Merle Haggard

Introducing Larry Rogowin

August 12, 2015 // 10 Comments

Please join me in welcoming our newest staff writer, Mr. Larry Rogowin.  Welcome aboard, Larry! – KJC I can’t say I grew up listening to country music. Actually, I can’t say I had a very meaningful musical youth. My parents played a lot of Beatles, Motown and Sinatra but I was more interested in what the cool kids played. The first album I begged my parents to buy was Poison’s 1988 magnum opus Open Up and Say…Ahh! (They obliged despite…well, obvious reasons – not the least of which was that original album cover.) So there you go. I fell hard and fast for “Every Rose Has its Thorn,” the greatest and twangiest ’80s glam metal ballad. And that sent me on a path directly to Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard. Only kidding. Though I don’t want to discount that this could’ve happened to me and has happened to others. Nonetheless, Read More

Daily Top Five: Single Fathers

July 19, 2015 // 3 Comments

What are some of your favorite songs about single fathers? The songs that I’m listing for this post are specifically about situations where mothers are no longer in the picture, but don’t feel that you have to limit yourself to such narrow parameters. Dan Seals, “Everything that Glitters (is Not Gold)” Ricky Van Shelton, “Keep It Between the Lines” Merle Haggard, “If We Make It Through December” David Allan Coe, “Single Father” Elvis Presley, “Don’t Cry Daddy”

Daily Double Top Five: Most Played Tracks

July 7, 2015 // 14 Comments

Back in the day, we used to do iPod checks.   Seemed so current at the time! Now, we’re gonna ask you to go to Spotify or your phone or whatever, and just let us know what you’re listening to the most. Two Daily Top Fives Today:  Your five most played songs from a 2015 album, and your most played country songs of all time. Here are my lists, sticking to one song per artist:

Daily Top Five: Gender Swap

June 30, 2015 // 19 Comments

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)

Daily Top Five: Drinking Songs

June 24, 2015 // 24 Comments

Drinking is among the biggest themes in country music.   What are your five favorite drinking songs? Here’s my list: John Anderson, “Straight Tequila Night” Merle Haggard, “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink” Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss, “Whiskey Lullaby” Martina McBride, “Cheap Whiskey” Clint Black, “Killin’ Time”

Daily Top Five: Songs About Money

April 17, 2015 // 13 Comments

This week brought tax season to an end, and depending on how it went for you last year, you’ll be collecting a refund check or writing one out to the IRS instead. Seems as good a time as any to share our five favorite songs about money! Here ‘s my top five: Merle Haggard, “If We Make it Through December” John Anderson, “Money in the Bank” Todd Snider, “Broke” Shania Twain, “Ka-Ching!” Alabama, “40 Hour Week (For a Livin’)”    

The Twenty Best Albums of 1994

December 26, 2014 // 5 Comments

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

The Best Singles of 1994, Part 2: #30-#21

December 9, 2014 // 7 Comments

The list continues with big hits from Clay Walker, Neal McCoy, and Mary Chapin Carpenter, along with should’ve been hits from Carlene Carter and Merle Haggard. #30 “Daddy Never was the Cadillac Kind” Confederate Railroad Written by Dave Gibson and Bernie Nelson KJC #10 | JK #22 | SG #39 Confederate Railroad made it big by balancing party anthems with thoughtful songs about growing up in the south.  This was their best “growing up” song, a thoughtful tribute from a son to his late father.  As tends to happen, the lessons taught to us in our youth aren’t fully appreciated or understood until it’s too late to truly say “thank you.”  – Kevin John Coyne

100 Greatest Men: #1. Merle Haggard

August 15, 2014 // 14 Comments

100 Greatest Men: The Complete List The Poet of the Common Man.  Merle Haggard emerged from the Bakersfield music scene in the mid-sixties, and over the course of time, became the greatest man in the history of country music. Born during the height of the Great Depression, the son of a honky tonk fiddler and a church-going mother, Haggard’s life was a hard one from early on.  When he lost his father at age nine, he rebelled to the point that much of his youth was spent in juvenile detention centers.  His only positive outlet was country music, and he listened to and studied obsessively the work of his heroes Bob Willis, Hank Williams, and Lefty Frizzell, all of whom would shape his singing and his songwriting.

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