As if narrowing down your five favorite albums or your five favorite songs isn’t difficult enough, lets make things even more difficult by trying to narrow down our favorite song from our favorite albums. Don’t worry, however, if you can’t choose five. Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson, “One More Year” (Rattlin’ Bones) Shovels and Rope, “Birmingham” (Oh Be Joyful) Dixie Chicks, “Long Time Gone” (Home) Johnny Cash, “Cocaine Blues” (Folsom Prison Blues) Old Crow Medicine Show, “Wagon Wheel” (O.C.M.S.)
As reflected by the title of our web site, our choices for Top 40 Albums of 2012 span the farthest reaches of the country music universe. In previous years, the Country Universe staff has counted down twenty albums and forty singles, but this year our album picks included such a wide variety that we were able to stretch our Top Albums countdown to a full forty slots. What did we miss? That’s where you, our readers, come in. Please join in the discussion, and share which albums you had in heavy rotation over the past year.
The Garden of Love – Songs of William Blake
Martha Redbone Roots Project
Inspired by a recent trend on Facebook, the staff of Country Universe is launching our tweaked version of The 30 Day Song Challenge.
Every day, the staff will share our picks in a different category. We hope that all of our readers will do the same in the comments!
We’re not limiting ourselves to the country genre. All of us are primarily country fans, but our tastes run wider and deeper than that.
The category for Day 1 is…
Countless albums were released in 2010, in mainstream country music, Americana, bluegrass, and all the other loosely associated sub-genres that make up the country universe. Of those albums, our writers particularly enjoyed the following twenty. All four writers submitted top ten lists for th year, and amazingly enough, there were exactly twenty different albums among them. So if you’re wondering if your favorite album just missed the list…it didn’t. But we’d love to hear why we were wrong in the comments.
Enjoy part one now, and look for the top ten on Friday.
Tomorrow’s hits today, should the current crop of hitmakers want something as good on the radio as “Long Time Gone” or “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive”, or just want to have an album cut for the ages like “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive.” Scott’s a singer’s songwriter, delivering his songs with enough personality to elevate them above demos but leaving enough room for improvisation, so that any singer can put their own spin on it.
The 201 Greatest Singles of the Decade, Part 9: #40-#21
“This Is Me You’re Talking To”
Flawless. Proof positive that the nineties formula at its best is better than anything on naughties radio. Perhaps they can’t play it too much for that reason. It’s not good for business to park a new Lexus in a used car lot of Ford Pintos. – Kevin Coyne
“Famous in a Small Town”
This is one of those slice-of-life songs that anyone from a small town can easily relate to. What sets it above the pack of songs of that ilk is the witty nugget of truth that “everybody dies famous in a small town.” The Springsteen-esque vibe of the production is pretty cool, too. – Leeann Ward
The 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade, Conclusion
As we come to the end of our list, the top ten selections are a lot like the ninety before them, with perhaps a bit more of a roots leaning overall. If you didn’t see your favorite on the list, or just want to discover more great music that you might have missed, be sure to check out the list at The 9513, if you somehow haven’t done so already. Even better, start a blog and write your own list. It feels like a lot of barriers fell within country music this decade, and I think one of the best walls to come down was the one between music journalism and the listening audience. I hope in the next decade, a lot more readers become writers, so we can all keep reveling in the music we love and helping others discover it.
Sappy introduction aside, here’s our top ten of the decade:
Patty Loveless, Mountain Soul
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and few albums have inspired more imitation than Patty Loveless’ Mountain Soul. Bluegrass music full of roots influences, Mountain Soul, with its traditional sound, has become a surrogate definition of authenticity for mainstream artists returning to their musical beginnings. Standout songs include “Cheap Whiskey,” a classically dark drinking song; the energetic “The Boys are Back in Town,” with its WWII imagery; and “Soul of Constant Sorrow,” based on the traditional work popularized by the Stanley Brothers. – William Ward
Recommended Tracks: “The Boys are Back in Town”, “Cheap Whiskey”, “Soul of Constant Sorrow”, “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive”
The nominations for the 8th Annual Americana Music Association Awards have been announced:
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Real Animal, by ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO
Written in Chalk, by BUDDY & JULIE MILLER
Jason Isbell & The 40 Unit, by JASON ISBELL & THE 40 UNIT
Midnight At The Movies, by JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE
ARTIST OF THE YEAR
JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE
INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR
NEW & EMERGING ARTIST
BAND OF HEATHENS
JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE
Country music is famous for its three chords and the truth strategy or at least for the tagline. The straightforward and simple lyrics that cut into our souls are what ultimately draw us to this genre. Country music, however, is also rife with songs that contain metaphors. Many times, the metaphors are easy to comprehend, but there are times when they seem almost out of reach. They are the songs that can be interpreted in different ways, which are often the most fun. Fore me, one such song is Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson’s “Monkey on A Wire.” In my mind, at least, it’s somewhat of a challenge to pinpoint the exact symbolism of the monkey on a wire. In my review of their album, I give it a respectable try, but I’m still not convinced of my interpretation. My guess was: “The unshakably catchy “Monkey On A Wire” explores Read More
Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson cleaned up at the 37th CMAA Country Music Awards of Australia this past week. The couple acquired five Golden Guitar trophies, winning Album of the Year (Rattlin’ Bones), APRA Song of the Year, Video Clip of the Year, Single of the Year (“Rattlin’ Bones”) and Top Selling Album of the Year. Other winners include Melinda Schneider & Paul Kelly for Vocal Collaboration of the Year (“Still Here”), the sisterly trio The McClymonts for Group or Duo of the Year, Adam Brand for Male Vocalist of the Year and Catherine Britt for Female Vocalist of the Year. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpVcOodfGKE Video of the Year, “Rattlin’ Bones” See below for a full list of the winners:
Carrie Underwood is the top winner of the inaugural Country Universe Reader’s Choice Awards, earning first place in all four of the races in which she was eligible. In addition to being named Artist of the Year and Female Vocalist, her #1 hit “Just a Dream” won for Single and Music Video. Also popular with readers this past year were: – Sugarland, who won Vocal Duo/Group by the widest margin of any of the winners, and placed second for Artist and Album. Additionally, lead singer Jennifer Nettles placed second for Songwriter. – Jamey Johnson, who won for Songwriter, and placed second in the Male Vocalist race. His hit “In Color” came in third in both the Single and Music Video races, and he also placed third in the Artist race. – Brad Paisley, who won easily for Male Vocalist and came in second for Music Video with “Waitin’ on a Read More