Rodney Clawson

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: Florida Georgia Line, “Sippin’ on Fire”

March 14, 2015 // 19 Comments

“Sippin’ on Fire” Florida Georgia Line Written by Rodney Clawson, Matt Dragstrem, and Cole Taylor There isn’t much logic in hoping for a successful act to abandon the formula that has gotten them where they are today.   Why fix what their fans don’t even care is broken?

Single Review: Eli Young Band, “Turn it On”

March 5, 2015 // 10 Comments

“Turn it On” Eli Young Band Written by Rodney Clawson, Matt Dragstrem, Mike Eli, and James Young “Turn it On” is the title track from Eli Young Band’s upcoming EP.   It has a lot of energy, if not a particularly good hook.

2015 Grammy Awards: Predictions & Personal Picks

February 6, 2015 // 17 Comments

This year’s Grammy Awards air on Sunday, February 8, and country music will be represented with performances Eric Church, Miranda Lambert, and the tantalizing pairing of Brandy Clark and Dwight Yoakam.   Most of the awards will be handed out before the show, and we will post the relevant winners here, as part of a Grammy Open Thread where CU readers and writers can share their thoughts on this year’s awards. Four CU writers, including myself, have shared our predictions and personal picks for the general and country-related categories below.  Of course, one of the coolest things about the Grammys is that it celebrates a wide range of music from the past year, and as you’ll see by our varying levels of participation, our tastes here at CU run the gamut. This year, I’m as excited about the performances by Madonna, Kanye West (twice!), and that Hozier and Annie Lennox duet Read More

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

2015 Grammy Nominations

December 5, 2014 // 11 Comments

Updated: Best Country Duo/Group Performance The Band Perry, “Gentle on My Mind” Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood, “Somethin’ Bad” Little Big Town, “Day Drinking” Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill, “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s” Keith Urban featuring Eric Church, “Raise ‘Em Up” Best American Roots Performance Greg Allman & Taj Mahal, “Statesboro Blues” Rosanne Cash, “A Feather’s not a Bird” Billy Childs featuring Alison Krauss and Jerry Douglas, “And When I Die” Keb’ Mo’ featuring the California Feet Warmers, “The Old Me Better” Nickel Creek, “Destination” Best Country Solo Performance Eric Church, “Give Me Back My Hometown” Hunter Hayes, “Invisible” Miranda Lambert, “Automatic” Carrie Underwood, “Something in the Water” Keith Urban, “Cop Car”   Best New Artist includes last year’s actual best new artist! Iggy Azalea Bastille Brandy Clark  (!!!!) HAIM Sam Smith Best Americana Album Rosanne Cash, The River & The Thread John Haitt, Terms of My Surrender Keb’ Mo’, Read More

Single Review: Kenny Chesney, “Til it’s Gone”

October 22, 2014 // 6 Comments

“‘Til it’s Gone” Kenny Chesney Written by Rodney Clawson, David Lee Murphy, and Jimmy Yeary There were a lot of great singer-songwriters that didn’t quite make it to stardom in the nineties, especially once the market was saturated.  It’s good to see that some of the best ones are having success as writers, like David Lee Murphy, who has a hand in the latest Kenny Chesney single.

Single Review: Jason Aldean, “Burnin’ It Down”

August 9, 2014 // 29 Comments

“Burnin’ it Down” Jason Aldean Written by Rodney Clawson, Tyler Hubbard, Brian Kelley,  and Chris Tompkins Country music isn’t historically prudish. It covers the topical gambit of love, drinking, cheating, murder and, yes, even passion. Conway Twitty, Alabama, Charlie Rich, even Alan Jackson ,as well as many others,  haven’t shied away from memorably singing about sexual intimacy. But their songs maintained a respect for the intimacy, which Jason Aldean’s “Burnin” it Down” grossly fails to do. Instead, the song is high octane graphic with no sense of real intimacy and nothing left up to the imagination.

Single Review: Kenny Chesney, “American Kids”

June 25, 2014 // 11 Comments

If you’re going to keep revisiting the same themes, you might as well take some risks with your delivery. Kenny Chesney’s new single sounds fresher and more engaging than anything he’s done in a very long time.  It’s easy to miss that he’s singing about what he always sings about: nostalgia for growing up in the country with American rock as the soundtrack.   What makes “American Kids” work more than a lot his attempts with this theme is that sounds like he learned something listening to those Mellencamp and Springsteen records.  This record oozes charm and mature authority, like he’s finally lived long enough to look back and say, “Hey. We were kinda crazy back then.  But we all turned out alright in the end.” Written by Rodney Clawson, Luke Laird, and Shane McAnally Grade: B+ httpv://  

1 2