What We’re Looking Forward To In 2017 Part 2 / New Year’s Resolutions

Author: Leon Blair

​​Yeah, I know we just had our reflection post released very recently, but as you can tell, Country Music Minds is already a lot different than it was just a week ago, and as a result, there’s more ground I need to cover, so think of this as the second part to my “what I’m looking forward to in 2017” post, because honestly our reflection post focused more on 2016 events anyway.

​I spent the majority of my Tuesday cleaning up and implementing new changes to the blog, and for those who saw the latest reviews on here or even this piece, it doesn’t take long to notice them. We’ll get to why very shortly. In addition, we’ll also get to some more changes I want to make to this blog that will affect 2017. Without further ado, here we go.

​To start, I’ll state exactly what I did to the blog. Honestly I just changed the theme. It took me about two minutes and the result is what you see now – new header, new fonts, new everything essentially. I know I said I’d keep the focus on 2017, but honestly the reason why is just to wipe the slate clean with 2016. It’s something personal I needed to do.
Also, you may or may not have noticed that the majority of our old posts are back. I uploaded everything I could, and the time it took to do that is something I don’t want to think about. Suffice to say I needed a nap on Tuesday afternoon. Anyway, not all of them are back, and the truth is, if it isn’t back by now, it won’t be again. When I was deleting my posts back in November, I originally had plans to save them on a special drive or back them up somewhere just in case I ever came back here. Well, I’m no Garth Brooks, but in all honesty I just chose not to save many of them simply because I didn’t think I wanted to come back at the time. I actually had to do a lot of digging just to find certain reviews that are back here now. I have nobody to blame but myself, and the truth is I’m sad some of them are gone like Mark Chesnutt, Kelsey Waldon, Lydia Loveless and some opinion pieces, but the past is the past anyway. 2017 is the chance to start over, and while there is still a ton of cleaning up to do here (more than I care to think about), a piece of our history is now back.
The second change I implemented was the addition of not just one, but two new pages to the blog. The first is our “review schedule/album release schedule”. The former will tell you what music we hope to review soon (hint-hint, if we don’t have something listed there, let us know and we’ll give it consideration), as well as what posts we plan to release. For example, today we had planned to release a new opinion piece concerning genre lines, but we feel we’ve harped on the subject long enough so we scrapped it for this. The second part, our album release schedule is our way of letting you know which albums are coming out. I’ll be honest, I’ll probably be absolutely horrible at updating it, but I’ll at least try it out.
Our second page is the re-addition of our blogroll. Originally, like many blogs we used to have it as a plain list on the side of our home page. Now though, we’ve dedicated an entire page to it. The reason for this (as I stated in our reflection piece) is because country blogs are all completely different from one another, and I want to make sure all voices get represented. That’s right, ALL voices. I honestly have listed some blogs with views I sometimes or often disagree with (by views I also mean methods of running their blog, certain things they do…etc), however, that doesn’t mean they’re excluded from the list. I don’t want this to be me patting other bloggers on the back for a job well done, it’s just a place to showcase blogs that are doing it in an honest way. As long as those bloggers are honest with where they’re coming from with what they do, they’re on the list. If you feel like one should be here, let me know and I’ll add it. Now, I realize that we aren’t nearly as big as the blogs we listed, so you’ve probably heard of the majority of them already. Still, if you find another website with content you like from the blogroll, it’s serving its purpose.
Other than that, that’s pretty much all I did yesterday. We had the new reviews posted, but other than that it was a typical day for us at Country Music Minds. We’re not stopping here though. I want to take the time to create some New Year’s resolutions for me. Essentially, these are the changes I’m HOPING to make in the coming year rather than ones that have already been implemented. To start…
1.) Make time for more reviews, but also not drag on the conversation – This is something that Josh Schott over at Country Perspective touched upon, and really it’s something I want to do as well. When I was browsing year end lists I saw numerous comments of “where’s Waldo”? Yeah, that kind of thing pisses me off (a lot), but I also got to thinking, is there a way to cover more music in a lesser amount of time? I used to be able to cap off my thoughts on reviews in a little over a page, and over time it just grew to the point where I’d be three pages into a review and still not done. Now, I’ve always loved to really get at the heart of what an artist is trying to do with his or her respective work, but to say that it was absolutely draining would be a HUGE understatement. That’s not to say that I don’t still plan to flesh out every bit of credit I can or really dig at the heart of the album, but I also think there’s ways I can be more concise about it, and the fun part now is figuring out how. In all honesty I might try to shorten my introductions a bit. They’re the hardest part of a review to write for me, and really, I feel like I could articulate the point better in a couple sentences, so that’s something I plan to work on.
Now, will I actually succeed in covering new music? Who knows, it still takes time to actually listen to all of this music, let alone really dig in to the lyrics, production, and whatever else is essential. If country had a better web presence (yes, I’m making a point here…), and I could actually find the lyrics or the credits to see who played what and who produced what, maybe it would be better, but I’ll see what I can do.
2.) Find a cool new feature to add – I definitely want this blog to be more than just reviews and the occasional opinion piece, because after all, that’s all just opinion anyway, but I also want to find a way to do something more with this blog. I’ve ruled out trying to cover every bit of news in the industry because I honestly don’t always have the time, but I do want to at least see if I can manage a weekly feature for the blog, maybe something to do with the charts, or……..I don’t know, something. I’ll figure it out.
So yeah, I think I’ve finally hammered out all I need to say, so yeah, happy 2017 (again).

7 thoughts on “What We’re Looking Forward To In 2017 Part 2 / New Year’s Resolutions

    1. After doing some poking around on the web yesterday I can see the list is already outdated somewhat, haha. Oh well, more music is never a problem as far as I’m concerned!
      In all honesty a lot of the list comes directly from Saving Country Music’s latest post. The other additions are just from me researching stuff. And glad you liked The Coal Flowers as well, certainly an interesting duo.
      I definitely have to cover more bluegrass so David Naiditch is someone I’ll listen to later today, I hear you on the review thing though. There are just certain projects you either enjoy or don’t enjoy that you still can’t find enough words for at times. Maybe I’ll find something though, thanks for the heads up as always!


    2. I just checked out the album. I see what you mean in regards to covering it. Still though, a very highly enjoyable listen, especially for this time of year! Thanks for the recommendation.


  1. Hey thanks Robert! I really appreciate it. Unfortunately I can’t update the list again until next week but I’ll be sure to add them. Thanks again.i definitely have to stick to my promise to cover more Bluegrass.


    1. I listened to Natalie Hemby’s new country album preview on NPR Music, and I think it will appeal a lot to folks who enjoyed Lori McKenna’s album last year. I’m pretty sure a song or two will make my “2017 country playlist” when I get that going.


      1. Yeah, I’ve given it a lot of listens and Lori McKenna was immediately who I thought of when I heard this record too. In terms of the overall theme driving the record I’d also say there’s a little bit of Southern Family and BJ Barham’s ‘Rockingham’ present as well. I’ll definitely cover it this week.


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