Our singles list concludes with strong entries from new artists, established superstars, and alternative country stalwarts.
Our first Best of 2015 list kicks off today with the lower half of our top forty singles of 2015. Check back for part two tomorrow!
Earlier this week, writer and friend-of-Country Universe C.M. Wilcox announced that he was shuttering his blog, Country California. The crew here have long been admirers of the sharp, insightful writing and wry humor that Country California brought to the country music blogosphere, and we all wish Chris the best in his new ventures.
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.
Since making her debut with 1997’s Alabama Song, Allison Moorer has been one of country music’s most consistent albums artists. The singer-songwriter has three unqualified masterpieces to her credit— the flawless stone-country heartbreak cycle of The Hardest Part, the politically charged The Duel, and the somber, heady Southern Gothic of Crows. Despite having those triumphs— and other excellent albums like Alabama Song and Good Fortune— to her credit, Moorer’s latest effort, Down to Believing, is perhaps the finest album of her career because it finds Moorer challenging both her singing and her songwriting voices to plumb truly difficult emotional depths.
Throughout 2015, there have been rumblings of a backlash against the prevailing trends at country radio, and that backlash is certainly reflected in the year’s crop of CMA nominees.
We can thank the shortsighted radio consultant Keith Hill for one thing: drawing attention to the women of country music in a year where so many of them are making outstanding music. As their mainstream counterparts cycle through a series of one-note styles and themes, female country artists are putting out diverse and decidedly more progressive music, even as they draw influence from previous generations. That they do so while supporting each other makes it all the more impressive.