Category Archives: Song Analysis

5 Seriously Creepy Country Songs to Get You in the Mood for Halloween

When creating the perfect Halloween playlist, country music probably isn’t the first genre that comes to mind. But, from a song about Hank William’s ghost to one about a Voodoo witch, this list of 5 country songs might prevent you from getting a full night of beauty sleep. Listen/read/watch at your own risk…(cue evil laughter)

giphy (2)

1. “Midnight in Montgomery” (1992) – Alan Jackson

Written by Alan Jackson and Don Sampson, this song tells the story of a creepy encounter with Hank William’s ghost. Filled with imagery of a chilly and windy night, you can’t help but feel a slight urge to sleep with the lights on (and avoid Montgomery at all costs). The narrator questions whether the ghost “was ever really there” or just a figment of his imagination….I guess we’ll never know.

2. “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” (1979) – Charlie Daniels Band

Written and performed by the Charlie Daniels Band, this song recounts a fiddling contest between a boy named Johnny and the devil. It alludes to the classic motif of the deal with the devil. The intensity of the fiddles keeps you on your toes throughout the whole song. But (spoiler alert) thankfully Johnny wins the contest in the end so you can rest a little easier.

giphy (3)

3. “Marie Laveau” (1974) – Bobby Bare

Written by Shel Silverstein and Baxter Taylor, this song is about Marie Laveau—a 19th century Voodoo practitioner. The upbeat tone of the song really contrasts the creepy story Bare tells. But, the hissing/howling sound that Bare makes as Laveau kills each victim is enough to make you cringe. This song is a warning for men: treat every woman well because you never know when she could actually turn out to be a witch…

4. “(Pardon Me) I’ve Got Someone to Kill” (1978) – Johnny Paycheck

There’s no beating around the bush in this song composed by Johnny Paycheck and Aubrey Mayhew; his intentions are clear and concise. He sings about killing a man who took his woman away from him. He doesn’t care that he’ll “surely die” for committing this murder since he’s a “dead man anyhow” without her. Lesson learned, Johnny: don’t mess with a cowboy’s girl.

5. “Country Death Song” (1984) – Violent Femmes

With a name like Violent Femmes, it’s pretty obvious that this artist probably isn’t someone you want to take home to mom. In “Country Death Song”, Femmes tells the story of real event where a man intentionally threw his daughter into a well and then hung himself. Enough said.

giphy (7)

The storytelling nature of country music transforms these songs into “ghost stories” in a sense. If you remove the instruments/melody and simply read the lyrics aloud over the campfire in the woods…you’d probably make a few people wide-eyed and paranoid. If you’re looking for a last-minute Halloween costume, Hank William’s ghost or Marie Laveau might be the perfect fit. Party safe.

giphy (6)


Filed under Blog Post 3, Lists, Song Analysis

Cam: The New Up-And-Coming Country Singer

Some people may think that seeing female artists become popular in country music is a rare sight. However, over the years, more women have been increasing their presence within this genre despite the difficulties of doing so. Everyone can agree that we have seen Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert, etc. come to fame with their songs hitting number 1 in country music charts. But recently, there has been a new and upcoming female country music singer who is said to have her new single “Burning House” become a number 1 hit as well.

31957468_800_800Camaron Ochs, or more commonly known as Cam, is an American country singer born and raised in San Francisco, California. Country music for Cam has always been a passion of hers as she grew up listening to Patsy Cline, Bonnie Raitt, and Willie Nelson. With this passion for country music, she decided to move to Nashville, Tennessee to begin a career as a singer/songwriter. She released her debut song “My Mistake” in 2014 and it was featured at No. 58 on Billboard’s Country Airplay. But, more recently, Cam has come out with her second (and more popular) single “Burning House” that has reached the top 20 on Country Airplay and is already No. 4 on Billboard’s US Hot Country Songs. Last week her single was No. 7 and is up 3 spots, expected to hit No. 1 soon! “Burning House” has been on the charts for 18 weeks straight, and is looking to continue its streak within the next coming weeks. Part of the reason for its popularity is that it has caught the attention of all teenage girls because of its unique and emotionally intense dream sequence about clinging to a former lover.

This song uses the imagery of a house fire as a metaphor for Cam’s previous dying relationship. Years after the couple had been separated, Cam was invited to a party that her ex would be attending. All night she tried to come up with ways on how to apologize for her actions in the past. She opens with the first verse of the song stating that she “had a dream about a burning house/you were stuck inside/I couldn’t get you out/I laid beside you and pulled you close/And the two of us went up in smoke.” This song was written and based off a dream she had one night about him burning up in a house of flames, and her rushing into the house ready to die alongside him. She continues by stating, “Love isn’t all that it seems I did you wrong,” where she explains how she is the one at fault for how poorly the relationship had ended. This is an uncommon stance for most women when they sing about love and their past relationships because most of the time you hear them singing about revenge on another instead of admitting their own mistakes. Songs like “Before He Cheats,” “Two Black Cadillacs,” and “Gunpowder and Lead” all show a different perspective on how women typically sing about their past relationships. That is exactly why this song by Cam is so unique and relates to so many girls who are experiencing the same thing she is.

Throughout this entire song you can see how Cam wants to make things right between her and her ex again. She is at a loss of how to fix it, and ultimately realizes that its best to hold on until the flames have died. With this song already taking off and becoming increasingly popular, who knows what to expect next from Cam!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Blog Post 3, Song Analysis, Women

Discovering Country songs that I didn’t know existed

I don’t know about everyone else, but there is nothing quite like discovering old music and falling in love. It seems like a simple task, but how are we suppose to know where to look if we don’t even know what we are looking for? Stumbling upon music I never knew even existed can be so exciting!

One of the songs I’m talking about is Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”. It all started one day when I was watching 90210 on Netflix (yes, judge me), and one of the characters song this beautiful song that I couldn’t get out of my head. I googled the lyrics and a couple minutes later there it was! I had no idea it was a Dolly Parton song, and that fact made me love it even more. While the song is really not suppose to be too heavy, it comes across as a deep plea to another women not to steal her man. The song was so popular at the time (1973) that many people performed covers of it. Long story short, I fell in love with it, and you should check it out, too.

Another country music song I didn’t know existed until my friend played it in her car was “If I were a Boy” by Reba McEntire. I know this song is a cover, but I still had no idea it even existed! I was so excited to hear it because Reba is such an inspiration and she sings this song so well. She adds the country “emotional” element to this song, which does it great justice. “If I were a Boy” sends a great message to men about how women really think about the things they do.

Lastly, “Busy Man” by Bill Ray Cyrus would have gone completely unnoticed by me if I had not discovered it while I was finding songs for my Buzzfeed article. In fact, a discovered quite a few songs when I was looking for the perfect one to include in my article. “Busy Man” made me feel sad. It reminds me of how people work, work, work their way through their life, but don’t ever slow down to enjoy the little moments that could mean a lot. I included it here because it’s a good reminder to enjoy life as it is and don’t take anything for granted.

 Whether it’s through a new Netflix series, friends or just by yourself, discovering new country songs can be fun. If there is one thing I’ve learned, never hesitate to show your friends new songs! You’ll never know who will fall in love with what you show them or how much a song can help get someone through a hard time.


Filed under Blog Post 3, Country Pop, Reflection, Song Analysis

Country Music Truly Keepin’ It Real

18428The other day my dad and I were discussing my Rhetoric of Country Music class and he asked me if we have looked at the actual rhetoric of lyrics. When I told him we were learning about the history of country music, he replied with, “You have to look at the rhetoric and strategies behind a certain James McMurtry song. These days whenever we think about which genre of music contains the most bizarre and catchy songs we think of Hip Hop and Rap. Look no further because I am about to show you how one country song tops those charts and truly “keeps it real.”

Have you ever heard “Choctaw Bingo,” by James McMurtry? If not I suggest you to give it a listen you will not be disappointed. Now some might say this isn’t a country sing, but I beg to differ, the bluegrass feel of this song definitely puts it in the country genre. I am serious, this song is the epitome of outlaw country. It makes sense that the artist, son of famous author Larry McMurtry, would cross the boundaries of country music and come up with the most unreal situations you could think of.

So how to describe “Choctaw Bingo?” Basically it is 9 minute song about a family reunion in a heavy meth county brought together by “Uncle Slayton” who resembles almost an alter ego of Uncle Sam. The song begins with,

“strap them kids in

give ’em a little bit of vodka

In a Cherry Coke, we’re going to Oklahoma

To the family reunion for the first time in years

It’s up at uncle Slayton’s ’cause he’s getting on in years”

I mean the first verse should have listeners’ eyes wide open and curious what else James McMurtry will rattle off next. The narrator starts the song by asking the other person to pack up their children and sedate them with vodka and, later, Benadryl… come on man.. Let me tell you he does not disappoint in bringing us the most outlandish and absurd song I have ever heard.

The song continues to talk about the family members and their backgrounds from Uncle Slayton who goes to Choctaw Bingo to bring money home to his Asian bride, to cousin Roscoe and his many packages of cigarettes to the second cousins who stop at a truckstop to buy a rifle. “Choctaw Bingo” is the “people of walmart” song of the 21st century.

So country music can also step up to the plate with bizarre and outrageous songs just like popular Rap songs. Don’t believe me? Just watch.


Filed under Blog Post 3, Outlaw, Song Analysis

Making the Most of Everything: Country Music Lessons

For every nostalgic song produced by country music, there is one that reflects on the opposite message. Living in the moment is important for everyone, especially in a time where little distractions are so common. In order to have no regrets, you have to make the most of every minute, which is a hard task. Country music always cuts to the heart of a matter, and this topic is no different. As someone in college who is trying to make the most of these four years, these songs will always have a special place. Here are five of the greatest ‘living in the moment’ country songs:

“I Hope You Dance” – Lee Ann Womack

This country pop song came out in March 2000, and won multiple awards. Lee Ann Womack reminds me of Carrie Underwood in some ways. This song is filled with hope about the future and emphasizes not letting any time go by without making the most of it. It’s hard not to feel inspired!

“Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along, / Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone”

“Don’t Blink” – Kenny Chesney

If you’re a fan of Kenny Chesney, then you know that this song is one of his all-time greats. It veers away from his traditional carefree, relaxed beach vacation songs. (Beer in Mexico will always be a classic!) It is fitting that the 2007 album was titled Just Who I Am: Poets and Pirates. He tries to figure out the secret to life, and it’s pretty simple, just live! It seems like just yesterday when I first came to UT, so I definitely relate to this song.

“Trust me friend a hundred years goes faster than you think…So don’t blink”

“I Saw God Today” – George Strait

You wouldn’t think that a song about new baby would really be relatable to most college students, but it’s the general idea that any major life event creates some reflection and a desire to not let things go by so fast. George Strait released this song on his album Troubadour in 2008- considered one of the finest in his long career.

“His fingerprints are everywhere / I just slowed down to stop and stare / Opened my eyes and man I swear, I saw God today”

“You’re Gonna Miss This” – Trace Adkins

A dad who is watching his daughter grow up narrates this song. Each stage of her life brings struggles but also blessings, something everyone can relate to. When the times get too trying, it’s easy to wish you get over the hump and be past it, but there’s so much good you could miss with that kind of outlook. He stresses to her to enjoy every stage of life, because there’s always a part of it she’s going to miss.

“You’re gonna miss this / You’re gonna want this back / You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast”

“Live Like You Were Dying”

In my opinion, this is the ultimate song about living in the moment. I have gotten to see Tim McGraw perform this song three different times in person, and I still get goosebumps. Between the lyrics, the sound, and the way Tim McGraw sings the song, it extremely powerful. The message is clear in this 2004 hit- don’t just live life, live it to the fullest and truly appreciate every moment.

“And he said someday I hope you get the chance, to live like you were dying”

No matter the situation or circumstances, or even the phase of our lives that we find ourselves in, country music remains clear on one thing. Enjoy life and don’t take time for granted- live in the moment!


Filed under Blog Post 3, Classic Country, Country Pop, Song Analysis