Tag Archives: Allison Moorer

Leeann Ward’s Top Singles of 2008

Here are my favorite singles of 2008. As Dan has done, I lifted the entries that I had already written from our collective list for this article.

#20: Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, “Please Read The Letter”
The album from which this song comes seems like an unlikely collaboration. It, however, somehow works as one of the best albums of the decade and any song from it would make my top twenty singles list this year.

hank-iii#19: Hank Williams III, “Six Pack of Beer”

Hank Williams III is known for relishing a rebel persona and this attitude is often reflected in his music. More often than not, his songs contain observations wrapped in harsh lyrics that cause me to wince, but his production and voice, which are both more comparable to Hank Sr. than Hank III’s father, still draws me to his music, nonetheless. This song, however, is simply pure ear candy. There’s nothing in it that makes me feel like I have to turn it down in mixed company as is the case with so many other Hank III songs. It’s nice sometimes.

#18: Jason Michael Carroll, “I Can Sleep When I’m Dead”

I’m not much of a Jason Michael Carroll fan, but there’s just something about this song that is infectious. The rapid and frenzied production matches its premise, “I can sleep when I’m dead.”

#17: Gary Allan, “Learning How To Bend”

As Dan has pointed out, these aren’t words that most men would say without feeling extremely awkward. The intriguing thing about Gary Allan is that he can get away with it without anyone unfairly questioning his masculinity. He sings this song with fine vocal execution and hits those falsetto notes with incredible ease.

#16: Carrie Underwood, “Just A Dream”

While I could live with a more understated melody that sounded less like it was written by Diane Warren, I can’t help recognize that Underwood’s performance is just right for this intense song. I can only imagine that it aptly captures both the hazy confusion and blunt pain that accompanies the sudden loss of a significant other. I know it’s how I would feel.

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2008 Rewind: In Covers

sleepless-nightsThree talented ladies unveil a batch of remakes that recharge their creative batteries

Recording a covers album can be a daunting task; only a singer with a clear artistic vision is worthy of the adventure. Even then, the risks involved often outweigh the rewards. But this year, a trio of country’s finest singers proved that such an exercise can be a liberating, and ultimately, satisfying experience.

Sleepless Nights, Patty Loveless’ fourteen-track collection that culls from the traditional country catalog of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s,outclasses much of the original material issued by Music Row this year. But its humble beginnings found Loveless in one of the worst slumps of a career spanning three decades.

Loveless spent most of the ’90s scooping up industry awards and selling gold and platinum. Her success was particularly gratifying for Music Row; she was a critical darling who, with the help of husband/producer Emory Gordy, Jr., framed traditional country music in a contemporary mold. But as Music Row became a pop-oriented culture, Loveless enveloped herself in the sounds of the past. In 2001, she issued a critical favorite, Mountain Soul, a sterling set that embraced her Kentucky upbringing and the stringband stylings of bluegrass and acoustic country. On Your Way Home, a rich blend of shuffling honky-tonk and fiddle-laced balladry, followed in 2003.

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Blake Boldt’s Year-End Lists

amazingpicture0Happy holidays!


1.  “In Color,” Jamey Johnson
2.  “Waitin’ on a Woman,” Brad Paisley
3.  “This Is Me You’re Talking To,” Trisha Yearwood
4.  “She Left Me for Jesus,” Hayes Carll
5.  “What I Cannot Change,” Leann Rimes
6.  “Last Call,” Lee Ann Womack
7.  “Anything Goes,” Randy Houser
8.  “Dig Two Graves,” Randy Travis
9.  “Please Read the Letter,” Alison Krauss & Robert Plant
10.  “Fine Line,” Little Big Town
11.  “Mockingbird,” Allison Moorer
12.  “Crazy Arms,” Patty Loveless
13.  “This Town Needs a Bar,” Jeremy McComb
14.   “Just Got Started Loving You,” James Otto
15.  “Takin’ off This Pain,” Ashton Shepherd
16.  “Gold,” Emmylou Harris
17.  “Every Other Weekend,” Reba McEntire & Skip Ewing
18.  “You Look Good In My Shirt,” Keith Urban
19.  “More Like Her,” Miranda Lambert
20.  “Love Don’t Live Here,” Lady Antebellum

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Best Country Singles of 2008, Part 1: #40-#31

Starting today, the Country Universe staff will be revealing our Top 40 Singles of 2008.   This list has been compiled through a combination of four individual Top 20 lists by Leeann, Blake, Dan and myself, wherein a certain number of “points” was delegated to a single each time it was mentioned on one of the lists.

The final list reflects the total number of points that each single received between the four lists. Those lists will be revealed along with other individual writer content next week as part of our continuing coverage of the Best of 2008.


Trisha Yearwood, “They Call it Falling For a Reason”

This song really sounds like it could fit perfectly with Yearwood’s music of the ‘90s. The production is both modest and interesting at the same time. Furthermore, the lyrics are light without seeming inane. As we will lament about many singles on this list, it’s a shame that this one didn’t chart better for Yearwood.  – LW


Sarah Buxton, “Space”

When Sarah Buxton’s voice is matched with a soaring melody, good things are bound to happen.   Here, she tears apart the standard breakup line, “I just need space”, thoroughly eviscerating the man foolish enough to ask for it.  – KJC


Jewel, “Stronger Woman”

Back when Jewel ruled pop radio, she did so with  smart and empowering female anthems.    Her introduction to country radio is cut from the same cloth, and let’s be honest: such material hasn’t been any more common on the country dial than it has been on pop radio this decade.  – KJC

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Allison Moorer, Mockingbird

Allison Moorer

Allison Moorer’s latest album is an exercise in splendid restraint.  Excepting the title track, a Moorer original, Mockingbird is a collection of songs written and performed by the women who serve as her musical idols. Moorer shows an overt dedication to honoring the timeless rhymes of her sistren, drawing inspiration from a diversity of musical styles that she whips into an intoxicating cocktail.

Mockingbird experiences a hiccup early, when Moorer chooses two fine songs marred by bland production. The cover of the Cash family classic “Ring of Fire” is presented as a ballad, with a fraction of the intensity that charged the original, and Patti Smith’s “Dancing Barefoot” suffers from its brittle, progressive rock arrangement.

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100 Greatest Women, #74: Shelby Lynne

100 Greatest Women


Shelby Lynne

She was only eighteen years old when she scored a major label record deal, but Shelby Lynne had already had enough life experience to be a convincing singer of harrowing, heartbreaking country songs.

Born Shelby Lynn Moorer in 1968, she grew up in a musical family. Her father was a bandleader and her mother often sang harmony with him on stage. On some nights, Shelby and her little sister Allison would join them on the stage. However, her dad struggled with alcoholism, and it fueled his explosive violence at home. When Shelby was only seventeen years old, her father demanded to speak to her mother in the driveway of their home. He then fatally shot her, then turned the gun on himself.

The shocking tragedy left Shelby alone to support herself and younger sister, so she turned to something she knew how to do well: music. The two sisters moved to Nashville, and Shelby started to play the local clubs. Through a lucky break, she scored a performance slot on the nightly cable variety show Nashville Now. Her impressive performance made such an immediate impact that she had four major labels offering to sign her the very next day.

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Steve Earle with Allison Moorer, “Days Aren’t Long Enough”

Steve Earle is well known for his controversially liberal political and social ideologies in the predominantly conservative country music genre. As a result, his political views too often overshadow his talent and creativity. On “Days Aren’t Long Enough”, however, all of his activism is put aside for a moment for the sake of love.

Earle invites his wife, Allison Moorer, to join him on this ballad about how days aren’t long enough to focus on undeniable love. It is a beautifully executed ballad with Earle’s and Moorer’s voices blending perfectly to create a romantic tribute to love.

Whoever listens to this song can tell that they’re not taking this relationship for granted. It is nice to hear Steve Earle’s softer side accompanied by a gentle production on this song that sounds like it could have been a classic in another time.

Written by Steve Earle & Allison Moorer

Grade: A

Listen: Days Aren’t Long Enough

Buy: Day’s Aren’t Long Enough

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100 Greatest Women, #96: Allison Moorer

100 Greatest Women


Allison Moorer

One of the definitive female artists of Americana music.

Allison Moorer was the second musical artist to emerge from her family, with an older sister who goes by the name Shelby Lynne preceding her in the industry by about a decade.

Moorer signed with MCA in the mid-nineties, and began to carve out an unconventional path to success. Her first single, “A Soft Place to Fall”, was placed in the movie The Horse Whisperer. Moorer found herself launching her career with a song in a major motion picture, and while radio never warmed to it (or any of her other singles), she scored an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song and performed it on the 1999 telecast.

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