We’re saving this week’s best story for last.
Seriously. We’re not even going to tip our hand with the set “featured image” for the post. You’ll just have to wait for it, but it has been a real bright spot for this entire week.
That bit of secrecy aside… This week offers bits of hyperawareness from the likes of Dierks Bentley, Jack Ingram, and John Paul White, alongside announcements from Charlie Worsham, The Time Jumpers, and Drake White. Miranda Lambert brought a slew of special guests on stage for her encores at her show this week, while Lauren Alaina was chosen for some promotion that looks to re-ignite her career at radio. And Juli Thanki wrote an exceptional piece, which includes interviews with Jeannie Seely, about the efforts to induct the late Dottie West into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
This week’s new releases are led by a Florida Georgia Line album that is sure to please fans of AutoTune and their particular brand of post-bro country, Ingram’s latest, and several noteworthy John Denver reissues. Oh, and a 14-disc set of Hee Haw. Which, love it or cringe at its corn-pone humor, has a pretty significant place in
New Releases & Reissues, 8/26/2016
Charlie Daniels, Nighthawk. (BFD)
John Denver, Poems, Prayers, & Promises (1971), Rocky Mountain High (1972), and Back Home Again (1974). (Night Fever)
The Devil Makes Three, Redemption & Ruin. (New West)
Florida Georgia Line, Dig Your Roots. (Big Machine)
Gaither Vocal Band, Better Together. (GMG)
Hee Haw: The Collector’s Edition (14-disc DVD/BRD set). (Time Life)
Hollis Brown, Cluster of Pearls. (Alive Naturalsound)
Jack Ingram, Midnight Motel. (Rounder)
Liz Longley, Weightless. (Sugar Hill)
The Price Sisters, The Price Sisters. (Rebel Recordings)
Billboard Country National Airplay:
#1: Dan + Shay, “From the Ground Up”
Most Increased Audience: Kelsea Ballerini, “Peter Pan”
Debuts: Keith Urban, “Blue Ain’t Your Color” (#48); Lauren Alaina, “Road Less Traveled” (#57); Toby Keith, “A Few More Cowboys” (re-entry, #58), Chase Rice, “Everybody We Know Does” (#60).
Most Added: RaeLynn, “Love Triangle” (25); Keith Urban, “Blue Ain’t Your Color” (23); Luke Bryan, “Move” (21); Tim McGraw, “How I’ll Always Be” (18); Florida Georgia Line feat. Tim McGraw, “May We All” (18).
Notes: Last week’s #1, Jon Pardi’s “Head Over Boots,” takes a huge hit in audience and tumbles all the way to #9; once “Fix” goes recurrent next week, Tucker Beathard’s nearly unlistenable “Rock On,” which is knocking on the door of the top 10 at #11, will easily hold the title for the worst song on the chart; Miranda Lambert’s “Vice” re-enters the top 20 (#22 to #19) in its fifth chart week; we still think it’s better as a pop song, but Maren Morris’ “80s Mercedes” continues a steady climb, up to #27; Chris Stapleton’s “Parachute” (#34) and Chris Janson’s “Holdin’ Her” (#36) both posted gains of 3 spots this week; Alaina’s single should post a huge gain next week, as “Road Less Traveled” has been named the next iHeartMedia “On The Verge” pick for additional promotion;
both Old Dominion and Parmalee are struggling with their latest singles– the former’s “Beer Can in a Truck Bed” is at #53 after 18 weeks, while the latter’s “Roots” inches up to #52 after a full four months on the chart (Note: As Raymond caught in the comments, “Beer Can in a Truck Bed” has managed to chart for 18 weeks as an album track, which is a fairly rare occurrence these days; Old Dominion’s current single, “Song for Another Time,” moves up to #26 in its 11th chart week).
Elsewhere on Billboard‘s radio charts:
Not a great week for country and country-adjacent acts at AAA radio, as The Lumineers, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, and Shovels & Rope all lost total spins and Drive-By Truckers’ “Surrender Under Protest” only picked up 2 more station adds; Blackberry Smoke’s “Believe You Me” and The White Stripes’ “City Lights” both gained 5 adds, however; Florida Georgia Line’s “H.O.L.Y.” holds at #21 at Adult Top 40 for a second week and came within 2 spins of cracking the top 25 at Adult Contemporary radio; on that chart, Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind” re-bullets at #15; Hillary Scott & The Scott Family’s “Thy Will” post the most increased audience at Christian radio and moves up from #5 to #2.
News & Notes
“I was making great records, but my mentality shifted after the bluegrass record. It had to, because I knew that record wasn’t going to help touring at all. This was going to be a record that wasn’t going to help anything at all, just something that I had to do. From there forward, I really just tried to make great albums and let the albums be what they’re going to be, and touring be totally separate from the album, and not try to write a song that would be good for the stage, or find a[n album] title what would work also well as a title for a tour. I’d just separate the two. And it made great records.”
— Dierks Bentley pretty well crushed any lingering hopes for a follow-up to Up On The Ridge as part of an in-depth profile by Maura Johnston for Esquire. Bentley emphasized throughout that his live shows have become, to him, the most important aspect of his career, and that he intends to continue to try to create albums that are more conducive to the atmosphere he has built for his concerts. (JK)
“I’m hyperaware that there are people quick to dismiss me as a country frat rocker, mainstream ass shaker, or wannabe Guy Clark… I’ve been all three. But nobody can say I didn’t put in my ten thousand hours, that I didn’t do the work. You can’t just pick up the guitar and try to do what I do. At twenty, that’s impossible. And at forty-five, you can’t take it away from me.”
— Jack Ingram got self-(hyper)aware as part of an astute profile by Andy Langer of Texas Monthly. Langer and Ingram dissect his persona and evolution from frat-country to the troubadour style of his latest album, Midnight Motel. (TS)
Drake White is rapidly becoming one of our favorite mainstream acts. This week, he invited ABC News to join him on the road for his “Livin’ the Dream, Givin’ the Dream” tour, in which he made stops at five different charity organizations across the country in the span of 24 hours. (JK)
Miranda Lambert has been closing her recent live shows with a melancholy cover of Linda Ronstadt’s “Willin’.” And at her tour stop in Bangor, Maine, this past week, she was joined on both that song and a rousing rendition of “Me and Bobby McGee” by Kip Moore, Brothers Osborne, and Anderson East. (JK)
“We were the (type of) friends that could talk on the phone at 2 a.m… When I had my really bad car accident in 1977, Dottie was there as much as she possibly could be, helping me through that time. After I got out of the hospital and was homebound, one time, she drove me out to her place just for a change of scenery… After her accident, I remember sitting at the hospital with her sister and just thinking how helpless I felt that I could not return that. There was nothing I could do. It was the most helpless I believe I’ve ever felt.”
— Jeannie Seely spoke about the aftermath of Dottie West’s fatal car accident and her friendship with West as part of a must-read-as-ever piece by Juli Thanki of The Tennessean. Thanki profiles the growing movement to enshrine West as part of the Country Music Hall Of Fame– a recognition that many feel is long overdue– and an upcoming ceremony in which Seely and Ron Harman will commemorate the site of West accident. (JK)
Charlie Worsham– who really needs to release his sophomore album, stat– will join The Time Jumpers and Patty Loveless (!!) on September 25th for a free concert in Nashville to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the CMA Awards and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. (JK)
And speaking of The Time Jumpers, they just released a music video for their single, “I Miss You.” (JK)
“I was in it to win it. I’d already been fighting to get up the ladder for so long. If a venue wanted us to play, we’d do it. It was all for taking that next step up the ladder. I think one of those years, we were home for 40 days out of the entire year, and I’ve got a pretty good feeling that some of those days were spent in Nashville, and not at home. And I wanted to be that busy. But I could never do that again. I have a completely different kind of bucket list now.”
— John Paul White spoke to Andrew Leahey of Rolling Stone about his new solo album, Beulah, and the fatigue that set in as part of the touring schedule from his stint as one-half of The Civil Wars. (JK)
NPR’s Ann Powers previews Dwight Yoakam’s soon-to-be-released album of Bluegrass covers of some of his hits, Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars…, and gives us a chance to hear “These Arms” from the album. (LMW)
In what may be the very best story of the year, “Great Big Story” has released an animated video about the time that Ray Charles beat Willie Nelson in a game of chess. You are most welcome. (JK)
That will do it for this week! If you haven’t done so already, check out our “If We Ran the CMAs” post. And let us know in the comments if there’s anything noteworthy we’ve missed!