Tag Archives: Charlie Robison

Best Country Singles of 2009, Part 1: #40-#21

Here’s hoping you haven’t gotten completely burned out on countdowns yet. 2009 was hardly a favorite musical year for many of us, but amid each year’s glut of throwaway items, there’s always a good’un or two (or forty). The following is the first installment of our Best Singles of 2009 list, which will conclude tomorrow morning. Best Albums will follow next week.

As with the Singles of the Decade feature, this countdown has been compiled through combination of four equally weighed Top 20 lists by Kevin, Leeann, Tara and myself. An inverted point system was applied to the individual rankings (#1 on a list meant 20 points, while #20 on the list meant 1 point). The songs were then ranked together by number of total points, greatest to least. The final result is another rather stylistically diverse set.

As always, we hope you enjoy the countdown, and welcome all the feedback you can muster. Happy New Year!

#40

Lady Antebellum, “Need You Now”

The trio puts a country spin on an old school pop sound, but without forsaking raw emotion. The highlight of the song is Hillary Scott’s smoky performance, which draws out all the anguish and regret you’d expect from a desperate, 1 AM lover’s call. – Tara Seetharam

#39

Joey + Rory, “Play the Song”

While Joey + Rory’s image appears to be squeaky-clean, it is fascinating that their songs have displayed some of the most attitude in the mainstream country music world. After releasing the sassy “Cheater, Cheater”, they have appealed to radio (the very people holding part of the duo’s career in their hands) to stop limiting their playlists with safe choices and to just “play the song.” – Leeann Ward Continue reading

16 Comments

Filed under Single Reviews

Album Sales Update: July 2009

It’s time for an album sales update, our first since May 23.   Brad Paisley is off to a strong start with American Saturday Night, selling 130k in its first week. That’s about 70k less than his previous two studio albums – Time Well Wasted and 5th Gear – opened with, but not a terrible drop-off, considering the state of the music market.

Meanwhile, the new studio albums by Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban are slowing down considerably, now being outpaced on a weekly basis by 2008 releases by Taylor Swift, Zac Brown Band, Darius Rucker and Lady Antebellum.

Among younger acts with a new album in 2009, the most impressive sales are coming from Jason Aldean, while 2008 releases from Kellie Pickler, Billy Currington, and Randy Houser are showing new signs of life.

Biggest disappointments? It’s hard not to look in the direction of Martina McBride, who has barely cleared the 100k mark on her new studio set.  Lee Ann Womack’s 2008 set just made it over that mark, too.  Then again, one only needs to have sold 455 copies to make the chart this week, with the anchor position going to Wynonna with that total. Her covers album Sing – Chapter 1 has sold 41k to date.

Here are the latest totals for albums released over the past three years that are still charting:

2009

  • Rascal Flatts, Unstoppable – 842,000
  • Keith Urban, Defying Gravity – 452,000
  • Jason Aldean, Wide Open – 384,000
  • Kenny Chesney, Greatest Hits II – 281,000
  • Dierks Bentley, Feel That Fire – 219,000
  • Martina McBride, Shine – 104,000
  • John Rich, Son of a Preacher Man – 103,000
  • Eric Church, Carolina – 94,000
  • Rodney Atkins, It’s America – 88,000
  • Jake Owen, Easy Does It – 81,000
  • Randy Travis, I Told You So: Ultimate Hits – 78,000
  • Montgomery Gentry, For Our Heroes – 64,000
  • Willie Nelson & Asleep at the Wheel, Willie & The Wheel – 56,000
  • Steve Earle, Townes – 47,000
  • Colt Ford, Ride Through the Country – 45,000
  • Jason Michael Carroll, Growing Up is Getting Old – 45,000
  • Wynonna, Sing – Chapter 1 – 41,000
  • Hank Williams Jr. – 127 Rose Avenue – 34,000
  • Ryan Bingham, Roadhouse Sun – 15,000
  • Tracy Lawrence, Rock – 11,000
  • Darryl Worley, Sounds Like Life – 8,000
  • Holly Williams, Here With Me – 5,000
  • Charlie Robison, Beautiful Day – 3,000
  • Tanya Tucker, My Turn – 3,000

2008

  • Taylor Swift, Fearless – 3,464,000
  • Sugarland, Love on the Inside – 1,683,000
  • George Strait, Troubadour – 914,000
  • Alan Jackson, Good Time – 869,000
  • Darius Rucker, Learn to Live – 754,000
  • Kenny Chesney, Lucky Old Sun – 721,000
  • Zac Brown Band, Foundation – 681,000
  • Rascal Flatts, Greatest Hits Vol. 1 – 680,000
  • Lady Antebellum, Lady Antebellum – 674,000
  • Toby Keith, 35 Biggest Hits – 652,000
  • Jamey Johnson, That Lonesome Song – 509,000
  • Toby Keith, That Don’t Make Me a Bad Guy – 403,000
  • James Otto, Sunset Man – 374,000
  • Julianne Hough, Julianne Hough – 314,000
  • Kellie Pickler, Kellie Pickler – 261,000
  • Dierks Bentley, Greatest Hits – 255,000
  • Brad Paisley, Play – 247,000
  • Dolly Parton, Backwoods Barbie – 208,000
  • Tim McGraw, Greatest Hits Vol. 3 – 206,000
  • Billy Currington, Little Bit of Everything – 191,000
  • Trace Adkins, X – 185,000
  • Montgomery Gentry, Back When I Knew it All – 184,000
  • Joey + Rory, Life of a Song – 167,000
  • Blake Shelton, Startin’ Fires – 165,000
  • Eli Young Band, Jet Black and Jealous – 108,000
  • Lee Ann Womack, Call Me Crazy – 102,000
  • Craig Morgan, Greatest Hits – 81,000
  • Hank Williams III, Damn Right Rebel Proud – 80,000
  • Randy Houser, Anything Goes – 79,000
  • Lost Trailers, Holler Back – 69,000

2006-2007

  • Taylor Swift, Taylor Swift – 4,129,000
  • Carrie Underwood, Carnival Ride – 2,918,000

10 Comments

Filed under Crunching the Numbers, News

Win an Autographed Copy of Charlie Robison’s Beautiful Day

CharlieAs a recent convert to Charlie Robison’s music, I am pleased to announce that Country Universe is giving away an autographed copy of his new album, Beautiful Day, thanks to the generosity of dualtoneRecords.

Despite the album’s seemingly positive title, Beautiful Day is mostly the exploration of the emotional upheaval that resulted in the aftermath of his high profile divorce from Dixie Chick, Emily Robison. In this superb album, you will detect a variety of emotions including sadness, resignation, tentative hopefulness and other feelings that naturally occur upon ending a union that was meant to last forever.

As usual, any comment will count as an entry for the random drawing. However, if you’re looking for direction, here’s what I’ve got:

If you could have anyliving country artist hang out with you in your very own living room, who would you choose?

Random question, you say? Well, there’s a method to my madness. As reported by Country California, Charlie is currently running a contest that involves a private house concert and Twitter. If you are one of his Twitter friends, you could have a chance to win a private house concert and invite up to 25 friends to join you. All you have to do is follow these simple instructions:

STEP 1: Go to
twitter.com/charlierobison
and follow Charlie

STEP 2: Re-tweet the below message to be entered into the contest (must include #crcontest)
“#crcontest Charlie Robison’s new record out now, RT to win a Living Room Concert. http://bit.ly/4aMvY”

STEP 3: Keep tabs on Charlie’s tweets for the announcement of the winner! Winner will be announced on September 1, 2009.

After entering our giveaway, if you’re so inclined, head on over to your Twitter account and enter Charlie’s contest too.  Ours will have better odds, but why not try your luck, anyway?

While you have until September 1 to enter Charlie’s Twitter contest, ours will end on Sunday July 12 at 9:00 Eastern.

Good luck.

3 Comments

Filed under Contests

Charlie Robison, “Reconsider”

charlie-robisonWhile I’m always interested in learning the story behind a song, I generally insist that a song must be able to stand on its own without the support of a back story to prop it up. In that vein, I typically balk against unconfirmed assertions regarding motivations for a song as a justification for the song’s existence. With that said, it would be remiss of me to deny that a confirmed story behind a song often positively helps to inform an artist’s performance of the said song.

Therefore, it’s not farfetched to assume that Charlie Robison’s fairly recent divorce from Dixie Chick, Emily Robison, has had a tangible effect on the maudlin “Reconsider”, which was recorded in the aftermath of the highly publicized 2008 divorce. While Robison did not write the song, his emotion is palpable enough to make us forget such a technical detail.

In “Reconsider”, which will be available on his June 23rd release of Beautiful Day, Robison beseeches, “If I tried, would you reconsider/Would you reconsider comin’ home/And if I cried/Would you reconsider/would you reconsider comin’ home? Instead of asking this question with hopefulness, however, his resigned resignation to the fact that he already knows the answer is clearly evident in his emotively subdued performance. To further his self loathing, he sadly observes, “I hate the way we folded, Baby/And was I ever good enough?”

With its simple melody and frugal production, this song is not destined to be a hit on mainstream country radio. It does, however, demonstrate the ability for raw, sincere emotion to successfully carry a song, which, in turn, heightens anticipation for an album that will undoubtedly provide insightfully intriguing songs as a result.

Written by Keith Gattison and Charles Brocco

Grade: A-

Listen: Charlie Robison, “Reconsider”

3 Comments

Filed under Single Reviews

The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

green-dayAs I was scouring the neighborhood around 9pm last night after work looking for an open pet store, I flipped through the local radio stations looking for something new and interesting.  I really didn’t expect to find much, but after awhile, I finally hit something with a cool beat and lyrics. Something that I hadn’t heard before and sounded different. I kinda liked it, but couldn’t place it.

It turns out that the station was previewing the new Green Day album, 21st Century Breakdown, (due out in stores and online today).  I consider myself somewhat of a Green Day fan, despite the fact I only own Dookie and American Idiot. (And there’s a good, somewhat funny concert story related to the band mixed in there as well.) As such, I’ve been cautiously optimistic about their new album.

Fortunately, from what I heard in between futile stops at closed pet stores, it sounded pretty good, and I decided to buy it today.  But as I made that decision, I realized that there are very few albums coming out soon that I’m genuinely looking forward to with anticipation and excitement. And I was truly surprised by how ambivalent I really felt about this release by a band that I know I like. Maybe that’s because as we get older, we become more picky and more frugal. Or perhaps we just haven’t heard anything awesome in such a long time, we figure it might be best to wait and see if we hear some buzz before we cautiously download a song, much less an entire album.

Who knows.

What I do know, is that the only albums I can currently recall that I am looking forward to are the upcoming Patty Griffin, Charlie Robison and Levon Helm albums.  Griffin is always fantastic. Robison’s album has good advance buzz and is bound to be interesting given the time period in his life in which he wrote it. And I’m a recent Helm fan. But, help me out…there’s gotta be more!

Which albums coming out soon are you most looking forward to?

27 Comments

Filed under Discussion

Satirical Songs

kinky-friedmanI’ve known about Kinky Friedman for some years now. Actually, I should be more specific and say that I’ve known Kinky Friedman’s name for quite some years now. Because, to be honest, the only thing I really knew about him until very recently is that Willie Nelson supported him for Texas Governor in 2006, which should have peaked my interest enough to research him back then.

It wasn’t until recently, after doing an Amazon search for stray Todd Snider songs, that I realized that the colorful and fascinating Friedman, while politically extreme at times, was quite the singing satirist. On the 2006 album Why The Hell Not…The Songs of Kinky Friedman, I discovered an incredible cast of artists (Willie Nelson, Todd Snider, Bruce Robison, Asleep at the Wheel, Delbert McClinton, Charlie Robison, Dwight Yoakam, Kevin Fowler & Jason Boland) doing covers of Friedman’s songs, many so sharp that I was more than a little taken aback at first. Through satire and, sometimes, even seriousness, Freidman offers a lot of social commentary that is often colorful and always intriguing.

Although Friedman’s original versions aren’t especially appe

aling to me, the tribute album is engaging. Two songs in particular caught my attention right away. Kevin Fowler’s cover of “Get Your Biscuits in the Oven” and Todd Snider’s version of “They Ain’t Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore” are both addictively catchy and amusing. Snider’s song would easily fit next to his own socially charged compositions while Fowler’s choice is performed with a charming cheekiness.

While it would be violating Country Universe’s comment policy to quote Todd Snider’s song that deals with racism, I will provide a sample of the lyrics from Fowler’s deliciously ridiculous ditty, which is hopefully extreme enough to be obviously satirical in nature as social commentary.

Verse 1: You uppity women I don’t understand
Why you gotta go and try to act like a man,
But before you make your weekly visit to the shrink
You’d better occupy the kitchen, liberate the sink.

Chorus: Get your biscuits in the oven and your buns in the bed
That’s what I to my baby said,
Women’s liberation is a-going to your head,
Get your biscuits in the oven and your buns in the bed.

Kinky Friedman’s brand of social commentary may be understandably too inflammatory and extreme for many people, but my call to Country Universe readers tonight is to recommend a satirical song that you find appealing.

zp8497586rq

18 Comments

Filed under Discussion

Themed Albums

kathy-mattea-coalKathy Mattea’s brilliant album released last year, Coal, reminded me of how much I love themed albums.  There is something unique and special about an album that addresses a single topic from varied angles or transports the listener on a purposeful ride.  It’s not just a random collection of singles with little to coalesce them together.  Rather, like great movies, themed albums demand that you listen from the first note to the last, lest you miss something important in between.

Willie Nelson’s Red Headed Stranger is one of the most famous themed albums in country music history.  The entire album is based on the conceptual story of a preacher who shoots his cheating wife and her lover before going on the run. However, the theme doesn’t have to be as concrete as the one in Red Headed Stranger or as narrow as the one in Coal, which endeavors to shine a light on the coal-mining industry, to be included in this category. It can be as amorphous as “love” or “heartache.”

Just for fun, I culled through my musical catalog (and all 5 million or so country songs about love, heartache and partying on Friday night) and put together my own themed album very loosely titled: America 2009:

  • Filthy Rich (Big Kenny, John Rich, Bill McDavid, Freddy Powers, Sonny Thockmorton)
  • Workingman’s Blues #2 (Bob Dylan)
  • If We Make It Through December (Merle Haggard)
  • Dirt (Chris Knight)
  • What’s A Simple Man To Do? (Steve Earle)
  • The Ballad of Salvador & Isabelle (Dave Quanbury)
  • If You Don’t Love Jesus (Billy Joe Shaver)
  • Ellis Unit One (Steve Earle)
  • Dress Blues (Jason Isbell)
  • It’s a Different World Now (Rodney Crowell)
  • Everybody Knows (Gary Louris, Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines, Emily Robison)
  • Up to the Mountain (Patty Griffin)
  • Reason to Believe (Bruce Springsteen)

If you were to create your own themed album, what would it look like?

7 Comments

Filed under Discussion