Tag Archives: Shane McAnally

Single Review: Keith Urban, “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16″

Keith Urban John Cougar John Deere John 3 16

“John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16″
Keith Urban

Written by Ross Copperman, Shane McAnally, and Josh Osborne

A Keith Urban record has a natural floor.  Things can only go south so much.

He’s got a great voice, he’s an incredible guitar player, and he’s got enough presence on record that it doesn’t really matter what’s going on around him.  He never loses control of the proceedings.

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Single Review: Jake Owen, “Real Life”

Jake Owen Real Life

“Real Life”
Jake Owen

Written by Ross Copperman, Ashley Gorley, Shane McAnally, and Josh Osborne

Everclear is one of the few pop bands that I liked in the late 90s/early 2000s. While a lot of their music sounded similar, their grooves were addictive and their tunes were memorable (“A.M. Radio”, Anyone?).

As a result of enjoying Everclear, I’ll admit that I actually guiltily enjoy Jake Owen’s “Real Life.”

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2015 ACM Awards: Country Universe Viewer’s Guide

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!

Garth Brooks 3Entertainer 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 win for Brooks, whose comeback tour certainly warrants recognition. Those are about the only two possible victories I could swallow.

SG: This is fan-voted, so it really comes down to who can most mobilize their fan base. I give Miranda the nod, simply because she and her husband can both rally the troops. As to who deserves it, it’s hard to deny the impact that Luke Bryan has had on country music, love him or loathe him. He also seems like a fair entertainer, whether it’s shimmying around the stage or falling off them.

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Single Review: Kacey Musgraves, “Biscuits”

Kacey Musgraves Biscuits

“Biscuits”
Kacey Musgraves

Written by Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, and Kacey Musgraves

If you’re already a fan of Kacey Musgraves, you’ve heard most of this before.

“Biscuits” combines elements of “Follow Your Arrow” and “The Trailer Song”, advocating being yourself and minding your own business.   Even the arrangement is a souped-up take on “Arrow”, with more of a beat and quite a few more instrumental flourishes.

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Single Review: Frankie Ballard, “Young & Crazy”

frankie ballard young & crazy

“Young & Crazy”
Frankie Ballard

Written by Rhett Akins, Ashley Gorley, and Shane McAnally

“Young & Crazy” is like a used car that’s been refurbished by a crack team of mechanics.   From a distance, it can look brand new, but get a little closer, and you can see it’s been constructed with spare parts.

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Single Review: Dierks Bentley, “Say You Do”

Dierks Bentley Say You Do

“Say You Do”
Dierks Bentley

Written by Shane McAnally, Matt Ramsey, and Trevor Rosen

Dierks Bentley’s at the top of his game right now. “Say You Do” demonstrates why.

It’s subtle, it’s smart, and it’s self-aware. It’s the type of record that only works with some real life experience to back it up.

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Single Review: Chase Rice, “Gonna Wanna Tonight”

Chase Rice Gonna Wanna Tonight

“Gonna Wanna Tonight”
Chase Rice

Written by Shane McAnally, Jon Nite, and Jimmy Robbins

Here’s what I don’t understand.

Let’s put all of the clichés to the side for a minute.   Going out, drinking, fishing dock, pretty red lips, yada yada yada.  They’re all here, as uninteresting as ever.

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Single Review: Kenny Chesney with Grace Potter, “Wild Child”

Kenny Chesney with Grace Potter Wild Child

“Wild Child”
Kenny Chesney with Grace Potter

Written by Kenny Chesney, Shane McAnally, and Josh Osborne

No, it isn’t as strong as “You and Tequila.” Let’s get that out of the way right now, because expecting that lightning to strike twice will make it easy to miss the subtle beauty of “Wild Child”, Chesney’s new collaboration with Grace Potter.

Potter’s harmonies provide the perfect lift to Chesney’s understated and grounded vocal performance, allowing for the two singers to mirror the two characters of the song: a free-spirited woman who follows the wind and the man who is along for the ride.

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Single Review: Sam Hunt, “Take Your Time”

Sam Hunt Take Your Time

“Take Your Time”
Sam Hunt

Written by Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally, and Josh Osborne

“Take Your Time” is interesting for its combination of rapidly delivered spoken word and warmly sung melody, and for its tentative attempts to acknowledge a woman’s own agency.

The structure borrows heavily from contemporary urban music, and will sound familiar to anyone who has listened to a fair amount of Drake. But Hunt keeps the proceedings grounded enough in country that it doesn’t sound nearly as reductive as it could’ve been.

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2015 Grammy Awards: Predictions & Personal Picks

57th Grammy AwardsThis 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 as I am about any of the country performers, and I’ll be rooting for West and Childish Gambino to sweep the Rap and Hip-Hop categories.

Who do you think will be the big winners on Sunday night, and who are you hoping will win and looking forward to seeing perform?  As always, share your thoughts in the comments!

Meghan Trainor All About That BassRecord of the Year

Will Win:

  • Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX, “Fancy”
  • Sia, “Chandelier”
  • Sam Smith, “Stay With Me” (Darkchild Version) – Kevin, Leeann, Jonathan, Ben
  • Taylor Swift, “Shake it Off”
  • Meghan Trainor, “All About That Bass”

Should Win:

  • Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX, “Fancy”
  • Sia, “Chandelier” – Jonathan
  • Sam Smith, “Stay With Me” (Darkchild Version)
  • Taylor Swift, “Shake it Off”
  • Meghan Trainor, “All About That Bass” – Kevin, Leeann

Kevin: In a decent year for pop music, any one of these records could credibly represent the year.  I think Sam Smith is Grammy catnip, so I expect him to win big.  I think “All About That Bass” was the most creative and interesting record of the five.

Leeann: I’m a fan of the Sam Smith song, but I agree with Kevin that “All About That Bass” is the most creative and interesting, not to mention the catchiest.

Jonathan: I actually thought it was a weak year for mainstream pop, as reflected by this fairly poor slate of nominees. Smith is right in that Adele / Norah Jones adult-pop wheelhouse that Grammy voters love, so he’s the most likely winner.  Sia’s “Chandelier” is the most progressive take on pop music among the five, though, if “Shake it Off” were to win anything, this would probably be the least egregious place to recognize Swift’s hit. I would have gladly rooted for the mash-up between Iggy Azalea’s and Reba’s respective takes on “Fancy.”

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