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Getting to know you

January 6, 2012 Tara Seetharam 13

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.

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Deep Down in 2011

November 28, 2011 Kevin John Coyne 43

Lately, I’ve been playing “Deep Down” on a loop, and it got me thinking…

What if one of the big female artists of 2011 were the first to release this song?

If Carrie Underwood recorded it in 2011, the song would be praised as one of the best she’s ever recorded, but she’d be criticized for over-singing and over-producing it.

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Pop Goes Country – A Cover Song Report Card

November 15, 2011 Ben Foster 40

Cover songs can be a hot topic at just about any given time. We recently got to hear a somewhat underwhelming OneRepublic cover by Faith Hill, which Kevin recently reviewed. Other recent attempts include Sara Evans’ pop-country reworking of Rod Stewart’s “My Heart Can’t Tell You No,” as well as last year’s polarizing Beyoncé cover by Reba McEntire.

Since cover songs are so much fun to talk about, I thought I’d weigh in on a few well-known cover songs from the past few years – the good ones, as well as a few that we would rather forget. My criteria is simple: A good cover song should bring something new to the table, and the song should be treated in a way that is well-suited to the artist as well as the genre. This list focuses specifically on country covers of non-country songs.

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Four Ways that 9/11 Changed Country Music

September 12, 2011 Kevin John Coyne 27

The terrorist attacks on American soil ten years ago changed the course of our nation’s history in far more significant ways than just its impact on country music.

But the fact is that country music was changed as well. Here are the four biggest ways that it did, for better and for worse.

1. Alan Jackson Becomes a Legend

He was still getting solid radio airplay and record sales in 2001, but it seemed like his glory days were behind him. Then, he stepped on to the CMA Awards stage and debuted “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” to a stunned industry crowd on national television.

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Someone Like You

September 1, 2011 Kevin John Coyne 25

I didn’t expect much.

I’ve had the Adele album for a good bit now, and “Someone Like You” is my favorite track on it. I’d already heard how the song shot to #1 in the U.K. after she performed it on the Brit Awards.

I checked out that performance, and thought it was good. Not great, but good.

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In Praise of The 9513

May 2, 2011 Kevin John Coyne 15

On behalf of the entire staff of Country Universe, I must express our sadness that The 9513, the internet’s premier country music blog, is being retired.

I remember when Brady and Brody Vercher first launched their website, and I watched in awe as it completely redefined the landscape for what a country music blog could be.

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Toxic People

April 8, 2011 Kevin John Coyne 13

This post, originally written on September 19, 2005, seems to have disappeared from the Country Universe archives when we switched over to self-hosting. I’m reposting it today for the sake of posterity.

I’m starting to wonder if the people I like and can get along with all fall into one category and the people I can’t stand to be around or have a conversation with fall into another. The categories?
1 – You believe that you have a moral obligation to other people, and live your life accordingly.
2 – You look out for yourself primarily, and what you feel is best for you informs any obligation you feel to other people.

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International Women’s Day

March 8, 2011 Kevin John Coyne 16

Today is the 100th Annual International Women’s Day.

I have mixed feelings about days like this. I understand why they’re necessary, but I can’t help but wonder what today being international women’s day makes the other 364 days of the year. A little more than half the population should be due at least 183 days.

But I can’t pass up a day to celebrate female country artists, so in the spirit of the day, how about some recognition for women who don’t get a lot of praise?

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