Following up on yesterday’s post, Reba McEntire is the other legend that streeted a new album last week. As good a time as any to ask: What are your five favorite Reba McEntire albums and tracks? Here are my picks: Albums For My Broken Heart Rumor Has it What if it’s You Whoever’s in New England My Kind of Country Tracks The Fear of Being Alone If I Had Only Known The Greatest Man I Never Knew Fallin’ Out of Love Consider Me Gone
Today’s a fairly big release day for long time country music fans, as two legends release sets today: Reba McEntire, who returns after five years with Love Somebody, and Dwight Yoakam, who is back with Second Hand Heart, which is only his second album of new material in the last ten years. We’ve already review the lead Reba single and lead Dwight single. We’ll have reviews up of both albums at a later date, but they influenced today’s Daily Top Five: What are your most recent purchases? I’m still an albums guy, so I’m going to list my most recent five albums purchased, but feel free to list tracks instead, if you’re more the a la carte type. My five most recent (country) album purchases are: Shelby Lynne, Temptation Shania Twain, Still the One: Live From Vegas Rhiannon Giddens, Tomorrow is My Turn Punch Brothers, The Phosphorescent Blues Jason Isbell, Read More
Today, we kick off a new feature: Daily Top Five. Every day, one of our writers will post their top five picks for a given category, and invite readers to share their own lists in the comments. This idea was ripped off from inspired by the film Top Five. Since this is the first entry, today’s topic is First Favorites – your top five songs that got you into country music. For me: John Anderson, “Straight Tequila Night” Reba McEntire, “For My Broken Heart” Kenny Rogers, “The Gambler” Pam Tillis, “Maybe it Was Memphis” Dwight Yoakam, “It Only Hurts When I Cry” What’s your top five?
“Kiss You in the Morning” Michael Ray Written by Larry Michael White and Justin Tyler Wilson Launching a new artist with this generic a single does a tremendous disservice to their budding career. “Kiss You in the Morning” sounds exactly like everything else on the radio. It covers the most well-trodden lyrical ground in today’s country music. Ray’s a decent enough singer and the production is controlled, so it’s not memorable for being bad. Trouble is, it’s not really memorable at all.
“I Got the Boy” Jana Kramer Written by Connie Harrington, Tim Nichols, and Jamie Lynn Spears The sentiment is quite poignant. “I got the boy. She got the man.” A high school sweetheart reminisces as she sees her boyfriend from back then has gotten married. The writers establish some wonderful specifics in the verses that help to bring the characters to life. But the chorus is bland both lyrically and melodically, so the payoff from the buildup isn’t there.
“Better Than You Left Me” Mickey Guyton Written by Mickey Guyton, Jennifer Hanson, and Jenn Schott This is pretty much how a country ballad is supposed to sound, as far as I’m concerned. Nothing says heartache like a steel guitar, and if you’re going to sing with vulnerability, it’ll do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. All you need to do is show up with a decent lyric, not let the production get in the way, sing the song well, and you’re done.
“Going Out Like That” Reba McEntire Written by Rhett Akins, Ben Haslip, and Jason Sellers Reba McEntire is one of the genre’s all-time greatest storytellers. Her best material captures both the strength and vulnerability of the everyday woman, and “Going Out Like That” fits in well with her legacy of songs that are empowering without sacrificing believability. McEntire is also one of the genre’s all-time greatest stylists, and that’s where her new single falls short. The song is delivered in mostly a monotone, with few of her signature curlicues. She just never gets out of the starting gate for some reason. The song doesn’t require it to be effective, but a little more variety would’ve been nice.
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.
- 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.
Our Brandy Clark coverage continues with a round table review of her hotly anticipated debut album, which is out this today.
She teased us earlier this year with “Stripes,” which I proudly awarded a solid A in my review of the song, calling it “a clever and original, not to mention humorous, twist on a tried-and-true country music theme.” It was more than enough to whet our appetites for the album to follow, which ended up going so far as to supersede expectations.