We can thank the shortsighted radio consultant Keith Hill for one thing: drawing attention to the women of country music in a year where so many of them are making outstanding music. As their mainstream counterparts cycle through a series of one-note styles and themes, female country artists are putting out diverse and decidedly more progressive music, even as they draw influence from previous generations. That they do so while supporting each other makes it all the more impressive.
Please join me in welcoming our newest staff writer, Mr. Larry Rogowin. Welcome aboard, Larry! – KJC I can’t say I grew up listening to country music. Actually, I can’t say I had a very meaningful musical youth. My parents played a lot of Beatles, Motown and Sinatra but I was more interested in what the cool kids played. The first album I begged my parents to buy was Poison’s 1988 magnum opus Open Up and Say…Ahh! (They obliged despite…well, obvious reasons – not the least of which was that original album cover.) So there you go. I fell hard and fast for “Every Rose Has its Thorn,” the greatest and twangiest ’80s glam metal ballad. And that sent me on a path directly to Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard. Only kidding. Though I don’t want to discount that this could’ve happened to me and has happened to others. Nonetheless, Read More
Ah…Remember the days when a name drop of a country singer actually meant something and made sense within the context of the song? Before Jason Aldean’s gratuitous and inane name checks of Johnny Cash, Alabama and even Joe Diffie? Those were the days, weren’t they? What are some of your favorite songs that refer to country singers or country songs? Don Williams, “Good Old Boys Like Me” (Hank Williams) Vince Gill, “Some Things Never Get Old” (Emmylou Harris’ “Bluebird Wine”) Rodney Crowell, “Walk the Line Revisited” (Johnny Cash) Ashley Monroe, “Hank’s Cadillac” (Hank Williams) Josh Turner, “Loretta Lynn’s Lincoln”
It would be futile of us to ignore the recent sad news of Miranda Lambert’s and Blake Shelton’s divorce announcement, since it is a reality. We, however, have no desire to participate in the speculation or sensationalism of the news. Instead, it seems most appropriate to put some focus back on the music right about now. It’s no secret that Miranda Lambert is one of the few mainstream country artists that I enjoy anymore. As I contemplated this FSBFA, I wondered if she would have 25 songs that would warrant such a feature on her, since she’s only released five albums so far. It turns out that, as is the case with every FSBFA feature, not only are there 25 Lambert songs that I love, the 25 slots felt limited, as I had to leave many songs off the list. So, here are 25 of my favorite Lambert songs in Read More
The combined efforts of nine women and three men form the upper echelon of our Best Albums list from 1993. This embarrassment of riches showcases just how much great music there was to choose from that year, especially given how many of the genre’s biggest and most acclaimed stars – Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Pam Tillis, just to name a few – were between albums that year. It was also a strong and diverse enough year that despite some overall consensus among the lists of all of the writers, each one of us has a different album at #1 on our personal lists. Enjoy the second half of our list, and look for the Singles list to kick off next weekend. #10 Uncle Tupelo Anodyne #1 – JK | #3 – SG In jumping to a major label, Uncle Tupelo was supposed to give Read More
Some of the most interesting country covers are ones where the artist doing the cover is of a different gender than the artist that recorded the original. What are your five favorite “gender swap” covers? Here’s my list: Merle Haggard & Willie Nelson, “Pancho & Lefty” (Original Artist: Emmylou Harris) Sammi Smith, “Help Me Make it Through the Night” (Kris Kristofferson) Patty Loveless, “When the Fallen Angels Fly” (Billy Joe Shaver) Merle Haggard, “No Time to Cry” (Iris Dement) Reba McEntire, “Ring on Her Finger, Time on Her Hands” (Lee Greenwood)
As we grow older, our tastes change and some would even say that they mature. Such is the case with me, as you’ll see in the list below. There was a time when I did not like these artists (gasp!) and a time when I didn’t like these songs. However, something made them grow on me to the point that I absolutely love them now. Which artists and songs have grown on you over time? Here are my lists: Artists: Willie Nelson Dwight Yoakam Emmylou Harris Miranda Lambert Sturgill Simpson Songs: Josh Turner, “Another Try” Vince Gill, “Go Rest High on that Mountain” Dierks Bentley, “What Was I Thinking” George Strait, “Troubadour Randy Travis, “Before You Kill Us All”
How could you ever tell them apart? Thank goodness we have the diversity and variety of male voices in country music to keep things fresh. With deep gratitude to country music programmers for knowing what we really want. Thanks to your leadership, the genre is so much richer with talent today than it was in 1993.
Today’s Daily Top Five is the promised Rodney Crowell edition. He’s such a legendary songwriter that I’m putting up three Top Fives – albums, singles, and songs written by him that were recorded by others! Share yours in the comments. Here are my lists: Albums The Outsider Fate’s Right Hand The Houston Kid Tarpaper Sky Ain’t Living Long Like This
Tomorrow, Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell release their second collaborative album, The Travelin’ Kind. They waited almost four decades to finally do their first album together, 2013’s Grammy-winning Old Yellow Moon. Kinda cool that we’re getting another album already. Today, we’re picking our Top Five Albums and Singles of Emmylou Harris. Check back tomorrow for the Rodney Crowell edition! Here are my top fives: Albums Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town Roses in the Snow Cowgirl’s Prayer Wrecking Ball Stumble Into Grace Singles Beneath Still Waters Easy From Now On To Daddy The Boxer I Don’t Have to Crawl