Is TikTok Reviving the Honky Tonk Culture?

It’s no doubt that TikTok is having a HUGE impact on artist discovery and what drives the country music charts, but it would appear that the impact of the app is doing a whole lot more to drive country music culture on the dance floor. Of course, for an app that thrives on celebrating music and dancing, this shouldn’t surprise anyone, and I for one, am here for it!

Is TikTok Reviving the Honky Tonk Culture?

The vertical video dancing trends are jumping off the screen and right onto dance hall floors as honky tonks all across the nation see an increased interest in boot-scootin in real life.

Honky tonk culture has always ridden waves of popularity, usually driven by the silver screen with movies like Urban Cowboy and Footloose in the 80’s. In the 90’s this rose to a whole new level as mainstream country artists started releasing dance hall versions of tracks like Reba’sWhy Haven’t I Heard From You” and “Watermelon Crawl” from Tracy Byrd, adding an upbeat spin to songs we already knew and loved. These days we’ve got TikTok creators choreographing dances to songs before they’re even released to radio, so that by the time we get to Gilley‘s or Billy Bob’s we’ve all taken our lessons at home and can hit the floor in perfect synchronization.

@summerlovin522

@idomail and his group if amazing friends came and visited @cotton_eyed_joe_tn #fypシ #foryou #TN #LikeAMonarch #country #fyp #joes #line #linedance

♬ Fake ID (feat. Gretchen Wilson) – Big & Rich

And like all things country music, they may start in Nashville, but the interest is only getting hotter all across the nation. If you really want to see how high the honky tonk star is rising, check out Summer in Knoxville, TN who broadcasts live from the dance floor at Cotton Eyed Joes several nights a week, or Taylor Parish who shares clips from the best western swing dance instructors in Arizona.

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So what do the folks at TikTok have to say about all of this? Well here’s a direct quote from T’Keyah Hayes who works in TikTok’s music division:

Country is one of the more popular genres on TikTok, with its share of trending songs such as Keith Whitley’s 1985 hit “Miami, My Amy” (251.8K+ creations) and Zach Bryan’s “Oklahoma Smokeshow,” and artists like Honey County and David Morris who found massive audiences on the platform.

TikTok has become the focal point for Nashville’s line dancing scene, as patrons, dance instructors, and venues share videos of Nashvillians cutting a rug at places like Nashville Palace and Cahoots Lebanon. For local line dancing instructor Dakota Lackey, the growing popularity of the dance on the platform helped him promote his services and meet other line-dancing enthusiasts, such as Alana Andrews. Spurred on by the line dancing community on TikTok, the duo met up at Cahoots Lebanon for a night of group fun.

The TikTok line dance craze first surfaced on the platform earlier this year, and continues to grow from an unlikely source: Ed Sheeran’s 2021 song “Shivers” (312K+ creations). In addition to driving traffic to local businesses in Nashville, the popularity of country music on TikTok is also building niche communities for creators to connect. “

@dakotajlackey

A little tush push action from last night! Always a good time dancing🍺🤘🏼🤠#fyp #balancelinedancing #tennessee #ComeDanceWithMe #findyourgrace

♬ original sound – Dakota Lackey

Want to practice your two-step a bit before you take your show on the road? Then pop on over to Spotify where our very own WhiskeyChick has created a Country Music Clubhouse playlist packed with over 8 hours of honky tonk hits for all ages!

Dance along to WhiskeyChick's favorite honky tonk hits from the 70's through today on Spotify!
Dance along to WhiskeyChick’s favorite honky tonk hits from the 70’s through today on Spotify!

About Shauna "WhiskeyChick" Castorena

Shauna "WhiskeyChick" Castorena is a freelance writer for both Country Music News and Country Music On Tour. You can reach Shauna on Twitter or Facebook.

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