Robert Plant

Album Review: Ralph Stanley & Friends, Man of Constant Sorrow

April 18, 2015 // 1 Comment

Ralph Stanley & Friends Man of Constant Sorrow Perhaps the uninitiated may have “discovered” Ralph Stanley through his participation in the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack, For those who have spent their lives appreciating the man and his music, Ralph Stanley is a certified living legend — not to mention one of the last remaining links to that first generation of bluegrass musicians who blazed the trail for newgrassers and traditionalists alike. Even though he threatened retirement not long ago, the 87-year-old singer is back with a new duets album, available through Cracker Barrel stores.

2014 Grammy Nominees

December 7, 2013 // 14 Comments

The nominations for the 56th Annual Grammy Awards have been announced. Taylor Swift has the top nomination connected to country music, earning her second nomination for Album of the Year. She took home the award four years ago for Fearless.

Here are the general category nominees, along with all country and country-related categories:

Taylor Swift RedAlbum of the Year

  • Sara Bareilles, The Blessed Unrest
  • Daft Punk, Random Access Memories
  • Kendrick Lamar, good kid m.A.A.d. city
  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Heist
  • Taylor Swift, Red

If Taylor Swift wins, she will be the first country-related artist in history to win the category twice with individual projects. Alison Krauss also has two victories, one for her collaboration with Robert Plant (Raising Sand, 2009), and another for her contributions to the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack (2002.) The award has only been won by country artists in two other years: Glen Campbell for By the Time I Get to Phoenix (1968), and the Dixie Chicks for Taking the Long Way (2007).

Grammy Awards 2011: Staff Picks & Predictions

February 12, 2011 // 9 Comments

It’s hard to believe, but it’s that time of year again: the 2011 Grammy Awards air this Sunday at 8 p.m. Eastern. Country music has its hand in the Grammy pot via major nominations for Lady Antebellum, performances by Miranda Lambert, Lady A and Martina McBride, and appearances by Keith Urban, Zac Brown, Blake Shelton and Kris Kristofferson. We’ve picked and predicted the awards below – chime in with your own thoughts, and stop by on Sunday night for our live blog!

Album of the Year

Should Win

  • Arcade Fire, The Suburbs – Dan
  • Eminem, Recovery – Kevin, Tara
  • Lady Antebellum, Need You Now
  • Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster
  • Katy Perry, Teenage Dream

Will Win

  • Arcade Fire, The Suburbs
  • Eminem, Recovery – Kevin, Dan, Tara
  • Lady Antebellum, Need You Now
  • Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster
  • Katy Perry, Teenage Dream

Premium Label

September 12, 2010 // 20 Comments

September has a lot of album releases that I’m really enjoying or looking forward to. In fact, it’s the most lucrative month for music for my taste in quite some time.

Last Tuesday (September 7), Rounder Records released The SteelDrivers’ second album, Reckless (which is pretty spectacular, by the way) and this week, they will be releasing Robert Plant’s follow up to his 2007 collaborative album with Alison Krauss, which was also released on Rounder. From the streaming preview that can be heard on NPR’s website until release day, the album is a wonderfully rootsy project helmed by Plant and Buddy Miller and includes guitar work from Darrell Scott. October will finally see the release of Joe Diffie’s bluegrass album, which is also to be released on the label.

Top-Selling Country Albums of 2009

January 4, 2010 // 16 Comments

Here are the top selling country albums of the calendar year 2009. The number in parentheses is the album’s rank on the overall list encompassing all genres. The totals are rounded to the nearest thousand:

  1. Taylor Swift, Fearless (1) – 3,157,000
  2. Zac Brown Band, Foundation (15) – 1,243,000
  3. Carrie Underwood, Play On (19) – 1,150,000
  4. Rascal Flatts, Unstoppable (21) – 1,123,000
  5. Lady Antebellum, Lady Antebellum (24) – 948,000
  6. Jason Aldean, Wide Open (27) – 940,000
  7. Darius Rucker, Learn to Live (31) – 849,000
  8. Taylor Swift, Taylor Swift (36) – 766,000
  9. Keith Urban, Defying Gravity (38) – 715,000
  10. Sugarland, Love On the Inside (41) – 678,000

The 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade, Part 8: #30-#21

December 8, 2009 // 22 Comments

The 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade, Part 8

30 Trisha

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”

29 Pam

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)

Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun: The Dailey & Vincent Interview

March 2, 2009 // 2 Comments

If anything, Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent are double trouble. In a good way, of course. The pair recently swept the SPBGMA Bluegrass Music Awards, a near-replica of their performance at last fall’s International Bluegrass Music Association Awards, where they claimed seven trophies. On March 31, they’ll release the followup to last year’s critically-acclaimed debut disc, aptly-titled Dailey & Vincent. The duo called from Nashville’s downtown YMCA to discuss their new album and touring plans for 2009 (and beyond). Sponsorships welcomed. Brothers from Different Mothers is your second album together. Were there any shifts in approach or attitude this time around? DV: We wanted to make the recording quality better.  We’re trying to give the best performances we can give. We capture what’s in our hearts and capture the CD in a different light, to make it something that the audience will purchase and play over and over again. “Head Hung Read More

The 51st Annual Grammy Awards: The Big Four (Staff Favorites)

February 7, 2009 // 1 Comment

The fourth and final installment in our Grammy series, staff favorites for the Big Four categories. Check back for our live blog of the Grammy Awards tomorrow! Record Of The Year “Chasing Pavements,” Adele “Viva La Vida,” Coldplay  (Blake, Lynn) “Bleeding Love,” Leona Lewis “Paper Planes,” M.I.A.  (Dan, Kevin) “Please Read The Letter,” Robert Plant & Alison Krauss Blake: Coldplay’s anthemic rock ballad just feels like the most important record of the year.  A pure atmospheric wonder, “Viva” is a string-laden symphony that ponders the fear of power, paranoia and eternal purgatory. Here, Chris Martin sings about being king, one with a self-doubting streak. For four intensely brilliant (but confusing) minutes,  he wears the crown well. Dan: I think these are all pretty exemplary records – even “Bleeding Love” is a cut above a lot of radio pop, and it’s easily the weakest thing here. I’m really tempted to pick Adele’s big inner-conflict number; Read More

The 51st Annual Grammy Awards: The Big Four (Staff Predictions)

February 7, 2009 // 1 Comment

We continue Grammy week coverage with our predictions on the General Field categories for this year’s ceremony. Record Of The Year “Chasing Pavements,” Adele “Viva La Vida,” Coldplay   (Blake, Lynn) “Bleeding Love,” Leona Lewis “Paper Planes,” M.I.A. “Please Read The Letter,” Robert Plant & Alison Krauss  (Dan, Kevin) Blake: In recent history, Record of the Year (and its close cousin, Song of the Year) rewards diva-tude (Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Amy Winehouse) or dead dudes (Warren Zevon, Ray Charles) on the tote board. This year, the only nominee in that equation is Simon Cowell prodigy (and Mariah Carey incarnate), Leona Lewis.  Her ubiquitous “Bleeding Love” dominated VH1 all year, but if “We Belong Together” and “Be Without You” launched unsuccessful bids, Lewis’ chances are next-to-nil.  Pineapple Express anthem “Planes” is too trigger-happy for Grammy voters. This comes down to veteran British forever rock god (Plant) and British wannabe rock god (Chris Martin), Read More

The 51st Annual Grammy Awards: Keeping It Country (Staff Favorites)

February 6, 2009 // 6 Comments

The second article in our Grammy Awards series, our personal favorites in the country categories at this year’s ceremony. Best Country Album Jamey Johnson, That Lonesome Song Patty Loveless, Sleepless Nights  (Blake, Leeann) George Strait, Troubadour Randy Travis, Around the Bend Trisha Yearwood, Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love  (Dan, Kevin, Lynn) Blake: Strait’s collection is a mixed bag of middlebrow art with the occasional glimpse at his right-as-rain Texas style. Excepting Troubadour, these discs are highwater marks for the genre. Johnson and Loveless finished one-two on my 2008 list, but I’ll root for Loveless to win a long-awaited solo Grammy. Dan: I actually think Johnson made the best album, but Yearwood’s is my second-favorite, and she’s long overdue. Kevin: It’s a strong field overall, but Yearwood’s album is the most cohesive. She’s the greatest female album artist since Emmylou Harris, yet she’s never won an album award. It’s Read More

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