Category Archives: Sound Off

Lil’ Wednesday WTF

“If I Die Young”…pop remix.

To the Perrys’ credit, I guess, the song is too deeply country-folky to convince as a straight-ahead pop ballad. Not to the Perrys’ credit…what would be so bad about a little string-band action on Top 40?



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The Civil Wars: A New Music Discovery

The Civil WarsOut of all the writers at Country Universe, I’m probably the one who is least likely to discover an unsigned artist’s music online and fall in love with it. But thanks to a friend’s shout-out on Facebook, I’ve discovered The Civil Wars, a Nashville-based duo that is nothing short of completely awesome.

My friend linked to their cover of “Billie Jean”, which is charming in its own right, but it was the discovery of their live album that made me fall head over heels for this band. You can download their entire album for free at their website, or by following the link below. Here’s a clip of them singing one of my favorite songs from their album, “Poison & Wine,” which features the memorable chorus “I don’t love you but I always will”:


Honestly, this music is so good that I’m going to have to send them some cash for it, which is also an option. This live album is toward the front of the pack among my favorite albums of 2009. Check it out now so you’re not scratching your head in confusion when you read my Top Ten list this December!


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Sound Off: Patty Loveless, Sleepless Nights

Roger Newcomb sent us the following videos that are being used for promotion of the upcoming Patty Loveless album, Sleepless Nights.    This is one of the most anticipated albums at Country Universe this fall.  Let us know what you think in the comments.


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Sound Off: Alex Woodard featuring Sara Watkins, “Reno”

Today we’re featuring Alex Woodard, as this is the release date of his new album, Alex Woodard.  The song for download, “Reno”, features Sara Watkins, who is most known for her work in Nickel Creek.   Longtime readers know how much we dig Nickel Creek in these parts, so check this one out.

Here’s the press release:

Singer/songwriter Alex Woodard will release his new, self-titled album tomorrow, August 19, on Woodshack Music/Adrenaline Music Group. With his undeniable, story-driven songwriting, Woodard tackles universal themes like love, loss, hope, and struggle, tapping into a rich vein of country-rock that George Varga, Music Editor of the San Diego Union Tribune, calls, “An accomplished collection that suggests broader success is close at hand…Woodard’s well-crafted songs are cut from the same cloth as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and John Mellencamp, whose music eloquently captures earthy truths about living, loving and growing older without losing the dreams of youth.  His words and music are right on target.” also raves, “Woodard pens tales instantly recognizable, for they’re American stories we’ve all lived and shared, with the album holding a mirror to us all.”

Joining Woodard on the new album is Nickel Creek’s singer/fiddler and fellow San Diego surfer Sara Watkins, who duets with him on “Reno,” a song about letting go of dreams that don’t fit anymore. Pulled from the popular Blog Spot, Wildy’s World, “The absolute highlight of this album is Reno, the duet with Nickel Creek’s Sara Watkins. This is one of the most traditional country sounding songs on the album, and Woodard’s voice works with Watkins’ so well you’d think they’ve been singing together for years.”  Grammy-winner Watkins, whose fiddle appears on several tracks, also lends her voice to the ballad, while Fountains of Wayne’s Brian Young mans the drums. observes that Alex’s “cool folk melancholy sounds especially fine next to gleaming country-pop guitars,” and Today’s Country Magazine says: “Woodard crafts [his lyrics] in a way that delivers the stories perfectly.”

Look for Woodard to appear in your town on his popular “House Concert Tour” where he is playing in local fans homes.

Listen & Download: Reno

Official Site: Alex Woodard

MySpace Page: Alex Woodard


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Sound Off: Glen Campbell, "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)"

In a surprising move, music legend and Country Music Hall of Famer Glen Campbell has chosen contemporary material for his upcoming covers album, Meet Glen Campbell.   One of the songs included is the modern standard  “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”, originally recorded by Green Day.

Here's the press release:

In a legendary music career that spans more than five decades, Glen Campbell has achieved chart-topping, platinum-selling pop and country success singing everyday tales of life, love, work and heartache. For Meet Glen Campbell, his inspired, dynamic new studio album, the music icon has returned to his longtime label home, Capitol Records. Meet Glen Campbell will be released on August 19 on CD, limited edition vinyl and digitally.

The songs on the album all strike a personal and musical chord with Campbell. He has reinterpreted and re-imagined both older and contemporary songs with his own signature vocal and guitar arrangements. A true musician’s musician, Campbell’s distinct guitar playing, along with th

e clarity and emotion of his powerful vocal performance, come together to give new life to the songs he selected for Meet Glen Campbell.

The influential singer, guitarist and stylist, who has long made others’ songs his own, is doing it again, recording high-spirited, emotionally charged versions of tracks that have personally moved and inspired him. Campbell’s intimate performances convey an autobiographical and deeply personal connection to the album’s songs, which include Travis’ “Sing,” Tom Petty’s “Angel Dream” and “Walls,” The Replacements’ “Sadly Beautiful,” U2’s “All I Want Is You,” The Velvet Underground’s “Jesus,” and Jackson Browne’s “These Days,” among others.

“I really like all of the songs and I had a great time recording them. While I didn’t write these songs, this sounds like a Glen Campbell album, which is important to me,” says Glen Campbell.

I can't wait to hear your reactions to this one. Please keep the comments focused on the music. Enjoy!

Listen: Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

Official Site: Glen Campbell



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Sound Off: The McClymonts

Our occasional feature spotlighting new artists continues today, as we turn our attention to another Aussie country act:  The McClymonts.  This sister act has already gained popularity in their home country.

Here's a bit of their bio from their official website:

“The McClymont sisters Brooke, Samantha and Mollie McClymont unleashed their musical alchemy and soaring vocal perfection when they released their first self-titled EP in June 06 through Universal Music.

They toured Australia performing to full houses every night supporting multi award winner Lee Kernaghan plus music festivals across the land.

As the word spread fast the industry quickly noticed their increasing popularity. The media became involved and they were invited on popular Radio and Television shows promoting their EP and public events. They where excited to be invited by Channel 9’s high rating show ‘Getaway’ to present their hometown of Grafton (NSW) to the Nation.

Another honor was being invited to perform ‘Delta Dawn’, a tribute to Helen Reddy at the Aria Hall of Fame awards 2006.

Also, they spent Christmas 2006 and New Years Eve away from their

family and friends to perform 15 shows over 2 weeks in Iraq.

Their hard work paid off when they proudly accepted 2 awards at this years’ 35th CMAA Country Music Awards of Australia held at Tamworth in January 07. The McClymonts received Golden Guitars for Group or Duo of the Year and Maton New Talent of the Year with their smash hit single Something That My Heart Does.

Recently, they became the faces for the Jamm 4 Jeans campaign. This event as part of the Jeans 4 Genes charity runs on the weekend of August 3-5 and through live music events raises money for Childrens’ Medical Research.

They are currently touring and preparing for the release their debut album Chaos and Bright Lights.

Check out the links below to read more about the band, and to download the track “.”  Once you've listened, share your thoughts about the music in the comments.

Download: Favourite Boyfriend of the Year

Official Site: The McClymonts

MySpace Page: The McClymonts



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Sound Off: Danielle Blakey, "Driving Song"

Today's featured artist is Danielle Blakey, another talent from Australia. Here's a bit of her bio:

Young, fresh and gorgeous, DANIELLE BLAKEY has already come to the attention of Star Maker judges, US TV producers and even SHANIA TWAIN’s former guitarist DAVID MALACHOWSKI. Her sound is refreshing and pop-py; seriously modern contemporary. Danielle has written nine of the ten tracks along with producer PETER NORTHCOTE. The tenth is Anybody Listening, the track that landed a spot on the hit US TV show Smallville. The tracks are vital and alive. Opening track Back Home tells of missing the country life. Driving Song

is totally hot with an irresistible rocky beat. Tell Me is delightful; about that first moment when love hits so hard it knocks the words out of your mouth. The Kiss is foot-tappingly catchy. Alright has a youthful country sweetness. Back To You is unadulterated unapologetically swinging jazz. Danielle’s music has big touches of jazz, rock and pop but the underlying feeling is sweet green grass country

Check out the links below to read more about Danielle Blakey, and to download the track “Driving Song.”  Once you've listened, sound off in the comments!

Download: Driving Song

MySpace Page: Danielle Blakey



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Sound Off: Jonah’s Road, “Counting Down the Days”

At Country Universe, we are often offered the opportunity to showcase new and rising artists.  Today, we’re beginning a feature called “Sound Off.”  Each entry in this feature will showcase a different artist, sharing a bit of their biography and music.

Our first featured artist is the band Jonah’s Road. Here’s a bit of their bio from their official website:

Sydney based band, Jonah’s Road, has developed a significant following in the Australian music scene over the past few years. The contemporary sound is a feature gaining them many new fans and the respect of their peers thanks to fantastic live shows, tight vocal harmonies and great songwriting.

The highly anticipated new album, Counting Down The Days, was released in January 2007 and is expected to repeat the success of the band..s multi-award winning first album Hold On. Jay, John & Rodney spent most of 2006 writing and recording the album. It was recorded and co-produced by Matt Fell at Love Hz studios and mixed by Robbie Specogna at Main Street Studios. The result is a collection of upbeat songs and soaring ballads highlighting the harmony-driven, country-pop sound for which the band is becoming well known. The first radio single is the title track Counting Down The Days which is an upbeat song written by Jay & Jasper Somerville-Collie in collaboration with Travis List.’

Check out the links below to read more about the band, and to download the track “Counting Down the Days.”  Once you’ve listened, sound off in the comments!

Download: Counting Down the Days

Official Site: Jonah’s Road

MySpace Page: Jonah’s Road


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