Category Archives: Rodeo

My Last Rodeo

This semester I was able to attend many events related to country music. It was especially nostalgic for me since I will be moving away from Texas after I graduate this semester. Here are some of the highlights:

Two Stepping at the Houston Rodeo

13112440_10204511690791042_1052464573_oThis year I was extra excited to go to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. A lot has changed since the first time I went in 2005, specifically I was finally 21 and could go to the mysterious after party. The only band I could convince my country-hating roommate to see was The Band Perry. It was her first rodeo so we went around and saw everything, from the mutton bustin’ to the fried oreos. We had a great time watching the rodeo and The Band Perry show. Finally we headed over to the after party, which had a live band and a huge dance floor. I learned the basics of Two Step in my hometown and I learned a walking Two Step in college, but the people at the party were not dancing either of those versions. The people were dancing Two Step in a way that was much closer to Foxtrot, the dance from which Two Step originated. Foxtrot is usually danced to Jazz music (especially Sinatra), and after making that connection, I could hear some of the Jazz influences in many of the slower country songs. I thought it was really interesting how the dance and music evolved together.

Little Longhorn Saloon

Before leaving Austin, I figured I should go to “Chicken Shit Bingo” at Little Longhorn Saloon. It was a beautiful day and the saloon was very crowded. Peewee Moore, an Outlaw country singer, was playing. He definitely dressed the part and had a huge beard and lots of tattoos. Most of the people at the saloon either looked like tourists or like they could be Outlaws themselves. On one of the most Texan days of my life, I sat in Little Longhorn Saloon drinking a Shiner while listening to Peewee’s cover of a Willie Nelson song and waiting for a chicken to shit on a bingo board.

Turnpike Troubadours at the Austin Rodeo

20160318_211801_LLSI was also lucky enough to go to the Austin Rodeo this year and see a show by Turnpike Troubadours. I’d only heard a few of their songs before, but there were a lot of young people who knew a lot of their music. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the show. Many of their songs have a rock feel because of the drums and electric guitar. They also played some new songs which sounded more folksy than their popular songs. Like many young bands, they also performed some covers including Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”. I will definitely be on the lookout to see what they release next.

Walk the Line Movie

walk-the-line.18841My boyfriend and I watched Walk the Line after he confessed that he did not know who Johnny Cash was (in his defense, he didn’t grow up in America). Walk the Line is a biographical movie about Johnny, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. I’d seen the movie when I was younger, but was excited to watch it again after learning so much about country music and Johnny this semester. One thing that I didn’t realize was that Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley were in the movie and playing similar music as Johnny. Learning about Johnny’s history also helped me understand his daughter Rosanne’s album, Black Cadillac, which is about Johnny and his life.

I’ve always loved country music, but this semester I learned how to recognize the influences of previous artists and other genres on country music. Without this class I would’ve never been able to make so many observations about the music at these events. I am able to hear the influences of artists that we talked about in class on new country artists. I heard the influence Emmylou Harris on Turnpike Troubadours and Kris Kristofferson on PeeWee Moore. This knowledge gives me a deeper appreciation for the music and its place in history.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Blog Post 5, Concert, Country Pop, Country Rock, Outlaw, Rodeo

Memorable Moments in Country Rhetoric

I remember last year my roommate telling me about the Rhetoric of Country Music class. I got so excited because it was the perfect rhetoric class for me to take. I have loved country music since childhood and knew that learning more about the genre would be meaningful. In the end, this class has really taught me so much more about country music than I had expected. Here are some activities I have participated in involving country music during the time I’ve taken this class!

Working at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

IMG_5656Over spring break I worked as a video studio intern for the Houston Rodeo. As an intern, I was assigned to film the various livestock shows, the birthing center, and other fun events that go on every day at the Rodeo. The Rodeo has so much to offer for example, nightly concerts by the biggest names in country music, a huge carnival where constant country music is being played and of course all that fried food! Being an intern I got to experience some of these things through a camera lens and record it for others to see. My favorite place to be assigned was the birthing center. Although I never actually witnessed a birth of a calf or piglet, I got to play with the baby animals and videotape them live onto a big screen for people passing by to see. My experience working at the Rodeo was one like no other. I can’t wait to head back next year and do it all again!

Attending Kenny Chesney and Florida Georgia Line Concerts

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 2.51.12 PMA perk of working for the Rodeo meant free concert tickets and entrance to the carnival. Most days I was too tired from work to attend the concerts but I had to make a special exception for Kenny Chesney. Sadly, the free tickets I received weren’t for a specific assigned seat. So my friends and I had to hop around from seat to seat when people would come claim theirs. Finally, right before the concert started we found ourselves a good spot to watch. Kenny was so great! I was excited to see that I knew all of the song he performed. And, it turned out better not having seats because we got to dance around the whole night! A few evenings later it was one of my best friend’s birthdays and he really wanted to go to the rodeo. Unfortunately for us, that was the night Florida Georgia Line was performing. My other friend ended up getting us really good seats for free so we all decided to go. As you can see on our faces, we were not impressed. Everything from their vocals to their outfits were just plain terrible. I was astonished to see people in the crowd actually enjoying the disturbingly bad concert.

Country themed date event

IMG_3749A few months ago I was asked by one of my best friends Ari to go to a country themed date for his fraternity AEPi. The event was to dress up in ”country” attire and to come prepared to listen to country music and dance the night away. Lucky for me, Ari knows how to line dance so he showed me what to do. It was really fun seeing how people dressed up for the event; some went all out with a cowboy hat, boots and even a belt buckle. Also, the guys in the fraternity wanted the scenery to match the theme so they went ahead and put a very large haystack in the middle of the room, which ended up being a perfect place to take pictures!

In the end, this class has become such a great learning experience. It has made me listen to country radio with a new perspective and appreciate the artists who have made country music what it is today. I really do want to thank Dusty for being such an awesome professor and mentor and I am honored that I was in his last Rhetoric of Country Music class at the University of Texas!

1 Comment

Filed under Blog Post 5, Concert, Florida Georgia Line, Houston Rodeo, Kenny Chesney, Rodeo

Toby Just ‘Ain’t As Good As He Once Was’…

635687599432167722-TobyKeith17My Monday started out as one of the best Mondays one can have—my parents handed me two front row tickets to see Toby Keith at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo that evening. The excitement that poured over me to finally have the opportunity to see one of the first country stars that influenced my love for the country genre was surreal. Immediately I opened my Spotify app to start preparing for my night, I started out with some classic oldies like “I Wanna Talk About Me” and “Beer for my Horses” before I decided to try a few songs off of his new album… Meh. At first I didn’t even think about the fact that Toby had released a new album within the past couple of months and I hadn’t heard a thing about it… I realize now that that was the first red flag.

Towards the end of the day, after endlessly hyping myself up and teaching my ill-informed boyfriend some of my favorite Toby songs, we were just about ready to head to the rodeo. We spent the first hour or two walking around the stockyards and eating corndogs, completely submerged in hundreds of fellow fans wearing Toby paraphernalia—it was Toby Keith mania. Nothing made me more excited to hear him play than to be surrounded by so many other people who shared the same passion for his music as me. As the sun went down and the trailers started packing up their livestock, we headed for the entertainment arena.

The rodeo was amazing. I have grown up going to the show every year of my life, yet never growing tired of seeing the same events in the same order with the same smells and the same atmosphere. There’s something so comforting about returning every year to an event that seems to never be influenced by change.

As soon as the last bull rider barely made it past his eight seconds of whiplash, the lights went down and I actually got butterflies in my stomach. Toby came out in a Ford truck with nothing other than a Red Solo Cup shooting through the sunroof. As hilarious as I thought that was, it wasn’t less than a minute later when my excitement vanished and I quickly felt a yawn engulfing my face.

FullSizeRenderEverything was off. The drums and the guitar were louder than the vocals; I could barely even hear him considering I was in the front row. The dancers had little energy and were completely off beat. And unfortunately the worst of all was how wasted Toby was. I had seen drunk performers before, such as Pat Green and Tim McGraw, and obviously I had had something to drink as well because drinking and country music go so well together, but there was something so sad and disappointing to see someone who you liked so much as child now as a fat old drunk. He played some of the songs I knew, but mostly many songs that neither the audience nor I had ever heard of, which was obvious by the amount of people sitting down or leaving. I made myself stay until the end in hopes of hearing my all-time favorite song, “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue”, but left in complete disappointment as he never even sang it. There was something so upsetting to me about seeing him in such a bad state, almost like going back to a place you loved when you were young and innocent, only to see it old and corrupted. Although I still will probably jam out when I hear an old Toby Keith song on the radio or at a party, I won’t forget the fact that his song speaks the truth, he really just ain’t as good as he once was.


Filed under Blog Post 3, Concert, Rodeo, Toby Keith

My First Rodeo

998x484-crop-singapore5 years ago, I would have never ever thought about going to Auburn, Alabama for a rodeo. I’m from a small city in SouthEast Asia called Singapore. Singapore is the most expensive city to live in followed by Paris, according to BBC News. We have a population upwards of 5 million, and it takes about 20-25 minutes (without traffic) to drive from one side of the island to the other. As you can see, Singapore is one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

17290545Singapore has a very diverse culture. It holds the one of, if not, the biggest beach party in the world called “Zouk Out“. Every year, famous artists such as Afrojack, Alesso, and Avicii etc. will come and perform, along with others. It’s kinda like ACL except it focuses more on house and EDM, whereas ACL hosts a larger variety of artists.

As you can already tell, I haven’t mentioned the words “country music” a single time. Well, if you’ve jumped to the conclusion that country music and Joseph Schooling can never be found in the same sentence, you’re right! I used to despise country music. I always thought it sounded awkward, and it seemed like every country song I heard either told a tale about God or stereotyped cowboys.

22612__mg_4644fHaving said that, I moved to the U.S. in the summer of 2009 and slowly started to hear a hint of country creep into my life. Fast forward to the Spring of 2015… right after NCAA’s, a group of guys (Kip Darmody, Will Glass, and John Murray) and myself decided to drive 13 hours to Auburn, Alabama to the Alpha Psi Rodeo, where the guest singer was none other than Brad Paisley. I was kinda reluctant to drive all that way to a rodeo, but I thought, “hey 4 close friends on a long ass road trip to the deep south. this could be a story to tell in the future!”

So we journeyed 13 hours on Friday after class, drove 10 hours to Mobile, AL and crashed in Will’s place for the night, and continued on to Auburn the following day. We got to the venue at around 9am, set up a tailgate, and started pounding beers. To be honest, I didn’t get my hopes up too much before the trip. I didn’t think a city boy like myself could handle being at a rodeo with people roaming around in cut out shirts, boots, and jorts. To my surprise, I had a blast! I mean, I’m sure all the beers and bloody marys definitely helped get through the day, but seeing a live Brad Paisley concert wasn’t all that bad. We got to meet a ton of new people, and I started to appreciate country music in a way I’d never thought could be done for myself. I’m almost glad Kip convinced me to go on that trip with them. It gave me a broader outlook on life, and it taught me not to be so naive. So for that, thank you, Kip!


Filed under Blog Post 2, Concert, Live Music, Rodeo

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