Best of 2006

Best Country Albums of 2006

December 24, 2006 // 9 Comments

My 2005 list was dominated by established female artists returning to greatness, and this year’s list complements it well, as 2006 is dominated by male artists either reaching new artistic heights or returning to them. Overall, it’s been a good year, not quite as shockingly good as 2005 but filled with great music that I’ll be returning to in the years to come. Be sure to check out Paul’s list below, another collection of great albums that catches some gems from the Texas music scene, along with maintstream releases that received wide distribution. #15 The Pilgrim: A Tribute to Kris Kristofferson Various Artists As good a tribute album as I’ve ever heard, thanks to a combination of excellent source material and interpretations by spiritual successors to the original artist. My personal favorites come from Todd Snider (“Maybe You Heard”), Marshall Chapman (“Jesus Was a Capricorn”) and Kristofferson himself (“Please Don’t Read More

Best Reissues and Compilations of 2006

December 18, 2006 // 4 Comments

As much as we love new music, reissues and compilations are what ultimately record the history of country music. Greatest Hits albums remain in print long after most studio albums have been cut out, while the very best studio albums are remastered and extended to emphasize their historical significance. In recent years, labels have been far more generous with the amount of tracks they will put on a release, and have even begun including bonus DVD content for added value. I’ll run down my ten best reissues and compilations of the year, followed by Paul’s, who will also be contributing his list of Best Albums of 2006 later this month. Kevin’s Top Ten Reissues & Compilations of 2006: #10 21 #1 Hits: The Ultimate Collection Buck Owens Owens finally gets a single-disc set that collects all of his biggest hits, and more importantly, it’s released digitally, as Owens was one Read More

Best Country Singles of 2006

December 17, 2006 // 9 Comments

It wasn’t a banner year for the genre like 2005 was, but there were still a lot of good singles sent to radio and retail this year. Some were hits, some weren’t, but these were all in heavy rotation on my iPod, regardless of what radio did with them. And while 2006 may not have been my favorite year for country music, I must say that the top three songs rank among my favorite recordings of all-time. #50 “Red High Heels” Kellie Pickler Sure, I ragged on this song as being the second coming of Mindy McCready, but let’s be honest: McCready had some damn catchy songs. Pickler’s debut has been stuck in my head since I heard it, so she’ll anchor this year’s list. #49 “Tim McGraw” Taylor Swift Swift’s debut single got early press for its name-dropping title, but it’s a clear-eyed account of first love that is Read More

Best of ’06 Lists Start Rolling In

December 16, 2006 // 4 Comments

Country Universe will begin posting best of 2006 lists over the next two weeks, with a look back at the year’s best singles and reissues. Lists from established publications have already begun rolling in, with country making a respectable showing in some of them. Rolling Stone includes four country albums in its Top 50 Records of 2006. Here’s their take on the four albums they included: #14: Johnny Cash, American V: A Hundred Highways The man in black was dying when he made this record, and he did not hide the truth of his condition. It is shocking to hear Cash fight to stay on pitch in “If You Could Read My Mind.” But there is a deep strength and dignity in his performances and in the wisdom of songs such as Hank Williams’ “On the Evening Train.” V also includes the last song Cash ever wrote, “Like the 309,” Read More