Tag Archives: Sarah Buxton

44th Annual ACM Awards Nominations Announcement


The Academy of Country Music announced nominees for their 44th annual awards ceremony this morning at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. Julianne Hough, Kellie Pickler, Leann Rimes and Jessica Simpson were on hand to present this year’s nominees. More analysis to follow.

Entertainer of the Year

  • Kenny Chesney
  • Brad Paisley
  • George Strait
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Keith Urban

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44th Annual ACM Awards Projections


On Wednesday, February 11, the Academy of Country Music will unveil the nominees for their 44th annual awards ceremony. Last year, the usual suspects prevailed. Brad and Carrie repeated in the Vocalist categories, Brooks & Dunn claimed their 14th Vocal Duo prize and Kenny Chesney earned his fourth consecutive Entertainer of the Year award. As a prelude to the nominations announcement, here’s my projected slate for this year’s ceremony. (Favorites are in bold.)

Entertainer of the Year

  • Kenny Chesney
  • Brad Paisley
  • Sugarland
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Keith Urban

Prognosis: The “no girls allowed” edict will likely be lifted.  Underwood is the genre’s most prominent ambassador, and Sugarland’s rise to the high ranks has both commercial and critical support.

Note of interest: “The winner shall be determined by a combination of votes from the membership of the ACM and viewer voting.”

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Kevin J. Coyne’s Top Singles of 2008

Gone are the days where this would just be called the Country Universe’s Top Singles of 2008.   The collective tastes of our writers makes for more distinguished lists, but thankfully, there’s still a place for my personal favorites.   Here are the twenty singles of 2008 that I enjoyed the most.

#20: Reba McEntire & Kenny Chesney, “Every Other Weekend”

A welcome return to domestic themes, which have often provided McEntire with her best work.   This plays out the like the epilogue to “Somebody Should Leave.”

sara-evans#19: Sara Evans, “Low”

Triumph in the face of adversity, as the surrounding negative energy is rejected in favor of a positive and determined move toward the future.  Plus, it’s a little bluegrassy, which just sounds cool.

#18: Keith Urban, “You Look Good in My Shirt”

Even Conway Twitty wasn’t so good at slipping in mature themes so skillfully.    There are children across the country bopping along to this one without a clue about how she ended up wearing that shirt.

#17: Josh Turner featuring Trisha Yearwood, “Another Try”

Turner’s unsure vocal reveals emotion for a moment, then pulls back, then reveals a little bit of it again.   He’s hoping for one more chance, but it doesn’t sound like he’s convinced himself that he’ll truly “hang on for dear life” next time.

#16: Tim McGraw, “Let it Go”

Letting go of the past doesn’t mean that you forget your mistakes.    Rather, you resolve to learn from them without letting them dictate your future.

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Best Country Singles of 2008, Part 1: #40-#31

Starting today, the Country Universe staff will be revealing our Top 40 Singles of 2008.   This list has been compiled through a combination of four individual Top 20 lists by Leeann, Blake, Dan and myself, wherein a certain number of “points” was delegated to a single each time it was mentioned on one of the lists.

The final list reflects the total number of points that each single received between the four lists. Those lists will be revealed along with other individual writer content next week as part of our continuing coverage of the Best of 2008.


Trisha Yearwood, “They Call it Falling For a Reason”

This song really sounds like it could fit perfectly with Yearwood’s music of the ‘90s. The production is both modest and interesting at the same time. Furthermore, the lyrics are light without seeming inane. As we will lament about many singles on this list, it’s a shame that this one didn’t chart better for Yearwood.  – LW


Sarah Buxton, “Space”

When Sarah Buxton’s voice is matched with a soaring melody, good things are bound to happen.   Here, she tears apart the standard breakup line, “I just need space”, thoroughly eviscerating the man foolish enough to ask for it.  – KJC


Jewel, “Stronger Woman”

Back when Jewel ruled pop radio, she did so with  smart and empowering female anthems.    Her introduction to country radio is cut from the same cloth, and let’s be honest: such material hasn’t been any more common on the country dial than it has been on pop radio this decade.  – KJC

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Dierks Bentley, Greatest Hits: Every Mile a Memory, 2003-2008

Dierks Bentley
Greatest Hits: Every Mile a Memory, 2003-2008

Bentley’s resume’ reads likes a wish list for rising country stars.  Schooled in the classic sounds of Jones and Jennings, Bentley first burst onto radio airwaves with 2003’s “What Was I Thinkin’,” a song that flies along at breakneck speed as a frisky fellow navigates Friday night with his lady love.

Since then, Bentley has flown the flag for men who sport a little sensitivity to match their macho desires.  In five years at Capitol Nashville, he’s built a commercial portfolio that rivals the top stars in country music. With three million albums sold, newcomer trophies from the CMA and ACM and induction into the Grand Ole Opry, he’s nudged his way into the upper echelon of country music. His traditionalist bent has won him veteran admirers, and the pop sheen applied to his rough-and-tumble tales is perfectly suited to the tastes of an ever-evolving mainstream audience.

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Sarah Buxton, “Space”

I have a sneaking suspicion that Sarah Buxton will develop into a songwriter for the ages.   She’s getting there already.  “Space” builds a song around a classic break-up line – “I need space” – and explores all of its implications.

There’s a distinct tension between her claim that she’s willing to give him space, and the stark portrait of loneliness that she paints of his future existence without her.  There’s a sense that she doesn’t want him to go, but that she can’t quite understand how to love a man who needs to be alone to find happiness.

Buxton’s never been showcased so well on record before.  The stripped-down arrangement and her rough vocal are a perfect match the rawness of the material.   It’s so intimate that it’s almost uncomfortable to listen to at points, but she pulls back and the band comes in for the chorus, giving some necessary emotional breathing room.   It’s well-constructed without sounding deliberately crafted.

Grade: A

Listen: Space


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Sarah Buxton, "That Kind of Day"

Sarah Buxton, “That Kind of Day”

Great song, wrong delivery.

There’s way too much going on and Buxton sounds winded trying to keep up. It doesn’t help that she’s trying to be too “quirky and funny” in selling the song, which is strong enough to stand on its own.

Buxton has a haunting, evocative voice that never surfaces on this single. I’m still waiting to hear her talent spotlighted anywhere near as well as it was on her guest spot on Cowboy Troy’s “If You Don’t Wanna Love Me,” which was so flawless that Troy was able to build an entire subpar storyline around it and the record still worked.

Grade: B-

Listen Now: That Kind of Day

Buy Now: Not Currently Available


Filed under Single Reviews