All posts by Megan

Texas Music From Oklahoma: A Look at the Texas Music Chart (August 24th)

Texas Music Chart

1. Wade Bowen–“Sun Shines on a Dreamer” (fourth week at No. 1)
2. Pat Green–“While I Was Away”
3. Josh Ward–“Highway”
4. Cody Canada and the Departed–“Easy” (up 1)
5. Granger Smith–“Back Road Song” (up 1)
6. Matt Kimbrow–“Livin’ the Good Life” (up 1)
7. Cory Morrow–“Old With You” (up 2)
8. Rich O’Toole–“Talk About the Weather” (down 4)
9. Turnpike Troubadours–“Down Here” (up 1)
10. Whiskey Myers–“Shelter From the Rain” (up 2)
11. Kyle Park–“What Goes Around Comes Around”
12. Reckless Kelly–“Real Cool Hand” (up 4)
13. Bart Crow–“Life Comes at You Fast”
14. Prophets and Outlaws–“Texas Home” (up 1)
15. Curtis Grimes–“Smile That Smile” (up 3)
16. Kevin Fowler & Deryl Dodd–“Damn This Ol’ Honky Tonk Dream” (up 7)
17. Aaron Watson–“Freight Train” (down 9)
18. JB and the Moonshine Band–“Shotgun, Rifle, and a .45” (up 2)
19. Sam Riggs–“Long Shot” (down 5)
20. Stoney LaRue–“Easy She Comes” (up 4)
21. The Statesboro Revue–“Undone” (up 7)
22. Uncle Lucius–“Don’t Own the Right” (down 1)
23. William Clark Green–“Sticks and Stones” (down 6)
24. Miles Williams–“Teasin’ Me” (up 1)
25. Mike Ryan–“Girls I Date” (up 10)
26. Aaron Einhouse–“I Could Fall”
27. Sundance Head–“Darlin’ Don’t Go” (down 5)
28. Scott Taylor Band–“By Now” (up 5)
29. Josh Grider–“You Dream I’ll Drive” (up 1)
30. Tori Martin–“Woman Up” (down 1)
31. TJ Broscof–“Phone Calls” (up 9)
32. Matt Hillyer–“If These Old Bones Could Talk” (down 13)
33. Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen–“Lady Bug” (up 16) [biggest gainer]
34. Chance Anderson Band–“245 Miles” (up 5)
35. Saints Eleven–“I Don’t” (up 1)
36. Caleb McIntire–“Ozark Mountain Stomp” (up 2)
37. Callahan Divide–“Happy” (up 7)
38. Kacey Donahue Band–“Loser” (entering top 50)
39. Adrian Johnston–“Avalanche” (down 8)
40. Judson Cole Band–“Time to Run” (down 3)
41. Mario Flores–“Beer Time” (entering top 50)
42. Dalton Domino–Jesus & Handbags” (up 5)
43. Jason James–“I’ve Been Drinkin’ More” (up 2)
44. Thom Shepherd–“Little Miss Everything” (down 3)
45. Luke Robinson–“Roses on the Radio” (down 2)
46. Jeremy Steding–“Love Love Love” (down 4)
47. Zane Williams–“She Is” (entering top 50)
48. Adam Fears–“Golden Gravel Road” (down 16) [biggest loser]
49. Cody Jinks–“Loud and Heavy” (entering top 50)
50. American Aquarium–“Losing Side of Twenty-Five” (down 2)

  • Wade Bowen remains at the top for another week
  • this is the first of the four weeks that “Sun Shines on a Dreamer” has decreased in spins
  • next week’s No. 1 prediction: “While I Was Away

Source: Texas Music Chart

Single Review: Carrie Underwood’s “Smoke Break”

Rating: 6.5/10

Carrie Underwood announced Thursday evening (8/20) that she will release her long-awaited fifth studio album Storyteller on October 23rd. This is her first full-length album of new music since 2012’s Blown Away. The first single off Storyteller is entitled “Smoke Break” and is quite different from recent Carrie Underwood singles.

In 2014, Carrie Underwood released Greatest Hits: Decade #1 while she took time out of her career to have a child. Singles from that album included the Christian song “Something in the Water,” as well as “Little Toy Guns,” which dealt with domestic abuse and how the parents’ words were affecting their daughter. “Smoke Break” is a much lighter song, which can be expected. After the serious issues of her previous singles, Carrie delivers an ode to the hard-working people who deal with life’s daily problems and sometimes feel like they need a smoke or drink to get through. It is not clear whether the characters discussed actually smoke and drink from time to time, or whether they simply would like to. This can be regarded as bad songwriting or good songwriting, depending on your viewpoint. I view it as good songwriting because it is ambiguous and thus more relatable. This song relates to those who do take a drink or have a “smoke break” sometimes to deal with the pressures of life, as well as to those who wish they could drink or smoke but for whatever reason (pressure from family, religion, etc), feel that it would be wrong to do so. The characters portrayed are also relatable. The woman works three jobs trying to feed her four children and struggles with being a “good wife and a good mom and a good Christian.” The man in the second verse is struggling to climb the corporate ladder and be a “good man, good son, do somethin’ good that matters.”

This song is a country rock song, and Carrie Underwood sounds more country singing it than she has in years. I do feel that perhaps she is trying to sound country on purpose, though. This song is very different from standard Carrie Underwood material, and I would have thought a title and lyrics like those of “Smoke Break” came from Miranda Lambert. Some have pointed out that part of the chorus of “Smoke Break” sounds like Lambert’s “Automatic,” a comparison that is not hard to make. However, the thing I noticed when I heard the song and before ever hearing these comments or similarities, was that Carrie seems to be trying to be more like Miranda. This song is Miranda Lambert material, and it’s no coincidence that Carrie Underwood suddenly sounds more country when she’s singing it. I think after losing at all the award shows for years, she and her team might be trying to make her into another Miranda Lambert. I am not saying I blame them, but that won’t help, because in the end, Miranda Lambert will still be a better Miranda Lambert, as “Smoke Break” proves. In the end, “Smoke Break” is fluff, similar to Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town’s “Smokin’ and Drinkin’.” I would give Lambert’s song a 5. This song is better because it is more country and the lyrics have more depth, but it’s not especially great. I hope Carrie’s album is better. I liked Carrie when she was herself, and I don’t want to see her become an inferior Miranda at the expense of her music. “Smoke Break” is not bad, but Carrie Underwood is better than this.

Billboard Country Airplay and Country Albums Chart (August 29th)

Billboard Country Airplay

1. Zac Brown Band–“Loving You Easy” (up 1)
2. Frankie Ballard–“Young and Crazy” (up 1)
3. Sam Hunt–“House Party” (up 1)
4. Dustin Lynch–“Hell of a Night” (up 1)
5. Michael Ray–“Kiss You in the Morning” (down 4)
6. Thomas Rhett–“Crash and Burn” (up 2)
7. Chris Janson–“Buy Me a Boat” (up 1)
8. Keith Urban–“John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” (up 3)
9. Brett Eldredge–“Lose My Mind” (up 3)
10. Kenny Chesney–“Save It for a Rainy Day” (up 3)
11. Luke Bryan–“Kick the Dust Up” (down 5)
12. Eric Church–“Like a Wrecking Ball” (up 2)
13. Maddie & Tae–“Fly” (up 2)
14. Chase Rice–“Gonna Wanna Tonight” (up 2)
15. Florida Georgia Line–“Anything Goes” (up 2)
16. Cole Swindell–“Let Me See Ya Girl” (up 2)
17. Dan + Shay–“Nothin’ Like You” (up 3)
18. Jake Owen–“Real Life” (up 1)
19. Old Dominion–“Break Up With Him” (up 2)
20. Lady Antebellum–“Long Stretch of Love” (up 2)
21. Kip Moore–“I’m To Blame” (up 2)
22. Cam–“Burning House” (up 2)
23. Luke Bryan–“Strip It Down” (entering top 30) [biggest gainer]
24. Big & Rich–“Run Away With You” (up 1)
25. Chris Young–“I’m Comin’ Over” (up 1)
26. Blake Shelton–“Gonna” (up 3)
27. Brothers Osborne–“Stay a Little Longer”
28. Parmalee–“Already Callin’ You Mine”
29. Hunter Hayes–“21” (re-entering top 30)
30. Kelsea Ballerini–“Dibs” (entering top 30)

  • new No. 1: “Loving You Easy
  • next week’s No. 1 prediction: “Young and Crazy”
  • Luke Bryan has two terrible songs in the top 30 at once
  • the top 30 takes a hit with the addition of the terrible “Strip it Down” and “Dibs” and the re-entering of “21”…no good songs entered this week
  • Brantley Gilbert’s “One Hell of an Amen” and Jason Aldean’s “Tonight Looks Good on You” fell from No. 8 and No. 9, respectively, out of the top 30
  • Tim McGraw’s “Top of the World” fell from No. 30 to No. 33
  • Billboard Top Country Albums

    1. Luke Bryan–Kill the Lights [It kills me to type this] [debut]
    2. Sam Hunt–Montevallo
    3. Jason Isbell–Something More Than Free
    4. Michael Ray–Michael Ray [debut]
    5. Zac Brown Band–Jekyll + Hyde
    6. Alan Jackson–Angels and Alcohol
    7. Eric Church–The Outsiders
    8. Little Big Town–Painkiller
    9. Jason Aldean–Old Boots, New Dirt
    10. Various Artists–Now That’s What I Call Country, Volume 8
    11. Florida Georgia Line–Anything Goes
    12. Luke Bryan–Crash My Party
    13. Brantley Gilbert–Just as I Am
    14. Kacey Musgraves–Pageant Material
    15. Zac Brown Band–Greatest Hits So Far…
    16. Chase Rice–Ignite the Night
    17. Luke Bryan–Spring Break…Checkin’ Out
    18. Willie Nelson/Merle Haggard–Django and Jimmie
    19. Blake Shelton–Bringing Back the Sunshine
    20. Tim McGraw–35 Biggest Hits
    21. Kenny Chesney–The Big Revival
    22. Ashley Monroe–The Blade
    23. Cole Swindell–Cole Swindell
    24. Miranda Lambert–Platinum
    25. Carrie Underwood–Greatest Hits: Decade #1

    • Luke Bryan’s train wreck Kill the Lights debuts at the top of the chart
    • Luke now has THREE albums on this chart….
    • Michael Ray’s self-titled debut album debuts at No. 4 (this album was actually better than I expected…far from good, but certainly not terrible)

    Source: Billboard

Texas Music From South Dakota: A Look at the Texas Music Chart (August 17th)

You may notice the top of this post says “South Dakota” and not “Oklahoma.” I have been and am still traveling and will probably post less this week. I should be back to frequent posts by Friday.

Texas Music Chart

1. Wade Bowen–“Sun Shines on a Dreamer” (third week at No. 1)
2. Pat Green–“While I Was Away” (up 1)
3. Josh Ward–“Highway” (down 1)
4. Rich O’Toole–“Talk About the Weather”
5. Cody Canada and the Departed–“Easy” (up 1)
6. Granger Smith–“Back Road Song” (up 1)
7. Matt Kimbrow–“Livin’ the Good Life” (up 2)
8. Aaron Watson–“Freight Train” (down 3)
9. Cory Morrow–“Old With You” (up 2)
10. Turnpike Troubadours–“Down Here” (up 4)
11. Kyle Park–“What Goes Around Comes Around” (up 2)
12. Whiskey Myers–“Shelter From the Rain”
13. Bart Crow–“Life Comes at You Fast” (up 3)
14. Prophets and Outlaws–“Texas Home” (up 1)
15. Sam Riggs–“Long Shot” (down 5)
16. Reckless Kelly–“Real Cool Hand” (up 1)
17. William Clark Green–“Sticks and Stones” (down 9)
18. Curtis Grimes–“Smile That Smile” (up 1)
19. JB and the Moonshine Band–“Shotgun, Rifle, and a .45” (up 2)
20. Matt Hillyer–“If These Old Bones Could Talk” (down 2)
21. Sundance Head–“Darlin’ Don’t Go” (up 2)
22. Kevin Fowler & Deryl Dodd–“Damn This ol’ Honky Tonk Dream” (up 15) [biggest gainer]
23. Uncle Lucius–“Don’t Own the Right” (down 1)
24. Miles Williams–“Teasin’ Me” (up 3)
25. Stoney LaRue–“Easy She Comes” (up 3)
26. Aaron Einhouse–“I Could Fall” (down 2)
27. The Statesboro Revue–“Undone” (up 4)
28. Tori Martin–“Woman Up” (up 6)
29. James Lann–“Let it Rain” (down 9)
30. Adam Fears–“Golden Gravel Road”
31. Josh Grider–“You Dream I’ll Drive” (up 1)
32. Scott Taylor Band–“By Now” (down 3)
33. Adrian Johnston–“Avalanche” (down 7)
34. Mike Ryan–“Girls I Date” (up 5)
35. Judson Cole Band–“Time To Run” (up 3)
36. Caleb McIntire–“Ozark Mountain Stomp”
37. Chance Anderson Band–“245 Miles” (up 5)
38. Saints Eleven–“I Don’t” (up 2)
39. Asleep at the Weel featuring Randy Rogers, Reckless Kelly, and Shooter Jennings–“Bob Wills is Still the King” (down 14) [biggest loser]
40. TJ Broscof–“Phone Calls” (up 4)
41. Jeremy Steding–“Love Love Love” (up 2)
42. Thom Shepherd–“Little Miss Everything” (down 1)
43. Luke Robinson–“Roses on the Radio” (up 5)
44. Callahan Divide–“Happy” (up 1)
45. Jason James–“I’ve Been Drinkin’ More” (entering top 50)
46. Cody Joe Hodges–“One More Drink”
47. American Aquarium–“Losing Side of Twenty-five” (entering top 50)
48. Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen–“Ladybug” (entering top 50)
49. Paul Thorn–“Everybody Needs Somebody” (down 2)
50. Dalton Domino–“Jesus & Handbags”

  • Wade Bowen remains at the top for a third week
  • next week’s No. 1 prediction: “While I Was Away”
  • Turnpike Troubadours have now reached the top ten in six weeks

Source: Texas Music Chart

Female Fridays: Featuring Gwen Sebastian

She is an underrated artist that could have potential as a pop country artist, so this Female Friday I have decided to feature Gwen Sebastian.

How You Might Know Gwen

She was a contestant on Season 2 of The Voice, but many more will know her from singing with Blake Shelton on his hit “My Eyes.”

Bio

Gwen Sebastian (born May 3, 1974, in Hebron, North Dakota), has had a hard time getting consistent recognition. After dropping out of nursing school to move to Nashville, she was eventually signed to a record deal in 2009. She released the single “Hard Rain” and the EP “V.I.P.” Both the single and the EP struggled for chart success, but Gwen was named by Country Weekly as a new artist to watch in 2010. During this time, Gwen also released a Christmas album titled Christmas in July.

Sebastian participated in the second season of The Voice, where she met Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert. She was eliminated in the battle round, but she toured with Shelton after the show. In 2013, she released a self-titled album. Singles from this album include “Suitcase” and “Annie’s New Gun,” a duet with Miranda Lambert. She is best known, however, for her appearance on Blake Shelton’s hit “My Eyes.” To me, this proves Blake can and does help talented people, and it’s not always the RaeLynns of the world getting that privilege. “My Eyes” made me want to figure out who Gwen Sebastian was, and when I discovered her music, I was interested and wanted to hear more. I do think she needs more recognition, or she could be in danger of losing her label in the next few years.

Why Gwen Belongs on Country Radio

Firstly, she’s been there. “My Eyes” hit the top of the airplay chart just like “Lonely Tonight.” Gwen Sebastian should have the same name recognition that Ashley Monroe should, yet neither of them get airplay when they are not connected to Blake. Gwen is more on the pop country side, so not the best choice for traditionalists, but there’s room for good pop country too, and Gwen fits that role. Radio is more willing to accept pop country, so it should be easier for her to get airplay than it has been thus far. She also has a perfectly unique alto; similarly to Lindi Ortega, if you turn on the radio, you would know immediately that it is Gwen Sebastian singing. So she’s got originality, pop country leanings, and name recognition, along with her talent, and yet she can’t get on the radio…seems like a major problem.

Tracks I Recommend

I haven’t actually listened to much of the earlier Gwen Sebastian material, but her 2013 album is mostly good. I’ll highlight my favorites, but you should give the whole album a listen.

1. I’m Not Who You Think I Am–Gwen Sebastian
2. Annie’s New Gun (featuring Miranda Lambert)Gwen Sebastian
3. Bring it to Me–Gwen Sebastian
4. SuitcaseGwen Sebastian
5. One Like ThatGwen Sebastian

Listen to Gwen Sebastian’s self-titled album