As 2014 comes to a close, the Country Universe staff has been collectively impressed by the number of quality albums that were released this year. How many of those albums, however, will we still be listening to in twenty years? We have that benefit of hindsight for the year 1994, and we’ve compiled our twenty favorite studio sets from that year. At their time of release, some of our favorites were comeback albums from veteran artists, some were from current artists reaching new artistic and commercial peaks, and some were debut sets from artists that went on to become mainstays on country radio or in the Americana music scene that was just coming together twenty years ago. What they all have in common is that each and every one of them still sounds great today, and they collectively show the wide breadth that the country music landscape was transforming into Read More
100 Greatest Men: The Complete List Waylon Jennings was the very embodiment of the country music outlaw movement in the seventies, demonstrating that legendary music can be made if artists are liberated to create it in the way that they want to. Jennings was born in Littlefield, Texas, and was playing the guitar and singing on the radio by the time he was twelve years old. Jennings dropped out of school at age fourteen, and picked cotton while pursuing music in his spare time. When he moved to Lubbock, he became friendly with rising rock star Buddy Holly, who took Jennings under his wing. Holly produced a single for Jennings and had him fill in as a bass player in the Crickets.
100 Greatest Men: The Complete List Over the course of just fourteen years, Charley Pride accumulated 29 #1 country hits, proof positive that his switch from professional baseball to music was the right one. Pride hailed from Sledge, Mississippi, one of eleven sharecropper children. He was a guitar player early on, but he first made his name in baseball, playing in both the Negro League and on several minor league baseball teams, including the Memphis Red Sox and the Boise Yankees. His career was derailed by a stint in the Army, followed by an arm injury that made his signature pitching an impossibility. He worked construction while unsuccessfully auditioning for baseball teams, then turned his attention to music.
He became widely hailed for his lightning-fast wit and charming novelty songs, but Roger Miller’s talents ran far deeper than just the moments of comedic brilliance that made him a legend.
With a career that has spanned seven decades, Bobby Bare’s body of work has made him one of the genre’s most influential and critically acclaimed recording artists.
A first class singer, songwriter, and musician, Jerry Reed’s talents ran far deeper than his tongue-in-cheek persona might have indicated.
He’s best known for his handful of big hits for RCA in the late fifties and early sixties, but Hank Locklin’s career stretched more than a decade in both directions.
A leg injury at the age of eight was the first significant event in his musical career, as he picked up the guitar during his recovery and its lingering effects later exempted him from service in World War II. While he didn’t finish high school, he did win a talent contest at the age of eighteen, which led to a spot on local radio stations in panhandle Florida and the surrounding states.
Suzy Bogguss has been my favorite female vocalist for about 20 years now. The first time I heard her was on some TV show with Jerry Reed in 1991. She sang “Aces” and “Night Riders Lament” and I was hooked. Since then, I’ve seen her in concert about a dozen times from New York to Nashville and in-between. She still tours on her own in addition to her “Wine, Women and Song” shows with great songwriter friends Matraca Berg and Gretchen Peters. Suzy has done some writing herself having co-written 56 songs, including hits “Hey Cinderella” and “Just Like the Weather”.
Written by Paul W. Dennis of The 9513.
Chet Atkins had many disciples, not the least of whom was Steve Wariner. Steve was a major country star and chart presence from 1980-1994 with scattered success both before and after his peak years.
New fans of country music in the nineties were hit over the head with the assertion that country music was one big family. Nothing demonstrated this mythos better than the all star jams that cropped up during the boom years.
There were some variants of this approach. A popular one found a veteran star teaming up with one or more of the boom artists to increase their chances of radio airplay. George Jones was big on this approach, with the most high profile attempt being “I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair.” Seventeen years later, it’s amazing to see how young everyone looks – even Jones himself!