The theme for this week’s Sunday Selections post is, “What year do you think it is?” One of the week’s few new releases has garish cover art that looks like something from the late 90s, while a host of writers made outdated and inexplicable references to “bro country” as a primary talking point in country music in 2015, which is simply wrong on merit. In the week’s more successful throwback efforts, Ashley Monroe, Chris Stapleton, Kacey Musgraves, and Tami Neilson all shared some old school cover tunes, and Netflix doubled-down on nostalgia with a promo video for an upcoming original series. Onward!
This week’s round-up is a bit light on Chris Stapleton news… if only because we already have a post about the Grammy nominations, where he scored a total of 4 nods, including the all-genre Album Of The Year award. But there are some terrific reissues out this week– Johnny Cash! Dolly Parton! Connie Smith!!!– some pop crossover bids to dissect, an honor for a genre legend, and country music’s second-most impressive beard. Onward!
Country music is well represented in the major categories – numerically, at least – and the overall nominee list proves once again that NARAS voters have the widest, most diverse, and yes, best taste of all industry award voters.
Here are this year’s nominees in the big four and all country and country-related categories. It’s worth noting that because Miranda Lambert won Best Country Album last year for Platinum, nothing from that set was eligible in any of the Country categories.
The pop music world is still buzzing over last week’s release of 1989: Not Taylor Swift’s pop-cultural juggernaut, but alt-country singer-songwriter Ryan Adams’ cover album of 1989 “in the style of The Smiths.” A quick review of the iTunes comments on Adams’ version of 1989 reveals that a not insubstantial portion of Swift’s fanbase hasn’t gotten a handle on his angle or his appeal, while the mainstream music press is agog over Adams’ guile and audacity.
The combined efforts of nine women and three men form the upper echelon of our Best Albums list from 1993. This embarrassment of riches showcases just how much great music there was to choose from that year, especially given how many of the genre’s biggest and most acclaimed stars – Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Pam Tillis, just to name a few – were between albums that year. It was also a strong and diverse enough year that despite some overall consensus among the lists of all of the writers, each one of us has a different album at #1 on our personal lists. Enjoy the second half of our list, and look for the Singles list to kick off next weekend. #10 Uncle Tupelo Anodyne #1 – JK | #3 – SG In jumping to a major label, Uncle Tupelo was supposed to give Read More
UPDATE: Check out the impeccably researched work of Deb B, also known as Windmills, over at MJ’s Big Blog: Country Radio & The Anti-Female Female Myth: A Data-Based Look ORIGINAL POST: Via Terri Clark’s Twitter, this gem from radio consultant Keith Hill: This One’s Not For The Girls: Finally, Hill cautions against playing too many females. And playing them back to back, he says, is a no-no. “If you want to make ratings in Country radio, take females out,” he asserts. “The reason is mainstream Country radio generates more quarter hours from female listeners at the rate of 70 to 75%, and women like male artists. I’m basing that not only on music tests from over the years, but more than 300 client radio stations. The expectation is we’re principally a male format with a smaller female component. I’ve got about 40 music databases in front of me and the Read More
If we’re honest with ourselves, we don’t like every single music choice that even our very favorite artists make, which is what inspired us to share our least favorite albums from our favorite artists. In that same spirit, there are also times when we catch ourselves enjoying a stray song or two from artists by whom we’re typically not impressed. So, what are five songs that you like from artists that you normally don’t enjoy? Here are mine. I should note that I actually enjoy more than one song from most of these artists, but will only list one for the purpose of this exercise. Jason Aldean, “Two Night Town” Rascal Flatts, “What Hurts the Most” Taylor Swift (feat. The Civil Wars), “Safe and Sound” Scotty McCreery, ” Carolina Moon” Thomas Rhett, “Beer with Jesus”
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! Entertainer 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 Read More
“Love Me Like You Mean It” Kelsea Ballerini Written by Kelsea Ballerini, Lance Carpenter, Josh Kerr, and Forest Glen Whitehead This sounds like a demo recording for a Taylor Swift album that will never be recorded. Credit to Kelsea Ballerini for co-writing her single and for not getting vocally lost in the shuffle of a fairly busy production. I suppose there’s some promise underneath all of the proceedings here, and there’s nothing inherently awful about any of it. But it takes a special kind of narcissistic charm to pull off a laundry list of requests for a potential beau, and she has neither the outsize personality or outsize list of demands to pull this off. It would’ve worked better if she’d gone the vulnerable angle instead of the “I mean business” one, which she simply doesn’t have the assertiveness to convincingly convey. It’s so milquetoast that it’s more like “Take Read More