Sunday Selections: July 24, 2016

If you need us, we’ll be where our reputations don’t precede us.

Which is a way of saying that we’re listening to Miranda Lambert’s new single, “Vice,” on a loop right now. The single shot to #1 on the all-genre iTunes sales chart upon its release, indicating that fans were clamoring for new music from Lambert, an effect that may have been heightened by the fact that the last three singles from Platinum all petered out at radio. Whether or not radio gets on board with the single remains to be seen, but it’s great to have Lambert back with new music.

Other new music from the past two weeks includes the latest from Bluegrass supergroup The Earls of Leicester, new albums by Confederate Railroad and David Nail, a previously unreleased album by folk hero John Gorka, and… the solo debut by Steven Tyler.


Rattle & RoarNew Releases & Reissues, 7/15/2016
Jessica Andrews, Greatest Hits: More Than Miles. (Jessica Andrews Music)
Angie & The Deserters, Blood Like Wine. (Topanga Canyon)
Big Star, Complete Columbia: Big Star Live at the University of Missouri. (Volcano / Legacy)
Confederate Railroad, Lucky to Be Alive. (BFD)
Cowboy Mouth, The Name of the Band Is… Cowboy Mouth: Best Of (So Far!). (CM, LLC)
The Earls of Leicester, Rattle & Roar. (Rounder)
Neal McCoy, You Don’t Know Me. (DMI Soundtracks)
David Nail, Fighter. (MCA Nashville)
Steven Tyler, We’re All Somebody From Somewhere. (Big Machine)
Various Artists, Classic Folk Songs for Kids. (Smithsonian Folkways)

Before BeginningNew Releases & Reissues, 7/22/2016
The Allman Brothers Band, 9 albums including The Allman Brothers Band Album (1970) and Idlewild South (1970). (Mercury / UMe)
Big Smo, We the People. (Elektra Nashville)
Matt Brown, Walk Into the Light. (Rock Ridge Music)
Patsy Cline, Patsy Cline’s Greatest Hits (1967). (MCA Nashville / UMe)
John Gorka, Before Beginning: The Unreleased I Know – Nashville, 1985. (Red House)
Charley Pride, Songs of Pride… Charley, That Is (1968), Charlie Pride In Person (1969), & Sweet Country (1973). (RCA / Legacy)
Cody Webb, Cody Webb EP. (Monument)

Carrie Underwood Church BellsCharted Territory
Billboard Country National Airplay:
#1: Carrie Underwood, “Church Bells”
Most Increased Audience: Jason Aldean, “A Little More Summertime”
Debuts: Jason Aldean, “A Little More Summertime” (#30); Tim McGraw, “How I’ll Always Be” (#39); LANCO, “Long Live Tonight” (#57); Luke Bryan, “Move” (#58); Aaron Watson, “Bluebonnets” (#60).
Most Added: Jason Aldean, “A Little More Summertime” (55); Tim McGraw, “How I’ll Always Be” (28); Maren Morris, “80s Mercedes” (16); Granger Smith, “If the Boot Fits” (12); Dustin Lynch, “Seein’ Red” (12)
Notes: Eric Church’s “Record Year” continues to inch upward, moving from #5 to #4; for the moment, Church has been able to hold off an aggressive promotional push for Chris Lane’s still unlistenable garbage single, “Fix,” which lands at #5; in its 50th chart week, David Nail’s “Night’s on Fire” finally loses steam at a peak of #14; also losing its bullet after only 10 weeks on the chart is Brad Paisley’s much-hyped duet with pop star Demi Lovato, “Without a Fight,” which holds at #17, just ahead of an even worse duet, Dierks Bentley’s & Elle King’s “Different For Girls,” which moves up to #18; Drake White appears to have picked up a bit of momentum with “Livin’ the Dream,” which is up to #26; Maren Morris’ second single, “80s Mercedes,” is already up to #31 after just a month on the chart; Chris Stapleton’s “Parachute” (from #39 to #37) and Chris Janson’s “Holdin’ Her” (at #41 for a second week) two of the best songs on the lower part of the chart, both logged gains in their overall audience this week; Brandy Clark’s “Girl Next Door” has dropped off the chart, and her label has begun testing for a follow-up single .

Elsewhere on Billboard‘s radio charts:
The Avett Brothers’ “Ain’t No Man” spends its fifth week at #1 on the AAA chart; “I Know” by Shovels & Rope is being spun by 16 AAA stations with exceptional taste; Butch Walker’s new single, “East Coast Girl,” scored 3 station adds; Florida Georgia Line’s “H.O.L.Y.” has moved up to #31 at Hot AC in just its second week on that chart;  Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind” lost total spins on the Adult Contemporary chart but still managed to inch up to a new peak of #15;  continues its ascent, reaching a new peak at #15 in its 9th week; “Thy Will” by Hillary Scott & The Scott Family has the most increased plays at Christian radio this week, breaking into the top 10 at #10.

Miranda-Lambert-ViceNews & Notes

“Unfortunately, there just hasn’t been enough such expression from women inside the mainstream. On the flip side, any given year could yield a mountain of songs by men singing about sex as well as its intersection with heartbreak — some written with women in mind, others clearly intended for guys (see Jason Aldean’s ‘Burnin’ It Down’). Not that every breakup song by a female artist should be some retread of “Vice,” mind you, but history shows incredible commercial potential for women audacious enough to speak their minds — and reveal some glimpse of human frailty. When the idea of women singing about sex is so normalized in country that no one blinks an eye when Lambert describes her carnal weakness — ‘another call, another bed I shouldn’t crawl out of’ — it’ll be a sure sign of progress.”
— Jon Freeman of Rolling Stone, in an editorial titled, “What Miranda Lambert’s ‘Vice’ Says About Sex in Country Music.” It’s an interesting read that places Lambert’s (fantastic) new single in both current and historical contexts, and it draws the much-needed comparison between “Vice” and Dierks Bentley’s & Elle King’s “Different for Girls.” And, in other Lambert news, she performed as part of the Pistol Annies for the first time in nearly a year. (JK)

“I’ve always been a very happy person, but I hit a real state of depression about a year and a half ago, and I wouldn’t leave my house for a while… I literally had a hard fight. It was a tough time in my life. There were a lot of days where it was hard for me to get out of bed.”
— Kip Moore gave a candid interview with ET Canada during which he disclosed his struggles with clinical depression. Moore also released an inspiring video regarding the ways that racism is learned. (JK)

Ryan Adams was joined by The Infamous Stringdusters for his set at Newport Folk Festival, where he performed bluegrass-infused versions of his songs along with hoedown-ready covers of songs by Black Sabbath and Slayer. (JK)

“I don’t know this for sure, but I would bet money that Iris must’ve listened to a lot of early Loretta Lynn records when she was learning guitar and singing around the house. Because when I pitched this song to her, ‘Who’s Gonna Take The Garbage Out,’ she knew it right away. And she has those nuances in her voice like Loretta Lynn, but she doesn’t sound like Loretta. Iris sounds like nobody but Iris.”
— John Prine gave a dead-on assessment of the inimitable Iris DeMent as part of a wonderful interview with Jewly Hight. In the interview, Prine revealed that he will release a new duets album on September 8th. As with his 1998 duets project, his partners will all be women, including Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, Lee Ann Womack, Amanda Shires, Morgane Stapleton, and, once again, DeMent, among many others. (LMW)

Speaking of Amanda Shires, she has released the lead single from her upcoming album (produced by Dave Cobb), “Harmless.” (JK)

“So for the past three years, it’s been, ‘Look at these females.’ Let’s get with them, start from the beginning, develop with them, hear what they’re doing while they’re doing it, bring them in on the air. And we’ve done that with a bunch of them. Now you’re starting to see it pay off. We’re better than we were 12 months ago. And hopefully in 12 months we’ll be better than we are now. But everything goes in cycles. And people are like, ‘Oh, it sucks.’ OK, there are many cycles that have sucked over time.”
— Radio personality Bobby Bones considered the cyclical nature of trends in an interview with Rolling Stone and claims that the radio climate for women has improved over the past 12 months. (Sidebar: This week’s top 40 includes 4 solo women plus 2 women who are duet partners). It’s an interview that’s more interesting than it is coherent, in that Bones contradicts himself several times throughout. (TS / JK)

Alt-country stalwarts Wilco announced the release of a new album— titled Schmilco, because of course it is– on September 9th. (JK)

While their single “Castaway” continues to climb the country radio chart, Zac Brown Band released a long-form music video for their album track, “I’ll Be Your Man.” (JK)

Josh Schott of our friends over at Country Perspective made a sharp-eyed discovery in the music video for Eric Church’s “Sinners Like Me,” which Church released to mark the 10th anniversary of his debut album. It’s a concise, to-the-point statement on images that matter. (JK)

”I’m not a political person when it comes to making statements. But I was dismayed by a number of things: the reaction to (Little Big Town’s) ‘Girl Crush,’ how few women were being recognized in the Entertainer of the Year categories, how few women were being played on the radio.”
— Keith Urban talked contemporary feminism in a terrific interview with Holly Gleason of Hits Daily Double. In addition to delving into the stylistic diversions he takes on his latest album, Ripcord, and into his overall style, Urban spoke at some length about how the influence of different women on his creative process. (JK)

“It felt good to go into outer space, and it feels good to come back down. I feel so proud of Venus, but if that took you for a left turn, I want people to know I’m still on the path, and I haven’t forgotten where I came from. ‘All those who wander are not lost’ is the famous quote.”
— Joy Williams considered the direction of her solo album, Venus, and her upcoming Venus Acoustic, which will recast some of the tracks from the previous album in a stripped-down style more akin to her work as one half of The Civil Wars. (JK)

Charles Kelley released a music video for his single, “Lonely Girl,” but it’s hard to see how the model in the video could be lonely with Kelley all up in her personal space bubble. (JK)

That will do it for this week! Be sure to check out Kevin’s rave review for Brandy Clark’s Big Day in a Small Town, and check back soon for the last entry in our Dixie Chicks: Revisited series!


  1. Regarding Kip Moore’s issues with depression, I read a similar article about David Nail dealing with this as well. We always think of performers and entertainers as having such a charmed life. But they deal with similar issues that everyone else does. And in their case, it’s usually a lot more public than your average person.

    I sometimes try to imagine what it must be like to be expected to create great art repeatedly. It’s never enough to have one successful song or album. You’re expected to repeat it over and over. What enormous pressure that must bring.

    And in Nail’s case, he was also dealing with infertility as he and his wife were trying to have a baby. The good news is that Nail and his wife recently had twins – a boy and a girl.

    Moore is such a good looking guy and has had some nice success in his career. You’d think he would be on top of the world. But he’s human and goes through tough times just like all of us. Hope things continue to improve for him.

  2. You mention that “Brandy Clark’s “Girl Next Door” has dropped off the charts, and her label has begun testing for a follow-up single.” At the end of his review of Brandy’s “Big Day in a Small Town” album, Kevin recommended the Heaven, 3 Kids, Broke and Homecoming Queen tracks. Picking a song that will be a successful single is not easy. I’m not good at it and quite a few of my favorite songs over the years were never released as singles. It would be interesting to see what song some of the writers here at CU think would help Brandy make a significant impact on the charts. My wife thinks it should be “Homecoming Queen”. I’ll go with her pick. What do other readers think?

  3. The three songs that the label is testing are “Three Kids, No Husband,” “Love Can Go to Hell,” and “Broke.” Of those three, I would say “Broke” has the production that sounds most in-line with what’s being played at radio at the moment, but its hard-times message doesn’t really jibe with the all-party-all-the-time mentality that some programmers still won’t let go. What could work in its favor is the complaint that many programmers have had recently that most artists have been pushing ballads or mid-tempo tracks, even though playing it might mean that they would have to play a song by a woman.

  4. Thanks for the prompt response. I wonder if the line “And we’re secretly wishing that grandma would croak” would be an impediment to the selection of “Broke”.

  5. My only issue with “Vice” is the melody; it seems all over the place. Her vocal and the lyrics are good, though.

  6. I’m pretty obsessed with Brandy Clark’s “Love Can Go to Hell” so I hope that’s the next single. Would be nice to hear that on The Highway.

  7. In terms of Steven Tyler’s alleged “country” album–well, it’s a sight-and-sound gag that, if there is any justice in this world, should be placed on the ash heap of history (IMHO).

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