Country’s biggest-seller this week is still, STILL, STILL(!!!) Body Like a Back Road by Sam Hunt, but here’s what’s happening on Country Radio this week, for the chart dated May 27.
Top of the Pile
Luke Combs – Hurricane. Sam has been deposed! Well done to the label and the team behind a lovely chubby guy called Luke (as opposed to the hunky farm boy called Luke). This takes the familiar chords of VI-IV-I-V as heard in I Hope You Dance and Hall of Fame by The Script and Save Tonight by Eagle Eye Cherry and puts a song about a woman being like a natural disaster over the top. The voice is fab, the melody soars and Luke positions himself as a B-list star. A-listers have loads of hits, B-listers have a couple of hits. Brett Young and Lauren Alaina are now B-list, while Maren and Kelsea will be A-list in six months.
The Sales Number One
Sam Hunt – Body Like a Back Road. But Luke is stuck at 3 in the sales chart, thanks to Big Sam’s domination. He’s still doing 15 in a 30, and not in a hurry to depart. Indeed he is at 15 in the Hot 100, an incredible success which positions him so well in advance of his sophomore (or as people in the real world call it ‘second’) album. On a descent on country radio before going ‘recurrent’ (I love that word, but I prefer ‘an old song’).
Kelsea Ballerini – Yeah Boy. Or as it should be called Yeaah Boiiiiiiiiii, after Flavor Flav, the guy with the clock on his chest from Public Enemy. Kelsea came to London last week and was genuinely joyful as she played the hits (this poppy one is now at 4) and some new tunes from album two. Her fiancée, the Aussie singer-songwriter Morgan Evans, is coming to Britain too in June, but Kelsea will be knee-deep in promotion for the new single, which is coming…
Midland – Drinkin’ Problem. At 17, here’s a smooth song that recalls King George and the like, I still love the line ‘I call it the solution’, since drink is a mixture of water and solids: a solution. It’s a pun!!! A future number one from the guys who were profiled on Rolling Stone Country, who are playing some dates with Tim’n’Faith. It seems Midland are an outlet for their co-writers, some blokes called Josh Osborne and Shane McAnally, to work on classic-sounding tunes. They have praise from Dean Dillon, who has given George Strait hits for three decades.
Brett Eldredge – Somethin’ I’m Good At. I wonder if he can change a flat yet…Brett’s self-titled third LP is out soonish, and this first single and future number one (now at 27) is funny and will be a live favourite. A genuine and nice fellow, Brett may well turn up at Country2Country next year.
The Lower Reaches
Aaron Watson – Outta Style. Down from 30 to 36 but still in the lower reaches sitting between some Garth guy and some Chief…Well done Aaron on the success of this brilliant song.