Day 43: The Coronavirus Countdown – 100 Days of Great Music

The staff of the College Football America Yearbook is on the road every weekend of the college football season, shooting games and gathering information for the following year’s book. That means a lot of driving and listening to a lot of music.

Earlier this year our College Football America Yearbook publisher Kendall Webb and our director of editorial content Chuck Cox put together ‘The Coronavirus Countdown – 100 Days of Great Music.’ Each of them sat down and compiled a list of 100 great albums. Their goal was not to select the ‘100 greatest albums of all time.’ It was simply to select 100 great albums to write about as they passed the time during quarantine and shelter-at-home orders.

This 2020 college football season will be unprecedented in so many ways. It’s very likely none of us will be on the road for games because, like most people, we’re trying to stay healthy. And we hope you are too.

So, for the next 100 days, we’re going to publish their countdown here at CollegeFootballAmericaPR.com (the list was originally published on Webb’s personal site, kendallwebb.net). Consider it the ultimate playlist for the ultimate college road trip — music for every taste, from every genre and from every decade of the modern era of music. When the staff of the College Football America Yearbook is back on the road, you can bet these will be some of the tunes we’re listening to.

And, if you missed the previous installments of our series, just click here to head to the Coronavirus Countdown — 100 Days of Great Music home page.

Here’s Day 43

Folk legend John Prine died earlier this spring after a bout with the coronavirus. He was a big influence on a range of artists including both of our featured artists today.

In fact, Chuck’s Album of the Day comes courtesy of Chris Knight whose latest album is “Almost Daylight.” Prine was Knight’s hero, and Track 11 on that album features him trading verses with Prine on his classic “Mexican Home.”

Kendall’s Album of the Day, meanwhile, comes courtesy of  Norah Jones who performed in tribute to Prine during his induction ceremony into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. She was on hand again during a livestream tribute following Prine’s death. We’ve featured Prine already as one of our bonus picks, but he’s worthy of an encore. His 1973 album “Sweet Revenge” features the original version of “Mexican Home,” and it’s your bonus pick of the day.

— Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb

CHUCK’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

Chris Knight

A Pretty Good Guy (2001)

Why I Love It

It’s easy to hear Steve Earle’s inspiration on this great album. Like on many of the songs by the artist who drove Knight to songwriting, the storytelling is so incredible. You feel like you know the characters well by the time the songs fade out — in particular on “Down the River.” The story of revenge gives me chills every time I listen to it. Knight has a tremendous gift for turning a phrase and approaching lyrics from different angles, which is why I fell in love with his music in the first place a few years earlier. The guy is amazing.

Album Highlights

“A Pretty Good Guy,” “Down the River” and “Blame Me”

Kendall on Chuck’s Album of the Day

I’ve been a Chris Knight fan since his self-titled 1998 release hit the market on Decca. That’s still my favorite album by Knight, but there’s nothing wrong at all with this pick from Chuck that features what might be my favorite Knight song — “Down The River,” a haunting tale of murder and revenge that’s almost too realistic to be a figment of Knight’s imagination.

KENDALL’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

Norah Jones

Come Away With Me (2002)

Why I Love It

It’s hard to believe that 18 years have passed since this album hit the market.

Norah Jones was just 22 at the time, but her mature vocals belied her youthful age. Ditto for the song selections which ranged from covers of Hank Williams to John D. Loudermilk to Hoagy Carmichael. In between, Jones had a hand in writing three songs on the album that showed her talents extended beyond just vocals and piano.

It remains an astounding debut that has sold more than 11 million copies to date in the United States and more than 27 million worldwide.

Album Highlights

“Don’t Know Why,” “Cold, Cold Heart” and “Come Away With Me”

Chuck on Kendall’s Album of the Day

This is another album that nearly made it onto my list. It’s so mellow and wonderful. What a way for Norah Jones to introduce herself to the masses. An intimate throwback with a Hoagy Carmichael cover, the fact that this album was a mainstream success tells you all that you need to know about her immense talent. She is one of my favorite female vocalists.

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