Tag Archives: Sawyer Brown

Daily Top Five: Favorite First Singles

Pam Tillis Deep DownOn the first day of the new month, we’re asking you to share your favorite first singles from an album or compilation.

Here’s my list:

  1. Trisha Yearwood, “Wrong Side of Memphis”
  2. Pam Tillis, “Deep Down”
  3. Tim McGraw, “Please Remember Me”
  4. Sawyer Brown, “Cafe on the Corner”
  5. Dixie Chicks, “Not Ready to Make Nice”

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Daily Top Five: Father’s Day

alan-jackson-driveRegular posts, including single reviews, will begin again tomorrow.

In the meantime, today’s Daily Top Five is perfect for the day in question.

What are your five favorite country songs about being a dad?

It can be the experience of being the father or being the child, or just songs that you like that don’t bear much relation to your actual relationship with your father or your child.

Here’s my list:

  1. Sawyer Brown, “The Walk”
  2. Reba McEntire, “The Greatest Man I Never Knew”
  3. Alan Jackson, “Drive (For Daddy Gene)”
  4. Loretta Lynn, “They Don’t Make ‘Em Like My Daddy”
  5. Doug Supernaw, “I Don’t Call Him Daddy”

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Daily Top Five: Back to Work

Sawyer Brown Cafe on the CornerSo with the site up and running again, we’re back to work.   What better way to kick things off than with a Daily Top Five of your favorite songs about work?

Here’s my list:

  1. Sawyer Brown, “Cafe on the Corner”
  2. Alabama, “40 Hour Week (For a Livin’)”
  3. Dolly Parton, “He’s a Go Getter”
  4. Martina McBride, “Goin’ to Work”
  5. Aaron Tippin, “I Got it Honest”

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Daily Top Five: Should’ve Been Hits

42 YearwoodToday’s Daily Top Five is loosely inspired by reader PSUMucci.

What are five singles that should’ve been hits?

They could be songs that ended up signature tunes for their act despite not being hits, or could not have made any impact at all.

For my top five, I stuck to artists who were having some radio success at the time these songs were released.

Here’s my list:

  1. Trisha Yearwood, “Where are You Now”
  2. David Nail, “The Sound of a Million Dreams”
  3. Sawyer Brown, “Another Side”
  4. Faith Hill, “Stealing Kisses”
  5. Lorrie Morgan, “I Just Might Be”

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Single Review: Big & Rich, “Cheat on You”

Big & Rich Cheat on YouMany moons ago, when Big & Rich seemed like the most promising and interesting duo to hit the genre in eons, they put out a song called “Holy Water.”

It was a powerful song with empathetic feminism, the sort of solidarity with women that you usually don’t hear from men in cowboy hats. It cut through their cartoonish persona and showed that they could be incisively insightful.  This was no small feat given it was the follow-up to “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)”, which had established that persona in the first place.

The best thing that I can say about “Cheat on  You” is that it’s a startling reminder of that initial promise.  The scenario is as believable as their empathy is palpable, and it lends a sincerity to the proceedings that’s gone all but missing in their post-Horse of a Different Color work.

Now, the second verse is a bit too predictable, and their harmonies rarely get out of first gear, so it’s hardly a perfect record.   But it’s good enough to revisit for repeated listens, and what’s the last Big & Rich single that could be said about?

More importantly, it provides the boys a clear path, a way out of the larger-than-life, over-the-top caricatures that are as restrictive as they are annoying.   But hey, Sawyer Brown triumphed over worse, and ended up making some of the best country music of the nineties.  Maybe there’s hope yet for B&R to do the same.

Written by Kasey Buckley, John Rich, and Amanda Watkins

Grade: B

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laQuNgOp9y8

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iPod Check: Most Played Song by Twenty Country Artists

Since bringing back Recommend a Track proved so popular, I’m resurrecting another CU oldie but goodie: the iPod check.

I’ve only recently discovered the Most Played feature on iTunes, since it never had any relevance until iPods were large enough in memory to sync all of my music.   So going back to early 2011, I have a lengthy list of the songs I’ve played the most.

So today’s iP0d check:  List your most-played song from twenty different country artists.

You can access this info by going to your own Most Played list and adjusting the number of songs on it – I use 500 for mine – or you can just go to Music and sort by number of plays.  Or you can just pick twenty artists at random and list your most played song for each.  We’re easy here.  (This would also work in Spotify, from what I hear.)

Here’s my top twenty:

  1. Pam Tillis – Deep Down (89 plays)
  2. Keith Urban – I Told You So (81)
  3. Dixie Chicks – Long Time Gone (71)
  4. Taylor Swift – Mean (68)
  5. Trisha Yearwood – Where Are You Now (63)
  6. Patty Loveless – You Can Feel Bad (59)
  7. Emmylou Harris – Easy From Now On (55)
  8. Carrie Underwood – Undo It (50)
  9. Lori McKenna – Lorraine (50)
  10. Dwight Yoakam – Ain’t That Lonely Yet (46)
  11. Sara Evans – Rocking Horse (45)
  12. Sawyer Brown – Cafe on the Corner (45)
  13. Reba McEntire – The Fear of Being Alone (44)
  14. Shania Twain – Up! (43)
  15. Faith

    Hill – Stealing Kisses (41)

  16. Alan Jackson – So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore (40)
  17. Crystal Gayle – Why Have Your Left the One You Left Me For (39)
  18. George Strait – Meanwhile (39)
  19. Lee Ann Womack – I May Hate Myself in the Morning (39)
  20. Aaron Tippin – Whole Lotta Love on the Line (38)

I’m surprised that some of my most played artists overall, like Dolly Parton, Randy Travis, and Tim McGraw, don’t have that one big song that I play excessively.  Also, at least half of the songs above aren’t what I would call my favorite song by the given artist.  How about you?

 

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100 Greatest Men: #89. Sawyer Brown

100 Greatest Men: The Complete List

At first, they were the very embodiment of a valid reason to suspect the credentials of TV singing contest winners. But over time, they became one of the most thought-provoking and substantial country music bands.

Sawyer Brown began as the backing band for Don King, who had a handful of minor country hits in the late seventies and early eighties. When King stopped touring in 1981, the band decided to strike out on their own.  The original lineup of Mark Miller, Bobby Randall, Joe Smyth, Gregg Hubbard, and Jim Scholten named themselves Sawyer Brown after the Nashville street where they often rehearsed.

The band quickly earned a reputation on the road, honing the live act that would keep them in the green during all of their ups and downs at country radio. In 1983, they auditioned for the first season of Star Search, where they were th winning act, securing a $100,000 prize which led to a contract with Capitol Records.

They were a hit from the start, with a handful of big singles from their first two albums, including “Step That Step” and “Betty’s Bein’ Bad.”  As the titles indicate, they built their early career on goofy novelty hits, and were known for their outlandish outfits and campy dance moves.  Even though they won the CMA Horizon Award in 1985, they weren’t taken terribly seriously by the country music industry.

Their road business never wavered, but as the new traditionalist movement went into full swing, radio airplay was erratic. After “Bad” hit #5 in 1985, the band enjoyed only two more top ten hits in the following five years, one of which was a high-energy cover of the George Jones classic, “The Race is On.”   Original guitarist Randall left the band, replaced by Duncan Cameron.

Then, in one of the most surprising second acts in country music history, they resurfaced as a major player in the most competitive era the genre has ever seen, and they did it with a string of serious, thought-provoking songs like “The Walk”, which traced a father-son relationship through time; “Cafe on the Corner”, which captured the stories of several small-towners hard hit by the early nineties recession; and “All These Years”, a harrowing look at a faltering marriage that just might be saved by an act of infidelity.

The personality was there too, with “Some Girls Do” and “Thank God For You”  recapturing the energy of their early hits without the accompanying silliness.  For most of the decade, the band would remain hitmakers, finally winning a Vocal Group award from the ACM in 1997, and regularly reaching the upper heights of the charts with well-picked covers and strong self-written material.

Their most recent studio album, Mission Temple Fireworks Stand, was among the most critically acclaimed of their career, and spawned their last top forty hit, “They Don’t Understand.”  The set was followed in 2008 with a Christmas collection, Rejoice.   Their touring schedule remains hectic, with the band regularly playing venues and fairs across the country every summer and fall.

Essential Singles:

  • Step That Step, 1985
  • The Walk, 1991
  • The Dirt Road, 1992
  • Some Girls Do, 1992
  • Cafe On the Corner, 1992
  • All These Years, 1992
  • Thank God For You , 1993

Essential Albums:

  • The Dirt Road, 1992
  • Cafe on the Corner, 1992
  • Outskirts of Town, 1993
  • This Thing Called Wantin’ and Havin’ it All, 1995
  • Mission Temple Fireworks Stand, 2005

Next: #88. The Oak Ridge Boys

Previous: #90. John Denver


100 Greatest Men: The Complete List

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400 Greatest Singles of the Nineties: #25-#1

And so we come to the end. The top of our list includes a wide range of artists singing a wide range of country music styles.  Thematically, these entries are diverse, but what they all have in common is what has always made for great country music. They are all perfectly-written songs delivered with sincerity by the artists who brought them to life.

400 Greatest Singles of the Nineties: #25-#1

#25
Smoke Rings in the Dark
Gary Allan
1999 | Peak: #12

Listen

A dark, atmospheric wonder, as Allan delivers the final eulogy for a love that couldn’t help burning out. – Dan Milliken

#24
Just to See You Smile
Tim McGraw
1997 | Peak: #1

Listen

Being deeply enamored of someone can make it easy – even appealing – to forfeit your own well-being. This single’s sunny tone reflects the persistent affection running through its protagonist, but its story demonstrates the heartbreak to which such unmeasured selflessness leads. – DM Continue reading

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400 Greatest Singles of the Nineties: #50-#26

The themes of love and loss have permeated country music for as long as it’s been in existence.  This second-to-last batch of great nineties hits contains songs that are direct descendants of well-known classics like “Can the Circle Be Unbroken” and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”, along with a Shania Twain hit that would  have made Roba Stanley smile.

400 Greatest Singles of the Nineties: #50-#26

#50
Here’s a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)
Travis Tritt
1991 | Peak: #2

Listen

From the first forceful guitar strum on, this kiss-off number somehow manages to seem unusually cool and collected in its own aggression. You get the impression that Tritt’s character has been anticipating this moment, and has already made up his mind that he’s going to relish every second of it. – Dan Milliken

#49
I’ve Come to Expect it From You
George Strait
1990 | Peak: #1

Listen

This is about as dark and bitter as George Strait gets. It’s a coat that he wears well. – Kevin Coyne Continue reading

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400 Greatest Singles of the Nineties: #75-#51

As might be expected, the subject matters are getting more intense as we edge closer to the top.  But there’s still room for some carefree moments here, thanks to the Dixie Chicks and Jo Dee Messina.

400 Greatest Singles of the Nineties: #75-#51


#75
When You Say Nothing at All
Alison Krauss & Union Station
1995 | Peak: #3

Listen

This Keith Whitley classic was recorded as part of a tribute album to the late country star. It became a hit all over again, perhaps because Krauss performed it in a near-whisper. The quiet arrangement matches the sentiment beautifully. – Kevin Coyne


#74
Alibis
Tracy Lawrence
1993 | Peak: #1

Listen

Lawrence dishes on his ex’s cheating ways to her new potential lover. How did she get that way? He reveals that he’s the one who taught her everything she knows from the cheater’s playbook. Moreover, he seems regretful of her corruption. – Leeann Ward

#73
Cowboy Take Me Away
Dixie Chicks
1999 | Peak: #1

Listen

In a modern world where life can so easily feel cold and mechanical, love remains earthy and exciting and mysterious. It’s a window into a different world, one where we’re not defined by the predictables of our routine – the same stresses, the same cars and buildings – but by our core nature as people, our place in the greater fabric of Earth and, perhaps, heaven. On the surface, “Cowboy Take Me Away” sounds like just a sugar-sweet love song – I’ve even heard it called “pre-feminist”  – but there’s something else going on here: a plea for life to have meaning again. – Dan Milliken Continue reading

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