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Country Universe Turns Eight: Leeann's Favorites

July 31, 2012 Leeann Ward 4

In 2007, a little over five years ago, I discovered Country Universe. At that point in my relationship with mainstream country music, I had been a diehard fan for over ten years, but was realizing that I was starting to feel less content with Top 40 country radio.

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Introducing Ben Foster

July 13, 2011 Ben Foster 15

Country Universe is proud to introduce our newest staff writer, Ben Foster. Ben began his blogging career at his own 1-to-10 Country Music Review, which is essential daily reading for country music afici0nados. We are thrilled to have him on board! – KJC.

Hey, y’all! My name is Ben Foster. I was born a Yankee up in Michigan, near Detroit, and now I currently live in Russellville – a small town located right smack in Middle of Nowhere, Kentucky. Some of the regular readers may already have an idea of who I am, since I’ve been an active comment thread participant for well over a year now.

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Two Too Awesome to Remain in One Universe

December 30, 2010 Kevin John Coyne 8

2010 brought two big steps for Country Universe writers Dan Milliken and Tara Seetharam!

Dan’s musings on country music are now being published at CMT.com. Check out his awesome rundown of this year’s reissues: The Greatest Greatest Hits of 2010. He also contributed to features on Toby Keith and Tim McGraw, selecting “Who’s That Man” as a prime Keith cut, and “Just to See You Smile” as prime McGraw.

Meanwhile, Tara has launched her own blog – TaraSeetharam.com – which features her musings on pop culture and has me secretly wishing to do guest posts on the non-country artists who populate my iPod.

Both writers are so amazing that expanded horizons are inevitable. We’re proud to have recognized their talent early on!

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Catching Up

November 6, 2010 Kevin John Coyne 6

Daylight Savings Time means one more hour to kill surfing the internet. It’s as good a time as any to catch up on the CMA Awards, your favorite artists, and reviews you might have missed!

Just follow the links below to our archival pages, all of which have just been completely updated:

CMA Awards

Read about every nominee and winner in all major categories since the awards began in 1967, starting with a rundown of this year’s nominees in each category.

Artist Pages

Read all features and reviews from every artist that has ever been written about on Country Universe, along with a listing of all of their industry awards and RIAA-certified albums and singles.

Reviews

Our archives include every single, album, concert, music video, and DVD review we’ve ever published, listed alphabetically by artist.

Just want to see what we’ve written lately? Look back in reverse chronological order:

More new posts are on the way, including our annual rundown of Picks & Predictions for the CMA Awards and the return of Starter Kits, Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists, and Yesterday’s Songs. Stay tuned!

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Movin’ On Up

October 10, 2010 Kevin John Coyne 17

We’re proud to note that our very own Dan Milliken has been published by CMT.com for the first time.

Check out his write-up of the Toby Keith classic, “Who’s That Man”:

The impossible question of divorce is how to divide lives that have become so intricately knitted together. As Keith demonstrates in this dark, brooding song, no answer to that question comes without its toll. The narrator of “Who’s That Man” has lost every staple of his former life in the collapse of his marriage, and as if that weren’t bad enough, someone else is filling his shoes without any apparent hitch.

Of course, this is an awesome and impressive new platform for Dan’s writing, but let’s be honest. Just like Country Universe got a hell of a lot better once he joined us, CMT can only be elevated by his trademark wit and undeniable talent.

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We’ll Drink to That

June 27, 2010 Leeann Ward 30

Today is the 21st birthday of our very own Dan Milliken, who can now indulge in one of country music’s favorite past times without breaking the law.

In honor of this occasion, we’ve decided to dedicate some of our favorite songs on that subject to the birthday guy.

Leeann:

I don’t drink, but I do love me a good drinking song. In fact, I love so many drinking songs that it’s impossible for me to narrow it down to just one favorite. So, I decided to put my iPod on shuffle and discuss/recommend the first one that popped up, which happens to be “I Drink”, recorded by both Blake Shelton and Bill Chambers and co-written and also recorded by Americana favorite, Mary Gauthier.

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Nashville Scene Critics’ Poll Features Outstanding Commentary By Local Writer

January 7, 2010 Kevin John Coyne 16

The results are in for the Tenth Annual Nashville Scene Country Music Critics’ Poll. This year’s survey was created with the input of 77 nationally recognized country music critics, but there’s one that I’m sure you’ll agree is tremendously cooler and more insightful than the rest – our very own Dan Milliken. Here’s just a sampling of his commentary, more of which can be read here:

One of the fascinating patterns of mainstream country in 2009 was that, as the sound moved further and further away from country music as we traditionally know it, the lyrics tried and harder and harder to pick up the slack. Seemingly every other song shipped to radio these days is about the singer’s inherent “country-ness,” either explicitly (“She’s Country,” “That’s How Country Boys Roll,” “I’m a Little More Country Than That”) or implicitly (“Small Town U.S.A.,” “Bonfire,” “Backwoods,” “Whistlin’ Dixie”). There’s a palpable self-consciousness to the trend, as though songwriters, labels and artists know they’re stamping out a large part of the genre’s core identity, but really, really hope you won’t notice.

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: We’re proud of you, Dan. Great work!

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Check Out Our Artist Pages

July 18, 2009 Kevin John Coyne 5

It’s been a long time coming, but our Artist Pages are finally up and running!

It’s a project I started with Blake Boldt at the end of 2008.We were looking for a new way to archive the site’s content, along with providing additional information that wasn’t currently included on the site.

There is an Artist Page for every single act that has been the subject of a feature, interview, or review throughout the past five years. As of this posting, there are 317 artist profiles. Also included are Industry Honors (Hall of Fame inductions, Grammys, CMAs and ACMs) and complete RIAA Certifications for albums and singles for each artist.

Just like all of our other pages, these Artist Pages will be updated whenever new content is posted. Enjoy!

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Introducing Tara Seetharam

April 21, 2009 Tara Seetharam 22

It is my distinct honor and pleasure to introduce the newest writer for Country Universe, Tara Seetharam. As you’ll soon discover, we are quite blessed to have her. On behalf of the Country Universe staff, please join me in welcoming Tara! – Kevin J. Coyne

Hi all! It is such a thrill to step foot into this community of talented and well-versed writers. I am humbled and can’t thank the staff enough for so graciously taking me in.

I graduated about a year ago from the University of Texas with a degree in journalism, and I am currently residing in Houston and working in corporate communications. Writing and music are two of my greatest joys in life, so the opportunity to use this site as a medium to interlace the two is an absolute blessing.

When I tell people that I live and breathe country music, I’m almost always met with surprise. Some are better at hiding it than others, but I typically receive an inquisitive stare, a “Really?” or a confused smile. It leads to about 20 seconds of awkwardness, with me trying to sum up my passion for the genre in an eloquent explanation, and generally failing. Because quite frankly, how do you prove to a near stranger that yes, an Indian-American can love country music from the depths of her soul?

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