Music for Country Two Step



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Singer/Band

Song Title

Singer/Band

Song Title

Diamond Rio

Mirror Mirror

Daryle Singletary

Amen Kind Of Love

Hal Ketcham

Small Town Saturday Night

Faith Hill

Let's Go To Vegas

Rick Trevino

Doctor Time

Clay Walker

If I could make a living

Billy Currington

That Changes Everything

Blaine Larsen

That's Just Me

LeAnn Rimes

Nothin' Better to Do

Alan Jackson

Little Bitty

Wade Hayes

Old Enough to Know Better

Diamond Rio

Norma Jean Riley

Joe Nichols

Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off

Tracy Byrd

Don't Love Make A Diamond Shine

Gretchen Wilson

Redneck Woman

Brad Paisley

American Saturday Night

Travis Tritt

Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde

Blackhawk

Big Guitar




  
  Country Two Step dancing occurs every Saturday night in dance halls and honky tonks all over the United States. Also known as the Texas Two-Step because Texas is one of the southern states where the music is most popular, dancers move around the floor to music in 4/4 time. Some say it is a “complex” dance and consists of “hand-holding, look-your-partner-in-the-eye and look-seriously-romantic" moves (Stein). Others think it is a simple dance, more like taking a stroll. “Two-stepping is just walking to a beat,’ says Austin-based Rowdy DuFrene, a two-time United Country Western Dance Council World Champion" (Valdez). Two-Step “dancers usually switch partners every song or two,” so it is a great dance for mixers or a way to meet new people (Mork). Best of all, Two Step dancers are tolerant of beginners who are trying to learn the steps, so it really is a great dance for anyone who likes country music.
  Liking country music is a prerequisite, or course, because that is the music to which Texas Two Steppers dance. Originally, the Two-Step, before it picked up its state moniker, was performed more like a march. In fact, John Phillip Sousa’s “Washington Post March” was the first song to which people Two-Stepped in 1891 at a time when quadrilles and reels were the popular dances. Country music itself developed alongside folk music and the Country Two-Step. There are a couple of specific antecedents to the music that keeps cowboys and cowgirls stepping on Saturday nights though. Country music’s unique sound was first created with both string instruments such as fiddles, guitars, and banjos brought over from “the old country,” and other improvised instruments by people who lived in the southern Appalachians, more commonly called “hillbillies.” Country music became known as “country” music when someone thought calling people “hillbillies” was derogatory. Gospel also influenced the country music genre when gospel groups like the Carter Family in the 1920s helped the creation by touring in other parts of the country besides the Appalachians. Another famous singer of the same era, Jimmie Rodgers, known as the Father of Country Music, is also credited with country music’s origin and promulgation.
  Country music stayed on the side lines throughout much of the early twentieth century, but it got some recognition. It was not until the 1950s that it started to hit its stride. Country music stars of the early years include Roy Acuff, who sang “Smoke on the Water” and “The Wabash Cannonball,” both songs with a tempo range of 155 to 200 beats per minute to which people could Two Step (Mork). Ernest Tubbs and the Troubadours, playing steel guitars and accordions, performed “Waltz Across Texas” and “Walking the Floor Over You” while people two-stepped. Of course, Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass Music—a type of country music, sang “Blue Moon of Kentucky” while couples danced. These early songs had slower tempos than many popular contemporary Two Step songs do, but the dance can be done in a variety of time signatures to a variety of rhythms (Grimble). Rock and roll came around in the 1950s and it affected country music too.
  In the 1950s Elvis Presley, first considered a rock and roll singer, but later generally considered a country performer sang songs like “All Shook Up” and “Blue Suede Shoes,” both songs with quicker tempos, but still accommodating to the Two Step. Elvis had hits on the Pop Charts into the 60’s when country music took off, and with it the popularity of the Country Two Step. Some of the songs from that time that people two stepped to include “Good Hearted Woman,” with Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson and many crossover country rock artists like the Allman Brothers, the Everly Brothers, and Juice Newton. The height of country music came about in the 1990s. Some of the biggest artists from that era include George Strait, Garth Brooks, Clint Black, Randy Travis, and Reba McEntire. Then a guy no one had ever heard of came along with a song called “Achy Breaky Heart." People started doing the Achy Breaky Line Dance. This brought people out to bars that played country music. Soon they were learning to two-step and the dance became popular all over the United States. Throughout most of the 90's, this style of Western Swing ruled (Archer). Now a person can go to any country bar with a dance floor from Bangor, Maine to San Diego, California and see people dancing the Country Two Step to artists like Hal Ketchum singing “Past the Point of Rescue,” Alan Jackson singing “Chattahoochie,” or Mark Chestnutt performing “Goin’ through the Big D.”

Works Cited:

Archer, Rick. "History of Swing." 29 May 2011. 2step2. 1 June 2011
Grimble, Fran. "Two Step." 14 August 2001. eijkhout.net. 1 June 2011
Mork, Rachel. "What Is The Texas Two Step Dance?" 2011. Life 123. 1 June 2011
Stein, Benjamin J. "Two steps forward." American Spectator 28.4 (1993).
Valdez, Andrea. "The Texas Two-step." Texas Monthly 37.2 (2009).

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