Prayers for Ferlin Husky

July 3, 2009 // 0 Comments

Country Universe is sending out good wishes and prayers for the health of country music legend Ferlin Husky, who has been hospitalized with serious ailments.

Husky is best known for the gospel classic “Wings of a Dove”, which spent ten weeks at #1 in 1960. His other chart-toppers are “Gone”, which also spent ten weeks at #1, and his debut single, “A Dear John Letter.” He was the featured artist on that record, with Jean Shepard being the lead artist, and it spent a cool six weeks at #1.

Husky’s popularity at his peak was not limited to the radio dial, as he appeared in eighteen films and several television shows. At 83, he remains an active performer. Here’s hoping he heals up soon and gets back on the road, where he still has fans waiting to hear him sing his classics, five decades after he began his long and successful career.

You can watch Husky perform some of his classics after the jump.

Dolly Parton’s Video Diary on Michael Jackson

June 30, 2009 // 3 Comments

I certainly didn’t expect to create a third Country Universe post on Michael Jackson, but longtime readers know that this site would enter an extended period of mourning should anything ever happen to Dolly Parton.

She posted a video diary today about Jackson’s death. As usual, she radiates humanity and warmth. Those who are fortunate enough to have Parton as a character witness on judgment day should count their lucky stars!

George Strait Goes Platinum…Again

June 10, 2009 // 18 Comments

George Strait’s Troubadour has been certified platinum, his 33rd album to reach that sales mark.

How rare is this accomplishment? He trails only Elvis Presley (45) and The Beatles (39) among all recording artists.

Strait’s nearest country competitors are Alabama (20), Reba McEntire (19), Kenny Rogers (19) and Garth Brooks (16).

George Strait is one of those artists that I buy every album of. I remember being amazed how many albums he already had released when I became a fan in the nineties. It’s good to see him still going strong.

How many Strait albums do you own? What other artists do you buy every release from?

2009 Americana Music Association Awards Nominees Announced

May 21, 2009 // 2 Comments

The nominations for the 8th Annual Americana Music Association Awards have been announced:

Written in Chalk, by BUDDY & JULIE MILLER
Jason Isbell & The 40 Unit, by JASON ISBELL & THE 40 UNIT
Midnight At The Movies, by JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE




Stagecoach Festival: <em>Your Call</em>

April 22, 2009 // 15 Comments

It has finally cooled off here in Southern California, so I’m headed out to the Stagecoach Festival in Indio, California this weekend, April 25-26! The country cousin of Coachella, Stagecoach is now in its third year and will be playing host to nearly 40 acts, including Reba McEntire, Brad Paisley, Little Big Town, Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker, Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown Band and Miranda Lambert.

I’m excited for the festival, particularly because it hosts a mix of country music, from mainstream country to bluegrass, folk, roots rock and alt-country. With three different stages – appropriately named “Mane,” “Palomino” and “Mustang” – set on the beautiful Empire Polo fields in Indio, the Festival provides a fantastic opportunity to check out the entire gamut of styles and personalities in country music.

Dan Milliken is “Goin’ Green”

April 13, 2009 // 34 Comments

In conjunction with Earth Day and the global Earth Hour initiative, Belmont University is holding a contest to find their official “green” song. Five songs were chosen by a panel of professional songwriters, faculty members and environmental experts to promote environmental awareness. The competition is comprised of Belmont University students. The writer of the winning composition will receive a $500 Apple gift card and the song will be featured on their website as their official “green” song. We at Country Universe are excited to announce that Dan Milliken is one of the finalists in the Belmont Unplugged Song Challenge. Dan wrote the witty and catchy “Goin’ Green” with his friend, Jake Hartsfield. He can even be heard singing high harmony to Hartsfield’s lead vocal, along with contributing the hilarious main spoken word portion of the third verse. Country Universe is rooting for Dan. So, we encourage you to listen to Read More

ACM Top New Artist Winners

March 29, 2009 // 13 Comments

The winners have been announced for three of the Top New Artist categories at this year’s ACM Awards: Top New Male Vocalist: Jake Owen Top New Female Vocalist: Julianne Hough Top New Vocal Duo or Group: Zac Brown Band Jake Owen’s victory is something of an upset, as he was nominated against James Otto and Jamey Johnson, two men who received multiple Grammy nominations. Johnson still has a shot at some ACM awards this year, as he’s nominated in three other categories: Single, Song and Album of the Year. Owen is nominated for Vocal Event for his part in Sugarland’s multi-artist “Life in a Northern Town.” Julianne Hough was chosen over Sarah Buxton and Ashton Shepherd, while Zac Brown Band won over the Eli Young Band and the Lost Trailers. Owen, Hough and Zac Brown Band will compete for the Top New Artist award during the three-hour telecast on Sunday, Read More

Texas Country

March 26, 2009 // 15 Comments

Stuck in my car stereo over the last couple of weeks has been a CD loaded with tunes from some of my favorite Texas-affiliated artists.  I’m a big fan of the singer-songwriter, old school and raggedy rock styles of country music, and Texas excels at all three. So any time I need a break from the current “Nashville sound,” I like to check in with Texas and see what they’re up to. Invariably, it’s more colorful and interesting. I can’ t call myself an expert on Texas country by any stretch of the imagination and my education is nowhere remotely near complete (hint: feel free to recommend), but I do sense that it’s a style of music, or perhaps a musical sensibility, that is extremely important to maintain.  Texas artists exude a certain spirit of creativity and sense of individuality that is sorely lacking elsewhere in country music.  And in Read More

In Memoriam: Dan Seals

March 26, 2009 // 10 Comments

Successful country singer Dan Seals has passed away at the age of 61. Seals had a long run at the top of the country charts after a pop career as one half of England Dan and John Ford Coley. After the duo scored a huge hit with “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight,” Seals returned to his country roots.

Although he had a string of country hits, he is most remembered for his two award-winning chart-toppers. In 1986, he won two CMA awards: Single of the Year for “Bop”, and Vocal Duo of the Year for “Meet Me in Montana”, his collaboration with Marie Osmond.

Seals is survived by his wife and his four children. Share your memories and tributes to his music in the commments.

Idol Opry Night: Live Blog

March 17, 2009 // 122 Comments

Country Universe continues its annual tradition of live-blogging country night on American Idol. LIVE BLOG 9:55 Kind of boring night overall. I liked Anoop the most. Not too much stood out for me. 9:52 When I reviewed “So Small”, I think that I mentioned it would sound better stripped down. No surprise I liked the first half of this performance more. 9:51 Interesting that only the men took on Carrie this year. Probably a good move on the women’s part, as none of them could go toe to toe with her. 9:46 Ten down, one to go. 9:45 Again, I feel they’re just pushing certain people. 9:43 This is the second time tonight – the first being Adam Lambert – that I feel I’m watching a parody of Idol. 9:41 “Walking After Midnight” is the first song that I actually associate with the Opry that’s been performed tonight. 9:33 I’ll Read More

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