Articles by Kevin John Coyne

Single Review: The Band Perry, “Live Forever”

August 27, 2015 // 15 Comments

The review contrasting “Live Forever” with “If I Die Young” writes itself. Vulnerable sincerity versus bombastic arrogance. Mortality versus immortality. Acoustic country versus amped up rock. By every measurable standard, “Live Forever” is the polar opposite of “If I Die Young.”

Single Review: Carrie Underwood, “Smoke Break”

August 21, 2015 // 21 Comments

“Smoke Break” is a remarkably good attempt at a working class anthem. It’s so stylistically different from the “rah rah, let’s party this weekend” approach that has made drinking synonymous with adolescent behavior in modern country music.

Daily Top Five: Carrie Underwood Singles and Tracks

August 21, 2015 // 19 Comments

I’ve been at this whole Country Universe thing for eleven years now, and one of the early highlights of my time doing this was the arrival of Carrie Underwood. She was so, so good on American Idol, but it didn’t quite prepare me for how much I would love hearing her do original material.

Daily Top Five: Kinda Hits

August 20, 2015 // 16 Comments

Seems as good a topic as any for the day of the week known as Throwback Thursday.

While listening to a Pam Tillis hits playlist, “It’s Lonely Out There” came up early, just after some of her biggest hits and before a few other big hits.

Daily Top Five: Autobiographical Songs

August 10, 2015 // 16 Comments

Jonathan posted an excellent review of “Dime Store Cowgirl” today, which is an autobiographical song by Kacey Musgraves. Today’s top five asks you to share your favorite autobiographical country songs, the ones where the artist/writer tells their own story in song. There are so many of these I like, from Johnny Cash’s “Five Feet High and Rising” to Carlene Carter’s “Me and the Wildwood Rose,” but while making my list, I realized I couldn’t pick just one Dolly Parton song. So my top five is just songs by her. But please feel free to mix up the artists on your own list! Here’s My Top Five: Dolly Parton, “Just Because I’m a Woman” Dolly Parton, “In the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad)” Dolly Parton, “Coat of Many Colors” Dolly Parton, “Shattered Image” Dolly Parton, “Backwoods Barbie”  

Single Review: Jason Isbell, “24 Frames”

July 29, 2015 // 8 Comments

  “24 Frames” Jason Isbell Written by Jason Isbell “You thought God was an architect. Now you know. He’s something like a pipe bomb ready to blow.” If that line isn’t enough to have you itching to hear the new Jason Isbell single, “24 Frames,” then you might as well skip the rest of this review.

Daily Top Five: Least Favorite Song from Your Favorite Albums

July 29, 2015 // 11 Comments

Because turnabout is always fair play! What is your least favorite song from each of your favorite albums? Here’s my list: Dixie Chicks, “Tortured, Tangled Hearts” (Home) Mary Chapin Carpenter, “Stones in the Road” (Stones in the Road) Trisha Yearwood, “You Don’t Have to Move That Mountain” (Hearts in Armor) Brandy Clark, “Illegitimate Children” (12 Stories) Tim McGraw, “Just Be Your Tear” (Live Like You Were Dying)

The Best Singles of 1993, Part Four: #10-#1

July 28, 2015 // 5 Comments

The list comes to a close with ten classic records from some of the era’s most commercially and critically successful stars. It’s easy to be cynical about country radio these days, but unlike most of the songs on the lists we compile now, 1993’s best singles got a lot of airplay. All but one of our top ten entries reached the top five of the singles chart. If we could get a success rate today that was anywhere near that, it might be safe to turn on the radio again! Enjoy the end to this list, and us writers will enjoy that rare downtime that comes between finishing the publication of one of these lists and starting another one! #10 “Nothin’ But the Wheel” Patty Loveless Written by John Scott Sherrill Peak: #20 #3 – BF | #7 – KJC | #24 – SG Loveless’ brokenhearted narrator takes to the Read More

The Best Singles of 1993, Part Three: #20-#11

July 27, 2015 // 8 Comments

As we enter the top half of the list, signature hits by some of the era’s biggest stars rub elbows with a pair of breakthrough singles and an overlooked release by a future superstar. You’ll also find out, in case you’ve been wondering for the past 22 years, just what Dwight Yoakam sneers at the end of one of his classic records.   #20 “Soon” Tanya Tucker Written by Casey Kelly and Bob Regan Peak: #2 #13 – LW | #22 – JK | #28 – KJC | #30 – BF Cheating songs that successfully make us feel compassion for the other woman are a rarity, but “Soon” manages to make us root for the woman who finds herself in a losing cycle, one that she finally finds the strength to stop. Tanya Tucker’s sympathetic performance and the song’s soothing melody invite us to feel compassion for the woman in Read More

The Best Singles of 1993, Part Two: #30-#21

July 26, 2015 // 4 Comments

Our Best Singles of 1993 list continues with a collection of #1 hits, breakthrough hits, and should’ve been hits.  Kicking things off is the debut single from one of the decade’s most successful vocal groups. #30 “Goodbye Says it All” BlackHawk Written by Bobby Fischer, Charlie Black and Johnny MacRae Peak: #11 #9 – SG | #31 – BF BlackHawk enjoyed a nice run of hits from their debut album, including this kiss-off song. Lead singer Henry Paul was best known for his work in the Southern Rock band The Outlaws, but his distinctive voice adapted well to mainstream country, too. “Goodbye” showed off the great harmonies from the trio (Paul, Dave Robbins and the late Van Stephenson), and it also proved the adage that nothing good has ever written been down in lipstick (Patty Loveless’ “She Drew a Broken Heart” is Exhibit B). – Sam Gazdziak

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