Single Review: Miranda Lambert, “Roots and Wings”

June 8, 2015 // 6 Comments

“Roots and Wings” Miranda Lambert Written by Miranda Lambert That’s right. Miranda’s so much on her game right now that a song written for a truck commercial outclasses most of the competition. This isn’t entirely unprecedented in country music.  Dottie West wrote “Country Sunshine” for Coca-Cola, and even though it became a signature hit for her, she still tweaked the lyrics for maximum product placement.

Discussion: Play the New Stuff, or Stick to the Hits?

March 17, 2015 // 14 Comments

Shania Twain is returning to the road for the first time in more than a decade, and she’s calling it her farewell tour. Well, technically, she’s calling it the Rock This Country tour, but it’s being marketed as both her return to and retirement from the road. I should be all over this.  She’s one of my favorite all-time artists, and I loved her tour in support of Up!, which I still consider her best album. But even though I enjoyed her Vegas television special last month, and even though any set list would be stacked with songs that I love, I’m honestly not that interested in seeing the show. This is for a simple reason:  She’s not touring in support of new material. I think I’m in the minority on this one, but I don’t like it when an artist only plays their hits from the past.   There’s something Read More

Single Review: Madonna, "Love Spent"

October 14, 2012 // 14 Comments

Thirty years ago, Madonna released her first single. In the years that followed, she dominated radio formats across the dial, but never released a single targeting the country market. Until now.

Whitney Houston: 1963-2012

February 12, 2012 // 13 Comments

On the eve of the Grammy Awards, music lost one of its greatest voices, as Whitney Houston died at age 48.

Her only tangential connection to country was a big one. Her cover of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” is one of the most successful singles in history, spending 14 weeks at #1 and pushing its parent album, The Bodyguard soundtrack, to sales of 44 million worldwide.

The 30 Day Song Challenge: Day 1

May 9, 2011 // 50 Comments

Inspired by a recent trend on Facebook, the staff of Country Universe is launching our tweaked version of The 30 Day Song Challenge.

Every day, the staff will share our picks in a different category. We hope that all of our readers will do the same in the comments!

We’re not limiting ourselves to the country genre. All of us are primarily country fans, but our tastes run wider and deeper than that.

The category for Day 1 is…

iPod Check: Hidden Treasures

June 16, 2010 // 37 Comments

This edition of iPod Check is all about those great songs that you love which aren’t that well known. Put your iPod or favorite playlist on shuffle, then list the first ten songs that come up which weren’t singles or widely heard album cuts.

Bonus points for a little blurb with each song!

My list is after the jump.

Single Review: Carrie Underwood, “Undo It”

June 5, 2010 // 53 Comments

Much like no pop star has ever been able to learn all of the right lessons from Madonna, no country star has yet to learn all of the right lessons from Shania Twain.

But darn if Carrie Underwood isn’t getting close. “Undo It” is short, sweet, and undeniably catchy. “Undo It” features both “We Will Rock You” drum riffs and twangy fiddle, as if those two things together are as natural as peanut butter and chocolate.

It even has a chorus of “Na Na Na’s” so infectious that somewhere in the world, Steam is reflexively adding, “Hey Hey, Goodbye.”

You Say You Want an Evolution

January 26, 2009 // 23 Comments

I found this video recently on YouTube. It’s a chronological collection of all of Madonna’s music videos from the past 26 years. I’ve mentioned a few times that Madonna is one of my favorite artists. She’s definitely the best live performer I’ve ever seen, and she’s one of my favorite songwriters. It’s amazing to watch and listen to her music evolve and change with time: httpv:// You may be wondering how this is related to country music, and the answer isn’t the line dancing that she does at the 20:47 mark. It just has me thinking about how so few country artists actually evolve over time, even some of those who are among the greatest in history. Think about how little Loretta Lynn’s sound changed over the two decades she was a radio staple. Brooks & Dunn have made quite a few albums since 1991,  but you could take just about any track Read More

Discussion: iPod Check

December 9, 2008 // 41 Comments

This afternoon, it took me seventy minutes to get to my final and fifteen minutes to actually take it.   It was the traffic jam to end all traffic jams, requiring navigations of Brooklyn and Queens that were mind-numbingly convoluted. What kept me from losing my temper?  My iPod.   Nothing quite like Todd Snider and Rodney Carrington to lighten the mood. We haven’t had an iPod Check in a long time, so given that it was my sanity-saving device today, it’s as good a night as any. No funny rules or complicated instructions here.   Just turn on your iPod/mp3 player and hit shuffle. My first ten songs: The Offspring, “Why Don’t You Get a Job?” Restless Heart, “You Can Depend on Me” Whitney Houston, “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” Johnny Cash, “Sunday Morning Coming Down” Madonna, “Act of Contrition” Iris Dement, “Childhood Memories” M.C. Hammer, “Pumps and a Bump” New Radicals, “Jehovah Made Read More

2008 CMA Awards Live Blog

November 12, 2008 // 254 Comments

2008 CMA Winners Entertainer: Kenny Chesney Male Vocalist: Brad Paisley Female Vocalist: Carrie Underwood Album: George Strait, Troubadour Vocal Duo: Sugarland New Artist: Lady Antebellum Vocal Group: Rascal Flatts Song: Jennifer Nettles, “Stay” Single: George Strait, “I Saw God Today” Music Video: Brad Paisley feat. Andy Griffith, “Waiting on a Woman” Musical Event: Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, “Gone Gone Gone” Musician: Mac McAnally _______ Predict the Winners: Kevin – 8 Leeann – 7 Blake – 7 Dan – 7 ______ Live Blog: 11:03 Thanks again for another great night.  See ya at the Grammys! 11:02ish To Blake and Dan:  A Song For You. 11:02 Blake: Down with our dictator! 11:02 Dan: Kevin sucks. 10:57 If I was a petty man, I’d be gloating about out-predicting all of my co-writers at Country Universe.  Wait a minute.   I am a petty man.   I won! Yes! I won!  This country universe is Read More