Articles by Dan Milliken

Single Review: Eric Church, "Creepin'"

July 18, 2012 // 10 Comments

Eric Church has said that “Smoke a Little Smoke” is the single that changed his career. He’s totally right. Though he’d had bigger chart hits with tamer material, “Smoke” reintroduced Church as a fully formed artist, marrying his all-too-established swagger to a bold lyric and one of Jay Joyce’s feistiest productions. It didn’t matter that the gatekeepers at country radio winced, stalling the song at #16; fans made “Smoke” a Gold single, and critics joined them in eagerly awaiting Church’s next effort.

Thank You, Chris Neal

June 19, 2012 // 30 Comments

The country music community has lost a true beacon this week with the passing of Chris Neal, a superlative journalist and ally to independent blogs like ours.

As a ten-year staff writer for Country Weekly and a contributor to the Village Voice, Nashville Scene, Performing SongwriterThe 9513, and other publications, Chris helped set the standard for modern country music commentary, combining clear-eyed observations with his trademark acerbic wit. In a decade of confounding change for the genre’s industry and sound, he was a fearless voice of reason, equally comfortable celebrating country’s evolution and – no other word will do – “facepalming” over its less endearing new habits. His recent work as Senior Editor of M Music & Musicians has only broadened his impact, delivering on his passion for all varieties of good music.

Single Review: Little Big Town, "Pontoon"

April 29, 2012 // 12 Comments

This new Little Big Town single sounds cool. Surprise? Nah – they always sounded cool with Wayne Kirkpatrick producing, and new helmsman Jay Joyce brings the same quirky groove-sense he brought to Eric Church’s Chief. It’s a good sonic match.

Single Review: Kix Brooks featuring Joe Walsh, “New to This Town”

April 5, 2012 // 2 Comments

I’ve always liked Kix as a singer, so I was happy to see that this single exists. He’s got one of those modest-but-charming Everyman voices, the kind that makes every song feel like a conversation with your ol’ pal.

He also sounds positively thrilled to flex it for us again, which is just infectious. Listen to how he relishes every note of “New to This Town,” like he doesn’t want waste a moment of this reintroduction. Love that! I love that.

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