Nickel Creek

A Conversation with Katie Cook

August 21, 2009 // 7 Comments

KCookKatie Cook has been a staple on Country Music Television since 2002, hosting various series and specials such as CMT Most Wanted Live, the MWL concert series, MWL Star, MWL Stacked and the popular weekly entertainment magazine show, CMT Insider.

But her experience with country music is actually three-fold: along with being embedded in the industry as a television host and interviewer, she’s also the daughter of Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member Roger Cook, and she’s both a singer and songwriter herself – she released an album in 2000 as part of a band called Reno and continues to hone her songwriting skills. Cook took some time to share with Country Universe her opinions on the state of country music, the evolution of CMT and her recent White House visit, among other topics.

Perfect 10

April 29, 2009 // 43 Comments

As April is one of the odd months that has five Wednesdays, I thought I’d take a break from Country Quizzin’ for this week and try out a new discussion-thing.

Given the current mainstream climate, it’s been a while since I’ve felt able to heap unfettered praise on a piece of country music here, and that frankly bums me out a bit. So in the spirit of un-bumming, I’m going to share ten country songs that I find absolutely flawless – my “Perfect 10” – and I invite you to do the same. It’s a simple enough concept – you could just think of it as Recommend a Track times 10 plus a punny name.

Still, I suspect the outcome could be really interesting if everybody puts in the effort to pick ten songs that they consider the absolute cream of the crop. We’re talking all-time best material here, whatever “all-time” happens to mean to you. You don’t have to rank them, and they don’t have to be your definitive top ten; I sure wouldn’t be able to produce that list without a lot more thought. They just have to be up there – the kind of songs that you love fully and deeply, that still engage and surprise you after countless listens.

Musical Progression

April 9, 2009 // 14 Comments

As I stand in for Leeann on her birthday , I’ve been thinking about how much musical tastes change over time. Musically, it is fair to say that we started pretty far apart, but over five years our musical preferences have both moved and expanded significantly. Tracing the progression of my musical inclinations even farther, it seems that the expansion of my tastes was much different than others in my family. For instance, my grandparents listened to country music. When my father was born the Grand Ole Opry was a staple in his home and he listened to country music all of his life. As a result, I was exposed to country music by my father, but quickly declared my independence when I purchase the first album my parents considered noise. The first albums I ever purchased, a little over a week past my thirteenth birthday, were Use Your Illusion Read More

Sara Watkins, Sara Watkins

April 7, 2009 // 15 Comments

Since the “indefinite hiatus” of progressive acoustic darlings Nickel Creek, despite a history of diverging solo work, releases from Chris Thile and Sean Watkins have been shackled by expectations of a Creek-like sound. Much like releases from her former band mates, Sara Watkins self-titled debut is not a surrogate Nickel creek album. Instead, it is an album that is purely individual, combining the talent that we have already witnessed with more than a few surprises.

Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists: Dolly Parton

December 21, 2008 // 16 Comments

Earlier this month, my friend and colleague Leeann Ward shared her favorite songs by Dolly Parton.    I’m happy to now share mine. My respect for Parton as an artist knows no bounds.  I don’t think there is another figure in country music that is visible in so many of the contours of the genre’s history.    Given that I have a taste for country, pop, bluegrass, and damn fine songwriting, it was no small feat picking just twenty-five songs.    This is just a sampling of her deep catalog, one that is long overdue to be fully reissued.   Some of these tracks are hard to find, but most can be downloaded digitally or purchased on CDs, though you may need to scour compilations to find them. #25 “Those Were the Days” Those Were the Days, 2005 The title track from Parton’s third collection of cover songs is all bittersweet nostalgia, looking back Read More

CMA Flashback: Horizon Award (New Artist)

November 9, 2008 // 14 Comments

For a look back at the other major categories, visit our CMA Awards page. 2010 Luke Bryan Easton Corbin Jerrod Neimann Chris Young Zac Brown Band Usually there isn’t this much turnover in this race unless most of last year’s nominees are ineligible.  This year, only one of the four eligible nominees from last year – Zac Brown Band – earns a nomination.  With their massive success and their multiple nominations, they’ve got an excellent shot at winning. Then again, Easton Corbin is elsewhere on the ballot, too. It could be a horse race. 2009 Randy Houser Jamey Johnson Jake Owen Darius Rucker Zac Brown Band Thirteen years after winning the Best New Artist Grammy as part of Hootie & The Blowfish, Darius Rucker won the country music equivalent, adding an exclamation point to the most successful pop-to-country crossover in a generation. 2008 Jason Aldean Rodney Atkins Lady Antebellum James Read More

Sound Off: Alex Woodard featuring Sara Watkins, “Reno”

August 19, 2008 // 5 Comments

Today we’re featuring Alex Woodard, as this is the release date of his new album, Alex Woodard.  The song for download, “Reno”, features Sara Watkins, who is most known for her work in Nickel Creek.   Longtime readers know how much we dig Nickel Creek in these parts, so check this one out. Here’s the press release: Singer/songwriter Alex Woodard will release his new, self-titled album tomorrow, August 19, on Woodshack Music/Adrenaline Music Group. With his undeniable, story-driven songwriting, Woodard tackles universal themes like love, loss, hope, and struggle, tapping into a rich vein of country-rock that George Varga, Music Editor of the San Diego Union Tribune, calls, “An accomplished collection that suggests broader success is close at hand…Woodard’s well-crafted songs are cut from the same cloth as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and John Mellencamp, whose music eloquently captures earthy truths about living, loving and growing older without losing the dreams Read More

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