Billboard Country Airplay and Country Albums Chart (October 3rd)

Billboard Country Airplay

1. Kenny Chesney–“Save It for a Rainy Day” (up 3)
2. Keith Urban–“John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”
3. Chris Janson–“Buy Me a Boat”
4. Brett Eldredge–“Lose My Mind” (up 1)
5. Thomas Rhett–“Crash and Burn” (down 4)
6. Luke Bryan–“Strip it Down” (up 2)
7. Florida Georgia Line–“Anything Goes” (up 2)
8. Chase Rice–“Gonna Wanna Tonight” (up 3)
9. Carrie Underwood–“Smoke Break” (up 5) [tied for biggest gainer]
10. Maddie & Tae–“Fly”
11. Old Dominion–“Break Up With Him” (up 1)
12. Cole Swindell–“Let Me See Ya Girl” (up 1)
13. Dan + Shay–“Nothin’ Like You” (up 2)
14. Blake Shelton–“Gonna” (up 2)
15. Chris Young–“I’m Comin’ Over” (up 5) [tied for biggest gainer]
16. Lady Antebellum–“Long Stretch of Love” (up 1)
17. Jake Owen–“Real Life” (up 1)
18. Tim McGraw–“Top of the World” (up 3)
19. Cam–“Burning House”
20. Jason Aldean–“Gonna Know We Were Here” (up 2)
21. Brothers Osborne–“Stay a Little Longer” (up 3)
22. Big & Rich–“Run Away With You” (up 1)
23. Parmalee–“Already Callin’ You Mine” (up 2)
24. Kelsea Ballerini–“Dibs” (up 2)
25. LoCash–“I Love This Life” (up 2)
26. Jana Kramer–“I Got the Boy” (up 2)
27. Hunter Hayes–“21” (up 2)
28. The Band Perry–“Live Forever” (up 2)
29. A Thousand Horses–“(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial” (entering top 30)
30. Chase Bryant–“Little Bit of You” (entering top 30)

  • new #1: “Save It for a Rainy Day”
  • next week’s #1 prediction: “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”
  • Dustin Lynch’s “Hell of a Night” and Sam Hunt’s “House Party” fell from #6 and #7, respectively, to out of the top 30
  • A Thousand Horses and Chase Bryant enter the top 30 with the less than impressive “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial” and “Little Bit of You”

Billboard Top Country Albums

1. Brett Eldredge–Illinois [debut]
2. Luke Bryan–Kill the Lights
3. Sam Hunt–Montevallo
4. Zac Brown Band–Jekyll + Hyde
5. Eric Church–The Outsiders
6. Florida Georgia Line–Anything Goes
7. Maddie & Tae–Start Here
8. Little Big Town–Painkiller
9. Alan Jackson–Angels and Alcohol
10. Jason Aldean–Old Boots, New Dirt
11. Brantley Gilbert–Just as I Am
12. Kip Moore–Wild Ones
13. Kacey Musgraves–Pageant Material
14. Chris Stapleton–Traveller
15. Various Artists–Now That’s What I Call Country, Volume 8
16. Elvis Presley–Elvis Presley Forever
17. Zac Brown Band–Greatest Hits So Far…
18. Jason Isbell–Something More Than Free
19. Chase Rice–Ignite the Night
20. Kelsea Ballerini–The First Time
21. Willie Nelson/Merle Haggard–Django and Jimmie
22. Cole Swindell–Cole Swindell
23. Carrie Underwood–Greatest Hits: Decade #1
24. Darius Rucker–Southern Style
25. Various Artists–Mud Digger, Volume 6

  • Brett Eldredge’s mediocre r&b-influenced Illinois finally replaces Luke Bryan’s horrifying album at the top, and for that, I have to thank Brett
  • look at the staying power of Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton, and Willie and Merle, enough said

Source: Billboard

George Strait Announces New Album to be Released…Friday?

You read this right: in a press conference held earlier today (September 22nd), George Strait announced a new album, Cold Beer Conversation, is coming out this Friday! The album will be available exclusively through Apple Music and Wal-Mart. Here’s a track listing, provided from Windmill’s Country:

Track Listing

1. “It Was Love” (Keith Gattis)
2. “Cold Beer Conversation” (Al Anderson / Ben Hayslip / Jimmy Yeary)
3. “Let It Go” (Keith Gattis / Bubba Strait / George Strait)
4. “Goin’ Goin Gone” (Wyatt Earp / Keith Gattis)
5. “Something Going Down” (writers to be confirmed)
6. “Take Me To Texas” (Brandy Clark / Shane McAnally)
7. “It Takes All Kinds” (George Strait, Bubba Strait, Bob Regan and Wil Nance)
8. “Stop & Drink” (Dale Dodson / Troy Jones)
9. “Everything I See” (Dean Dillon / Keith Gattis / Bubba Strait / George Strait)
10. “Rock Paper Scissors” (Casey Beathard / Monty Criswell / Bubba Strait)
11. “Wish You Well” (Clint Daniels / Jeff Hyde / Brice Long)
12. “Cheaper Than A Shrink” (Bill Anderson / Buddy Cannon / Jamey Johnson)
13. “Even When I Can’t Feel It” (Dean Dillon / Ben Hayslip / Lee Thomas Miller)

Also, Strait will be one of the first to perform at the new Las Vegas Arena–he will return to live performances for dates on April 22nd and 23rd, 2016, and September 9th and 10th. Strait will be joined in Vegas by Kacey Musgraves.

In light of the album, there will be no Female Friday. I will have a review of this as soon as I can!

P.S. As a George Strait fan, yes!

Random Thoughts of the Week: The Top Five Signs of Hope for Mainstream Country

2015 has been the year of the sellout in country music. The two most disappointing sellouts of the year for me were easily the Zac Brown Band and the Eli Young Band, the former with the release of the EDM single “Beautiful Drug” to country radio, and the latter with the terrible single “Turn it On” and the subsequent EP, as well as the horrible “country remix” of “Honey, I’m Good” with Andy Grammer. Keith Urban was a close third, using his talent to give us the brilliant “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16,” a song that personally pisses me off about as much as “Kick the Dust Up” because Keith Urban knows better. Easton Corbin used his George Strait-esque voice, previously used for “A Little More Country Than That,” to record an album full of bro country pickup lines. Brett Eldredge, though never really carrying a torch for traditional country, was never really working aginst us until his recent r&b album Illinois. Danielle Bradbery has remade herself into a wannabe pop star for the sake of reviving an already struggling career. Even the legendary Alabama sunk to the low of releasing “Southern Drawl,” a desperate attempt to be cool that failed in every respect, coolness especially. And now, Eric Paslay’s new single, “High Class” seems to have finally pushed everyone off the deep end with its blatant metro-bro bullshit lyrics and style–and this coming from the person who obviously knows better, as “She Don’t Love You” so effectively proved. In times like these, people start saying we should forsake country altogether and start calling ourselves Americana fans, that we should just surrender our beloved “country music” to these sellouts, country carpetbaggers, and metro-bro douchebags, and go listen to Americana. They say that all hope for “country” as we knew it is lost.

Well, here are some signs of hope, in no particular order of importance.

Dierks Bentley

Dierks Bentley is not selling out, as his latest single, “Riser,” has proven. I will be incredibly shocked if he succumbs to the trends, as he has no reason to. He has found the perfect balance between quality and airplay and doesn’t seem to care that he often does not get the recognition he deserves. He has made quality music throughout his career and has no reason to change that now; he’s found a formula that works for him even in this country radio climate.

Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood is not a traditional country artist, but she’s here because she defines what actual pop country should sound like. She takes the best of pop and country and blends them well, offering songs that both display depth in storytelling and are radio-ready. Although I was not as impressed with her new single, “Smoke Break,” as many, it certainly does not follow the current trends, and her new album, Storyteller, could be a factor in turning back the tide of mainstream country music to a real pop-country sound–what we have now is straight pop poorly disguised and incorrectly labled as country.


True, Cam has only given us two singles and an EP so far, but the reason she’s in my top five signs of hope for mainstream country is that On the Verge supported her. Her first single, “My Mistake,” was a nice pop country blend, but “Burning House,” the sponsored single, is a completely acoustic, traditional country song. The fact that this program supported an artist like that signals change. Cam’s debut album cannot come soon enough!

Chris Stapleton

Some would argue whether Chris Stapleton is mainstream, but I don’t see why. He’s on a major label and has even received some airplay. Traveller is nominated for Album of the Year by the CMA, and Stapleton is nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year and New Artist of the Year. Stapleton with three nominations is a sure sign of hope.

Maddie & Tae

I have written a lot about these ladies, but I’ll say it again–they can bring those that think “country” = Sam Hunt and Kelsea Ballerini back to country. Radio has actually given them a shot. They’ve proven they’re not afraid of fighting for country; they’ve spoken out against drum machines and their debut single was “Girl in a Country Song.” The fact that Scott Borchetta and Big Machine are behind them and that they’re actually getting played is a huge sign of hope.

Despite all the selling out, there are still a lot of reasons to hope for mainstream country, perhaps now more than ever. More and more independent artists are seeing success in album sales that mainstream Nashville can’t ignore. Country legend Merle Haggard, a name-drop in many of today’s songs, is openly speaking out. Represented above are established artists and newcomers alike, fighting for real country music. I didn’t even mention Mo Pitney, Ashley Monroe, Kacey Musgraves, Jon Pardi–the list goes on. Not to mention Tim McGraw’s new album will unashamedly be titled Damn Country Music. I wasn’t thrilled by the lead single, but the album title certainly intrigues me. The point of all this is that mainstream country is far from hopeless–in fact, after years of fighting, we are finally seeing numbers on our side, artists speaking out, and more traditional artists being signed and getting airplay. In short, although it is happening slowly, we are seeing results. Why should we give up now? The day we leave our own fight and run to Americana is the day that country music will be lost.

Tomato of the Week: Jamie Lin Wilson

I featured her friend and fellow Texas country artist, Courtney Patton, last week, so this week, I am covering Jamie Lin Wilson. Check out her full article on Female Friday!

Random Country Suggestion: Randy Rogers Band–Burning the Day

A great album from one of my favorite Texas/Red Dirt bands.

Listen to album

No non-country suggestion, just go listen to these glaring signs of hope.

Texas Music From Oklahoma: A Look at the Texas Music Chart (September 21st)

Texas Music Chart

1. Turnpike Troubadours–“Down Here” (up 3)
2. Cory Morrow–“Old With You”
3. Matt Kimbrow–“Livin’ the Good Life” (up 2)
4. Reckless Kelly–“Real Cool Hand” (up 2)
5. Curtis Grimes–“Smile That Smile” (up 2)
6. Bart Crow–“Life Comes at You Fast” (up 2)
7. Pat Green–“While I Was Away” (down 4)
8. Whiskey Myers–“Shelter From the Rain” (up 1)
9. Cody Canada and the Departed–“Easy” (down 8)
10. Kevin Fowler & Deryl Dodd–“Damn This Ol’ Honky Tonk Dream” (up 2)
11. Kyle Park–“What Goes Around Comes Around” (down 1)
12. Miles Williams–“Teasin’ Me” (up 2)
13. The Statesboro Revue–“Undone” (up 4)
14. Casey Donahew Band–“Loser” (up 2)
15. Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen–“Lady Bug” (up 4)
16. JB and the Moonshine Band–“Shotgun, Rifle, and a .45” (down 1)
17. Mike Ryan–“Girls I Date” (up 1)
18. Josh Grider–“You Dream I’ll Drive” (up 3)
19. Uncle Lucius–“Don’t Own the Right” (up 4)
20. TJ Broscoff–“Phone Calls” (up 4)
21. Stoney LaRue–“Easy She Comes” (down 1)
22. Rich O’Toole–“Talk About the Weather”
23. Wade Bowen–“Sun Shines on a Dreamer” (down 12) [biggest loser]
24. Granger Smith–“Back Road Song” (down 11)
25. Mario Flores–“Beer Time” (up 3)
26. Saints Eleven–“I Don’t”
27. Jason James–“I’ve Been Drinkin’ More” (up 3)
28. Chance Anderson Band–“245 Miles” (up 1)
29. Zane Williams–“She Is” (down 2)
30. Tori Martin–“Woman Up” (up 3)
31. Aaron Einhouse–“I Could Fall” (down 6)
32. Jon Wolfe–“Don’t it Feel Good” (up 5)
33. Kaleb McIntire–“Ozark Mountain Stomp” (up 5)
34. Casey Berry–“Blood of the Lamb” (up 2)
35. Dalton Domino–“Jesus & Handbags”
36. Ray Johnston Band–“Small Town Square” (up 3)
37. Roger Creager & Cody Johnson–“If You Had to Choose” (up 7)
38. Luke Robinson–“Roses on the Radio” (down 4)
39. American Aquarium–“Losing Side of Twenty-Five” (up 1)
40. Micky & The Motorcars–“Tonight we Ride” (entering top 50)
41. Paul Thorn–“Everybody Needs Somebody”
42. Blue Water Highway Band–“Medicine Man” (up 8) [biggest gainer]
43. Cody Jinks–“Loud and Heavy” (up 4)
44. Bri Bagwell–“My Boots” (up 2)
45. William Clark Green–“Ringling Road” (entering top 50)
46. Cody Joe Hodges–“One More Drink” (up 2)
47. Cody Johnson–“Proud” (down 4)
48. The Damn Quails–“Just a Little While” (down 6)
49. Breelan Angel–“She Made Your Bed” (down 4)
50. Josh Fuller–“On the Radio” (entering top 50)

  • the Turnpike Troubadours hit the top with “Down Here” to coincide with their excellent album release
  • next week’s #1 prediction: “Down Here
  • William Clark Green is back on the chart at #45 with “Ringling Road”
  • Micky & the Motorcars’ “Tonight we Ride” debuts at #40

Source: Texas Music Chart

Album Review: Turnpike Troubadours Make Oklahoma Proud With Their Self-Titled Album

Rating: 10/10

If you are not very familiar with the Red Dirt scene, allow me to introduce the Turnpike Troubadours, a Red Dirt band from my home state of Oklahoma. Their new, self-titled album, released Friday (September 18th), is their first release since 2012’s Goodbye Normal Street, and it was well worth the wait. This is an excellent place to start with the Turnpike Troubadours and with the Red Dirt scene in general.

The album opens with “The Bird Hunters,” which unashamedly features a fiddle for much of its five minutes. In fact, I’ll go ahead and say it now–I don’t think I’ve ever heard such a concentrated amount of fiddle on any other album. If you had a shortage of fiddle in your life, I suggest you purchase this album immediately…but I digress. Aside from that piece of awesomeness, the song itself is beautifully written, describing two friends hunting in Cherokee County; the narrator hunts, but his mind is on a woman whom he left in Tulsa after deciding not to marry her. It seems that this narrator was not cut out for city life, but he still misses, or at least thinks about, the woman he left behind. This is a fantastic opener and sets the tone of the album perfectly. “The Mercury” is my early favorite; here, frontman Evan Felker sings of the wild nights and women at Tulsa’s Mercury Lounge. “It’s 1 A.M., and wild and loud, like sittin’ in the middle of a funnel cloud,” pretty much sums this up. The instrumentation in this song is great, the perfect blend of fiddles and rock guitars. Next is “Down Here,” the current single, which sits at #4 on the
Texas Music Chart. This is a nice, somewhat lighthearted song in which the narrator is trying to offer a friend some encouragement during a hard time. It was a good choice for a single, and it will certainly get to #1–it hit #10 after only five weeks on the chart. It’s probably my least favorite song on the album, but when my least favorite is a solid song and a perfect single choice, I really can’t complain.

“Time of Day” is another lighthearted track about a man promising to give a woman all he has if “you give me just a minute of your time of day.” It’s a catchy song that would make a good future single. “Ringing in the Year” features some more of that great Red Dirt sound found in “The Mercury”; here, a man is missing a woman and wondering if she ever thinks about him. There’s an honesty in this song that can really connect with you if you listen to the lyrics–“Won’t you miss your whiskey in the wintertime, my dear, the way I’ve been missin’ you this fall, And cheap champagne don’t dull the pain of ringing in the year, wonderin’ if you think of me at all.” “A Little Song” is just that–an acoustic “little tune” written for a woman whom the narrator has apparently wronged, and “I wrote a little rhyme to make it right.” It’s very much a case of less is more–a simple little song that nevertheless leaves its mark on the listener. It’s more of that raw honesty from “Ringing in the Year.”

“Long Drive Home” is a musically excellent song saturated with fiddles and rock guitars. But if you think instrumentation is this ban’ds only strength, think again–the line “You still can’t forgive the times that I wish I could forget” is brilliant, perfectly capturing the narrator’s thoughts on the broken relationship described in this song. It’s another one of my favorites on this album. Now, I’ve heard a lot of fiddle, but not very much steel guitar–but just when I was wondering where I might find it, I am treated to an excellent re-recording of “Easton and Main.” This song was on their first album and tells us how the man “left my heart in Tulsa, on the corner of Easton & Main, on the Cain’s Ballroom floor, soaking up a bourbon stain.” Okay, so I found the steel guitar, and on “7 Oaks,” I pretty much find everything else. From the excellent keyboards to more of those great fiddles to a harmonica, this is just fun to listen to. The song itself tells of the hard times on a farm–“There ain’t no silver left in these pockets, and there ain’t no cornbread, and there ain’t no wine, that train don’t stop around here anymore, it done moved on down the line.” They are singing about being bankrupt and yet this is far more entertaining and fun to listen to than any tailgate party song I have ever come across. It would be incredible to hear live, as would “Doreen,” a song that tells the story of Doreen, who seems to be cheating on the narrator while he is on the road. At this point, I have no words sufficient for the instrumentation; everyone here should make it their goal to hear this band live. I can’t do it justice in writing, and I have a great feeling that this album can’t do the live versions justice either.

The album slows down for “Fall out of Love,” a brilliantly written song reflecting on why people fall out of love. Evan Felker sings of a broken relationship with more of that raw honesty, and if you’re not blown away by the line, “You bet your heart on a diamond, and I played the clubs in spades,” then I don’t know what will impress you–and credit to R.C. Edwards for crafting such a line, making a rare but valuable contribution on the album with this song. The album concludes with a re-recording of “Bossier City,” a fun, upbeat song about going to Bossier City to party and gamble, without the girlfriend’s knowledge. It features the fiddles with which this album so boldly began, closing the album excellently and appropriately.

In case you have not figured it out, the Turnpike Troubadours have given us a fantastic album. It was certainly worth the wait and is one of the best albums of 2015. they continue to make great country music and have made Oklahoma and Red Dirt proud. I highly recommend this album.

Listen to album