Single Review: The Band Perry, “Gentle On My Mind”

February 18, 2015 // 5 Comments

“Gentle On My Mind The Band Perry Written by John Hartford The Band Perry’s Grammy-winning cover of Glen Campbell’s classic “Gentle On My Mind” (the trio’s contribution to the soundtrack of the recent I’ll Be Me documentary on Campbell) is an absolute delight. It feels fresh and energetic, but you don’t get the sense that they’re going to needless lengths to modernize or reinvent it.

CU10 Flashback: Single Review/Shameless Rant: Miranda Lambert, “The House That Built Me”

December 29, 2014 // 7 Comments

I discovered Country Universe in the spring of 2010 and quickly became a regular reader. At the time, Dan’s review of Miranda Lambert’s much-lauded release “The House That Built Me” was a recent post. Besides making me wish that my own ‘shameless rants’ could come out sounding half as smart and classy as Dan’s, the article raises a series of points that remain valid nearly half a decade later. “The House That Built Me” is a great record, but should it really have stood out so dramatically as such? Dan discussed the single in a way that turned the mirror back on us. Have we developed a tendency to praise or over-praise music, not on its own merits, but in comparison to the weaker material surrounding it? Perhaps it was my recent participation in Country Universe’s Best of 1994 feature which moved me to revisit this article and topic. I think about the great Read More

CU Archives: Kathy Mattea

September 22, 2012 // 2 Comments

For those of you just discovering Country Universe because of Ben Foster’s stellar review of Calling Me Home, here are some other Kathy Mattea features from our archives:

A Conversation with Kathy Mattea

This interview from March 2009 covers Mattea’s musical legacy, with a special focus on her Grammy-nominated Coal.

100 Greatest Women: #27. Kathy Mattea

Mattea’s entry on our 2008 countdown of the genre’s greatest women.

Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists: Kathy Mattea

Twenty-five of her best, written shortly after the release of Coal.

Classic Country Singles: “Where’ve You Been”

A look back at the single that earned Mattea her first Grammy award and won its songwriters several major honors as well.

Retro Single Review: Dolly Parton, “My Blue Tears”

November 14, 2011 // 3 Comments

1971 | #17

The title track got most of the love, and deservedly so, but the first single from Parton’s Coat of Many Colors album is a strong effort in its own right. Backed by Appalachian-flavored acoustic instrumentation, Parton mourns her lost love while expressing a desire for nothing more than solitude. To the bluebird singing a sad song, she says “Spread your blue wings, and I’ll shed my blue tears.” To the bright sunshine, she says “Waste not your warmth on the coldness in here…. Go light your blue sky, and I’ll shed my blue tears.” The song’s brisk tempo belies its sad lyrics as Parton sings with an emotive quiver in her voice.

Single Review: LeAnn Rimes, “Swingin'”

June 1, 2010 // 27 Comments

John Anderson’s early 1983 hit, “Swingin’”, is the song that propelled his mainstream country music career. The quirky song that chronicled the mundane details of young infatuation is more loved for its unadulterated cheesiness than for being anything akin to a masterpiece. In fact, it sounds delightfully dated today, which only accentuates its cult appeal.

Single Review: Jason Aldean, “Crazy Town”

April 9, 2010 // 10 Comments

Look, Nashville’s got its issues. And a song that delves into its yin-yang core of image and art could be interesting, if not entirely original. It could be any combination of honest, clever, biting and entertaining. It could make sense.

Billy Currington, “That’s How Country Boys Roll”

September 15, 2009 // 21 Comments

BillyCurringtonIt’s always disappointing when a good song is tainted by mundane lyrics, and I fear that’s the case with “That’s How Country Boys Roll.” Like most of Currington’s singles, the song –lyrics aside– is charming and endearing, and the vocal performance rich and distinct.

But we come away from the song learning what, exactly, about country boys? That they like fishing, suped up cars and working real hard? Granted, there are a few deeper messages in the mix, but none are expressive enough to actually paint a picture of a multi-dimensional country boy.

1 2