Category Archives: Music Videos

Reid’s Lessons Learned through Country Music

While country music has always been a part of my life, the Rhetoric of Country Music class pushed me to learn and experience more country music than I would have by myself. I took a road trip to San Antonio to experience the Livestock Show and Rodeo, I sang along with the Turnpike Troubadours, I ate breakfast with my parents at historic Threadgill’s, and I watched Walk the Line. All of these experiences opened my eyes and educated me in the field of country music.

Prior to enrolling in Rhetoric of Country Music, I would have considered myself an active member of the country music community. I went to concerts, discovered new artists, listened to country radio, and visited historic country music venues. However, since being a part of this class, I have engaged the country music world with a whole new perspective, which has allowed me to learn plenty of lessons along the way.

The reason my involvement in the country music community changed was not because of the things I did or the music I listened to, but rather the way in which I went about these activities. Although my first experience with the San Antonio Rodeo was this spring, it is definitely something I would have attended in the past regardless of my enrollment in a class. What made this trip different though, was how I treated the experience and truly learned from what I observed.

While in the past I probably would have casually walked past the small pop-up tent boasting the John Christopher Way Band, this class encouraged me to stop and listen. I heard the steel guitar, an instrument we had recently discussed in class, and immediately began to draw connections and build an analysis of what I was hearing.

In a similar fashion, when The Turnpike Troubadours came to perform at my fraternity’s party, it would have been natural for me to tune out the opening act. But because I was more engaged with the music itself, I was able to not only notice Shane Smith and the Saints, but also to compare and contrast their style with the main act.

When my parents took me to Threadgill’s for breakfast earlier this semester, country music was everywhere. The old me probably would have recognized the history, but the new, more engaged me was able to really appreciate the incredible moments that the building had played host to throughout it’s history. To be in the same building as some of the music world’s greatest acts, surrounded by decades of memorabilia, was a cool experience.

Finally, this past weekend I re-watched one of my favorite movies: Walk the Line. I have always known who Johnny Cash is, but this class gave me insight that allowed me to change how I watched the movie. While the movie depicts his time spent in jail and his relationship with June, listening to a portion of his album recorded in a prison in class as well as learning from fellow students helped me to understand the life of Johnny Cash even more.

Regardless of your enrollment in a class, I would encourage everyone to get out and learn more about what you are passionate about. I have always been a country music fan, but this project and class pushed me to discover new facts and experiences that surround me every day. Next time you have an open afternoon, instead of opening your computer and letting Netflix consume the rest of your day, research your favorite genre of music, hobby, or anything else and go check it out. You never know what you might learn.


Filed under Austin, Live Music, Movies and TV, Music Videos, Reflection, Storify, Texas

Student-Made Music Videos II

“Carry On” (2001) by Pat Green. Video by Justin Cole, Gaby Hernández, and Reid Thompson.

“Friends in Low Places” (1990) by Garth Brooks. Video by Samantha Godfrey, Jordanne Mickle, Keaton Schlueter, and Julianne Staine.

“The Greatest” (1999) by Kenny Rogers. Video by Emma Morgan, James Pruitt, and Daniella Torres.

“Gunpowder and Lead” (2008) by Miranda Lambert. Video by Courtney González, Erin McAtee, and Abby Shamis.

“Hell on Heels” (2011) by the Pistol Annies. Video by Randle Cecil, Shelby Conine, Lynden Orr, and Shannon Smith.

“Just to See You Smile” (1997) by Tim McGraw. Video by Joshua Fleming and Marissa Gallardo.

“Mama’s Broken Heart” (2013) by Miranda Lambert. Video by Taylor Campbell, Madison Comstock, Katie O’Neil, and Abby Wills.

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Filed under Class work, Music Videos

Small Hometown Country Play List

In country there are several topics that could be consider main themes which, small hometowns would be one of those. The reason i think this is, is because if you ever lived in a small home town you would know that it tends to be very tight woven network of people who tend to be very simplistic people who find enjoyment out of just sitting around drinking beer and just have a fun time. The Reason I’m writing this article is because I recently started to appreciate the fact that a came from a small town were the stereotypes are exactly what they say. For the longest though I tried to avoid associating myself with my hometown because I really didn’t want to be judge on the stereotypes but instead, I wanted to become recognized for me not what people think i am due to those stereotypes.

1. Eric Church -Give Me Back By Hometown

The reason I put this at the top of my play list is for the simple fact that I can relate to this song just based on my life experience. Also I tend to enjoy more modern country music with more of a rock feel to the rhythm and this song plays along those lines and appeals to that nature. The song basically talking about someone that kind of had there hometown ruined by someone and how they want it back beccause that person doesn’t care about it like he does.

2. Jason Aldean Tattoos on this Town

This Song is #2 on play for some of the same reason as the song above it has that rock beat and its really easy to relate to my life. one thing i really love about this song it talks about how town leaves marks on and you leave marks on it as well which something that I feel that my hometown kind of did for me growing up, but also is has man i can look back at my hometown and know what memories are special to my friends and I.

3. Justin Moore Small Town USA

This song to me has a more of a traditional feel to the instrumentation which helps me to relate back to my childhood where I was listening to George Strait, Randy Travis, and Alan Jackson.Why its its number three on my list though it kind of reminds me of the things that I did with my friends and all those memories i enjoyed with them. The story in this song is this small town were everything very similar and pretty traditional and its a simply, easy going, fun town that is home .

 4. John Michael Montgomery – Letters from Home

Though I can’t relate to this song as much I know that my grandmother who is very close to me can. when she was younger she sent her father who serve in the military for over twenty years letters while he was station in Hawaii. Which she use to tell me story about my great grand father and what kind of man he was and talk about his trips over sees which is where I gain this sense of wanting to travel around the world. In this song it talks about this solider who is receiving “letters from Home” and how he reads them to his buddies and keeps his letters inside his uniform to keep them safe.

5. Mayberry- Rascal Flatts

The reason Mayberry is on here is kind of reminds me of the hometown feel, where everyone is nice and everyone knows everyone. I think it helps me to remember that there are still people out there who believes in respect and kindness. though this song is more pop country through its instrumentation I still tend to like just due to story told. Which, talks about this guy who is remembering walking through his hometown Mayberry and how everyone is so nice and the things that make is hometown unique.


Filed under Lists, Music Videos

A George Song for Everyone

While I was home for Easter, we ate at one of my all time favorite restaurants – Babe’s Chicken Dinner. Who doesn’t love good fried chicken? Babe’s entertained diners with classic George Strait songs, which started a lively discussion about my family’s favorites.

“The Chair”

“The Chair” is my mom’s favorite George Strait song and is the first Strait song she remembers hearing. The song eavesdrops on a conversation between two strangers. The man approaches the woman and tells her “I think you’ve got my chair.” The song progresses along with their conversation. At the end, the man throws listeners for a loop, confessing “that wasn’t my chair after all.” My mom enjoys how “The Chair” plays with the conventions of conversation.

“Marina Del Rey”

Apparently, George Strait makes a great first impression because my dad’s favorite song is “Marina Del Rey,” the first song he heard on his first George Strait CD. This song about a vacation love affair ends with the couple’s goodbye. My dad says this song is timeless, catchy and “vintage George Strait.” Critics say that Strait didn’t have the vocals to pull off the performance, but after watching his performance from The Cowboy Rides Away Tour, it is obvious his vocals are well suited for the song.

“Amarillo by Morning”

My grandma was born in Amarillo, Texas, so she feels a personal connection to “Amarillo By Morning”. It reminds her of driving to Colorado and stopping in Amarillo, the halfway point. Terry Strafford originally recorded “Amarillo By Morning” and George Strait covered it in 1982. “Amarillo By Morning” is very recognizable as George Strait’s because he paints a picture with the lyrics and instrumentals.

“You Look So Good in Love” 

“You Look So Good in Love” is my favorite Strait song. It is a unique break-up song. The narrator watches his ex-lover fall in love with someone else. However, instead of wanting to steal her back he realizes that he is not the guy to make her happy. He knows they weren’t meant to be. The sappy side of me loves that he lets his ex-lover have her happiness. The musical side of me recognizes that this is a very well written, catchy song.

There is no denying that the “King of Country Music” will forever be legendary. The ability of country music fans to immediately name a favorite George Strait song reflects the personal nature of his songs and his status as “King of Country Music.” Strait is a symbol of talent and consistency, a symbol that has propelled to the top. However, now that he is not touring and is taking a lower profile, new fans might not discover their favorite George Strait song – and they’ll be missing out.

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Filed under Country Symbols, Lists, Live Music, Music Videos, New Traditionalism, Reflection, Texas

The Many Sounds of Zac Brown

A few days ago, one of my friends, who is a huge Zac Brown fan, shared a video with me on Facebook. It was of a performance they did a few weeks ago on Saturday Night Live with Chris Cornell. A song from their new album called “Heavy is the Head”.

This song sounds more like a heavy metal song than a country song, and my friend seemed rather shocked with this new Zac Brown sound. I can’t say I really blame him, and he probably wasn’t the only one. I think most people are accustomed to the “Chicken Fried” Zac Brown, and while I also think that he does a phenomenal job writing and performing country music, it’s pretty clear that he’s trying to move on and develop a new sound. I don’t think this is the first step he has made toward developing that new sound, either.

A few weeks ago, I picked up the latest album from the Foo Fighters called Sonic Highways. Now I know what you’re thinking, the Foo Fighters are not even remotely close to being a country band, and I completely agree. However, they have a song on this new album called “Congregation” which was written and recorded in Nashville and features Zac Brown on guitar.

This is clearly not a country song. Even before this new album though, Zac Brown and Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters have been playing together. When Zac Brown debuted his song “Day For the Dead” on the 2013 CMA awards, it featured Dave Grohl playing drums onstage with the rest of the Zac Brown Band.

This song, to me, has a bit more country sound to it, and it features the classic Zac Brown beanie that everyone knows and loves. However, I think this is about the time that Zac Brown started moving out of country music and more into rock. If you go on YouTube, you can find a ton of videos of Zac Brown covering Metallica, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath and a lot of other classic rock bands, and he does an excellent job of it.

Personally, when I got to high school I kind of started listening to more classic rock along with some country music, and to see someone like Zac Brown who seems just as comfortable performing new country music as he does performing oldies rock hits is pretty awesome. There are some people who probably think of Zac Brown as a purely country artist, but the truth is he and his band are extremely talented. With that kind of talent, I say if they want to mix in some rock and roll with country, more power to them.


Filed under Country Rock, Live Music, Music Videos, Southern Rock