Reba McEntire (f. Skip Ewing) – “Every Other Weekend”

Jim Malec | February 27th, 2008

Reba McEntire and Skip Ewing I often criticize the current state of country radio. I say it’s too homogeneous, too fluffy, too commercial. I write about artists and songwriters who pander to their perceptions of what the audience expects. Yes, I complain about a lot of things that I think are wrong in this genre, this format, and this industry.

But despite all of this, the fact remains that I still love country music. And one of the reasons I love it as much as I do is because I’m convinced that in country music, more than in any other genre, there exists the potential for moments of genuine magic.

It’s easy to lose sight of that fact when everything feels so domestic. It’s easy to lose faith in the music’s ability to deliver something substantive when almost everything we hear sounds so contrived.

But then the song comes. You know the song. The song that makes you stop. The song that makes you listen–really listen–because it gets under your skin and demands your attention.

And while 99.9999% of the country music on the radio today is designed to reinforce our faith in something–life, love, America–that is the song, the .0001%, that restores our faith in the music.

And I don’t think we see many of those songs in Pop. Sure, on a song by song basis, Pop takes us to town. Those cats know how to write a hook.

But every once in a while someone in country music shows some balls, and we get a song that really matters. It’s Jennifer Nettles sitting down and pouring her soul into “Stay,” and watching Mercury have enough courage to send it to radio. It’s Deanna Carter striking gold with a five-minute waltz.

Those songs come about because people are willing to take a stand for the music. Because they realize that they have the opportunity to create something that matters, something that will actually impact people’s lives.

When the drama surrounding “Every Other Weekend” started to shake down, and it became apparent that the Reba/Kenny version of this song, as it appears on Reba’s Duets album, would not be viable for radio, Reba could have gone out and asked any one of a hundred other artists to record Kenny’s part. She could have, for example, called up her good friend Ronnie Dunn.

But she didn’t call Ronnie, or Vince, or Alan. Instead she turned to the songsmith himself, someone 99.9999% of the world has never heard of.

And that takes balls.

Make no mistake: Skip Ewing is Nashville. And “Every Other Weekend” is a better song with him singing on it than with Kenny Chesney singing on it.

Why?

Ewing is a better singer. His voice is more emotive. And, unlike Chesney, he actually understands the concept of melody.

I like Kenny. I can sing along to “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem,” on a hot summer day with the best of ‘em. And as much as I complain about the rest of what’s on country radio, the truth is that I still listen. And I still like it. Even though I am acutely aware that most of it is complete and utter dreck.

This, however, is the .0001% that makes me proud of country music.

I hope radio plays the hell out of this.

Thumbs Up

Listen: Reba McEntire (f. Skip Ewing) – “Every Other Weekend”

2 Pings

  1. [...] about hearts and not charts. I like that. Read Jim Malec’s review of his recent duet with Reba McEntire, “Every Other [...]
  2. [...] Other Weekend I tell you - THIS one makes it rough to swallow after listening to.... Reba McEntire (f. Skip Ewing) - “Every Other Weekend” -- The 9513 Scroll to the bottom of the link and listen to THIS [...]
  1. Kelly
    February 27, 2008 at 9:49 am

    This song is racist!!!! oh wait, nevermind, wrong single….

    Good review Jim, I hope this points the spotlight to Ewing also, he does deserve it.

  2. Dan
    February 27, 2008 at 10:18 am

    So good, so country. So I sort of doubt radio will warm to it. And that breaks my heart.

  3. Sam
    February 27, 2008 at 11:49 am

    I actually prefer the Chesney version of the song, and I really do feel the emotion from his part. Maybe it’s just that I’m used to that version, but I prefer his vocal to Ewing’s.

  4. CRAIG R.
    February 27, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    Jim, although I never heard the other recordng of this song, I can’t believe that Kenny Chesney could ever understand the emotion needed for that song. What I love about country music- what I’m in love with country music for- is that it can be so real that I forget who is singing. I feel like a real person is telling me their story, and I get lost in their voice, their words, in the way they express their feelings. Older country music does that for me a great deal of the time. But since Garth and Shania country has started to sound more and more like pop rejects. But now and then- a true lyric and a great voice reminds me of what country use to sound like. We should also thank Reba for the song choice- by now she knows a great song when she hears one.

  5. Lynn
    February 27, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    Jim, this particular song doesn’t quite do it for me, but I agree that when country works, nothing beats it. That’s why I love it. That’s also why I keep listening although I’m frustrated with it at the moment – the potential. The right song connects on a different level.

    Songs that they actually still play on the radio occasionally that grab me every time – Brad Paisley’s “He Didn’t Have to Be”; Randy Travis’ “Three Wooden Crosses”; Dixie Chicks’ “Traveling Soldier; Loretta Lynn “Van Lear Rose”; Trisha Yearwood’s “Walkaway Joe”, among others… (I’m sure people will disagree)

  6. Jobi
    February 28, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    I’m not a Kenny fan, but I am a Reba fan, but I’ve heard both versions and as much as I hate to admit it Kenny’s version with Reba is so much better than Skip’s in my opinion! Don’t know about Kenny understanding of the emotions, but they sang it really well together. So much better than that awful song Shiftwork!!

  7. Beth Wood
    February 28, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    In my opinion Skip does the best rendition of this song. Maybe it’s because I know Skip’s history and know that he lives this song with his daughter. I love Skip anyway. I like Chesney,too, but in other songs that he does. Reba is good with anybody, but She really does a good job on this one. I love her music, her show, and just Reba in general. I love country music period. All the old ones and most of the new ones, too. Again, kudos to Reba and Skip on a great song!!! I love it!!

  8. Alice
    February 28, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    I have to say I love this song..Skip has a good version but I like Kenny’s better..Kenny’s voice is so much lower & lends a warmer sound..I have so looked forward to it being released to radio & am now really disappointed that it won’t be..so sad..

  9. ixray4u
    February 28, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    I guess most people tend to like whichever version you hear first. Skip wrote and lived the song, you can’t get any more emotion into that. I hope he finally gets all the recognition he deserves, and people will start recognizing his voice along with his wonderful lyrics. IT’S ABOUT TIME!!!! Love ya, Skip, I hope to see you singing it with her on the next Country Music Awards, we’ll all be cheering for you!

  10. Big D
    February 29, 2008 at 8:42 am

    Great article and wonderful review of the song! Skip Ewing is as good as singer/songwriter gets in Nashville. I have enjoyed his music for nearly two decades. Reba’s folks made the right choice by going with Skip. The man pinned the song and has a wonderful voice. Radio listeners never really warmed up to Skip. I love his music and am very happy to hear him once again on country radio!

  11. Steven
    March 2, 2008 at 9:55 am

    Well, Reba took a virtually unknown Linda Davis to sing the duet “Does He Love You” with her and the rest is history. The label wanted Wynonna or one of the other big stars of the day, but the song was simply right for Linda. Hopefully, history can repeat itself with the Skip Ewing version of this great song.

  12. Loralie
    March 3, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    I like both versions of this song. I’m a Chesney fan but I had no idea that Skip Ewing had a co-write in this song. I’ve been a fan of his for years (and he also writes for and with Kenny at times) and it’s about time that he is back on the radio. I haven’t heard this version yet but I can’t wait to hear it. It sounds great. I’m sorry the Kenny version couldn’t make it to radio (nice politics there) but I’m glad she went to Skip for Chesney’s replacement. Kudos to Reba.

  13. Heather
    March 5, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Reba of course does an amazing job on this song. There is no question there. I thank Ewing for co-writing this amazing song but I must say I like the Kenny Chesney version better. I think Skip was too emotional and sweet sounding. I like the more manly tone sung by Chesney. It makes the song feel more real.

  14. Jim Malec
    March 6, 2008 at 5:17 am

    That may be the only time anyone has ever described anything related to Chesney as “manly”.

  15. Randall "Petey"Boggs
    March 7, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    First, Opions are like farts, some stink worse than others… take a wiff of these one.
    Reba has so many great ideas, visions and recordings. I would love to see her release something else from this record. What ever happened to her duet with Justin Timberlake? The web site said “request this single” Did it bomb?
    I love you Reba but get off this “I’m a Mom, look at me struggle, whah whah whah crap”. She has so many uptempo tunes out there. Have fun again. Get down from that cross and give someone else the wood!
    Kenny is a no talent closet case. Go get on the beach and leave the world of music. Buddy, you couldn’t even keep Renee Zelwiger…and that has to be one of the ugliest faces to grace the silver screen. Some one really paid her way.
    My point…Reba keep up the beautiful work, all you touch is gold. I want something fresh and uptempo..do a part 2 to the What If It’s You album. Fresh, Clean, Fun.
    Skip is the best choice for the song…he wrote the song and is not greedy, unlike that foolish record labels…BMG? MCA owns it all.
    P.S. Reba…You own Starstruck. I’m so glad your contract is up with MCA. Enjoy the wealth…you’ve more than paid your dues.
    Thank you.

  16. Bill Berry
    March 10, 2008 at 12:39 am

    John Rich on his CMT program “Gone Country” said, country music is about emotion. I first heard this song with Kenny Chesney on XM and I agree, every once in a blue moon a song comes along and makes you stop and really listen, and I was looking for it online and found the duet with Skip Ewing who I learned co-wrote and lived the song. I like both versions, but that is what I love about country music; it made me take the time to chase this song online and made me appreciate the song even more. I remember the 1st time I heard it I was late for work, sitting in the parking lot of my job and wiping the tears from my eyes. Songs that have that kind of power is what I’m most proud about country; though I agree so much is homogenized; particularly right now. Jennifer Nettles’ Stay blew me away as well. Skip’s song hit close to home; my kids are my stepchildren, Brad Paisley’s song comes to mind from many years ago.

  17. Kelly
    March 10, 2008 at 7:54 am

    Yeah, John Rich also made a big point on “Gone Country” about how to be “country”, you must be sincere, hard working and make honest, heartfelt songs. After all that preaching, he picked Julio Iglesais Jr. because, and I quote, “all the screaming girls in front”…gee, thats real emotion…..

  18. Storm
    March 14, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    I love this version of the song…not that I don’t like Kenny Chesney…I just love Skip’s voice. This is a very sad song, and it hits home with alot people…

  19. CINDY
    March 16, 2008 at 8:32 am

    I had not heard the controversy until reading this article. I dutifully clicked on the link to the Skip Ewing version. I have heard the Chesney version many times over the past few weeks on XM Radio and have to tell you the first time I heard it, I was hooked. While I am not in a position that I’m “living” the song, I felt the emotion of the great writing so much it brought me to tears. As you so wonderfully wrote in the article, that is the beauty of country music. It tells a story, a story that many people may live, or experience once in their life, but for others the magnitude of the words, rip your heart out. While the Ewing version was good and the lyrics he wrote are “magic”, I much prefer the Chesney version. I have found his vocals on many previous tracks to express the real emotion of the song. Regardless of whether he has personally experienced the things he sings about or not, I feel it.

  20. Patrick
    May 1, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    In Jim’s article he mentioned that the Reba/Kenny version would never make it to mainstream radio so she chose Skip to replace Kenny. Today I heard this song on the radio for the first time and it was the version with Kenny. I haven’t heard of the version with Skip until I came upon this article. Are both in rotation with radio? Why was it recorded twice and yet only 1 version on radio?

  21. Josh
    May 12, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    I disagree. I can’t stand the song unless I’m listening to the Kenny Chesney version. Skip has absolutely no emotion or rhythm! What are you thinking?

  22. roger
    May 12, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    …….wow….a song that sounds better with kenny chesney singing it…who’d a thunk…..

  23. Ashton
    May 24, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    Absolutley love love Reba and Skip. I liked Kenny for the first time in a long time after hearing this but Skip blew him away. AMAZING!!!!!! LOVE IT!!!!!!!

  24. Razor X
    May 24, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    Reba is my favorite singer and I’ve also been a Skip Ewing fan for a long time. But I really don’t like this song very much, though I do like the Skip Ewing version better than the Kenny Chesney version. The whole Reba Duets album was a huge disappointment and the one outstanding song — “Does The Wind Still Blow In Oklahoma” with Ronnie Dunn will likely never be a single.

    Anyway, I haven’t been able to find an explanation anywhere as to why Chesney was replaced as a duet partner for the radio version. All I’ve read said that the KC version wouldn’t be viable for radio. Why not? He’s a favorite of radio programmers, whereas Ewing is virtually unknown. Is it because his label allowed him to participate on the Duets album but wouldn’t allow MCA to use it as a single?

    The song doesn’t seem to be catching on at radio, but if I heard the radio version first and then went to buy the CD, I’d be disappointed that somebody else was singing on the CD.

  25. diane
    May 26, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    I listen to XM16 mostly and had only heard the Reba/Kenny version until I came back to north Florida panhandle where my favorite station is Oyster 106.5. I realized right away there was a new man singing with Reba and went searching to find out who the guy was. I like Kenny but I just can’t visualize a duet over having been married between Reba & Kenny. Skip sounds so much more like a match. Certainly makes the song more believable.

  26. Razor X
    May 26, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    Diane said, “I like Kenny but I just can’t visualize a duet over having been married between Reba & Kenny. Skip sounds so much more like a match. Certainly makes the song more believable”

    I agree, Diane. Probably because we all know that there is a huge age difference between Kenny and Reba. Not that it should matter for a song on the radio, but somehow it does.

  27. Beverly
    May 30, 2008 at 10:15 am

    I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the Skip Ewing version better.

    The first time I heard it it took my breath away because this is the life I lead. WOW! Someone captured what I live w/ on a daily basis. The raw emotion that came to my throat was heartbreaking!However I have gotten past the EX and went on w/ my life but it totally hit home!

    Kenny did butcher this song though. He can’t compete w/ Skip!

  28. Cindy
    June 21, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Kenny is a much better voice and singer. I just love Kenny. Whatever song he sings is just the best.

  29. Kirsten
    June 27, 2008 at 2:21 am

    Thank you for helping me to know I’m not crazy.

    Local Country station plays the Reba/Kenny version, and then I heard Crook & Chase’s top 40 and it was Reba/Skip… I thought I was losing my mind.

    I like both versions of the song, maybe slightly tilted in Kenny’s favor, but both of them tear at my heart, and it’s definitely a tune that gets the volume turned up when it appears on my radio.

  30. tshirtdr
    July 4, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    Skip and Reba, you are a great team! Keep em coming.

  31. Wally
    July 6, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Singing is a business and I’d be will to bet Chesney sells more than Skip Ewing. Although I like other Skip Ewing songs, this version did nothing for me. There’s something for everyone.

  32. Heather
    July 17, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    I think Skip Ewing version of this song is by far more superior than Kenny Chesney. I like Kenny but Skip has a beautiful voice. Fits the song and Reba to a T. I just bought Reba Duets and was disappointed that Skip wasn’t on it.

  33. Matt B.
    July 17, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Heather,

    That’s because even though they ‘officially released’ the Skip version to radio, it’s not getting played that much. The Kenny Chesney version is (A video features Kenny’s voice as well).

  34. Julie
    July 20, 2008 at 1:52 am

    I’m only an occasional reader of this site, and I’m beginning to see why. This is the song that makes you proud of country music? Wow. To me, this is melodramatic, overproduced schlock, like so many (too many) songs Reba has sung. I don’t feel a lot of genuine emotion coming from Reba, and I haven’t heard her version with Skip (though I generally agree with you about Skip Ewing). It feels cliche and overdone, already.

    It’s fine that we have different taste in country music, of course, and I am going to guess that far more people agree with you about this song than with me, and that’s fine, too. I just change the station.

    Also, this place feels too much like a grad lit seminar a lot of the time, and not in a good way. Not all songs have to fit their worldview and politics into yours; holding them up to *your* understanding of “feminism” or something isn’t holding them to a “higher” standard. It is holding them to *your* standard, and whether that standard is “higher” or even a reasonable standard to judge country music by is still an open question. I realize these are just your opinions, except that I believe you have made references to the notion of holding country to a higher standard.

    Meh. I’m going to go get the bad taste of melodrama and earnest grad students out of my mouth with some “Sangria Wine.”

  35. Jim Malec
    July 20, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Julie,
    I have to say, that’s the snarkiest comment an article of mine has ever received–when I’ve written something positive about the song in question.

  36. Kelly
    July 24, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    This version does not even compare to the Kenny Chesney version. Reba & Skip’s voice just don’t flow well together at all.

  37. Barbara
    September 23, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    I like hearing Reba & Skip sing this song better. He puts more emotion in it than Kenny. I love Kenny’s music, but Skip does a better job on this song, Its a shame Skip and Reba aren’t doing this song together all the time. I wish he would come back again. I love the song Coast of Colorado its so pretty, my favorite.

  38. Anne
    October 12, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    This is a beautiful song. I always believe that somewhere after the last note is heard, the story goes on, and they end up together and live happily ever after.

    So when people say, “Aw, but it’s so sad,” I know that it’s not, and it warms my heart every time I hear it. Can’t get enough of it.

  39. Stormy
    October 12, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Anne: You do get that the people in the song aren’t real, right?

  40. Anne
    October 12, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    Yes. :) But it’s still nice to think.

Sponsors

Juli Thanki on WAMU's Bluegrass Country

Tagged In This Article

// // //

Current Discussion

  • Jack Hanford: For those who are interested, there is a new 90-minute documentary video about Tompall & the Glaser Brothers on DVD …
  • joe morris: how come nobody mentions his fan club which started 1950 and was called the " the penny pushers " which …
  • jane: I'm reading this article in 2013 and I've yet to hear anything from the album played on the radio.....
  • Catwandy: I guess Matt C. is eating his well-deserved crow 'bout now. Critics....gotta love 'em , bless their little hearts.
  • Ed McClendon: Saw the brothers in Greeley CO on the occasion of Tompall's 50th birthday. The show wasn't well promoted and there …
  • Roby Fox: I'm sure no one else will know, or even care about this little tidbit of trivia. "Keep Your Change" was …
  • kate wonders: Roni Stoneman is still on Hee Haw every Sunday night on RFD channel.
  • Marsha Blades: Tommy, You were so kind to me during a tough time in my life and I don't think I ever …
  • Leona Jones: I seen Chris at the Grand Ole Opry last week.. First time I have heard of him.. He rocked the …
  • Sonicjar Music: Agree with Lucas, But one thing is certain, for a song to come to existence, so many things have to …

Recently Reviewed Albums

  • Blind Boys of Alabama - Take the High Road
  • Del McCoury Band & Preservation Hall Jazz Band - American Legacies
  • Aaron Lewis - Town Line
  • Josh Kelly - Georgia Clay
  • The Gibson Brothers - Help My Brother
  • jesse-brewster_wrecking-ball
  • Lucinda Williams - Blessed
  • Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers - Hymns from the Hills