All posts by Megan

Album Review: Courtney Patton–So This is Life

Rating: 8.5/10

I’ll start here by being honest–when this album came out on June 9th, I had not even heard the name Courtney Patton. So this review comes late for two reasons; firstly, Country Exclusive did not exist then, and secondly, when I did hear of her, I wanted to take my time really listening before reviewing her. For anyone out there like me, Courtney Patton is a Texas country artist, the wife of better known Texas singer/songwriter Jason Eady, and So This is Life is her third album.

So This is Life is characterized throughout by acoustic arrangements and excellent songwriting. I say this now to avoid having to say “the instrumentation and songwriting are excellent” over and over–just assume so unless I say otherwise. “Little Black Dress” tells the story of a one-night stand, and the woman being left alone and brokenhearted. I immediately fell in love with Courtney’s voice here–she tells a story perfectly. “War of Art” is another great story, this one somewhat autobiographical, of a wife and mother struggling with her passion for songwriting and performing. She sings

And I’ve heard it all before
Singin’ to a whiskey-soaked dance floor
Ain’t no job for a mother and a wife
So I try to do things right
But at what cost is it worth the fight
I just couldn’t let that war take my life.

“Her Next Move” is a lyrical low point for me (still good, just not great) about a woman seeking attention from her husband by threatening to do things like “take their daughter across state lines.” “Need for Wanting” is my favorite track on the album; here Courtney again discusses a one-night stand, asking the man in the bar not to “misinterpret my need for wanting tonight.” She says she won’t leave with him but at the end we hear, “But if you like, come in, since you understand my need for wanting tonight.”

“Twelve Days” was written about Courtney missing her husband Jason Eady while he is on the road–“I can make it twelve days, I’ve waited longer.” “Killing Time” is more upbeat, and tells about a woman’s husband “killing time” in prison for stealing money. “Maybe it’s You” is another low point for me lyrically; it is a love song about being forgiven after making some mistakes in the relationship. “Sure Am Glad” goes back to the one-night stand material, this time between two friends–“You caught me off guard when I heard that knock on my door, but I sure am glad that I’m not alone anymore.”

The title track was written about Courtney’s parents. “So This is Life” tells the story of a marriage that wasn’t what they pictured–the wife watches TV and wishes for someone to talk to, while the husband works days and nights trying to get by. They end up divorced after he takes a lover in a midllife crisis. This song is painfully accurate and is my second favorite track. “Battle These Blues” is another lyrical low point for me (again, still good) where a wife deals with a husband who drinks too much and stays out late. By contrast, “Where I’ve Been” is excellent, and here the wife says she’s not getting the love she needs, so she’s being unfaithful. She says, “If you ever decide that you ever want to try again, I’ll be here in the mornin’ just don’t ask me where I’ve been.” “But I Did” closes the album with an autobiographical track about Courtney’s life–“I was born the oldest one with patience like my mother, the fire and heart of my father, and a spirit of my own.”

This album is musically excellent. All twelve songs are good, and most are great. The only thing I wished for is that there were one or two more upbeat songs because listening to the album as a whole sometimes makes it feel slow. All the same, Courtney Patton is a force to be reckoned with, and I highly recommend So This is Life.

Listen to album

Single Review: Clare Dunn’s “Move on”

Rating: 3/10

So, it’s no secret that I want to see more women getting country radio attention. And for anyone who knows me, it’s no secret that I like a little rock in my country, and love both sides of Miranda Lambert–the traditional country side of “Roots and Wings” and the pop rock side displayed on “Little Red Wagon.” So when Miranda Lambert selected Clare Dunn for her Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars tour, claming that
“you don’t see that many women who get up there and really slay a guitar and play some real rock ‘n’ roll country”
I was excited to hear Clare’s music. Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when Clare’s new single “Move on” became the most added song to country radio after Lambert and Little Big Town’s “Smokin’ and Drinkin,” and I knew I had to review it.

But here’s the problem–where Miranda calls it “rock ‘n’ roll country,” I don’t hear anything country about “Move On.” It’s a pretty good song–certainly wouldn’t make me change the radio station–and that’s why it’s not getting a lower rating, but if this song were being sold as a pop or rock song, I would give it an 8 or 9. Sell it as country, and that’s why it gets a 3.

“Move on” is about a woman asking the man to hurry up and “move on” from pretending to be just friends when it’s obvious they both want more. She uses lines like “Sometimes I wish you just, Well, if I told you what I’m really thinkin’ it might make you blush.” She wants him to “move on, move on, move on, and make your move on me.” It reminds me a little of “Are you Gonna Kiss me or Not” by Thompson Square, and lyrically, it’s not a bad song.

Musically, it’s pretty good too–for a pop rock song. I love the electric guitars and drum loops–but nothing in it is country. This is Clare Dunn being the rock version of Kelsea Ballerini. Kelsea Ballerini is talented, but as a pop artist. Clare Dunn is talented, but as a pop or rock artist. Neither belong on country radio, and it is unfortunate that these women are getting airplay over more traditional artists like Sunny Sweeney or Kacey Musgraves. Apparently, in 2015, you can just write anything short of straight rap–and that’s probably coming–and decide it’s country. Clare Dunn, call yourself pop or rock, and this rating will change drastically.

Random Thoughts of the Week: Introducing the “Tomatoes”

I gave this the name “random thoughts” because basically that’s what you will find here. Think of the music version of a daily or weekly sports column with some news and/or opinions along with several random bits of information. Country Perspective has a similar Thursday column called “The Hodgepodge” and it is one of my favorite things to read from them, so I wanted to start something similar on my own blog.

One of the most irritating things for me in the wake of #SaladGate is the comment/defense that Keith Hill was merely stating facts of the music business right now. To be clear, country radio has far more problems than the lack of airplay for women. There is quality music being made by both men and women that is not getting the airplay it deserves, but I am truly tired of hearing, “Well, there really aren’t that many women right now,” or “he was just stating facts,” or the most infuriating, “of course that’s the statistic, how can you play women when there aren’t any?”

The thing is, my music collection is filled with women. There are plenty of great women artists, both mainstream and independent, but most casual listeners don’t know any names besides Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood, or maybe Kacey Musgraves and Kelsea Ballerini now, but that’s being optimistic. A large part of this is that radio doesn’t play these women, and so people assume they don’t exist.

People should know the “tomatoes” of the country world. Whether you like their music or not, they should at least have a chance to be heard, and so I will be featuring a woman on this site every Friday to help with this problem. Personal preference will not be taken into account–I hate Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line, but I got the chance to decide that because I heard them. So although I will comment on my personal preference, my main focus here is to fix this problem of people thinking there aren’t any women out there to fill the country airwaves.

Tomato of the Week: Katie Armiger

In light of her recent feud with her long-time label, Cold River Records, Katie is the first, and one of my favorite, underappreciated tomatoes. Check out her full article on Female Friday!

Random Country Suggestion: Shannon Brown

This song came on my iPhone on Shuffle, and I went to see what else she did (turns out nothing) and ended up buying this whole album.

Random Non-Country Suggestion: Selena Gomez–“The Heart Wants What it Wants”

I love country, but I like a little of everything else too, and I truly love this song. I have this version and a cover by our featured female–both are great.

That’s all for this week’s Random Thoughts!

Billboard Country Airplay and Country albums Chart (July 11th)

Billboard Country Airplay

  • 1. Blake Shelton–“Sangria” (up 1)
  • 2. Carrie Underwood–Little Toy Guns” (up 1)
  • 3. Tim McGraw and Catherine Dunn–“Diamond Rings and Old Barstools” (up 2)
  • 4. Jason Aldean–“Tonight Looks Good on You” (up 2)
  • 5. Easton Corbin–“Baby, Be my Love Song” (down 1)
  • 6. Kelsea Ballerini–“Love Me Like You Mean It” (down 5) [biggest loser]
  • 7. Canaan Smith–“Love You Like That”
  • 8. Little Big Town–“Girl Crush” (up 1)
  • 9. Brantly Gilbert–“One Hell of an Amen” (up 1)
  • 10. Michael Ray–“Kiss You in the Morning” (up 2)
  • 11. Luke Bryan–“Kick the Dust Up” (up 2)
  • 12. Brad Paisley–“Crushin’ It” (down 1)
  • 13. Zac Brown Band–“Loving You Easy” (up 2)
  • 14. Frankie Ballard–“Young and Crazy”
  • 15. Dustin Lynch–“Hell of a Night” (up 1)
  • 16. Sam Hunt–“House Party” (up 2)
  • 17. Eric Church–“Like a Wrecking Ball”
  • 18. Thomas Rhett–“Crash and Burn” (up 1)
  • 19. Chris Janson–“Buy me a Boat” (up 1)
  • 20. Brett Eldredge–“Lose my Mind” (up 1)
  • 21. Maddie & Tae–“Fly” (up 1)
  • 22. Keith Urban–“John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16 (up 7) [biggest gainer]
  • 23. Chase Rice–“Gonna Wanna Tonight”
  • 24. Kip Moore–“I’m to Blame”
  • 25. Jake Owen–“Real Life
  • 26. Cole Swindell–“Let me See ya Girl” (up 1)
  • 27. Lady Antebellum–“Long Stretch of Love” (entering top 30)
  • 28. Old Dominion–“Break up With Him” (up 2)
  • 29. Dan + Shay–“Nothin’ Like You” (down 3)
  • 30. Reba–“Going out Like That” (down 2)
    • New NO. 1: “Sangria”
    • Next week’s No. 1: “Sangria” or “Tonight Looks Good on You” (Carrie has no chance)
    • biggest gainer: “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”
    • Biggest Loser: “Love me Like You Mean It”
    • Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter’s “Wild Child” fell out of the top 30

    Billboard Top Country Albums

  • 1. Kacey Musgraves–Pageant Material(debut)
  • 2. Sam Hunt–Montevallo
  • 3. Zac Brown Band–Jekyll + Hyde
  • 4. Canaan Smith–Bronco (debut)
  • 5. Various Artists–Now That’s What I Call Country, Voulume 8
  • 6. Little Big Town–Painkiller
  • 7. Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard–Django and Jimmie
  • 8. Eric Church–The Outsiders
  • 9. Brantley Gilbert–Just as I Am
  • 10. Jason Aldean–Old Boots, New Dirt
  • 11. Florida Georgia Line–Anything Goes
  • 12. Luke Bryan–Crash my Party
  • 13. Luke Bryan–Spring Break, Checkin’ Out
  • 14. Tim McGraw–35 Biggest Hits
  • 15. A Thousand Horses–Southernality
  • 16. Carrie Underwood–Greatest Hits, Decade #1
  • 17. Darius Rucker–Southern Style
  • 18. The Lax–Outlaw in Me
  • 19. Kelsea Ballerini–The First Time
  • 20. Billy Currington–Summer Forever
  • 21. Blake Shelton–Bringing Back the Sunshine
  • 22. Chase Rice–Ignite the Night
  • 23. Corey Smith–While the Gettin’ is Good
  • 24. Kenny Chesney–The Big Revival
  • 25. Cole Swindell–Cole Swindell
    • Kacey Musgraves’s excellent Pageant Material debuts at No. 1, replacing Jekyll + Hyde
    • Canaan Smith’s Bronco debuts at no. 4
    • Kelsea Ballerini’s The First Time moved up 6 spots from no. 25 to No. 19
    • after debuting at No. 12 last week, Big Smo’s EP Bringin’ it Home fell out of the top 25
    • Hank Williams Jr.’s 35 Biggest Hits album fell out of the top 25 after last week’s debut at No. 16

    Have a great Independence Day weekend!

    Source: Billboard

    Album Review: Easton Corbin–About to Get Real

    Rating: 2.5/10

    Easton Corbin is one of the most frustrating people in country music for me. I became a fan with his first two singles, “A Little More Country Than That” and “Roll With It,” but for me, he has gone downhill from there. With a voice nearly identical to George Strait’s, he lends himself naturally to traditional sounding country and could be a leader in this “country” radio climate. So it is all the more disappointing that he has chosen to capitalize on the bro country craze, and when I listened to this album, it quickly became nothing more than a contest for the song with the worst pick-up line.

    The album opens with “Kiss me One More Time,” a relatively decent, if forgettable, love song. I have no problem with this song, although it did not stand out at all. Next is “Guys and Girls,” which is about him asking to be “the guy beggin’ for one last dance” and she’s the “girl who says you missed your chance.” All hope for this song ends here with the next line:

    Let’s take it to the parking lot and put the tailgate down
    Turn it into a Saturday night and a small town world,
    A cooler of beer, a little truck bed twirl in the moonlight.

    Contender No. 1 for worst pick-up line on the album.

    “Clockwork” is about a relationship that doesn’t work. It reminds me of Chris Young’s “I’m Comin’ Over,” only much more boring. “Diggin’ on You” is next, and contender No. 2 for worst pick-up line goes to “I’m buzzin’ on, kissin’ on, trippin’ on, diggin’ on you.” Seriously, who writes this and thinks it’s good? And immediately after this comes the single, currently at NO. 5 on Billboard Country Airplay, “Baby, Be my Love Song.” This sounds like it would be a great song, but no; here we have the pick-up line, “Be the buzz in my Dixie cup”–I hope there aren’t any women out there who find this at all romantic.

    Next is the title track, an actual decent love song (I know, surprising)

    It’s about to get real good,
    Come on baby, get real close,
    Girl, you know I want you real bad, got me fallin’ fast,
    Let’s take it where it wants to go.

    Following this is “Yup” which is as unoriginal as the title–just a song about picking some girl up at a bar, minus a dreadful pick-up line. “Wild Women and Whiskey” is a pretty good song and reminds me of something George Strait might have sung. This is infuriating because it proves that Easton Corbin is capable of singing something decent. “Are You With Me” is another good song (two in a row, he’s on a freaking roll) about taking a chance on love.

    The streak is broken with typical bro country anthem “Damn Girl” which is ironic because he actually says, “this ain’t just a pick-up line, damn girl.” Again, who writes this? “just Add Water” is a summer anthem like Brad Paisley’s “Water”–no problem with this one, but nothing stood out. Last is “Like a Song,” a decent song about a woman who has left him and is stuck in his head like a song.

    Musically, About to Get Real was great. Every song sounded country–very few pop or hip-hop influences to be found. Somehow this frustrates me even more. It proves that Easton Corbin could be great if he wanted to be, but he has chosen to cash in on a trend instead. Consequently, I don’t think I will remember most, if any of these songs within five minutes.

    Listen To Album