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)
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
“Lonely Tonight” Blake Shelton & Ashley Monroe Written by Brent Anderson and Ryan Hurd It’s billed as a duet, but it’s about as much as an equal pairing as Eddie Rabbitt and Crystal Gayle back in the day. Monroe essentially plays a harmony role, singing an answer line from time to time. Not the best use of her talent, though it seems the only way to get her on the radio is in a feature spot, which is better than nothing. “Lonely Tonight” is a decent spin on the classic “just one more night” theme.
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”
As 2014 comes to a close, the Country Universe staff has been collectively impressed by the number of quality albums that were released this year. How many of those albums, however, will we still be listening to in twenty years? We have that benefit of hindsight for the year 1994, and we’ve compiled our twenty favorite studio sets from that year. At their time of release, some of our favorites were comeback albums from veteran artists, some were from current artists reaching new artistic and commercial peaks, and some were debut sets from artists that went on to become mainstays on country radio or in the Americana music scene that was just coming together twenty years ago. What they all have in common is that each and every one of them still sounds great today, and they collectively show the wide breadth that the country music landscape was transforming into Read More
100 Greatest Men: The Complete List Waylon Jennings was the very embodiment of the country music outlaw movement in the seventies, demonstrating that legendary music can be made if artists are liberated to create it in the way that they want to. Jennings was born in Littlefield, Texas, and was playing the guitar and singing on the radio by the time he was twelve years old. Jennings dropped out of school at age fourteen, and picked cotton while pursuing music in his spare time. When he moved to Lubbock, he became friendly with rising rock star Buddy Holly, who took Jennings under his wing. Holly produced a single for Jennings and had him fill in as a bass player in the Crickets.
While the rest of the country fixates on “Nashville,” the 46th annual Country Music Association Awards air live from Music City with equal drama and ridiculousness November 1 at 7 p.m. CST. The CU staff picked and predicted the awards below. Chime in with your thoughts, and check back for our live blog on Thursday night!
- Jason Aldean – Dan, Ben, Kevin
- Kenny Chesney
- Brad Paisley
- Blake Shelton
- Taylor Swift – Jonathan, Tara, Leeann
- Jason Aldean – Dan, Ben, Jonathan, Kevin
- Kenny Chesney
- Brad Paisley
- Blake Shelton
- Taylor Swift – Tara, Leeann
The list of nominees for the 46th annual Country Music Association Awards has been released. Eric Church had a big breakthrough this past year, and such is reflected in the nominee list – Church leads the pack with five nominations. Current favorite power couple Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert follow with four each, including a shared Song of the Year nod for their co-write “Over You.”