Category Archives: Bro Country

Luke Bryan is Checkin’ Out of Spring Break

As a college student who just got back from the sandy beaches of spring break, I was stunned when I heard the news that Luke Bryan is calling an end to his domination as the spring-break-southern-state-country-music-concert-phenomena. After seven years on the spring break concert scene, Luke Bryan says it is time for him to let it go of his infamous spring break series, now that he is nearing forty years old (I don’t care what he thinks, I would see him in any concert any day no matter how old he is).

timthumb.phpI was shocked by this news because of the hype I realized he received while on my freshman year spring break trip, just two short years ago. Some friends and I had road tripped all the way down to Gulf Shores, Alabama and the entire car ride my friends played Luke Bryan’s 2013 Spring Break album Here to Party. To this day, I hear one of those songs and I can’t help but smile at the memories of lying on the beach and touching my toes in the Gulf of Mexico for the very first time. While I never got the chance to see any of his spring break concerts live, the song “Just a Sip” from that 2013 album will always bring me back to that very sunny trip to Alabama.

Luke Bryan’s reign as a country music spring break all-star started in 2009 with his album With all my Friends. From there he went on to have six more albums, and with each album came concerts in places like Gulf Shores, Alabama andluke-bryan-spring-break-ep-cover Panama City, Florida. The next six album tours were Spring Break: Hangover Edition, It’s a Shore Thing, Suntan City, Here to Party, Like We Ain’t Ever, and Checkin’ Out. His songs have been an anthem for students travelling down the beaches of America while they escape from the reality of school, homework, tests, and real life for just one week. And now, although his reign his over, those anthems will be sure to live on.

While it is always sad to think of the end of an era, it may just be a positive transition for Luke Bryan in to a new artistic light. He’s criticized with being “too bro country” for country music, but this could be a turning point in his career. He is gifted with a good voice, a pretty face, and the ability to make people want to sing along to his catchy songs. I would love to see some more out of him than just the party anthems he is most famously known for. Recently, he has dabbled in to some more somber themes that reflect on some of the hardships in his life, such as the song he sings about the loss of someone close to him “Drink a Beer.”

Luke-Bryan-CountryMusicIsLove-e1423094611227Although it is a bit bittersweet that Luke Bryan is ending his era as the Spring Break tyrant, I think that there are good things that lay ahead for him. I’m a Luke Bryan fan ‘til the end, and will remain loyal to him through whatever bro-country controversy that he may bring upon himself. But it is my hope that he now takes this newfound maturity at the age of almost 4 decades to reach out to more listeners with his music and show how talented he truly is.


Filed under Bro Country, Country Pop, Dancing, Live Music

Country Fascinated By Being “Homegrown”

One of the first words that come to mind when I hear “spring break” is road trip. Everyone leaves Austin and road trips somewhere, whether it be to Panama City, Gulf Shores, or just going back home. After making my way through the numerous midterms thrown my way, I made the choice of my spring break road trip to be driving the hour and a half trip home. As I drove home, switching between country radio stations the whole way, I realized that two songs in particular were played more than others. Not only were these two songs played a lot, but they also shared a very specific word in common: homegrown. I am talking about the songs “Homegrown Honey,” by Darius Rucker, and “Homegrown,” by Zac Brown Band.

Darius Rucker Homegrown HoneyDarius Rucker’s “Homegrown Honey” was released in August 2014 as the first single from his upcoming fifth studio album. The album, Southern Style, will be released on March 31, 2015. Rucker wrote the song with Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum and Nathan Chapman. It is about a country fish out of water that is turning heads. On the other hand, Zac Brown Band’s “Homegrown” was released on January 12, 2015. It is the first single from the band’s fourth studio album, Jekyll + Hyde, set for release later in 2015. They sing about a man satisfied with the life he has rather than what it could be.

Zac Brown Band SNLAfter noticing that these two were only released five months apart and how their titles very closely resembled each other, I began to notice that they both depict being “homegrown” as a positive trait for one to possess. They both talk about someone’s roots, in particularly southern roots, as a wonderful characteristic. While Rucker describes being “homegrown” as wearing boots and downing whiskey, Zac Brown Band describes a more simplistic “homegrown” as having a piece of land in the countryside. Both use southern stereotypes found throughout any country song today.

However, Darius Rucker and Zac Brown Band are not the first and only ones to write about being homegrown, or having southern roots. Other recordings from the country music genre include songs such as Jason Aldean’s “She’s Country,” and Miranda Lambert’s song, written for a series of Ram Truck ads, “Roots and Wings.” Both really hook onto the word “roots.” Aldean and Lambert describe the stereotypical southern symbols just as Rucker and Zac Brown Band. Aldean uses symbols such as cowboy boots and down home roots, while Lambert uses guitar strings and calluses to represent her father’s roots and mother’s wings.

Why is country music so fascinated with being “homegrown” or having “down home roots”? Do they sing these songs for their typical listeners, who are from more rural backgrounds? Or is it just a topic they know will sell?

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Filed under Bro Country, Country Rock, Country Symbols, Music Videos, New Country, Song Analysis, Southern Rock

Announcing Country Music’s Newest Subgenre: “Metro-Politan” Country

Over at Saving Country Music, Trigger has written a new post condemning the trend in adding dance beats to country music. Citing the success of Sam Hunt’s Montevallo, which is currently holding the #1 position on Billboard’s Country Albums chart, he claims that a new subgenre of country music is sprouting its “unfortunate tentacles.” He calls this emerging subgenre “Metro-Politan Country” and predicts that it will become more prevalent in the next couple of years before dying the way that Bro Country seems to be dying now.

Since we’ve been talking so much about country’s subgenres and the troubles with analyzing them while they’re popular, I thought y’all might enjoy taking a look at this new article. Also, I’ll be happy to give you class credit if you decide to leave Trigger a comment. You might respond directly to his post or to any of the other comments that have already been written. Just leave me a comment here letting me know that you’ve done this.

If you’re interested in Sam Hunt, you should check out a review of the Montevallo album that one of my students wrote last semester.

Lastly, I thought I would point out that Hunt’s not the first person to integrate dance beats into country music. The technique extends at least as far back as the Countrypolitan moment of the 70s/80s, including Dolly Parton’s take on “House of the Rising Sun” (1980) and “Potential New Boyfriend” (1983).

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Filed under Bro Country, Countrypolitan, Dancing, Song Analysis

Tailgates, Beer, Women, and the Bro-Country Takeover

While I love it just as much as the next person when there is “nowhere to go, nowhere to be,” and while I found myself in this situation more times than not over the winter break, I never once chose to roll into town and “ take another lap around.” These lyrics, from Cole Swindell and Florida Georgia Line respectively, seem to summarize the recent level of song writing that has taken over the country music world. Although many country music fans have voiced their negative opinions about this new “bro-country” style, and how originality and creativity has all but slipped away from the genre, do they have any substantial argument for their case? An article that I saw repeatedly posted to my Facebook newsfeed while not having my “bed backed up to the water” over the break might have the answer to this question (Parmalee).

FGLrealI will be the first to admit that I have been known to drive around on a nice day with the windows down listening to the bro-country anthems that sing of this very thing. And while in this post I voice my negative opinions towards this new style of country, I cannot deny that the tunes being put on the radio recently are catchy and easy to sing along to. However, what I can defend, with the help of, is that when these songs come on the radio, I can never tell who they are. Whether it is Florida Georgia Line, Blake Shelton, or Luke Bryan, they are all singing about warm summer days, hitting on women, and back country roads.

The similarities within this new style do not stop with just the words but continue even further with the music that accompanies the lyrics. A DJ known as Sir Mashalot, and an accompanying article by, shows the truth behind these comparisons. By combining the top hits of six different artists of today’s bro-country movement, Sir Mashalot was able to show the scary resemblances that exist. You can listen for yourself, but combined together, the six songs flow together almost as well as any other bro-country song.

As I have mentioned before, I believe this new style of country music has its appropriate time and place. However, I worry where the future of country music as a whole is headed. What happened to the country music songs that carried with them real life lessons? What happened to the clever lines that the listener can only help but tip their hat and grin to? I fear that classic, meaningful lines like “Daddies don’t love their children every now and then. It’s a love without end, amen” and “to the world, you may just be another girl, but to me, baby, you are the world” are quickly being replaced with butchery of the English language like “keeping it real like chill like only have a drink or two” and “A little something bumping, thump, thumping on the wheel ride” (Strait, Paisley, Shelton, Florida Georgia Line). I can only hope that creativity and originality can resurface within the country music genre.



Filed under Bro Country, Uncategorized

The Demise of Country Music

I stopped listening to country music on the radio a few years ago, right as “bro country” was beginning to become mainstream. I wouldn’t be able to tell you any of the new songs or new artists, but every time I happen to come across a country radio station it always seems to be the same thing: dudes like Florida Georgia Line bro-ing it up and singing songs about their trucks or how country they are. I know that doesn’t describe all country music on the radio these days, but it’s apparent that bro country is what the industry thinks will sell the best. Maybe it’s just my West Texas roots, but to me that isn’t even close to what country music is supposed to be.

Yesterday as I was scrolling through Facebook, through the dozens of stories and articles being “shared” by my friends, I saw one video that really caught my eye and seemed to prove my belief today’s country music. If you haven’t already seen the video I encourage you to watch. It’s kind of eye-opening about the state of country music today.

Pretty crazy, right? That seems like pretty solid proof that Nashville is just pumping out the same song with different words, and people are buying it. That video reminded me of a different video that came out at the end of 2013 with the same concept, but it was a review of more than just six songs:

Whether you like that type of music or not you have to say that video is pretty funny. To me, it is kind of depressing to see country music deteriorate to this state. I guess if that’s what the people want then so be it. I just think that bro country is meaningless and repetitive, and these videos seem to back me.

They say there’s a George Strait song for everything, and the topic of bro country is no exception. In 2001, a full decade before bro country burst onto the scene, George Strait released a song called “Stars on the Water” as part of his The Road Less Traveled album. The song is most likely the first use of auto-tune in a country song, except it is Strait’s way of mocking “stars” who use voice enhancers and other things of that nature. “Stars on the Water” makes George Strait seem almost psychic, giving a subtle dig at the future artists who dominate the world of country music today.

Strait also collaborated with Alan Jackson on “Murder on Music Row”, in which they claim “someone killed country music” in the chase for “the almighty dollar and lust for worldwide fame”. The lyrics to this song perfectly describe bro country music, and they are probably right when they sing “Ol’ Hank wouldn’t have a chance on today’s radio”.


Filed under Bro Country, Classic Country, Country Pop, New Country, Uncategorized