Lori McKenna

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.

Daily Top Five: Tear Jerkers

May 16, 2015 // 22 Comments

From reader Kuzco, today’s Top Five is songs that made you cry. Here are my Top Five Tear Jerkers: Lori McKenna, “Still Down Here” Alan Jackson, “Blue Ridge Mountain Song” Collin Raye, “Love, Me” Reba McEntire, “If I Had Only Known” Sugarland, “Very Last Country Song”  

Daily Five: Least Favorites from Your Favorites

April 23, 2015 // 46 Comments

We’ve been way too upbeat lately with our Daily Fives!  Today, we’re asking a different question about your favorite artists. What are the five albums from artists you usually love that really disappointed you?  The ones that are lucky to have a handful of tracks that are still on your iPod, or made you think twice before you bought the album that followed? Here’s My Top Five: Mary Chapin Carpenter, A Place in the World Sugarland, The Incredible Machine Trisha Yearwood, Where Your Road Leads Todd Snider, Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables Lori McKenna, Numbered Doors What’s your top five?

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.

Country Universe’s Best Singles of 2013, Part Two: #20-#1

December 31, 2013 // 14 Comments

If this year’s singles list leaves you with a familiar feeling, it’s not your imagination. For the first time in Country Universe history, an artist has topped the year end list for two years in a row, and there are plenty of repeat appearances from CU favorites. But there are some fresh faces too, including some promising new singer-songwriters and inspired collaborations from artists we already liked an awful lot by themselves.

As always, share your thoughts and personal favorites in the comments!

Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell's "Hanging Up My Heart" is popular on XPN2: Singer-Songwriter Radio.

“Hangin’ Up My Heart”
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell

Individual rankings: #3 – Leeann; #20 – Kevin

What a way for Emmylou and Rodney to kick off their much anticipated duet project! The bouncy tune shows the power duo in fine form both in voice and spunk and signals what will turn out to be one of the finest albums of the year. – Leeann Ward

Country Universe’s Best Albums of 2013, Part One: #40-#21

December 30, 2013 // 10 Comments

For the second year, Country Universe is publishing a 40-deep list of the year’s best albums. Part One includes releases from talented newcomers, genre legends, and quite a few entries from the outskirts of country music. As usual, that’s where most of the cool stuff can be found.

Country Universe will close out our year with the conclusion of this list tomorrow. As always, share your thoughts and opinions in the comments!

Dan Grimm Ventucky


Dan Grimm

Individual rankings: #12 – Jonathan

The EP format doesn’t leave much margin for error, but with a knack for unconventional imagery and a style that blends vintage SoCal rock with authentic honky-tonk, Dan Grimm ensures that every track on his freewheeling, endlessly likable Ventucky is a standout. – Jonathan Keefe

Recommended Tracks: “Skeletor,” “300 Beers”

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.

Single Review: Hunter Hayes, "I Want Crazy"

May 11, 2013 // 7 Comments

Hunter Hayes I Want CrazyHunter Hayes just scored a decently big pop hit with “Wanted”, which was initially his first big country hit. Perhaps that’s why he’s taking a cue from the pop market, and re-releasing his first album in an expanded edition called (Encore) this summer.

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