As always, the show left me sitting back, pondering the direction of country music, the genre of music I’ve loved for years and that, well, pays my bills. I spent time on Twitter following some discussions, and I realized some glaringly obvious things.
Today, country almost needs to be broken into more than one genre. Perhaps its always really needed that, but it feels stronger than ever now.
I say that because much of the modern country is being called “Bro Country” and its gone in a pop, rock and rap direction. It’s catchy and gets stuck in your head. The lyrics are far from deep and tend to go in a very similar direction of trucks, hot girls, parties in the country, bonfires, and just riding around. It creates an idealistic view of “country living.”
Fighting to stand beside the “Bro country” is what I’d call the people holding on to the more traditional approach… with its own modern twist. Songs that strike a chord and/or tell a story. Songs that make me want to find a dancehall and dance the night away with my honey. Songs that respect women, history, family and true love.
I’d also say there’s a solid section that fits right in between the two. And I think its that fact right there that makes the idea of breaking the genre up in any way would never work. And honestly, I don’t WANT to see the genre broken up. I’m not opposed to there being the existence of “Bro Country.” (Yeah, I just said that. But I’m not.) I’m opposed to the fact that its shoved down country fan’s throats. I’m opposed to the fact that I never hear the new stuff I would like, because I get so fed up with country radio that I keep my radio set firmly on Sirius’ Prime Country.
While watching the awards while on Twitter, I’m left going, “Who is requesting this stuff??” as the Bro Country thing came on multiple times. The outrage I saw over Florida Georgia Line performing twice, while Lee Brice’s passionate acoustic performance of his award-winning “I Drive Your Truck” was regaled to a verse and a chorus.
I’ve known all along that what we hear on radio is (not quite) equal parts what the labels back, what fans request and what fans purchase. The first and the last are all about the money. It’s something that many who make music in Nashville lament and fuss about, but its money that decides what we hear. And within that, its why many aim at the teenage demographic. Teens will purchase singles off iTunes faster than those of us that are older. Parents will buy their teens music while foregoing their preferred music. Those of us that are older are more worried about paying the electric bill than we are buying a new album. We’re more willing to buy a hot cup of coffee from Starbucks to get us going in the morning than we are to buy a new single for $1.29.
Is it a messed up mentality? Yeah. It is. But I do it myself… and I’m married to a musician!
How do we make sure artists that are carrying to torch for country music stay successful? We buy their music. I think we’re all still, in a way, ingrained to buy a whole CD versus single tracks. “Oh I’ll get it when the album comes out.” Then we go get a vanilla latte instead of the album. Maybe next month.
Meanwhile, the “Bro Country” that’s popular with teens and young adults is being played over and over and over because sales have shown its what “the majority” wish to hear. And you know what? Maybe it is the majority that wants it. Maybe I’m stuck in my own little world and I’m clueless. Maybe we DO need to consider splitting up the genre some. But maybe we can instead make our statement 99¢ or $1.29 at a time. And in doing so, we hear more of what we want to hear, and we support the creation of even more songs to love in the future.
March was crazy.
It had travel…
Events near and dear to my heart…
A fantastic photoshoot…
And the arrival of Spring and its allergies…
But April will be far crazier.
I literally — LITERALLY — have only 3 days this entire month that don’t have something scheduled in them. Be it work, events, get-togethers, meetings, photoshoots… there is something every day except three. I’m tired just thinking about it! Tired, but also exhilarated.
I’ll sleep in May.
Oh my gosh. What a crazy week!! It’s tax season, so of course I’m in Texas more than Nashville. This week was a weird one, in that I was only in Texas for a week before needing to be back in Nashville. So my time in Texas was pretty focused and FULL. The sheer fact is: I just didn’t have time or energy or mental capacity to blog all week… here are 5 reasons why.
1. Dentist. I had a dentist appointment on Tuesday of this week. And for the first time in a long time, it negated my entire day. Lately I’ve been able to go to the dentist, come back and still work a full afternoon. This time? I got back and went straight to bed for the rest of the day. Then got up with a migraine headache. Just sitting up was an accomplishment.
2. Photoshoot. I did a photoshoot on Saturday, then had the post-shoot editing. When I do this, I focus on this pretty intently. I sure hope they like the photos. They may not be as “fancy” as I have done in other shoots, but I still love the shot. The family is beautiful and their baby girl the epitome of adorable. And its a military family. Which makes it super special all it own.
3. Allergies. I was doing SO WELL, then the allergies hit. Again. As a result, I’ve felt miserable for the last several days. Nothing kills your creativity like feeling like crap!
4. Muster planning. Time I would usually use for writing has been used to instead handle emails and planning of our Aggie Muster. Which is fast approaching. And I’m slowly freaking out.
5. Other design work. I designed a whole website this week and a flyer for a friend. I have plenty more design work to do, but baby steps. There’s a LOT on my plate the next few weeks. I’m going to have to pick and choose what I do and what can wait. BREATHE!
Last week, my husband and I got new phones. We were at the point where we had zero choice. Our old phones had reached self-destruct level. And by that I mean, one of us would probably soon be running over the phone with our truck just to feel better after all the frustration it had been causing us. I wouldn’t wish that old phone on my worst enemy. (Even the guy at the store who was trying to get my contacts transferred over was amazed at how crappy my old phone was…)
I walked into the store, determined to get an iPhone. I have my iPad and I love it. I also sometimes feel a little bi-polar going from iOS to Android and back when going from phone to iPad. I’d really grown to love a lot of features provided by iOS and had just decided I was DONE with Android.
Until I walked into the store and spoke with the sale associate. Who after a lot of discussion convinced me to stay with Android. He, too, has an iPad and could totally understand my… not really frustration, but kinda like frustration, that I feel going between the two systems. However, he showed me a lot of features on the new Android operating system (Kit Kat, baby!) as well as with the new version of our old phone (Droid RAZR) that sold me on staying with Android.
So I am new owner of a RAZR MAXX and I’ve officially fallen in love with it. And here arefive reasons why that is…
1. Camera access ease. This was the thing that sent me over the edge to get the phone. As a photographer, I love capturing images throughout the day. I’ve discovered I’m a very visual person, and as such I am the person snapping a photo of their food or drink if its exceptionally good. The weather, my hair, the dog, the cat or a car passing by me are all potential photo ops. I want a camera that will respond when I want to take a photo. THIS one does. Even if the phone is asleep, I just shake it twice and the camera launches. No more missed photos due to phone lag and unlocking!
2. Battery life. My biggest complaint for the last several years is the sheer crappiness of cell phone batteries. Why do I have to carry my charger around 24/7 and hope I can charge it before the day is less than half over!? This new phone… we popped for the one with the larger battery. Check out this battery life to the left…
I JUST plugged my phone in for the first time in 16 hours. This is after multiple photos, tweets, Instagrams, web searching, and phone calls. This is after text messages, jumping on and off various WiFi providers, and tinkering with phone settings through the day.
THIS is what a cell battery should be like.
3. Familiarity. I’ve been using the Android system for… years. I’m familiar with it. In fact I was able to keep my same text tone as my last phone. And the wallpaper is one I used on my first Droid ever. I’m able to keep my calendar widget (which I use daily) and it had saved in the Play Store all the apps I’d ever downloaded, making it super easy to set this new phone up with what I use and need.
4. Emoticons! I know this is a silly thing to be so excited about, but I am. iOS you can download and install Emojis. Which is fun and all, but us Android users for a long time now only saw little squares where fun hearts and notes and smilies and whatnot showed for iOS users. Now? Now we have emoticons. Amusingly, they are the same but markedly different from the Emojis on iOS. So if I do a peace sign on my phone, it shows up different to someone on an iPhone. But its the same idea, nonetheless. Brilliant.
5. Screencaps. It’s a petty thing, but I have been sorely annoyed at my inability to take screencaps of my phone since my first smartphone. A major fail, in my opinion, was the Android system not making that possible. I’d look at my fellow smartphone users using iPhones with jealousy over that ONE feature. Now? Well now I can take screencaps. And I love it. It’s like Android took all my favorite iOS features, tweaked them to be definitively Android/Google-esque, and gave me everything I could have wanted. And that makes me a happy woman.
It’s no secret that MDA is a cause I support heavily, primarily due to my nephew battling Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. (I talked a lot about that as the 2012 Labor Day Telethon approached.)
I’ve had the honor of walking in three different Muscle Walks, in three different cities. All were amazing and overwhelming.
In 2010, I made the trek to Dallas and Cowboys Stadium for the MDA Stride and Ride (which was what it was called then).
Then in 2012, I participated in Waco’s Muscle Walk on the Baylor Campus.
Then this year I got to be a part of the Music City Muscle Walk, here in Nashville. I’m usually out of town when it is held, but this year I was in town. As a bonus, my husband had a random Saturday off and got to go as well!
It was AMAZING. I gotta admit, it felt a little strange to not have my nephew, brother, niece, sister-in-law and parents there. But I couldn’t stop smiling as my husband told anyone who would listen about our nephew and all he’s accomplished despite fighting Duchenne. I hardly had to say a word the whole day… which was good because events like the Muscle Walk get me and I walk around with a lump in my throat the whole time.
As of the end of the walk, over $97K had been raised. I know during the walks, money does continue to trickle in so I’m sure the FINAL final total will be higher. That’s AMAZING.
There were people everywhere. Our team captain has participated the last four years and she said this was without a doubt the largest walk to date. I think I heard that there were well over 1,000 people walking that day.
I forgot that most teams dress similarly. In Waco, we all wore camouflage. In Dallas we had matching t-shirts. I totally spaced our dressing alike this year. Next year… next year we will have a theme. And it will be awesome. And we will raise even MORE money. And have an even bigger team.
Seriously, though. Wherever you are… look for a Muscle Walk to participate in and be a part of this amazing event. If you’re thinking, “I don’t do walks… I’m not in shape for that!” Our team captain recently had knee surgery, and I’m still limping from a “its not a good story” foot injury. It’s not a race. It’s low physical impact, but huge emotional impact.
Well, actually, it IS high physical impact. The money raised at the Walk has huge physical impact potential for those fighting muscular dystrophy, as a cure is being sought every single day. You don’t have to raise thousands of dollars. You can raise as little as $5 and still participate. Just be there. Just go and see what its about. You’ll leave with a full heart. I promise.
I recently got to hang out with three good friends. One I’ve know since kindergarten, one since fifth grade, and one since college. These are friendships that have lasted years, miles, and many changes and trials in life. I’ve learned from them. I’ve laughed with them. I’m sure there are tears that have been shed as well.
Meet Lindsey, Brandy and Ana…
What you might see here from your viewpoint are three women having a good time together. I see many years of memories and oodles and oodles of success. I caught myself at one point comparing myself to them.
Epic fail. Epic.
See, what you also are looking at there is a journalist and two assistant district attorneys. And then there’s me behind the camera… A fledgling photographer, blogger and bartender. At one point, I sat in silence listening to them talk cases and news reports from the Houston, TX area, and I found myself feeling very much the underachiever. For longer than I care to admit, I had a great big huge pity party. Who was I really kidding? I’m nowhere near as successful as these three women!
I’ll be honest, it wasn’t until the next day that I pulled myself out of it.
I started to remember all the things I have in my “bag of tricks.” I started to remember that my life is pretty unique… and I remembered how a friend once told my husband he’d give his entire savings account to be on the Grand Ole Opry stage one time. I remembered how many amazing, amazing people I’ve met, some backstage the Opry!
I remembered how I head up my alumni club in Nashville. How I’m an active member of an organization that raises money for CASA. I remembered that people love my photography, and I’m only just starting to grow that.
I remembered that I am a damn good bartender (dammit, I am!), and I can just as easily rock a desk job. I have both creative ability as well as logical.
I have an amazing husband, loving family and more friends than I can count.
Success is not measured on some measuring stick that we all have to live up to. I might not be using my journalism degree per se, and I don’t put bad guys in jail. But I’m a successful women in my own right. It’s just different from the other girls.
I admire my friends, and I am so very proud of them!! I can not, though, compare myself to them. It’s not fair to me… nor to them. We are all unique, and it’s in that individuality that we can only strive to be better.
Mathew McConaughey gave an awesome speech when he won the Academy Award for Best Actor this year in which he said the person he chases is himself, 10 years in the future. I loved that. It really fit where my mindset was that night. I can’t chase success based on what others have done. I can only chase success based on what I have done, can do and will do.