History of Two Step

History of the Two Step

All fans of country music know that it was absolutely made for dancing, and there are plenty of different styles that you can let loose to. One of the most popular types is the Two Step, and this is one that you have to try if you haven’t already!

Even if you’re already a master at this dance, do you know the history behind it? If not, kick off your dancing boots for a few minutes and read on! A little bit of learning will allow you to show off your knowledge as well as your dance moves next time you’re in the Grizzly Rose.

Origins of the Two Step

History of Two Step

As with many great things in history, it’s hard to say exactly when the Two Step was originally created. But, it didn’t just come moseying on in one day. Instead, it was basically a mixture of the Foxtrot and the One Step, two other dances that were quite popular in the past. This was all going on in the early part of the 1800s, and these styles had their roots in the waltzes that were popular throughout Europe at the time. The first common name coined for this dance was the “valse a deux temps,” however, a French name didn’t quite match with the feeling of the dance, so it was eventually traded to become the Two Step.

Development of the Dance

The Two Step has gone through many changes over the years, but the early days of the dance become popular thanks to some music created by the famous composer John Philip Sousa. He wrote a song called the Washington Post March in 1889, and the pattern of the song pushed people to drop the more traditional gliding dances in favor of the style of the Two Step.

As an interesting little side note, the song was in fact named for the famous paper in our nation’s capital. The paper was hosting an awards ceremony for an essay contest, and they wanted to have some patriotic music playing. So, the leader of the United States Marine band wrote the song, and you can thank the newspaper business for helping to inspire one of your favorite pastimes!

These dances at the beginning were very different from the Two Step that you dance today. It was really various versions of the Foxtrot back then, but the important part is that they started moving one-step and two-step moves into popularity. Kids particularly liked dancing these moves when they were learning how to square dance, and they were so fun that they wanted to stick with them as they grew up.

The Country Two Step

The dance is often called the Texas Two Step or the Country Two Step, and those names came from the period when it started to separate from the Foxtrot. It was popular in the south, as is quite common with country music, so plenty of people in Texas were dancing along to it.

Evolution of the Two Step

Two Step Dancing History

There were many different changes made to the dance over the years, but there was one particular instance that really spread it around. The movie Urban Cowboy came out in 1980, and of course people were impressed by John Travolta’s dance moves. The fact that it takes place primarily in a bar called Gilley’s in the Lone Star State is another reason this dance often has Texas stamped at the front.

But, the Two Step has gone through quite a few changes even since people agreed on a name. The early days saw dancers kicking back and forth down the floor in a straight line, but it slowly changed into the circular pattern that we know and love today.

How to Dance

Do you know how to do the dance? Let’s go over that to help all of this make sense! It’s done with partners (one is the “leader,” and the other is the “follower”), and they start out by facing each other. The leader obviously does the leading, and the pair goes counterclockwise around the dance floor. Various patterns of steps are followed (a mixture of quick and slow), and it depends on the dancers and exactly which style they’d like to do.

Learn to Two Step at the Grizzly Rose

On second thought, we can write about it all day, but let’s be honest for a second. You shouldn’t learn a dance by reading it, or even by watching online videos. You need to be in a Country Western environment surrounded by good music, cowboy hats, and plenty of friends!

So, do you want to learn these moves yourself? We have Two Step classes at the Grizzly Rose, so sign up and grab your boots! There are options for both group classes and private lessons for couples. We’ll have turn you into a master in no time, then you’ll be able to dance your nights away in true country style.

Exile Country Music Live Performance

Interview with Marlon Hargis from Exile

Interview with Marlon Hargis Exile

(source: exile.biz)

Exile has been gracing the ears of country music fans for over 40 years. What started as a rock band and eventually transformed into playing country music, Exile has played music all over the world. At the Grizzly Rose we recently had the pleasure of hosting them for a live country music show. We had the chance to chat with bass player Marlon Hargis to get some more information about this longstanding famous band. Here’s what we learned.

Q: How was your experience playing at the Grizzly Rose? Have you played here before?

A: We played back in the 80’s at the Grizzly Rose. It was so long ago, can’t remember exactly what date. We definitely remembered the venue though. Although it was brief, we enjoyed our time here. The food was delicious and the staff were very helpful and friendly. We love the venue, it has a really nice and unique vibe. We would love the opportunity to come back sometime!


Q: Besides the Grizzly Rose, where’s your favorite venue you have every played?

A: This is a tough question because we’ve been playing a long time and had a chance to play all over the world. Playing at Wembley Stadium in London is definitely a place we will always remember. We also played a few different venues back in the 80’s in South Africa, and I remember a show we did in Capetown that was very memorable. We also played Farm Aid II festival out in Texas, near Austin, back in the 80’s not far from Willie Nelson’s ranch. There were a lot of great bands there with us like Willie, Joe Walsh, and many others. One other place that we will never forget was playing on the original tonight show with Johnny Carson. Seeing all those famous people watching us perform, that was something we will never forget.


Kiss You All Over Exile

(source: exile.biz)

Q: What is you favorite song to perform live?

A: This is another tough question to answer because it changes often. We’ve been in the music business so long the songs our favorite songs to perform have changed a lot over the years. If we had to choose one at this moment in time it would have to be “Kiss you all over.” This is because it gets the biggest reaction from the crowd. One of my personal favorites at the moment is “It’ll be me.” We have a lot of fun playing that song, but I’m sure if you asked me again in a few months there’s a good chance it could be different.


Q: If none of you were playing country music, what would be your professions instead?

A: If we weren’t still playing music, we would be working in the music industry. Honestly, we don’t really know anything else, this is what we’ve done for most of our lives. Back in the day I ran a music store, I was also a property manager at one point, and did some music management things too. I think music management would be most fitting for all of us nowadays due to our long tenure in the industry.


Q: Who are your main inspirations?

A: The Beatles were a major inspiration to us. The whole British Invasion really inspired us to want to be musicians. A lot of it had to do with timing because that was popular when we were teenagers. That kinda music changed the world in the form of politics, fashion, etc… Motown groups were also big for us like Marvin Gaye and the Temptations. We are from Kentucky and soul music was big there so it was another big source of inspiration. Some people compare us to the Eagles and that’s another group we admired and were inspired by.


Exile Country Music Live Performance

(source: exile.biz)

Q: How did you all meet each other and become a band?

A: Back in 1963 is about when we started as ‘The Exiles’ (this changed over time to be simply ‘Exile’). We all started playing music in little bands in little towns across Kentucky. JP Parrington our guitar player had been around the longest, but honestly we all kinda started together randomly. At the time we were just high school kids who wanted to play music because it was a way to meet girls and have fun. We never would have guessed they would still be playing now. It was just kind of a dream that happened!


Q: Any advice to aspiring musicians out there?

A: If you don’t love music, don’t even get started in it, because it’s a really tough business and so many bands don’t make it. You must have passion for it. Always keep trying. However if you do truly love music than go for it and never give up. I had a friend who decided to pursue a career in business instead of being a musician and he ended up being very successful. However he always told me “there’s a hole in my soul because I didn’t pursue music.” So keep plugging away and make it work if it’s what you really want.


Q: Any other thoughts you would like to share with your fans out there?

A: There’s a great book written about us with an in depth history of our band. It’s called 50 Years of Exile: The Story of a Band in Transition (Click here for a link to the book on Amazon).

For more information on the band, check out the Exile Website of their Facebook Page.

Country Music Festivals

2016 Upcoming Country Music Festivals

It’s obvious that your favorite place to see country music concerts is at the Grizzly Rose, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to just one amazing place. A ton of country music festivals will be held all over the nation (and a few outside of it!) this year, and some of them are not to be missed. It would be great to hop on a horse and mosey over like a cowboy, but a good old-fashioned road trip is also a great way to experience some of these. So get your soundtrack ready for the drive, and pick out your next adventure!

Sunfest Festival

July 28-31 – Cowichan Valley, B.C.

Hello from up here! You all are beautiful! #sunfestcountry #party #music #cowichan #victoria #vancouverisland

A photo posted by Sunfest Concerts (@sunfestconcerts) on

This show on Vancouver Island is always a popular one, but this year has a few big names – most notably Carrie Underwood.

Red Ants Pants Festival

July 28-31 – White Sulphur Springs, Montana

#TBT with @turnpiketroubadours – Check them out in @rollingstone this month along with @corblund!

A photo posted by Red Ants Pants Music Festival (@redantspantsmusicfestival) on

Don’t be afraid of the red ants, because you’re sure to dance your pants off at this popular festival in Montana. The bands are slightly less known, but there are 16 acts that will keep you having fun!

Oregon Jamboree

July 29-31 – Sweet Home, Oregon

18 days until the Jamboree!! Y'all ready?! #oregonjamboree

A photo posted by Oregon Jamboree (@oregonjamboree) on

This festival is popular for the beauty of the area as well as the performers, but this year it’s being headlined by Carrie Underwood and Toby Keith.

Mountain Home Country Music Festival

July 29-31 – Mountain Home, Idaho

We put a night club in the middle of nowhere! DJKO keeping the party going after Blake Shelton. #mhcmf2015 #countrymusic #idaho

A photo posted by Mountain Home Country Music (@mhcmf) on

Have you ever been to Idaho? Have you ever seen performances by Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, and Brantley Gilbert? Well, this is your chance to do both!

Watershed Music Festival

July 29-31 – George, Washington

Are we really doing not one but TWO weekends of Watershed? Is this real life!? #Shedders ??

A photo posted by Watershed Festival (@watershedfestival) on

If the name of this town isn’t enough to make you want to go, how about the chance to see Keith Urban, Jason Aldean, and Eric Church at an outdoor amphitheater overlooking the Columbia River?

Country on the River

August 4-6 – Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin

Wisconsin adds another big festival to the list, and this one next to the mighty Mississippi River gives you the chance to see Kid Rock, Lee Brice, Billy Currington, and others.

Boots and Hearts Music Festival

August 4-7 – Oro-Medonte, Ontario

Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, Dierks Bentley, and many others will be performing at one of the biggest camping and country music festivals in Canada.

WE Fest

August 4-6 – Detroit Lakes, Minnesota

#fbf. Can't wait for 2016!

A photo posted by WE Fest Country Music Festival (@wefestmn) on

The 34th annual summer of this festival in Minnesota gives you another chance to hear the tunes of Tim McGraw and Kid Rock.

Flood City Festival

August 4-7 – Johnstown, Pennsylvania

This festival is held in Pennsylvania every August, and the aim is to hold a celebration of American roots music.

Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam

September 2-4 – Panama City Beach, Florida

2015 was great! Here's to an even better 2016! #gulfcoastjam #countrymusic #festival

A photo posted by Gulf Coast Jam (@gulfcoastjam) on

This major beach party held every Labor Day is a great one to attend, and this year you’ll get to see Lynyrd Skynyrd, Brad Paisley, and many others.

Did We Miss Any?

It’s tough to put together a list of all the best country music festivals that 2016 has to offer, but this covers quite a few of them.  Which one will you be heading to?

Best Live Performing Country Artist

Best Rising Country Artist
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History of Country Music

You obviously love the hootin’ and a hollerin’ good times that come out of listening to country music, but how much do you know about where it all started?  The square dancing and concerts you attend are pretty far removed from the first musicians who picked up an instrument and started singing away.  So pull on your boots and let’s stroll down memory lane to learn about the history of country music!

The True Beginning

There isn’t one exact time and place when country music was suddenly created, but it really seemed to pluck its way into life during the 1920s.  It started popping up in the Appalachian Mountains, especially in the southern regions, and it slowly started to spread around.

 Birthplace of Country Music

Rural Folk Music

In the early 1900s, the Appalachian Mountains were remote.  Not only did very few people live there, but most Americans didn’t even have the opportunity to visit.  Many of the settlers were European immigrants who were quite poor, and they were already used to living quite a tough life.

One thing they had, though, was their musical traditions.  They kept their music alive, and it started to evolve with the times.

America Needed Something New

This time-period saw a lot of changes and quite a few challenges, so Americans were looking for something that would help simplify their feelings in life and bring them back to their roots.  Country music became just that.  Slowly people started recording and broadcasting this “cowboy” music, and it became quite the hit.

The First Artists

There had been a few cases of people publishing the music from these remote regions, but 1922 saw a fiddler from Texas named Eck Robertson be one of the first to actually record some of his tunes.  Even though he was beat out by another fiddler from Georgia named John Carson, Robertson is often given the title as the first country singer.  He recorded two southern rural songs in 1923, and this event is the most widely recognized birth of country music.

John Carson Country Music

Atlanta Started it All

John Carson was one of many who had moved to Atlanta looking for work in the cotton mills.  It became the unofficial capital of country music because it gave a lot of opportunities to record the music and broadcast it on the radio.  However, it only stayed this way through the 1930s, and then Atlanta grew too fancy and the music moved on to Nashville.

The Evolution by Generation

The Atlanta crowd became known as the first generation of country singers, and the best way to track country music from that point on is by following each generation.

Second Generation

Roy Rodgers Country MusicThis second era took place in the 1930s and 1940s, and it started during the Great Depression.  The rough economy meant less records were selling, but the radio surged in popularity.  This spurred the beginning of some long lasting shows, including the Grand Ole Opry, the famous performance in Nashville that’s still going strong.  Also, western films started getting made in Hollywood, and they featured a lot of “cowboy songs” which helped the sounds travel around the country.

In these early stages, drums were heavily resisted and even hidden off the stage for many years.  A lot of new styles started popping up and gaining in popularity, some of these were honky tonk, bluegrass, and hillbilly boogie.

Third Generation

It was during this period in the 1950s and 1960s that a new bit of tension came up because country and folk had to start distancing themselves.  Even though the musical styles were pretty similar, the followers had different backgrounds and didn’t want to associate with each other.

Johnny Cash Country MusicThis was also the generation that saw the beginning of rockabilly, and the mix of rock-and-roll and hillbilly music became popular with some of the big stars like Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.  At the same time, cowboy songs were losing their popularity.  This is the reason you hear record companies advertise country and western music.

Fourth Generation

By the 1970s and 1980s, the musical genre had evolved enough to create a few different major styles.  The sounds were going to much wider audiences with the start of country pop, but the more rebellious groups started kicking away with what was known as outlaw country.  This was even the point where people started to embrace country rock, and the likes of Bob Dylan managed to take off.

Fifth Generation

The fifth generation took place in the 1990s, and this was the era when FM radio was expanded, and country music took the opportunity to sing to more ears.  It helped that rock music was becoming more “alternative,” so many turned to the more melodic tunes of the country singers.  Also, Garth Brooks blazed a trail for a bunch of performers to expand globally, and the rest of the world became exposed to the musical style.

Sixth Generation

This is the generation where we are now, so there’s no need to go into the details.  Get out there and live it!