Category Archives: Women

Good Golly, Ms. Dolly!

Fotor1103140436-600x450When I think of a female country star, I think of Dolly Parton. The stereotypical country queen is a blonde bombshell with a big country voice, big country hair, and big country boobs. Country music is a genre that has continued to outshine other genres with unparalleled natural talent and has radiated a theme of natural beauty derived from its blue-collar roots of not caring what others may think. However, throughout the previous couple of generations, I feel as if a few particular country stars have conformed to Hollywood influences on beauty preservation and have lost a sense of the reality of growing old.

6a00e552403d2f883301b7c6fa457a970b-500wiWhen I think of beauty-gone-bad, I think of Dolly Parton. Not only is she one of the most talented stars in the industry, Dolly Parton is the image of what most people think of when they think of country music. From the beginning of her career, Dolly was obsessed with her looks and always strived to be “prettier”, even though she was already one of the prettiest girls in the industry. From the singer’s never-ending thirst for satisfaction, she quickly crafted a signature look. Ms. Parton’s big blonde hair and massive breasts could be spotted from miles away, but for her that was never enough. Dolly posed for Playboy Magazine in 1978, shifting her from “classic country” to a more sexualized image that greatly contributed to her desire for “bigger and better”.

Dolly Parton’s career continued through the decades, with each era adding more and more plastic surgery to her look. The singer once admitted, “if I see something sagging, dragging or bagging, I get it sucked, tucked or plucked. It takes a lot of money to look as cheap as I look”. Parton’s recognition to her spoiled beauty really makes me sad for her, because I feel as if so many beautiful people are so caught up in impressing others that they don’t let themselves naturally grow old. Especially within a genre that prides itself in cultivating such down-to-earth people who care more about the music than the image, I am surprised to see so many stars defy that ideal and conform to the media’s expectations on how to look.

DollyPartonPlasticSurgeryDolly Parton not only inspired future country singers with her musical talent, she also set a signature tone for the image of the female country star. Several proceeding singers began to craft the stereotypical look and also succeeded in spoiling their natural beauty. Reba McEntire, Kellie Pickler, and even Kenny Rodgers were a few that didn’t take growing old as an answer.

Although this whole article has seemed like a rant against plastic surgery, I do believe that if it weren’t for Dolly Parton’s strive for ageless beauty, she would not be the cute bubbly character that we all know and love. Dolly Parton may have allowed unnatural influences to shape her self-expression, but she created an image that will forever be embellished in the country music hall of fame and has put a serious imprint on the future generations of stars. Despite the plastic surgery, Dolly Parton radiates ageless beauty on the inside and out.

If this is not the cutest, most accurate video of Dolly Parton, then I don’t know what is…


Filed under Blog Post 2, Country Symbols, Women

A Day at the Fair

One summer day back in 2005, my family and I decided to go to the Alameda County Fair in Alameda, California. I knew that it would be a day filled with lots of fun, sun, rides, and memories. Little did I know, my memories and music taste were about to change for the better.

After around 6 hours of walking around the fair, my 10 year old self could no longer keep up. The day had been spent making the most of the unlimited ride wristband, going to the petting zoo, and eating the different fair snacks. Since both my 5 year old brother and I were exhausted, we decided to sit down at the bleachers in front of a small stage, to recharge before making the most of our last few hours at the fair. My parents, brother, and I were the only ones at the bleachers, accidentally making us the audience for the performer that was soon about to come out.

miko2The lights started to shine towards the middle of the stage. I heard the guitar strumming and all of a sudden a girl with dark skin and dark curly locks came out with a bright smile. “Hello, my name is Miko Marks, I hope you guys are ready for some country music!”

Miko Marks explained that she was originally from Mississippi (later moved to San Francisco) and that she would be playing the music off of her first album Freeway Bound” that had been recently released.

At first, to be completely honest, I was bored because I wasn’t used to hearing ballads and country music. I listened respectfully, and although I didn’t know the music, somehow I had been captivated. After performing a few songs off her album, she proceeded to sing a song called “Mama”, which was the song that changed everything for me. I had never heard of her or her music, but she had an inviting aura around her and her chorus was catchy.

For the rest of the show, I had a smile on my face and nodded my head to the music. I questioned why other people weren’t stopping to listen to her music, she was so good! Some people would stop and listen for a song, and then proceed to enjoy the fair. All I knew was that I was glad my brother and I had been really tired because it led us to enjoy her music.

After the show, she came up to us. I felt like the star, but it should have been the other way around! She told us we were the cutest little things. We took a picture with her and she gave me her guitar pick. She had albums and merchandise for sale, and since she had been so kind to us, I think we might have felt obligated to pick up her cd, but at the same time we had enjoyed her music, so we ended up buying one.

From that moment on, I would carry my Miko Marks cd everywhere I went and soon started to venture out to other country music. My mom started sharing her love of Kenny Rogers and my dad his love of Johnny Cash, and I started finding other artists that I liked. If it wasn’t for the warm Miko Marks’ encounter and her song “Mama”, I would not have found my appreciation for country music.


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

A Walk Down Memory Lane


To me, a community is made up of two main components. First, the place you feel the most at home. That place for me is my hometown, Friendswood, TX, where everyone knows everyone and I know I can completely be myself there. Second, a community consists of the people that make you feel the most at home even if you are not there. The adorably cliché quote, “home is wherever I’m with you” is pretty much on point when it comes to describing who those people are. “My people,” are the group of girl friends that I started elementary school with, experienced the most awkward of life phases with, and celebrated with after walking across the stage on graduation day in a tragic royal blue cap and gown. Fast forward almost 4 whole years and I would still say that even after distance separated our friendships, my “Friendswood friends” will always be my most important community.

With a group of friends that are as close knit as mine are, we all obviously have a lot of characteristics in common, but we are all very different and quirky in our own ways. We tend to have our own styles, have different hobbies, definitely different tastes in guys, and an extremely broad range of “favorite” genres. From jamming The Red Hot Chili Peppers to Queen Beyoncé, we would all overwhelmingly agree that country music brings out this uniting factor among us that other music just can’t do.

I can’t really come up with one aspect of country music that connected us, but man did we make a ton of memories through loving the country genre (or love daydreaming about George Strait). Maybe it was the cowboy boots, cutoff blue jean shorts (that wereprobably extremely inappropriate looking back on it), or the “red-dirt” Texas country concerts we couldn’t miss on the weekends. Whatever it was that made country music consume our lives created an extremely vivid timeline of events that never fails to keep my people literally stuck like glue– thanks Sugarland.

34265_401679317899_5778759_nIt seems generic to say that a song can bring back 1000 memories almost instantly, but that’s exactly what happens when I shuffle through an old playlist and come across songs that just hit home and bring a flood of emotions pouring over me. Growing up two-stepping at Garner State Park is such a great example of how country music kept us together as a group of close friends. We always went on trips to the Frio River to obviously have a blast floating, but we mostly went to enjoy a great Gary Allan album as we were floating and to go dancing with ‘randoms’ at Garner. That tradition still continues today (maybe without the random guys) and the memories of everyone singing “I’ve got lightening in my veins and thunder in my chest” while floating down the river won’t ever be erased!

Another thing about country music that makes it so important to my friends is the way a single song takes you back in time for 3 short minutes and remember exactly what we were going through, what party we were at, or what stage of life we were in when the song was a hit. To this day, when I hear Check Yes or No I think of my junior high boyfriend and how ridiculously “in love” I was at the age of 14. If I come across Red Light by David Nail I remember my best friend asking me to replay it over and over again because she was obsessed. When I shuffle through old playlists and come across songs that I would listen to on blast in the car, sun roof open, windows down, screaming at the top of our lungs, I am so thankful to have fallen in love with country music. No other genre kept my friends together over the years like country music did and those memories are irreplaceable.


Filed under Blog Post 1, Country Symbols, Dancing, Texas, Women

Best Female Country Songs of the 90s

When you think about 90s country, the success of the female country scene comes to mind. This was the age that brought a more contemporary sound to country music. This was the period when huge stars like Faith Hill and Shania Twain made their career debuts. Women were leading the charts with their girl-power hits. Women became serious contenders in country music, and these hits could give bro-country songs a run for their money. There are so many great hits from men and women during this era that changed country music, but here is a look at my opinion of the top 5 female country songs of the 90s.


5. Trisha Yearwood “She’s In Love With The Boy”

Writers: Jon Ims

Album: Trisha Yearwood (1991)

This forbidden love song told a story of a young small-town couple trying to gain approval from the father. It spoke to girls everywhere who were experiencing young love in the rebellious teen years.  It was Yearwood’s lead single from her debut album, made it to No. 1 on the singles charts, and launched Yearwood’s wildly successful career.


4. Faith Hill “This Kiss”

Writers: Beth Nielsen Chapman, Robin Lerner, Annie Roboff

Album: Faith (1998)

This song was every girl’s anthem with the up-beat music and catchy lyrics like “centrifugal motion” and “perpetual bliss.” It brings to life the feeling of a first kiss with your crush. This song was one of Hill’s early crossover hits, which launched her into the pop direction. You can still hear this one on the radio, as it remains relevant in contemporary country.


3. LeAnn Rimes “How Do I Live”

Writers: Diane Warren

Album: You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs (1997)

This song launched Rimes’ career as it stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 69 weeks. Rimes was only 14 years old when the song reached success. Although Yearwood also recorded this song at the same time, Rimes still earned a Grammy nomination, and it remains one of the biggest standout songs of the 90s.


2. Martina McBride “Independence Day”

Writers: Gretchen Peters

Album: The Way That I Am (1994)

This song may have never made it to No. 1, but it was one of the greatest and most controversial country songs in music history. The song received mixed responses due to the depiction of domestic abuse, which was visualized in the music video. However, McBride won two CMA Awards and a Grammy for Best Country Song. In 2014, Rolling Stone ranked the song in their list of 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time.


1. Shania Twain “You’re Still The One”

Writers: Robert John “Mutt” Lange, Shania Twain

Album: Come On Over (1998)

Shania Twain was one of the best country singers of the late 90s. “You’re Still The One” was Twain’s first Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hit and remains one of her most successful singles. This song, written by Twain and her then-husband, won two Grammys and beat out Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” Now that’s a pretty remarkable achievement. Twain went on to be one of the most influential female country singers of the 90s.


Filed under Blog Post 4, Country Pop, Lists, Reflection, Women

What Happened to Faith Hill?

Faith_Hill-CountryMusicRocks.net_When you were young, who was your favorite country artist to listen to? Some may say Garth Brooks, George Strait, or Shania Twain (who were all popular during the 1990s), but ever since I was a child, I have enjoyed listening to Faith Hill and her pop style of country music. Usually my dad is the one who introduces me to different genres of music because of his passion for the music industry, but it was actually my mom who first introduced me to country music. She always used to put on Faith Hill, Sheryl Crow, or Shania Twain in the car wherever we would go. But lately, I haven’t heard much of Faith Hill, which saddens me because, at the time, she was my role model.

Faith Hill is known as one of the most successful country artists of all time having sold over 40 million records worldwide, with several number 1 hits throughout her entire career. Hill got started in the music industry quite early, performing at local churches and rodeos in Ridgeland, Mississippi. But by the age of 19 Hill had really found a passion for country music as she decided to drop out of school and move to Nashville to pursue her life long dream of becoming a famous country singer. There she debuted her first album Take Me as I Am, released in 1993, and her song “Wild One,” which soared to the top of Billboard’s charts for a month straight…This ultimately kick started Hill’s career.

10705By the time that Hill was becoming increasingly popular, she decided to come out with a second album in 1995 titled It Matters to Me. During this time of her career, she began touring and ended up meeting the famous country singer Tim McGraw, and the two have been married ever since.

GTY_tim_mcgraw_faith_hill_jef_140618_16x9_992At the turn of the century, Faith Hill became more interested in the mainstream, pop-oriented sound of country music. This is the period of time where most of my favorite Faith Hill songs come from, such as “This Kiss,” “Breathe,” and “The Way You Love Me,” simply because of the catchy music, the romantic lyrics, and the popularity of each song. “This Kiss” became an automatic country hit with more than 6 million copies of the album being sold.

“Breathe” debuted at the top of the Billboard Country and all genre charts in 1999 as well as on the Billboard Top 100 Chart in 2000.

Not to mention, “The Way You Love Me” charted in the top 10 in 2000 as well!

This was Hill’s big breakthrough as an artist as this album Breathe won her 3 Grammys for the Best Country Album, the Best Country Collaboration With Vocals, and the Best Country Female Vocal Performance, as well as an American Music Award for Favorite Country Album.

Since then, Faith Hill has created a name for herself as “the girl next door.” She gives off that sexy image, but yet is still inspiring to young girls like me who were listening to her number 1 hits at this time across all media platforms. Hill was also said to have influenced Taylor Swift as she was her “idol since [she] saw her on both VH1 and CMT…”gal-cmt-07-jpg

Faith Hill has always been one of my favorite country female artists because of her inspirational songs, and her positive presence in the spotlight. It’s a shame that she has stopped creating such catchy and fun music for her fans, but regardless, she will always be the one I remember when I think of my first experience with country music.


Filed under Blog Post 4, Country Pop, Women