I’m a firm believer that being totally immersed in something unfamiliar and uncomfortable to you is a unique and necessary experience. When I signed up for this class, I didn’t know that it would be one of those experiences because I was completely unaware of how much I didn’t know about country music. I realized this on day one of class, but instead of feeling unprepared and panicking like I normally do when I understand how screwed I am for a class, I felt really good about where I was. If you come in knowing nothing, you have so much to learn, and for the first time in a college classroom, I felt like the purpose of the course was for me to learn and grow instead of produce—work, projects, grades, etc.
Maybe knowledge of the country music industry isn’t vital to my understanding of the real world, or maybe it is. I think learning all that you can about a different culture changes who you are before you did so, all for the better. Before I understood the depth and history of the country music industry, I had little appreciation for it, but now I can say that I can understand the decades of emotion, passion, and effort that are a part of this genre.
Well, as they say, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” so I went and did some cool stuff to really “immerse” myself in the country music culture!
The “Texas Wrangler Mavericks” a.k.a. Wranglers, a men’s organization on campus, had a two-stepping event at Ironwood Hall downtown featuring the local country artist Luke Pell. While I did go for the two-stepping, I stayed for the music. As it usually goes with college boys, no one was really brave enough to ask girls to dance (or at least when I got there they weren’t asking girls to dance), so I was inclined to leave, but I figured I would give Luke a chance and I’m glad I did! If you haven’t heard of him, check him out—he is your typical traditional country boy.
- Coupland Dance Hall via BYX ft. Terry Lee Hughes and the Debonaires
My friend Gabe took me to his BYX date event at the Coupland Dance Hall a month or two ago and it was so much fun! Coupland is the saloon style venue that you picture in your mind when you think of country dancing. In Coupland, Texas, driving to the dance hall feels like starring in a horror film (there is even a myth that it’s haunted); the dirt road is empty and there are no street lights. Then, you ride up a hill and on the other side of it is the Dance Hall. The funniest part of this place is that there is a painting of a young naked woman above the bar and the manager, an old gray-haired woman, will openly admit to you that the painting is of her! I highly recommend Coupland Dance Hall and the Debonaires (who only covered songs, but they rocked it! My favorite/most accurate covers they did were Josh Abbott Band).
- Steve Moakler concert
I wrote about Steve Moakler earlier in the semester because he is one of my favorite singer-songwriters gone Country. The concert was at none other than Stubb’s Barbecue. Sweet Steve raked in approximately 30 people, most of whom were middle-aged couples, whereas in his hometown of Pittsburgh, he sold out a show at the Rex Theater. My roommate and I were giggling to ourselves the whole time because all of the sudden this Pittsburgh native had a country accent that he incorporated not only into his add-lib, but even his songs (pre-country phase). Steve is always a good time, though. It was probably one of my favorite concerts solely because I could stand with a lot of space around me, only 10 feet from the band, and listen to the music without being shoved or hear people screaming the lyrics so loud you can’t even hear the artist. 10/10 would recommend smaller artists like Steve Moakler before they get big! (and Stubb’s BBQ of course)
I thoroughly enjoyed being brought out of my comfort zone by this class in order to gain an understanding of something that is loved by so many people and I believe that to fully understand another person, you have to understand what they like/dislike and why. It’s kind of like a more fun version of sociology–you get the point.