Waylon Jennings

Texas Country

March 26, 2009 // 15 Comments

Stuck in my car stereo over the last couple of weeks has been a CD loaded with tunes from some of my favorite Texas-affiliated artists.  I’m a big fan of the singer-songwriter, old school and raggedy rock styles of country music, and Texas excels at all three. So any time I need a break from the current “Nashville sound,” I like to check in with Texas and see what they’re up to. Invariably, it’s more colorful and interesting. I can’ t call myself an expert on Texas country by any stretch of the imagination and my education is nowhere remotely near complete (hint: feel free to recommend), but I do sense that it’s a style of music, or perhaps a musical sensibility, that is extremely important to maintain.  Texas artists exude a certain spirit of creativity and sense of individuality that is sorely lacking elsewhere in country music.  And in Read More

Grammy Flashback: Best Male Country Vocal Performance

January 19, 2009 // 10 Comments

Updated for 2009 While the Grammys have honored country music from the very first ceremony in 1959, they did not begin honoring by gender until 1965, when the country categories were expanded along with the other genre categories. This year, the 45th trophy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance will be awarded. In a continuation of our Grammy Flashback series, here is a rundown of the Best Country Vocal Performance, Male category. It was first awarded in 1965, and included singles competing with albums until the Best Country Album category was added in 1995. When an album is nominated, it is in italics, and a single track is in quotation marks. As usual, we start with a look at this year’s nominees and work our way back. Be sure to vote in My Kind of Country’s Best Male Country Vocal Performance poll and let your preference for this year’s race be known! Read More

Country Music Treasure Hunt

January 13, 2009 // 49 Comments

One of  the awesome things about YouTube is that serves as an archive of live performances.   Today’s discussion asks you to find a great live performance from a country artist that others might not have seen. Here’s all you need to do: 1. Find the YouTube clip 2. Copy the url and paste it into the comments 3. Add a “v” right after http, so “http://www.youtube.com….”  becomes “httpv://www.youtube.com…” When you post the comment, the video will appear.   Don’t forget to add a brief comment before or after the video! I’ll kick things off with a superstar performance of “Highwayman” by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings & Kris Kristofferson.     I love the wave of applause that comes after each man starts singing, and how even in a group of superstar legends, Cash’s star power stands out.   He gets a longer ovation than any of them and quite a few people Read More

Dierks Bentley, Greatest Hits: Every Mile a Memory, 2003-2008

December 15, 2008 // 1 Comment

Dierks Bentley Greatest Hits: Every Mile a Memory, 2003-2008 Bentley’s resume’ reads likes a wish list for rising country stars.  Schooled in the classic sounds of Jones and Jennings, Bentley first burst onto radio airwaves with 2003’s “What Was I Thinkin’,” a song that flies along at breakneck speed as a frisky fellow navigates Friday night with his lady love. Since then, Bentley has flown the flag for men who sport a little sensitivity to match their macho desires.  In five years at Capitol Nashville, he’s built a commercial portfolio that rivals the top stars in country music. With three million albums sold, newcomer trophies from the CMA and ACM and induction into the Grand Ole Opry, he’s nudged his way into the upper echelon of country music. His traditionalist bent has won him veteran admirers, and the pop sheen applied to his rough-and-tumble tales is perfectly suited to the tastes Read More

Various Artists, Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic Country and Contemporary Country

December 13, 2008 // 1 Comment

Various Artists Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic Country Contemporary Country Earlier this year, the Grammys celebrated their fiftieth anniversary with a series of compilations focusing on winners in different fields.  Two of the best entries in this series focused on country music.  With five decades of winners to choose from, it’s no surprise that Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic Country and Ultimate Grammy Collection: Contemporary Country are solid collections. The Classic Country set is particularly strong, including a diverse selection of significant artists from the sixties and seventies.   Even better, most of them are represented with their signature tracks.    Roger Miller opens the set with “King of the Road”, easily his biggest hit.   Other superstars include Tammy Wynette (“Stand By Your Man”), Johnny Cash (“A Boy Named Sue”) and Waylon & Willie (“Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.”) As the collection moves on to the seventies and eighties, Read More

CMA Flashback: Male Vocalist

November 1, 2008 // 6 Comments

For a look back at the other major categories, visit our CMA Awards page. 2010 Dierks Bentley Brad Paisley Blake Shelton George Strait Keith Urban Bentley and Shelton have never won, but they’re up against Strait, who has won five times, and Paisley and Urban, who’ve won three times each.  With the balance of commercial and critical success not significantly different across the category, this race could bring the night’s biggest surprise. But whatever happens, kudos to Paisley for earning his tenth nomination, and Strait for earning his twenty-fifth! 2009 Kenny Chesney Brad Paisley Darius Rucker George Strait Keith Urban Just like in the Entertainer category, 80% of this race for the past three years had been Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, George Strait, and Keith Urban. This year, Darius Rucker took the fifth slot that was occupied by Alan Jackson in 2008 and Josh Turner in 2007.  Brad Paisley went Read More

Waylon Jennings & the .357’s, Waylon Forever

October 28, 2008 // 3 Comments

Waylon Jennings & the .357’s Waylon Forever If country music has taught us one thing over the last decade, it is to never underestimate an aging legend. With much of Nashville doing everything it can to zap tradition and creativity off the mainstream radar, recent efforts by Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Glen Campbell, Porter Wagoner, and Dolly Parton, among others, have quietly upheld the genre’s standards, in many cases producing some of the finest records of those artists’ esteemed careers. The standard approach among these sets has been to build on an artist’s proven strengths with a younger-minded producer who understands what made the artist great in the first place. It’s a very smart compromise, rejuvenating the old-fashioned while still honoring an artist’s essential identity, and given its successful track record, one might expect the posthumous Waylon Forever to follow the same path and thereby fall easily into the hallowed Read More

Waylon Jennings Giveaway – “Outlaw S***”

October 28, 2008 // 1 Comment

On behalf of Vagrant Records, Country Universe is pleased to offer a free mp3 of “Outlaw S***,” one of the more fascinating tracks on Waylon Jennings’ recent posthumous release with the .357’s, Waylon Forever. Listen to the track and share your thoughts in the comments, and read the review of the full album one post up!

Kris Kristofferson

August 30, 2008 // 3 Comments

On his tombstone, Kris Kristofferson has requested the first three lines of Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on the Wire” to be engraved: Like a bird on a wire/Like a drunk in a midnight choir/I have tried in my way to be free. The words speak to the free-spirited nature of the singer-songwriter. As a hillbilly poet, few can match his intelligence, his eloquence and his ability to capture a mood and a moment with each verse. He has created a legend as a songwriter, but also gained fame and acclaim as a singer, actor and musician. Born in Brownsville, Texas, Kristofferson’s parents were Mary Ann and Lars Henry Kristofferson, a U.S. Air Force major general. During his childhood, his father pushed his Kristofferson toward a military career, and he would join the U.S. Army (and later rise to the status of captain) in the early 1960s. Throughout his younger years, Kristofferson’s family Read More

100 Greatest Women, #80: Jessi Colter

April 14, 2008 // 3 Comments

100 Greatest Women #80 Jessi Colter The original female outlaw. Jessi Colter has been immortalized as the only female on the legendary country album Wanted: The Outlaws, where she shared billing with Willie Nelson, Tompall Glaser and hubby Waylon Jennings. But long before that – many years and a husband before that – she had established herself as a songwriting force to be reckoned with. Jessi was raised in a musical church-going family, and she got her first big break in the music industry when she met and married rock legend Duane Eddy. She spent many years trying to get her foot in the door as a singer, recording for independent labels with little success, but she thrived as a songwriter. Artists as diverse as Don Gibson and Nancy Sinatra cut her songs, and Dottie West actually charted with one of them (“No Sign of Living.”) However, it was her Read More

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