Tag Archives: Carlene Carter

400 Greatest Singles of the Nineties: #200-#176

The hits come from all over the place here. Breakthrough hits from Trace Adkins and Carlene Carter join one-hit wonders Brother Phelps and George Ducas.  And alongside crafty covers of songs by sixties rock band The Searchers and nineties country artist Joy Lynn White, you can also find tracks from three diamond-selling country albums.

400 Greatest Singles of the Nineties: #200-#176

#200
Carrying Your Love With Me
George Strait
1997 | Peak: #1

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A traveler gets through his lonely nights on the sheer strength of love. It’s perhaps a little too saccharine for some, but the sweet melody and Strait’s understated vocals make the record work. – Tara Seetharam

#199
Nothing’s News
Clint Black
1990 | Peak: #3

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A man sits around in a bar “talking ’bout the good old times, bragging on how it used to be.” Standard premise, but Black’s melancholy performance lifts the record to Haggardly heights. – Dan Milliken Continue reading

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Discussion: Worst Album Titles?

We don’t do as many discussions as we used to at CU, and it’s possible that we already did this one. But seeing the title of this week’s #1 country album, I couldn’t resist:

Jerrod Niemann, Judge Jerrod & The Hung Jury

I’d call it juvenile, but I don’t think I would’ve laughed as a kid, either. But I’m sure some people found it funny.

Here are a few others that make me wince:

Pam Tillis, Above and Beyond the Doll of Cutey

I. Don’t. Get. It.  “(You Just Want to Be) Weird”, indeed.

Cross Canadian Ragweed, Soul Gravy

Oh, yeah? But where are the lumps? Ha ha!  Oh, no…

Patty Loveless, Mountain Soul II

Though it would go from worst to first if she’d called it  Mountain Soul II: Bluegrass Boogaloo.

Carlene Carter, Blue Nun

Why is the nun so sad? Or choking? Or a smurf?

Those are some of my favorite bad album titles. What are some of yours?

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400 Greatest Singles of the Nineties: #300-#276

The list continues with appearances from artists who first surfaced in the eighties and continued to thrive into the nineties, like Reba McEntire and Patty Loveless, along with new stars from the nineties who would find greater success in the next decade, like Toby Keith and Brad Paisley.

400 Greatest Singles of the Nineties: #300-#276

#300
Does He Love You
Reba McEntire with Linda Davis
1993  |  Peak: #1

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This two-female duet was a gamble at the time of its release, but it offers such a brilliant fusion of perspectives that it’s hard to imagine why. The song fleshes out the range of emotions that the two women are experiencing –from pain to longing to self-doubt– and culminates in one shared question that they’ll never know the answer to: “does he love you like he’s been loving me?” – Tara Seetharam Continue reading

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Grammy Flashback: Best Female Country Vocal Performance

Revised and Updated for 2009

While the Grammys have honored country music from the very first ceremony in 1959, they did not begin honoring by gender until 1965, when the country categories were expanded along with the other genre categories.

This is a look back at the Best Female Country Vocal Performance category. It was first awarded in 1965, an included single competing with albums until the Best Country Album category was added in 1995. When an album is nominated, it is in italics, and a single track is in quotation marks.

I’ve often made the case that female artists were making the best music in the 1990s, and the Grammys did a great job nominating songs and albums that were ignored at the CMA and ACM awards, which is not surprising, given that those shows have so few categories that are actually for songs and albums.

As usual, we start with a look at this year’s nominees and work our way back.

2009

  • Martina McBride, “For These Times”
  • LeAnn Rimes, “What I Cannot Change”
  • Carrie Underwood, “Last Name”
  • Lee Ann Womack, “Last Call”
  • Trisha Yearwood, “This is Me You’re Talking To”

This year’s lineup includes three former winners and two women looking for their first victory in this category. Martina McBride is in the running for the eighth time in fifteen years, and with one of her more understated performances. Lee Ann Womack returns for a fifth time, having received a nomination for the lead single of her five most recent albums. Both ladies turned in good performances here, but they’ve been overlooked for records bigger and better, so they’re not likely to snap their losing streaks this time around.

As for the previous winners, LeAnn Rimes earned her third consecutive nod, bringing her total to five in this category. She hasn’t won since 1997, when she took home the award for “Blue.” If enough voters hear “What I Cannot Change,” she might have a shot, though the only version of the song that’s been a legitimate hit has been the dance remix.

Trisha Yearwood won in 1998 for “How Do I Live,” her only victory to date. But she’s earned her tenth nomination for “This is Me You’re Talking To,” which is arguably her strongest vocal performance of the ten. Like Rimes, the challenge is getting enough voters to listen to it, but she’s never been more deserving of the victory than she is this year.

Still, the favorite remains Carrie Underwood. She’s quickly become a favorite with Grammy voters, having won this category two years running, along with Best New Artist in 2007. She’s the nominee with the highest profile, and while “Last Name” is nowhere near the same league of “Jesus, Take the Wheel” and “Before He Cheats” in terms of artistry or impact, it was a big hit, something that the other four entries cannot claim.

If Underwood was nominated for “Just a Dream,” she’d have a mortal lock on this one. But the strength of the other nominees will at least keep this race competitive. If Underwood prevails, Grammy queen Alison Krauss better watch her back.

2008

  • Alison Krauss, “Simple Love”
  • Miranda Lambert, “Famous in a Small Town”
  • LeAnn Rimes, “Nothin’ Better to Do”
  • Carrie Underwood, “Before He Cheats”
  • Trisha Yearwood, “Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love”

Looking at this lineup, you’d think that it was a golden age of female country artists, something akin to the mid-nineties. In reality, only one of these songs was a big radio hit, though three others managed to go top twenty. In terms of quality, however, this is the most consistent and thoroughly wonderful set of nominees this category has seen this century.  You’d have to go back to exactly 1999 to find a better lineup.

In a year when any winner would have been deserving, Underwood won for “Before He Cheats,” her second straight win for a signature mega-hit from her debut album.

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iPod Check: They Call it Country

We’re making iPod Check a weekly discussion feature this year, with a bit of a different spin each week.

This week, check out the “Country” genre on your music list and post the first ten songs that play. Here are my ten, out of 5,626 in total:

1. k.d. lang, “Pullin’ Back the Reins”
2. Johnny Cash, “I’m Going to Memphis”
3. Sugarland, “Already Gone”
4. Dolly Parton, “Don’t Let Me Cross Over”
5. Trisha Yearwood, “Nothin’ About You is Good For Me”
6. Carlene Carter, “Two Sides to Every Woman”
7. Johnny Cash, “Thirteen”
8. Kenny Rogers, “I Don’t Call Him Daddy”
9. Emmylou Harris, “Tennessee Waltz”
10. Loretta Lynn, “I Believe”

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Discussion: 21st Century Trio

One of the landmarks of Dolly Parton’s career was the Trio album, her platinum-selling collaboration with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris.   It was one of the few country albums in history to receive a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year, and it won every major industry award, including the ACM for Top Album.

Just as compelling was Parton’s collaboration with Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette, which went gold despite zero support from country radio.   After another collaboration with Ronstadt and Harris in the late nineties, there hasn’t been another collaboration of the sort from any major country artists.

I think this concept needs to be updated for the 21st Century.  My vote is for a Lorrie Morgan, Pam Tillis and Carlene Carter album that fulfills the promise of their headlining 1996 tour.

Which three artists would you like to see put out a trio album?

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Single Review: BlackHawk, “Love Like This”

For as long as it has been written, “Love Like This” has been a hit waiting to happen.  It was composed by the same trio of writers behind “Safe in the Arms of Love”, and both songs were originally recorded by Kennedy Rose, a duo made up of two of those writers.

BlackHawk first recorded it on their Arista debut album, which spawned five hits.   “Love Like This” was going to be a single as well, until Carlene Carter released her own version to radio, which failed to make much of an impact.

BlackHawk’s original recording was much livelier than the new one, which lacks the exuberance of most recordings of the song.    It’s still worth hearing, as “Love Like This” remains one of country music’s least known gems.   But use it as a gateway to the original recordings, rather than a substitute for them.

Written by Pat Bunch, Mary Kennedy and Pam Rose

Grade: B-

Listen: Love Like This

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Discussion: All-Female Country Tour

This topic was suggested by reader “vp”, who figured that Country Universe would be a good place to discuss this quote from Carrie Underwood:

Meanwhile, Underwood has plans. Maybe these plans will even include Faith Hill. Underwood says she intends them to include Kellie Pickler, another Idol graduate tilling the same musical soil. “I want to have a girls-only tour and get some awesome chicks together, and have us all go out and,” Underwood beams a happy smile out toward this future, “kick butt.”

It’s been done a couple of times before, with the first major instance being the 1996 Kraft Country Tour with Lorrie Morgan, Pam Tillis & Carlene Carter.    I’d certainly be on board for a show featuring Carrie Underwood, and I’d put Trisha Yearwood and Miranda Lambert on the bill with her.

Of course, I’d be even more on board for a nineties ladies tour with Trisha, Pam and Patty.   Or Kathy, Suzy and Chapin.   Both mixes would be great.

What do you think of a 2009 All-Female Country Tour?  Who would you like to see share the bill with Underwood?  Any other women you’d like to see share a bill together?

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100 Greatest Women, #61: Carlene Carter

100 Greatest Women

#61

Carlene Carter

A woman born into country music royalty who struggled with her legacy before finally embracing it and finding commercial and critical success. That’s a line that refers to more than one second-generation female country star, but none more than Carlene Carter.

Born the daughter of Carl Smith and June Carter, Carlene was either second or third generation country, depending on which side of her family you were looking at. She was twelve years old when her mother married Johnny Cash, but she had already grown up on the road, watching the matriarchs of her family perform on the road. She learned at a young age about the rapturous adoration that country music held for the Carter Family. By the time she was ready to pursue music herself, she chose her mother’s surname in a conscious effort to connect with the strong female history connected to it.

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