Country’s biggest-seller this week is still Body Like a Back Road by Sam Hunt, but here’s what’s happening on Country Radio this week, for the chart dated April 1.
Top of the Pile
Jon Pardi – Dirt On My Boots. Sticking around at the top, the bit before the third iteration of the chorus is brilliant, with a reference to ‘dirty dancin’. Jon is keen to party but he needs ‘half an hour for a shave and shower’. The string syncopation is outstanding throughout, and it’s a better song than Head Over Boots. Could be one of the year’s best.
The Sales Number One
Sam Hunt – Body Like a Back Road. Still number one, ‘taking it slow just as fast as I can’ and rising to number 8 on the Airplay charts. It’s better than anything on the first album, and will win him more new fans who may well propel this up the pop charts. It peaked at 17 on the Hot 100, making it a pop smash, though it’s down to 18 this week. Sam wrote this with the hitmaking writers Zach Crowell, (who produced Montevallo, and also wrote Dirty Laundry for Carrie Underwood) and Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, who both wrote Take Your Time and Merry Go Round, two of the decade’s finest country singles.
Jason Aldean – Any Ol Barstool. Up to number 5. Most of Aldean’s stuff I can take or leave, but this is a step up from the Florida Georgia Line-composed Lights Come On. There’s depth to this one – ‘ask any ol barstool in this town’ to prove Jason’s not sitting at home drinking. The opening line is stunning: ‘Guess you heard I was pedal to the metal on a downhill slide’.
Brett Young – In Case You Didn’t Know. It’s a love song without mentioning the word love, according to the song’s co-writer Trent Tomlinson. ‘I’m crazy bout you, I would be lying if I said that I could live this life without you,’ goes double negative in the chorus. ‘You had my heart a long, long time ago’ sounds simple but hits home. Rising from 20 to 16, the title track of Brett’s debut LP is doing well. It’s in the same key (B-flat) as Sleep Without You, but is a bit slower. His voice is a lovely instrument, and he seems relatable and fun.
Josh Turner – Hometown Girl. All About You should be the next single, as Josh consolidates his number one LP Deep South (my review can be found on this site). This tune, co-written by Dan Tashian of the band Silver Seas (the most underrated act of the 2010s), has hit the airplay top 10, and showcases that distinctive voice over a three-chord repeated riff.
The Lower Reaches
Brett Eldredge – Something I’m Good At. Brett returns with album three this year, and this is the lead single from it. At 36 at the moment, it’s poised to climb all the way to the top, just like all three singles from Illinois. It’s very pop, has a killer chorus, and contains those three bars of solo vocal building back up to the chorus on the word ‘town’. Live, this will be brilliant; on record, it can come across as annoying, or cute. The Jason Mraz-y wordplay in the latter half of the song demonstrates Brett’s expertise at performing songs, and he’ll be welcome at C2C 2018.