For record labels, this means that most of the major albums have been released for the year. Therefore, for Country Universe, this means that we’re preparing to begin the daunting process of compiling our Best of the Year lists, which includes best singles and albums of the year.
“It turns out freedom ain’t nothing but missing you.” So sings Taylor Swift on her new release, “Back to December.” It’s always a good sign when there’s a line as memorable as that one, the kind that lingers around in your head more than the song itself.
There isn’t another turn of phrase in the same league, but the rest of the song is pleasing enough. As usual, Swift is singing to a guy, but unlike most of her musical conversations with old flames, she lays the blame squarely on herself. I appreciate the restrained vocal, though a more varied melody would’ve made the chorus quite a bit more distinctive.
Entertainer: Brad Paisley
Female Vocalist: Miranda Lambert
Male Vocalist: Blake Shelton
Vocal Duo: Sugarland
Album: Miranda Lambert, Revolution
Vocal Group: Lady Antebellum
New Artist: Zac Brown Band
Song: “The House That Built Me” – Tom Douglas & Allen Shamblin
Single: Lady Antebellum, “Need You Now”
Music Video: Miranda Lambert, “The House That Built Me”
Musical Event: Blake Shelton & Trace Adkins, “Hillbilly Bone”
Musician: Mac McAnally
Correct Prediction Tally:
10:59 Brad deserved it last year, got it this year. Carrie deserved it this year, will hopefully get it next year. When the history list is written though, nobody’s gonna care which year they won in, just that they were acknowledged. So a good end to an okay night. – KC
10:58 Very, very pleased! And what a sweet, sincere moment. – TS
10:57 You know, I’m kind of relieved. Granted, Brad gave possibly the worst performance of the night and is generally not someone I like much, but I just didn’t feel like having to listen to a bunch of whining tomorrow about Miranda or Lady A or someone winning. – DM
When the nominees were announced in August for the 44th annual CMA Awards, they sparked a firestorm of headlines —and thoughtful commentary by critics and fans alike— thanks to the CMA voters’ surprisingly bold moves. It’s all about change this year, as the voters revamped the ballot with a slew of fresh faces in almost all of the big categories.
How will it all play out? We’ll know for sure on Wednesday at 8pm Eastern, but before Gwenyth Paltrow throws on her cowboy boots, check out our staff picks and predictions and join the discussion in the comments below. And be sure to drop by Wednesday night for all of the CU live blog madness!
Sara Evans was one of the most successful female artists from the earlier part of the last decade, which was not a particularly good era for women as a whole. Her ease with both pop-flavored and purely traditional country allowed her to adapt to quickly changing trends in the genre.
This makes her catalog a fascinating one to sample. In compiling this Starter Kit, it would be easy to just list the hits. But I’ve left off some of her more overexposed tracks in favor of some gems that either didn’t quite dominate the charts or wasn’t sent to radio at all. I think her crossover numbers haven’t aged that well, anyway.
Be sure to let me know what I missed in the comment threads!
The title track got all of the love, and the most airplay of the three low-charting singles from Evans’ debut album. But I think that this is the coolest little record, with Evans sounding like the female heir to Buck Owens as she can’t even feign sympathy for the ex who is now regretting his departure.
Just follow the links below to our archival pages, all of which have just been completely updated:
Read about every nominee and winner in all major categories since the awards began in 1967, starting with a rundown of this year’s nominees in each category.
Read all features and reviews from every artist that has ever been written about on Country Universe, along with a listing of all of their industry awards and RIAA-certified albums and singles.
Our archives include every single, album, concert, music video, and DVD review we’ve ever published, listed alphabetically by artist.
Just want to see what we’ve written lately? Look back in reverse chronological order:
More new posts are on the way, including our annual rundown of Picks & Predictions for the CMA Awards and the return of Starter Kits, Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists, and Yesterday’s Songs. Stay tuned!
This episode, coupled with recently watching a very long and very entertaining documentary called Elm Street Legacy has me thinking about sleepless nights. Besides the obvious classic that this post title references, what do you think are the best songs about not being able to sleep?
When you build a song around what is essentially a pun, you have to do one of two things. Either sell the pun so well that it overcomes its inherent corniness, or build such a strong song around it that the pun doesn’t make a lasting impact.
“Kiss Me When I’m Down” tries to do both, and is mostly successful. Allan sings it so well that the focus is as much on the pain in his voice as it is on the lyrics he’s singing. Plus, the title is used so infrequently that it can’t really diminish the song as a whole. But it doesn’t elevate it, either.