My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Tag Archives: Kevin Coyne

Album Review: Steve Wariner – ‘I Should Be With You’

“Steve Wariner may be the king of forgotten hits.” That comment was made by Kevin Coyne, who heads the good folks at Country Universe, on one of his many song summaries for various projects. I know Kevin is right 99% of the time, but it didn’t dawn on me how accurate his statement was until I started combing over the Steve Wariner catalog for this month’s coverage. The three top 10 hits from Steve’s fourth MCA album, I Should Be With You, are no exception. With a wildly successful chart run throughout the 1980s – Wariner would visit the top 10 a total of 18 times in a row between 1984 and 1990 – it’s understandble that even die-hard country fans could let some hits slip from memory. All three singles from this record saw their release in 1988, and none became chart-toppers and seem to be forgotten today. With a few exceptions, these are good songs and seem to jog pleasant memories.

‘Baby I’m Yours’ opens the album with some snazzy guitar work, before Steve launches into one of his most ferocious vocals. He growls, spits, and of course, croons his way through this number about a rambling man finally settled down with the woman of his dreams. This dancehall favorite found its way to #2 on the country singles chart.

Following that success was the album’s title cut as the second single. The story of a busy career man, on the go with job responsibilities but longing to be home with his family unfolds in ‘I Should Be With You’. The narrator describes the sights from his airplane seat. Sound familiar? Gary Allan took the identically-themed ‘Right Where I Need To Be’ to the top 5 in 2000. But theme is really all the two songs have in common. Wariner’s slow-burning romantic ballad ends with the tag line ‘I swear I’ll make it up to you this time’, while Allan’s amped up track finds the narrator letting the plane leave without him. ‘I Should Be With You’ followed ‘Baby I’m Yours’ to #2 on the singles chart.

My least favorite of the album’s singles is the forgettable-with-reason ‘Hold On (A Little Longer)’. A plodding melody coupled with snooze-button production make this tale of a man missing his woman even more boring. We’re never told why the two are apart: is he away on business? have they broken up? does she still even love him? And with this generic delivery: do I even care? No. No, I don’t. Still, ‘Hold On’ found its way to the top 10, and eventually peaked at #6.

The mark of this album’s age is evident on tracks like ‘Party of One’ and ‘Somewhere Between Old and New York’, rather bland mid-tempo numbers that are marred with outdated aesthetic styles. But then there are gems to be found as well. ‘Runnin’ is a fun, breezy tune that plays the melody out with fiery electric guitar licks. ‘More Than Enough’ was also recorded by Glen Campbell. The catchy and contemporary melody is given a rhythmic production, and Wariner’s smooth crooning elevates the somewhat generic lyric to a regular rotating track in my collection.

I Should Be With You went to #20 on the Country Albums chart – not high enough to sell gold in the late 80s. And while the production – like so many albums of its era – is seriously dated in spots, the material and Steve’s vocals cannot be faulted. Discerning fans who can sift through the synthetic 80s-style production will be rewarded.

Grade: B

The album doesn’t appear to be available digitally, but CD and vinyl copies can be picked up inexpensively from amazon.

Interviews and humor: Your favorite country blogs posts of 2009

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.

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Talking to the stars: Best country blog posts of the year?

In July of 2007, a wonderful thing happened to me.  I was already a hard-core country music fan by then.  I was a steadfast reader of the CMT blog and their news section.  I also tried to keep up with country music through various google alerts – and still do.  But one day while searching for some particular tidbit of information, I stumbled upon the Granddaddy of Country Blogs, The 9513.  I found an early mailbag, and after reading, I decided to poke around the site.  I found intelligent reviews and well-thought editorials, all crawling with comments from just the kind of country fans I had been looking to interact with.  (I still love the CMT blog, but the regulars there are a bit untamed.)  From my new discovery, and mostly thanks to the daily news roundups, I began exploring the wealth of country music journalism all over the web, all suited to my own tastes, and even beyond that.  I was soon reading Country Universe, the Photocrap blog (now Farce the Music), and even found the Country California site before John Maglite sold it to C.M. Wilcox, who took the humor to another level.  There was also many more, and you can find them on this site’s blogroll.

There was something for everybody already by then, but I still jumped right in with my own comments.  It wasn’t long until I was bitten by the blogging bug, and the idea struck me for this site.  Knowing I couldn’t do it on my own, I set out to scoop up as many of the great writers as I could, and get them on my side, before the other blogs wanted them.  We started in December of 2008, with a simple idea: to write about the music we loved.  It became evident that mainstream country wasn’t going to accomodate us on a daily basis, so we sat out to write about the rich history of country music, alongside the latest releases.  And by March of this year, My Kind of Country was a genuine country music blog property, thanks in no small part to the big blogs lending us their readers.  Thanks again, you guys.  But enough about us.

We’ve all been very fortunate this year to be able to read a rich tapestry of entries from countless writers in the country blogosphere.  We’ve read scathing reviews and glowing ones, we’ve listened to candid and revealing interviews, and of course the oft-needed bitching and moaning to get things back the way we want them.  Country blogging has run the gamut this year and I’m so very proud to have been a small part of it.  I also look forward to what the new year will bring, as online literature continues to grow, and we drag country music, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.  Here’s to you, the pioneers of country blogging.  You are my heroes.

When I started thinking about reviving this post – an idea from the mind of C.M. Wilcox – I knew, like everything else in life, that I’d need the help of my friends to compile a truly worthy list.  So I sent out an email to every country blogger in my address book asking them their favorite blog posts of the year.  The consensus seemed to run towards interviews as personal favorites, with country blogging heavyweights Brady Vercher, Leeann Ward, and Blake Boldt all citing various interviews as the best articles of the year.  Here’s a few of the choice picks for best country blog posts of the year.  These are just what we came up with as a preliminary list.  With your help, we’d like to create a complete list of the 50 greatest posts from the past 12 months.  So be sure to jump in the comments section and tell us your picks so we can add them to the final ballot.

Charlie Louvin: Exclusive Pre-Grammy Interview – The 9513 – by Juli Thanki

A Conversation with Kathy Mattea – Country Universe – by Kevin Coyne

Heart, soul, and talent: Connie Smith’s recipe for great country music – My Kind of Country – by Razor X

Does Swift Have Tubb Appeal? – Country California – by C.M. Wilcox

Giving The People What They Want: Nashville’s Changing Music Business – The 9513 – by Chris Neal

John Rich: The Interview – The 9513 – by Jim Malec

‘All White’ Darius Rucker Parody – Farce The Music – by Trailer

What would you add to the list?  What writers and blogs have you discovered this year and made part of your daily reading?