Open Thread

2015 Grammy Awards: Open Thread

February 8, 2015 // 63 Comments

Telecast Winners: Best Country Album: Miranda Lambert, Platinum Album of the Year: Beck, Morning Phase Best New Artist: Sam Smith Record of the Year:  Sam Smith, “Stay With Me (Darkside Version)” Song of the Year: “Stay With Me” – James Napier, William Phillips & Sam Smith Pre-Telecast Winners: Best Country Solo Performance: Carrie Underwood, “Something in the Water” Best Country Duo/Group Performance: The Band Perry, “Gentle on My Mind” Best Country Song: “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” – Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond Best American Roots Performance: Rosanne Cash, “A Feather’s Not a Bird” Best American Roots Song: “A Feather’s Not a Bird” – Rosanne Cash and John Leventhal Best Americana Album: Rosanne Cash, The River & the Thread Best Folk Album: Old Crow Medicine Show, Remedy Best Bluegrass Album:  The Earls of Leicester, The Earls of of Leicester Best Contemporary Instrumental Album: Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer, Bass & Mandolin Read More

Self-Indulgent Discussion: Second Edition

September 28, 2008 // 45 Comments

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: Classic Country Singles “Recommend a Track” discussions Yesterday’s Songs Retro album reviews Analysis of news items and/or current trends Concert reviews Lynn-tastic notes on televised programs Interviews Music video reviews The comment policy The current banner (and theme) Personal reflections Read More

Discussion: This One Time, at a ______ Concert…

September 24, 2008 // 12 Comments

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 Read More

Discussion: Playin’ Favorites

September 15, 2008 // 60 Comments

Sure, we want all of our little country music-singing babies to grow up strong and healthy and produce great material. Because we love all of them equally, right? Right. But admit it: you’ve got a favorite kid. There’s a new or emerging artist out there right now who really piques your interest, who brings something just a little extra-special to the table. If you ask me, the pool of rising country music talent hasn’t been this solid in years. Now, I personally don’t think that most of the artists who fall under that “rising” classification seem to be making great music right out of the gate – see Blake’s excellent Darius Rucker review for a recent example – but the potential present in some of these acts is pretty exciting, no? And potential is what we’re rewarding here. For my money, no act out there has got more of it Read More

Discussion: Country Cussing

September 14, 2008 // 43 Comments

I was a little taken aback by the language used by Toby Keith onstage this past Thursday, which was the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.   I’m not going to quote his blue language, but you can read it for yourself here.  What i found most interesting was the description of his audience: Keith has never been shy in front of a microphone, but he was in rare form throughout the outdoor show, dropping numerous expletives in his lyrics and within his off-the-cuff remarks. A surprising number of kids in the audience were hanging onto every word. My question is – How do you feel about the increasing use of profanity by country artists, both on record and on stage?   Since we’re a genre that is supposed to cater to adults, does that make the issue moot? Or is it unprofessional and/or inappropriate to have country artists using Read More

Discussion: Video Ruined the Song

September 9, 2008 // 7 Comments

Music videos can be quite powerful.  The very best intensify the song’s message or reveal new ways to interpret it. Then there are those videos that absolutely ruin the song.  They’re so bad that you can’t even listen to it on the radio because it’s been so sullied by its video clip. The worst offender of this?  Travis Tritt.  “Tell Me I Was Dreaming.” Tritt tried to recreate the magic of his “Anymore” clip, which found him in a veteran’s home, dodging the phone calls of his Annie.  See, he’s convinced himself that she won’t love him now that he’s in a wheelchair. Anyway, his buddy Sam gets him to take the call, and the clip ends in an embrace, with Tritt saying, “I want to go home, Annie.”  She cries.  Fade to black.   A little cheesy, but not too bad. Oh, but the sequel is such a disaster.    Let Read More

Discussion: Favorite Soundtrack

September 8, 2008 // 19 Comments

I was going to be conventional and just pick O Brother Where Art Thou, since it is the most significant movie soundtrack in country music history.   But it would be a bald-faced lie to call it my favorite soundtrack, as it’s a distant second. My favorite soundtrack accompanies a pretty crummy movie, but the music is classic.  Xanadu features ten fantastic songs.  The star of the film, Olivia Newton-John, dominates the first half, which was once “Side A.” Every one of her tracks is a keeper, including the #1 hit “Magic”; her best ballad ever, “Suspended in Time”, and satisfying collaborations with Gene Kelly (“Whenever You’re Away From Me’), Cliff Richard (“Suddenly”) and The Tubes (“Dancin’.”) “Side B” features Electric Light Orchestra, and in addition to the top twenty hits “I’m Alive” and “All Over the World” are two songs that are even better: “The Fall” and the beautiful ballad Read More

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