Category Archives: Site News

William Ward joins Country Universe

I am proud to announce a new staff member at Country Universe!

William Ward has been a regular contributor to discussions on this site since his wife and CU editor Leeann Ward became a lead writer in early 2008. He is joining Country Universe in a special capacity. As Online Marketing and Publicity Director, he will be primarily responsible for promoting and publicizing Country Universe through various online outlets, including social networking sites.

Please join me in welcoming William Ward to Country Universe. Here is his bio:

William Ward is an Orientation and Mobility Specialist for the Maine Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired. He has earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in English and a Bachelor’s of Liberal Studies in Cultural Studies from the University of Maine, Presque Isle; he also completed a Master’s of Arts in Orientation and Mobility from Western Michigan University. William became Online Marketing and Publicity Director at Country Universe in March 2009.

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New Site Launching Wednesday, March 18

The good people at Brady Mills Graphics have redesigned Country Universe, and the new site will be launching the morning of Wednesday, March 18.

Things may get a little wonky as the kinks are worked out, so bear with us. The end result will be more than worth it!

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Comment Policy

As of September 8, 2008, we have put an official comment policy into effect.   They are as follows:

1.  Stick to the topic. Discussion on each post should remain relevant to its content.

2.  Speak respectfully. Do not insult, antagonize or otherwise disrespect the authors or other commenters.  Disagreement can be expressed without being disrespectful.

3.  Keep it clean. Any comment that contains profanity or bigotry of any kind will be deleted.

Commenters who violate the first two rules will be warned by a site administrator; future violating comments will be deleted.   Comments violating rule #3 will automatically be deleted.   Repeated violators will be banned from commenting at Country Universe.

These simple guidelines exist to build the Country Universe community and ensure that our readers feel comfortable expressing their ideas and opinions.    Because of this, we will be strictly enforcing them.

Please also note that our spam filter will automatically submit any comment with two or more links for moderation.   If your comment does not appear immediately and it includes two or more links, it will be cleared for posting by a site administrator.

If there are any questions or concerns regarding this policy, you can e-mail me at kevin@countryuniverse.net or leave a comment below.    You can review the policy at any time by following the link above the banner or on the sidebar.

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Introducing Lynn Douglas

The introduction of our new writers concludes today with the first post of Lynn Douglas.   She has been a regular commenter for a long time, and now she will be contributing her perspectives on country music as a whole, with a focus on Americana music in particular.   With her addition, our staff is now complete.  Please join me in welcoming her! – Kevin

Hello everyone! I have been asked to make contributions to Country Universe, which I find to be such a wonderfully thoughtful and engaging (and female friendly!) site on country music.  I’m incredibly excited by the prospect of introducing you to new songs and artists, as well as helping you discover or re-discover older ones.

I don’t have a formal degree or pedigree in the subject; I simply love and am addicted to music – from the Boss to the Dixie Chicks; from Joni Mitchell to Willie Nelson; from Louis Armstrong to Loretta Lynn; and from The Clancy Brothers to Steve Earle.  I adore lyrics that that read like your favorite book, fast picking that energizes the blood, the perfect steel guitar solo, and the sound of an acoustic guitar being plucked by a master.

I was born and raised in Southern California, and currently call it home, but I have lived all over the U.S. (including Nashville) and spent a number of years living overseas.  Both music and traveling have been my passions for years.  In many ways, for me, each defines the other.  Everywhere I have traveled, I have found my music spot – the cozy cavern in Spain, the friendly pub in Scotland, the smoky bar in Ireland, the dark basement in Prague.

Music has an amazing ability to define the moment and connect you to a new culture.  I fully believe it is that grounding, yet transcendental quality to music that has enabled me to shelter my undying love for Latin, Irish, jazz, blues and folk under the same umbrella as my undying love for country.  Each of those genres has a story to tell – of a people or of a generation.  Hopefully through this site I’ll be able to help you sift through the morass of shallow nothingness that frequents the airwaves and makes the news and find those stories that should come to light!

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Introducing Dan Milliken

On behalf of Leeann, Blake and myself, I‘m thrilled to welcome our newest writer, Dan Milliken. For many of you, he will need no introduction, as Squinty Dan’s is a popular blog among our readers.

Dan’s mixture of knowledge, humor and personal reflection, along with his strong writing voice, make him a perfect fit here. I know that all of you will enjoy his contributions as much as we will! – Kevin

Hey there, everybody! My name’s Dan, and I’m pleased to be formally making all of your cyber-acquaintances. I currently live in Nashville, Tennessee, where I’m working toward my Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Music Business, and I like to spend my non-blogging free time working out, vegging with a good video game, or trying not to suck at guitar. Sometimes I go outside, too.

Kevin originally contacted me to design a banner for the newly pimped-out site layout, and at some point in that conversation I rather cleverly bamboozled him into letting me join up as a writer, as well. Poor guy.

But in all seriousness, I’m thrilled to have been offered this opportunity to share my thoughts on what I consider the greatest music on Earth, and humbled to be doing so for this community, which I happen to hold in similarly high regard. Kevin’s incisive work has already taught me more about the breadth and history of country music than I ever knew I wanted to know, and the site has only flourished in depth and personality thanks to the brilliant additions of Leeann and Blake. Throw in the passionate, diverse readership, and it all amounts to a very addictive experience for the burgeoning country fan like myself!

Country Universe is also personally meaningful to me in that its stellar example was part of what inspired me to revive my own blogging habit. My personal site, Squinty Dan’s, is the fruit of that decison, and I’ve loved packing it with country music content from the get-go. Ultimately, though, I felt that the blog needed a bit more topical balance, and was already looking for someplace else to dump my country music spillage when Kevin mentioned the possibility of my contributing here. So the timing of the offer really couldn’t have been better.

But enough about blogplay. This entry is supposed to be about my personal connection to country music, though frankly there are few topics I find harder to discuss. My “thing” with country music is almost too intrinsic for me to really describe it as a “connection,” hokey as that might sound. I don’t appreciate country music from a distance, as some sort of entertainment-hungry spectator looking for some excuse to have an opinion; I appreciate country music from the inside-out, because I see myself in it.

That’s what gives merit to any art form, I think. There’s no difference between the post-grunge fan and me, except that we happen to prefer different mediums, different sonic windows on the world and our places in it. I prefer my window rusty and raw, I prefer it with vocal trimmings that sound dead-tired from heat or heartache, that slur words and speak only in simple poetry because they can’t afford to waste breath on B.S. Because that’s what makes sense to me.

I appreciate country music because it’s terse, witty, honest, all of those other adjectives people throw around all the time. I appreciate country music because, at its best, it reminds me of who I am and who I’d like to be. And most of all, I appreciate country music because it appreciates me back, even when the rest of the world doesn’t.

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Country Universe featured in new issue of Country Weekly

Country Universe's 100 Greatest Women feature has received a mention in the new issue of Country Weekly:

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You can't ask for anything more than being acknowledged for the work that you're most proud of. I'm humbled.

Thanks to reader Judy for the scan, and Miss Kitty for mentioning it in the comments this past weekend!

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