Author Archives: Kevin John Coyne

Single Review: Rascal Flatts, “Riot”

Rascal Flatts Riot

Rascal Flatts

Written by Jaron Boyer and Sara Haze

This is quite the quiet riot.  Rascal Flatts return to their signature ballad sound on “Riot”, which has moments that sound like a throwback to “What Hurts the Most.”

Unlike that classic hit, which soared with melodramatic intensity, this one never leaves first gear.  All of the effective atmosphere that’s built up during the first verse dissolves into a very bland chorus that lacks any punch.  Perhaps that’s because the whole conceit of there being “a riot breaking up my heart” if their love goes south doesn’t make much sense.

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Single Review: Mo Pitney, “Country”

Mo Pitney Country

Mo Pitney

Written by Bill Anderson, Mo Pitney, and Bobby Timberlin

At first, Mo Pitney’s “Country” sounds like one of those songs they used to write to open an awards show back in the eighties.   But as the song progresses, the scope of what he’s describing as country expands, until it moves into the surprisingly touching final verse that details a funeral for a fallen soldier.

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Single Review: Mickey Guyton, “Better Than You Left Me”

Mickey Guyton Better Than You Left Me

“Better Than You Left Me”
Mickey Guyton

Written by Mickey Guyton, Jennifer Hanson, and Jenn Schott

This is pretty much how a country ballad is supposed to sound, as far as I’m concerned.  Nothing says heartache like a steel guitar, and if you’re going to sing with vulnerability, it’ll do a lot of the heavy lifting for you.   All you need to do is show up with a decent lyric, not let the production get in the way, sing the song well, and you’re done.

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Single Review: Gloriana, “Trouble”

Gloriana Trouble


Written by Ross Copperman, Mike Gossin, Jon Nite, and Rachel Reinert

I’m starting to think there’s a group of guys in Nashville who have only two things going for them: the ability to sing “whoa-oh-whoa” and enough dirt on every record producer to blackmail them into singing on thirty records a year.

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Single Review: Carrie Underwood, “Little Toy Guns”

Carrie Underwood Little Toy Guns

“Little Toy Guns”
Carrie Underwood

Written by Chris DeStefano, Hillary Lindsey, and Carrie Underwood

With her latest single, Carrie Underwood once again reaffirms that she is among the best and most compelling artists of modern country music.

A depiction of verbal and emotional abuse on an epic scale, “Little Toy Guns” captures a truth not often talked about: that domestic violence can wound and scar without ever once raising a hand or breaking the skin, and can cause lasting collateral damage beyond even its intended target.

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Single Review: Reba McEntire, “Going Out Like That”

Reba McEntire Going Out LIke That

“Going Out Like That”
Reba McEntire

Written by Rhett Akins, Ben Haslip, and Jason Sellers

Reba McEntire is one of the genre’s all-time greatest storytellers.  Her best material captures both the strength and vulnerability of the everyday woman, and “Going Out Like That” fits in well with her legacy of songs that are empowering without sacrificing believability.

McEntire is also one of the genre’s all-time greatest stylists, and that’s where her new single falls short.  The song is delivered in mostly a monotone, with few of her signature curlicues.   She just never gets out of the starting gate for some reason.  The song doesn’t require it to be effective, but a little more variety would’ve been nice.

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Single Review: Brad Paisley, “Crushin’ It”

Brad Paisley Crushin It

“Crushin’ It”
Brad Paisley

Written by Kelly Lovelace, Lee Thomas Miller, and Brad Paisley

A half-hearted attempt by Brad Paisley to meld his signature form of humor with the partying lyrics that make up most of the radio dial today, “Crushin’ It” sounds a bit more like “Slummin’ it.”

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Single Review: The Swon Brothers, “Pray For You”

Swon Brothers Pray For You

“Pray For You”
The Swon Brothers

Written by Jessi Alexander, Tommy Lee James, and Eric Paslay

If you thought the only thing missing from today’s warmed-over, wannabe rock but we’re calling it country was mixing it with the worst of the genre’s previous obsession with suburban tales of faith and inspiration, I present to you…The Swon Brothers.  “Pray For You” manages to evoke the worst sonic habits of today’s country music trends while also borrowing liberally from the Hallmark Hallelujah phase the genre went through at the turn of the century.

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Single Review: Tyler Farr, “A Guy Walks into a Bar”

Tyler Farr A Guy Walks into a Bar

A Guy Walks into a Bar”
Tyler Farr

Written by Melissa Peirce, Jonathan Singleton, and Brad Tursi

Tyler Farr previews his second studio album with “A Guy Walks into a Bar”, which uses the classic joke setup to instead tell the story of a failed love affair from start to finish.

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2015 Grammy Awards: Open Thread

57th Grammy AwardsTelecast Winners:

Best Country Album: Miranda Lambert, Platinum

Album of the Year: Beck, Morning Phase

Best New Artist: Sam Smith

Record of the Year:  Sam Smith, “Stay With Me (Darkside Version)”

Song of the Year: “Stay With Me” – James Napier, William Phillips & Sam Smith

Pre-Telecast Winners:

Best Country Solo Performance: Carrie Underwood, “Something in the Water”

Best Country Duo/Group Performance: The Band Perry, “Gentle on My Mind”

Best Country Song: “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” – Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond

Best American Roots Performance: Rosanne Cash, “A Feather’s Not a Bird”

Best American Roots Song: “A Feather’s Not a Bird” – Rosanne Cash and John Leventhal

Best Americana Album: Rosanne Cash, The River & the Thread

Best Folk Album: Old Crow Medicine Show, Remedy

Best Bluegrass Album:  The Earls of Leicester, The Earls of of Leicester

Best Contemporary Instrumental Album: Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer, Bass & Mandolin

Best Historical Album: Hank Williams, The Garden Spot Programs, 1950




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