Category Archives: Nashville Sound


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

My Country World in Austin, Texas

When looking into my degree plan, I saw that I had to take one last rhetoric class in order to fulfill my core requirement. Now I have to be honest, I have never been been a fan of any sort of English class, but I am happy to say that is no longer the case. I actually looked forward to this class every week and will be sad when it is over. Unfortunately, however, all great things must come to an end… And may I now present to you: my country music experiences outside of the classroom..

  1. Coupland Dance Hall

So coming from Fort Worth, I have been toGetImage.ashx my fair share of Billy Bob’s concerts. After coming to Austin I was wondering if I
would ever get to experience the same kind of country music culture. Let me tell you, the Coupland Dance Hall out in Coupland, Texas is all of that and more. When my sorority had a date function there, I was so excited to check it out. From the stringed lights to the country two step this place has it down to a T.

  1. Austin City Limits1501734_10203808627229961_2094592200129301172_n

Even before I applied to the University of Texas, I had always dreamed of going to ACL Festival. As soon as I got in I knew that was my first order of business, I bought a ticket. One year later and I was still just as excited for my second time. There is really nothing like going to a big field with all of your friends listening to awesome live music. Because the names were somewhat familiar to me at the time, I attended both the Dwight Yoakam and Sturgill Simpson concerts. My dad had recently introduced me to Sturgill Simpson and encouraged me to attend his concert. He was right on about his unique and traditional country sound.

  1. Nashville

My roommates have always told me to sit down and watch an episode of the hit ABC show Nashville, but I could never find the time. When I found out that I could write about this show for my blog post. I sat right down on the couch and started the pilot episode. Little did I know that pressing play on that remote would have me completely compelled by a tv show. I understand that some people think that the drama is unrealistic or the acting is bad, but the music will change their mind on the overall perception of the show. In a previous post I looked further into the duo Lennon and Maisy, but they are just one example of the talent on the show. I encourage anyone who loves a drama filled tv series to give it a try.

NashvilleS4415Overall I have really enjoyed this past semester. I not only learned about the history of country music, how to analyze it, and what it means, but I learned how to appreciate it for more than just a twangy sound.

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Filed under Blog Post 5, Concert, Live Music, Movies and TV, Nashville Sound, Texas

Nashville’s Newest Stars: A Closer Look at the Dynamic Duo, Lennon & Maisy

lennonmaisy-4_3The casting directors of the hit show Nashville had a moment of genius when casting the roles of Rayna James’s daughters. They selected none other than the Canadian sisters Lennon and Maisy Stella. Who are they you might ask? Well, Lennon (16) and Maisy (12) started their singing career by performing covers for hit songs such as “Call Your Girlfriend” and “Ho Hey” on their YouTube channel. So, lets take a closer look at these young stars.

Born into a musical family, with both parents in the music business, the girls became interested in the music world from a very early age. Lennon even got her first guitar when she was five. Her father, an experienced guitarist taught her how to play and from then on she was hooked. The most surprising fact about the sisters is that neither of them has ever received lessons or professional vocal training, they both play numerous instruments and sing in two-part harmony without prior instruction. The girls have written songs together in their early years and played at various shows and festivals alongside their parents before being discovered by Nashville.

NASHVILLE - "Someday You'll Call My Name" - Rayna immerses herself in her kids' lives and her husband's campaign, and is sobered to learn that she and Teddy are facing financial ruin; Juliette offers Deacon an exclusive contract to write and tour with her; and Juliette's troubled mother, Jolene, re-enters her daughter's life in dramatic fashion. Meanwhile, Scarlett and Gunnar's big break with Watty is threatened, on "Nashville," WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/KATHERINE BOMBOY-THORNTON) LENNON STELLA, MAISY STELLAAlthough music was the girls’ true passion, Maisy had always been interested in acting and decided to try it out. She had been featured in several different commercials and music videos growing up so acting became her second love. When her agent became aware of a role in a new ABC show that was being filmed in Nashville, Maisy immediately saw it as a a sign and auditioned. During the final stages of the auditioning process, the casting agents discovered that Maisy had an older sister, Lennon, and decided that the girls would be a dynamic duo on the show. Lennon & Maisy began starring in the ABC drama Nashville in October 2012 and have become a nationwide hit. Their sweet and innocent sound as captivated viewers. They have truly become some of the most popular young artists in the Nashville scene. If you haven’t heard them sing before, trust me you will be listening for hours.

Their first hit, Lennon and Maisy’s cover of “Call Your Girlfriend” by Robyn and Erato showed their potential as artists and hooked viewers on their sound. Using empty containers of butter as musical instruments, the girls displayed an aspect of creativity that was hard to match.

Their cover of “I Wont Give Up” by Jason Mraz shows the range of their voices and the beauty of their two part harmony.

Finally Maisy’s performance of “Have a Little Faith in Me”, by John Hiatt, shows the 12 year olds ability to harmonize with any voice.

I hope you have become interested in these young artists, because trust me they are taking not only the country music world, but entire musical kingdom by storm.


Filed under Blog Post 4, Movies and TV, Nashville Sound, New Country, Women

Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015

In class, I mentioned that the Country Music Hall of Fame would be announcing its 2015 inductees soon. Turns out, the announcement arrived at the end of March. I thought y’all might want to learn a little more about the new members.

Most years, the Hall of Fame honors people in three categories: (1) a “veteran” artist who has been around for 45+ years, (2) a “modern” artist who has been around for 25+ years, and (3) either a songwriter, musician, or someone else involved in the music business. As usual, I am getting my information from Trigger over at Saving Country Music, who shares additional information about who has been honored in the past and how the decisions are made.

This year’s “veteran” inductee is the Browns, a family trio that had a number of crossover hits in the 1950s and early 1960s. Their best known song is probably “The Three Bells,” which was adapted from a French song (“Les Trois Cloches”) and was a #1 hit on the country and pop charts and — most surprisingly for a country song — a top 10 R&B hit as well. The group’s success coincided with the heyday of the Nashville Sound, which explains the crossover appeal and lush orchestration — and also probably the reason it has taken the group so long to be canonized. If you watch the video, you’ll understand why people criticize the Nashville Sound for not sounding authentically country.

After the group disbanded in the 1960s, the male singer, Jim Ed Brown, enjoyed some success as a solo artist. His best known song is “Pop A Top,” which Alan Jackson covered in 1999. Jim Ed has continued to perform at the Grand Ole Opry, and in January of this year he made waves for releasing his first studio album in 40 years (called In Style Again). That same month he underwent a series of treatments for cancer, and it could be a combination of the new album and frail health that led the Hall of Fame to choose to recognize the Browns with its highest honor after ignoring the group for so long.

The “modern” inductee is the Oak Ridge Boys, whose Christmas music I am familiar with but who otherwise are pretty unknown to me. Trigger points out the irony that the Oak Ridge Boys actually formed in the 1940s, which makes their induction as a “modern” act kind of suspect. Anyway, they got their start as a gospel quartet before enjoying a series of country hits — including many #1s — in the 1970s and 1980s. One of their best known hits is 1981’s “Elvira,” which hit #1 country and #5 pop.

The musician being inducted is the late Grady Martin, who played guitar on Marty Robbins’s “El Paso,” Loretta Lynn’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” and handfuls of other Rockabilly, Nashville Sound, and Classic Country recordings.

Of course, as soon as the inductees were announced, discontented fans took to social media to say who really “should” have been recognized instead of these three. Since it’s pretty hard to get into the Country Music Hall of Fame, there are a number of people who have been eligible for a while who still aren’t in, and every year there are younger stars who are newly eligible.

Some eligible performers who haven’t yet been invited to join include the Maddox Brothers and Rose, Ralph Stanley, Hank Williams, Jr., Charlie Daniels, June Carter Cash, Lynn Anderson, Tanya Tucker, David Allen Coe, Johnny Paycheck, Ricky Skaggs, Rosanne Cash, Dwight Yoakum, Randy Travis, Alan Jackson, Brooks and Dunn, Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, and Kenny Chesney.

What do you think about the new inductees? Are you familiar with any of them? Who do you hope makes it in, in the next couple of years? I would love to know!

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Filed under Awards, Classic Country, Countrypolitan, Nashville Sound, News

Nashville: New Episodes Starting Feb. 4

nashville-tv-show-1-480x240As an urban city dweller from northern Chicago who has quite literally “Gone to Texas,” my take on the hit TV series Nashville is most likely different than most. I am coming up on the end of my third year here at the University of Texas at Austin, but what brought me to the fine state of Texas is different than most: the weather. Two and half years ago I took my first step in Austin, Texas, ready to leave the cold weather behind and embrace the southern charm of a southern state. One thing I did not expect to like so much however, is country music.

While my country music education is not as extensive as some, I have found ways to immerse myself in the music outside of only listening to the country music radio station (which is how my taste for it all really started). One way I have done that is by watching the show Nashville. It began as something that linked my mother and I together, while being so far apart. It was something we could do together, without having to physically be together to watch it. But then, I was addicted.

I love the lifestyle in Nashville. I was fascinated by the simple lifestyle, even for the rich and famous. I love the Bluebird and have made it a point to add visiting the musical landmark on my bucket list. I was enthralled by the concept “old money” and the power that it gave its owners. But most of all, I loved the music.

My favorite music is that of the character Deacon Claybourne, more specifically though is the song “A Life That’s Good.”

The song is simple and sweet and while there is a sad undertone, it is still uplifting. This happens to be a recurring theme within the show. Things do not always go as planned, but family, and those that you love, are there through it all. I would say that most fans of the show are held captive by the drama of the show, most of which includes complicated love triangles and broken hearts. But if you can look beyond the glitter, the flashy lights, and the political hierarchy that runs the city of Nashville, what will capture your attention most is the music.

Artists flock to Nashville (in real life as well as the show), each looking for their “big break” and each contributing different necessities to the country music genre. Whether it is song writing, performing, or the few stars that can do it both, every contribution is important but also meaningful. It gives a look in to country music that is deeper than the surface, and in to what it really means. Every song is a story, a story that is told by a person or for a person. I cannot help but hear a country song now (or really any type of song for that matter) and wonder who the person was that wrote it. And what message are they trying to tell me? Thanks to the show Nashville, I have learned a lot about the genre, but also gained much more appreciation for the artists.

The highly anticipated premiere after the holiday TV vacation airs this upcoming Wednesday, February 4th.

Visit the show’s website.

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Filed under Movies and TV, Nashville Sound, Reflection, Reviews