No Picture

Single Review: Carrie Underwood, “Undo It”

June 5, 2010 Kevin John Coyne 53

Much like no pop star has ever been able to learn all of the right lessons from Madonna, no country star has yet to learn all of the right lessons from Shania Twain.

But darn if Carrie Underwood isn’t getting close. “Undo It” is short, sweet, and undeniably catchy. “Undo It” features both “We Will Rock You” drum riffs and twangy fiddle, as if those two things together are as natural as peanut butter and chocolate.

It even has a chorus of “Na Na Na’s” so infectious that somewhere in the world, Steam is reflexively adding, “Hey Hey, Goodbye.”

No Picture

Single Review: Trace Adkins, “This Ain’t No Love Song”

June 5, 2010 Kevin John Coyne 8

Trace Adkins has been around for a long time, perhaps even been counted out once or twice along the way. He’s had a handful of big singles that have brought back some forward momentum when his career has started to lull.

But even when he has faltered, it usually hasn’t been because of a lack of good material or good vocal performances. But therein lies the rub: his material and vocal performances are usually good, not great.

No Picture

New Review Roundup

June 3, 2010 Dan Milliken 0

Oh, recreational blogging. One day, it’s as easy as finding a Waffle House exit on a Tennessee interstate. The next day, it’s like trying to digest what you ate there. You do your best, but you never really know when real life might start beckoning you and all your other writer buddies at once, leaving behind a skinnier website than any of you intended to keep.

Which is all good and well, of course; I certainly enjoy all my inadvertent time off, and I’m sure our more tasteful readers enjoy it, too. But Country Universe has always tried to stay on top of the album and singles markets, and in that regard, we’ve got a fair bit of catching up to do.

No Picture

Single Review: Lee Brice, "Love Like Crazy"

June 3, 2010 Dan Milliken 3

I guess I like the origin of this song, which has a modern narrator marveling at how an elderly couple has actually managed to endure their whole lives together. It’s a nice little bit of social commentary.

But wouldn’t you know it, the thing quickly devolves into just another “how to live your life” chorus, like “Help Somebody”/”Don’t Blink”/”Voices”/”You’re Gonna Miss This” all over again. Seriously, when did mainstream country become all about old people rattling off sound bites at young people?

No Picture

Single Review: Dierks Bentley, “Up on the Ridge”

June 3, 2010 Dan Milliken 11

I don’t know about y’all, but Dierks Bentley has been on this swift downward trajectory for me ever since his killer trio of “Every Mile a Memory”, “Long Trip Alone” and “Free And Easy (Down the Road I Go)” back in ’06/’07. I don’t know whether his team got spooked by Long Trip Alone‘s low sales and tried to force crowd-pleasers out of him or if he just ran out of interesting ideas on his own. Either way, it’s been a bummer.

No Picture

Single Review: Lady Antebellum, “Our Kind of Love”

June 3, 2010 Tara Seetharam 15

Lady Antebellum’s key strength is delivering gritty, tangible emotion that can breathe life into the glossiest of production and the vaguest of lyrics. That’s what elevates “Need You Now” to an aching confession, and that’s how, on a song that compares innocence to a condiment, Hillary Scott’s vocal performance alone manages to tell an evocative story.

No Picture

Album Review: Court Yard Hounds, Court Yard Hounds

June 2, 2010 Kevin John Coyne 15

Court Yard Hounds
Court Yard Hounds

I suppose this puts the “Natalie Maines dragged the other two Chicks away from their roots” theory to rest.

The debut album from Court Yard Hounds, the duo comprised of sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Robison, is an adult pop affair. This isn’t disappointing in its own right, being only a few degrees less country than the excellent Chicks album that preceded it, but what’s absent is both the urgency of that album’s material and Maines’ powerhouse delivery of it.

1 2 3