Category Archives: Country Symbols

Welcome to the Future

It’s always fun to think about what the future will be like and what crazy technology future generations will create. It’s also interesting to think about what kind of role country music will play in our kids’ kids lives, especially because it is so important in many of our lives. Will country music even still be around in 100 years? Will people still listen to Hank Williams or Merle Haggard or Blake Shelton? Will country music embrace new technology or will it cling to the good ole days?

robot_musicianOne way technology could change country music is by creating new ways of making and listening to music. We’ve already seen country music struggle with technologies like Auto-Tune, but what if we get to the point where we don’t even need traditional musicians to create songs? What if computers can generate songs for us based on our personal tastes? What if computers can create new songs including the talents of artists who are no longer with us? It sounds creepy, but it’s already starting to happen and has pretty good results. One reason this might not happen is that people love to see their favorite musicians perform. With technology like virtual reality even performances are starting to change drastically. Performers could record a show once and then send it to millions of people. You could download and watch the concert as if they were actually there except without that drunk guy who spilled his beer on your favorite boots.

vr_concertAnother interesting idea is whether or not some of the traditional country music themes will stand the test of time. For example, would people in the future still enjoy Kip Moore’s “Somethin’ ‘Bout A Truck” if they have only ever ridden in driverless cars or Hyperloop Pods? Another theory about the future is that people will mostly live in cities, especially if we automate farming or grow food in labs. Would this makes songs like “Small Town Southern Man” by Alan Jackson or “Down on the Farm” by Tim McGraw difficult for future listeners to relate to?  As more and more people can easily interact with anyone in the world patriotism might become less important.  Instead country songs of the future might be proud of the planet that they live on instead of the country that they are from. Maybe future artists will sing “God Bless Mars” instead of “God Bless the U.S.A.”. Even if some country music themes become more difficult for future audiences to relate to, there are still many themes that are timeless. Humans will (probably) always have Mommas, fall in love, and be sad when their robot dog dies.hyperloop

Country music is loved by so many because of its authenticity, nostalgia, and relatability, but these qualities will be tested as the world changes. Will people still be want the authenticity of a human musician when computer generated music could potentially be just as good or better? Will people in the future still understand the nostalgia of small town life? Maybe country music artists will find new ways to relate to their audience that is unlike any country music our generation has ever heard. Only time will tell.


Filed under Blog Post 3, Country Symbols

Good Golly, Ms. Dolly!

Fotor1103140436-600x450When I think of a female country star, I think of Dolly Parton. The stereotypical country queen is a blonde bombshell with a big country voice, big country hair, and big country boobs. Country music is a genre that has continued to outshine other genres with unparalleled natural talent and has radiated a theme of natural beauty derived from its blue-collar roots of not caring what others may think. However, throughout the previous couple of generations, I feel as if a few particular country stars have conformed to Hollywood influences on beauty preservation and have lost a sense of the reality of growing old.

6a00e552403d2f883301b7c6fa457a970b-500wiWhen I think of beauty-gone-bad, I think of Dolly Parton. Not only is she one of the most talented stars in the industry, Dolly Parton is the image of what most people think of when they think of country music. From the beginning of her career, Dolly was obsessed with her looks and always strived to be “prettier”, even though she was already one of the prettiest girls in the industry. From the singer’s never-ending thirst for satisfaction, she quickly crafted a signature look. Ms. Parton’s big blonde hair and massive breasts could be spotted from miles away, but for her that was never enough. Dolly posed for Playboy Magazine in 1978, shifting her from “classic country” to a more sexualized image that greatly contributed to her desire for “bigger and better”.

Dolly Parton’s career continued through the decades, with each era adding more and more plastic surgery to her look. The singer once admitted, “if I see something sagging, dragging or bagging, I get it sucked, tucked or plucked. It takes a lot of money to look as cheap as I look”. Parton’s recognition to her spoiled beauty really makes me sad for her, because I feel as if so many beautiful people are so caught up in impressing others that they don’t let themselves naturally grow old. Especially within a genre that prides itself in cultivating such down-to-earth people who care more about the music than the image, I am surprised to see so many stars defy that ideal and conform to the media’s expectations on how to look.

DollyPartonPlasticSurgeryDolly Parton not only inspired future country singers with her musical talent, she also set a signature tone for the image of the female country star. Several proceeding singers began to craft the stereotypical look and also succeeded in spoiling their natural beauty. Reba McEntire, Kellie Pickler, and even Kenny Rodgers were a few that didn’t take growing old as an answer.

Although this whole article has seemed like a rant against plastic surgery, I do believe that if it weren’t for Dolly Parton’s strive for ageless beauty, she would not be the cute bubbly character that we all know and love. Dolly Parton may have allowed unnatural influences to shape her self-expression, but she created an image that will forever be embellished in the country music hall of fame and has put a serious imprint on the future generations of stars. Despite the plastic surgery, Dolly Parton radiates ageless beauty on the inside and out.

If this is not the cutest, most accurate video of Dolly Parton, then I don’t know what is…


Filed under Blog Post 2, Country Symbols, Women

A Walk Down Memory Lane


To me, a community is made up of two main components. First, the place you feel the most at home. That place for me is my hometown, Friendswood, TX, where everyone knows everyone and I know I can completely be myself there. Second, a community consists of the people that make you feel the most at home even if you are not there. The adorably cliché quote, “home is wherever I’m with you” is pretty much on point when it comes to describing who those people are. “My people,” are the group of girl friends that I started elementary school with, experienced the most awkward of life phases with, and celebrated with after walking across the stage on graduation day in a tragic royal blue cap and gown. Fast forward almost 4 whole years and I would still say that even after distance separated our friendships, my “Friendswood friends” will always be my most important community.

With a group of friends that are as close knit as mine are, we all obviously have a lot of characteristics in common, but we are all very different and quirky in our own ways. We tend to have our own styles, have different hobbies, definitely different tastes in guys, and an extremely broad range of “favorite” genres. From jamming The Red Hot Chili Peppers to Queen Beyoncé, we would all overwhelmingly agree that country music brings out this uniting factor among us that other music just can’t do.

I can’t really come up with one aspect of country music that connected us, but man did we make a ton of memories through loving the country genre (or love daydreaming about George Strait). Maybe it was the cowboy boots, cutoff blue jean shorts (that wereprobably extremely inappropriate looking back on it), or the “red-dirt” Texas country concerts we couldn’t miss on the weekends. Whatever it was that made country music consume our lives created an extremely vivid timeline of events that never fails to keep my people literally stuck like glue– thanks Sugarland.

34265_401679317899_5778759_nIt seems generic to say that a song can bring back 1000 memories almost instantly, but that’s exactly what happens when I shuffle through an old playlist and come across songs that just hit home and bring a flood of emotions pouring over me. Growing up two-stepping at Garner State Park is such a great example of how country music kept us together as a group of close friends. We always went on trips to the Frio River to obviously have a blast floating, but we mostly went to enjoy a great Gary Allan album as we were floating and to go dancing with ‘randoms’ at Garner. That tradition still continues today (maybe without the random guys) and the memories of everyone singing “I’ve got lightening in my veins and thunder in my chest” while floating down the river won’t ever be erased!

Another thing about country music that makes it so important to my friends is the way a single song takes you back in time for 3 short minutes and remember exactly what we were going through, what party we were at, or what stage of life we were in when the song was a hit. To this day, when I hear Check Yes or No I think of my junior high boyfriend and how ridiculously “in love” I was at the age of 14. If I come across Red Light by David Nail I remember my best friend asking me to replay it over and over again because she was obsessed. When I shuffle through old playlists and come across songs that I would listen to on blast in the car, sun roof open, windows down, screaming at the top of our lungs, I am so thankful to have fallen in love with country music. No other genre kept my friends together over the years like country music did and those memories are irreplaceable.


Filed under Blog Post 1, Country Symbols, Dancing, Texas, Women

The Country Music Apocalypse: What Would Happen If You Took the Country Out of Texas?

Texas: the land of fried foods, the occasional redneck, and a deep-rooted love of country music. Country music is what makes Texas, Texas. Even if you don’t like country music, if you live anywhere within the borders of the great state you’ve heard a song or two. But what would happen if you took the country music out of Texas?

preserve_wildlife_trucker_hat-rb1d363b5d4f944d4a1272486f736606c_v9wfy_8byvr_512First, all hell would break loose. Cowboy boots would be thrown into dumpsters, no longer necessary for two stepping, plaid shirts would be burned, jeans wouldn’t be so tight, and the teased hair would deflate. Cowboy hats would be replaced with standard baseball caps, the kind without tears and without questionable sayings like “Preserve Wildlife Pickle A Squirrel.” There would probably even be a little less glitter in the world. Who knows what Dolly Parton would wear, with her go to outfit options wiped out like a bad disease.

Next, the iconic Texas dance halls would fall. Without country music, there would be no more two steppers and live bands to serenade them, and the barren dance floors would be closed to the public for good. Places like Gruene Hall, which launched the careers of Lyle Lovett and George Strait, and Luckenbach, which was the inspiration for one of Wayl0n Jennings’ hits, would be torn down and replaced with hippie bars or even worse- a shopping mall.

Without country music, there would be no Texas State Fair in Dallas or the epic Houston Rodeo every year. What’s the point of buying overpriced fried food and stomping around in cowboy boots trying to win cheap prizes if you can’t watch Luke Bryan shake it for you after? Say goodbye to Big Tex and that oversized Ferris wheel; they’re already dead along with your favorite Little Big Town jam.


Finally, country radio stations would be replaced with more teeny bop pop and rap music that just consists of people talking while someone punches a keyboard in the background. Top 40 stations would take over the state, which probably means the end of pick up trucks and long rides through back roads with the windows down.

So where would Texas be without country music? There would be no more cowboy boots or hats, teased hair, fairs, dance halls producing huge country sensations, or radio stations playing country music. Could it be that this elimination of country music would result in Texas turning into…the North?! Who knows what would really happen if this nightmare were to actually happen, but it’s safe to say that we all hope it never does.


Filed under Blog Post 4, Country Symbols, Dallas, Dancing, Live Music, Texas

Sorry Dad: Father Daughter Relationships Through the Ears of Country Music

Country music often contemplates the relationship of a daughter and her parents, even more often: a daughter and her father. This phenomenon most commonly pokes at the idea that daughters grow up too fast but will always remain “daddy’s little girl.” The tone of these songs typically ranges from sentimental to intimidating (when meant to show who’s boss to the daughters new man.) As a daughter who’s extremely close to her dad, listening to such songs has made me laugh, made me want to go find an extremely bad boy to bring home to dad and, on occasion, made me curl into a bawl and cry about the childhood days being over.

Emotions run wild because of songs like Heartlands’ “I Loved Her First,” Trace Adkins’ “You’re Gonna Miss This,” Rodney Atkins’ “Cleaning This Gun (Come on In Boy)”, and a (probably way too) long list of others. Personally, I can not not sob while listening to the gut wrenching “My Little Girl” by Tim McGraw. This popular hit from the major motion picture, Flicka, was an instant favorite of my dad’s, as well as parents of daughters everywhere. I remember my grandma always referencing the dramatic “Go on take on this whole world, But to me you know you’ll always be, My little girl” lyric to my dad and me being super confused on why that was so important and why that made him so sad about me. It wasn’t until my thirteenth birthday party when my mom forced me to get on stage with my dad to slow dance to this heartbreaking story of a dad losing his daughter to the real world that I realized I, too, would eventually leave my dad.

This is how country music portrays the daddy/daughter relationship: the daughter growing up and leaving with zero intentions of turning back. Where, most commonly, the growing up phase covers the first five years where the daughter is still very much a little girl and then, suddenly, is instantly ready for marriage. This most definitely creates a depressed tone towards country music but also a very real one. This is one of country music’s best assets: the ability to make people feel. It’s impossible to listen to Tim McGraw say “When you were in trouble that crooked little smile could melt my heart of stone. Now look at you, I’ve turned around and you’ve almost grown,” and not feel something, especially as a daughter or a father. The heartbreaking country ballads about being old because I no longer live at home with my dad and am no longer 4 years old will continue to haunt me and make me bawl, I’m sure of it.


Filed under Blog Post 1, Country Symbols, Movies and TV