Taylor Swift

Album Review: Tim McGraw, <i>Two Lanes of Freedom</i>

February 15, 2013 // 8 Comments

Tim_McGraw_Two_Lanes_of_Freedom

Tim McGraw
Two Lanes of Freedom

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Though Tim McGraw’s music was among the best to be heard on country radio in the late nineties and early two thousands, recent years have seen his choice of material embarking on a gradual downward slide before bottoming out entirely with last year’s Curb Records swan song Emotional Traffic.  With McGraw’s recent output being what it is, and with him now being in the clutches of  Scott Borchetta, it’s hard to approach Two Lanes of Freedom with high expectations.

Grammy Pre-Telecast Winners

February 10, 2013 // 0 Comments

55th Grammy Awards

Grammy Pre-Telecast Winners

Here are the winners in country and country-related categories, including all-genre categories that include a country-related nominee:

Best Long Form Music Video: Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros & Old Crow Medicine Show, Big Easy Express

Song Written for Visual Media: T Bone Burnett, Taylor Swift, John Paul White & Joy Williams, “Safe and Sound”

Americana Album: Bonnie Raitt, Slipstream

Bluegrass Album: Steep Canyon Rangers, Nobody Knows You

Folk Album: Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile, The Goat Rodeo Sessions

Country Duo/Group Vocal Performance: Little Big Town, “Pontoon”

Country Song: Josh Kear & Chris Tompkins, “Blown Away”

 

Single Review: Lady Antebellum, "Downtown"

February 10, 2013 // 13 Comments

lady antebellum downtownCredit where credit is due:  After a run of two full albums’ worth of singles that were each exponentially more tepid than the last, Lady Antebellum realized the urgent need for a course correction. “Downtown,” the lead single for the trio’s fourth album, may not be a return to the roots-rock sound of their promising debut, but it’s a definite, deliberate shift in style from the somnolent lite-AC pap that had become their signature. Lady A needed to do something different, and “Downtown” certainly is.

CU's Top Singles of 2012

December 29, 2012 // 47 Comments

2012Something you probably already know about us here at Country Universe:  We love country music.  A lot.  While truly great country music has become scarce on country radio, we are fortunate to live in an age in which modern technology has made great music more accessible than ever, regardless of whether Top 40 radio dares touch it.

At the close of each year we separate the grain from the chaff, and share the music we discovered over the past year that made us glad that we stuck with our genre of choice.  We at Country Universe have put our heads together to create the following lists of favorite singles and albums of 2012.

2012 CMA Awards: Staff Picks & Predictions

October 28, 2012 // 38 Comments

While the rest of the country fixates on “Nashville,” the 46th annual Country Music Association Awards air live from Music City with equal drama and ridiculousness November 1 at 7 p.m. CST. The CU staff picked and predicted the awards below. Chime in with your thoughts, and check back for our live blog on Thursday night!

Entertainer of the Year 

Should Win:

  • Jason Aldean – Dan, Ben, Kevin
  • Kenny Chesney
  • Brad Paisley
  • Blake Shelton
  • Taylor Swift – Jonathan, Tara, Leeann

Will Win:

  • Jason Aldean – Dan, Ben, Jonathan, Kevin
  • Kenny Chesney
  • Brad Paisley
  • Blake Shelton
  • Taylor Swift – Tara, Leeann

Single Review: Madonna, "Love Spent"

October 14, 2012 // 14 Comments

Thirty years ago, Madonna released her first single. In the years that followed, she dominated radio formats across the dial, but never released a single targeting the country market. Until now.

The Day the Music (Chart) Died

October 11, 2012 // 129 Comments

So, Billboard decided to completely change its chart methodology today:

Billboard unveils new methodology today for the long-standing Hot Country Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Latin Songs charts. Each receive a major consumer-influenced face-lift, as digital download sales (tracked by Nielsen SoundScan) and streaming data (tracked by Nielsen BDS from such services as Spotify, Muve, Slacker, Rhapsody, Rdio and Xbox Music, among others) will now be factored into the 50-position rankings, along with existing radio airplay data monitored by Nielsen BDS. The makeovers will enable these charts to match the methodology applied to Billboard’s signature all-genre songs ranking, the Billboard Hot 100.

On the surface, this seems like a good idea. After all, the country singles chart included both sales and airplay data for decades, until switching to airplay-only in 1989. Declining availability of retail singles made this change necessary.

Single Review: Taylor Swift, "Begin Again"

September 28, 2012 // 24 Comments

The title of Taylor Swift’s new single is oddly appropriate, as her label hits the reset button at country radio.

“We are Never Ever Getting Back Together” was apparently too pop for her genre home base, though it will certainly continue to dominate top forty for a good long while. Country radio is now getting its own single, and it’s quite the genre exercise.

2012 CMA Nominations

September 5, 2012 // 60 Comments

The list of nominees for the 46th annual Country Music Association Awards has been released. Eric Church had a big breakthrough this past year, and such is reflected in the nominee list – Church leads the pack with five nominations. Current favorite power couple Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert follow with four each, including a shared Song of the Year nod for their co-write “Over You.”

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