Pop Goes The Country Vol. 9: Sonny James – “Young Love” (1956)

Pop Goes The Country is an ongoing feature where I explore country music’s biggest crossover hits. After weeks of discussing cowboys, boogie tunes, war and government conspiracies, it’s time to move on to something else with this feature. Considering this feature is meant to explore country music’s biggest crossover hits, it should come as no… Read More Pop Goes The Country Vol. 9: Sonny James – “Young Love” (1956)

Song Review: Brad Paisley – “My Miracle”

The short version: Brad Paisley’s new single is fairly predictable all around, but you could certainly do worse I guess.   Writers: Brad Paisley, Gary Nicholson Rating: 6/10 The long version: As a fan, it’s sad watching Brad Paisley’s recent radio struggles. As a critic, it’s understandable and happens to everyone, but it doesn’t make it… Read More Song Review: Brad Paisley – “My Miracle”

Album Review: Lauren Jenkins – ‘No Saint’

The short version: While there’s still the mystery of who Lauren Jenkins is, ‘No Saint’ is a compelling listen in all regards. More than that though, I’d say this album’s importance to the genre equally matches my enjoyment of it. Favorite tracks: “No Saint,” “Give Up The Ghost,” “Blood,” “Maker’s Mark And You,” “Running Out… Read More Album Review: Lauren Jenkins – ‘No Saint’

Pop Goes The Country Vol. 8: Tennessee Ernie Ford – “Sixteen Tons” (1955)

Pop Goes The Country is an ongoing feature where I explore country music’s biggest crossover hits. It’s no secret that country music’s reliance on authenticity and story-telling is one of its richest qualities. Even if one can’t directly relate to drinking their life away or whatever other sad topic country music touches, there’s still value… Read More Pop Goes The Country Vol. 8: Tennessee Ernie Ford – “Sixteen Tons” (1955)

Song Review: Dustin Lynch – “Ridin’ Roads”

The short version: “Ridin’ Roads” resumes Dustin Lynch’s hot streak of mediocrity, but at least there’s some passable elements to this. Writers: Dustin Lynch, Zach Crowell, Ashley Gorley Rating: 4/10 The long version: I’m not one to question artistic intentions, but at this point, it’s clear Dustin Lynch is aiming to release country music backed… Read More Song Review: Dustin Lynch – “Ridin’ Roads”

Album Review: Maren Morris – ‘GIRL’

The short version: Most of the problems from ‘HERO’ carry over to Maren Morris’ sophomore album, ‘GIRL.’ Favorite tracks: “Great Ones,” “A Song For Everything,” “GIRL,” “Shade” Least favorite tracks: “RSVP,” “Make Out With Me” Rating: 5/10 The long version: Maren Morris. To some, that name is synonymous with everything wrong with current mainstream country… Read More Album Review: Maren Morris – ‘GIRL’

Song Review: Runaway June – “Buy My Own Drinks”

The short version: Runaway June prove that not all fun songs have to center around mind-numbing drivel on “Buy My Own Drinks.” Writers: Naomi Cooke, Jennifer Wayne, Hannah Mulholland, Hillary Lindsey, Josh Kear Rating: 7/10 The long version: It’s a shame that an act like Runaway June haven’t quite caught on yet. Granted, this is… Read More Song Review: Runaway June – “Buy My Own Drinks”

Pop Goes The Country Vol. 7: Jean Shepard & Ferlin Husky – “A Dear John Letter” (1953)

Pop Goes The Country is an ongoing feature where I explore country music’s biggest crossover hits. Thus far, with the exception of maybe Tex Williams’ “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette),” the crossover hits discussed in this feature have rarely reflected their respective time periods. In other words, in wasn’t what the song said that catapulted… Read More Pop Goes The Country Vol. 7: Jean Shepard & Ferlin Husky – “A Dear John Letter” (1953)

Album Review: Austin Meade – ‘Waves’

The short version: ‘Waves’ often finds itself on the edges of burnout in ways that feel depressing, angry, and most of all, cathartic. It also finds Austin Meade truly coming into his own as an artist to craft his own individual, artistic statement.  Favorite tracks: “Waves,” “Pay Phone,” “Mountain Past,” “Colorblind,” “Brooklyn,” “Bad Habits,” “Savannah”… Read More Album Review: Austin Meade – ‘Waves’

Song Review: Thomas Rhett – “Look What God Gave Her”

The short version: While not a disaster like his pre-‘Life Changes’ material, “Look What God Gave Her” nonetheless finds Thomas Rhett beating a long-dead horse.  Writers: Thomas Rhett, Julian Bunetta, J Kash, John Henry Ryan Rating: 4/10 The long version: Thomas Rhett’s well isn’t running dry anytime soon as far as commercial relevance is concerned,… Read More Song Review: Thomas Rhett – “Look What God Gave Her”

Album Review: The Cactus Blossoms – ‘Easy Way’

The short version: Despite featuring a more refined sonic palette, ‘Easy Way’ by the Cactus Blossoms doesn’t offer much of anything interesting. Favorite tracks: “Easy Way,” “Got A Lotta Love,” “Please Don’t Call Me Crazy” Least favorite track: “See It Through” Rating: 5/10 The long version: In a way, artists being compared to their influences… Read More Album Review: The Cactus Blossoms – ‘Easy Way’

Album Review: Dee White – ‘Southern Gentleman’

The short version: Dee White may still have to grow into himself as a vocalist, but ‘Southern Gentleman’ is a fine debut album. Favorite tracks: “Rose Of Alabam,” “Way Down,” “Under Your Skin,” “Road That Goes Both Ways (w/ Ashley McBryde),” “Bucket Of Bolts” Least favorite track: “Tell The World I Do” Rating: 7/10 The… Read More Album Review: Dee White – ‘Southern Gentleman’

Pop Goes The Country Vol. 6: Pee Wee King – “Slow Poke” (1951)

Pop Goes The Country is an ongoing feature where I explore country music’s biggest crossover hits. When I said in volume four of this feature that I wouldn’t have a lot to say about every single crossover hit, little did I know what awaited me in volume six. After weeks of researching this particular volume… Read More Pop Goes The Country Vol. 6: Pee Wee King – “Slow Poke” (1951)

Album Review: Vandoliers – ‘Forever’

The short version: Vandoliers’ ‘Forever’ is the kind of tight, fun album that’s easy to enjoy, has more depth to it than one would expect, and features a unique sonic palette.  Favorite tracks: “Tumbleweed,” “Cigarettes In The Rain,” “Shoshone Rose,” “Sixteen Years,” “Troublemaker” Least favorite track: “Nowhere Fast” Rating: 8/10 Author’s preface: I hate having… Read More Album Review: Vandoliers – ‘Forever’

Album Review: Emily Scott Robinson – ‘Traveling Mercies’

The short version: The production can leave a little to be desired, and there’s some slight inconsistencies with this album, but ‘Traveling Mercies’ showcases a bright young talent in Emily Scott Robinson.  Favorite tracks: “Shoshone Rose,” “Delta Line,” “Borrowed Rooms and Old Wood Floors,” “Run,” “Westward Bound” Least favorite track: “White Hot Country Mess” Rating:… Read More Album Review: Emily Scott Robinson – ‘Traveling Mercies’

Album Review: Dale Watson – ‘Call Me Lucky’

The short version: ‘Call Me Lucky’ isn’t the most essential listen in Dale Watson’s catalog, but it’s still a nice enough listen all the same. Favorite tracks: “David Buxkemper,” “Run Away,” “The Dumb Song,” “Tupelo Mississippi & A 57 Fairlane,” “Restless” Least favorite track: “Johnny & June” Rating: 6/10 The long version: It’s fun to… Read More Album Review: Dale Watson – ‘Call Me Lucky’

Song Review: Reba McEntire – “Stronger Than The Truth”

The short version: “Stronger Than The Truth” just may be Reba McEntire’s strongest single in years. Writers: Autumn McEntire, Hannah Blaylock Rating: 8/10 The long version: With the return of legends like George Strait, Brooks & Dunn and Reba McEntire to the country music format this year, these artists are blatantly telling us fans they… Read More Song Review: Reba McEntire – “Stronger Than The Truth”