Category Archives: Music Videos


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

Summer ‘06

The summer of 2006 is when I began anticipating songs that would play on country music radio stations. It was a  time in my life when no other genre of music  influenced me as much as country. I had always been so happy listening to songs in the car and singing along. However, my passion for country music grew much stronger when I discovered Country Music Television (CMT). I spent almost everyday that summer watching music videos on CMT. They had one show in particular that I loved; they would play the top videos of the year. Over the years, a few of those videos have been carved into my memory.

“Every Time I Hear Your Name” by Keith Anderson is my favorite song of that year. Keith Anderson had a few other hits in his career like “Pickin’ Wildflowers” and “I Still Miss You” but he never became well known as a country artist.  “Every Time I Hear Your Name” was the first ballad Anderson released and it reached No. 7 in the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and the accompanying video was average. Regardless, I think this music video has been stuck in my mind for all of these years simply because I loved this song. Whenever they aired it on CMT I would get really excited and sing along. Now looking back as an adult, I realize there is nothing special about the video; but it will always be my theme song for the summer of 2006.

“A Little Too Late” by Toby Keith is another music video I remember from that summer. Toby Keith is an outrageous person in general, so you can imagine the type of music video he would make for a song that’s about an ex-girlfriend.  “A Little Too Late” reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. I recall memorizing the entire video because of how often they would play it on CMT. The reason this video stuck out so much is because of its intensity. Toby tries to trap his ex-girlfriend in the basement and leave her there for dead. I was never actually afraid of watching it, but the video left a negative impression on me.

“Not Ready to Make Nice” by the Dixie Chicks is the last memorable music video from the summer of 2006. This song is the band’s biggest hit to date. It’s about the band’s reaction to the impending Iraq war and the controversy over a comment  by lead singer, Natalie Maines. At a concert in London, Maines stated, “…We don’t want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.” This remark caused the Dixie Chick’s music to be banned from country radio and damaged their careers. Back then, I didn’t understand the controversy or what this music video is about.  However, I became  frightened when CMT would air it because of it’s dark themes. Mostly I  remember this video as the one with all of the black paint with creepy people. For an 11 year old it’s understandably an intense music video. Today the Dixie Chicks are making a comeback.  And, I can’t wait to see what they have in store!

Even though these songs seem unrelated, they have a permanent place in my memory.  It’s strange that out of all of the videos I watched, these three are the only ones that I specifically remember. I continued to watch music videos on CMT and YouTube growing up, but never as often as I did during the summer of 2006.


Filed under Blog Post 4, Dixie Chicks, Music Videos, Toby Keith

Bringing Country Music to my Gap Year program

1900584_10203519477098312_238639626_oFreshman year, I chose a different path. I had an opportunity to participate in a Gap Year  in Israel. To date, Year Course has been the most extraordinary experience of my life. During the first few days we were divided into two sections. The resulting community has become very special and close to my heart. My section of Year Course was filled with about 60 young men and women from America and Europe. The vast majority of students in Section One were from the United States. Most of them were from Northern states. There were just a few people from the South and only four of us were from Texas.  Unfortunately, this resulted in an overwhelmingly large unawareness of country music.  Nevertheless, us four Texans love this music genre, and made up for our terribly deprived cohorts. From the beginning we took it upon ourselves to introduce our fellow Year Coursers to quality country music.

At first everyone thought it was cliché that the Texans loved listening to country music. We were even ridiculed. But, the other Year Coursers quickly learned that country music is truly exceptional. The three other Texans in my section have become some of my best friends. They are the guys who lived one door down from me. I still have fond memories of them blasting a few of our favorites, Dierks Bentley, Blake Shelton and Zac Brown Band. After a month of getting use to us, the other people in our building learned to enjoy the country music genre. By the end of the year, listening to country music and identifying with Texas became so admired that putting up the Hook’em sign became one of the most popular poses to make in pictures!
10411268_10203908759670133_2850066468215826711_n (1)One of the people who made fun of us Texans the most for our stereotypical taste in music was our counselor Josh. He is from Liverpool and thinks he knows a bit about music.  His attitude changed the day we introduced him to “Chicken Fried” by  the Zac Brown Band. Josh was hooked. This song became one of our Year Course anthems. We would turn it up so loudly that the entire apartment complex could hear it. Even the Brits would gather in the hallways to belt out the words!  This song truly united us as a group. Even today, every time us four Texans are together when “Chicken Fried” comes on, we will send Josh snap chat videos of us singing along.  He always replies with a smile. (Skip 0:53 into the video for beginning of the song)

PROJECTS-Rodeo-Houston-2Another example of sharing my love of country music with my new friends in Israel was when I would talk about the Houston Rodeo. “Not only is it the biggest rodeo in the world,” I would tell them, “But it’s the most fun month of the year!” Some people legitimately laughed out loud when they heard this crazy Texan talking about a Rodeo. They couldn’t believe such things existed outside of movies and television shows. But once I showed them pictures and explained the whole concept of the rodeo and the country music concerts, people became interested. A few of my friends even told me that they want to come visit me in Houston during the month of March just to attend this incredible event. Overall, I know that my Year Course community  grew closer due to the country music my friends and I shared with them. Although the country music genre is broad, at least one song brought us together and left us with memories that will last a lifetime.471374_1280x720


Filed under Blog Post 1, Music Videos, Rodeo, Texas

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

From acting to country singer?

Most musical artists that actually have successful careers in the music industry focus solely on music and nothing else. This can be especially proven true for country artists due to not many artists being involved in other career jobs. Artists might find another similar job such as vocals coaches, backup roles in songs, or maybe judges for singing shows such as American Idol, but these other jobs almost all relate to the music industry.

h9EiF8ggJana Kramer finds herself separated in the category of starting in the career of acting and making herself relevant in the country music industry later on her life. Kramer started off in 2002 acting and appearing in small roles in hit TV shows such as All My Children, Grey’s Anatomy, and CSI:NY. One of her first big breaks was when she earned a recurring role in the show Friday Night lights which was a big hit on NBC. While she earned gigs in a lot of big shows, most being small roles in only a few episodes, her biggest breakthrough in acting was when she earned a larger role in the show One Tree Hill on the channel CW.

Not only did this role in One Tree Hill bring her into the spotlight in the acting industry, it brought her into the spotlight for her singing career. As the character Alex Dupree, she was initially introduced to be a model for another characters fashion line but as the show progressed, Alex Dupree started pursuing a musical career. Kramer appeared in season 7 in the second episode and her last episode was the seance episode in season 9. She left the show to pursue her musical career which sprouted directly from this show.

81XpdZ2Tz8L._SL1425_One of her first big songs was first premiered on One Tree Hill in February of 2011, which was named “I Won’t Give Up” and hit number 75 on the Billboards hot 100 chart. This was the beginning of her musical career which was catapulted by the tv drama.

Another song of hers, which is my favorite, is “Whiskey.” I heard about it from a friend who was a huge fan of the TV show, One Tree Hill, and I was in the car with her driving to get lunch one day and she played it and it instantly became one of my favorite songs (even though it is a girly song.) The melody and lyrics are so simple and catchy, I found myself wanting to listen to it over and over again. This was another song she premiered on One Tree Hill but it was later in April of  2011.

Jana Kramer’s musical career has taken off since she started her gig on One Tree Hill. Her first album was released in 2012 and was called “Jana Kramer.” Her next album was released on October 9th, of this year. While she isn’t a household country name yet, she has been gaining popularity and I think she’ll be a big name one day.


Filed under Blog Post 4, Movies and TV, Music Videos