Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists

Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists: George Strait

March 1, 2009 // 32 Comments

Write this down: George Strait will be recorded in the annals of country music history as the greatest singles artist of all-time. He already ranks third among all artists in terms of chart success, trailing only Eddy Arnold and George Jones. By the dawn of the next decade, he’ll be on top. Now, I don’t place inordinate value on what radio decides worthy of massive spins, but I do think that Strait’s hit singles are usually much better than the album cuts that aren’t sent to radio. Even though I have all of his albums, only two of the tracks on this list weren’t released as singles. With more than thirty albums to his credit, I’m sure that there are many songs that readers love which I haven’t included here. Here are my favorite songs by George Strait. #25 “Blue Clear Sky” Blue Clear Sky, 1996 This is the type Read More

Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists: Linda Ronstadt

February 13, 2009 // 33 Comments

The following is a guest contribution from Country Universe reader Erik North. Sometimes you first find out about your favorite artists not necessarily from your peers but, strangely enough, from either your parents or your relatives. In the case of Linda Ronstadt, I found about her through my aunt, who had a copy of Linda’s 1978 album Living In The U.S.A. that I listened to when I was eight years old back in 1978. Since that time, I have been a very staunch fan of Linda’s, even on those occasions when her excursions into other musical arenas have driven others to distraction. As it is with Elvis or the Beatles, if you have to have Linda Ronstadt explained to you, you may never get it. Linda is not one of those who confines herself to any single genre; while that does tend to cause people a lot of problems, it’s in Read More

Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists: Trisha Yearwood

January 15, 2009 // 37 Comments

The following is a guest contribution from Country Universe reader Cory DeStein. Throughout my life I have attempted to share my taste in music with those around me. More often than not friends and family will show a interest then kindly move onto the next subject. Only one person in my life has shown me that genuine interest in everything I have ever done. I will never know if we really had that much in common, or if she was just that good at making me happy. That’s a secret I never want to know. Though we shared many interests in music, food, television and in life, there was one topic we both we both enjoyed: the music of Trisha Yearwood. Throughout the years, I had chances to meet Trisha backstage and at a book signing. Each time she kindly agreed to personalize a photo for my grandmother. During a Read More

Favorite Songs By Favorite Artists: Christmas Edition

December 24, 2008 // 25 Comments

One of my favorite features to write for Country Universe is Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists. So, since I love Christmas music, it seems natural that I change the format a bit to accommodate a list of my favorite Christmas songs. Narrowing my favorite Christmas songs down to twenty-five choices proved to be a nearly impossible challenge. In order to accomplish this feat, I had to do two things: (1) disqualify all quintessential versions of classics, i.e., Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” or any songs by Gene Autry. Instead, I’ve stuck to modern country versions of any classics that may appear on this list. (2) Limit the number of classics included on this list so that there can be room for as many original Christmas songs as possible. You can listen to most of the songs and purchase them through the Amazon link at the end.  Merry Christmas! #25 Asleep At Read More

Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists: Dolly Parton

December 21, 2008 // 16 Comments

Earlier this month, my friend and colleague Leeann Ward shared her favorite songs by Dolly Parton.    I’m happy to now share mine. My respect for Parton as an artist knows no bounds.  I don’t think there is another figure in country music that is visible in so many of the contours of the genre’s history.    Given that I have a taste for country, pop, bluegrass, and damn fine songwriting, it was no small feat picking just twenty-five songs.    This is just a sampling of her deep catalog, one that is long overdue to be fully reissued.   Some of these tracks are hard to find, but most can be downloaded digitally or purchased on CDs, though you may need to scour compilations to find them. #25 “Those Were the Days” Those Were the Days, 2005 The title track from Parton’s third collection of cover songs is all bittersweet nostalgia, looking back Read More

Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists: Dolly Parton

November 30, 2008 // 16 Comments

Dolly Parton Week kicks off today with the first of two Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists entries.  Mine will follow later in the week, along with Classic Country Singles, Retro Album Reviews, Six Packs, and an Ultimate Buyer’s Guide, all focusing on the legendary Hall of Famer. – Kevin There really isn’t anything that Dolly Parton can’t do. She has a voice like an angel, but is also capable of showboating with the best of them. She plays several instruments, has written more than her share of classic songs, is an actor, owns a popular amusement park and, most importantly, is involved in many philanthropic efforts. Starting with traditional annual viewings of A Smokey Mountain Christmas on the Disney Channel, Dolly Parton is one of those people that I loved before I even knew what music genres were, let alone country music in particular. So, while I was nervous about Read More

Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists: Dixie Chicks

October 12, 2008 // 39 Comments

Since I started this blog in 2004, I’ve written quite a bit about the Dixie Chicks, my favorite country band.    It may surprise readers to learn that when they first broke out on to the scene, I wasn’t particularly impressed.  Their first Sony album, Wide Open Spaces, sounded cookie-cutter country to me.     I liked Fly quite a bit more, however, and was impressed by how they pushed the boundaries of conventional country on that set. But it wasn’t until 2002’s Home that I became a die-hard fan.   That brilliant acoustic set remains my favorite album of the decade, and the standard against which I Judge all contemporary country albums these days.   Four years and a lot of controversy later, they resurfaced with the country-rock set Taking the Long Way, which showcased their songwriting talents and California country influences to great effect. Narrowing down 25 favorite tracks of the Dixie Chicks Read More

Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists: Todd Snider

August 29, 2008 // 12 Comments

908 miles. That’s the total distance, door-to-door, from my home in New York to the college I attended in Nashville, Tennessee. If you leave at a decent hour of the day, it’s going to take you 16 or 17 hours. If you do it overnight, you can cut that down to 13. It was always easy to get a friend to drive up with me to New York, as the allure of the Big Apple was worth the drive. It was on one of those overnight drives, as we sped down I-81 in Virginia, that I was told, “You have to listen to this CD. You’re gonna love this guy.” This guy was Todd Snider, and the album was Songs for the Daily Planet. My friend was right. I was instantly hooked. Soon, I was buying his entire catalog. But it was once I was done with college, and East Read More

Favorite Songs By Favorite Artists: Kathy Mattea

August 13, 2008 // 21 Comments

All of my favorite artists make music that I enjoy.   Kathy Mattea makes music that challenges me to become a better person. The philosophy major in me finds wisdom in her work. The teacher in me, lessons to impart. The Catholic in me, reminders of a higher power and my obligations to my fellow man. There's a humanity in Kathy Mattea's work that infuses it with passion and purpose. While she had a strong run at the top of the hit parade, winning major industry awards and selling gold and platinum, her most significant work has been produced since she turned her sights away from the charts and looked inward for inspiration. What follows are the 25 performances that I value the most. Sometimes, while these records play, it's possible to believe in both a better world and my own power to shape it. #25 “Ready For the Storm” Time Passes By, 1991 Read More

Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists: Patty Loveless

August 10, 2008 // 38 Comments

Patty Loveless has built a Hall of Fame-worthy career, one that has perfectly blended country music’s past and present into a trademark musical style that she can truly call her own, all the while selling gold and platinum and succeeding at country radio. Her mix of commercial and critical success is almost unsurpassed in modern-day country music. Along with Tony Brown, and later with her producer husband Emory Gordy Jr., Loveless made a true effort to sing songs that were significant to her, wringing every last drop of emotion into each lyric. The listener felt every hopeful or hurtful moment, and I have selected my 25 favorites in a career filled with classics. The emphasis is on her Epic recordings, although she had plenty of fine moments during her MCA days. #25 “Hurt Me Bad (In a Real Good Way)” Up Against My Heart, 1991 One of Patty’s earlier successes, Read More

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