Rascal Flatts

2015 CMA Nominations

September 9, 2015 // 18 Comments

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.

Daily Double Top Five: Best & Worst Cover Songs

May 2, 2015 // 23 Comments

Again, we play catch up with a daily double top five, and this one focuses on cover songs. So many great songs have been re-recorded over time.  Sometimes the new versions are so good that you discover something new about the original.  Other times, the new takes are so bad that you just wish they’d left well enough alone. So today we ask: What do you think are the best and the worst cover songs? For my five best, I’m picking versions that I enjoyed so much more than the originals that I rarely listen to the first versions anymore.  But you don’t have to do that! Original artists are in parentheses after each pick. Five Best Cover Songs Emmylou Harris, “The Boxer” (Simon & Garfunkel) Johnny Cash, “Why Me Lord”  (Kris Kristofferson) Reba McEntire, “Sweet Music Man” (Kenny Rogers) Alison Krauss, “Ghost in This House” (Shenandoah) Dwight Yoakam, “Wichita Read More

Daily Top Five: Favorites from your Least Favorites

April 25, 2015 // 57 Comments

If we’re honest with ourselves, we don’t like every single music choice that even our very favorite artists make, which  is what inspired  us to share our least favorite albums from our favorite artists. In that same spirit, there are also times when we catch ourselves enjoying a  stray song or two from artists by whom we’re  typically  not impressed. So, what are five songs that you like from artists that you normally don’t enjoy? Here are mine. I should note that I actually enjoy more than one song from most of these artists, but will only list one for the purpose of this exercise. Jason Aldean, “Two Night Town” Rascal Flatts, “What Hurts the Most” Taylor Swift (feat. The Civil Wars), “Safe and Sound” Scotty McCreery, ” Carolina Moon” Thomas Rhett, “Beer with Jesus”

2015 ACM Awards: Country Universe Viewer’s Guide

April 19, 2015 // 14 Comments

The fiftieth annual Academy of Country Music Awards air tonight, and Country Universe has you covered!  Here’s a rundown of all of the major categories, along with some commentary from our writers about who should win, who will, and what the nominations as a whole say about the current state of country music. Share your thoughts about this year’s show in the comments, and check back for a list of winners when it’s all said and done. Update: Join the CU crew on Twitter (@CountryUniverse) during the show to share your thoughts as things unfold! Entertainer of the Year Should Win: Jason Aldean Garth Brooks – Jonathan Luke Bryan – Sam Florida-Georgia Line Miranda Lambert – Ben, Kevin Will Win: Jason Aldean Garth Brooks Luke Bryan Florida Georgia Line Miranda Lambert – Jonathan, Ben, Sam, Kevin BF: I think Lambert is due, but I could get on board with a Read More

Single Review: Rascal Flatts, “Riot”

February 21, 2015 // 6 Comments

 “Riot” Rascal Flatts Written by Jaron Boyer and Sara Haze This is quite the quiet riot.  Rascal Flatts return to their signature ballad sound on “Riot”, which has moments that sound like a throwback to “What Hurts the Most.” Unlike that classic hit, which soared with melodramatic intensity, this one never leaves first gear.  All of the effective atmosphere that’s built up during the first verse dissolves into a very bland chorus that lacks any punch.  Perhaps that’s because the whole conceit of there being “a riot breaking up my heart” if their love goes south doesn’t make much sense.

2015 ACM Awards: Nominations & Analysis

January 31, 2015 // 14 Comments

The third most prestigious country music industry award nominations – but the most important ones handed out in the spring – have been announced.  Here’s a rundown of all the major categories, along with some back-of-the-envelope analysis: Entertainer Jason Aldean Garth Brooks Luke Bryan Florida Georgia Line Miranda Lambert Who’s In: Jason Aldean, Garth Brooks, Florida Georgia Line Who’s Out: Blake Shelton, George Strait, Taylor Swift Last year’s winner, George Strait, didn’t get a return invitation, but Garth Brooks, who has won this award six times before, returns to the competition.  Much like Strait’s farewell tour was a reminder of his extensive popularity, Garth’s ability to sell out several dates per city overshadows the lukewarm reception to his new material at radio and retail.   Taylor Swift’s exit is directly tied to her cutting ties with the genre. Jason Aldean’s return makes logical sense, but it’s quite the mystery to see Read More

CU10: What a Turkey! The Worst Singles of the Last Ten Years

November 27, 2014 // 14 Comments

Country Universe has reviewed more than a thousand singles during its ten year run.  Some of them have been real turkeys.  Here are some of the worst, with highlights and links to the original reviews. “Party Like Cowboyz” Big & Rich Reviewed on December 12, 2012 “Yes, from the opening cry of ‘Come on, cowboys and cowgirls, it’s time to par-tay!’ to the stupid ‘Z’ slapped onto the end of the title, this is just bad, bad, bad.” – Ben Foster

CMA Awards: Entertainer of the Year (1967-2013)

November 3, 2013 // 5 Comments

Since its inception, the top honor an artist could be given at the Country Music Association awards is this one: Entertainer of the Year. Originally a revolving door of winners, the winner in early years was often not even nominated the following year. In 1981, Barbara Mandrell became the first artist to win the award twice. Alabama succeeded her with a three year run from 1982-1984. Fourteen years later, Garth Brooks became the first artist two win four times, a feat later matched by Kenny Chesney in 2008.

Here’s a look back at the award from the very beginning, along with some facts and feats about the category and its nominees.

Eddy Arnold1967

  • Bill Anderson
  • Eddy Arnold
  • Merle Haggard
  • Sonny James
  • Buck Owens

One year after being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Eddy Arnold was named the very first Entertainer of the Year at the inaugural CMA awards in 1967. Don’t assume it was a sympathy vote. Arnold had three #1 hits in the twelve months leading up to the ceremony, as he was in the middle of his impressive mid-sixties comeback, a period best defined by the 1965 classic, “Make the World Go Away.” He remains the only member of the Hall of Fame to win this award after being inducted.

Single Reviews Round-Up: Rascal Flatts, Toby Keith, Tim McGraw ft. Taylor Swift and Keith Urban, & Kip Moore

April 11, 2013 // 16 Comments


Rascal Flatts, “Changed”

Like “I Won’t Let Go” a few years back, “Changed” is built on a sweeping sentiment, rousing melody and very little else. That’s not an inherently bad thing; despite an ounce of detail about the confessor, “Changed” feels like a confession –it pleads and swells and submits. Add in an earnest and relatively restrained performance, and the song has legs.

Written by Gary LeVox, Wendell Mobley & Neil Thrasher

Grade: B

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