Country Universe Turns Eight: Leeann's Favorites

In 2007, a little over five years ago, I discovered Country Universe. At that point in my relationship with  mainstream country music, I had been a diehard fan for over ten years, but was  realizing that I was starting to feel less content with Top 40 country radio.

In my effort to expand beyond the radio, but still stay connected to country music, I  eagerly discovered the world of music blogs. As it happened, the very first country music blog that captured my attention beyond a cursory look was Country Universe. At the time, Kevin was the sole writer and he had been running the blog for three years prior to my discovery of it.

As I remember it, the first article that I happened upon was Kevin’s A Conversation with Pam Tillis. I was inordinately impressed by their easy exchange and Kevin’s obvious  respect  for and knowledge of his interviewee. As the title suggests, however, it was much more than just an interview, but rather, a warm, in-depth conversation.

To make a sort of long story short, my respect for Kevin’s blog only increased as I combed through the Country Universe archives while  also keeping up with the updated content. As I followed along, what struck me the most was that while  it was clear that Kevin had no interest in sensationalizing, he felt a responsibility to  sometimes tackle difficult and even controversial topics regarding  the landscape of country music.

One such article,  Say What? — John Rich, specifically caught my attention, as it discussed a weighty topic with a perspective  that was not especially popular among the predominantly conservative country music fans at the time. For me, it was  intriguing and refreshing to read such an intelligent, unexpected perspective.

So, imagine my  fright and delight when Kevin invited me to join him here in early 2008. My first big article was the very first installment of the Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists feature that kicked off with my favorite artist, Vince Gill. The article of mine that I think of  with the most fondness, however, is my interview with Joey+Rory, which was only thanks to their warmth and openness.

Since my time with Country Universe, we’ve had some writers come and go, but I am very proud of the writers that we have now. The absolute best part of being a part of Country Universe is that I am a fan. I am fortunate to genuinely enjoy the writing of Kevin, Dan, Tara, Ben, Jonathan and Sam. Even more importantly,  I am a fan of their voices, both as writers and behind the scenes of Country Universe. What’s more, even if my name wasn’t on the list of writers, I would be a devoted reader of the site.

And, finally, it cannot be stressed enough that the richest part of Country Universe as a whole is the thoughtful and passionate comments of you, our readers. Without all of you, this experience would  surely be much less fun and engaging. So, thank you for being a part of

it all. Long live Country Universe.

Country Universe Turns Eight:






  1. Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists was by far the coolest idea you ever head, Leeann. There are few other features that I get so excited over. Whenever I finish one, my mind immmediately begins planning the next one.

    Enjoyed hearing your story. You sure have been with the site a long time! Country Universe has indeed been very blessed to have you.

  2. …, well, leeann, you’re to country universe what a proper ghost is to an old english manor house, maple syrup to pancakes, blueberries to a decent muffin, alan to charlie and most of all: the person, who let me to believe that christmas season starts right after labour day.

  3. Funnily enough the first post I ever read here was the Pam Tillis interview. In fact up until that point I didn’t have a clue who Pam was, now she’s up to 1078 plays in my iTunes. I have all her albums and continue to relisten to them all thanks to that post. I think we discovered this site around the same time. Now quite a few years later you’re arguably the second most important element of this site, it really wouldn’t be Country Universe without you Leeann. I’m always looking forward to reading your thoughts on anything and I’m glad you’re still here. :D

  4. Thank you very much, guys. I truly appreciate it.

    Tom, if I’ve taught anyone anything, a heightened appreciation for Christmas is at the top of my list of importance.:)

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