Hillary Lindsey

CMA Awards 2015 – Staff Picks & Predictions

November 1, 2015 // 14 Comments

The 49th Annual Country Music Association Awards will be handed out on Wednesday, November 4. Once again, the ceremony is hosted by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood.

Here are the personal picks and predictions from the Country Universe staff.

Single Review: Carrie Underwood, “Smoke Break”

August 21, 2015 // 24 Comments

“Smoke Break” is a remarkably good attempt at a working class anthem. It’s so stylistically different from the “rah rah, let’s party this weekend” approach that has made drinking synonymous with adolescent behavior in modern country music.

Single Review: Carrie Underwood, “Little Toy Guns”

February 19, 2015 // 23 Comments

“Little Toy Guns” Carrie Underwood Written by Chris DeStefano, Hillary Lindsey, and Carrie Underwood With her latest single, Carrie Underwood once again reaffirms that she is among the best and most compelling artists of modern country music. A depiction of verbal and emotional abuse on an epic scale, “Little Toy Guns” captures a truth not often talked about: that domestic violence can wound and scar without ever once raising a hand or breaking the skin, and can cause lasting collateral damage beyond even its intended target.

Single Review: Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”

January 12, 2015 // 23 Comments

“Girl Crush” Little Big Town Written by Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, and Liz Rose Beyond their lush four-part harmonies and their incorporation of Fleetwood Mac’s influence into the country idiom, perhaps Little Big Town’s greatest talent is choosing singles that completely sabotage their momentum at radio. They’ve followed up a top 10 hit with another top 10 exactly twice in thirteen years, and it’s almost unfathomable that “Girl Crush,” the second single from Pain Killer, will receive a warm reception in the current radio climate. That’s a shame, really, since it’s one of the band’s strongest efforts.

Single Review: Tim McGraw, “Shotgun Rider”

September 28, 2014 // 7 Comments

“Shotgun Rider” Tim McGraw Written by Marv Green, Hillary Lindsey, and Troy Verges Tim McGraw’s been getting his groove back lately.  Much of his new album, Sundown Heaven Town, recalls the sound of his biggest turn-of-the-century hits without sounding dated. “Shotgun Rider” is a great example of this, having that wistful, floating on air quality that made “Just to See You Smile” and “For a Little While” so infectious.  Sure, he’s singing about riding around town in his truck with a pretty girl.  Hardly groundbreaking lyrical territory these days.

Single Review: Lucy Hale, “You Sound Good to Me”

January 29, 2014 // 5 Comments

Lucy_Hale_-_You_Sound_Good_to_MePretty Little Liars actress turned country newcomer Lucy Hale cites Shania Twain and Martina McBride as major musical influences, and to a degree it’s perceptible on her debut single “You Sound Good to Me.” The track begins with a light, airy fiddle hook, and segues into an effervescent uptempo pop-country love song with an atypically sparse production arrangement by country radio standards (murky background vocals aside).

Single Review: Little Big Town, “Sober”

October 24, 2013 // 11 Comments

Little Big Town SoberThe “Pontoon” phenomenon may have been primarily responsible for putting Little Big Town back on the map in such a big way, but it’s their new single “Sober” that deserves to be a career hit for the talented country quartet.