Country Radio Update: June 1st


Country’s biggest-seller this week is still, STILL, STILL, STILL (when will it end? Will it ever end?) Body Like a Back Road by Sam Hunt, but here’s what’s happening on Country Radio this week, for the chart dated June 10.

Top of the Pile

Brett Young – In Case You Didn’t Know. Out on tour with Kelsea and Lady A, Brett now has two number ones. This one, with the key lyric ‘you had my heart a long, long time ago’, is a slow-dance tune written with no mention of the word love. It’ll be one of the songs of CMA Fest 2017; he comes over to the UK in October.

The Sales Number One

Sam Hunt – Body Like a Back Road. His new song Single for the Summer is woeful or, as I might diplomatically say, ‘a grower’. This one is still magical, and it’ll be the highlight of his 15 in a 30 tour, announced imminently. He’s up 2 in the Hot 100 to 14. Look it’s not my fault I have to stick to the format, but thank goodness a good song has been the top of the sales chart since the first Country Radio wrap-up…in March. It’s better than last year’s long-stayer at the top, H.O.L.Y., so poor even Bieber turned it down.

Edging Closer

Thomas Rhett and Maren Morris – Craving You. Maren played My Church on the live version of Later… With Jools Holland, introducing herself to a wider audience who do not listen to Radio 2 or follow country music. TR, who ought to be a global superstar, has done himself no disgrace with this contemporary pop song, for which Maren provides harmonic interest. It enters the top 10 at 10, and will be a number one in July.

Rising Artists

Carly Pearce – Every Little Thing. Down one to 26, but will surely go back up after CMA Fest. The latest interviewee on the Bobbycast, Carly is a rising star and one of the Anyone But Carries. She told Bobby Bones that the song, written in forty-five minutes, is about a guy she loved who didn’t believe in her dream; he is now married with a family. She sang at Dollywood as a teenager, then moved to Nashville to fight to make it alongside a class which included Kacey Musgraves and Brothers Osborne. Having been signed to Sony on a development deal, she was then let go, told she was ‘old news’ and that in meetings she should ‘save face, make it home and start crying.’ Carly’s first time at the Opry was as a backing singer for a TV star, but she has already played this song there. She feels, even after the rise of Carrie and Miranda and Maren, that ‘you are penalised for being a female’, which is very similar to how female footballers were viewed before the current boom era (certainly in the UK, as ladies like Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach are heroes in the US). It’s another hit for busbee, the alchemist of female popstars, but the ultimate compliment for this song is that someone like Hunter Hayes or Chris Young could have a hit with Every Little Thing. This’ll be a Song of the Year contender (which accounts for a short 200-word essay).

Old Friends

Old Dominion – No Such Thing as a Broken Heart. Up to 18. The band have put out a fun video to this song, which sets the five members of the band in a weird real-life video game. There are three songwriters – Brad, Matt and Trevor – and they can all sing and play. After grafting for ten years, album two comes out probably in the third quarter of the year before they come to the UK with TR. This song is poppy and fun, and will do well when they play it live.

The Lower Reaches

Aaron Watson – Outta Style. He’s hosting an evening of Texan music in October at the Opry, and is sticking around the Top 40. Elsewhere, Kane Brown shoots up to 35 with What Ifs, featuring Lauren Alaina; Chief Eric Church is catching the Round Here Buzz at 33; some bloke with a beard and a hat who sounds timeless is at 38 with Either Way, calling himself Chris Stapleton, and Big & Rich are at 39 with California, a fine pop song. But Outta Style is still knocking about, at 37. This must be on the radio every twenty minutes in Texas, where Aaron seems to be a hero of Luke Bryan proportions.

Jonny Brick

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