Author Archives: Leeann Ward

Daily Top Five: Albums You’re Most Looking Forward to Purchasing

Chris Stapleton TravellerI’ve listened to this phenomenal Chris Stapleton performance from last night’s Late Night with David Letterman at least 8 times so far today. As I watched it last night, I was extremely proud to be a country music fan. If Stapleton represented what mainstream country music predominantly sounded like these days, I could proudly declare that I was a country music fan without all of the clarifications that I currently have to make.

Stapleton’s new album, Traveler, will finally be released on May 5, which can’t come fast enough. So, as a Part 2 to last night’s Daily Top Five discussion of our five most recent music purchases, tonight we’ll ask you what you hope or expect your next five music purchases will be.

Since I’ve already preordered the Stapleton album, these are the top five albums that I’m looking forward to purchasing (in release date order).

1. Alabama Shakes, Sound and Color

2. Shelby Lynne, I Can’t Imagine

3. Zac Brown Band, Jekyll + Hyde

4. Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, The Traveling Kind

5. Darrell Scott, Ten

What albums are you most looking forward to?

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Daily Top Five: First Favorite Songs by Your Favorite Artist

Vince Gill I Still Believe in YouToday, let’s list our first favorite songs by our favorite artist. Vince Gill is my favorite artist and the first song that I had heard of his is “Trying to Get Over You”, which started the beginning of my love for his voice and music. However, the songs that cemented my love for Vince were “Don’t Let Our Love Start Slipping Away” and “I Still Believe in You.”

This list isn’t necessarily my  top five favorite Vince Gill songs now, but rather, they’re the first five songs that turned me into a serious Vince Gill fan:

  1. “Trying to Get Over You”
  2. “I Still Believe in You”
  3. “Don’t Let Our Love Start Slipping Away”
  4. “When I Call Your Name”
  5. “The Heart Won’t Lie” (with Reba McEntire)

What are your top five songs that made you a fan of your favorite artist?

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Single Review: Gary Allan, “Hangover Tonight”

Gary Allan Hangover Tonight

“Hangover Tonight”
Gary Allan

Written by Gary Allan, Cary Barlowe, Jesse Frasure, and Chris Stapleton

With its play on the word “hangover” and its playful production, Allan’s latest single has a happy and silly vibe with an infectious swampy groove. “Hangover Tonight” is carefree and treads the old topic of partying, but it still stands above and apart from the loud raucous party anthems of his mainstream peers.

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Single Review: Tim McGraw with Catherine Dunn, “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools”

Tim McGraw Catherine Dunn Diamond Rings and Old Barstools

“Diamond Rings and Old Barstools”
Tim McGraw with Catherine Dunn

Written by Barry Dean, Luke Laird, and Jonathan Singleton

Tim McGraw should be applauded for finally meeting the potential that many of us had hoped for after he left the oppressive Curb Records. His most recent album, particularly his last couple singles, have dialed back the loudness, embraced a more traditional and organic sound, reconnected him with the warm vocals with which he had all but lost, and the last two singles have even presented more thoughtful lyrics than he’d been singing in the last few years.

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Single Review: Trisha Yearwood, “I Remember You”

Trisha Yearwood I remember You

“I Remember You”
Trisha Yearwood

Written by Kelly Archer, Ben Carver, and Brad Rempel

After the anthemic “Prize Fighter”, Trisha Yearwood softens things with the emotional “I Remember You.” With just an acoustic guitar and simple strings, “I Remember You” is a gorgeous tribute to the memories of someone who has passed from this life to the next.
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Single Review: Ashley Monroe, “On to Something Good”

Ashley Monroe On to Something Good

“On to Something Good”
Ashley Monroe

Written by Barry Dean, Luke Laird and Ashley Monroe

Happily, Ashley Monroe has announced a new album that will, once again, be produced by Vince Gill with the help of Justin Niebank. The lead single from the album is “On to Something Good.” Sadly, the single only makes me very cautiously optimistic instead of very optimistic.
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Single Review: Josh Turner, “Lay Low”

Josh Turner Lay Low“Lay Low”

Josh Turner

Written by Ross Copperman, Tony Martin and Mark Nesler

Good for Josh Turner for sticking with his neo-traditional country sound, even though he’s in the oft talked about minority nowadays. I don’t listen to country radio anymore, but I imagine that some people will think that “Lay Low” sounds stale and boring amongst the bombastic and party anthem “escapism” of country radio playlists these days.

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Single Review: Garth Brooks, “People Loving People”

Garth Brooks People Loving People“People Loving People”

Garth Brooks

Written by Michael Busbee, Lee Thomas Miller & Chris Wallin

There is no nuanced way to say it. Garth Brooks’ long anticipated comeback single is really bad with a little bit of good to keep it from being really, really bad.

We’ll start with the good. The message and concept of the song is admirable and hits my personal sweet spot of songs that promote love, peace and goodness in the world. He posits that it’s simply people loving people that will make the world better. It’s a simplistic view of things, but a sweet one that I can get behind on a basic level. In fact, the lyrics are well constructed and not even too cloying to sell the sentiment, which is a difficult line to balance.

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Single Review: Jason Aldean, “Burnin’ It Down”

Jason-Aldean-Burnin-It-Down“Burnin’ it Down”

Jason Aldean

Written by Rodney Clawson, Tyler Hubbard, Brian Kelley,  and Chris Tompkins

Country music isn’t historically prudish. It covers the topical gambit of love, drinking, cheating, murder and, yes, even passion. Conway Twitty, Alabama, Charlie Rich, even Alan Jackson ,as well as many others,  haven’t shied away from memorably singing about sexual intimacy. But their songs maintained a respect for the intimacy, which Jason Aldean’s “Burnin” it Down” grossly fails to do. Instead, the song is high octane graphic with no sense of real intimacy and nothing left up to the imagination.

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Song Talk: Papa Don’t Preach!

It’s fun to think of our favorite endearing songs about dads. We’ve even done it here at Country Universe a time or two. But let’s face it, dad’s aren’t always right and they’re not always wise. Here are a few songs that show villainous fathers.

While I’m so fond of my dad that I almost feel guilty about writing this Song Talk installment, my guilt is eased by knowing that he would actually be amused by the topic. So, here we go! Feel free to add your selections in the comments.

Lefty Frizzell Saginaw Michigan

Lefty Frizzell, “Saginaw, Michigan”

I was listening to this song the other day and it’s what inspired this list. It’s the classic scenario of the dad thinking that his daughter’s suitor isn’t good enough for her, but the twist at the end takes a hilarious turn!

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