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 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade, Part 8
Trisha Yearwood, Heaven, Heartache, and the Power of Love
The latest album from Trisha Yearwood was one of her best yet, with a surprisingly loose sound and quite a few more uptempo tracks than is the norm for this queen of the ballads. The best moments came from the pens of female songwriters, most notably the poignant “Dreaming Fields” penned by Matraca Berg. – Kevin Coyne
Recommended Tracks: “This Is Me You’re Talking To”, “Dreaming Fields”, “Sing You Back to Me”
Pam Tillis, Rhinestoned
On Rhinestoned, Pam Tillis demonstrates that she need not limit herself to covering her father’s songs in order to make a stellar traditional leaning album in her own right. The album, co-produced by Tillis, is consistent with accessible melodies, gentle, classic arrangements and impressively nuanced performances. While this is Tillis’ best album of the decade, it’s also possibly the best of her substantive career.
Recommended Tracks: “Something Burning Out”, Band in the Window”, “Life Has Sure Changed Us Around” (with John Anderson)
There’s something for everyone this month at Amazon. The ever-thoughtful editors there have marked down 50 prime MP3 albums to $5 apiece for the duration of May. Among their choices:
Kenny Rogers, The Gambler: Something of a concept album revolving around the iconic title track. It’s regarded as one of his best full albums.
Jamey Johnson, That Lonesome Song: Nashville’s critical favorite of 2008 if you don’t count Taylor Swift’s Fearless as “country.”
Neko Case, Middle Cyclone: A well-received rock-leaning outing from the alt-country favorite. Has a very weird and very cool album cover.