Category Archives: New Country

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

What is “Country?” A Longwinded Rant

Photo: is “country?” When listening to songs like “Take a Back Road” or “Boys Round Here”, people tend to get the impression that “country” means small town, trucks, and beer drinking. However, with global warming occurring as well as the increased urbanization of America, trucks and small towns will begin going away. No, small towns will never disappear, but they will become less isolated as the large cities expand. I sit here thinking about what that this means for the future of “country” and country music. Could it be that “country” is really more of a way of life? If so, what is that way of life? Having grown up in Houston, a big city with a huge sports and business culture, I never considered myself “country.” That said, I always envied the lives of people who grew up in small towns and always loved listening to country music. I think Easton Corbin sang about this concept when he sang “A Little More Country Than That.” He sang about being a little more country than “a dirt road full of pot holes with a creek bank and some cane poles.” Either this guy literally lives in the middle of nowhere, or he is talking about his culture. He also sang about not two-timing and playing games because he understands that there is more to “country” than farming and roping cattle.

When I think of “country”, I think of someone with Southern values. I think of someone who works hard for his or her family, but never compromises his or her core morals. I think of someone who, when the times get tough, will fight through the obstacles and will never waiver. In that regard, “country” people live everywhere, regardless of if they grew up in a trailer or drive a pickup. No, I’m not writing this post to make myself feel better or to include more people in the “country” tent. I’m doing this because I see country music moving in the wrong direction regarding lyrics. I grew up listening to country songs, partly because I love the sound, but also because of the for which they stand. When I turn on the radio and “Home Alone Tonight” comes on, I can’t help thinking how this could easily be a song that any pop artist could sing. Sure, many recent songs have featured small towns, but they seem to lack the values that made country music so special to me. I grew up listing to songs that, even if they were a little pop sounding, at least they differed in that I could identify with their messages. “If You’re Going Through Hell” is a favorite of mine to listen to when I experience failure. No, George Strait would have never sung it, but at least it has a message behind it that demonstrates the values my parents tried to instill in me.

I cannot explain why I felt the need to rant about the state of country music, but I hope it shed some light onto why I care so deeply when Sam Hunt’s songs reach the top of the charts. I don’t care about other people’s song preferences, but I do care about the future of the genre I love the most. I think its time we reevaluate what the word “country” means, because once we lose trucks, country music singers will have a hard time differentiating themselves from other musicians.


Filed under Blog Post 4, Country Pop, New Country

Who is John Michael Montgomery?!

Have you ever heard songs like, “Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)”, “I Swear”, “Life’s a Dance” or “I Can Love You Like That”? Well John Michael Montgomery is the man who sings these iconic songs. John Michael Montgomery was one of the biggest hits of the 90’s and today many of his songs still play on the radio and are recognized by individuals of all ages. However, he, himself is unrecognizable and unknown by most.

jmmToday John Michael Montgomery is one of my favorite country singers of all time, but not to long ago I was singing his songs without knowing who he even was. As soon as I learned that I would be writing these blogs I knew I had to do one on John Michael Montgomery because he is too good for my generation and even beyond to not continue to listen to and know!

John Michael Montgomery has released eleven albums since his career took of in 1992 when he released his debut album featuring “Life’s A Dance”, and “I Love The Way You Love Me”. He has had thirty singles on the Billboard Charts and seven of which that went number one. He has won multiple awards through the CMA’s and ACM’s. Montgomery was born in 1965 in Danville, Kentucky to a family who instilled his love for music in him early on. By the age of fifteen he was singing regularly with his family which ultimately led to him being seen and then signed by Atlantic Records.

I was drawn to John not only because his career took off in my favorite time period of country, the 90’s, but because his love songs are incredible (I am a sucker for love). It is the between his voice, which focus’ on country’s traditional roots, and his deep emotional connection with his fans, and his piercing looks that all make him stand out from other balladeers of the 90’s.

Like I previously said, many of Montgomery’s songs play frequently on the radio and are even easily recognized lyrically and musically but their titles and who sings them is unknown. I want to point out three of these love songs that you may or may not have heard before, but that you need to listen to and remember the name and artist of, because if you ever have been in, are in, or plan to be in love these songs will make you feel like never before. My top three favorite love songs of his are “I Can Love You Like That,” I Love The Way You Love Me,” and “I Swear.” Each of these breaks down what love should really be about.

“I Can Love You Like That” expresses a man saying he can fulfill all the dreams and hopes a woman can have about love. From a young age women are shown love stories through fairytales, movies, and more for example like the song shares Cinderella or Romeo and Juliet. He shares that he will do and love her in the ways she always wished for but never thought were true.

“I Love The Way You Love Me” reveals that one of the reasons behind his love for her is her love for him. He shares that its the simple things she does like laughing or taking long baths that all make up part of why he likes her. Its the way she puts up with him and does little things like cooking for him that also play a part in it. This song reminds you that true love should be when you love and accept everything about a person.

“I Swear” relates back to the original promise behind love, that it will be meaningful and last forever. This song mentions the oath that’s taken during a marriage ceremony such as “for better or worse,” and “until death do us part.” It promises love that will last as appearances may change and things get hard. He compares this promise to things that are very constant such as the moon and stars and shadows.

Each of these songs are extremely powerful and full of feeling. I hope that you will enjoy them as much as I have. I know as a guy you may not want to admit it that you like love songs, but at least give them a chance or check out some of his other songs. He covers whimsical fun topics, family, and military life as well. John Michael Montgomery is an amazing musician that changed the 90’s and my generation needs to remember!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Blog Post 4, Lists, New Country

My Summer at KOKE FM

KokeFMThis past summer, I had the amazing opportunity to intern at the radio station KOKE FM. For those of you who have never heard of the station, its a country alternative station – meaning they play every type of country from classic to outlaw to current. Not only did I learn a lot of rewarding career experience from the internship, but I also learned so much more about country music in general. For example, I had never heard of Chris Stapleton, knew the significance of Merle Haggard, or knew people still appreciated Willie Nelson’s music before this summer.

I interned for the 6am morning show, meaning I had to get up at 4am to make it to work by 5am every weekday morning – yes I went to work when most people were coming home from the bars. My boss was the man who owned the station and on-air talent Bob Cole. Bob was actually inducted in the Country Music On-Air Personality Hall of Fame in 2003, so my boss was pretty awesome. I actually really came to enjoy the early mornings because my job was fairly simple and everyday was something different. One day the guys bought 10 different vanilla ice cream brands to see which ones could [temporarily] replace Blue Bell. Random country singers would come on the show. Some days the guys even let us interns talk on-air.

IMG_1014There was one day in particular that I will probably remember most about working at the station. One day I was logging the show like I always do, and a short, older man with the whitest hair and tattoos covering his arms walked through the door. It took a long stare and at least 30 seconds of processing to realize that THE Dale Watson had just walked 3 feet away from me and flashed his Dale Watson smile while saying “good morning” in his deep Alabama accent. He just walked himself into the studio with Bob like he had been there a thousand times before. And there I was fangirling so hard when my other boss, Eric Raines, told me that Bob wanted to see me. As I pulled myself together, I walked into the studio and Bob introduced me to THE Dale Watson. And THE Dale Watson shook MY hand as he repeated my name, and I swear my heart stopped for a solid 5 seconds. Bob wanted me to go get Dale some coffee, and I happily did so while nervously overthinking how much cream and sugar THE Dale Watson wants in his coffee. As I gave the coffee to Mr. Watson, he thanked me and said my name AGAIN. So that is the day I met THE Dale Watson and fell in love with my job even more. I’m a dork.

IMG_0910All the guys I worked with knew so much and currently have standing relationships with so many different country artists. Honestly, working there makes me appreciate everything I’m learning in this class so much more because if I want to end up doing my own country radio show, learning the true history and meaning behind the genre is the best way to be successful at it. I can’t say enough how lucky I was to score that internship and be able to learn so much more about country music as well as producing a radio show. If you’re interested in radio and country music, I highly recommend interning at KOKE FM. But if you just like listening to country music, turn the radio to 98.5 every now and then to hear some of the best country music ever made deejayed by some of the coolest guys I’ve ever worked with.


Filed under Blog Post 4, Classic Country, Live Music, New Country, Outlaw, Reflection

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