Tag Archives: Carrie Underwood

2012 CMA Nominations

They’re out!  What are your thoughts on this year’s CMA nominations?  Discuss in the comments section.

Entertainer of the Year 

Jason Aldean
Kenny Chesney
Brad Paisley
Blake Shelton
Taylor Swift

Female Vocalist of the Year

Kelly Clarkson
Miranda Lambert
Martina McBride
Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood

Male Vocalist of the Year

Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Blake Shelton
Keith Urban

Vocal Group of the Year

The Band Perry
Eli Young Band
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
Zac Brown Band

Vocal Duo of the Year

Big & Rich
Love and Theft
The Civil Wars
Thompson Square

New Artist of the Year

Lee Brice
Brantley Gilbert
Hunter Hayes
Love and Theft
Thompson Square

Album of the Year (Awarded to artist and producer)

Luke Bryan, Tailgates and Tanlines – Produced by Jeff Stevens and Mark Bright

Eric Church, Chief – Produced by Jay Joyce

Miranda Lambert, Four the Record – Produced by Frank Liddell, Chuck Ainlay, and Glenn Worf

Dierks Bentley, Home – Produced by Brett Beavers, Luke Wooten, and Jon Randall Stewart

Lady Antebellum, Own the Night  – Produced by Paul Worley and Lady Antebellum

Song of the Year (Awarded to songwriters)

Eli Young Band, “Even if It Breaks Your Heart” – Will Hoge and Eric Paslay

Blake Shelton, “God Gave Me You” – Dave Barnes

Dierks Bentley, “Home” – Dierks Bentley, Dan Wilson and Brett Beavers

Miranda Lambert, “Over You” – Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton

Eric Church, “Springsteen” – Eric Church, Jeff Hyde and Ryan Tyndell

Single of the Year (Awarded to artist and producer)

Jason Aldean, “Dirt Road Anthem” – Produced by Michael Knox

Blake Shelton, “God Gave Me You” – Produced by Scott Hendricks

Dierks Bentley, “Home” – Produced by Brett Beavers and Luke Wooten

Little Big Town, “Pontoon” – Produced by Jay Joyce

Eric Church, “Springsteen” – Produced by Jay Joyce

Musical Event of the Year

“Dixie Highway,” Alan Jackson and Zac Brown Band

“Feel Like a Rock Star,” Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw

“Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die,” Willie Nelson featuring Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson and Jamey Johnson

“Safe and Sound,” Taylor Swift featuring the Civil Wars

“Stuck on You,” Lionel Richie and Darius Rucker

Music Video of the Year (Awarded to artist and director)

Eric Church, “Springsteen” – Directed by Peter Zavadil

Kenny Chesney, “Come Over” – Directed by Shaun Silva

Miranda Lambert, “Over You” – Directed by Trey Fanjoy

Little Big Town, “Pontoon” – Directed by Declan Whitebloom

Toby Keith, “Red Solo Cup” – Directed by Michael Salomon

Musician of the Year

Sam Bush
Paul Franklin
Dann Huff
Brent Mason
Mac McAnally


Posted by on September 5, 2012 in News and Events


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lauren Alaina – “Eighteen Inches”

Songwriters:  Ashley Gorley, Kelley Lovelace, Carrie Underwood

A great hook goes a long way.

What makes “Eighteen Inches” a solid song does not lie in the story it tells of two young lovers who run away together against parental wishes.  It’s hardly novel ground for contemporary country music, and it would fit in snugly with the catalog of the song’s co-writer, Alaina’s Idol mentor Carrie Underwood.  The song’s strength lies in the way it gets to the root of the driving force behind its characters’ actions, particularly through the effective summary found in the song’s central phrase.

“There ain’t no greater distance than the eighteen inches from your head to your heart” is a great hook.  It sticks in your head, and it concisely encapsulates the song’s theme of the constant conflict between human emotion and better judgment.  The song’s overall point is simple but true – Sometimes, particularly in youth, we make choices that are driven by emotion in the spur of a moment.  Those choices can have lasting effects on the journey life takes, but sometimes those effects can be for good.  We see this in the final verse, in which the characters welcome a baby as Alaina concludes “Thank God for those eighteen inches from you head to your heart.”  The fact that the song even has a defined narrative as well as a composite theme is in itself enough to set the song above half of the material on country radio.

“Like My Mother Does” was stale and disposable, while “Georgia Peaches” was borderline obnoxious, but third single “Eighteen Inches” is a clear step up.  This is partly because it gives Alaina a chance to show her chops as an interpretive singer, which are strong for one of such young age.  Then again, the young love tale is hardly far removed from Alaina’s 17-year-old perspective, and she thus sounds fully invested in the characters’ story.

It’s easy for a critic to give a young artist the “age-appropriate” pass for recording weak material, but “Eighteen Inches” manages to successfully balance Alaina’s youthful perspective with a level of clear-eyed insight that artists twice her age can at times stand to benefit from.  A little less “Georgia Peaches,” and a lot more of this please.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)


1 Comment

Posted by on July 8, 2012 in Single Reviews


Tags: ,

Carrie Underwood – “Blown Away”

Songwriters:  Chris Tompkins, Josh Kear

Though Carrie Underwood has released a fair amount of tepid material over the past few years, her new album Blown Away hints strongly at a restless creative spirit beginning to bubble up underneath that powerhouse voice.  This is particularly evident on the album’s title track, which has been slated as its second single.

With this ambitious new release, Underwood ventures into the thematic territory of domestic abuse with a harrowing tale of a girl claiming revenge on her violent alcoholic father.  When a twister touches down on the family’s Oklahoma residence, the protagonist takes cover in the cellar while her father lies passed out on the couch, allowing the storm-ravaged house to collapse on top of him.  The lyric invests a sense of symbolism in the events it describes, building on effective metaphors between the destruction of the house, and the protagonist moving on in the wake of her tortured past.  It adds up to one of the most complex and engaging lyrics Underwood has tackled yet, which will undoubtedly make it a sharp standout on country radio.

Though “Blown Away” doesn’t quite reach the spine-tingling heights of Martina McBride’s flawless “Independence Day,” it represents significant growth as an interpretive singer on Underwood’s part, as she gives an empathetic delivery that imparts a sense of humanity to the desperate protagonist who takes extreme measures to preserve herself.  Though it’s all too easy for a big-voiced singer of Underwood’s caliber to veer off toward ill-advised power notes, “Blown Away” finds her striking a balance between power and nuance, ably stepping up to the role of a storyteller as well as a singer.

Why producer Mark Bright felt to need to slap on unnecessary, distracting reverb effects on Underwood’s otherwise solid vocal is anybody’s guess.  It doesn’t necessary sink the record, but it acts as a barrier between the song and the listener, and it takes focus off of Underwood’s committed, dynamic performance.  Other than that, the arrangement, which tastefully incorporates a few orchestral touches, is generally effective at conveying a sense of intensity and urgency to fit the dark lyric.

“Blown Away” may be a bit rough around the edges, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of Underwood’s most interesting and challenging single releases to date.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)



Posted by on June 15, 2012 in Single Reviews


Tags: ,

Carrie Underwood – “Good Girl”

After having been the dominant female force in country music for a good while, Carrie Underwood has been relatively quiet on the music front for the past year.  Though her highly successful Play On tour kept her more than busy, her only new music released in the past year was her appearance as a duet partner on Brad Paisley’s “Remind Me.”  The wait is now drawing to a close with the release of “Good Girl,” the first single from Underwood’s as-yet-untitled fourth album, set for a May 1 release.

“Good Girl,” essentially does what “Cowboy Casanova” did a few years prior, but does it a bit better.  Once again, Underwood plays the part of a woman warning a companion against tangling with a no-good man.  This time the lyrics largely steer clear of overtly cliché territory, while offering a few clever lines such as “His lips are dripping honey, but he’ll sting you like a bee.”  But while the song flirts with the idea of having some sort of meaning, it remains clear that the song’s main purpose is to set toes tapping, and to get the crowd singing along, which is not inherently a bad thing.  To that end, “Good Girl” serves its purpose well.

Of course, some of the typical Underwood criticisms still apply here.  Yes, the sonic treatment is bombastic as usual.  Fortunately, the production stays out of the way for the first half, leaning on a catchy guitar hook and hand clap section, before finally succumbing to the temptation to indulge in some electric guitar shredding.  More irritating are the unnecessary layers of background vocals, which give the track a murky, watered-down sound, whereas a crisp and clean edge could have made it a little better.

At the end of the day, “Good Girl” succeeds in spite of itself because it plays to Underwood’s strengths as a vocalist – simply by allowing her to rock out and show some attitude.  Indeed, the main thing that makes “Good Girl” enjoyable is the way Underwood tears into the song and owns it.  Thus, we’re left with a good single that falls a degree short of greatness, but that nonetheless succeeds in whetting appetites for new music from the ever-so-talented Carrie Underwood.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)



Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Single Reviews


Tags: ,


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.