Author Archives: Kevin John Coyne

The Best Albums of 1993, Part 2: #10-#1

The combined efforts of nine women and three men form the upper echelon of our Best Albums list from 1993. This embarrassment of riches showcases just how much great music there was to choose from that year, especially given how many of the genre’s biggest and most acclaimed stars – Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Pam Tillis, just to name a few – were between albums that year.

It was also a strong and diverse enough year that despite some overall consensus among the lists of all of the writers, each one of us has a different album at #1 on our personal lists.

Enjoy the second half of our list, and look for the Singles list to kick off next weekend.

Uncle Tupelo Anodyne

#10
Uncle Tupelo

Anodyne

#1 – JK | #3 – SG

In jumping to a major label, Uncle Tupelo was supposed to give alt-country its Nirvana; though that didn’t happen, the critical acclaim and indie following that Anodyne earned served as an impetus for the nascent alt-country scene.

An album that’s both legitimately great and historically important in equal measure, Anodyne proved that alt-country was commercially viable as a refuge for artists and fans who felt at-odds with the increasingly slick mainstream country of the early 1990s. Borne of long-simmering conflicts between co-frontmen Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar, Anodyne is a sprawling and ambitious album that finds Uncle Tupelo at their most fully-realized as a band.

Drawing heavily from country-rock, folk, and traditional styles, it’s easy to hear the band’s lingering influence on both contemporary Americana and on modern country acts like Miranda Lambert and Eric Church. – Jonathan Keefe

Recommended Tracks:
“Acuff-Rose,” “The Long Cut,” “Chickamunga”

 

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The Best Albums of 1993, Part One: #20-#11

Today, we kick off our Best of 1993 feature with the first part of our album retrospective.  Included in this list are the debut albums of two underrated singer-songwriters, confident projects from the genre’s leading ladies, and highlights from legends of both the mainstream and alternative country landscapes.

When our writers wax rhapsodic about the glory days of the nineties, one reason why is that albums as great as this aren’t even among the top ten albums of the year.

Look for the conclusion of the albums list tomorrow and the singles list next weekend!

Lari White Lead Me Not

#20
Lari White

Lead Me Not

#9 – JK | #19 – KJC

Rather than establishing a clear identity for Lari White as an artist, Lead Me Not made for an eclectic debut, as White and producer Rodney Crowell explored styles ranging from traditional country and jazzy torch ballads to torrid Southern gospel and even Latin-flavored pop-country. What made the album such a compelling listen, then, were White’s wry POV as a songwriter and her powerhouse, note-perfect performances. Though Lead Me Not proved that Lari White would remain a difficult act to pigeonhole, it also established her as an artist of uncommon range and a singer of real depth and power. – Jonathan Keefe

Recommended Tracks: “Lead Me Not,” “What a Woman Wants,” “Don’t Leave Me Lonely,” “Good Good Love”

 

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Daily Double Top Five: Most Played Tracks

Willie Nelson Merle Haggard Django and JimmieBack in the day, we used to do iPod checks.   Seemed so current at the time!

Now, we’re gonna ask you to go to Spotify or your phone or whatever, and just let us know what you’re listening to the most.

Two Daily Top Fives Today:  Your five most played songs from a 2015 album, and your most played country songs of all time.

Here are my lists, sticking to one song per artist:

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Single Review: Bret Michaels, “Girls on Bars”

Bret Michaels Girls on Bars

“Girls on Bars”
Bret Michaels

Written by Luke Laird and Bret Michaels

I’m a few years too young to have taken Poison seriously.

Now, I always leaned more toward pop and country anyway, but I listened to the rock and the hip-hop of my day, too.  So if I was five years older, I probably would’ve listened to Poison.

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Single Review: McKenna Faith, “Somethin’ Somethin'”

McKenna Faith Somethin Somethin

“Somethin’ Somethin'”
McKenna Faith

Written by McKenna Faith, Caleb Sherman, and Monique Staffile

You forgot to finish the song.

But I’ll still finish the review.

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Daily Top Five: Palate Cleansers

Rosanne Cash Rules of TravelIt’s gotten to the point that I can’t listen to more than two country singles in a row without wanting to hurt somebody.

So here’s the daily top five.  What are some songs that are your palate cleansers, that you can always go back to when you need to wipe out the aftertaste of some really bad music?

Here’s my list:

  1. Alison Krauss & Union Station, “The Lucky One”
  2. Rosanne Cash with Johnny Cash, “September When it Comes”
  3. Kathy Mattea, “Where’ve You Been”
  4. Jason Isbell, “Elephant”
  5. Carrie Underwood with Vince Gill, “How Great Thou Art”

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Single Review: Sam Hunt, “House Party”

Sam Hunt Montevallo

“House Party”
Sam Hunt

Written by Zach Crowell, Jerry Flowers, and Sam Hunt

I realize that Sam Hunt’s country music career might be little more than a stepping stone to filling one of those spinning chairs on The Voice.

But while this charade is going on, I suppose we need to take the music seriously.

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Single Review: Austin Webb, “All Country on You”

Austin Webb All Country on You

“All Country on You”
Austin Webb

Written by Mark Irwin, Josh Kear, and Chris Tompkins

Women, amirite?

Grade: D

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Daily Top Five: Second Singles

Lee Roy Parnell On the RoadSo now it’s the second day of the month.  What are your favorite second singles from albums or compilations?

I’ll pick different artists this time around:

  1. Patty Loveless, “Here I am”
  2. John Anderson, “Straight Tequila Night”
  3. Carlene Carter, “Come on Back”
  4. Lee Roy Parnell, “I’m Holdin’ My Own”
  5. Emerson Drive, “Moments”

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Single Review: Billy Currington, “Drinkin’ Town with a Football Problem”

Billy-Currington-Drinkin'-Town-with-a-Football-Problem

“Drinkin’ Town with a Football Problem”
Billy Currington

Written by Elizabeth Elkins, Aaron Henningsen, Brian Henningsen, Clara Henningsen, and Vanessa Olivarez

 What a disappointing letdown from a totally intriguing title.

I was hoping for some incisive social commentary a la Amy Schumer’s “Football Town Nights.”

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