Category Archives: Blog Post 4


My mom often sends me the names of songs she hears on the radio in the car that she really likes or ones that remind her of certain times. Just a few weeks ago, she sent a text that said, “Listen to ‘Humble and Kind,’ I just love it and hope that you and your brother will always live your life this way.”

At that point I hadn’t yet heard the song, so I quickly pulled it up on Spotify. Listening to it just one time reminded me of several things: first, that Tim McGraw will always be one of my favorite artists, and second, that country artists still choose to sing deep, heartfelt songs like this one. It seems like most songs on the country charts these days are about driving trucks, drinking beer, and making love, but Tim McGraw released a breath of fresh air to that mix and I am so thankful for that.

Not even a week after my mom texted me about the song, Tim McGraw presented “Humble and Kind” at the Academy of Country Music Awards on April 3rd. Little Big Town presented McGraw with a preview of the performance, “this timeless message of humility and kindness connects with all of us…” His performance was absolutely stunning, his voice deeply sincere and he touched the hearts of every person in the audience and those watching at home like myself. He started the song off sitting on a bar stool, singing intimately to the crowd.

tim-mcgraw-acm-awards-performance Singing with a grin that reached ear to ear, he watched around a hundred individuals of all different walks of life come down the aisle to join him on the stage. He jumped off stage and grabbed one of their hands, walking to the stage with them. He proceeded to sing to the individuals that had just joined him on stage, and they represented a real life version of the breathtaking music video that he created with the help of Oprah. He didn’t just sing the song at the awards show; he lived and breathed it, delivering the song as a life lesson to all.

After such a breath taking performance, I felt deeply touched by the song and the message it delivers, to always remember where your past and no matter what your success is, always stay humble and kind. I did a simple Google search a few days later and saw that “Humble and Kind” had gone viral and is not only an inspiration to me, but is such an inspiration to so many others that an entire #StayHumbleAndKind movement exists, inspired by Tim McGraw’s song. The movement can be joined online simply by sharing your random acts of kindness using the hashtag in hopes of creating a network of giving. How incredible is that?! That’s not all though, Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind” inspired a book to be released with the same title and will include lyrics from the song as well as comments from Tim McGraw and songwriter Lori McKenna.

When I started thinking about how many people this song hits home too, I knew I wanted to write about it. I found several interviews online that explain Tim McGraw’s emotional connection to the song and why it means so much to him. During an interview with Billboard, he explained that he has been holding on to the song written by Lori McKenna for several years and just couldn’t find the right time to cut it. Lori wrote the song as a message for her own children and he loved the song so much that he was so afraid to mess it up for both Lori and himself.

1439903983_484340666_tim-mcgraw-gracie-mcgraw-zoomHe decided to cut it after taking his oldest daughter, Gracie, to college and said that it was the perfect time to record it. He revealed that he was so emotional when recording it that “I would get through two or three lines, and then I’d fall apart.” He was so emotionally connected to the song because it reminded him so much of his daughter and the things he always wanted her to remember when going through life.

In my opinion, “Humble and Kind” is one of the best country songs that has been released and made the top charts in a while. Compared to other songs that are popular right now, when I hear “Humble and Kind” I actually feel emotionally connected and really take away life lessons from the lyrics, which is such a nice change. I hope those that haven’t already heard this song take the time to listen and reflect on the lyrics just like I have done.


Filed under Blog Post 4, Classic Country, Country Pop, Music Videos, Nashville Sound, Reviews, Tim McGraw

Does Country Get Just a Little Too Drunk?

church-793x525As someone whose family is in the alcohol business, I have no problem with the free advertisement that country music gives to drinking, but has it become a problem? With songs ranging from Dierks Bentley’s “Drunk on a Plane” to Kip Moore’s “Beer Money” and Roger Creager’s “The Everclear Song,” it is clear that alcohol remains a common theme in modern country music. However, songs that used to be about sitting around having a casual beer with friends have now arguably turned into songs that “promote” drinking to get drunk and binge drinking.

Many believe this common and previously unquestioned theme in country music has recently become a cause of concern. In the past several years, there have been an increase in alcohol related arrests and deaths at popular country artists performances. With the rise of what many have termed “bro-country,” songs about partying, drinking and girls, Rolling Stone has noticed a significant trend in the charts that some believe may be leading to unruliness. Of Billboard’s Top 100 Hot Country Songs of 2014, 69 of the songs had references to drinking with at least 12 of those having some sort of alcohol reference in the title.

Another cause for concern is that with the increase in young country fans, thanks to artist like Taylor Swift, country fans attending concerts are getting younger. Country used to cater to a middle-age crowd, but it is now beginning to target a much younger crowd that wants upbeat, fast-paced, rock-charged songs they can blast through speakers at a pre-game or tailgate. Many feel the surge of young concert goers combined with the growth of pre-concert tailgating have lead to an increase of underage drinking cases at concerts.

With alcohol related incidents increasing and the age of the average country concert goer decreasing, some worry that the music might be the source of the issue. So, what is the real problem? The actual music or the fans?

I don’t think the music is the issue. While many of the lyrics in current country songs, such as in Little Big Town’s song “Day Drinking,” do portray drinking as an easy way to feel good and have some fun, it is ultimately the fans who are taking the lyrics to heart and abusing alcohol. Drinking is not new to country music, and the songs are simply supposed to be a source of enjoyment—not dictate your life choices.

I love going to a tailgate or pre-game and listening to country music, which inevitably means listening to quite a few songs about alcohol. While I do love listening to these songs at a tailgate, changing the genre of music would not change how much I drink. That decision is internally motivated. When I listen to country songs while on a road trip home, I am not tempted to start drinking in the car.

Ultimately what has happened is that country artist are beginning to cater to a younger demographic. That younger demographic already has a habit of binge drinking in general regardless of their musical preference. Consequently whether it be at a rave, a rap concert, or even a country concert, young audience members are watching their friends and peers drink and inevitably follow their example. It is not the music it is the fans.


Filed under Blog Post 4, Bro Country, New Country

Argument: The Most Underrated Singers in Country Music

Everyday, we listen to a plethora of studio recordings from our artists of choice. We grab our headphones, lift the volume, and let it play. Some listen for the lyrics, some listen for the instruments, some for the voice. I’m here to talk about that voice, and what makes it worthy of your ears. Who’s got the best one? Who’s worth listening to? There are so many country artists who wouldn’t even make it past the first round of the Voice yet they still reach stardom. I’d rather listen for raw talent.

I rank singing with vocal range, pitch control, falsetto stability, and overall training skill set; not just what sounds good on the radio, but what gives you chills when you listen to. When I think of that, I think of Freddie Mercury, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, but that’s just me. I grew up knowing those people were the best vocally. People like Luke Bryan, Toby Keith, Eric Church, Thomas Rhett, or even Blake Shelton have the smoothest of sounds, and are doing extremely well for themselves, but are they really the BEST singers? Do they impress you with the notes they hit? I think not…yet they still reach the top charts. When I think of people who DESERVE to top the chart, I think Zac Brown Band, Tim McGraw, and Carrie Underwood, but here are some that may have slipped the radar.

A great singer in an acoustic recording is hard to come by in country music, but surprisingly enough, Sam Hunt (yes, Sam Hunt) did a wildly good job with his acoustic album. Listening through it all caused me to believe that he really is a good singer. He crushes the track “Come Over,” made famous by Kenny Chesney. Funny thing is, Sam Hunt wrote the song, and I actually like his better (especially at 1:21 when he vibratos the “anyone else” with power). Sam has a smooth tone, and though his riffs and runs aren’t spectacular, he can hold pitch very well. I think his album “Montevallo” actually hurt his chances of being thought of as an actual talent. His acoustic album, however, gives reason to think otherwise.

Dan + Shay have a spectacular vocal range that they display in “19 You and Me”. They’re new to the scene of country music, and maybe they benefit from the changing ways of the genre to a more pop-sound. They don’t necessarily have a twang, but they certainly do have talent, belting out the lines each time the chorus comes around, and they hold their notes out. Just take a listen, and I hope you’ll agree with me.

Lastly, I’ll stick with Josh Turner. The man can sing! He’s got a range as low as railroad tracks, but can bring it up to a baritone level, proving his 3-octave vocal range. Everyone (including myself) dips their chin to their chest and raises their eyebrows to try and sing along with “Your Man,” while he does so with ease. He’s just gifted with it, and there’s no training that can teach him to reach such a low register. It’s unfair, but he’s one of best due to that range and he sounds phenomenal live.

These are just a few artists who have showcased their talent and impressed me. I know these names may seem a bit unexpected, but I can’t get over how weak some of the most popular vocalists truly are. Am I wrong? Who do you think is the best?


Filed under Blog Post 4, Live Music

Stagecoach: California’s Country Music Festival

In just 18 days thousands of country music fans will head to sunny Southern California for the 10th Annual Stagecoach Country Music Festival. The festival is located at the Empire Polo Club in the dry desert of Indio, CA. This venue name may ring a bell. Coachella takes place at the same place by the same company, Goldenvoice.

Stagecoach offers a variety of music such as mainstream country, bluegrass, some rock, and also alternative country. With three stages of artists to choose from all day long, you’ll never be dissatisfied with a performance.

In 2012 Stagecoach had a record sell-out crowd at 55,000 attendees. After hearing about how great it was, my friends and I decided to finally go. The first time I attended stagecoach was my senior year of high school in April of 2013. A few friends and I skipped our senior prom to be able to attend the whole weekend and it didn’t disappoint.

The three headliners were Friday- Toby Keith, Saturday- Lady Antebellum, and Sunday- Zac Brown Band. But those weren’t the only big names to look forward to. Other artists such as Hank Williams Jr, Dierks Bentley, Tanya Tucker, and Florida Georgia Line were fan favorites as well.

The 102 degree heat was a bit discouraging but we pushed through and had a great time. The festival usually provides cooling tents and misting fans to help with that as well.

As soon as the 2014 Stagecoach tickets were released, we planned our weekend because we knew we couldn’t miss it. This time my mom and sister came along so we got “VIP” wristbands. Having this special wristband meant you got to escape the rowdy crowds and go into a separate pit up front with a private beer garden. It was awesome to see the performers up close however, as a college student a part of me wished I was back with my crazy friends so I didn’t not stay there the entire time.

Stagecoach offers on site camping. I HIGHLY recommend this option if you are looking to attend the festival. My brother and some of his friends brought an RV out for the weekend and we ended up hanging out there more than our house because it was so close to the venue. I would even argue there is just as much entertainment in the campground as there is in the festival itself. People hangout between the rows of trailers playing flip cup, beer pong, or even riding horse bicycles.

The music isn’t the only thing to look forward to inside the festival. Line dancing lessons are offered at “The Honkytonk Dance Hall.” Vendors such as Maui Jim, Toyota, and Barefoot Wine set up booths to show you their products. You can also find small carnival games and an energy playground! You may think Californians don’t barbecue like Texans, which might be partially true, but each year Stagecoach hosts an annual BBQ Cook-off at the festival where attendees can buy items for $5. The winner of this competition goes to the World Championship in Kansas City, so it’s a big deal!

Stagecoach has been such an exciting weekend for me the past four years, Unfortunately, moving to Texas last year broke my attending streak but this year I made sure I could fly home for it! The lineup is one I can’t miss!

If you have the chance and love country music, I highly recommend attending Stagecoach in the future! Stagecoach is the highest grossing festival centered on country music in the world, so clearly I am not the only one that enjoys it. Don’t believe me? Just watch this video.


Filed under Blog Post 4, Concert, Dancing, Live Music

Middle school graduation meets Rascal Flatts

I was thirteen years old, finally about to graduate and go into the big, scary world of high school. My friends and I were spending all of our free time searching the mall for the perfect graduation dresses, and avoiding the last bit of what we considered school work at all costs – if only I had any idea at that age how easy I had it!

I had choir second period with all of my best friends, and it was time for Adam to announce the song we’d be singing at our graduation in a few weeks (yes, we called our teachers by their first names at OES middle school, and yes, I thought it was weird). He played it from his laptop first, and then started to teach us the words. “I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow / and each road leads you where you want to go”; my friends and I rolled our eyes at the cheesy lyrics as “My Wish” by the Rascal Flatts played through the speakers. None of us were very interested in learning the words to this silly song at the time, but by graduation day, we were all choking back tears as we sang in front of all of our teachers, friends and family.

Other than Taylor Swift, this was one of the very first country songs I learned every word to. My friends and I didn’t listen to much country and weren’t huge fans of the song at first, but we reluctantly spent the rest of the year learning each word and practicing until we sounded perfect.

I still remember standing up on the top riser in the chapel in my orange dress with white polka dots and matching white sweater (not my best outfit choice – find me in the middle of the second row pictured below). My heart was racing as Adam began to play the piano, not because I was afraid to sing but because I wasn’t ready to graduate. We started to sing while we looked out onto the audience at our families, realizing that this was the last day we’d all be together before going off to different high schools, even though we’d still live within 20 minutes of each other and our moms would still drive us to Washington Square Mall every weekend to spend our babysitting money on purses at Forever 21. Regardless, as we sang the song for the last time, the lyrics broke our little 13-year-old hearts as we started to think about whether or not our dreams would stay big, and our worries staying small. Everyone in the chapel applauded and we were given our diplomas, then released to go take all the pictures we could to document this heartbreaking moment.


Still today, whenever I hear “My Wish”, all of the memories of middle school and graduation day come flooding back, even though I hardly see any of the kids I went to school with back then anymore. Little did I know, one of the first country songs I knew by heart would bring back so many memories years later. As hard as that graduation was, I know my college graduation and going into the real world will probably be a bit more meaningful than that leap from middle school to high school.


Filed under Blog Post 4, Rascal Flatts