Articles by Tara Seetharam

2012 CMA Awards: Staff Picks & Predictions

October 28, 2012 // 38 Comments

While the rest of the country fixates on “Nashville,” the 46th annual Country Music Association Awards air live from Music City with equal drama and ridiculousness November 1 at 7 p.m. CST. The CU staff picked and predicted the awards below. Chime in with your thoughts, and check back for our live blog on Thursday night!

Entertainer of the Year 

Should Win:

  • Jason Aldean – Dan, Ben, Kevin
  • Kenny Chesney
  • Brad Paisley
  • Blake Shelton
  • Taylor Swift – Jonathan, Tara, Leeann

Will Win:

  • Jason Aldean – Dan, Ben, Jonathan, Kevin
  • Kenny Chesney
  • Brad Paisley
  • Blake Shelton
  • Taylor Swift – Tara, Leeann

Country Universe Turns Eight: Tara's Take

July 31, 2012 // 5 Comments

How to define Country Universe? Thoughtful, authentic, accessible, open-minded – all qualities established long before I came on board. Eight years in, it’s still home to a rare breed of music criticism that knows no boundaries when it comes to what moves people. I treasure that.

Single Review: Lauren Alaina, "Eighteen Inches"

July 2, 2012 // 6 Comments

Lauren Alaina’s “American Idol” legacy can be summed up in one phrase: failure to meet potential. The Season 10 runner-up kicked off her “Idol” run with a fiery display of vocal talent, but she was never able to match that confidence or sense of identity in subsequent live performances. Worse yet, her “Idol” catalogue stood in stark contrast to that of winner and fellow country artist Scotty McCreery, whose best strength was his firm grasp of self.

Single Review: Chris Young, "Neon"

May 19, 2012 // 16 Comments

Chris Young’s third single off of Neon continues to position him as an artist with a skill so few of his contemporaries possess: the ability to gracefully tread the line between vintage and current.

It’s easy to compare this title track to Brooks & Dunn’s dance hall classic, for example, but Young’s ode to a bar has legs all its own. “Neon” puts a different spin on melancholy – less aching and more content in defeat. If there’s a broken heart in the mix, Young’s too deep into his sweet escape (on the rocks) to care.

2012 ACM Awards: Staff Picks & Predictions

March 30, 2012 // 17 Comments

Throw on your bedazzled boots – the 47th annual Academy of Country Music Awards air live from Las Vegas this Sunday at 8 p.m. EST. The show promises to be a melting pot of performances, with oddball duets like Rascal Flatts and Steve Martin – and no, that’s not an April Fools joke. The CU staff picked and predicted the awards below. Tell us your thoughts, and check back for our live blog on Sunday night!

Entertainer of the Year

Should Win:

  • Jason Aldean
  • Kenny Chesney
  • Brad Paisley
  • Blake Shelton
  • Taylor Swift – Jonathan, Dan, Tara, Leeann, Kevin, Ben, Sam

Single Review: Clay Walker, “Like We Never Said Goodbye”

February 22, 2012 // 9 Comments

As the title suggests, Clay Walker’s latest single plays out like the alternate ending to Faith Hill and Tim McGraw’s fiery “Like We Never Loved At All.” Whereas the latter finds the woman agonizing over her ex moving on, “Like We Never Said Goodbye” tackles a smaller, more predictable range of emotions as its characters rekindle their relationship over wine. On paper, it’s the less interesting road taken.

Grammy Awards 2012: Staff Picks & Predictions

February 11, 2012 // 2 Comments

The 54th annual GrammyAdele Awards air this Sunday at 8 p.m. Eastern. Look for appearances by Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley and Lady Antebellum as well as country-ish performances by Jason Aldean, Glen Campbell (with the Band Perry and Blake Shelton), Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood. We’ve picked and predicted the awards below – share your thoughts, and be sure to drop by on Sunday night for our live blog!

Getting to know you

January 6, 2012 // 13 Comments

Nearly three years ago, writing-starved and delirious at 1 in the morning, I sent Kevin a rambling e-mail asking if he’d consider having me write a few guest posts here at Country Universe. He graciously took me in as a staff writer, and I’ve since had the privilege of sharing my passion for country music –wacky and irrational though it may be– with all of you.

But this blog hasn’t just scratched my writing itch and strengthened my relationship with the genre; it’s introduced me to a family of writers who I can’t quite imagine my life without. Dan once wrote that blogs aren’t about regular people posing as high-and-mighty critics, but about word-of-mouth. They’re the internet equivalent of a trusted friend.

Single Review: Keith Urban, “You Gonna Fly”

November 19, 2011 // 15 Comments

In this aggression-heavy era of Eric Church and Jason Aldean, it’s easy to take Keith Urban’s brand of swagger for granted.  It’s a little smoother around the edges, a little less gritty – but when he finds the right song to marry it to, it’s as natural and dynamic as any in the field.

Summer Single Reviews Round-Up: Luke Bryan, Jake Owen, Jerrod Niemann, Zac Brown Band, Dierks Bentley

July 12, 2011 // 14 Comments

We’re halfway through the summer months, which means we’ve heard the handful of summer-oriented singles played on the radio approximately 17,283 times by now. In keeping with CU’s retro theme, let’s hit the singles we missed upon their initial release (sorry y’all!).

Luke Bryan, “Country Girl (Shake it For Me)”

Written by Luke Bryan & Dallas Davidson

Whereas Jason Aldean would likely have soaked this dance number in aggression, Bryan melts away its sexist edge by layering it with goofiness and playful energy. The result is a shamelessly catchy ditty that makes me want to shake it for the squirrels. Filed under: things I never thought I’d say. Grade: B

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