Shane Nicholson

Discussion: Desert Island

January 14, 2009 // 35 Comments

It’s always fun to learn a bit more about the tastes of our fellow country music fans from time to time. So, I’m asking you to enter my imaginary world for a little while. Pretend that you’re trapped on a desert island and can have one of each item listed in the categories below. Of course, my imaginary existence somehow allows for you to, somehow, manage to have electricity, a stereo and a DVD player. MUSIC Complete works of one Country Music Artist/Band: Vince Gill One Album by another Country Music Artist/Band: Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson, Rattlin’ Bones One Bluegrass Album: Patty Loveless, Mountain Soul One “big tent” country album: Old Crow Medicine Show, OCMS One Album by a Non-Country Artist: Nirvana, Nirvana Unplugged One Country Music Artist Box Set (that does not include all the works of that artist): Hank Williams, Unreleased Recordings LITERATURE Complete Works of one Read More

Kevin J. Coyne’s Top Ten Albums of 2008

December 28, 2008 // 19 Comments

This is my fifth such list in as many years, and I have to say that I was mostly underwhelmed by the albums of 2008.  If it wasn’t for the contributions of the other writers, who made me aware of some fine albums I might have otherwise missed, it would’ve been difficult to compile a list at all.  That being said, there were at least ten albums from 2008 that I will be listening to in 2009 and beyond. #10 Jim Lauderdale & The Dream Players, Honey Songs No matter how much honey you put in the mix, the ragged words and vocals of Jim Lauderdale will cut through.  The glorious contrast between Lauderdale and his sonic surroundings make for a fascinating listen. #9 Joey + Rory, The Life of a Song It’s rare for any act to make a debut album without compromise, let alone one that hails from Read More

Leeann Ward’s Top Ten Albums of 2008

December 27, 2008 // 7 Comments

#10 The SteelDrivers, The SteelDrivers Chris Stapleton’s voice just blows me away. As Lee Ann Womack has recently observed, he sings like a real man. He takes Travis Tritt’s soulfulness to a whole new level. With incredible harmonies and terrific songs not limited to “Blue Side of the Mountain” and “Drinkin’ Dark Whiskey”, this is a strong project that certainly stood out in 2008. #9 Jason Boland & The Stragglers, Comal County Blue I love Boland’s folk-tinged country voice, which sings these memorable fiddle laden melodies to great affect. While the lyrics can be abstract at times, they still manage to feel meaningful. I’ve come to realize that what ultimately appeals to me about this album is the fact that it reminds me of good nineties country music, which is the era that drew me to this genre in the first place. #8 Darrell Scott, Modern Hymns My admiration for Read More

Dan Milliken’s Top 10 Albums of 2008

December 25, 2008 // 2 Comments

Happy holidays, everybody! I’m back with my personal top ten albums of the year, a list that took a stupid-long time to put together but is very nice to have done. All I would say as a note is that I like all of these albums very much and don’t think the rankings should be scrutinized to death, because my tastes certainly change frequently enough. Okay, you get it. Let’s do this. Va-VOOM! #10 Dailey and Vincent, Dailey and Vincent I typically lean progressive in my bluegrass tastes, but there’s simply no arguing with this dynamic twosome, whose debut finds them ripping into a straight-ahead traditional style with such crazy-polished singing, playing and writing that they practically become the new standard. Excellent. #9 Kathy Mattea, Coal Confession: I wasn’t quite sure how to take this one. Although I like Kathy Mattea’s voice and generally love concept albums, I had trouble Read More

Blake Boldt’s Year-End Lists

December 25, 2008 // 5 Comments

Happy holidays! Singles: 1.  “In Color,” Jamey Johnson 2.  “Waitin’ on a Woman,” Brad Paisley 3.  “This Is Me You’re Talking To,” Trisha Yearwood 4.  “She Left Me for Jesus,” Hayes Carll 5.  “What I Cannot Change,” Leann Rimes 6.  “Last Call,” Lee Ann Womack 7.  “Anything Goes,” Randy Houser 8.  “Dig Two Graves,” Randy Travis 9.  “Please Read the Letter,” Alison Krauss & Robert Plant 10.  “Fine Line,” Little Big Town 11.  “Mockingbird,” Allison Moorer 12.  “Crazy Arms,” Patty Loveless 13.  “This Town Needs a Bar,” Jeremy McComb 14.   “Just Got Started Loving You,” James Otto 15.  “Takin’ off This Pain,” Ashton Shepherd 16.  “Gold,” Emmylou Harris 17.  “Every Other Weekend,” Reba McEntire & Skip Ewing 18.  “You Look Good In My Shirt,” Keith Urban 19.  “More Like Her,” Miranda Lambert 20.  “Love Don’t Live Here,” Lady Antebellum

Top Ten Albums of 2008

December 22, 2008 // 24 Comments

In a year where excellent mainstream country albums were few and far between, there were still many wonderful projects waiting to be discovered by listeners willing to look for them.    Among all releases, mainstream and alternative, traditional and contemporary, folk and Americana, the Country Universe staff deems these ten the best. #10 Jim Lauderdale & The Dream Players, Honey Songs Amazon.com Widgets You could forgive Jim Lauderdale if he showed signs of wear on Honey Songs, his fourth release in a span of 18 months. Instead, he’s produced yet another fresh package, this time by cherry-picking the best parts of rock ‘n’ roll’s roots and throwing ’em into his ever-sharp traditional songwriting blender. His tunes have never been more perfectly framed, either, which you can attribute to the aptly-named “Dream Players,” a droolworthy backing line-up consisting of guitarist James Burton and drummer Ron Tutt (both Elvis Presley vets), pianist Glen Read More

Lynn’s Favorite Songs of 2008

December 22, 2008 // 10 Comments

Country Universe has presented you with its top 40 singles of 2008, but as you know, singles rarely scratch the surface of a great album. Over the course of the past year, while listening to various albums, I made note of songs that stuck out for one reason or another. Although this isn’t a comprehensive list by any means, here are some of my favorite songs of 2008: #1 “She Left Me For Jesus” (Hayes Carll, Trouble in Mind) Honestly, when is the last time you heard a song this slyly clever? This laugh-out-loud engaging? But not just anyone could pull off this song. Carll’s slow laughing drawl is absolutely perfect and he nails every punch line. He not only gets the joke, he assumes you do as well. Carll readily acknowledges that this song isn’t for everyone, but in my book, it’s an instant classic. #2 “Red River Shore” Read More

Discussion: Five-Star Albums

November 20, 2008 // 35 Comments

Let’s face it, 2008 has not been a particularly strong year for country music albums. Sales are down both due to the struggling economy and as a result of big name artists not exactly releasing their most quality work. These factors, of course, are only part of what’s to blame for the decline, but is all that needs to be covered for the purpose of this discussion. While in all reality there have been a number of very good albums in the past year, I am pained to realize that I have only been able to give one album the coveted five-star rating treatment. It’s true that I have not listened to every album that has been released in 2008, but I’ve certainly listened to enough albums that I think I should have been able to come up with at least one more album worthy of five stars this year. Read More

Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson , Rattlin‘ Bones

September 18, 2008 // 15 Comments

Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson Rattlin‘ Bones Kasey Chambers and her husband, Shane Nicholson have come together to create magic on their first joint effort, Rattlin’ Bones. While this album is new to those of us in the United States, it has already won awards and spent time at the top of the album charts in their native country of Australia. Regrettably, it is not likely to receive the same attention here, but not because it’s in any way undeserving. The couple either wrote separately or collaborated together on each song for this album that was recorded in the space of eight days with all of the musicians recording in the same room. The final result is a crisp blend of acoustic and traditional flavored songs that sound so much like retro classics that one might easily be fooled into believing that they were covers rather than Chambers’ and Nicholson’s Read More

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