Day 45: 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 45

Kendall’s Album of the Day is a relatively obscure pick by a Canadian female singer-songwriter who hit it big in her native country while struggling to find success on the American side of the border.

It’s a good day then to look back at another successful female pop singer from north of the border who made a much bigger mark on the American charts. Anne Murray was a pop vocalist at her core, but she managed to carve out an enduring career straddling both the country and pop charts beginning in the early ’70s and continuing on throughout much of the ’80s. Hits like her 1970 breakthrough single “Snowbird” were Top 10 on both the country and pop charts while also proving to be popular in Canada, too. That broad appeal continued to deliver hits for Murray on multiple radio formats well into the ’80s.

Her popularity began to wane after that, but by then, Murray had assembled a recorded legacy that makes her one of the most successful country-crossover artists in the history of the genre. The rich quality of her vocals combined with the overall quality of her catalog has also shielded her from the usual criticism in country circles that comes when artists are perceived to have compromised artistic integrity – i.e., “selling out” by smoothing out the country elements to make their music more palatable to pop audiences. On the contrary, Murray remains a revered artist by both country and pop fans of her music, and her 1994 anthology “The Best … So Far” is your bonus pick of the day.

— Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb

CHUCK’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

Kings Of Leon

Only By The Night (2008)

Why I Love It

Although Kings of Leon had released three previous albums, this is the first one that caught my attention. I love everything about it. It’s a slick, clever and thoroughly enjoyable record from start to finish. Because the music is a bit of a departure from the band’s earlier work, it wasn’t necessarily embraced by its established fan base. For me, it’s an album that displays a great band firing on all cylinders and has a flawless track sequence. This is a record that I never turn to just for one song — I have to listen to all 11 of them in one sitting each time.

Album Highlights

“Closer,” “Notion” and “Cold Desert”

Kendall on Chuck’s Album of the Day

I’m a big fan of Kings of Leon, and like Chuck, this is the album where the band really grabbed my attention. Songs like “Sex On Fire,” “Use Somebody” and “Notion” became huge international hits while ruling the charts here in the U.S. as well. A great album that flows together seamlessly thanks to the perfect sequencing as Chuck points out.

KENDALL’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

Chantal Kreviazuk

Colour Moving And Still (1999)

Why I Love It

I guess I just became a sucker for female pop singers from Canada starting in the early ’90s. I was a big fan of Sarah McLachlan’s “Fumbling Towards Ecstasy” when it arrived in 1993 followed by Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill” in 1996. Three years later another Canadian singer named Chantal Kreviazuk roped me in with a song called “Blue.” (It would happen again three years after that with Avril Lavigne’s “Let Go,” another personal favorite.)

“Blue” was on the album featured here — “Colour Moving And Still” – and it stands right alongside those two previous albums by McLachlan and Morissette in terms of overall quality. Kreviazuk never reached the same level of popularity, however, mainly because she never broke out in a big way in the U.S. She remained extremely popular in her native Canada, however, and has continued to perform and record regularly through the years since this album’s release.

Album Highlights

“Blue,” “Before You” and “Little Things”

Chuck on Kendall’s Album of the Day

When Kendall and I were revealing the 100 albums on our lists for the countdown to each other, I was not at all familiar with Chantal Kreviazuk. Somehow, she had slipped under my radar all of these years. So, this was one of the albums I was most looking forward to checking out. It’s a beautiful record that’s well worth your time. It also reminded me a bit of one of Kendall’s earlier choices, Colbie Caillat’s Breakthrough. Good, solid pop album.

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