20 Ways to Ensure I Won’t Hear Your New Music

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Don't bother telling me about it. Do tell me about it. Promise to send a CD, then don't. Mail your CD in an unpadded envelope so that it will arrive broken. Count on me to report the problem to you rather than just moving on to the next thing. Make sure the CD mailer arrives postage due. Instead of using email like a civilized person, tweet me your press release... Or post to Country California's Facebook wall... Or spam the comments section of an unrelated post on our website. Or do … [Read more...]

Best Country Albums Recap, 2007-2010

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As impossible as it seems, 2011 was my fifth time through the year-end list shenanigans. Ranking albums is a ritual with which I've never been very comfortable. Reviews allow for questions and shades of gray, but straight numerical orderings imply a finality at odds with the way I actually experience music, i.e. by living with it and, sometimes, being made to change my mind. Now that I have a few of these lists behind me, though, I can see their retrospective value. If I hadn't recorded my … [Read more...]

Country California’s Best of 2011 Lists

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Sick of lists yet? We'll make this quick and dirty. Best Country Albums of 2011 1. Pistol Annies - Hell on Heels 2. Hellbound Glory - Damaged Goods 3. Various Artists - This One's for Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark 4. Matraca Berg - The Dreaming Fields 5. Reckless Kelly - Good Luck and True Love 6. LeAnn Rimes - Lady and Gentlemen 7. Justin Haigh - People Like Me 8. Hayes Carll - KMAG YOYO 9. Miranda Lambert - Four the Record 10. Dirt Drifters - This Is My Blood (Complete list with … [Read more...]

Collected Wisdom: The 100 Greatest Tweets of Drunken Martina

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Today, Country California salutes Drunken Martina, the First Lady of Boozy Misconduct and long-running Twitter/Facebook spin-off of a satirical series begun here in 2009. Sensing that social networks are a far too impermanent place to store some of the greatest bits of bite-sized wisdom of our time, we've taken the liberty of collecting our 100 favorite Drunken Martina tweets here for your enjoyment. If you get a kick out of them, be sure to follow Drunken Martina on Twitter or Facebook. Just … [Read more...]

The 20 Best Country Live Albums of All Time, Part II

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The bottom half of the countdown included some Texas, some Bakersfield, some folk, some bluegrass, and even a little mainstream. The top half strikes a similar balance with an entirely different set of artists. Read on for the 10 Best Country Live Albums of All Time, as decided on by the panel of experts inside my head. Oh, and don't forget to weigh in with your own favorites in the comments! 10. In Person - Charley Pride When it comes to audience-performer connection, this one ranks … [Read more...]

The 20 Best Country Live Albums of All Time, Part I

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I wanted to do The 400 Best Country Live Albums of All Time, but Country Universe stole my thunder, so I whittled it down to a lean list of 20 favorites. Here are numbers 20-11, with the top 10 to follow tomorrow. Agree? Disagree? Like to pick fights? Be sure to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments. 20. Live at Stubb's - Reckless Kelly When I first got this disc, it stayed in my car CD player for at least a month or two. Even with Bulletproof landing near the top of my 2008 … [Read more...]