Bobbie Jean Sawyer is a former Midwesterner living in Austin, Texas. Although she’s not from Texas, she likes to think that Texas wants her anyway. She has worked as a freelance writer since 2011 after graduating with a journalism degree from Missouri State University. Her writing has been featured in Texas Highways Magazine. When she’s not writing she can usually be found listening to country music, obsessing over western clothing, and traveling around Texas as an amateur bbq sampler.
Lorie Liebig has been writing about music since the age of sixteen when she created the first music column in her community college paper’s history. Her second article and first interview was with popular indie rockers OK Go, just a few days after winning an MTV Video Music Award. She continued to write through college, and landed a highly sought-after graduate internship in Washington D.C. at NPR Music’s All Songs Considered podcast. After her internship, she continued working at NPR Music as a Production Assistant where she helped publish daily episodes of NPR’s World Café and Mountain Stage programs. She moved from the East Coast to Nashville in April 2014, where she has been working as a freelance writer and photographer. When she’s not writing, Lorie loves watching movies, hiking, baking cookies, and singing bad karaoke on Broadway.
Matt Alpert is Editor-in-Chief of Wide Open Country. He has been in love with country music since he was a teenager when he began touring the US and abroad as a bluegrass and country guitarist. He holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oregon and has worked as a reporter for media outlets in the U.S. and Africa. He started his career at Wide Open Media as a staff writer for Wide Open Spaces.
Kris Hughes is the Director of Content Operations for Wide Open Media Group, the parent company of Wide Open Country, Wide Open Spaces and Wide Open Pets, in charge of the network's daily content strategy, personnel, and social media strategy.
Jeremy Burchard is the blonde half of country duo Moonlight Social. He’s also a graduate of the esteemed Liberal Arts Honors Rhetoric & Writing program at The University of Texas at Austin and a huge chocolate milk fan. His writings have been featured in Texas Music magazine, the Daily Texan and all over the Internet (for better or worse). A multi-instrumentalist, touring musician and active member of The Recording Academy and the Country Music Association, Burchard has spent the last decade working on his personal mission of making the world a more musical place.
Elizabeth is the author ofLone Star Liz, a blog that features her musings on life in Texas. She has been writing ever since the age of six, when her first-grade teacher forced her to learn how. A native Texan, Elizabeth grew up in Victoria and Pearland, and has lived in Austin since 2002. She loves all kinds of country music, especially Miranda Lambert, Florida Georgia Line, and George Strait. Her first country music concert was in 2002 when she saw Pat Green perform barefoot at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. When she’s not writing, Elizabeth enjoys tormenting herself on Austin’s many beautiful hike and bike trails, particularly those around Ladybird Lake.
Sean McHugh lives in Nashville, TN. A native to Nashville and graduate of Belmont University, Sean has had a number of jobs in and around music, including working for a major record label, managing bands, and concert photography. Sean has been writing for pop culture and music outlets in the US for two years now. In his free time away from writing, you’ll likely find Sean running marathons, playing basketball, mildly amusing himself on Twitter, or at a concert (he went to 200+ shows in 2016).
Bobby Moore grew up in rural Northwest Georgia surrounded by country, bluegrass, and gospel music. Like a backslidden Baptist, he distanced himself from his upbringing for the longest time, turning his attention to underground rock ‘n’ roll. Moore first rediscovered his musical roots as a public history graduate student (University of West Georgia, 2011). As an intern with the Georgia Humanities Council, he helped plan a Georgia tour of the Smithsonian’s travelling New Harmonies exhibit. He’s since become an Atlanta-based freelance writer and dreams of working in Nashville as a public historian.
Courtney lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and two dogs where she spends pretty much all of her time eating tacos, watching Hallmark, and looking for her next home project.
Holly Skaggs is a freelance writer from Oklahoma. She first fell in love with country music in '96 and has never looked back. She graduated from Northeastern State University with a B.S. in Computer Science, but has been working in freelance writing for the past two years and specializes in a number of niches and topics. She is also a self-published author and enjoys writing suspense and fantasy creative writing pieces in her spare time. She has always been a writer, but it wasn't until after college that she decided to pursue her passion in writing. When she isn't writing, she enjoys spending time with her kids, reading and listening to country music.
Thomas D. Mooney is a journalist from the small Far West Texas town of Fort Stockton, where he was raised on a healthy dose of ‘90s country (his first concert was Mary Chapin Carpenter and The Mavericks), music videos on MTV, and long dusty drives across the Trans-Pecos. He currently resides in Lubbock, where he developed the Panhandle-based music blog New Slang in 2011 to further indulge his obsession with the rich music history and currently thriving music scene of the South Plains. Over the years, he has contributed to Lone Star Music Magazine, Texas Music Magazine, and The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. He enjoys comfortable denim shirts, Topo Chico, Cormac McCarthy novels, and Terry Allen & Turnpike Troubadours records.
Ashley McElmurry is a Houston native who has found herself in the heart of Austin, Texas. With a degree in Communication and English from Texas A&M University, there was no other perfect choice other than to pursue the creative career path of writing. You can find her writing funny anecdotes on her blog or writing about music and culture for MUD Magazine. When she isn't doing that, she is most likely spending too much time forcing her cats to snuggle, finding ways to eat Ramen for every meal and attending any venue that offers up live music and a good time.
Jonathan Frahm is a writer in his early 20s with a penchant for all sorts of music, which bodes well for him in his city of Tucson, AZ and its bustling roots scene. When he isn’t diving headfirst into the unique artistic makeup of the Old Pueblo or listening to his favorite artists (amongst them: Willie Nelson, Brandi Carlile, The Avett Brothers), he’s enjoying time with his family and friends or enjoying himself a strong bowl of noodles.
Sara Dignan has been an aspiring journalist for as long as she can remember – and a country music fan for even longer. Her country music obsession started at the age of five, when she discovered the Dixie Chicks. Back in the day, Sara used to be a competitive fiddle player. When Sara isn’t playing with her dogs, cheering on the Maryland Terps or making crafts from Pinterest, she’s studying to become a TV news producer. She's previously interned and freelanced for Country Music Television (CMT), NBC News and USA Today. Sara is a senior at the University of Maryland, where she’s double majoring in Broadcast Journalism and Government. Sara is a junior at the University of Maryland, where she’s double majoring in Broadcast Journalism and Government. After graduation, Sara hopes to escape the bitter cold winters up North and move down South to work as a journalist.
Rebecca Agocs is a Massachusetts native who quickly settled in the South where the music, food, and lifestyle called her home. The first song she learned on guitar was “Wagon Wheel”, paving the way for other country classics that she heard played on repeat in the barns she grew up in. When she’s not writing, you’re most likely to find her on the back of her horse, or in the kitchen finding a new way to use too much butter.
Sara Shannon began her writing career as the editor of Chicagoland Country, a music blog she founded while living in her hometown of Chicago. An unshakeable desire to transplant to the south after graduating from the University of Illinois in 2013 led her to move to Nashville, TN, where she now works in public relations. When she’s not writing about country music, you can most likely find Sara coaching volleyball, playing violin or organizing her insanely excessive collection of mason jars.
Sarah Vrba has been writing professionally for the last decade contributing to publications like AND Magazine, 202 Magazine, Trazee Travel, The Richest, Care2 Causes and Secret. She earned her M.A. in history in 2012 and still throws a little historical trivia into her writing any chance she gets. She loves writing about beauty survival tactics, music-inspired style and the history that makes it all so enthralling.
Brandi Calhoun is a born-and-raised Texan who spent most of her youth in the middle of the west Texas oil field. A sense of wanderlust was implanted in her at a very young age and she has since worked to quench that thirst, not only by traveling but by immersing herself in each culture she comes across. She'll try almost anything at least once. Her love of writing, passion for traveling and desire to share her experiences brought her to Wide Open Country.
Roy Ivy is a long, tall Texan who's lived a lot of lives and just refuses to die. In 1990, he was a teenage country music DJ spinning the good stuff. Ten years later, he stumbled into a 25-piece orchestral rock group called The Polyphonic Spree and toured the world. Bad luck dragged him to Chicago for the next decade, where he sold Shamwows, churned copy for a coupon factory, and reviewed movies for Consequence of Sound. But now it's come full circle for Ol' Roy. He's writing about country, crafting country songs that make his mama proud/cry, and headed to Missoula, where you'll probably find him drinking at Charlie B's at 8 a.m.
Holly Perry fell in love with country music from an early age, begging her grandpa to play all the classics at only three years old. Her family has a longstanding joke that her first word was "Garth." She quickly made her way to Nashville during college, diving into the music business through internships and eventually taking a position with a major record label. She moved from Nashville to New Orleans in 2013 and began writing for AXS.com, where she interviewed artists like Kelsea Ballerini, Rachel Platten, Counting Crows and more. Holly was also the red carpet correspondent for AXS.com during the CMA Awards in 2014 and 2015. Holly has been an active member of the Recording Academy for the last several years and recently was chosen as a Grammy NEXT candidate for the 2016-2017 year, recognizing her as emerging leader in the music industry. Her passions outside of writing include live shows, animal rescue and traveling.
Bylle Breaux grew up in rural Kansas where she competed in pageants, learned to drive a Combine, and rode her horse both English and Western style. She has lived in Los Angeles for most of her adult life where she has also worked in theatre and film. As a Theology major in college, she minored in music where she discovered she was not only musically talentless, but also had extreme panic attacks from stage fright. Still, she picks away at her Dad’s guitars and sings in her car when she’s stuck in L.A. traffic. Bylle is a freelance writer with a special interest in Ameripolitan artists. She started her own music blog last year called Dirty Blonde Outlaw and has been published in Elmore, MonkeyGoose, National Rock Review and National Country Review. She is also a former Associate Publisher at Virgo Publishing and wrote her first non-fiction novel last year, which is now in the revision stages. When she has time off, she loves to spend time in Big Sur climbing trees and filling the hippie town’s jukeboxes with Outlaw country.