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

Billboard Country Airplay and Country Albums Chart (August 22nd)

Billboard Country Airplay

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

  • new No. 1: “Kiss You in the Morning”
  • next week’s No. 1 prediction: “Loving You Easy”
  • Jana Kramer’s “I Got the Boy” and Hunter Hayes’s “21” fell temporarily out of the top 30 this week

Billboard Top Country Albums

1. Sam Hunt–Montevallo
2. Alan Jackson–Angels and Alcohol
3. Zac Brown Band–Greatest Hits So Far…
4. Zac Brown Band–Jekyll + Hyde
5. Jason Isbell–Something More Than Free
6. Eric Church–The Outsiders
7. Little Big Town–Painkiller
8. Chase Rice–Ignite the Night
9. Jason Aldean–Old Boots, New Dirt
10. Florida Georgia Line–Anything Goes
11. Brantley Gilbert–Just as I Am
12. Various Artists–Now That’s What I Call Country, Volume 8
13. Ashley Monroe–The Blade
14. Blake Shelton–Bringing Back the Sunshine
15. Kacey Musgraves–Pageant Material
16. Luke Bryan–Crash My Party
17. Luke Bryan–Spring Break…Checkin’ Out
18. Willie Nelson/Merle Haggard–Django and Jimmie
19. Big & Rich–Gravity
20. Kenny Chesney–The Big Revival
21. Big Smo–Bringin’ It Home (EP)
22. Carrie Underwood–Greatest Hits: Decade #1
23. Cole Swindell–Cole Swindell
24. Darius Rucker–Southern Style
25. Easton Corbin–About to Get Real

  • Zac Brown Band’s Greatest Hits So Far… moved up from No. 17 to No. 3
  • Ashley Monroe’s The Blade fell from No. 2 to No. 13
  • unfortunately, Sam Hunt is back at No. 1

Source: Billboard

Random Thoughts of the Week: My Opinion on Zac Brown Band Releasing “Beautiful Drug”

Zac Brown is widely known for having called out Luke Bryan’s 2013 bro country anthem “That’s My Kind of Night” as
the worst song he’d ever heard.
So this week, when the news broke that the Zac Brown Band would
release the EDM single “Beautiful Drug” to country radio,
many fans were disheartened and felt betrayed. This subject has been discussed over and over on other blogs, and I debated whether or not to bring it up. But it needs to be addressed.

Zac Brown Band is one of my favorites in any genre, so the moment their new album, Jekyll + Hyde, became available, I purchased it. I didn’t preview any tracks ahead of time; it was ZBB, they always deliver. It should be noted here that while they have never done EDM or pop country, the group is known for experimenting with their sound. In fact, one of my favorite songs from them is “Overnight” from 2012’s Uncaged, which is an r&b bedroom song featuring Trombone Shorty. They also do many songs tinged with reggae, and having seen them live, I’ve seen them play Southern rock as well. So as a ZBB fan, it really did not come as much of a shock to me when “Beautiful Drug” came on. Even when the EDM beats kicked in at the chorus, I was not terribly shocked. A lot of people criticized Zac Brown then, saying he should never have started an album with this song and that this was a betrayal to his core fans. As a core fan, I can say that although it was a surprise, I did not consider this a betrayal. “Beautiful Drug” is indeed a club song, but it is a love song; a betrayal would have been a song about tailgating in the moonlight. I actually like “Beautiful Drug,” although it is not country. Jekyll + Hyde was all over the place in terms of sound and can be criticized for not being country, or not really sticking to any genre. Having said that, I liked “Beautiful Drug” as an EDM song, I liked “Home Grown” as a country song, and I liked “Junkyard” and “Heavy as the Head” as rock songs.

The real betrayal of Zac Brown was when he announced that “Beautiful Drug,” an EDM club song, will be released to radio as a crossover hit. I should mention that “Heavy is the Head” was released to rock radio and gave the band a No. 1. Why then does “Beautiful Drug” need to be on country radio? They should have sent it to pop radio where it belongs. This is a betrayal. This is not the Zac Brown that called out Luke Bryan. When I turn on the radio, I can usually count on hearing good singles from Zac Brown Band mixed in with all the crap being marketed as country. They stand out as hope for country music, even if they experiment with other genres. The statement they could have and should have made would have been to release “Beautiful Drug” to pop radio, as well as another single to country radio. This marks a difference in genre and sets up boundary lines, which is something Zac Brown seems to have stood for in 2013. Most people who have called out this song hate “Beautiful Drug” and/or think ZBB should have never recorded it in the first place. As someone who was not offended by its appearance on a Zac Brown Band album, I am here to say it does not belong on country radio. Zac Brown Band has been the biggest bright spot for country music in the last five years, managing to break the airplay barrier with fiddles and lyrics of substance. The news of this release to country radio means that the Zac Brown who would once fight for country music has now surrendered to a trend. This is disheartening to say the least and a slap in the face to Zac Brown Band fans who count on them as the last hope for country music.

Tomato of the Week: Gwen Sebastian

She flies under the radar a lot, but I think she could have real potential as a good pop country artist. Her full article will be featured on Female Friday.

Random Country Suggestion: Tyler Farr: “Suffer in Peace”

The excellent title track from his new album that will never be a single because it has too much heart.

Non-Country Suggestion: Zac Brown Band featuring Chris Cornell–“Heavy is the Head”

The previously mentioned No. 1 on rock radio that stayed where it belonged.

Honest Reviews and Exclusive Commentary on the Latest Country Music