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October 26, 2023

Rediscovering the beauty in country music

Photo courtesy Ainsley Dwyer
Country music uses lyricism and instrumental music to create art that can be enjoyed by music lovers across all genres. The Sidekick entertainment editor Ainsley Dwyer thinks country music is an underestimated genre that deserves more appreciation within today’s music lovers.

Over spring break, I visited the country music capital of the world, Nashville, Tenn. I went downtown and danced around the floor in front of the stage at Blake Shelton’s Ole Red. 

Six months ago, I would have stood in the corner trying to signal to my parents that I want to leave. So it is safe to say that my opinion on country music has changed. It was a genre that I used to love before I turned 11 and I spent the next six years undermining the beauty of the music. 

What I spent those six years dubbing as “yee-haw music” and making fun of my family for listening to is now one of my favorite genres.

Prior to sixth grade, country was my favorite music genre. My family and I would spend every Saturday morning watching the CMT Hot 20 Countdown. I grew up on the greatest hits from some of the biggest country artists. 

I have memories dancing with my best friend at a Zac Brown Band concert when I was 10 to dancing around the backyard of my neighbors and family friends while having BBQ, and listening to “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line or “How Do You Like Me Now?!” by Toby Keith. 

Country music used to be in my veins, but when I started middle school and met people who introduced me to their music taste, country started to fade out of my life. But I am glad it did because it makes my current appreciation for it much stronger. 

My new love for the genre began in October when I went to visit my brother, Aidan Dwyer, at the University of Georgia. He had picked us up at the airport in Atlanta and we drove 2.5 hours to Athens, Ga. 

On the way, I started to listen to my own music when I decided to put on Zach Bryan’s self-titled album, released in June. I had heard many people on TikTok say how much they love his songs and I decided to give his music a listen. I fell in love with his songwriting and his ability to put his emotions into metaphors and poetic lyrics. This prompted me to create a playlist on my spotify called “lowkey good country.”

I began adding songs mostly by artists including Zach Bryan and Noah Kahan. I then started to add the songs I had loved when I was younger: songs by Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Zac Brown Band and Chris Stapleton. The lyrics flowed right back to my memory.

I can hear the emotion when an artist plays with a sole acoustic guitar in the background. Their guitar talents is another factor in why I have to give country artists credit for their talents. 

Acoustic guitar is hard to play, let alone while singing. As someone who attempted to learn how to play an acoustic guitar, I do manage to stare in awe when watching anyone else play. And when that is the loudest instrument in your song, it may understandably get frustrating when you do not place the tip of your finger on the fret correctly. So the talent and hard work put into mastering acoustic is something that deserves recognition.

Country music was once a dominant genre that you could not escape from through the halls of Coppell High School. Country is still loved by many, however, its impact on the students has lowered and now remains loved by a smaller portion of the school. 

Many non-typical country lovers have become fans of what is now called “southern female rage.” On TikTok, people are often lip syncing to those female singers such as Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood or Taylor Swift to show their appreciation for the genre. 

I used to scream the lyrics when “Before He Cheats” or “Cowboy Casanova” by Carrie Underwood would play. My mom and I would sing “Mama’s Broken Heart” by Miranda Lambert anytime it came on the radio. And I fell in love with Taylor Swift when she was singing country, and I still own her first few CDs from when they came out (including Taylor Swift with original “Picture To Burn” lyrics).

My best friend, Jonas Rogers, and I do not have similar music tastes other than showtunes, but when we want to play something else that we can both sing along to while driving around, my playlist “crazy country girls” is played at full volume and we sing our hearts out.

For those who chose not to listen to it solely because of their preconceived beliefs that it lacks creativity are truly missing out on a beautiful form of music with clever lyrics and a impressive acoustic guitar.

Follow Ainsley (@ainsleydwyer) and @CHSCampusNews on X.

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About the Contributor
Ainsley Dwyer, Entertainment Editor
Ainsley Dwyer is a junior and the entertainment editor of The Sidekick. In her free time, Ainsley enjoys theater, enjoys singing, playing the guitar and binge watching TV shows and her favorite movies, Dead Poets Society, Almost Famous, Scream, Maurice and more. She is typically found listening to Taylor Swift, The Beatles, The Mamas & Papas, The Doors, Elvis Presley, Fleetwood Mac, Amy Winehouse, Deftones, Coldplay and Evanescence. She’s born and raised in Coppell. Both her parents and families are from Colorado, and she frequently visits them every year. She plans to attend the University of Missouri to double major in history and journalism. Ainsley has two dogs named Blue and Rouey who are part lab and part pointer. Her favorite place she’s traveled to is New York and would love to live there when she's older. She also dreams of traveling across Europe. Ainsley is a big soccer fan, and her favorite player is Luka Modrić so she loves to root for Real Madrid and Croatia’s National Team. Ainsley also has a deep fascination with pop culture from the 2000s as well as pop culture from the 1960s and 70s. You can contact her on 'X'  (@ainsleydwyer).

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