Category Archives: Lists

Leaving My Country Comfort Zone

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!

  1. Texas Two-Step Throwdown ft. Luke Pell

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.

  1. Coupland Dance Hall via BYX ft. Terry Lee Hughes and the Debonaires

    Me n Gabe. Gabe n me.

    Me n Gabe. Gabe n me.

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).

  1. Steve Moakler concert

    I could've posted a better picture of the set list I stole, but this was taken in an excited stupor and I thought it was funny that I couldn't even get the names of the songs in it.

    I could’ve posted a better picture of the set list I stole, but this was taken in an excited stupor and I thought it was funny that I couldn’t even get the names of the songs in it.

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.

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Filed under Austin, Blog Post 5, Concert, Dancing, Lists, Live Music

Check Out Your ‘Buzzfeed’ Listicles

Note: You are welcome to comment on this post for credit.

At last, your listicles are up and ready for public viewing. While it’s tempting to keep looking forward, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to look back at some of the incredible work y’all have done in the last few weeks.Taylor Swift

Katerina Taylor Swift Is Your Free Psychologist
Shira Betrayal 101: From a Female Country Music Perspective
Olivia 5 Not-So-Subtle Country Break-Up Songs
Timothy 5 Outrageous & Accurate Country Relationship Songs
Julie 7 Country Guys and One Single Girl in a Bar…

Dierks & Luke

Kevin 7 Gateway Songs to Liking Country Music
Tyler 6 Songs to Kick Start Your Tailgate
Max 8 Country Songs Guaranteed to Pull Fishes
Mackenzi 5 Stereotypical Dirt Road Country Songs
Mae Has Country Music Made Us All White Trash?
Erin 5 Country Songs that Don’t Fit the Country Bill

Brad & Carrie

Joseph 6 Country Song to Listen to on a Road Trip
Cassidy Top 5 Country Songs to Make You Kick Up Your Boots
Lottie Best Daddy-Daughter Country Songs
Laura 6 Songs that Describe What Your Parents Are Feeling…
Brittany 5 Songs that Portray What You Want to Say to Your College Self


Adrian 5 Country Songs Depicting Alcohol Abuse
Walker 5 Songs Where Whiskey Washed Women Away
Drew 7 Songs that Show Country’s Love-Hate Relationship with LA
Paige 7 Country Songs to Help You Perfect Your Spanglish
Lee 6 Country Jams on Donald Trump’s Playlist

In the comments below, tell us what you love about these listicles and what you thought about the process of making them.

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Filed under Buzzfeed article, Class work, Lists

A Family Tradition

HometownPeanut butter is to jelly, as country music is to drinking. That’s true in my family at least. I come from a rather large family that were all born and bred in a small town outside of Waco, Texas. As far back as I can remember, country music had always been apart of my life. I don’t think I really had a choice! My grandparents, affectionately known as “mamaw” and “papaw”, were diehard fans of artists such as; George Jones, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, and Loretta Lynn. I would always be introduced to a new artist from back in the day, when I went to visit them.

What came first…the chicken or the egg?

When I reached my teenage years, 16-17, I began to notice a pattern in my family. No matter what time of the day it was, when country was played…drinking would commence! I really don’t know which would happen first, if my family would be listening to country music one night and just get the urge to drink, or if they were already drinking and country was just the appropriate choice for background music.

One thing I do remember for certain is, you would always know if my mamaw and papaw were drunk if you pulled up to their house and “Hello Darlin’” by Conway Twitty was blaring out the front door. I would always find them slow dancing in kitchen while, drunkenly singing to one another. (Everyone’s grandparents acted like right?) The great thing is, that while my parents were married my sisters would catch them dancing in the kitchen at our house to “This Woman and this Man” by Clay Walker. (My momma’s favorite song)! It’s great to see how not just how country music is intergenerational but also how the traditions are passed down as well.

 Country by the grace of God!

Coming to college I have the amazing opportunity to make friends with students from all over the world, and a lot of the ones I do life with had a completely different upbringing than I did, so their appreciation for country music isn’t there, so I don’t listen to it as much I did growing up. But there is nothing like the feeling I get when I turn on the radio and hear “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” by Brooks and Dunn or “How bout them Cowgirls” by George Strait.

It’s almost like comfort food; whenever life is hectic listening to the music takes me back to the simpler days of my childhood. Because it was so heavily ingrained in my upbringing there are a plethora of songs that are connected with certain memories and feelings of being with family. Country music is therapy to me. Country music is home!

Family Playlist:

There were always staple songs that were played when my family got together and though I don’t necessarily have a “favorite” these are the top five songs on my “most played” playlist on my phone and I would like to share them with you…

1). “Family Tradition” by Hank Williams Jr.

2). “Deeper Than the Holler” by Randy Travis

3). “Fishin’ in the Dark” by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

4). “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks

5). “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Ole Days)” by The Judds


Filed under Blog Post 1, Garth Brooks, Honky Tonk, Lists, Music Videos

Best Female Country Songs of the 90s

When you think about 90s country, the success of the female country scene comes to mind. This was the age that brought a more contemporary sound to country music. This was the period when huge stars like Faith Hill and Shania Twain made their career debuts. Women were leading the charts with their girl-power hits. Women became serious contenders in country music, and these hits could give bro-country songs a run for their money. There are so many great hits from men and women during this era that changed country music, but here is a look at my opinion of the top 5 female country songs of the 90s.


5. Trisha Yearwood “She’s In Love With The Boy”

Writers: Jon Ims

Album: Trisha Yearwood (1991)

This forbidden love song told a story of a young small-town couple trying to gain approval from the father. It spoke to girls everywhere who were experiencing young love in the rebellious teen years.  It was Yearwood’s lead single from her debut album, made it to No. 1 on the singles charts, and launched Yearwood’s wildly successful career.


4. Faith Hill “This Kiss”

Writers: Beth Nielsen Chapman, Robin Lerner, Annie Roboff

Album: Faith (1998)

This song was every girl’s anthem with the up-beat music and catchy lyrics like “centrifugal motion” and “perpetual bliss.” It brings to life the feeling of a first kiss with your crush. This song was one of Hill’s early crossover hits, which launched her into the pop direction. You can still hear this one on the radio, as it remains relevant in contemporary country.


3. LeAnn Rimes “How Do I Live”

Writers: Diane Warren

Album: You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs (1997)

This song launched Rimes’ career as it stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 69 weeks. Rimes was only 14 years old when the song reached success. Although Yearwood also recorded this song at the same time, Rimes still earned a Grammy nomination, and it remains one of the biggest standout songs of the 90s.


2. Martina McBride “Independence Day”

Writers: Gretchen Peters

Album: The Way That I Am (1994)

This song may have never made it to No. 1, but it was one of the greatest and most controversial country songs in music history. The song received mixed responses due to the depiction of domestic abuse, which was visualized in the music video. However, McBride won two CMA Awards and a Grammy for Best Country Song. In 2014, Rolling Stone ranked the song in their list of 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time.


1. Shania Twain “You’re Still The One”

Writers: Robert John “Mutt” Lange, Shania Twain

Album: Come On Over (1998)

Shania Twain was one of the best country singers of the late 90s. “You’re Still The One” was Twain’s first Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hit and remains one of her most successful singles. This song, written by Twain and her then-husband, won two Grammys and beat out Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” Now that’s a pretty remarkable achievement. Twain went on to be one of the most influential female country singers of the 90s.


Filed under Blog Post 4, Country Pop, Lists, Reflection, Women

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!

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Filed under Blog Post 4, Lists, New Country