Monthly Archives: May 2010

Billboard Chart Flash: Week of May 17 – May 23

For the third consecutive week Lady Antebellum and Chris Young hold on to their number one positions on this week’s Billboard Country Charts. There was plenty of movement on one of the charts so find out who moved around in this week’s Chart Flash.

Lady Antebellum’s unstoppable album, Need You Now, stays atop the Country Albums chart for a 17th consecutive week. This week the album moved another 46,000 copies to push the album’s total sales over the 2.1 million mark. Meanwhile, the rest of the top five albums all held on to their positions from last week. Zac Brown Band remains in the number two spot with The Foundation. Following in positions three to five, respectively, are country’s leading ladies, Miranda Lambert’s Revolution, Taylor Swift’s Fearless, and Carrie Underwood’s Play On.

Over on the Hot Country Songs chart, Chris Young spends his third week at number one with his smash hit, “The Man I Want to Be.” There was plenty of movement in the songs behind Young lead by Miranda Lambert’s jump from number four to number two with “The House That Built Me.” Also jumping up two slots to number three is George Strait with his latest hit, “I Gotta Get to You.” Leaping into the top five for the first time in their career is Steal Magnolia with their debut smash, “Keep On Lovin’ You,” which lands at number four. Lastly, Joe Nichols’ former number one song, “Gimme That Girl,” slides three spots down to number five.

For the second week in a row, Keith Urban’s “I’m In” claims the honor of the biggest jump as it leapfrogs nine spots to land at number 20. Billy Currington’s “Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer” leads this week’s debut songs at no. 48. Following Billy is Lady Antebellum’s “Our Kind of Love” (no. 50), Chuck Wicks’ “Hold That Thought” (no. 55), Darryl Worley’s “Keep the Change” (no. 57), and Thompson Square’s “Let’s Fight” (no. 58).

On a quick side note, Lady Antebellum continues to make history with their smash hit single, “Need You Now.” The song spends its tenth straight week atop Billboard‘s Adult Contemporary chart becoming the longest running number one song by a country crossover group in the chart’s 49 year history. The previous record was held by Rascal Flatts who spent 9 weeks atop the chart with their hit, “What Hurts the Most.”

Find out if Chris Young can make it four weeks atop the Hot Country Songs chart or if Miranda Lambert can house herself at number one for just the second time in her career on next week’s charts. Also see if there will be any movement on the albums chart or if the top five will once again keep firm grips on their positions. All those questions will be answered in next week’s Billboard Chart Flash.

To purchase Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now or Chris Young’s “The Man I Want to Be,” click on the images below.

Need You Now [+digital booklet]
The Man I Want To Be

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Chuck Wicks, "Hold That Thought"

Chuck Wicks first hit country radio back in 2007 when his debut single, “Stealing Cinderella,” peaked in the top five. However, since that song, Wicks has failed to hit the top ten with the two follow up singles from his debut self-titled album. Now, he’s releasing the first single off his upcoming album to country radio. Does “Hold That Thought” have what it takes to help Chuck once again reach the top ten?

Chuck Wicks returns to country radio with a surprising soulful tune, “Hold That Thought,” which finds him pleading to his lover to imagine and fantasize the night they’re going to have. The song screams sex by using descriptive lines like the ones found in the verse: “Close your eyes and picture this/Lying in bed in the candlelight/We start to kiss/Pulling your body in close to mine/Now picture us/That moment before we make love” This is a big change from the PG-rated songs that filled his debut album and finds him dabbling in some rated-R leaning material.

To go along with the steamy lyrics, the production is filled with steel guitar riffs that only add to the sexiness of the song. Meanwhile, Wicks’ pleading vocal performance ties the lyrics and production together nicely, but falls just shy of commanding the song’s sultry, bluesy style with conviction. It’s easy to imagine men all over the country using this song to set the mood during romantic nights with their significant others.

Since this is the lead-off single from his upcoming album, it could be a sign that there are greater artistic things to come from Mr. Chuck Wicks. Let’s hope he sticks to this style of music for his sophomore album because it clearly works for him.

To purchase Chucks Wicks’ “Hold That Thought,” click on the image below.

Hold That Thought

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Billboard Chart Flash: Week of May 10 – May 16

For the second week in a row, Lady Antebellum and Chris Young hold their spots atop the Billboard Country Albums and Hot Country Songs charts. So once again we’ll be focusing on who follows them.

On the albums chart, Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now holds the top position for the 16th consecutive week. This week, the album moved another 54,000 copies to bring the album’s total to nearly 2.1 million copies in four months. Following Lady A is the Zac Brown Band’s album, The Foundation, while Miranda Lambert moves up one to number three with Revolution. Jumping back into the top five is Taylor Swift’s Fearless which lands at number four while Carrie Underwood’s Play On holds at number five. On a side note, the Court Yard Hounds’ debut album was removed from the country charts, which is why you don’t see the album in the top five.

Over on the singles chart, Chris Young enjoys his first multi-week number one single as “The Man I Want to Be” stays atop the Hot Country Songs chart for a second week. Holding strong in the number two and three positions, respectively, are Joe Nichols’ “Gimme That Girl,” and Kenny Chesney’s “Ain’t Back Yet.” Moving closer to the top spot is Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me” which climbs to number four while George Strait’s “I Gotta Get to You” moves back into the top five at number five.

Leading the week’s new songs is Trace Adkins’ “This Aint No Love Song” at no. 54 followed by Jack Ingram’s “Barbie Doll” (no. 56), The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young” (no. 57), and Colt Ford’s “Chicken & Biscuits” (no. 60). The week’s biggest jump comes from Keith Urban as his latest single, “I’m In,” rockets up 23 spots to go from 52 to no. 29.

Based on how much I’ve heard Chris Young’s song on the radio, I’m going to predict next week’s number one spots will once again be occupied by Young and Lady Antebellum. Find out if I’m right or wrong in next week’s Chart Flash.

To purchase Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now or Chris Young’s “The Man I Want to Be,” click on the images below.

Need You Now [+digital booklet]
The Man I Want To Be

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Lady Antebellum, "Our Kind of Love"

Lady Antebellum has come a long way in just two short years. Both of the trio’s albums have been certified platinum with Need You Now going double platinum. Lady A has also started a streak of three straight number one songs and have now released a new song to radio. Can “Our Kind of Love” continue the success of the first two singles off their massive album, Need You Now?

With “Our Kind of Love,” Lady Antebellum sticks to the original style of country music that has launched the trio into superstardom. The song starts off with a strong country-pop piano melody then gets accompanied by a nice fiddle line when the full band joins in. The production is more pop than country but is one of the most infectitous on their recent album, Need You Now, something Lady A is known for.

The song itself is about a couple sharing what kind of love they have. The chorus is extremely catchy and finds the couple comparing their love to driving on an “open highway” and not knowing what they’re going to find. Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott take turns with the vocal leads on this duet style song and prove once again how their voices compliment each other. Add Dave Haywood’s harmony vocals and you have a recipe for an amazing vocal performance by a group.

With uptempo songs in high demand during the summer, it’s no wonder this song was chosen as the third single from the trio’s recent album. However, even though it’s a great song, I wonder why they didn’t go with “Perfect Day” or even “Love This Pain” as singles. Both would be instant hits at radio, but with their success, it’s hard to think anything they release won’t be a smash.

It’s been awesome to see how far Lady A has come in such a short time. I remember seeing them perform for the first time in a local high school auditorium and now they are seemingly on top of the country music world. Considering their recent success at radio, it’ll be a big surprise if this song doesn’t reach the top of the charts.

If you purchased Lady A’s album, Need You Now, you can go to and download a free live version of “Our Kind of Love” that was recorded during the trio’s headlining show at the Ryman Auditorium.

To purchase “Our Kind of Love” from Amazon, click on the image below.

Our Kind Of Love

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Billboard Chart Flash: Week of May 3 – May 9

On this week’s Billboard charts we find a new song taking over the top spot on the singles chart while the year’s best selling country album continues to dominate the albums chart. Find out which artist just nabbed their second number one single in a row, and how much Lady Antebellum sold this week.
Lady Antebellum’s double platinum album, Need You Now, sold another 97,000 copies to remain atop the country albums chart for the 15th consecutive week. This is the first album to spend its first 15 weeks atop the chart since Leann Rimes’ debut album, Blue, spent its first 16 weeks atop the chart in 1996. Making a strong debut at number two is the Court Yard Hounds – made up of Martie Maguire and Emily Robison of the Dixie Chicks – who sold 61,000 copies of their self-titled debut album. Also debuting this week is the Zac Brown Band’s live cd/dvd combo back, Pass The Jar: Live, which comes in at number three followed by their debut album, The Foundation, at number four. Rounding out this week’s top five albums is the newly engaged Miranda Lambert with her album, Revolution.

Over on the singles chart, Chris Young followed up the number one success of “Getting You Home (The Black Dress Song)” with another number one as “The Man I Want to Be” climbs to the top of the Hot Country Songs chart. Sliding down the number two spot is last week’s top song “Gimmie That Girl” by Joe Nichols. Holding steady in the number three spot is Kenny Chesney’s summer hit “Ain’t Back Yet.” Also holding strong for another week in the number four spot is Lady Antebellum’s recent number one hit, “American Honey.” Climbing up two spots to the number five spot is Miranda Lambert with her brilliant song “The House That Built Me” which becomes her second straight top five hit.

Only one new song made its debut this week and that is Randy Houser’s “I’m All About It” which lands at number 58 while this week’s biggest jump comes from Keith Urban’s “I’m In” which leaps 8 spots from no. 60 to no. 52.

Once again, it’s near impossibility that Lady Antebellum will fall from the top of the albums chart wo we’ll see if Chris Young can nab another week at number one or if another song will overtake him. Find out when ATC posts another Billboard Chart Flash next week!

To download either Lady A’s Need You Now or Chris Young’s “The Man I Want to Be,” click on the links below!

Need You Now
The Man I Want To Be

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Jerrod Niemann, "Lover, Lover"

Jerrod Niemann has had struggles in his career that include losing his recording contract as his label folded to getting dropped from another label. Now, Niemann is finally enjoying some success as his single, “Lover, Lover,” climbs to number nineteen becoming the singer’s first top 20 hit. Is the song good enough to climb into the top 15 or even top 10?

I’ve said in the past few single reviews I’ve written that the production is what can make or break a song during radio’s summer season. Most of the singles being released are way too overproduced and try too hard to cater to mainstream radio. However, Jerrod Niemann’s latest single, “Lover, Lover,” breaks that trend and utilizes a production that’s nearly all acoustic to create a fun song and he pulls it off brilliantly.

Backed up by an acoustic guitar and fantastic background vocals, Niemann delivers a song about how he’s tired of getting the cold shoulder from his lover and decides to leave her with ease and charm, almost making it sound like a feel good song. The vocal performance alone is fantastic but it’s only elevated by Niemann’s fantastic phrasing during the verses. At times, he sounds just like the guitar that’s backing him, which is mainly evident in the lines “I’m gonna split” (which sounds like “I’m gon split”) and “girl but before I get to goin’…” which sounds like “before I get-ch-ch-goin'”.

The song’s ending finds Jerrod backed up by, what sounds like, a fantastic group of vocal singers which gives it an a capella feel. The backup singers are used almost as instruments to enhance Niemann’s smooth vocals as they repeat the chorus over and over again until the song’s end.

The song’s melody is extremely catchy and after hearing it once, it’s hard to get the song out of your head. It’s no wonder this has struck a chord with country music listeners. I think we’ll soon be seeing Jerrod Niemann’s name atop the playlists of every country radio station in the country. Look for “Lover, Lover” to be a smash and most definitely Niemann’s first top 10 hit.


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Dierks Bentley, "Up On the Ridge"

Dierks Bentley is taking a bit of a risk with his new album, Up On the Ridge, by taking a more bluegrass direction rather than his signature country sound. He recently sent the album’s title track to country radio as his latest single. With it being a bluegrass song, does “Up On the Ridge” have what it takes to become a big radio hit?

When I first heard Dierks Bentley was going to release a bluegrass album, I was expecting a hardcore bluegrass sounding record like Patty Loveless’ Mountain Soul or any Alison Krauss and Union Station record. However, with “Up On the Ridge,” Bentley mixes the bluegrass sounds of the banjo and dobro with a mainstream country drum beat which creates an interesting bluegrass production.

The song’s theme doesn’t deliver anything new or exciting, but rather adds to the long list of songs about country romances. What I find interesting is this season’s songs that deal with the same theme usually have more uptempo and cheery productions, but Bentley’s has a bit of a dark production stemming from Dierks’ vocal performance. He delivers a sort of dark vocal performance that compliments the production.

As is custom on a bluegrass song, Bentley includes an instrumental segment towards the end of the song that showcases the banjo and dobro. Without taking attention away from the traditional bluegrass instruments, a soft fiddle part can be heard in the background and only helps create a mainstream bluegrass sound.

I have to say that though I was let down a tad by this song, I think it was a smart choice for Dierks and producer Jon Randall to create a mainstream bluegrass production because Bentley’s voice doesn’t quite fit the traditional bluegrass sound. Is it one of the best bluegrass songs artistically? No, but it fits Dierks’ artistic leanings. Does it have enough substance to become a huge hit? Maybe, but it depends on if radio can make it fit in between the country-pop sounds of acts like Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, and Carrie Underwood. Whether it’s a hit or not, this song adds something interesting, soundwise, to country radio.

To purchase “Up on the Ridge,” click on the image below.

Up On The Ridge

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Billboard Chart Flash: Week of April 26 – May 2

For the second week in a row, Joe Nichols and Lady Antebellum continue to dominate the country Billboard charts. Find out who trails them in this week’s Chart Flash!

After being released fourteen weeks ago, Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now continues to dominate the rest of the country albums and remains number one on the albums chart. The trio sold an additional 75,000 copies to bring their total sales to 1,928,000. The album has already been certified double platinum for shipments of 2 million copies but they could pass the 2 million albums scanned mark next week. Holding strong in the number two spot is Zac Brown Band with The Foundation while Miranda Lambert also holds at number three with her award-winning album, Revolution. Carrie Underwood’s Play On moves up one spot to number four and returning back to the top five (after falling out it for the first time since its release) is Taylor Swift’s Fearless.

Over on the singles chart, Joe Nichols notches another week at number one with his smash hit, “Gimme That Girl.” Jumping up two spots to land at number two is Chris Young with his hit “The Man I Want to Be” while Kenny Chesney stays put at number three with “Ain’t Back Yet.” Sliding down to number four is former number one, “American Honey,” by Lady Antebellum. Finally, making its first appearance in the top five, is George Strait’s “I Gotta Get to You” which climbs up one to the number five spot.

Leading this week’s debut songs is Troy Olsen with “Summer Thing” (no. 57) while The JaneDear Girls’ “Wildflower” (no. 58) and Keith Urban’s “I’m In” (no. 60) trail in their first weeks on the chart. This week’s biggest jump belongs to Dierks Bentley’s bluegrass single, “Up On The Ridge,” which leapfrogs ten spots to go from 51 to 41.

That wraps up this week’s Chart Flash. Find out if Joe Nichols will make it three weeks at number one or if Chris Young can snag his second consecutive number one hit with “The Man I Want to Be.” I highly doubt Lady Antebellum will lose its hold of the top spot on the albums chart so all eyes will be on the singles chart. Find out if anything big happens on next week’s Billboard Chart Flash.

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Sugarland: The Incredible Machine Tour w/ Julianne Hough & Vonda Shepard

Sugarland, country’s newest superduo, brought their Incredible Machine Tour to Phoenix’s Cricket Wireless Pavillion on Sunday night and delivered a high energy show. Also on the bill was Dancing with the Stars alum Julianne Hough and pianist-singer Vonda Shepard.

Kicking the show off with a small 30 minute set was Shepard. I had never heard of her before the show and was impressed with her vocal talent. Vonda sat behind the keyboard during the entire set and was only backed up by two guitarists, who also served as back up vocalists. To be honest, I don’t remember any of the song names but she ended the set with the theme to the hit show, Ally Mcbeal.

After a quick 10 minute intermission, two-time Dancing with the Stars champion turned country singer, Julianne Hough, took the stage. Dressed in a shimmery short gold dress and matching cowboy boots, Hough delivered a new country-pop song, titled “What Are You Waiting For?”. She steamed rolled through more songs from her next album and only delivered two songs, “My Hallelujah Song” and “That Song in My Head,” from her debut album. Among the highlights was the song she claimed defines who she is, “Wildfire,” and the Sarah Buxton song “Love is a Trip.” Throughout her set, Hough had three costume changes which included a long flowing gown and a shorter than short dance suit that showed off her legs. Based on the songs in her set, the second album will be more pop and less country.

After an intermission, Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush hit the stage. They started their opening song, “Love on the Inside,” behind a sheet that dramatically fell while the song picked up pace. The crowd was on its feet from the beginning chords of the song and never sat down during the nearly 90 minute set. The duo moved right into fan favorites “It Happens” and “Settlin’.” It’s easy to see the chemistry the two artistic partners have as they were often dancing back to back and and seemingly feeding off each other’s energy. It’s no wonder the duo has already received a CMA nomination for Entertainer of the Year.

The tour’s, pegged as the Incredible Machine Tour, theme was easily seen in their stage design. Filled with gigantic gears, screws, and lights the stage looked as if you were at a ride at Disneyland. There was also a giant circle screen that seemd to feature Nettles more than Bush.

When in concert, Sugarland is known for its cover songs just as much as their own and this tour was no different. During their hit “Everyday America,” Nettles launched into what she called the remix which included Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring on It),” the Jackson 5’s “ABC, 123,” and Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.” While introducing their bandmates, Nettles did an impromptu cover of Lady Gaga’s “Telephone.” They also ended their encore with Blondie’s “Heart of Gold.”

Though the crowd loved to dance and singalong with their more uptempo numbers, it was the two acoustic performances that stole the show. The first was with show opener Vonda Shepard and was a song from their Love on the Inside album, “Very Last Country Song.” Jennifer and Vonda’s voices sounded perfect together and added more to the song. The other acoustic song was the band’s award-winning song, “Stay,” which had almost everyone in the audience singing along.

Among the other songs in their setlist were “Already Gone,” “All I Want to Do,” “Baby Girl,” and the show ending “Something More.”

If the machine rolls through a town near you, it’s a must see show and will have you dancing all night long!

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