Country’s biggest-seller this week is 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 20.
Top of the Pile
Sam Hunt – Body Like a Back Road. He’s got all of them for a second week, and he’s not moving from the airplay charts for a third. Except the Billbord Hot 100 for all genres, where he goes down to 15 and, incredibly, is behind James Arthur, who won our X Factor in 2012. DJ Khaled and friends are straight in at 1. What’s your favourite part of the song? The intro, easing us in? The first verse, setting the scene? The chorus for the first time, introducing us to an earworm of a hook? Verse two, which develops our story, or verse three ‘out here in the boondocks, the breeze and the birds, tangled up in the tall grass’? Or the lingering bar in the third chorus which repeats the line ‘I’ma take it slow (rest, rest, rest, rest) just as fast as I can’? I love them all. Go Sam go! Pity poor Luke Combs who will surely be kept at 2, where he lies this week once again. What has beaten a Hurricane this week? A back road.
The Sales Number One
Sam Hunt – Body Like a Back Road. He may be a prince of pop radio, but in county Sam Hunt rules in sales and radio airplay. How lovely must it be to be Sam Hunt…See the past few weeks’ pieces for more on Young Sam.
Darius Rucker – If I Told You. After FORTY-TWO WEEKS this has climbed into the top 10. Imagine being on American radio, introducing this song for ten whole months…Sounds boring going ‘Ole Darius, still singing about love and stuff’. Well done all the same, as it is a well-deserved top 10 radio hit, smooth and slow.
Zac Brown Band – My Old Man. You may or may not know that up-and-coming rock’n’roll band ZBB have a new album out this week. I may have written about it; the site editor may well be writing a review of it. If it gets less than 11 out of 10 I will be shocked. This is the lead single and future number one, about two generations of dads. Up one place to 19.
Chris Stapleton – Either Way. Jesus lives! And he has a beard. Landing at 26 with the promotional single coming off From A Room: Volume 1, Stapleton is leading the charge for ‘real country’. This reminds me of the Bill Hicks routine on marketing: ‘Ah yeah, why not go for the anti-marketing angle…’ The need for Stapleton to ‘rescue us from bro-country’ says much about the country music industry. Fifty years ago we had timeless music from the likes of Glenn Campbell and Loretta Lynn; this song fits well with their oeuvre, purred close to the mic in RCA Studio A (the ‘A’ room where Chet Atkins made many classic country hits of that era) in Nashville. The soul of country music with none of the processed drumbeats is evident on this song, with the killer chorus lyric that will make your mouth form an oh! You can read about Stapleton as the next Nashville Treasure on this very site near the end of the month, once I’ve dipped fully into the album which may well chart at number one on the overall Top 200 next week. Just listen.
The Lower Reaches
Aaron Watson – Outta Style. Impossible!!! Moving up three to 30, Aaron Watson is now a Country Top 30 Artist. Well done to his fans for requesting the Song of the Year, which remains in this slot of the Country Radio piece until it leaves the 40. It couldn’t happen to a finer man. Sitting at 29 is William Michael Morgan, who had a radio number one with I Met a Girl (written by young Sam Hunt), and Morgan Wallen, profiled here the other week, who was on The Voice and has big management guiding his career. Both acts are just as talented but have millions of dollars behind them; Aaron is doing it for the little guy, and he’ll never go outta style! Surely he can’t go higher…can he?