Open Thread

Saturday Discussion Thread: Favorite Songwriters

August 16, 2008 // 36 Comments

Earlier today, a new feature was introduced at Country Universe.  Songwriter Series will take an in-depth look at the tunesmiths that craft so much of the music that we love to listen to.  While some of our best songwriters are also established and successful recording artists, most of them stay behind the scenes, and their work becomes famous when married with a singing voice other than their own. Leeann wrote an excellent piece about Darrell Scott today, who has penned big hits for Sara Evans, Dixie Chicks and Travis Tritt, among others.   There are so many other great writers out there.   Who do you think is the best writer right now in country music?  Are there any writers that you'd like to see featured here? how to whiten teeth at home zp8497586rq

Friday Open Thread: First Country Concert

August 15, 2008 // 42 Comments

Gotta say, without shame, that my first concert was Roxette at the Beacon Theater in New York City.  I won tickets in seventh grade.    I still think they’re cool, and it was a great show. But my first country concert was later that year, the summer before I entered eighth grade.   It was in an outdoor venue in New Jersey, the name of which escapes me.  But I remember the lineup vividly: Clint Black, Billy Dean and Aaron Tippin. My dad was a huge Clint Black fan, and he was touring to support his The Hard Way album.  I remember there was a stage set involving tumbling boulders.  Anyway, it was a great show.  All three acts were fantastic. What was your first concert?  How about your first country concert?

Thursday Open Thread: Recommend a Track

August 14, 2008 // 73 Comments

I'm thinking of making this the regular Thursday open thread, so let's see how it goes! Pick one track – either an album cut or a relatively unknown single – that you think is truly fantastic.  Tell us why you picked it and what album it came from, so we can go download it ourselves! My choice this week: George Strait, “I Met a Friend of Yours Today” – from the 1996 album Lead On I can't believe th is wasn't a single, though that album produced four great ones anyway.   Strait comes home from work, and tells his wife he's lost his appetite, but he wouldn't mind her fixing him a drink.  “Oh by the way,” he mentions, “I met a friend of yours today.”  He stopped by a bar on the other side of town, and heard a man talking about her, and it was obvious “he knew Read More

Wednesday Discussion: CMA Entertainer, 2008

August 13, 2008 // 116 Comments

Kenny Chesney. Keith Urban. Alan Jackson. Tim McGraw. Dixie Chicks. Shania Twain. Garth Brooks. Those are the seven acts that have been deemed worthy of CMA’s Entertainer of the Year trophy in the past ten years. It’s their most prestigious award, the one that caps off the night, and while the ACM has always put a high premium on big ticket sales, the CMA has honored some acts in this category who elevate the industry with their talent. Vince Gill’s two wins are the best representation of this trend. The Urban and Jackson victories are the most recent. So when I pick the five acts that I’d like to see nominated, I’m choosing those who are firing on all cylinders right now: commercial success, artistic achievement and representation of the genre as a whole. Ideally, the entertainer of the year should be an ambassador of the format, and I think Read More

Tuesday Open Thread: Movie Musical Moment

August 12, 2008 // 15 Comments

Not exactly country, but this is my favorite unconventional use of music in a movie. Ever. That's probably not much of a topic to go on, but hey, it's an open thread. Take the conversation in any direction you want! zp8497586rq

Monday Open Thread: Taylor Swift “Box Set”

August 11, 2008 // 63 Comments

From CMT: Taylor Swift will release her next album, Fearless, on Nov. 11 on Big Machine Records, the label announced Friday (Aug. 8). Swift wrote or co-wrote all 13 songs… In addition, Swift will launch a new Web site,, on Aug. 22, where the album will be available for pre-sale. A limited-edition box set edition, featuring a CD, leather bracelet, T-shirt, picture book and decal, will also be available. The first 10,000 fans to purchase the boxed set and upload their photos will have their pictures included in a mosaic image in the album artwork and on the CD. I’m at a loss for words, so I’ll just borrow some from Paul Krassner: For years, reality has been nipping at the heels of satire. Now, it’s finally caught up. This is an open thread. Tell us what’s on your mind.

Sunday Discussion: CMA Album, 2008

August 10, 2008 // 27 Comments

I'm sure the actual category will be some mishmash of major artist releases from the eligibility period. A little Carrie here, a little Chesney there, with a dose of Strait and Flatts for good measure. Underwood's album is decent, as was Strait's, but these are my five favorite albums from the eligibility period (July 1, 2007-June 30, 2008.) Do they have a prayer of being nominated? Who knows. Even the long shots have been nominated when they were core radio acts, so maybe fate will be kind. Kathy Mattea, Coal I suspect that when 2008's Best of Lists are compiled, this album is going to be featured prominently on them. The album works as both entertainment and historical record, and is essential listening for those with even a passing interest in Mattea, mountain music, the working class and coal mining. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Raising Sand If there was Read More

Saturday Discussion: Most Recent Purchase

August 9, 2008 // 40 Comments

I don't spend much on music these days, but I try to catch good deals at used record stores and such.  Last weekend, I picked up Dierks Bentley's Modern Day Drifter for $3.99.   I'm diggin' it. What's the last music purchase you've made? zp8497586rq

Friday Discussion: CMA Single, 2008

August 8, 2008 // 33 Comments

So what should this year's Single nominees be at the CMA awards? To be eligible, the song must have been released between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008. This category's a bit of a free-for-all, don't ya think? Regardless, I have five favorites, and I can't wait to hear yours! Trace Adkins, “You're Gonna Miss This” In a year that was light on big hits, Adkins connected with this one, giving himself a massive hit that removed the unpleasant aftertaste of “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” that many people still had. I'm not one of those people, mind you, and I liked that song more than this one, but this guy's way overdue for some acknowledgment. Alan Jackson, “Small Town Southern Man” I love a good autobiographical h it, particularly one about parents. Alan Jackson's tribute to his father is soft-spoken in its reverence, making it fully believable and in turn, Read More

Wednesday Discussion: CMA Female Vocalist, 2008

August 6, 2008 // 102 Comments

Following up on last night's discussion on who should be nominated for Male Vocalist this year at the CMA's, it seems logical to talk about the female vocalists next. There was a time when this was the most competitive race at the annual awards. We're nowhere near that nineties peak again, but there are good cases to be made for those who aren't among my personal top five, which are: Alison Krauss Everybody knows that the two women who have sold the most records in the past two years are Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift. Perhaps less widely known is that Alison Krauss is in third, thanks to the enduring popularity of her hits collection and duet album with Robert Plant. Oh, and she's done it without radio and with CMT running reality shows all day. Her appeal is far broader than country, but claiming her as one of their Read More

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