CMA Awards: Bro-country vs. Bra-country

I can’t say whether the tides are changing in country music but if you use the recent CMA Awards as any sort of example of what country music is like today, you may notice who wasn’t there.

Remember back in the early to mid-2010s when “bro-country” became a thing? Artists like Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and others all had hit songs that were somewhat generic and formulaic with lyrics about drinking or dancing girls or backroad parties. Obviously there was success in that subject matter, but there was also a lot of pushback from traditional country music fans and well-known country artists.

Fast forward to 2019, the 53rd annual CMA Awards airing on ABC and featured no, not bro-country, but a heavy dosage of bra-country. The women of country music! Get it? Bra… women… women wear bras? It’s just a little diversion from bro-country to remind us all that bra-country is great! The CMA Awards was hosted by the amazing trio of Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, and Carrie Underwood and if you didn’t get a chance to see the fantastic opening number, here it is.


I’m sure fans were happy to hear and see a lot of more traditional country being showcased, celebrating legendary women in country music, and not hearing the likes of Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, and Jason Aldean… none of whom were in attendance.

If you want to read a full recap of the show performances click here.

Concerning those CMAs, I was really only surprised by a couple things…

  1. Garth Brooks winning Entertainer of the Year. Grady Smith says it best here…


Actually, that’s it. I was surprise by one thing. Garth. Over Eric Church and Carrie Underwood. Come on! Like Grady is, I’m also a fan of Garth Brooks, but it definitely seemed like he just swooped in and took the award away from others who genuinely deserved it.

I also don’t like Kacey Musgraves, there, I said it. But she’s a big part of the bra-country movement and if the future of country music is how the CMAs looked this year… I’m back in! I love most of the women featured on the show, plus I love Eric Church, Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert (I almost dated her, you know), Dierks Bentley, and plenty of others.

Have a good weekend, y’all!

-Out of the Wilderness

What if God is the sun?

“God is like the sun; you cannot always look at it, but without it you cannot look at anything else.” — G.K. Chesterton.
img_20170603_115600.jpgFirst, I hope you read this with an open mind, especially if you’re a Christian like myself. Because it sounds a lot like pantheism to say God is the sun, but that is not my intention at all. When I refer to God, I’m speaking of the God of the Universe, the one who created the sun actually 🙂 so take all of this as just a day dream that turned into a conversation with a good friend, and something I believe God is capable of doing if He so chose to.

OK, OK, on with it! I’m a big fan of endings with a twist. I still remember those wow moments in a couple of M. Night Shamayaya movies The Sixth Sense and The Village. I’ve also started watching Leverage and that show is great for having surprise endings. I guess I like the thrill of expecting one thing, but then something else totally out of the blue happens. Side note, I just watched Split (M. Night Shamyaha movie) and it’s pretty great, too! I recommend it.

img_20170603_114640.jpgA few months ago I was chatting with a friend. I’m not sure exactly how we came up with this notion, but what if God is the sun? What if, at the end of time when Jesus returns and order is restored, we have the biggest OMG moment as God says, “Hey y’all, hey Dolly… I’ve been here the whole time!” (Who doesn’t love Dolly Parton, right?)

Wouldn’t that be a crazy twist no one saw coming!? Sounds a little far-fetched, I know, but I do find it quite interesting how many attributes or characteristics of God actually align with the sun as we know it. Here are a few:

  • The Bible often refers to God as “light”/ the sun is light
  • God never sleeps or slumbers / the sun is always “on”
  • No one is able to look at Him / have you tried looking at the sun directly?
  • He’s everywhere all at once / on earth, the sun is kinda everywhere all at once (if reflecting off the moon counts?)
  • God is not bound by time / the same sun that shines on us also shined on dinosaurs
  • God feeds nature at the proper time / the necessity of sunlight for food to grow for humans, animals, fish, etc.

In Genesis 1 the story of creation goes that God created light, and later created the sun. So I totally get it, chances are God isn’t the sun. But maybe He dwells in the sun at times. Who knows. His ways are higher than ours, right? But these kinds of thoughts interest me very much. What does God do that would blow our minds if we knew it? What has He done in the past, or will do in the future, that will leave us in even more awe? In the future, will there be some kind of twist no one saw coming?

-Out of the Wilderness

Sniffer’s gonna sniff: a story about my amazing dogs and something important I lost

It’s a beautiful day.

Nashvillians are entering into the time of year that makes cold winters bearable. Days where the sun is bright and warm, and winter ice is a thing of the past. One day not too long ago was one of these days, so I went for a hike at Percy Warner Park in west Nashville, dogs in tow. It was beautiful. The way the sun cut through the towering trees. The sounds of animals foraging through the woods. Small flowers blooming. Runners running. Sniffy dogs sniffing. Our 5-mile walk concluded a few hours later and as I reached into my pocket for the car keys, slight concern. I don’t feel them. Panic. I check other pockets. I check all the pockets. Reality washing over me like any adult man at a Justin Bieber concert. How did it end up like this? What do I do now? Lucky for those adult men, they can just go home. Me? Nope. I might as well not have even had a car there, because without that little piece of carved metal, I wasn’t getting in. I wasn’t going home. Plus, who’s the dummy who’s got two fingers and left his phone in the car? This guy.

And I was like baby, baby, baby.

I said to my babies, we need to walk the trail again. And please keep in mind the farthest either of my dogs have ever gone is 6 miles. We already walked 5 miles, and now I’m taking them for 5 more. I felt terrible, like I was asking too much of them. If you do the math, it was not too far south of a half marathon.

Hello darkness my old friend.

It was completely dark when we completed the trail for the second time and I couldn’t have been more proud of my pups. They seemed to end stronger than they began, pulling towards squirrels, barking at deer, walking with perked ears as we rounded the final curve. We saw lots of wildlife, lots of things that weren’t keys. And now my car is one of the last 2 or 3, and the others are firing up to take their drivers home. I didn’t feel compelled to ask for assistance from the other park patrons, in fact, I felt compelled not to. So there I was sitting by a car I can’t get in, much less drive!

Islands in the stream, that is what we are.

The plan at this point was to befriend a volleyball and hope for a ship to pass by. Wait no, we weren’t that hopeless yet! I approached a house close to the park entrance and the nicest of ladies, Susan, offered so much help. She even brought out a laptop so I could email my friend “Bill.” Yeah, remember how I didn’t have my phone? I also don’t know anyone’s phone number! So email was the next best thing.

Police on the scene, you know what I mean?

After firing off an email, I returned to my car. It was weird sitting there not even knowing if the email was received, and yet, believing that the electronic flare would be seen and rescue was on the way. And it was, in more ways than one. The local police came by to lock up the parking lot, as they do every night, I’m sure, and the officer gave me a ride to police headquarters. My first time in the back of a cop car. It was nice. Very comfortable. I asked about the car and the lady officer informed me it was a Volkswagon Passat. Very cool. Arriving at the station, they were kind, helpful, and were over-the-top with Piper and Asia. They had treats, food, water, and plenty of back scratches that I know Piper and Asia appreciated. They brought me to a computer so I could check my email (to see if “Bill” had responded or anything). That’s when another officer stopped by and handed me a slip of paper. On it was “Bill”‘s phone number! Apppparrrrrentllyyy, nice lady Susan called up the police with this bit of information that was anything but itty bitty! Susan was a life saver! It was a pretty amazing moment. “Bill” arrived about 10 minutes later and took me home.

You live, you learn. You laugh, you learn.

The next day “Bill” and I did one more search without success and then I called to have a key made. From this experience, I learned a few things. Always have a spare key. Having friends is good, having good friends is better. Wear pants with bigger pockets. Sometimes dogs will surprise you. There are a lot of squirrels. As bad as it seems, it could be worse. This will be a landmark time in my life because of the amount of loss that came in a short span. I lost this set of keys on  a Saturday. The following Tuesday, I lost my job. Crazy right?

-Out of the Wilderness

Does He Like You? 15 Ways To Find Out

Everyone wants to know if the guy or girl they are interested in shares the same vibe. As a guy, I’ve learned (mostly the hard way) some ways we show interest. There are many ways, but here are a few. If the guy you like is doing any of these things, then there’s a chance he digs you. How do you feel about this list? Let me know in the comments section, thanks for reading!

He pays for everything on a date. This sign is multiplied by the 10th power if he was raised in the North where manners weren’t a given. It’s true, in the South offering to pay for dates is the gentlemanly thing to do, but it’s also a signal he wants to take care of you even in a small way.

He leaves his phone in the car. This speaks volumes. Whether it’s dinner or hanging out at your place, he’s saying there’s nothing more important than the girl I’m with. Phone calls, texts, emails? They can wait.

He doesn’t kiss you on the first date. This is a tough one because it could also mean he hates your guts. If he doesn’t kiss you, take it in context of the whole night and it should fit with other signs he’s been showing.

He makes you a CD of music he likes. Or better yet, a CD of music you like. Bonus points if either CD includes Hanson or Boney M.

He’s not worried about rejection or he’s very worried about rejection. On one hand, he likes you enough to throw caution to the wind. On the other hand, he likes you enough that he’s nervous around you. Either is a good sign.

When you’re with him, he smiles a lot. Milton Berle once said that “laughter is an instant vacation.” Smiles and laughter are visible signs he’s happy.

He remembers things you tell him. Whether it’s about your family, stuff going on at work, or your favorite flower, memory almost always equals interest.

He goes to things with you that he normally wouldn’t go to. He says he likes Taylor Swift, but trust me, he wouldn’t go unless you were there.

He goes with you to a Dolly Parton concert because she’s your favorite. Beware though, he may just be a Dolly fan, because seriously, who doesn’t love Dolly?

He keeps in touch throughout the day and/or week through texts, emails, and/or calls. I got an email from a girl I know that explained it this way: “Oh yea… that is one thing girls get insecure about. You can have a great date but if you don’t hear from him after a day or two… they start to question if the guy is really into them… even if they are in a relationship.”

He knows about your secret crushes, and is ok with them. I heard one story of a guy that dressed up like Bret Michaels for Halloween because he knew his girlfriend had a crush on Bret. They are married now. (He and the girl, not the girl and Bret Michaels)

He doesn’t like cats. You have a cat. He keeps coming back.

He takes care of your least favorite things. One of your biggest pet peeves is putting gas in the car so he does it for you. Thoughtful? Yes. Classy? Yes. Is he interested? Heck yes.

He isn’t shy about meeting your friends or family. A friend of mine went on two dates with a guy before her mom came into town the next week. The girl said, “It’ll be a few days before we can go out again,” to which he responded, “We could see each other while your mom’s here, I ain’t scared.” The girl thought that was cute.

He chooses you over sleep. If you’re talking on the phone for hours and soon realize it’s 3am, he likes you. He’s already put you ahead of one of his two favorite things. (food is the other favorite thing, get your mind out of the gutter!)

10 Signs He’s Into You

He uses his phone to call you, not just text. Remember the good ol’ days when you sat by the phone and waited, then the excitement when the phone rang? Not only is calling a sign of a confident man who likes you, it’s also classy.

He answers the phone when you call. He’s not playing games with you. If he can, he answers because the girl he really likes is calling him. That’s a big deal.

He responds to your message the same day. If he likes you, he’ll probably call before it’s been “days later” unless he’s playing games.

He organizes events just so you’ll attend. Facebook events page, anyone? If you score an invite to a group outing to watch wrestling at the Stadium Inn because you love Arick “The Dragon” Andrews, it could mean the event was all planned for you.

Interested in an embarrassingly funny real-life dating story? I’ve got one worth a read 🙂 Just click here!

He likes having inside jokes with you. This is a little thing that means a whole lot. It connects the two of you in a place where no one else is connected. So if inside jokes are a part of your relationship, chances are he wants to know you more.

He asks to spend time with you. Spending his free time with you is the biggest compliment. What he’s saying is that of all the things he could be doing, he wants to be with you. Obviously, that’s huge.

He asks in person or on the phone to see you. Doing this takes guts, and shows he likes you, or at the very least, thinks you’re interesting. If he texts you and asks you to dinner or something, then he may not care as much as you’re hoping he does.

He says ‘yes’ when you ask to spend time with him. He could’ve said ‘no.’ Even if he has other plans, he’ll cancel them at the chance to spend time with you. “When your wondering what to say, or how you look… just remember… she is already out with you. That means, she said yes, when she could’ve said no.” -from the movie Hitch* (can be applied to males or females)

He never talks to you about other girls. I talk to some of my female friends about girls I like. I never talk to girls I like about girls I like.

He tells you personal things about his family. Letting anyone in on family stories is usually a big deal. This means he trusts you with what may possibly be most important to him, his family. Disregard this if the family he speaks of is his wife.

Thanks for checking this out… be sure to follow me on Twitter! @Wilderness615

*I am an Amazon Associate. I will receive a portion of any completed transaction through the link above.

Music Roulette: 50 Songs in 1 Paragraph

How many songs can you identify? The first hint is that there are fifty songs listed, and each song lyric connects to the next through one or more overlapping words. Good luck! (you can look at the key words listed on this post for some help!)

I miss those blue eyes. How you kiss me at night, I miss the way we sleeps tonight. Aweemba wop, aweemba wop, a weemba wopbobaloobop a wop bam boom shake, shake, shake the room. She was struck down, it was her doom. Annie, are you ok? So, Annie are you still mine? I need your love. Godspeed your love to me, wanna talk about I, wanna talk about number one, oh my me my, what I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see, by the dawn’s early light? What so proudly we hailed at the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, and the burden of my heart breaks, no, it don’t break even if he promised me the world. Just remember I’m forever your girl you know it’s true. Ooo ooo oooo, I love you every step of the way and I will always love you so, promise I’ll never let you go, in the still of the night. In the still of the Britney song was on, and the Britney song was on, and the Britney song was on a white, sandy beach of Hawai’i. The sound of the ocean soothes my name and it’s probably ’cause you think you’re cooler than me burn, but that’s alright because I like the way it hurts, I like the end. And you could have it all, my empire of dirt. I will let you down, I will make you wanna be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife. Take it on the run, baby. If that’s the way you want it, baby, then I don’t want you around ’cause you know where I’ll be found, when I come around. And when you smile that smile the whole world turns upside down. Whenever you come around the corner when she comes. She’ll be coming around the corner. That’s me in the spotlight losing my song. It is my song. Now I live every day like there will never be a last one till they’re gone, like Frank Sinatra. Like Elvis and his mom. Like Al Pacino’s cash, nothing lasts in this life, back to reality. Back to life, back to me, will you? Baby, just come to my window, crawl inside, wait by the light of the moon, you saw me standing alone, without a dream in my heart for the first time, and I was like baby, baby, baby. Oh, baby you, you got what I need. But you say he’s just a friend. But you say I only hear what I want to: I don’t listen hard, don’t pay attention to the distance that you’re running down a dream that never would come from, rain is a good thing. Rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey. Whiskey makes my girl. Talking ’bout my girl. My chick bad, my chick hood. My chick do stuff that yo’ chick wish she could be the one. He’s lightning. Spark’s are flyin’. Everywhere I go he’s always on my mind. You were always on my minds. And we can’t build our dreams on suspicious minds eye, I see your face, you smile as you show me grace. In my woody I would take you everywhere I go. So I say from me to you, I will make your dreams come true. Do you still love me tomorrow? Tonight with words unspoken, you said I’m the only one life, but we’re not the same. We get to carry each other. Carrying your love with me. West Virginia down to Tennessee. Take me to another place. Take me to another land, this land is my land, from California, to the New York Islands in the stream, that is what we are. No one in between, how can we be wrong? Sail away with me, to be on the ground. Your head is there to move your around. So stand.