Day 78: The Coronavirus Countdown - 100 Days of Great Music

Our two albums today were released in the same general time period - Jackson Browne's Running On Empty (Chuck's pick) was released in 1977 while George Strait's debut Strait Country arrived just four years later in 1981.

We've been on a country kick the last few days, and while Strait is, arguably, country music's most accomplished artist of all-time, Browne was also a founding member of a pioneering country-rock group that found mainstream success on the country charts starting around the time Strait hit the scene.

Browne was long gone by the time the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band released a string of top country singles in the '80s, but he was a founding member in 1966 when the band released its self-titled debut album - your bonus pick of the day.

- Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb


Jackson Browne

Running On Empty (1977)

Why I Love It

I've talked a lot on this countdown about albums of my youth. There's not one that I heard more than this classic. My mom and dad adored this record, which sort of surprises me when I listen to it now. It also affirms my belief that my parents never paid a lot of attention to lyrics. I'm looking at you, "Rosie."It's such an amazing record, and the concept behind it led to an all-time great artist recording an all-time classic. Some tracks on the album were recorded live at shows, while others were recorded while Browne was on tour. The overall feel of the theme of life on the road is as authentic as it gets. I love every track on the album — especially "Rosie." Even though it was recorded across the United States, the album is also such a great example of the California sound of the late 1970s. It's one of my favorites. Thanks, mom and dad.

Album Highlights

"Rosie," "Shaky Town" and "The Load Out"

Kendall on Chuck's Album of the Day

This is Jackson Browne's best-known and, not surprisingly, best-selling album with a number of well-known singles that you'll recognize. This is one of those classic albums that's listed on a lot of critic lists for the best albums of all-time, and for one very good reason - it is. Solid pick from Chuck.


George Strait

Strait Country (1981)

Why I Love It

It's hard to believe almost 40 years have passed since this debut album from George Strait dropped.

I was going on nine years old when it surfaced, and Strait's music has been a key part of the soundtrack of my life ever since. He's the kind of artist where I download his album the day it's released. And I've got every one of the dozens of albums he's released ever since.

This album included the hits "Down And Out," "Unwound" and "If You're Thinking You Want A Stranger," but like every Strait album, it's the quality of the album cuts that make the whole album a must listen.

Album Highlights

"Honky Tonk Downstairs," "Blame It On Mexico" and "Her Goodbye Hit Me In The Heart"

Chuck on Kendall's Album of the Day

All hail, King George. This debut album and debut single, "Unwound" launched the career of one of the most legendary artists in country music history — straight out of Texas. Much like Kendall's Gary Stewart selection yesterday, this is an absolute honky-tonk classic. I love listening to this album because it's so cool to hear Strait before he was more polished and every music fan on the planet knew his name. He has a ton of great albums to choose from, but I love that Kendall went with the one that started it all.

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