Tag Archives: country

What is “Country?” A Longwinded Rant

Photo: http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r96/thisdayinmusic/keep-calm-and-listen-to-country-music-43.pngWhat is “country?” When listening to songs like “Take a Back Road” or “Boys Round Here”, people tend to get the impression that “country” means small town, trucks, and beer drinking. However, with global warming occurring as well as the increased urbanization of America, trucks and small towns will begin going away. No, small towns will never disappear, but they will become less isolated as the large cities expand. I sit here thinking about what that this means for the future of “country” and country music. Could it be that “country” is really more of a way of life? If so, what is that way of life? Having grown up in Houston, a big city with a huge sports and business culture, I never considered myself “country.” That said, I always envied the lives of people who grew up in small towns and always loved listening to country music. I think Easton Corbin sang about this concept when he sang “A Little More Country Than That.” He sang about being a little more country than “a dirt road full of pot holes with a creek bank and some cane poles.” Either this guy literally lives in the middle of nowhere, or he is talking about his culture. He also sang about not two-timing and playing games because he understands that there is more to “country” than farming and roping cattle.

When I think of “country”, I think of someone with Southern values. I think of someone who works hard for his or her family, but never compromises his or her core morals. I think of someone who, when the times get tough, will fight through the obstacles and will never waiver. In that regard, “country” people live everywhere, regardless of if they grew up in a trailer or drive a pickup. No, I’m not writing this post to make myself feel better or to include more people in the “country” tent. I’m doing this because I see country music moving in the wrong direction regarding lyrics. I grew up listening to country songs, partly because I love the sound, but also because of the for which they stand. When I turn on the radio and “Home Alone Tonight” comes on, I can’t help thinking how this could easily be a song that any pop artist could sing. Sure, many recent songs have featured small towns, but they seem to lack the values that made country music so special to me. I grew up listing to songs that, even if they were a little pop sounding, at least they differed in that I could identify with their messages. “If You’re Going Through Hell” is a favorite of mine to listen to when I experience failure. No, George Strait would have never sung it, but at least it has a message behind it that demonstrates the values my parents tried to instill in me.

I cannot explain why I felt the need to rant about the state of country music, but I hope it shed some light onto why I care so deeply when Sam Hunt’s songs reach the top of the charts. I don’t care about other people’s song preferences, but I do care about the future of the genre I love the most. I think its time we reevaluate what the word “country” means, because once we lose trucks, country music singers will have a hard time differentiating themselves from other musicians.


Filed under Blog Post 4, Country Pop, New Country

Saturday Morning Cartoons: The Country Urban Bridge

Photo: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/v_dXpJvNyyA/maxresdefault.jpg

Photo: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/v_dXpJvNyyA/maxresdefault.jpg

Ask most people in the United States what they did as kids between the hours of 7:00am and 11:00am on Saturday mornings, and they will answer you “I turned on the TV to watch Saturday morning cartoons.” No, not everyone enjoyed this blissful weekend activity, but for the (for everyone’s sake, hopefully) majority of Americans who did, the thought of Saturday morning cartoons brings a sense of nostalgia and happiness not easily replicated by many ideas. Whether they watched Nickelodeon, the Disney Channel, Kids WB, Fox, PBS, or local TV, most people think fondly of the times when they hurried to the couch at 6:58 and caught the end of a poorly-made infomercial. Though to most people, country music seems to evoke thoughts of trucks, beer, and romance, country music makes me think of the little things in life. I think of the commonalities people of different backgrounds share with each other, and of the things that can simplify our hectic lives. Is there anything that fits that description more than Saturday morning cartoons?

Photo: http://image.blingee.com/images19/content/output/000/000/000/7cd/787180849_973534.gif

Photo: http://image.blingee.com/images19/content/output/000/000/000/7cd/787180849_973534.gif

I ran down every Saturday at 6:58 to avoid missing the opening seconds of Scooby-Doo. After Scooby-Doo, and Yu-Gi-Oh!, I ran to my room to get dressed and brush my teeth. I was a Kids WB guy, but I made sure to watch Fox when Digimon came on. After one episode on Fox, I returned to WB to watch Jackie Chan’s Adventures and, of course, Pokemon. Breakfast usually came in between Digimon and Jackie Chan’s Adventures, but I made sure to sit in position to watch the show while eating.

Although my TV schedule changed several times (I’m not even sure if the one written above is 100% accurate), I always loved cartoon time. Other shows that I remember liking are Transformers, Saved by the Bell, and especially Batman Beyond, so somehow and at some point those shows made it into the Saturday morning lineup. In a world in which not everyone enjoys the taste of beer and more and more people choose to drive environmentally conscious vehicles, country music is going to have to choose whether it is the music of the people, or the music of a people. Historically, it made the switch from “hillbilly music” to “middle class music” to become something with which more people can identify. Luke Bryan even wrote a song about country music’s ruralization. Certain songs by Kenny Chesney and Kip Moore have shown the more rural side of country music, but I for one do not identify with many of their all of their ideals. I’m a die-hard patriot so I identify with Patriot songs, but even having grown up in Texas, never had to work on a farm or . George Strait once sang about passing notes in class and Darius Rucker’s “Alright” and Phil Vasser’s “Just Another Day in Paradise” very much talk about the day-to-day activities that make life worth living. A song about Saturday morning cartoons would fit right in.


Filed under Blog Post 3

Trade Adkins: A man worth listening to!

Moms Night Out Premiere at TCL Chinese Theater - Red Carpet Featuring: Trace Adkins Where: Los Angeles, California, United States When: 29 Apr 2014 Credit: Brian To/WENN.comAfter hearing that Trace has a new album set to come out sometime in January of 2016 I knew I wanted to write my blog post about him. I have been raised a fan of Trace Adkins and I believe everyone needs to check him out or at least give him a second chance. Trace Adkins has been around since the middle of the 90’s but recently he has been sliding under the radar of all the flashy new young stars. Among teens and young adults he is certainly not as popular as artists like todays Sam Hunt and Luke Bryan but most can still say they recognize his classic deep voice in a few of his songs such as, “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk”, “You’re Gonna Miss This”, and “Ladies Love Country Boys”.

I know many people think Trace only makes cheesy overly country songs such as “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” or “Chrome” but his music varies much more than that. However, sometimes a cheesy country song is just what the mood calls for. If you’re not afraid of a catchy tune that’s just plain fun you should check out, “Brown Chicken Brown Cow”, or “Ala-Freakin-Bama”.

Besides these light songs he has much more serious songs that deal with religion, family, love, and the military. As a fan of love in general some of my favorites are Adkin’s ballads. That deep voice and his passion and honesty make him stand out from just any other artist. “This Ain’t No Love Song” and “Love Will”.  Trace Adkins is also a family man who has been married twice and has five daughters that he isn’t afraid to sing about. Of course most people know and have been touched by “You’re Gonna Miss This” but if you enjoyed that song or if family is important to you you should check out “Just Fishin”.

Besides just his music Trace Adkins does incredible things for many different charities. He is most well known for the work he does with Wounded Warriors, but he also works with and supports St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital, USO, Animal Rescue Foundation, and many more. My dad is a part of an organization in Fort Worth called the Fort Worth Air Power Council that works with service men and women, raises money for their families, and helps aid the wounded and veterans. Through this organization I have got to hear many stories through members who have worked directly with Trace and shared how amazing of a man he is. Trace Adkins has multiple songs about the military if have a family member or friend whos serves, yourself, or just support our military you may want to listen to “Semper Fi”, “All I Ask For Anymore”, “Arlington”, or “Till The Last Shots”.

ta 2 trace adkins 1

Another part of why I love Trace Adkins is that he is very down to Earth and real. Trace has suffered loss, been through divorce, he’s been shot, he has had problems with alcohol and has been to rehab, and he’s a dad to five. Trace Adkins doesn’t try to be perfect by any means. He lives his life and supports what he cares about. His career has never been about attention its just him doing what he loves and I believe everyone can appreciate that.

Trace Adkins may not be everyone’s cup of tea and I can accept that. Although, if you haven’t listened to him in awhile or just aren’t sure about him just take some time to try and listen to a few of the songs I mentioned or explore on your own. Trace Adkins is a man that I root for and love supporting and I hope maybe my blog will gain him a few more fans as well! Also, definitely have an ear out in January for his new album and first single off the album titled, “Jesus and Jones”. (The meaning behind the title is quite special and very true for many country singers so I am very excited to hear it!)

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Filed under Blog Post 3, News

What’s Texas Without Country Music & Vice Versa

Senator William Blakley once said “Texas is neither southern nor western. Texas is Texas.” As a born and raised Texan I couldn’t be more proud of where I come from. Whether you’re from Texas or not it is well-known that Texans are a proud bunch. I may be a bit biased but I would say no such state has a reputation as big as ours. Texas is known for our delicious food, beautiful landscapes, colorful history, intense sports culture, and country music. Yes, a majority of what Texas is known for is a bit stereotypical, although Texas is a lot more than just Redneck cowboys. However, this cowboy culture I believe is part of how Texas and country music have become so intertwined and well-known.

I can’t imagine a Texas without country music or country music without Texas. They need each other! Growing up I had mixed feelings about country music but since I was about fifteen I fell in love and never looked back. Country music, yes is influenced by the south as well as the west but its relationship and influences with Texas are like no other. There are easily over a hundred country songs about or at least mentioning Texas. Without Texas there would be no George Strait, Pat Green, Miranda Lambert, Neal McCoy, Robert Earl Keen, Willie Nelson, Tanya Tucker, and many more. Texas has its own subdivision of country for goodness sake.

As a Texan I find country music as the most relatable of genres, but not because I’m always in boots and riding on a horse but because I can turn on the radio and hear songs about my own city, places I have driven through, ideals I cherish, and things I have actually done. My Texas by Josh Abbot and Stockyards by Casey Donahew Band are perfect examples of how my association as a country music fan and a Texan coincide. Some lyrics from the song My Texas are things which I have done here in Texas such as, “You haven’t been to the Ft. Worth stock show,” “Sang “Everclear” at a Creager show,” and “Haven’t had a kolache when you go through West.” These memories are part of who I am and hearing songs sang about them I realize these are pastimes of a group of people like me. These are things Texans do. Texans are proud of what makes up our vast state and our people. Many country songs share this. One of the most obvious and proud is from Little Texas’ God Blessed Texas. “God blessed Texas with His own hand. Brought down angels from the Promised Land. Gave them a place where they could dance. If you wanna see Heaven, brother, here’s your chance. Well, I’ve been sent to spread the message. ‘God blessed Texas’” I’m sure this pride can come off cocky to out-of-staters but we just want to share with everyone how incomparable and wonderful Texas is.

I am a fan of many genres of music but when country comes on it creates a feeling that is hard to describe. I relate to country and those who sing it relate to me. As a Texan I may be surrounded by some country music but it’s the reality and actions of being Texan that make the lyrics seem to be a part of me! George Strait says it perfectly in If It Wasn’t For Texas, “I wouldn’t be a Willie fan. Nobody’d swim the Rio Grande. I wouldn’t be an American, if it wasn’t for Texas. “


Filed under Blog Post 1

Abby’s Experience in Country Music

This semester, as a part of the Country Music Project, I had the chance to engage in the country music community in a whole new light. I learned all about Willie Nelson, became abolsutely hooked on the show “Nashville,” watched the ACM’s, and read the Texas Music Magazine.  Through these activities, I was able to connect with country music more than I ever thought I could, and learned a new appreciation for the music genre’s history and very promising future.


This semester, as a part of the Country Music Project, I had the chance to engage in the country music community in a whole new light. I learned all about Willie Nelson, became abolsutely hooked on the show “Nashville,” watched the ACM’s, and read the Texas Music Magazine.


This spring, I really immersed myself in country music.  It has been something I have always dabbled in, but never fully immersed myself in before.  Taking this class was a huge step for me to begin with.  I did not know much about country music and its rich history, but I quickly found out how much I would come to learn and then fall in love with it.  I started out hesitant, by bringing my parents to visit Willie in statue form in downtown Austin.  He piqued my curiosity about Nashville, which made me look at the hit show in a whole new way.  I could relate to how business-y the city is, and how different that is from Austin.  I realized the creativity and freedom that Austin holds and how in Nashville the musical freedom does not always come so easily.  I saw the way country music stars such as Tim McGraw were portrayed at the Oscars versus how country music stars were at the American Country Music Awards.  And lastly, I read the Texas Music Magazine which provided me with a new group, Whisky Myers, that I happen to really like.


While doing all of these things, I became proud of myself for diving in to something that I haven’t always been the comfortable and familiar with.  My pride quickly turned to hunger as I strove understand why country music is the way it is today.  The broad category of country music and all of the subgenres that fit within this title can be confusing sometimes, but by taking the knowledge I had learned and applying it to real experiences made the knowledge more tangible.  The subgenres project taught me the most about country music, and because of that I feel like I understand the genre so much better.  Because I was able to apply my knowledge, I could understand the differences and similarities between Austin and Nashville.  I could see how Nashville turned Willie to come to Austin.  I could appreciate the way the artists were celebrated and revered for their creativity at the awards show.  And I could open myself up to a new band, and be surprised at how much I like one of their songs, which quickly turned into exploring more of their music.  When I look at my Storify, I see my semester in country music. But what stands out the most is how artist-oriented my semester has been.  I came in knowing a couple of Dixie Chicks songs and a little bit of Kenny Chesney (thanks to my parents’ tastes), but am leaving the semester with a wealth of new artists to listen to.


Filed under Austin, Class work, Reflection, Storify