Category Archives: Rascal Flatts

Middle school graduation meets Rascal Flatts

I was thirteen years old, finally about to graduate and go into the big, scary world of high school. My friends and I were spending all of our free time searching the mall for the perfect graduation dresses, and avoiding the last bit of what we considered school work at all costs – if only I had any idea at that age how easy I had it!

I had choir second period with all of my best friends, and it was time for Adam to announce the song we’d be singing at our graduation in a few weeks (yes, we called our teachers by their first names at OES middle school, and yes, I thought it was weird). He played it from his laptop first, and then started to teach us the words. “I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow / and each road leads you where you want to go”; my friends and I rolled our eyes at the cheesy lyrics as “My Wish” by the Rascal Flatts played through the speakers. None of us were very interested in learning the words to this silly song at the time, but by graduation day, we were all choking back tears as we sang in front of all of our teachers, friends and family.

Other than Taylor Swift, this was one of the very first country songs I learned every word to. My friends and I didn’t listen to much country and weren’t huge fans of the song at first, but we reluctantly spent the rest of the year learning each word and practicing until we sounded perfect.

I still remember standing up on the top riser in the chapel in my orange dress with white polka dots and matching white sweater (not my best outfit choice – find me in the middle of the second row pictured below). My heart was racing as Adam began to play the piano, not because I was afraid to sing but because I wasn’t ready to graduate. We started to sing while we looked out onto the audience at our families, realizing that this was the last day we’d all be together before going off to different high schools, even though we’d still live within 20 minutes of each other and our moms would still drive us to Washington Square Mall every weekend to spend our babysitting money on purses at Forever 21. Regardless, as we sang the song for the last time, the lyrics broke our little 13-year-old hearts as we started to think about whether or not our dreams would stay big, and our worries staying small. Everyone in the chapel applauded and we were given our diplomas, then released to go take all the pictures we could to document this heartbreaking moment.


Still today, whenever I hear “My Wish”, all of the memories of middle school and graduation day come flooding back, even though I hardly see any of the kids I went to school with back then anymore. Little did I know, one of the first country songs I knew by heart would bring back so many memories years later. As hard as that graduation was, I know my college graduation and going into the real world will probably be a bit more meaningful than that leap from middle school to high school.


Filed under Blog Post 4, Rascal Flatts

Flashback to My First Favorite Country Song

The American Country Music awards ceremony for 2016 will take place tomorrow night, Sunday, April 3rd. Or if you’re reading this after that date, well then, you can bet they’ve already happened! I’m just waiting to see if Rascal Flatts will win Vocal Group of the Year again – because if they win, this will be their eighth ‘Vocal Group’ trophy. And they’re already the current record holders for most wins in that category!

Rascal Flatts first ACM Awards win

In this picture of them holding up their trophies at last year’s ceremony, the lead singer (Gary LeVox) is on the left. He’s definitely aged since I started listening to Rascal Flatts back when “Life Is a Highway” was their biggest hit nearly a decade ago. My sister had shared this song and another one by Rascal Flatts with me back then, even though I had told her repeatedly that my then pre-teen self wasn’t into country music.

Well, after I listened to that song a couple of times (and found myself humming the catchy tune without even thinking about it), I thought that maybe I should give country music more of a try.  The other song she shared with me though is the one that, for whatever reason, really made me love the genre, and that song is… “Mayberry”, which was released in 2002.

The funny thing is that until I had heard this song (and “Life Is a Highway” for that matter), I believed my friends who said that country music was only about girls, trucks, and beer  – three things I wasn’t too interested in at the young age of 11. But after hearing “Mayberry”  when my sister shared it with me, it became one of my favorites. And it still is to this day.

I loved the lead singer’s smooth voice and the catchy background vocals of the song, but more than that, the lyrics are what made this song my gateway into country music. Just like I did back then, I’ll occasionally listen to “Mayberry” when I get stressed out, wishing my Sundays were “a day of rest / not one more day – for progress.” I’ll listen to it when I’m driving through the countryside, passing by small towns and wondering if those were places where “people pass by / and you call them by their first names.” As someone who’s only ever lived in the heart of traffic-filled Austin, I wonder what it would be like to live in a small Mayberry-like town – the type of place with a slow enough  pace for “sitting on the front porch / drinkin’ ice cold cherry coke / watchin’ the clouds go by,” instead of the cars.

People interacting downtown in the fictional city of Mayberry, which was just a set for The Andy Griffith Show

Even though Mayberry is a fictional small town, the song just seemed so real to me back then. And it’s been giving me at least a mental escape from the hustle and bustle of big city life every time I’ve listened to it since then. It’s truly the song that got me listening to more country music, namely artists like Lonestar and Toby Keith that my sister also showed me a little while later. Ever since “Mayberry”, I realized that country music had a way of allowing me to be introspective and just get lost in a song. That’s one of the things about country music that keeps me coming back to listen to more.


Filed under Awards, Blog Post 3, Rascal Flatts, Reflection

Country Music Encounters

This blog may appear to be braggadocios. Folks may think that I’m only concerned with name dropping. I see it differently and I hope by the end of this post, you will understand. When I think about sharing country music experiences with y’all, I want to include some of the my most exciting moments. I love the genre and the artists. In fact, I really enjoy meeting celebrities, especially those whose music is woven into our collective culture. So for me, meeting some of my favorite artists has been a dream come true!

It all started with Taylor Swift.  I was a freshman in high school. This was back when Taylor Swift was considered country. I had Fearless Tour floor seats. My friends and I arrived early with an elaborately decorated poster and entered first.  We had barely taken our seats when a producer came up and asked us questions. Next thing I knew, Taylor’s Mom came out to meet us. Mrs. Swift took us on a backstage tour and into Taylor’s Green Room! Taylor visited with us and then we took some photos. It was definitely one of the best days of my life.

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The next country artist I met was the Rascal Flatts. My friend, Ariella’s Mom had been listening to the radio for chances to meet the band. After a week of calling the station, Landa won a pass for two! We met Rascal Flatts and participated in a live Q&A session that aired on 93Q! Both Ariella and I skipped class to go meet them. They were such nice guys! It was the best “sick” day I had ever taken from school.

249692_1996474202264_5227610_nI was also fortunate enough to meet Keith Urban. This story is similar to my last one about the Rascal Flatts. Landa became unstoppable at winning prizes on the radio. She also gifted us with passes and a private concert with Keith Urban! After he performed a few of my favorite tunes we had a photo op.  Keith is kind and an incredible guitar player.

574954_3714162983410_104620567_nMy most recent country celebrity encounter is my favorite. Last year I signed up for Grammy U, a program for college students who love music. I never went to any of the events until I got an email last semester about a free sound check for none other than the Zac Brown Band! I got to the venue and was pleasantly surprised to find out that we were actually going on a backstage tour. The tour guide told us that in the past, the groups never had a chance to meet with Zac. However, lucky for us, Zac Brown himself joined our group and spoke with us for about 20 minutes! I stood right next to him while he explained his process in writing a new album. He even named some of the music he currently listens to, none of which is country. I mustered the courage to ask him if he ever gets tired of performing the same songs over and over for so many years. His response was that he loves performing his more popular singles because those are the songs fans respond to the most. The energy of the audience is what keeps Zac and his peers pumped on long tours. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a picture with him. 

My experiences in meeting these country music celebrities has enriched my love for the genre. I am grateful to the artists and my dear friends for these moments that I will always cherish.  I’m also looking forward to my next country artist encounter!720x405-GettyImages-476926738


Filed under Blog Post 2, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift, Zac Brown Band