Despite being from “Up-North,” I decided to head down south to attend college at SMU. As they say, I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could.

Hailing from Wisconsin, I can tell you there’s not much the Lone Star State has in common with the Dairy State. The weather and food scene are quite the opposite, and new Texans must learn how to cope with the heat and tacos at every meal. The South, known for its rodeos, barbecue, and sweet tea, has welcomed me with open arms. Who knew a first introduction could result in so many hugs?

My Midwest counterparts often don’t agree with my love of country music. But now that I live in honky-tonk country, this new Texan has a deep appreciation for country music, which has inspired my Spire on Spotify playlist.

Texas is home to a lot of iconic and rising artists, and it’s pretty easy to assimilate to the country music culture. Austin is known for its robust live music scene with festivals like Austin City Limits, Old Settlers, and iHeartCountry festival. In the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex alone, there are 1,432 live music events from now until April 2024.

Ope, it’s time to show my country curation of cowboy vibes and Texas twang. Time to swing on the back porch to some saloon tunage with my favorite country songs with Vol. 44: Curds and Way-Country.

Olivia, what is the name of your album?

I’ve named it Curds and Way-Country. Wisconsin knows its cheese, and deep-fried cheese curds are a favorite that you HAVE to try. I feel like I’ve moved from curds-and-whey country to becoming way-country here in Texas.

How would you describe this mix?

It’s a very eclectic collection of country tunes with a focus on current and modern country hits—the perfect mix for Red River or Billy Bob’s to play on a Friday night.

What was the inspiration behind it?

As the newest Texan in the office, I wanted to earn my stripes at Spire with a playlist that spoke to my country music knowledge even though I am new to the South. While there aren’t many country music fans at Spire, I hope to change some minds with my mix.

What is your favorite song, and why?

“9 to 5” by Dolly Parton is my favorite song because Dolly is about as iconic as country legends get. A very recognizable song that anyone can jam out to while clicking away at their desk. Also, it resonates my summer with Spire as my first full-time agency experience.

If your playlist was a brand, what would it be and why?

It would be Tecovas, which is a western apparel store. This store encompasses the modern western aesthetic, and their quality leather cowboy boots are made for two-stepping to these tunes. The Tecovas tagline is “western wear for new frontiers” and I am experiencing a new frontier as well.

Any specific memory that comes to mind when you listen?

Oddly enough my first concert was Ariana Grande at the American Airlines Center on a spring break trip to Dallas with my family. Every concert I have been to since then has been country music, so each time I hear a song, I feel transported back to that venue and feel the electric buzz of country music fans gathered in one place.

What makes your playlist unique?

Variety is the spice of life, and I think my playlist emphasizes that. From Morgan Wallen to Rascal Flatts, there is a lot here that encourages spinning a partner around the dancefloor. Also, I did my best to include country music that I find to be more profoundly written; lyrics that convey subjects outside of drinking beer and driving big, green tractors.

Yeah, no, for sure you’re definitely our favorite Quesohead … uhhhh, Cheesehead. Thanks for that bubbler of Texas tunes, Olivia. Stay tuned to the Spire Blog and Spotify Channel because you betcha we’re going to “pop” a new playlist soon.

Olivia Underwood is a student at SMU’s Temerlin Advertising Institute and summer intern at Spire, one of the country’s most-awarded B2B agencies.

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