Country Universe Turns 10

Cu10Ten years ago, in the dog days of Summer 2004, blogging was catching on in the political world.  I thought it would be cool to do a country music and politics blog.  I think it had the tagline of “Where Music Row meets Pennsylvania Avenue.”

Anyway, the politics was dropped pretty quickly, as writing about country music was more than enough ground to cover!  Country Universe slowly built an audience, becoming a place for refugee fans from the nineties boom, to debate the latest singles and albums, and at our best, to write about the present in a way that is informed by the past.

For me, Country Universe really became Country Universe when Leeann Ward joined the writing staff.   Her combination of empathy and diplomacy, coupled with deep knowledge and respect of music, helped set a tone for us that made this a place where everybody felt comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas.

Writers have come and gone since then, most of them recruited from the comment threads and blogs that we exchanged ideas and links with.  There are a lot of great country blogs now, so being one of the first and only isn’t enough to keep us relevant.  Thank goodness that Leeann and I have the extraordinary talents of Dan Milliken, Tara Seetharam, Ben Foster, Jonathan Keefe, and Sam Gazdziak alongside us.  I think that they’re as good as it gets!   As we’ve all gotten busier in our professional lives beyond CU, it remains a place where we can always come back to, a special community for conversation about a genre we all fell in love with so many years ago.

The staff has been reflecting on the best way to acknowledge ten years.  We’ve decided that a year-long retrospective is the way to go!  With that in mind, I’m happy to launch CU10.

For the next twelve months, we’ll be spotlighting some of our favorite writing from the past ten years, with new introductions and revisions when necessary.   We’ll be completing the ongoing projects of 100 Greatest Men and Retro Single Reviews, and we’ll be bringing back some old features with new entries, like Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists and Classic Country Singles.

We’re also going to be introducing some new features, starting with the Song Talk, which has already received two entries this month.  We’d also like to know what it is that you want to see or see again, so let us know in the comments!



  1. Happy anniversary, Country Universe! You’d already been at it a while by the time I started reading, but it’s still amazing to think that the site’s been around for a full decade now. Excited for the retrospective stuff and everything else that lies ahead.

  2. You’d already been at it a while by the time I started reading

    Same here. But I do remember when Kevin J. Coyne had it in his signature in the old rec. newsgroup, back when it was still hosted on Blogger. :D Man, those were the days. I’ll admit I didn’t agree with a lot of the political commentary and that’s why I stayed away in the early years, but the music blogging is and always has been top-notch. Happy 10th, y’all.

  3. Congratulations on 10. Hope you can keep it going for at least another ten or 20 years. I found CU while googling “The Dreaming Fields” in August of ’09.

    I like the new “Song Talk” feature.

  4. Wow! I don’t actually remember when I started following Country Universe, but I think I’ve been along for most of the ride. Has it really been 10 years?! I think this site was the first blog that I really started following, and it set the stage for me to continue following many more blogs as time went by. So thank you Country Universe, and especially Kevin, for inspiring a passion for music blogs in me! It has been a great 10 years!

  5. Also, my favourite features is, and always has been, the new single reviews. It’s always interesting to read the different discussions and opinions about songs. Also, award show predictions and live blogs are fun too.

  6. …congrats to the good folks of cu. apart from staying relevant, endurance is the other important pillar of any blog. it seems to me, you’re still mastering both in style. cheers, to the next 10 years! still enjoying your work greatly.

  7. Congratulations

    I came here from a posting on the 9513, and don’t remember the days where politics was part of the equation

    I have always enjoyed CU and while I do not have much interest in single reviews (I’m an album guy), I have always enjoyed the give and take of CU and hope it continues for many more years

  8. Congrats on ten years everyone! Keeping a blog going this long, with the same level of passion now as in the early days, is quite the achievement. I look forward to CU10 retrospectives and what the next years have in store.

    Country Universe is far and away my favorite country blog. No other writer gets me thinking like Kevin and few are as creatively brilliant as Dan. I owe CU for saving my musical sanity, too, as I finally found a place where people are as passionate about country music as I and desire to discuss and debate it as much as I do. People still care and that’s a beautiful thing to see.

    The countdown posts are my favorites. The succinct commentary has been an invaluable education for me in learning how to listen to the songs and decipher quality. Before CU I never looked at production or the way an artist phrases their vocal as individual characters within a song. I was a passive listener, who took the quality of 90s country for granted, before CU and The 9513. Now I’m an active participant in the country music I listen to and choose to purchase – and it’s kind of a joy to listen to Prime and Y2K Country on Sirius and hear things in songs I’d never heard before.

    I have you to thank for deepening a passion I’ve had since I was 9 back in 1996. Who would’ve guessed that was even possible.

  9. I first heard about Country Universe back in June 2008; and one of the things I have constantly noticed, and been thankful for, is that all the good folks here have a deep-seated appreciation for the genre’s entire history and its many sub-genres. Contrary to what country radio today may imply, this genre didn’t start with Garth Brooks by any means, and I hope it isn’t going to end with the repetitious and borderline misogyny of “bro-country.”

    Thanks to Country Universe for doing their part in helping keep the history of country music alive on the Net.

  10. I echo the sentiments of Jonathan, CU is far and away my favorite country music blog, and is the main inspiration behind me starting my own blog. Every review is a good combo of wit and intelligence.

  11. Congratulations! 10 years is an accomplishment!

    I’ve been reading this blog daily since about 2008 or so and I have enjoyed it so much over the years. Though I’ve been reading this blog for years I just started commenting less than a year ago. I can remember back to when the color scheme was green and white. My favorite feature on this blog has always been the single reviews because they often bring up interesting points and spark some great discussion in the comments.

    I want to thank everybody at CU for doing such a great job. You don’t know how much I appreciate what you do!

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