YLIAS Recommends: August 2018

A roundup of tunes that may or may not be part of your playlist but are worth a listen. Some are mainstream, some are buried away on albums others haven’t even been released….

It doesn’t really matter. Some wouldn’t get on a typical country radio playlist but let’s treat this as a positive. We think they are decent, and you may agree!

MITCHELL TENPENNY – DRUNK ME

Let’s start with a soon-to-be radio smash. This has been around for a while. It was released in February on a self-titled EP and has steadily crept up on everyone. It’s just outside the top 20 twenty on the radio charts and has everything going for it.

Nashville born and raised Tenpenny released his debut album ‘Black Crow’ in 2015 on an independent label and received some success, although his biggest songwriting claim to fame so far is Granger Smith’s ‘If The Boot Fits’.

He is signed to Sony Music Nashville. Regular Nashville Nights attendees might just recognise this one!

DUSTIN LYNCH – GOOD GIRL

Dustin’s output tends to be mixed. Between 2014 and 2017 he had 5 #1 one country airplay hits. His last single ‘I’d Be Jealous Too’ didn’t chart as high as he would have liked. His album sales have also dipped in the last year or two. ‘Current Mood’ sold half the units shifted by 2014’s ‘Where It’s At’.

He needs to regroup and regain traction. ‘Good Girl’ is generic radio fare but does have a head nodding vibe to it. Undeniably catchy and a great anthem for the summer.

KARAC HENDRICKS – THIS ROAD IS MINE

Beware, I’m leaving the mainstream world! Make a left turn off the freeway and let’s hit the back roads. Canadian country artist Karac Hendrick has released an absolute banger of a tune. ‘This Road Is Mine’ – Put this on your car player. Turn it up, hit the motorway and get flashed by the speed cameras (ok, maybe don’t do that!).

DYLAN SCHNEIDER – HOW DOES IT SOUND / NO PROBLEM

This guy recently headlined Saturday at Nashville Meets London and it’s fair to say that he took his opportunity to impress a new audience pretty well. He followed crowd favourite Sam Palladio and despite an exodus of Sam’s followers, gave a very good account of himself.

We have highlighted two of Dylan’s recent singles. Both have the unmistakable commercial appeal that should justify his recent rise up the US Country singer hype charts. Big things are on the horizon for Schneider and he will be dipping his toes into our concert tours again shortly, I’m sure.

RANDALL KING – ONE GOODBYE / TAKIN’ ME A HEARTBREAK

For those of us who have embraced the resurgence of traditional country music, the rise of Midland and William Michael Morgan has been a breath of fresh air. Randall King is very much from the same mold.    George Strait would certainly approve of Texan Randall King’s new album.

We have highlighted two tracks but realistically it’s hard to choose. The album’s been around for a few months now and has already received endorsements from Garth Brooks and Rolling Stone. Definitely one for the play list.

JIMMIE ALLEN – BEST SHOT 

The slow nature of the US Country Charts means that tracks that have been around for what seems like forever slowly progress. Russell Dickerson is the best example. ‘Yours’ took the best part of 2 years to achieve a top ten placement.

In that context, Jimmie Allen’s ‘Best Shot’ is a mere whipper snapper having been released in March this year. It’s certainly a grower in more ways than one.

Currently sitting at #30 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, it’s steadily moving in the right direction and should give Allen his maiden hit record. Definitely one to watch out for and he is supporting Chase Rice in October, so a chance to see a potential star of the future.

TAMI NEILSON – MANITOBA SUNRISE AT MOTEL 6 

To prove that the music we love has worldwide appeal, New Zealand is our next stop. Tami Neilson’s album ‘Sassafrass’ came out earlier this year. It’s an eclectic mix – she has a retro style and often strays into a 50’s vibe.

Tucked away towards the end of the track list is this gem. Superb slide guitars and storytelling. Smokey, soulful and compelling.

TRAVIS COLLINS – HIGH HORSE

Staying down under, here’s another name that probably won’t be too familiar. However, Travis Collins is a big deal in the Australian Country music scene. He has won most of the major awards in the last couple of years and his 3 latest albums have all charted either at #1 or #2.

‘High Horse’ is a power ballad from his soon to be released ‘Brave and the Broken’ album. Always good to explore new horizons and all that….

MARIE WISE-HAWKINS – PICK UP TRUCK

Maybe another new name. Marie’s recently released debut 5-track EP ‘The Road Back To Me’ contains this gem. A good example of an independent female artist who seems to be finding doors beginning to open for her with Ryman appearances and TV slots.

Check her out!

MADDIE AND TAE – FRIENDS DON’T

This is another one that seems to be taking an age to take off. Released in April, ‘Friends Don’t’ was their first single release in 2 years and they really need another hit record.

What is the magic ingredient that creates a hit radio tune? On the face of it this has a lot going for it but so far it seems to be stalling. UMG Nashville is the girls’ new home since the demise of Dot Records.  Maybe a support slot on Carrie Underwood’s forthcoming tour will kick start their careers again. Fingers crossed….

Graham Wharton