good old traditional country album. Clean-shaven, cowboy hat on, grainy block letters and a coffee-colored button down. It seems like the only stereotypes missing were a guitar and maybe some sort of alcoholic beverage peeking out somewhere. Either way, this image had me primed for some true country listening.  And that’s exactly what I got.

I was surprised to discover just how nice his voice and music was! His lyrics are thoughtful and his tunes are definitely catchy. If you haven’t heard any of his music yet, I’d recommend what I thought was his catchiest song – “Beer Drinker”.

I love this song! He says, “Let’s give it up for the guys on the clock / who work all week and twist one off / thank a beer drinker.” It’s a catchy song encouraging us to thank all the behind the scenes people in life who make sure we can “flip a switch without a hitch” and who fix things, like keeping “our hot tubs hot and our AC’s cool.” This song sounds about as country as it gets with the acoustic guitar, occasional guitar riffs, piano in the back, steel guitar, and the twang in his voice.

While that song’s great, another one of my favorites off of his EP would definitely have to be his hit “I Met a Girl.” This song is really nice: more uptempo guitar really gets your head bobbin’ to the music. Steel guitar is a little more prominent and helps set the romantic mood in this song. The chorus is as catchy as it gets, but it’s the bridge that comes in about 2 minutes into the song that really caught my ear.

He sings “when you turned around / my whole world got turned upside down / and the only thing that I could say was – hey.” I admit, that first part of the line would be tough without  being in some sort of alternate universe, but the simplicity of him being so enamored with her that all he could say was “hey” was both touching and truly relatable. This song made me think about the first time I met my now fiancé, and so those lyrics really resonated with me. And he’s got some real clever lyrics in this song too – “she don’t need umbrellas in the summer rain / she could catch the eye of a hurricane/ in blue jeans and pearls.”

You can’t just take my word for it though – check out his music and let me know what you think. Maybe I’m just behind and everybody already knows about this guy, but if you haven’t heard of him yet, do yourself a favor and take a listen to the other 4 songs on his EP as well. He talks about romance and cheating, about working hard and drinking beer, about blue jeans and vinyl – it’s got all the elements of a classic country album put together with pleasant vocals and a great, catchy sound. And who knows, if you like him enough, you can catch him live performing in nearby Salado, Texas on April 23rd!


Filed under Blog Post 4, Reviews

My Texas (feat. Pat Green)- Josh Abbott Band

The song “My Texas” by Josh Abbott Band feat Pat Green is a song that I have really attached to since I’ve been in college. I have really attached to it because the song mentions a lot of unique things in Texas that anyone living here or tourist should try to enjoy while here. The neat thing about this song is that there a good amount of places in central Texas that aren’t too far from us here at UT.

Out of the 25 or so things they mention about doing in there “Texas”, at least 75% of the things can accomplished while being at UT with them not being too far away from Austin. Just about an hour west of Austin, you can accomplish three of the things in this song that are all within an hour of each other. Right off the bat, the song starts with “If you haven’t climbed up to Enchanted Rock, /Drank a cold Shiner down in Luckenbach,” and then a little bit later, “Eaten Cooper’s down in Llano.” All three of these things can be accomplished in one day. Enchanted Rock is about one hour and a half from Austin and is about equal distance from both Llano and Luckenbach. And sometimes, you might be able to catch a country musician playing in Luckenbach.

Also not too far from Austin down in San Antonio, you will find the River Walk. As the song says, “Taken your baby to the River Walk, /Then you ain’t met my Texas yet.” So if you’re San Antonio, go experience the River Walk and why don’t you go there after going to a concert of the likes of Cory Morrow, Pat Green, or Roger Creager and sing along with and you will be able to cross multiple things off your list. Those artists frequent the Hill Country area, so it’s not hard to find a concert of one them.

Now if you’re someone like myself, who makes the trip up to Dallas every second weekend of October for OU Weekend, then there’s another place you cross off on your way up there or on the way back to Austin. “Haven’t had a kolache when you go through West…” West is a small town north of Waco right off of I-35 and they are Czechoslovakian town, and the Czechs are who created the kolache and they have a great place to get them called “Czech Stop” where you can get them.

Luckily I have been able to cross a few off of my list from this song. Being from Houston, I’ve been to the Houston Rodeo; I’ve seen a hill country sunset, which is something you can also accomplish while at UT; and I’ve sang Everclear at a Creager show.

What have you done on this list?


Filed under Blog Post 4, Texas