Country Radio Update: March 16th

Country’s biggest-seller this week is Body Like a Back Road by Sam Hunt, but here’s what’s happening on Country Radio this week, for the chart dated March 25.

(Don’t ask why, they announce it two weeks in advance for unfathomable reasons.)

Top of the Pile

Jon Pardi – ‘Dirt on my Boots’. Addictive, sexy and full of charm. Jon is turning into the Boots guy, after Head Over Boots also hit the top last year. Congratulations to the ACM Award-winning New Male Vocalist of the Year, who will of course need to clear aforesaid boots of aforesaid dirt to collect aforesaid award.

The Sales Number One

Sam Hunt – ‘Body Like a Back Road’. Radio number ones take a long time, though bigger acts rise up the charts quickly (‘Fast’ by Luke Bryan sits at 4 only a few weeks after impact; some tracks take a year to get to number one). Sam’s comeback single is at 11, and will reach number one in April or, more likely, May. It’s about sex, I think.

Edging Closer

Kelsea Ballerini – ‘Yeah Boy’; Lauren Alaina – ‘The Road Less Traveled’. The former is at 10, the latter at 5. Here are two ladies tipped (by me) to play Country2Country 2018, who are in the pack with Maren Morris as three potential ‘other Carries’. They write their songs, sing them brilliantly and sell them with sass. Meghan Trainor wrote the latter.

Rising Artists

Luke Combs – ‘Hurricane’. Often country radio pushes a particular song by a new act – ‘Road Less Traveled’ was a previous beneficiary – and this, at 15, is the current pushee. The song has also been Spotified 34m times (Sam Hunt’s only has 33m!)

Old Friends

Lady Antebellum – ‘You Look Good’. Up to 21, written with Maren Morris’ mate Busbee. The riff can be played without moving your hand (1-1-1-1-1-3-5-4-3 is the pattern) from the D position on the keyboard. It sounds good, it feels good and the chorus is one of Lady A’s best. Bring on the LP.

The Lower Reaches

Brothers Osborne – It Ain’t My Fault. At 34, the brothers from Maryland stunned the UK with their Country2Country set. This is a cousin of ‘It Wasn’t Me’ by Shaggy, but isn’t cheesy or corny. It includes the opening couplet ‘Blame the beer on the whisky, blame the whisky on the beer’. Sold?

Jonny Brick