Just some things we’ve discussed and would like to try our best to make happen in 2018…of course, we know the fate of many New Year’s resolutions, so bear that in mind, and be patient, as this is a reminder to ourselves and by no means a guarantee that these things will happen, even as much as we’d like to see them. But here are some things we have in mind for Country Exclusive in the coming year, and feel free to add any thoughts/suggestions.
1. Lots More Live/Concert Reviewing
So much of independent music is reliant upon ticket sales and buying merchandise; even as much as we support albums in this scene, live music is still the bread and butter of so many of these artists and a great way to both support them and see them in another light. The goal is to see and talk about a live show once a month, but obviously this will be affected by availability, finances, and possibly by the small blind hindrance of transportation depending on where things are. This one will be starting off perfectly right, however, as I am having the great fortune of seeing Jason Isbell on Thursday night.
Let’s face it, people often just listen to these more than albums, and one thing I wanted to do in 2017 was provide playlists more often so that people could sample more music. It didn’t happen until the end of the year, but that one seems to have been very well-received on both platforms, so hopefully, we can provide them more often on both Apple Music and Spotify. This one could be dependent on some behind-the-scenes factors as well, mostly due to the fact that neither Brianna nor I use Spotify and would primarily be utilizing our resident visual consultant Zack for that particular platform.
3. Return of the Reflections
They’re not coming back every week, or rather, they’re not coming back every week unless we have something to say every week. They’re not coming back scheduled, and they never went away because of anything other than time constraints during the last quarter of the year, but our features on older music will continue proudly. This is an area sorely lacking in coverage on these independent sites, and we enjoy writing them as much as people seem to like reading them.
4. More Bluegrass
Yeah, I said this in 2017 as well, but I didn’t write it down–and maybe, if I had, it would have been there to stare at me as I failed spectacularly to cover this great subgenre of music. We’ll try to do better here in 2018.
5. Continuing to Highlight Unique Artists
One of the coolest things about this year’s top albums list was that several of the entries were albums that only Country exclusive covered. Both Brianna and i discovered and reviewed material here not covered by any other independent outlet this year, and we seek to continue this in 2018, so that even more music can be heard and appreciated.
6. More Coverage
In 2017, we ended with 80 albums/EP’s reviewed and 27 featured in Memorable Songs, for a total of 107 albums covered here, not counting reflections and non-country stuff. I don’t want to set a specific goal for 2018 because I refuse to sit down and write about something just to fill a quota; rather, I want to write because I feel passion about the subject. But the hope is still to cover more music, as it was doable in 2017. Collaborative reviews will continue, as will the Memorable Songs feature that seeks to highlight good music from mediocre and forgettable albums, albums we heard and considered but did not review in full.
7. And finally, just to continue to be an honest, equal-opportunity establishment that answers to no one and spreads good music. We look forward to sharing more great music with you all in the coming year!