As we enter the top half of the list, signature hits by some of the era’s biggest stars rub elbows with a pair of breakthrough singles and an overlooked release by a future superstar. You’ll also find out, in case you’ve been wondering for the past 22 years, just what Dwight Yoakam sneers at the end of one of his classic records. #20 “Soon” Tanya Tucker Written by Casey Kelly and Bob Regan Peak: #2 #13 – LW | #22 – JK | #28 – KJC | #30 – BF Cheating songs that successfully make us feel compassion for the other woman are a rarity, but “Soon” manages to make us root for the woman who finds herself in a losing cycle, one that she finally finds the strength to stop. Tanya Tucker’s sympathetic performance and the song’s soothing melody invite us to feel compassion for the woman in Read More
Today’s Daily Top Five was suggested by reader caj: What are your favorite story songs? Here are mine: The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia (Vicki Lawrence, Reba McEntire) Independence Day (Martina McBride) He Stopped Loving Her Today (George Jones) Three Wooden Crosses (Randy Travis) Lucille (Kenny Rogers)
Again, we play catch up with a daily double top five, and this one focuses on cover songs. So many great songs have been re-recorded over time. Sometimes the new versions are so good that you discover something new about the original. Other times, the new takes are so bad that you just wish they’d left well enough alone. So today we ask: What do you think are the best and the worst cover songs? For my five best, I’m picking versions that I enjoyed so much more than the originals that I rarely listen to the first versions anymore. But you don’t have to do that! Original artists are in parentheses after each pick. Five Best Cover Songs Emmylou Harris, “The Boxer” (Simon & Garfunkel) Johnny Cash, “Why Me Lord” (Kris Kristofferson) Reba McEntire, “Sweet Music Man” (Kenny Rogers) Alison Krauss, “Ghost in This House” (Shenandoah) Dwight Yoakam, “Wichita Read More
Today, we kick off a new feature: Daily Top Five. Every day, one of our writers will post their top five picks for a given category, and invite readers to share their own lists in the comments. This idea was ripped off from inspired by the film Top Five. Since this is the first entry, today’s topic is First Favorites – your top five songs that got you into country music. For me: John Anderson, “Straight Tequila Night” Reba McEntire, “For My Broken Heart” Kenny Rogers, “The Gambler” Pam Tillis, “Maybe it Was Memphis” Dwight Yoakam, “It Only Hurts When I Cry” What’s your top five?
2014 was a banner year for country music albums. In addition to the predictably solid entries from the Americana, folk, and bluegrass scenes, some excellent albums also surfaced from the unlikeliest of sources: mainstream, radio-friendly contemporary country artists! Here are our twenty favorite albums from 2014. Fingers crossed that 2015 is as good or better than this year has been. #20 Jennifer Nettles That Girl KJC #8 | LW #16 A confident, intelligent solo project that washes away all of the bitter taste left by Sugarland’s preceding studio album, The Incredible Machine. Nettles manages to remind us what was so appealing about the trio-turned-duo in the first place, while also staking out her own musical territory that has room for independence anthems alongside wry, humorous commentary on society and, of course, palpably vulnerable heartbreak numbers. – Kevin John Coyne Recommended Tracks: “Me Without You”, “Know You Wanna Know”, “Jealousy”
Despite the Grammys and even the ACM’s demonstrating more consistent taste over the past few years, the CMA’s remain the most significant industry awards that honor country music. This year’s slate of nominees gives the organization an opportunity to build on the credibility of last year’s George Strait victory. His win for Entertainer saved a dismal show in its closing minutes. Here’s our take on this year’s contenders: Entertainer of the Year Should Win: Luke Bryan Miranda Lambert Blake Shelton George Strait – Kevin, Jonathan, Tara, Ben Keith Urban Will Win: Luke Bryan Miranda Lambert Blake Shelton George Strait – Jonathan, Kevin, Tara, Ben Keith Urban Kevin: I’d settle for a Miranda Lambert victory, as she had an amazing year. But my first choice is George Strait, who deserves a fourth trophy for that record-breaking final concert. The rest of these nominees have either won before or still seem to Read More
This year’s CMA nominees are the best in years, with multiple nominations for Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, and Brandy Clark. Country radio may still be shunning women, but their embrace by CMA voters suggests that the industry knows who is really leading the way in the genre these days. Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan Miranda Lambert Blake Shelton George Strait Keith Urban Who’s In: Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban Who’s Out: Jason Aldean, Taylor Swift George Strait, a surprise winner last year, is nominated again in a year that includes his record-shattering final concert. Miranda Lambert’s domination of this year’s nominations extends to the big category, where she competes for the first time since 2010.
100 Greatest Men: The Complete List The biggest crossover star that country music has ever known, Kenny Rogers was among the biggest stars of any genre in the seventies and eighties, becoming a worldwide icon and one of the genre’s finest ambassadors. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Rogers started off as a rockabilly artist in the mid-fifties, as part of a band called the Scholars. Though he was not the lead singer of the band, Rogers pursued a solo career when they disbanded. When that proved unsuccessful, he joined a jazz trio called the Bobby Doyle Three. They did reasonably well on the concert circuit, but when Rogers again pursued a solo career after they folded, he was not successful.
Dolly Parton Blue Smoke A big step up from her last few projects, Dolly Parton’s Blue Smoke is her most balanced album since Backwoods Barbie. While it lacks cohesion due to so many different styles being used, there’s a solid entry from every kind of Dolly – country Dolly, pop Dolly, mountain Dolly, gospel Dolly, duet-with-fellow-legend Dolly. While it isn’t likely to be anyone’s favorite Dolly Parton album because of this, it’s also unlikely that any fan of hers won’t find something here that reminds them of why they became a fan in the first place.