Dixie Chicks

Daily Top Five: Most Essential Albums

May 26, 2015 // 27 Comments

Suggested by longtime reader and commenter  Jonathan Pappalardo: What are the five most essential albums in your collection? I love this question! Here’s my list: Dixie Chicks, Home Reba McEntire, For My Broken Heart Patty Loveless, When Fallen Angels Fly Trisha Yearwood, Hearts in Armor Linda Ronstadt, Heart Like a Wheel Was going to try to do some equal opportunity attempt and squeeze in an album by a male act.  But even without repeating artists, the next seven or eight would still be female artists. So here are my five most essential albums by male artists, for the record Johnny Cash, American III: Solitary Man Dwight Yoakam, Gone Todd Snider, The Devil You Know Willie Nelson, Phases and Stages Alan Jackson, Like Red on a Rose

Daily Top Five: Long Songs

May 23, 2015 // 14 Comments

Reader Buddy Noel suggested a Daily Top Five of “Songs DJ’s used for bathroom runs”, citing “El Paso” by Marty Robbins as an example. What are your five favorite long songs? Here’s my list: Iris Dement, “No Time to Cry” Dixie Chicks, “Top of the World” Alison Krauss, “Jacob’s Dream” Alan Jackson, “Blue Ridge Mountain Song” Kathy Mattea, “There Were Roses” Weird that all five songs involve death, with a total body count of seven between them. Characters in a country song should get very nervous when their track passes the four minute mark.

Daily Top Five: Songs with “Gone” in the Title

May 15, 2015 // 11 Comments

From reader and longtime commenter bob: Top Five Songs with “Gone” in the Title. Here’s my list: “Long Time Gone” – Dixie Chicks “You’re Gone” – Diamond Rio “Already Gone” – Sugarland “Consider Me Gone” – Reba McEntire “Can’t Be Really Gone” – Tim McGraw

Daily Top Five (by Five): Fan Favorites

May 9, 2015 // 23 Comments

We haven’t done a Daily Top Five for a few days, so the original post is going to be lengthier than usual. Loyal fans of an artist usually love album cuts and rarities as much as they do the singles, if not more.   Today we ask, what are your five favorite lesser-known tracks by your five favorite artists? You don’t have to to pick five artists in the comments, of course.  But for the artists you pick, try to avoid singles! I’m cheating and using my iPod play counts to help me out here. Here are my five favorite fan favorites from five of my favorite artists: Trisha Yearwood Dreaming Fields Woman Walk the Line Standing Out in a Crowd Little Hercules Harmless Heart

Daily Top Five: Country Convert Albums

May 3, 2015 // 24 Comments

Today’s Daily Top Five asks you to pick the five albums you would use to make a case for country music to the unconverted listener. Here are the five albums I would lend/rip/share in a .zip to someone willing to give country music a chance: Dixie Chicks, Home Tim McGraw, Live Like You Were Dying Reba McEntire, For My Broken Heart Alan Jackson, A Lot About Livin’ (and a Little ‘Bout Love) Shania Twain, The Woman in Me What are your Top Five Country Convert Albums?  

2015 ACM Awards: Country Universe Viewer’s Guide

April 19, 2015 // 14 Comments

The fiftieth annual Academy of Country Music Awards air tonight, and Country Universe has you covered!  Here’s a rundown of all of the major categories, along with some commentary from our writers about who should win, who will, and what the nominations as a whole say about the current state of country music. Share your thoughts about this year’s show in the comments, and check back for a list of winners when it’s all said and done. Update: Join the CU crew on Twitter (@CountryUniverse) during the show to share your thoughts as things unfold! Entertainer of the Year Should Win: Jason Aldean Garth Brooks – Jonathan Luke Bryan – Sam Florida-Georgia Line Miranda Lambert – Ben, Kevin Will Win: Jason Aldean Garth Brooks Luke Bryan Florida Georgia Line Miranda Lambert – Jonathan, Ben, Sam, Kevin BF: I think Lambert is due, but I could get on board with a Read More

Single Review: Toby Keith, “Drunk Americans”

October 22, 2014 // 7 Comments

“Drunk Americans” Toby Keith Written by Brandy Clark, Bob DiPiero and Shane McAnally The most successful records Toby Keith has had lately have been about drinking or about being American.  It’s easy to see the title of “Drunk Americans” and assume that Keith is stitching the two themes together in an act of cynicism. That assumption would be wrong.  Shockingly wrong, actually.   I dare say that “Drunk Americans” manages to elevate both the drinking song and the patriotic song by bringing the two together.   It’s so sharply written that I planned to document all those great songs Toby Keith has written lately that never got sent to radio, but amazingly, he didn’t write this one.

CU10 Flashback: Carrie Underwood, Shania Twain and Gender in Country Music

July 23, 2014 // 8 Comments

In 2008, I was finishing up my degree in journalism and trying to understand what it meant to be a professional writer. I wanted to write about music, but the divide between fan and critic felt, at times, insurmountable. That fall, I stumbled onto Country Universe through this post, and it changed my perspective. As both a writer and leader, Kevin was thoughtful, rational and personally invested in the country music genre. He showed a deep respect for the genre’s history, but wrote about new artists with tolerance and curiosity. Best of all, he held readers and writers alike to the highest standards of decency. It’s for that reason that this post shines. Kevin’s ability to take a stand while cultivating constructive dialogue is unmatched. He cut through the divisive hype around Carrie Underwood –an artist who is as special to me now as she was back then—and underlined the Read More

Hall Worthy: 2014 Edition

May 11, 2014 // 12 Comments

halloffamelogoEight years ago, we posted our second edition of Hall Worthy, a list of significant country music figures who we felt were most deserving of being in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Since then, a lot has changed. First and foremost, more than half of the list is now in the Hall of Fame (or, at least, headed there later this year.) An additional entry, Wanda Jackson, is now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

A bigger change came in 2009, when new categories were introduced to ensure that two artist inductees would be represented from different eras: The Modern Era (20-44 years of national prominence), and the Veterans Era (45+ years of national prominence.) There are also three more categories that rotate, meaning one from each category gets in every third year: Non-Performer, Songwriter, and Recording and/or Touring Musician.

Finally, since that list was published, our readership has grown tremendously and is incredibly well-versed on country music, past and present. So in this new and now annual edition of Hall Worthy, we are going to run down the list of the most successful artists that are eligible but have yet to make it into the Hall of Fame, in the order of “Hall Worthiness.”

The Modern Era:


Alan Jackson

Scoring his first hit in 1990 with “Here in the Real World”, Alan Jackson is the most successful country artist that isn’t currently in the Hall of Fame. His storied career has included 25 #1 hits and 49 visits to the top ten. He’s won a slew of awards over the years, including many for his songwriting. He is the most traditionalist of all of the nineties superstars, but has managed to stay relevant regardless of how pop the genre went over the past quarter century, selling more than forty million albums in the U.S. alone. He should be the next inductee for the Modern Era.

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