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Country Music


Third Time’s a Charm for Darius Rucker with “True Believers”

Capitol Nashville (2013)

I need to start with a confession: I’ve been skeptical of Darius Rucker since he ventured into country music. I was one of those people who just didn’t get Hootie & the Blowfish (and didn’t understand that band’s success), and Rucker’s first two country albums left me with that same sense of vague blandness. But apparently, the third time’s a charm. True Believers, Rucker’s latest release, is a well-produced collection […]


George Strait Nears Eddy Arnold’s Record With 86th Top-10

It’s sort of a big week for reigning “King of Country” George Strait. Not just because he turns 61 this week. And not just because he released his 40th studio album, Love Is Everything, this week. (The record is really good; it’s classic George Strait; it’s old-school country; you should buy it; blah blah blah.) No, it’s also a big week for Strait because of his continuing chart success. This […]


Lady Antebellum Lightens Up (A Little) On “Golden”–Album Review

Capitol Nashville (2013)

Country power-trio Lady Antebellum have undoubtedly carved out a niche for themselves with their dark-but-beautiful style of country, as evidenced by their breakout crossover hit “Need You Now.” In their last album Own the Night, they fully embraced this style, and the image that comes along with it. With their latest offering, Golden, Lady A are apparently trying to lighten the mood a little bit, adding a few more upbeat […]

Pistol Annies

Pistol Annies “Annie Up” (Album Review)

Sony Music Entertainment (2013)

When you think about it, it would be difficult to lose with a combination like Pistol Annies. Three beautiful country girls loaded with sass and attitude, and voices to match—including the better half of country’s reigning power couple, Miranda Lambert—singing songs that are equal parts naughty and nice. It’s a recipe for success all around, at least in the country market. After the backdoor success of their debut Hell On […]


Country Stars and Fans Say Goodbye to George Jones

One of the ways you can tell how many lives a person touches is by the people who show up for the funeral. If there were ever any doubt as to the influence George Jones had on a multiple generations of country music artists and fans, those doubts were laid to rest on Thursday as a crowd of 4000-plus gathered for Jones’ public funeral at the Grand Ole Opry House […]


Kenny Chesney’s Ode to the Islands: “Life On a Rock”

Blue Chair/Columbia (2013)

It’s no secret that the Caribbean islands have had a huge and ongoing impact on the music of country music’s favorite beach bum Kenny Chesney. But his latest effort, Life On a Rock, takes it a step further, going beyond than the surface-level island party vibe so familiar to his fans and more toward a place of personal reflection and inspiration. With this album dropping less than a year after […]


Country Icon George Jones Passes Away

He had just begun his farewell tour this year. A week ago Thursday, George Jones postponed two shows to be admitted to the hospital for irregular blood pressure and a fever. Now, he is gone. George Jones passed away this morning, April 26, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. He was 81 years old. Despite a fast-living lifestyle that marred his early years, George Jones overcame adversity to have […]


Steve Martin & Edie Brickell “Love Has Come For You” –Album Review

Rounder Records (2013)

The first line of the first song on bluegrass album Love Has Come For You gives us a clue as to who is behind it: “When you get to Asheville / Send me an email.” Yup. It’s Steve Martin. The comedian/Renaissance man has put out another fantastic bluegrass album, this time pairing up with singer-songwriter Edie Brickell (aka Mrs. Paul Simon). It’s an unlikely collaboration, to be sure—but it works […]


Why Country Music Is Still So Popular

Country music is sort of used to getting dissed among other popular genres; it’s been going on for years (anyone remember the song “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool”?). LL Cool J’s recent collaboration with Brad Paisley aside, we’re getting used to watching the hip-hop crowd get snarky when a country artist wins an award (anyone remember Kanye interruption of Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech?), and we’re used to country […]


Country Artist to Watch: Kristen Kelly

Last year, a relative unknown country artist from central Texas named Kristen Kelly signed with Arista Nashville and released a catchy single “Ex-Old Man”, followed by an eponymous EP toward the end of the year. With all the noise surrounding bigger-than-life acts like Luke Bryan, Taylor Swift and The Band Perry, Kelly’s release went unnoticed by a lot of country fans, but it is an EP that shouldn’t be ignored. […]


Brad Paisley Digs Deep, Finds a Can of Worms with “Wheelhouse”

I have to take a detour here. This post began as an attempt to review Brad Paisley’s new album Wheelhouse, which officially drops today. However, given the buzz and controversy stirred up by one song in particular, “Accidental Racist,” it became apparent that this article needs to be about the greater conversation that the song has sparked. Let me begin by saying that regardless of your thoughts about that song, […]

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Highlights from the ACM Awards 2013

On a music-heavy Sunday evening spread across two live venues in Las Vegas, the 2013 Academy of Country Music Awards broadcasted for a full 46 minutes before ever announcing the first award, and indeed taking just over three hours to announce nine awards in total. Although it was the first ACMs not hosted by Reba in 14 years, Luke Bryan stepped into the sidekick role nearly effortlessly alongside Blake Shelton, […]

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Academy of Country Music Awards 2013 Preview

Contrary to public belief, awards season did not end with the Oscars. The annual Academy of Country Music Awards, one of the biggest nights in country music, will be broadcast this Sunday, April 7 on CBS at 8PM EDT from Las Vegas. Not to be confused with the CMA Awards (the Country Music Association is based in Nashville), the Academy of Country Music (ACM) was established in 1964, and was […]

The Band Perry Pioneer

The Band Perry Breaks New Ground with “Pioneer”

Universal Republic Nashville (2013)

Formula for success: gather your young siblings, form a country band, write some songs with an edgy spin on themes of love and death, put out a multi-platinum selling album—and then push it even further. This pretty much sums up the story of The Band Perry, culminating in their dynamite sophomore release Pioneer. The proverbial bar was raised to a remarkably high level with the album’s lead single “Better Dig […]


Thompson Square Defy the Odds with “Just Feels Good”

Stoney Creek Records (2013)

There’s this unwritten but oft-spoken rule about art, that says the best art emanates from pain, and the most “real” expressions come from angst. Something like that. But with their sophomore release Just Feels Good, married couple/duo Thompson Square demonstrate that this rule (like so many others) is meant to be broken—that you can create great music from a place of joy and positivity, as well. Kiefer and Shawna Thompson […]

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