Category Archives: Open Thread

Open Thread

You have the floor.  Chat away.

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Self-Indulgent Discussion: Second Edition

Back in early August, Kevin posed the following question to readers:

What features would you like to see more of at Country Universe?  Are there things we could be doing better? How can we make this a better site?

The post netted a good number of responses, all of which were taken into serious account, and many of which ended up playing out shortly after. Country Universe has seen a lot of expansion over the two months since the time of that post; in addition to three additional writers (Blake, Lynn, and myself), we’ve tried out a number of new or previously infrequent features, including, though not necessarily limited to:

Now that your memory is jogged, consider this post an opportunity to comment on your current feelings about the site. If you think we’re delivering too much of one thing, need to deliver more of another thing, should do something differently, should do something new entirely, what-have-you, we want to hear it. You can even be positive! (Wow!)

The only stipulation is to stay classy with your remarks. Any and all constructive criticism is 100% encouraged and desirable here; just realize that we work hard on everything you see and do have (some) feelings. But this site is ultimately about serving country music fans (namely, you), and what you tell us has a lot of bearing on what we do. So if you’ve got a concern, don’t hold back!

P.S. Before anyone mentions it, a handful of Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists entries are on the way!

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Discussion: This One Time, at a ______ Concert…

I couldn’t help but smile when I saw this entry by CMT Blogger Alison Bonaguro. Apparently, an unlucky Washington Post reporter attended Sunday in the Country at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, only to become an unwitting obstacle to a poor young man looking for a place to…um, un-drink his good helping of beer (he finally settled on the side of the Roasted Almonds stand – so at least he got to enjoy the pleasant aroma of baking cinnamon while he was keeled over).

Having spent a full summer working in the box office of that very venue and dealing with my own fair share of well-meaning alcohol consumers (which is to say, O.A.R. fans), the concert review brought a number of fun memories rushing back to me. Live music is a weird beast that varies in nature from artist to artist and venue to venue, not to mention seat to seat. Sometimes, as with Sunday in the Country, the music is almost just an excuse to gather with close friends and have a grand ol’ time. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.

But personally, my favorite in-concert moments have always taken place in smaller venues where the attention has been squarely on appreciating the music and the artists delivering it. To date, the best concert I’ve been to was Nickel Creek’s penultimate performance at the Ryman Auditorium, which fell at the end of last year’s Farewell for Now tour. For all its historic grandeur, the Ryman is beautifully intimate, and even from the balcony I had no trouble making out every one of Chris Thile’s kooky little gestures. The music was uniformly stellar that night, with seemingly no one but smitten fans in the audience, and the band was effortlessly funny in between songs, recalling the very best of Alison Krauss’ awkwardaries and then some.

I’ll never forget those magical few seconds right before the band launched into a certain cover, the likes of which I don’t think anyone thought they’d pull out on as reverent an occasion as one of their final shows. Thile looked out into the audience and murmured, “you guys are great. Seriously, all of you, we love what you do……but you know” – he suddenly started moaning melodramatically – “you know that you’re toxic!”

Cue Britney Spears song. It completely killed whatever decorum remained in the event, and that was what so fantastic about it: it was Nickel Creek leaving on Nickel Creek’s terms. And what terms they were:

Now, your turn. What is your favorite in-concert moment you’ve experienced, musical or otherwise?

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Open Thread

Have fun.

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Open Thread

For real this time. Not a leading question in sight.

What’s on your mind?

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