iCF Music Site Rolodex (11.19.08)

I am loving the new amount of traffic that’s been coming through here lately (I had about an average of 35-40 different people per day reading the site this week, which is pretty impressive for this blog).  July had the most visitors for the month, but it died down as my blogging lagged, and that makes sense since people lose interest when there’s nothing new lol.  We’ll see how the end of this month does compares to then!  I actually had lots of visitors for the CMA Awards entry (probably because of all those artist tags ha).  I gotta thank Ken Barnes from the “LISTEN UP” USA Today Blog, for linking to this site for this week’s playlist for his Crystal Shawanda recommendation (there are others on the list as well)  Anyway, for this entry, I wanted to recommend the links from my “Other cool music sites” heading on the right, and explain why I chose them to be there.  This is one of my tributes to them and their great work (you can see my “blogroll” tribute here).

(I chose this picture because it was cool and kinda signified the link between my site and these other sites.  They are part of the puzzle that makes the online music world greater.  We may not always “fit in” with others, but we make it work, somehow.  A “necessary connection”, if you will.  Alright, enough with all the corniness.  It’s mostly because I think it’s cool to look at!)

So, let’s get to it.

iCF Music Site Rolodex:

> .::Strait-LAW Forums::. :

– O.K. I admit; this is a shameless plug for one of my own other sites lol, but why not?  It needs more traffic especially with all the info that’s been posted on it.  It’s a message board dedicated to two of my favorite artists, George Strait and Lee Ann Womack.  I spent lots of time on it over the years (the forums officially started July 2004!) and it has changed much since then.  It used to be only a Womack board, but became Strait too, in May 2005.  It’s had its in and outs, but I called it everything but quits ;).  Anyway, not to give a history lesson, but you can read more about the history here and check it out!  Tag-line is: “It’s where you’ll get the good news and the bad news (and anything in between)” – a reference to their first duet.

> All Music Guide :

– One of my absolute favorite sites I go to.  I constantly visit them to read their reviews and listen to audio clips for music.  I used their clips for this site because they’ve got tons of music to sample.  I really like the way all the information is organized and I’ve learned a lot, musically, from there.  They’ve got a music blog too, but their entries about country music seem to be lacking…

> Angry Country :

– This is an online magazine with plenty of country album/concert reviews, interviews, news, and such – “Honest Country Music News” is their tag-line.  I enjoy this site, though I do remember when it was different in the past and a bit more critical (which is more to my liking lol) on artists and a bit more traditional-sided.  Guess they’re not as “angry” as they used to be.  Still a worthy place to visit, for sure.

> Country Interviews Online :

– Just like it says, this is the site to go to for interviews and Q&A’s and also, CD/concert/video reviews and lots more!  There are a good amount of pages I still need to get through!  So much.  The site is structured around frames, so it’d be kinda hard for a visitor to link to a specific page if they didn’t know the whole “right click, copy properties” method, but it’s a nice set-up, overall.

> Country On-Demand :

– This site always impresses me with its colorful, diverse images and consistency with the latest country news.  I believe the site is run by Derrick and Dustin, both gentlemen who I’ve run across and talked to online many times and they’re good guys and have a huge commitment to the site and are also huge fans of country music (how’s that for a run-on sentence, but it’s true).  I’m so glad the site seems to be going strong and I’m a big supporter of it all.  They be goin’ places! Definitely check it out.

> Country Standard Time :

– A staple amongst country music news sites with intensive and well-written out reviews and significant information.  I visit them on a pretty constant basis.  They have a good taste in music, based on the album reviews I’ve read, and also host the blog for Country Mike.  Their site is easy to navigate through and that’s always a plus.

> Country Stars Central :

– This fairly new-ish site is managed by Christian Scalise and I’ve known him, online, for years.  He’s a fellow big Womack fan like me and he’s always been passionate for the music he loves, and it shows.  I remember before he began this incredible site, he asked around for what was the best free online host, and I suggested FreeWebs (I only hope I can take credit for pointing him that direction haha) and here it is.  Full of beautiful pics of country stars and very-detailed reviews from albums to concerts.  My favorite are the artist interviews.  Christian put a lot of work into the site, so you for sure gotta visit and you’ll be hooked too!

> LAW: Lee Ann Womack Online :

– Ah yes, another shameful shameful self-plug (I feel a little guilty, I tell ya, but not enough to stop).  Knowing me, I can’t shut up about Lee Ann (to you online people, that IS the correct way to spell her name, so do it right.  Call me crazy but it really bothers me when people misspell her name lol).  This is the tribute site I’ve made for her, which began in May 2004 (read about the history here) and is (somewhat) still going strong.  I admit, I do not update it as often as I should, but I’ve spent huge chunks of time managing it over time.  There’s a new look on the front page and I only hope I can update the rest.

> Lone Star Music :

– A Texan independent music-based world.  If you’re looking for Texan music at a fair price, this is a good place to look around.  They’ve got a big volume of info, including their no-holds-barred interviews, like this one with Jack Ingram (you gotta love that bluntness – it’s what’s missing from those old cookie-cutter ones from uncool sites).  Read more about LSM here.

> Nashville Scene :

– Continuing on with the whole independent music scene theme from above, Nashville Scene’s music section has a good deal of reading that would interest such a fan.  They’re pretty blunt, as well, and get straight to the point.  Good concert reviews and articles, which aren’t just limited to country music.  It’s somewhat confusing to know where to go, so I stick with the “Search” bar and look at what comes up for that particular artist.

> Patty Loveless Net :

– Probably my most favorite artist fan site ever.  Really truly amazing.  With Patty not being in the mainstream anymore, who would think she would have a fantastic fansite like this (one amongst the leagues of other big fansites with always creative and lovely layouts/banners).  I’ve visited the site for years and the message board for Patty is one of the best – you gotta join to just to read the spirited concert reviews and pictures.  It feels so good to be around fellow fans who understand how great Patty’s music is and the frustration that comes with her music and radio.  Cole, the creator of the site, is responsible for such a community and any Patty fans gotta be appreciate of all that Cole has done for us and Patty’s music.  This is the place to check for the latest, so skip the official site because, in all honestly, that one sucks.  Go to PLN!

> Radio Free Texas :

“Texas Independence for Your Ears!” Go here for diverse and gritty country music – nothing but talent in these parts.  I was referred to this site by a friend and their internet radio is one of a kind.  You can request songs and rate them as they play.  I’ve found some good tracks by artists I didn’t know and some who I did.  There’s a cool message board and music directory.  Be careful you’re not at work or needing quietness when you enter the site, though: there’s a default radio playing that begins (you can press “stop”, if necessary, on the bottom of the page).  Otherwise, turn it up!  Don’t Mess with Texas (politics aside lol, their music is where it’s at!)

> Slipcue’s Guide to Hick Music :

– (at least, I think that’s what the site’s called.  I dunno).  Anyway, I don’t remember how I found this place, originally, but it was years ago.  Once again, the album reviews at this site are full of that honestly you really look for in a review.  One that doesn’t hold back and tells it how it is (a way that I’m committed to convey as long as my blog is up).  The author knows when music is too Nashville-sounding and “slick”.  I may not always agree with him, but I do crave that kinda honesty.  Always a delight to read his most recent reviews.  I always thought that his site was not too well known (well, you can’t really tell because there’s no blog/guestbook or anything that I know of), so I hope this helps bring more audience to take advantage of the content.  Just read any of “Top 40 Country” reviews and you’ll wanna read more.

> That’s Country :

– I realy like this place (I’m not too fond of the current front page with Taylor Swift and the Nashville-Star model, however lol).  A nice place to get news, reviews, and my favorite, sink into the listening parties.  They operate from good ole Canada and it’s always a joy to see what’s new.

> XM Satellite Radio :

– How could I go without talking about my favorite radio environment?  Apparently the merger with Sirius went through or something because the channels’ names have changed, but it’s fine.  I love listening to XM in the car (of the Honda kind) and now, with our new DIRECTV satellite television service, I now have it to listen in my living room (ha, trust me, I’m not selling out.  I’m not getting paid to advertise or promote anybody, even though that last sentence sounded commercial-like.  I just read that and was like, “wow”).  I couldn’t do without XM because mainstream country radio is just horrible, for the most part.  My main problem is hearing the same songs by the same artists all the time with FM radio, and those crappy commercials.  Thank God, XM is playing normal music right now and not stuck in the Christmas mood this early in the month.  With my XM, I switch between mainstream/alternative/traditional/bluegrass/’90s country to rock and pop stuff on other channels.  Exceptional music and CD-quality sound, for just like $13 a month or something like that.  Occasionally, there are commercials, but it’s not a nuisance.  “Regular” radio could learn lots from XM!

> Y’all Wire :

– My favorite online location to go to for country music videos.  Yeah, YouTube is nice too, of course, but Y’all Wire has got it down, and is specialized in this market.  They’ve usually got the latest videos to show and nobody else can really claim that (there’s also a wide archive of “older” videos to view).  Go there just to view the indescribable Johnny Cash “Hurt” video, on repeat.  Their “Original Shows” are fun to watch, too.  They’ve got Christian music videos as well.

———————————–

Well, I made it through and typed a lot more than I intended to lol.  Just like my music, I’m highly passionate about the sites I visit.  If you have a site you’d like for me to check out (and not just to get your spam on here for), then post it here and I’ll check it out, and may add it to the rolodex, if I approve.

Currently listening to: “Give It to Me” – 3 Doors Down (a great new song from their latest album. They’re good rock music).

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