The introduction of our new writers concludes today with the first post of Lynn Douglas.   She has been a regular commenter for a long time, and now she will be contributing her perspectives on country music as a whole, with a focus on Americana music in particular.   With her addition, our staff is now complete.  Please join me in welcoming her! – Kevin

Hello everyone! I have been asked to make contributions to Country Universe, which I find to be such a wonderfully thoughtful and engaging (and female friendly!) site on country music.  I’m incredibly excited by the prospect of introducing you to new songs and artists, as well as helping you discover or re-discover older ones.

I don’t have a formal degree or pedigree in the subject; I simply love and am addicted to music – from the Boss to the Dixie Chicks; from Joni Mitchell to Willie Nelson; from Louis Armstrong to Loretta Lynn; and from The Clancy Brothers to Steve Earle.  I adore lyrics that that read like your favorite book, fast picking that energizes the blood, the perfect steel guitar solo, and the sound of an acoustic guitar being plucked by a master.

I was born and raised in Southern California, and currently call it home, but I have lived all over the U.S. (including Nashville) and spent a number of years living overseas.  Both music and traveling have been my passions for years.  In many ways, for me, each defines the other.  Everywhere I have traveled, I have found my music spot – the cozy cavern in Spain, the friendly pub in Scotland, the smoky bar in Ireland, the dark basement in Prague.

Music has an amazing ability to define the moment and connect you to a new culture.  I fully believe it is that grounding, yet transcendental quality to music that has enabled me to shelter my undying love for Latin, Irish, jazz, blues and folk under the same umbrella as my undying love for country.  Each of those genres has a story to tell – of a people or of a generation.  Hopefully through this site I’ll be able to help you sift through the morass of shallow nothingness that frequents the airwaves and makes the news and find those stories that should come to light!

Kevin has asked if I would like to generally focus on so-called Americana, Alt-country, Bluegrass and Texas country artists. I leapt at the opportunity.  About five years ago or so I stopped listening to country radio on a regular basis, after having been a die-hard listener for years.  I still loved country music, but I no longer really connected to the artists, their songs and the messages they were sending. Therefore, I took cues from some of my favorite artists and began to branch out.

Through the Dixie Chicks, for example, I discovered (or began paying attention to) Patty Griffin, Charlie and Bruce Robison, Kelly Willis, Jack Ingram, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Emmylou Harris, Jim Lauderdale, Darrell Scott, Steve Earle, Tim O’Brien, Reckless Kelly, Lucinda Williams, Wilco, Jesse Dayton, Ricky Skaggs, Willie Nelson, Marty Stuart, Terri Hendrix, Lyle Lovett and Miranda Lambert, among others.  Since then, I’ve discovered so many other great artists with the above labels through the country blogs (partially thanks to the Texas boys at the 9513!).

Through this exploration, I renewed my great love for country music and it is now stronger than ever. So, although I’ll probably be the odd (wo)man out on occasion, as I’m more excited about Darrell Scott’s new album than Carrie Underwood’s.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to introduce some of you to great new music you love by artists you’ve never heard of or previously given a chance.