Album Review: Blake Shelton – Startin’ Fires

Blake Shelton - Startin Fires

This review was originally published at the late, great The 9513 in December 2008, before Shelton had joined the Opry, married Miranda Lambert, become a perennial CMA Male Vocalist winner, or found wider pop culture stardom as a personality on NBC's The Voice. Savvy observers of mainstream country recognize Blake Shelton as one of the format's finest interpreters of a song. On his fifth studio album, the Oklahoma native and beau of firecracker Miranda Lambert (a connection alluded to by the … [Read more...]

Stayin’ alive in 2-0-1-5

Since I opted out of the race to the bottom months ago, some have reached out to say: Okay, Wilcox. We get it. You removed all the ads. The Amazon affiliate links are helping dogs now. You've removed all financial incentive to kowtow or chase quick hits, so you're free to only write about what you actually find interesting and/or exciting. But does enacting your principles necessarily mean taking a vow of poverty? That seems like a dangerous precedent to set for the future of online music … [Read more...]

Quotable Country – 01/11/15 Edition

Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source. I'm hardly an expert, because I haven't been there for a long time. But the [Portable] People Meter ratings methodology [of terrestrial radio] punishes unfamiliar music, by and large. That's my understanding. So radio used to be an active medium, and now it's turned into more of a passive medium. ● --- SiriusXM tastemaker John Marks on terrestrial radio. Heard today, though, what the full-on novelty of “Bird of Paradise” most clearly … [Read more...]

This Week in Country Music History: Podcast Launch!

this week

I wanted to get Country California's After the Beep podcast launched. I also wanted to do another This Week in Country Music History. So, I decided to complete both tasks in one fell swoop. Listen to the podcast version for my impeccable delivery and some bits not included in the text below. If I can be so bold, I'd also recommend subscribing to After the Beep via your pod-listening program or app of choice. The feed can be found at This thing's so new that it … [Read more...]

Quotable Country – 01/04/15 Edition

Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source. I love a good old apple cider with some apple pie and vanilla ice cream on top. I know you can have that year-round, but whenever you can have it at Christmas time with the cider, it makes it a little more Christmassy. ● --- Even Scotty McCreery's holiday food picks are personality-free. With his headphones on, the Wichita man sang Blake Shelton's song "Boys 'Round Here" out loud. Passengers around him complained to the flight … [Read more...]

Rest in peace, Little Jimmy Dickens


Little Jimmy Dickens passed away Friday at age 94. I just came upon this West Virginia Public Broadcasting sit-down with him from 2007, when he was being inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame. For those who knew him primarily as a merry Opry showman, this rare chance to see Dickens speak seriously, at some length, about his life and career might give a better sense of who he was as a person. The Tennessean has a nice, thorough, Peter Cooper-penned obit with even more … [Read more...]

January 2015 Show Calendar

Hot dog, it's 2015! Please be on the lookout for another email later in the month with some news. From our Northern California Concert Calendar, a listing of shows for the month ahead. If you have friends in the area, please invite them to receive our monthly roundups by email. 01/02/15 - Laurie Lewis & Kathy Kallick - Freight & Salvage - Berkeley, CA 01/03/15 - The Easy Leaves (Western Winter Formal) - Great American Music Hall - San Francisco, CA 01/07/15 - Marc Cohn - City Winery … [Read more...]