Open Thread

Open Thread

August 26, 2008 // 52 Comments

Update: Brady from The 9513 passed this one on in the comments. This is some truly unfortunate cover art for the upcoming Lee Ann Womack album. Call me crazy, indeed. Since covers of upcoming albums are apparently breaking news these days, what do you think of the Kellie Pickler cover? This is an open thread. Discuss what you like.

Monday Discussion: Pop Songs that Country Artists Should Cover

August 25, 2008 // 0 Comments

While we’re all fans of country music here, many of us enjoy other styles as well, be it rock, rap, jazz, classical or R&B.   Sometimes, the songs from those genres would be perfect fits for country artists.   I’m going to match up a few, and I invite you to do the same in the comments. I’ll start with John Lennon, the guy who is responsible for 80% of the Beatles songs I love and the only one that I enjoy the solo work of, too.   I was going to recommend “Working Class Hero”, but Green Day’s cover of that acoustic number revealed a pulsating rock edge underneath it.  I don’t know if “Jealous Guy” could be a country hit, but I could imagine Keith Urban knocking it out of the ballpark. When reviewing Up!, Chris Willman described Twain’s sound as “Abba Gold without all the melancholy.”  I’d like to see Read More

Discussion: Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists

August 24, 2008 // 32 Comments

One of our most popular features is Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists, which has one of our writers describe their twenty-five favorite songs by one of their favorite artists. Sometimes, the title just says it all, doesn’t it? The feature was conceived by Leeann, and Blake and myself have since contributed entries. I’m currently working on Todd Snider, which should be up in the next day or two. Tonight, I’d like to invite you to share your favorite five or ten songs by your favorite artist. Are they the hits that we already know, or are there some great songs that only fans with complete collections are privy to?

Discussion: Songs You Don’t Like By Artists You Do

August 23, 2008 // 30 Comments

I did a post similar to this last November (“Songs I Hate by Artists I Love”) but readership has grown exponentially since then, and the topic complements yesterday’s perfectly. Since I already hit up the Dixie Chicks, Alan Jackson, Dolly Parton, Pam Tillis and Dwight Yoakam back then, I’ll turn my sights on another act that I rarely find fault with: Trisha Yearwood. There are only two Trisha Yearwood albums that I don’t particularly care for. The first is her debut, Trisha Yearwood, which features four great singles and another track or two that I somewhat enjoy. As a whole, though, it’s a tentative affair, which is understandable, given that it’s a debut album and all. The other is less excusable. Released at the height of her popularity, Where Your Road Leads was her only album to feature Tony Brown at the helm. I could forgive its pop flavor if Read More

Discussion: Songs You Like By Artists You Don’t

August 22, 2008 // 40 Comments

There really aren’t that many country artists that I don’t like.  Most of them that I don’t enjoy much, like Montgomery Gentry or Brad Paisley, I am usually indifferent to, liking a song every once in a while. So for this thread, suggested by Leeann, it was tricky for me to come up with an answer to the question: What are some songs you like by an artist you don’t?  Since my site is often accused of being anti-Rascal Flatts, and they are an act that I definitely dislike, I’ll go with them. I like “Bless the Broken Road”, though I prefer Marcus Hummon’s original recording.  I think “What Hurts the Most” is a great country-pop song, and that they do it better than Mark Wills did.  I like the chorus of “These Days.” But I absolutely love “I’m Movin’ On”, a single from their debut album.   It’s a flawless Read More

Thursday: Recommend a Track

August 21, 2008 // 28 Comments

Last week’s Recommend a Track got this series off to a great start.   In fact, some readers already flagged songs I was planning on featuring in future weeks:  Sugarland, “Stand Back Up” (Lanibug); Tim McGraw, “Why We Said Goodbye” (Aeroyacine); and Faith Hill, “Stronger” (Stephanie).   Longtime reader Roger Newcomb shared the Bobbie Cryner masterpiece “Girl of Your Dreams”, which led to others confessing their affection for that phenomenal singer-songwriter. Joseph really got me because I was going to write about Sara Evans’ “Rocking Horse” this week.  Darn! Instead,  I’m starting things off with a track from Nickel Creek’s Why Should the Fire Die? – “Helena.” That particular Creek album has a bitter edge throughout, at least on what I consider the best tracks.   I tend to like the band best when it’s Chris Thile in front, especially since he started singing with rough intensity on this project. “Helena” is Read More

Wednesday Open Thread: First Country Album Purchase

August 20, 2008 // 29 Comments

In a previous Open Discussion thread, Kevin asked us to share our Country Convert song. On that thread, a comment by Jim Malec made me think of my very first album purchase. While my parents started buying me country albums for birthdays and Christmases as soon as they knew that country music was a passion of mine, the first country album that I purchased with my own money was Vince Gill’s I Still Believe in You. At the time that I started listening to country radio, Vince’s “Tryin’ To Get Over You” was moving up the charts. I really liked that song and I especially liked his voice, but that’s not what got me to become a lifelong fan. In my introductory piece, I mentioned that I had undergone several eye operations in a three month period that made me feel quite sick. Country music was the only thing that Read More

Tuesday Discussion: CMA New Artist, 2008

August 19, 2008 // 26 Comments

Where to begin with this category? The CMA has been working double-time to strip itself of all things distinctive. After moving the Musician award to pre-telecast and bumping the Hall of Fame inductions completely, they have now renamed the Horizon Award the “New Artist Award”, a generic title already used by the more prestigious Grammys and on three ACM trophies every year. Further complicating matters is a new artist scene that is full of many acts with a hit or two to their credit, but few breakaway stars. Assuming the same rules apply, artists can’t be nominated more than twice. This means that Little Big Town and Miranda Lambert are out of the running. Quite honestly, it’s slim pickin’s for me in this category, but I’ll try to make the case for five worthy nominees. Jason Aldean One of the few rising stars with two solid and successful albums under Read More

Monday Open Thread: Better Than the Original

August 18, 2008 // 58 Comments

At lunch today, a friend of mine mentioned that she doesn’t care for Fleetwood Mac, but loves the way the Dixie Chicks do “Landslide.”   “Better than the original,” she said. To which I thought, “Yes! I don’t have to come up with my own open thread discussion tonight!”  (Seriously folks, start suggesting some in the comments.  Please.) There is one cover that I think absolutely decimates the original, even though it’s pretty darn good on its own.  Dolly Parton’s “The Grass is Blue” isn’t just the title track of her bluegrass set.  It’s the high point. But Norah Jones’ cover of it is far better.  She turns it into a haunting piano ballad, and it works better in her jazzy style.  I love when she covers country songs.  She’s done fantastic versions of “Wurlitzer Prize”, “Cold, Cold Heart” and “For the Good Times”, too. What covers do you think are Read More

Sunday Open Thread: I’m Getting Older, Too.

August 17, 2008 // 14 Comments

The invaluable ggcolumn pointed me to a fascinating interview with Wynonna that ran in The Capitol Times, a newspaper out of Madison, Wisconsin. She’s one of those rare icons who is compelling whether they’re speaking or singing. This particular quote from the interview has been lingering in my mind since I read it: I don’t know how old you are, but when you’re that young, you’re God. You think you’re in control of everything. You think it’s “I” and then somewhere between 35 to 40, you realize it’s “we.” At that age, you could have all the wisdom in the world, but the brain is only capable of so much at that age. I traded in my youth card for my wisdom and experience card. (Pause.) It would be nice to have both, but I don’t think that’s realistic. I wholeheartedly agree with her. My early twenties seem like a Read More

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