The rise in popularity of country blogging and its growing readership has allowed so many of to co-exist, but also to begin doing things that were traditionally only done by print publications, or major media networks like CMT or GAC, who just happened to have an online outlet for their various coverage of country music. But more and more throughout the past months, artists have been turning to the websites and blogs when lining up their press tours, making time to speak to the blogs to get the word out about their latest release, or to just allow the fans to catch up with what they’ve been up to.
Almost every means of public consumption becomes obsolete with time, and that becomes evident when the new medium begins to show signs of catching up, and soon eclipsing, that of the old. I think we’re seeing that every day as we read and comment and interact with each other. Maybe I’m just being too optimistic, and being centered in this field as I am, it would certainly be easy for me to be seeing this through tunnel vision. But it seems to me that the last year has been very prosperous for nearly every country music-related site on the net. That makes me happy.
A few weeks ago, I sent out an email to a small group of my colleagues in the community of country music blog-people. I only had so many addresses, so not everybody got the message. So, with the help of The 9513, Country California, and Facebook, I got the word out that I wanted to compile a list of our favorite posts from the past year on the numerous quality websites. I originally hoped for 50 to make a list out of, but the way the results came in, they demanded a written summary. Hopefully I’ve put them in a easy to read and access format.
Interviews seemed to be the unanimous favorite among readers and other bloggers alike, with nearly everybody mentioning at least one interview with their picks. The 9513 already posted each of their interviews for easy access in the future – a great link to bookmark – but here a some of the favorites mentioned by the people:
George Jones Is Still Going Strong: The 9513’s Exclusive Interview – by Juli Thanki
John Rich: The Interview – by Jim Malec
Despite Early Setbacks, Ashley Monroe is Satisfied With Career Track – by Stephen M. Deusner
Dolly Parton: The Interview – by Sam Gazdziak
Patty Loveless Talks About Mountain Soul II – by Juli Thanki
A Conversation With Gene Watson – by Paul W. Dennis
Just Another King Following in the Footsteps of the First – by Drew L. Wilson
Billy Ray Cyrus – The Interview – by Jim Malec
But The 9513 weren’t the only ones talking to the stars this year. Interviews with legends to up-and-comers also got nods:
Catching Up with Joey + Rory – Country Universe – by Leeann Ward
A Conversation with Kathy Mattea – Country Universe – by Kevin J. Coyne
Heart, soul and talent: Connie Smith’s recipe for great country music – My Kind of Country – by Razor X
In addition to topical articles like those, many of us are also thankful for different features on the country blogs. First, there were the Daily News Roundups at The 9513, which were really my introduction to this community with their generous sharing of the readers with links to other sites. They’re also the primary source of news for most of us. Also coming from The 9513 is Forgotten Artists, a series written by the walking country music encyclopedia that is Paul Dennis. Pick any one of them, you’ll learn something I’m sure.
Country music satire was born in 2009 too. It came in the form of several successful features from Country California and Farce the Music. C.M. Wilcox and Corey Parkerman aka Trailer hit an untapped well of material with their Fake News. C.M. also kept the hate going with other great recurring pieces like Quotable Country and my personal favorite, the Sanity Series. In the meantime the Farce the Music blog, which changed its name from Photocrap earlier in the year, expanded into the written word with always clever results. John Rich’s Songwriting Tips has made me laugh all year, but his best work has come in the form of parodies and original song lyrics. Here are what you guys said you liked best from these two:
Carrie Underwood Militia Declares War on Poland
God Requests He Not Be Thanked at CMA Awards
Busy Day After All Nashville Area Grandfathers Die
I Owe It All To The Fans, Says Egomaniac
Song About Country Pride To Be Released
Martina Won’t Stop Cracking Dead Baby Jokes
Farce the Music parodies:
‘All White’ parody
‘I Came Out Last Night’ parody
Amid all the fun, both of the authors’ eclectic music sense makes for some interesting recommendations and commentary on the current state of music. And for a poetic slant on country satire, I urge everyone to visit the Country Haiku blog. The author over there is pretty close to brilliant.
Still other honorable mentions go to articles that don’t really fit into a category. One an editorial on the emotional impact of country songs and another on the number of decibels in the latest albums from country’s stars. Interestingly, only two reviews were mentioned, neither glowing. Varied but insightful and entertaining, here are some picks from across the board:
Everything Louder Than Everything Else – by Chris Neal – The 9513
Emotional truth: Sentiment and sentimentality in country music – by Occasional Hope – My Kind of Country
Bucky Covington – ‘Gotta Be Somebody’ review – by C.M. Wilcox – The 9513
Darryl Worley – ‘Sounds Like Life To Me’ review – by Kevin Coyne – Country Universe
All these sites are going even stronger into 2010, so more news, music, interviews and of course, fun and controversy are bound to be ahead. Stay tuned.
Thanks to everybody who sent your suggestions via comment, email, or however you got it to me. Here are a list of names of who responded: