Kasey Chambers

The 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade, Conclusion: #10-#1

December 10, 2009 // 45 Comments

The 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade, Conclusion

As we come to the end of our list, the top ten selections are a lot like the ninety before them, with perhaps a bit more of a roots leaning overall. If you didn’t see your favorite on the list, or just want to discover more great music that you might have missed, be sure to check out the list at The 9513, if you somehow haven’t done so already. Even better, start a blog and write your own list. It feels like a lot of barriers fell within country music this decade, and I think one of the best walls to come down was the one between music journalism and the listening audience. I hope in the next decade, a lot more readers become writers, so we can all keep reveling in the music we love and helping others discover it.

Sappy introduction aside, here’s our top ten of the decade:

10 Patty

Patty Loveless, Mountain Soul

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and few albums have inspired more imitation than Patty Loveless’ Mountain Soul. Bluegrass music full of roots influences, Mountain Soul, with its traditional sound, has become a surrogate definition of authenticity for mainstream artists returning to their musical beginnings. Standout songs include “Cheap Whiskey,” a classically dark drinking song; the energetic “The Boys are Back in Town,” with its WWII imagery; and “Soul of Constant Sorrow,” based on the traditional work popularized by the Stanley Brothers. – William Ward

Recommended Tracks: “The Boys are Back in Town”, “Cheap Whiskey”, “Soul of Constant Sorrow”, “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive”

The 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade, Part 9: #20-#11

December 9, 2009 // 32 Comments

The 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade, Part 9

20 Nickel

Nickel Creek, This Side

With Alison Krauss still in the producer’s chair, This Side begins to drift away from the more pure bluegrass feel of Nickel Creek’s debut album. Containing deliciously funky grooves and even tighter musicianship among the trio, Nickel Creek further proves their inimitable creativity and talent on their sophomore project that ultimately secures their popularity among progressive bluegrass fans and perhaps a few unsuspecting traditionalists along the way as well. – Leeann Ward

Recommended Tracks: “Spit on A Stranger”, “I Should’ve Known Better”, “This Side”, “Sabra Girl”

19 Leeann

Lee Ann Womack, There’s More Where That Came From

It wasn’t quite the radical return to traditional country music that the album cover and subsequent marketing implied, but There’s More Where That Came From had more going for it than twin fiddles and steel, anyway: the strongest collection of songs that Womack had ever assembled. For those who went beyond the album’s one hit and two subsequent singles, the treasures were bountiful, including a cover of “Just Someone I Used to Know” hidden at the end of the disc. – Kevin Coyne

Recommended Tracks: “One’s a Couple”, “I May Hate Myself in the Morning”, “The Last Time”, “Stubborn (Psalm 151)”

The 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade, Part 7: #40-#31

December 6, 2009 // 11 Comments

The 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade, Part 7

40 Tim

Tim McGraw, Live Like You Were Dying

The title track looks forward, pondering what to do with the scarcity of time left, but the rest of the best of these tracks look backward, sometimes with sadness (“My Old Friend”), sometimes with humor (“Back When”), and often with both (“Open Season on My Heart”, “Can’t Tell Me Nothin’.”) – Kevin Coyne

Recommended Tracks: “My Old Friend”, “Old Town New”, “Open Season On My Heart”

39 Ashley

Ashley Monroe, Satisfied

At just nineteen years old, Ashley Monroe has made an album with content comparatively mature (both in lyrics and production) to most other albums on this list. With a voice naturally tinged with both twang and sophistication, Monroe sings of loss, relational strife and even regret and sorrow with acute adeptness. While many of the compositions are sonically and topically subdued, she is not incapable of letting loose on certain numbers such as Kasey Chambers’ “Pony”, which includes a mean yodel, and a delightful duet with Dwight Yoakam, “That’s Why We Call Each Other Baby.” – Leeann Ward

Recommended Tracks: “Pony”, “Satisfied”, “Hank’s Cadillac”

2009 Americana Music Association Awards Nominees Announced

May 21, 2009 // 2 Comments

The nominations for the 8th Annual Americana Music Association Awards have been announced:

Written in Chalk, by BUDDY & JULIE MILLER
Jason Isbell & The 40 Unit, by JASON ISBELL & THE 40 UNIT
Midnight At The Movies, by JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE




Country Metaphors

March 12, 2009 // 9 Comments

Country music is famous for its three chords and the truth strategy or at least for the tagline. The straightforward and simple lyrics that cut into our souls are what ultimately draw us to this genre. Country music, however, is also rife with songs that contain metaphors. Many times, the metaphors are easy to comprehend, but there are times when they seem almost out of reach. They are the songs that can be interpreted in different ways, which are often the most fun. Fore me, one such song is Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson’s “Monkey on A Wire.” In my mind, at least, it’s somewhat of a challenge to pinpoint the exact symbolism of the monkey on a wire. In my review of their album, I give it a respectable try, but I’m still not convinced of my interpretation. My guess was: “The unshakably catchy “Monkey On A Wire” explores Read More

Country Music Awards of Australia

January 30, 2009 // 2 Comments

Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson cleaned up at the 37th CMAA Country Music Awards of Australia this past week. The couple acquired five Golden Guitar trophies, winning Album of the Year (Rattlin’ Bones), APRA Song of the Year, Video Clip of the Year, Single of the Year (“Rattlin’ Bones”) and Top Selling Album of the Year. Other winners include Melinda Schneider & Paul Kelly for Vocal Collaboration of the Year (“Still Here”), the sisterly trio The McClymonts for Group or Duo of the Year, Adam Brand for Male  Vocalist of the Year and Catherine Britt for Female Vocalist of the Year. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpVcOodfGKE Video of the Year, “Rattlin’ Bones” See below for a full list of the winners:

The First Annual Country Universe Readers’ Choice Awards

January 24, 2009 // 27 Comments

Carrie Underwood is the top winner of the inaugural Country Universe Reader’s Choice Awards, earning first place in all four of the races in which she was eligible. In addition to being named Artist of the Year and Female Vocalist, her #1 hit “Just a Dream” won for Single and Music Video. Also popular with readers this past year were: – Sugarland, who won Vocal Duo/Group by the widest margin of any of the winners, and placed second for Artist and Album.  Additionally, lead singer Jennifer Nettles placed second for Songwriter. – Jamey Johnson, who won for Songwriter, and placed second in the Male Vocalist race.  His hit “In Color” came in third in both the Single and Music Video races, and he also placed third in the Artist race. – Brad Paisley, who won easily for Male Vocalist and came in second for Music Video with “Waitin’ on a Read More

Discussion: Desert Island

January 14, 2009 // 35 Comments

It’s always fun to learn a bit more about the tastes of our fellow country music fans from time to time. So, I’m asking you to enter my imaginary world for a little while. Pretend that you’re trapped on a desert island and can have one of each item listed in the categories below. Of course, my imaginary existence somehow allows for you to, somehow, manage to have electricity, a stereo and a DVD player. MUSIC Complete works of one Country Music Artist/Band: Vince Gill One Album by another Country Music Artist/Band: Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson, Rattlin’ Bones One Bluegrass Album: Patty Loveless, Mountain Soul One “big tent” country album: Old Crow Medicine Show, OCMS One Album by a Non-Country Artist: Nirvana, Nirvana Unplugged One Country Music Artist Box Set (that does not include all the works of that artist): Hank Williams, Unreleased Recordings LITERATURE Complete Works of one Read More

You Like What!?

January 7, 2009 // 37 Comments

My English Lit professor brother-in-law’s music tastes are typically very refined. To give you an idea, while he appreciates country artists like Emmylou Harris and Kasey Chambers, folky singer/songwriters such as Ani DiFranco, Jazz musicians like Miles Davis and so on, his biggest music passion is classical music, Mahler in particular. In fact, classical music is an integral part of his life. He grew up with it, his father sent my nephew about 50 classical music CDs to get his classical library started when he was only five-years-old and that same poor nephew is required to alternate between his preferred music and classical music every other night as he falls asleep. Sometime, over the holidays, we were talking about how I write for a country music blog. The conversation led to him saying, “Oh, I just read a review in the New Yorker about a teen country artist who is Read More

Kevin J. Coyne’s Top Ten Albums of 2008

December 28, 2008 // 19 Comments

This is my fifth such list in as many years, and I have to say that I was mostly underwhelmed by the albums of 2008.  If it wasn’t for the contributions of the other writers, who made me aware of some fine albums I might have otherwise missed, it would’ve been difficult to compile a list at all.  That being said, there were at least ten albums from 2008 that I will be listening to in 2009 and beyond. #10 Jim Lauderdale & The Dream Players, Honey Songs No matter how much honey you put in the mix, the ragged words and vocals of Jim Lauderdale will cut through.  The glorious contrast between Lauderdale and his sonic surroundings make for a fascinating listen. #9 Joey + Rory, The Life of a Song It’s rare for any act to make a debut album without compromise, let alone one that hails from Read More

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