Eric Paslay Exclusive Interview

Interview with Eric Paslay

We are very excited for Eric’s upcoming show at the Grizzly Rose. If you haven’t already got a ticket for the show you can purchase tickets below.

Click here for tickets to the Eric Paslay show.

Have you played at the Grizzly Rose before?

This will be my 3rd or 4th time playing at the Grizzly Rose

It’s been said that honesty is a potent tool in your creative arsenal as a musician. Can you explain this a bit and why you’ve developed this as a part of your music.

Honesty is a tool in my creative arsenal. I think every great song has honesty at its root.

Who are your top 3 favorite red heads (besides yourself)?

My Top Three Red Heads:

  1. Willie
  2. Reba
  3. Lucille Ball

You’ve had a lot of #1 hits in your time. Regardless of how well the song performed, what is your favorite song you’ve ever written and/or performed and why?

I am grateful and love all of the number one songs I’ve been a part of. One of my favorite songs is Deep As It Is Wide because I got to record it with Amy Grant and Sheryl Crow. Not only was it a dream to sing with both of them, but it was at a time when I didn’t have any hits as a writer or as a singer and them believing in me was a boost from Heaven.

You started playing guitar at a young age. Who was the artist or band that was your biggest inspiration to pick up a guitar and want to play it yourself?

I didn’t start playing guitar until I was 15, kinda crazy! Eric Clapton ‘Tears In Heaven’ was the first song I figured out on guitar. At most sound checks you might hear me playing it.

 Eric Paslay Interview

Like many country musicians you very much identify with your Texas roots. Can you tell us how important the Lone Star state is to you and how’s it’s shaped you as a musician?

Being from Texas has shaped me musically I’m sure. I think we are all shaped from the country, state and town we grow up in. I love all kinds of music and Texas radio waves are full of diversity.

Tell us about the best day you ever had. What happened that day?

The best day I ever had was when I married my wife!

Besides Texas, where is the city that’s your favorite place to play? The place that every time you see it on the tour list you smile.

One of my favorite cities to play is Denver!!!

Here’s doubled a barreled question. Who is your favorite artist you ever performed with? Also, what artist have you not performed with yet, but would love to collaborate with sometime in the future.

It’s hard to pick one person I loved performing with. Amy and Sheryl were amazing! Charlie Daniel’s was a total trip! Singing The Driver with Charles Kelley and Dierks was super special too. An artist I’d love to perform with is Tom Petty.

What’s your comfort food? After a long tour or show, what’s your go to meal to make yourself feel whole again.

Honestly, when I get home from a tour my wife and I usually walk up the street and get some Shrimp and Grits!

Country Line Dancing

Popular Country Line Dances

One of things that makes country music the very best of all the tunes out there is the ability it has to bring folks together on the dance floor. Some would even say you’ve never truly listened to country music until you’ve danced to country music. There is something charming and old-fashioned about dancing in a group, which makes going out line dancing to country music such a fun time. Compared to Salsa or Tango, line dancing is friendly to those who are learning the steps, so no need to be shy.

We’ve wrangled up a list of the most popular country line dances that are sure to get your boots tapping!

Popular Country Line Dances

Electric Slide

An oldie but a goodie, the Electric Slide offers the perfect place for dipping your cowboy boots into line dancing for the first time. This four wall, 18 count line dance was originally choreographed by Richard L.”Ric” Silver in 1976, gaining viral popularity in the late 80s and early 90s. Branching beyond the country genre, it was paired with Marcia Griffiths’ Electric Boogie. For a more traditional get down we recommend Josh Turner’s “Why Don’t We Just Dance” or Tim McGraw’s “I Like It, I Love It.” Here’s a step sheet and a tutorial video below that will have you doing grapevines all over the dance floor before you know it!

The Cowboy Cha Cha

Choreographed by Kelly Gellette & Michelle Stremche, this one has a lot of turns. It might take a bit of practice, but trust us, it’s a heck of a lot of fun once you’ve got it down! This step sheet gives a good run down of the four wall, 20 count dance. Colorado’s own Brooke & Company does an excellent demo (shown below) of this one, dancing you through everything you’ll need to know. The Cowboy Cha Cha lends itself to a handful of songs, but most often you’ll find yourself rocking back and forth to Neon Moon by Brooks & Dunn. From time to time, it will be paired with a more uptempo to tune such as Gone Country by Alan Jackson.

Double D

The Double D, also known as Duck Dynasty, is a newer line dance on the scene, choreographed by Trevor Thorton in 2015. A four wall, 32 count dance this is done to “Cut ‘em All” by Colt Ford Featuring Willie Robertson and has plenty of rocking back and forth to get you grooving. Here’s the steps break down and you can try it out for yourself with this Double D demo:

Tango with The Sheriff

Most of us do our best to avoid run-ins with law enforcement, but Tango with The Sheriff is one encounter you won’t want to miss out on. Choreographed by Adrian Churm, this four wall, 48 count dance is a delightful mixture of slides and box steps. Practice stomping along with the video below and gear up to dance to this one with “Cha Tango” by Dave Sheriff.

Bring on the Good Times

This four wall, 32 count dance choreographed by Gary O’Reilly & Maggie Gallagher absolutely lives up to its name. With a mixture of claps, slides, and struts Bring on the Good Times makes for a fun transition between beginner to intermediate level line dances.  Coupled to Lisa McHugh’s song of the same name, you’d never know this one has Irish roots…to us it sounds as country as all get out! For this one, we will have these French cowboys and cowgirls show how it’s done:

Tush Push

On par with the popularity of the Electric Slide is the Tush Push, one of the most widespread line dances found on the dancefloor over the last twenty years. Choreographed by Jim Ferrazzano, this four wall, 40 count dance earns its name from plenty of hip bumps and cha-chas as detailed in this step sheet. Some great songs are Brooks & Dunn classic “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” which makes for a great match with Tush Push, as does Alan Jackson’s “Chattahoochee.” Let’s have Robert Wilson, five-time world champion of country dance, working with artists like Taylor Swift, Kerry Underwood, Brad Lesley, take us through this one:

Step sheets and YouTube videos are helpful, but there is no replacement for hitting the dance floor to practice those shuffles and slides! With thousands of different line dances out there, we could keep rambling on, but why not grab your dancing boots, come on by the Grizzly Rose for a line dance lesson or two? We promise to show you why the most popular country line dance steps and a hoot and hollerin’ good time!

Country Music Best

Why Country Music is the Best

Country music is the best, but you probably already know that! Whether you’re a lifelong fan or just started listening, have you ever stopped to think about what it is that makes it so great? Even through all the different types played by various artists over the years, most of it shares some common traits that contribute to it having such a fun and nice feel to it. It’s more than just the sound, and it also has to do a lot with the lifestyle.

Mosey on through this list to see some of the reasons why country music is the best.

Why Country Music is the Best

Positive Values

Some music styles follow rebellious themes that encourage people to become trouble makers, and others flat out promote breaking the law and hurting others. Fortunately, country music most often pumps out positive values to listeners. Many, but not all, follow positive messages that help people on a bad day, or encourage them to make the world a better place when they’re on top. While so many other genres nowadays are all about showing off a certain lifestyle, country music more often than not is about enjoying the outdoors and the people around you.


Aside from just being uplifting and positive, a lot of country songs celebrate life in the USA. It makes sense given the all-American history of the genre. While there are some similar genres in other countries, for the most part country music is an American thing, and we like it that way! It came out of the folk and blues music in the South, and it spread its way across the vast beauty of America. Country music makes people feel proud of their country and a great reason why country music is the best.

Country Music is Best

Modern Hits Are as Good as the Classics

Like all types of music, country has gone through some changes over the years. You might prefer the raw sound of the old timers, or maybe you like the evolved crispness of the new artists. But, whether your favorite is Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, or Blake Shelton, most people agree that all the eras of country had nice sounds.

Great for Dancing

If you haven’t tried dancing to country music, then you’ve never really listened to it! Unlike many other forms of popular music, country dancing allows you to get out and get involved with a group of people, so it has an extra social aspect. You can try one of the Two-Step forms, or a Western group like the Line or Square dance. There’s something nice and old-fashioned about dancing with a partner or in a group, which makes going out and dancing to country music such a great time!

Don’t be shy about trying to learn some dancing. It’s fairly easy compared to other types (like Salsa or Tango) and learning to get the steps down is always fun. At the Grizzly Rose we offer a variety of dance lessons for both individuals and couples.

Why Country is the Best Type of Music

Clean Lyrics

Another benefit of country music is that most of it is family friendly. It very rarely has any bad words or other questionable lyrics, so you won’t find yourself covering the ears of little cowboys and cowgirls listening along. And when you mix that with the first point about family values, you find that country music is a great art form to create an activity for families of all ages.

Brings People Together

Whether you’re young, or old, or single, or parents of five, there are plenty of ways country music can bring you together as a social activity. Putting it on the speakers while hanging out at home really puts on a nice background, but going to a dance hall or live concert give you a more active way to make use of your cowboy boots. There are songs that are perfect for romantic dates, and others that really liven up a backyard barbecue. Country music is a great way to bring people together.

Why Country Music is the Best

Cowboy Fashion

Speaking of cowboy boots, one of the most fun parts of country music is the fashion around it. Inspired by the Wild West, everyone gets to wear boots, hats, belt buckles, checkered shirts, and all the other fun gear designed for roaming the plains on horseback. Fortunately, this gives the freedom to be at the height of fashion without needing to hold up a stagecoach to pay for it, and the different variations make it possible for people of all ages and body tops to look good.

Grab Your Dancin’ Boots!

Of course, this list could go on forever about all the wonders of country music, but we’re sure you’re already convinced! If you aren’t convinced that country music is the best, then come on by the Grizzly Rose and we will show you why it’s such a fantastic good time!

Interview with Thompson Square

We’re excited to be hosting Thompson Square once again on March 3rd. Click here for tickets. We had the opportunity to chat with Keifer Thompson of Thompson Square, to ask him some questions about the band, his life, and music in general.

How did you meet each other?

We met each other at a singing competition and started dating almost immediately. At the time we were doing individual things, but after we started dating we were singing together at home a lot. We quickly realized we didn’t like being away from each other much, so making music together just seemed like the natural thing to do. We co-exist really well and have tons of fun with it. It’s been a really great thing. There hasn’t been another married couple in 40 some years doing what we do. Its important being together and now we have a kid together.

What’s it like working together as husband and wife? Do you ever get tired of each other?

Were human, we get sick of each other, we have some fights. But it works out most of the time!

Congratulations on the birth of your child about a year ago. How much has that had an impact on your music career and schedule?

Everything has to be great! We don’t have any time for mediocrity and we’re very busy. Cooper has been a huge inspiration for us and brought a lot of emotion to our songs. We’ve got a fantastic nanny which helps a ton. He’s a great traveler too. We are very fortunate to have our family together so often!

Thompson Square Cooper

Will you encourage your child to be a country musician?

We will encourage him to do whatever he wants to do. He’s already got the music bug, we can see it. He’s already rocking out all the time. We think he’s got rhythm inside him. But we will encourage him to follow his dreams no matter what they are. Open our eyes to what he’s in to. If he wants to be a soccer player, let’s do it. I’ll get him shin guards, lessons, or whatever he needs. We would like him to learn an instrument even if it’s just as a hobby or for his cognitive development. However, if he really likes music, we would love it and support him in that for sure!

Have you played at the Grizzly Rose before?

Many times! At least 6-8 times so far, it’s one of our favorite venues in the whole country. Our shows have always been packed and sold out. There’s a great energy in that place. Honestly, we wish there was more places like the Rose. We really are looking forward to coming back!

Where was the most memorable show you ever played?

The first time we played the Opry, that’s always something to remember. Also, when we played a show in Grand Rapids it was the first time the audience knew all the words and sung ‘Kiss Me’ back to us. It was a really good feeling! The VMA awards was also a big one.

If at this point in your life you could no longer work as a musician or in the music industry at all, what profession would you pursue?

I would probably build motorcycles. I love tinkering with old motorcycles. I also love to cook. One day we may get into the restaurant business. That could be a fun adventure.

Thompson Square Interview
Who were your biggest influences?

My parents listened to a lot of Elvis Presley so I was influenced by him quite a bit at a young age. Merle Haggard made me fall in love with his song writing. Bruce Springsteen made me want to be an artist. Steve Ray Vaughan made me want to play the guitar. To be honest I was influenced by so many people. I fell into Bob Dylan’s beautiful music ‘hole’ for a long time and had to consciously pull myself out of it because it had such a profound influence on me. I love Tom Petty. I even think Justin Bieber’s last singles were good! In other genres I think Eminem was one of the most innovate artists out there. It’s seriously intimidating what he can do with words.

What moment in your life did you feel the most country?

I had a belt buckle you could eat dinner on when I moved to Nashville. I dressed in a cowboy hat, boots and all that most of my life. I’m a country guy. I grew up on my grandpa’s farm. We used to pick our own potatoes. The first thing I drove was a 1930 Ford tractor! I knew how to plow and all that. I have always been around a country lifestyle. My dad was a salesman who lived in a 3 piece suit, but at home he was always in Wranglers. That being said, I can’t stand when people judge country by just clothes. No matter what people wear that stuff is embedded in them. I might live in the city, but always will have country inside. Shotguns my whole life. Shawna was raised on a farm as well. Were just two country people.

What was the best show you ever were in the audience before (any genre)?

I always had a problem with going to concerts. It’s like watching football when you want to be an athlete. Tesla and Great White was the first concert I went to. KISS blew me away. I’ve seen them 3-4 times and they are amazing to me. They talked before each song which is a ‘no-no’ in live music, but they are so big it doesn’t matter. Those were my favorite shows until I saw Springsteen in Jersey. It was the first show after Clarence died. I’ve always been a huge Springsteen fan. He’s made a big impact on my songwriting. That one Springsteen show though was just incredible. I had just read the book about Clarence it was a gift from Shawna. With Clarence on the jumbotron as a tribute, Bruce played 3 hours or more and he’s in his mid-sixties! I felt like you had to pull him off stage to make him stop. It made me want to up my game as an entertainer. He’s the only artist that I really noticed that keeps getting better and better. I never thought I would say that. He just continues to evolve. He’s so impressive. Don’t know if I could do 3 hours every night like he does.

I also saw Pink Floyd on the Wall Tour at Yankee Stadium. I wasn’t even a fan of their music per-say, but the show kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I barely knew their music, but I was completely captivated by it.

Which song is currently the most fun for you to perform live?

You make it look so good. It’s a new fresh song that was written for us. One of my favorite things in our shows that we do.

Wild Western Towns in USA

Wild Western Towns in the USA

Maybe you’re a cowgirl or cowboy at heart, but you were born in a time when the Wild West has disappeared. You dream of roaming the plains on horseback, playing cards in a saloon, and waking up each morning ready for an adventure.

But wait, is the Wild West really gone?

It’s not the same as it was in the 1800s, but there are still plenty of towns left that feel just like the Wild West.

How We Chose Them

Before giving the list, let’s go over how we picked the towns. Looking for something with a Wild West feeling can lead you to a few different types of places, so we focused on three kinds. The first is the most obvious, and those are places that were famous in the Old West, and are preserved to look the same. The next is places which have modernized, but have the comfortable feeling of present-day cowboys and cowgirls. Third, we chose towns that have updated to modern standards, but kept some of the crazy nature of the Wild West.

Wild Western Towns in USA

Dodge City, Kansas

This famous town in Kansas got its start in 1847 when Fort Mann was built to protect people on the Santa Fe Trail. Times were hard, however, and it only survived about a year. But, it wasn’t long before a safer fort popped up in the same place, and this eventually led to a town next to it. Then the railroad came, and cows were shipped through on their way to other parts of the country. It may have modernized, but it still has a lot of bits of old Dodge spread around.

Dodge City Kansas

Tombstone, Arizona

This town deep in the Arizona desert was one of the big spots towards the end of the Wild West time period. It was a big mining town, and it had plenty of cultural activities (like an opera house) for the rich folk, and a great selection of saloons, gambling halls, and other less respectable place for the grittier types. It’s most famous for the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and you can still see recreations of this on a regular basis in its original setting, as much of the town is preserved how it was.

Tombstone Arizona

Oatman, Arizona

This town in Arizona isn’t as well-known as some of the others, but it has some pretty distinct characteristics. To start, the name comes from a pretty interesting story. It was chosen in honor of Olive Oatman, who was the daughter of settlers that had been kidnapped for slavery by a Native American tribe. She was sold to the Mohave tribe, and eventually set free.

Nowadays the town is a revived ghost town (still giving it that Wild West appearance), and is most famous for its wild burros that wander the streets and happily accept food.

Oatman Arizona

Cody, Wyoming

This town was named in honor of “Buffalo Bill” Cody, and it doesn’t get much more Western than that. Not only does it have a whole selection of museums from the good old days, but it also hosts enough rodeos to comfortably call itself the “Rodeo Capital of the World.”

Cody Wyoming

Virginia City, Nevada

This town struck it rich with silver, but the atmosphere was preserved long after the mine was empty. You can view some museums, take a trip into the mine, stroll down the main street at high noon, or just drink whiskey in a saloon.

Virginia City Nevada

Deadwood, South Dakota

You might immediately think of a TV series when you hear this name, but it’s far from fictional. Gold was found in the nearby Black Hills in the 1870s, so the town attracted plenty of ambitious people. However, it wasn’t in the safest area, so many of these were a little rough around the edges. Gambling and prostitution were big business, and many locals took the law into their own hands (you know, with their revolvers). Even the famous gunman Wild Bill Hickok was shot here!

Deadwood South Dakota

Durango/Silverton, Colorado

Both of these Colorado mountain towns have quite the cowboy character, but one of the best parts is the thing that links them. This narrow gauge railroad is pulled by a steam engine for 45 miles through a beautiful stretch of mountains. You won’t even need to use your imagination to feel like you’ve gone back in time.

Durango Colorado

Bandera, Texas

This town doesn’t shy away from calling itself the “Cowboy Capital of the World.” There are gunfight reenactments, dude ranches, chuck wagon dinners, plenty of rodeos, and enough saloons to sit in and feel like you’re still in the Old West.

Bandera Texas

Denver, Colorado

Just because it’s become one of the most popular cities in the country lately, most people would write off Denver as a Wild West Town, but that would be a mistake. It’s loaded with cowboy history, annually hosts the National Western Stock Show (one of the largest of its kind), and it’s home to the Grizzly Rose. What more could you really want?

Denver Colorado

Explore the Wild West!

If you know anything about the Wild West, you’d know there’s no way to list all of its best towns at once, so this is just a taste. Saddle up your horse, and let us know what other spots you find!

Interview with Big SMO

Big SMO February 10th at the Grizzly Rose: Click Here for More Information

Have you played at the Grizzly Rose before?

Yes! We sold the Rose out our first time there and have been looking forward to our return show since then.

What is the most memorable concert you ever attended (not played at yourself)?

It was Pink Floyd in 1994  at the Division Bell Tour in Nashville, TN at Vanderbilt University. I was with my brother and is was “far out.”

What is the most memorable show that you played that sticks out as your favorite of all time?

When I opened up for Lynyrd Skynyrd in Louisiana. We were filming for the TV show & I got to freestyle on Sweet Home Alabama Live With The Band!

Who is currently your favorite artist to listen to in any genre (besides yourself)?

There are many artists I listen to in different genres:

  • Country: Jerry Reed, William Michael Morgan, ZacBrown
  • Hip-Hop: RickRoss, Hopsin, MGK, Yelawolf
  • Pop: Adele, The Weeknd, Amy Winehouse
  • Tech Pop: Elephant, Chainsmoker, Skrillex
  • Classic Rock: Pink Floyd, The Doors, Led Zeppelin
  • Rock: Alice In Chains, Tool, STP

What moment in your life did you feel the most ‘Country’?

When I was a kid running wild on my farm, playing in the creek and just spending all of my time in the woods.

Big SMO Live

What is your least favorite part about being a musician?

Mixing business with an art that you love is a hard line to walk.

What’s your favorite thing to do when you aren’t playing music?

Hanging with my kids, cooking, hunting and muddin’.

Which song is currently the most fun for you to perform live?

Ain’t Nothin Free, the crowd really loves it!

Who was your biggest influence, either in music or life in general?

My father, who passed to cancer almost 10 years ago, has always been my biggest influence. Even to this day I see him in almost everything that I do. Thanks Dad!

What’s one thing about your band that people would not expect?

I am the only guy in the band that has kids! None of the other guys have ever been married or have had children.

Connect with Big SMO

A History of Bull Riding

The History of Bull Riding

Eight seconds doesn’t really sound like a long time, does it? Well, if you find yourself clinging to the back of a gigantic, angry bull, then it suddenly feels a lot longer. That’s what bull riders face today, and it’s incredibly impressive when they’re able to muscle through the challenge successfully.

You’ve probably spent quite a few hours in a country music bar with some bull riding on TV, and maybe you’ve even watched it live at a rodeo or competition. But, do you really know the history of the sport? C’mon now partner, it’s required knowledge for all cowboys and cowgirls!

The History of Bull Riding

Good to Know: Difference Between a Bull and a Steer

Before we hop on the bull, it’s a good idea to be clear about some terminology. The difference between a bull and a steer is old knowledge for true ranchers, but you might not know it if you grew up in a city. But, don’t worry! There’s still time to learn.

A bull and a steer can both start out as the same species, but they head down different paths at an early age in life. Steers are castrated in their youth, and this prevents them from being used for breeding. The main reason for this is that they’re more calm and easier to manage, but their bodies develop more like that of the females because of the lack of testosterone. Bulls, though, are more aggressive, bigger, and stronger. They’re a lot to handle, but they can reproduce, give more meat (when slaughtered), and are ideal competitors to ride in a competition.

How People Started Riding Bulls

If you want to find the first person to hop on the back of an angry bull, you’d probably have to travel back to ancient times. On the other hand, you can look a lot closer if you want to find the birth of our modern sport. Charreadas were an old Mexican tradition where farmers and ranchers showed off their skills with the horses and other animals, and part of this was seeing how long they could hang on to a bull. Unfortunately, their earlier versions of bull riding didn’t end until the death of the cow, but it eventually changed to the more humane method of stopping when the animal got tired.

Bull Riding History

Evolution of Bull Riding

By the middle of the 1800s, this sport had become quite popular in the farming areas of Texas and California. However, it also got the attention of lawmakers, and they passed a few laws to make sure it wasn’t creating a miserable life for the animals. This caused a change in the competitions, but the concept survived and evolved through the growth of Wild West Shows and rodeos. The rules slowly changed, but the basic concept has remained the same.

Colorado’s Own PBR

Rodeos have been popular around the country for many years, but it always seemed like the competitors on the backs of bulls were the center of the show. However, many of them felt that the traditional rodeo format was limiting the potential of the sport. So, the PBR, or Professional Bull Riders Inc, was started by a group of the best athletes in 1992, and it brought bull riding to the modern world. About 20 riders were sitting around thinking of ways to boost the sport, and they all chipped in $1,000 to start this organization. Now it has more organized competitions, better TV deals, and prizes worthy of the risk. It’s managed to take a concept started by ranchers and turn it into a must-see sporting event around the world.

Bull Riding

Animal Welfare

One of the big concerns about bull riding is that it’s abusive to animals. While it’s less relaxing than wandering through a grassy field, the modern sport takes quite nice care of the bulls. They become worth a lot of money if they’re a good competitor, so the owners are motivated to keep them healthy. Since the painful parts, such as electric cattle prods, are no longer allowed in major US competitions, the sport ironically is much more dangerous for the human competitors who can fall off.

Show Off Your Skills at the Grizzly Rose

Not everyone has the opportunity (or the courage) to hop on a bucking bull, but technology has stepped in to make sure the average rodeo fans still have a chance. Mechanical bulls have started popping up around the country, and the controllable speed of the fake bovine allows for anyone to take a ride.

Have you ever tried showing off your skills? Do you want to?

Come on down to the Grizzly Rose, and see if you can hang on to our mechanical bull. Don’t worry if you don’t turn out to be professional material, we have plenty of drinks and great country music to lift your spirits!

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.

Colorado Leaves Color Change

Colorado’s Best Spots to Watch the Leaves Change

Country music was born out of the love that Americans had for roaming the great outdoors in search of freedom and beauty. That’s why it makes such a great soundtrack for any exploring we may do – even though most of us have replaced our horses with cars.

Colorado has more beauty than most of the world, and one of the best times to take advantage of this is when the leaves brighten up in the fall. You don’t necessarily have to make a big trek to see some pretty trees, but there are some extra special places – some near, others far – that are worth visiting this time of year.

So put your favorite country tunes on the radio, grab your camera, and go build some memories!

Buffalo Pass

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 3 ½ hours, 172 milesLeaves Changing in Colorado

This pass is located near Steamboat Springs, and it’s a great trip for anyone wanting plenty of

hiking options. You’ll have the opportunity to wander through multiple of aspen groves, see some lakes,

and lounge in high-altitude meadows. After the seeing the leaves, why not take off your boots and rest

your sore feet in the hot springs?

Castle Creek Road

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 3 ½ hours, 166 miles

This is another good opportunity to see some aspen groves when their tiny, round leaves turn into various shades of orange and yellow. Also, it’s a pretty appropriate place to view them since it’s right next to Aspen – you know, the old mining town which turned into a hangout for the rich and famous. But, if you want to skip the glamor of the 21st century, you could stop by the nearby ghost town of Ashcroft. Only a handful of its old buildings are still standing, but it’s enough to take you back to the good old days.

Cottonwood Pass

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 2 ¾ hours, 144 miles

This pass sits between Buena Vista and Crested Butte, and it makes a pretty impressive crossing of the Continental Divide. It also allows you to drive (or do some walking) through some intense valleys full of Aspens.

Fall Leaves Change Color ColoradoDallas Divide

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 5 ½ hours, 335 miles

This one is a bit of a drive to get to, but it’s worth it. It’s down on the San Juan Range near Telluride, and you’ll have a lot of scenery to enjoy before you get there. Also, the 14,158 foot Mount Sneffels sits off in the distance, so you might even be lucky to see some snow shimmering on the peak.

Grand Mesa

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 4 ½ hours, 252 miles

This is another that’s a bit of a trek to get to, but you’ll mosey far out of the touristy areas, so you’re much more likely to have it all to yourself. Plus, you’ll get to follow the Colorado River for some of the drive.

Kebler Pass

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 4 ½ hours, 200 miles

Kebler Pass is pretty close to Gunnison, CO, and heading all that way is rewarded by seeing one of the largest aspen groves in the world. These trees grow so close together because they’re all connected by a common root system, so it’s truly a spectacular site to see a large group of them changing color.

La Veta Pass

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 3 hours, 200 miles

This drive goes up over 9,000 feet, and nature just engulfs you in an amazing way. There are groves of aspen trees mixed in with green pine trees, and the sharp contrast of colors makes them all seem more vivid.

Maroon Bells

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 3 ½ hours, 167 miles

Once you get to these peaks surrounding a lake near Aspen, you’ll probably have a feeling of déjà vu. No you haven’t been here before, but these two fourteeners are arguably the most photographed mountains in North America – and for good reason. It’s breathtaking any time of year, but the changing leaves make the view even more perfect.

Peak to Peak Scenic and Historic Byway

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 1 ½ hours, 70 miles

This historic road is the oldest scenic byway in Colorado dating back to the early 1900s. It starts in Estes Park, then it loops through some amazing scenery in the mountains for about 55 miles before hooking up with Interstate 70. It’s an easy trip from Denver, and a great loop to make in the autumn.

Colorado Leaves Color ChangeThe San Juan Skyway on the Million Dollar Highway

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 6 hours, 340 miles

This 236-mile long byway is one of the prettiest roads on the planet. It loops through Telluride, Durango, Silverton, and a view other towns to give you a diverse set of amazing views. In short, this one takes quite the drive to get to, but it’s worth every second you’ll spend in the car.

Trail Ridge Road

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 2 hours, 110 miles

This one is pretty close to home as the crow flies, and it just so happens to be the highest continuously paved road in North America. It peaks over 12,000 feet, so you’ll get to see trees and plant life at all levels of oxygen.

Time to Go!

There are quite a few options to choose from, but don’t procrastinate! These epic views only happen once a year, and they’re gone before you know it. It’s time to go hit the ol’ dusty trail!

Cross Country Horseback USA

Riding a Horse Across the USA

Have you ever ridden a horse? Did you feel like a true a cowboy roaming the Wild West? You should, but a few other modern rebels may have you beat. If you’re satisfied with your past experiences, then you should stop reading now, but if you want to open up a whole new world of possibilities, then you need to hear this!

Travel Horseback Across USA

Alex McNeill and Pepper

Alex McNeil is a man experienced in journeys that cover great distances, but he recently completed one that would make any old cowboy or cowgirl proud. He rode from Oregon to New Hampshire on the back of his trusty horse, Pepper. It was an adventure that covered about 4,000 miles through all types of landscapes, and although the challenges were major, the rewards were even greater.

Not an Experienced Rider

You probably assume that McNeil has been riding horses his whole life, and that’s what motivated him to do this. Well, that’s not the case. He had actually never ridden a horse before he decided on this track. But, that doesn’t mean he was making irresponsible or dangerous choices. He spent months learning everything he could about horses, and people who were much more knowledgeable about the animals took the time to work with him and Pepper to make sure they were prepared.

USA Cross Country Horse Travel

He’s Not the Only One

It may seem like long-distance trips on horseback went out of fashion when the Wild West was tamed, but there have been quite a few people recently who have made similar trips to the one McNeill and Pepper did. There have been plenty of pairs of human and horse who have successfully completed the journey, and there are sure to be more.

Allen Russel and King Hoppy Kono

This duo made their trek back in 1975, but they took a slightly different route. They started up at the Canadian border, and they traveled all the way down the Rocky Mountains until they got to Mexico. The total distance was a little bit shorter since it was only about 2,400 miles, but keeping to the mountains let them stay in remote areas most of the time. Plus, they didn’t have any of the handy tech gadgets we have today, so it required a lot of old-fashioned navigating. Time travel may be impossible, but a trip like this could make it seem like it’s not such a far-fetched idea.

Ride a Horse Across the USA

Bill Inman and Friends

Another more recent journey was made in 2008, and that’s when a man named Bill Inman set off with his wife and a few friends acting as a support group. Inman had become upset about how divided and full of controversy the country seemed on the news, so he wanted to do his part to bring the real spirit of America to the spotlight. Along the way, he met a ton of nice people, shared a lot of interesting stories, and successfully proved that our country is still full of amazing and happy people.

Safety of Riding a Horse so Far

Before you hop out the window and land on a horse, keep in mind that trips like this aren’t for everyone. They take a lot of planning. A lot. And there are quite a few risks involved.

Also, most importantly, you have to remember that it’s not just your life that will be impacted. You’re going to be responsible for an amazing animal, and the loyal horse will also be facing the dangerous risks.

Cross Country Horseback USA

Do the Proper Planning

If you’re thinking about grabbing your hat, boots, and horse to make a journey like this, make sure to do your homework before hopping in the saddle. You’ll be able to stop places for supplies part of the way, but you’ll have to be able to sustain yourself in the wilderness for much of the time. You’ll need food, water, clothing, shelter, medicine, and much more for both you and your horse.

Also, make sure you know how to navigate. Leading a horse through the wilds of America is pretty different from punching in an address on your car’s GPS. Plus, just knowing how to get somewhere doesn’t mean you can easily do it on a horse. And what about crossing major highways or large rivers? You need a bridge, but not all bridges are safe for horses to prance across.

But don’t let all of this scare you! Once you hit the trail, you’ll realize that you’re on the trip of a lifetime – just make sure you’re ready for it.

We’re Here, Horse or Not

We haven’t mentioned everyone who has made a similar journey on horseback, but you get the idea. It’s obvious that some of you are already dreaming of the wide-open spaces you’re going to spend your days in, but others are probably skeptical of making such a trip – and that’s just fine. Even if you don’t feel like going on such an intense journey, you’re still more than welcome to head down to Grizzly Rose. We’ll make you feel like a cowboy or cowgirl – no horse required.