Posts Tagged ‘Julie Roberts’

My “Chaos Theory” playlist

December 26, 2011

Last week C.M. Wilcox of Country California posted his “chaos theory” playlist for 2011. In essence, he mixed all the music he purchased in 2011 into one playlist on iTunes and hit shuffle. The first 20 entries comprised the list.

A couple of commenters did the same, adding their lists to the conversation. I thought it might be fun to see what 20 songs iTunes would pick if I used the same method. My list is below:

1. Alone – Kelly Clarkson

2. Mr. Know It All – Kelly Clarkson

3. NASCAR Party – Julie Roberts

4. The Dreaming Fields – Matraca Berg

5. My Opening Farewell – Alison Krauss and Union Station

6. Honestly – Kelly Clarkson

7. Baggage Claim – Miranda Lambert

8. Away In A Manger – Joey+Rory

9. Love’s Looking Good On You – Randy Travis featuring Kristin Chenoweth

10. Wildwood Flower – Suzy Bogguss

11. Modern Love – Matt Nathanson

12. You Don’t Have To Be A Baby – Del McCory Band and The Prevention Hall Jazz Club

13. Stronger – Julie Roberts

14. Don’t You Wanna Stay – Jason Aldean feat. Kelly Clarkson

15. It Wrecks Me – Sunny Sweeney

16. Blue Velvet – Tony Bennett and k.d. Lang

17. My Name is Emmett Till – Emmylou Harris 

18. Kept – Matt Nathanson

19. Don’t Throw It Away – Foster & Lloyd 

20. Guitar Slinger – Vince Gill

There is some extremely well-crafted music here from some very talented individuals who released new records in 2011. The Emmylou Harris and Suzy Bogguss entires were much better than almost anything getting mainstream exposure and my appreciation for Vince Gill knows no bounds.

While I do wish there was a bit more diversity, whatever popped up is what I went with. In any event it makes for a fun exercise and I enjoyed seeing what iTunes spit back at me on random shuffle.

Top 40 Worst Country Singles of 2011

December 21, 2011

Here you go. My least favorite country singles of 2011. You’ll see some huge hits here. But remember it isn’t about chart performance, but rather about quality:

40. Ronnie Dunn – “Bleed Red”

On his solo debut Dunn could’ve worn any hat. But he choose to go down the route of being over-produced and turned into a pop balladeer. And “We all bleed red” is such a statement of the obvious, it hardly bares drugging up in a song.

39. Jason Michael Carroll – “Numbers”

This is exactly why people hate country music. A laundry list of numerical symbols? Seriously, just how lazy can songwriting get?

38. Keith Urban – “You Gonna Fly”

On its own this isn’t a bad song. But I’m including it here for the simple fact it showcases an artist continuing to coast on their merits with yet another sound alike rocker that has become the norm. Urban will always be hailed for his guitar playing and entertaining abilities but not for his diversity in song selection. He just isn’t exciting anymore.

37. Luke Bryan – “I Don’t Want This Night To End”

A guy and a girl are rockin’ in a truck as if no other modes of transportation exist. Of course, she’s “so damn hot” he can’t stand it. He may not want this night to end, but this song surely can.

36. Jake Owen – “Barefoot Blue Jean Night”

A marriage of 80s rock with banjos coupled with a disposable tale of having fun with not only your buddies but the requisite hot babe, too. I Don’t Wanna Grow Up may be the smartest line in a country song all year.

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EP Review – Julie Roberts – “Who Needs Mistletoe”

December 14, 2011

Julie Roberts

Who Needs Mistletoe

* * * * *

Every year with anticipation, I look forward to adding new Christmas recordings to my personal collection, which I’ve been steadily adding to for more then fifteen years. When I heard Julie Roberts had a holiday record available for download, I jumped at the opportunity to add it amongst my favorites from years past.

Roberts brings to life songs we’ve all know and love such as “Blue Christmas,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Away In A Manger,” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and adds newer fare like “Pretty Paper” and the title track. She adds warmth to these tunes that allows them to feel fresh, as though we’re just hearing them for the first time.

“Blue Christmas” showcases the bluesy qualities to her voice and allows Roberts to truly shine. It was a smart choice to open the album as the drum crescendo welcomes you in before being hit by the power of Roberts’ voice. When she sings the opening line, “I’ll have a blue Christmas without you” you know she was born to sing this tune.

But it’s the addition of the mandolin on both “Away in a Manger” and “Pretty Paper” that makes Who Needs Mistletoe the best country Christmas album of 2011. I find it refreshing Roberts didn’t go the full big band route that many a country singer has traveled down with their own Christmas recordings. She’s managed to strike the perfect balance, appealing to both country and non-country fans alike while still sounding like a country singer singing Christmas songs. It’s as elegant as any country album you’ll hear all year.

But in terms of vocal prowess, “O Holy Night” is the biggest surprise. Roberts brings so much power to this song I was blown away. I wasn’t expecting the range in her vocal performance and the simple Dobro and guitar-laced production suits her perfectly. I always new she could sing, but this adds another dimension to her vocal ability that she’s yet to fully cultivate on one of her previous albums.

And like her previous albums, Roberts adds her signature flirty playfulness here, this time by way of the title track. In its own right, “Who Needs Mistletoe” is a well-executed song, but I found the hook, “who needs mistletoe/I’d rather be under you” weirdly placed among tunes celebrating the religious aspects of the Christmas holiday. But it works simply because its so memorable and doesn’t overdue the frank sexual undertones

Who Needs Mistletoe is a first-rate collection of songs all brought to life by Roberts’ stellar voice. Whenever I hear her sing I always wonder why she never broke through and garnered the attention she’s so richly deserved by country radio and the fans. When music is this sophisticated and classy it deserves just such recognition.

I only wish this EP had included more than just seven songs, as by the end I was hungry for so much more. I feel like Roberts has only scratched the surface in what a holiday album from her can sound like and I hope there is much more coming down the line in the years to come.

My Kind of Country

July 2, 2011

My lack in recent updates is partly do to an exciting opportunity I accepted over a month ago. I’m now a staff writer for My Kind of Country, a popular country music blog.

That doesn’t mean this blog is going anywhere, it’s just an extension of my love for country music.

My duties are to write single reviews for new country songs and album reviews for their spotlight artist series. Here’s what I’ve written so far:

I can’t believe how much I’ve already written. Six already?! I have many more in the pipe line, and as I write them, I’ll link them to my blog so they’ll be easy to find in one place.
Thanks again to J.R. Journey for inviting me to blog about my favorite subject to a much wider audience. In the coming months, I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes me.
Now I just have to find the balance to write my own blog along with all the MKoC work I do. That shouldn’t be too hard.

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