Monthly Archives: July 2010

Kenny Chesney, "The Boys of Fall"

Kenny Chesney has had a quiet last couple of years. Last year he only released two singles (“Out Last Night” and “I’m Alive”) which failed to reach number one. He’s taking this year off of touring and as a result hasn’t won a CMA or ACM award since 2008. Now with his latest studio album, Hemingway’s Whiskey, set for a September release, Chesney hopes to make a big comeback splash with the album’s lead single, “The Boys of Fall.” Can the song help propel Chesney back to the top of the charts?

Kenny Chesney has delivered plenty of nostalgic songs throughout his career including “I Go Back” and his recent single, “Ain’t Back Yet.” On “The Boys of Fall,” which was written by Casey Beathard and Dave Turnbull, Chesney recalls his days of playing on the high school football team.

Rather than just singing a song about touchdowns and field goals, this song takes a different perspective when talking about the game of football. The lyrics of the song deal with how the members of the team were put on a pedestal throughout high school even calling them “kings of the school” and telling how the young females would dream of them. What I like about this song is how relatable it is. Even if a person wasn’t on the football team, the song forces you to remember the guys that were and how they were treated on the school campus. This could be one of the best written songs Kenny has sung in the past few years.

Along with the well-crafted lyrics, the production is also a nice breath of fresh air from Kenny. He’s once again ditched the island-flavored country production in favor of a more toned down production that is filled with a soft guitar line along with a few piano lines thrown into the background. Once the chorus hits, the production escalates but the focus is always on Chesney’s vocal performance, which has to be one of his finest. On past songs, Kenny fails to connect to the song and as a result doesn’t sound believable. However, he nails the connection and believability on this song and as a result it allows the song to come to life and meet its potential.

This is, in my opinion, one of Kenny Chesney’s finest moments in recent years and if he can continue to deliver songs like this and avoid his “beach-y” country productions, then I think he can finally reach his true artistic potential that he’s failed to show thus far in his career. With the song making a debut at number 17 this week, it’s hard to imagine this one not reaching number one.



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Billboard Chart Flash: Week of July 12 – 18

Lady Antebellum’s seemingly unstoppable album, Need You Now, has occupied the top of Billboard’s Country Albums chart for the past six months. The album has beat out releases by Josh Turner, Alan Jackson, and Dierks Bentley. However, this week the album was finally dethroned by a country newcomer’s debut album. Find out who is behind this week’s new number one album in this week’s Chart Flash.

We knew it was inevitable that Lady Antebellum would vacate the number one spot atop the Country Albums chart, but no one knew it would be to make room for Jerrod Niemann’s debut album. Niemann’s album, Judge Jerrod and the Hung Jury, sold an impressive 33,000 copies this week to send Lady A’s Need You Now down to the number two spot. Coming in at number three is the Zac Brown Band’s The Foundation while the number four spot is occupied by Miranda Lambert’s Revolution, which has now become her first platinum album. Rounding out the top five is Carrie Underwood’s third album, Play On.

Over on the Hot Country Songs chart, Luke Bryan nabs his first multi-week number one song of his career as “Rain is A Good Thing” stays put atop the chart. Moving closer to her 12th number one single is newlywed Carrie Underwood’s “Undo It” which moves up one spot to number two. Leapfrogging four spots to the number three is Jerrod Niemann’s “Lover, Lover” which no doubt helped his album debut at number one. Sliding down two spots to number four is Brad Paisley’s summer hit, “Water.” Rounding out the top five country songs is the Zac Brown Band’s “Free” which rises three spots this week.

Bursting on to the charts, as well as leading this week’s debut songs, is Kenny Chesney’s newest single, “The Boys of Fall” which debuts at number 17. Following Chesney is the debut of Uncle Kracker’s duet with Kid Rock titled “Good to Be Me” which comes in at number 55. Also debuting this week is Jessie James’ latest single, “Boys in the Summer,” which comes in at number 58.

Next should be an interesting week on both charts. On the albums chart, Jerrod Niemann could be replaced by Lady Antebellum based on if he can have a decent second week of sales. Over on the singles chart, Carrie Underwood is gaining more airplay and could take over number one from Luke Bryan, but Niemann’s “Lover, Lover” could also gain airplay on the strength of his album sales. Find out who lands where in next week’s Chart Flash.

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Billboard Chart Flash: Week of July 5 – 11

The state of Georgia is well represented as the two artists who occupy the top spots on this week’s country Billboard charts have ties to the Peach State. Find out who finished the week at number one.

Lady Antebellum once again find its sophomore album, Need You Now, atop the Country Albums chart for a remarkable 24th week. The band, whose male members Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood hail from Georgia, sold nearly another 28,000 copies to bring the album’s total sales to nearly 2.4 million copies. Following Lady A is once again the Zac Brown Band with its album, The Foundation. Holding strong at number 3 is Miranda Lambert’s Revolution while Carrie Underwood’s Play On climbs up into the number four spot. Rounding out the top five albums is Jaron and the Long Road to Love’s debut album, Getting Dressed in the Dark.

Over on the Hot Country Songs chart, Georgia boy Luke Bryan leapfrogs into the number one spot with his second number one song, “Rain is a Good Thing.” Bryan jumps up two spots and knocks Brad Paisley’s former number one, “Water,” to the second spot. After breaking the top five last week, Carrie Underwood’s “Undo It” jumps up two spots to the number three slot this week. After spending five weeks in the number two spot, Jason Aldean’s “Crazy Town” slips two spots down to number four. Rounding out the top five, after falling one spot, is Clay Walker’s comeback hit, “She Won’t Be Lonely Long.”

Only two songs saw their debuts this week and they are led by Reba McEntire’s “Turn on the Radio” which bows in at no. 54 while Rocket Club’s “One Thing Beautiful” comes in at no. 59. Danny Gokey’s “I Will Not Say Goodbye” makes this week’s biggest jump as it soars up 11 spots to finish at no. 42.

Judging by the unofficial numbers, it looks like Lady Antebellum’s reign atop the albums chart will come to an end next week as Jerrod Niemann’s Judge Jerrod and the Hung Jury is expected to debut in the top spot. Over on the singles chart, we’ll see if Luke Bryan can spend two weeks at number one or if Carrie Underwood will make a move into the top spot. Find out in next week’s Chart Flash!

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Reba, "Turn On The Radio"

Country’s queen, Reba, has seen a huge comeback in her career over the past year. Her smash hit “Consider Me Gone” became her longest running number one single and helped launch her album, Keep On Loving You, to gold status. After the title track reached the top 10, Reba has decided to release a song from her upcoming album. Does “Turn On The Radio” have enough to continue her incredible run at country radio?

Sometimes artists, usually older artists, try to change their artistic beliefs in order to remain current and relevant during the ever changing styles of country music. Sometimes, though rarely, those risks pay off big time for certain artists. Other times those changes result in a horrendous song that you don’t expect to come from that said artist.

Reba McEntire unfortunately falls into the latter category with her new single, “Turn On The Radio.” On this girl-done-wrong-revenge song, Reba tries her hand at a country rocker but fails miserably. The production is extremely over-done with the blaring guitars and pop drum beats and resembles a mixture of the over-done productions of Carrie Underwood’s “Cowboy Casanova” and “Undo It.” There is just way too much going on that it’s hard to not have a headache by the song’s end. Unfortunately, the production isn’t the only bad part of the song.

The lyrics are some of the worst I’ve heard from Reba in a very long time. The song finds her telling her two timing lover that the only way he’ll ever hear from her is if he turns on his radio. When he does, he can crank up the stereo in his Chevy truck and listen to her sing their song about how he did her wrong. The most ridiculous line comes from the second verse which mentions Twitter and texting in an effort to make the song relevant to the younger generation of fans. The only thing that could’ve saved this song from being a total trainwreck is Reba’s vocal performance but because the production and lyrics are already a trainwreck the vocals are brought down because of it.

Considering Reba has delivered so many classics over her illustrious career and is considered the Queen of Country music, I expect way more than this trainwreck of a song. It’s a shame that this song is in the same catalog as some of her classics like “Whoever’s in New England,” “For My Broken Heart,” and “You Lie.” However, because she’s released plenty of classics over the years, I think she deserves a free pass to release bad songs every once in awhile. Let’s hope this is the only time she cashes that pass in.


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Stealing Angels, "He Better Be Dead"

New country group Stealing Angels seem to have everything going for them based on where they come from, Tayla Lynn is the granddaughter of Loretta Lynn, Jennifer Wayne is the graddaughter of John Wayne, and Caroline Cutbirth is a descendant of Daniel Boone. The group has released its debut single to country radio titled, “He Better Be Dead.” Does the trio have what it takes to make a splash at country radio?

This decade has seen a big boost in female artists releasing revenge songs to country radio. Carrie Underwood had the brilliant “Before He Cheats,” while Miranda Lambert had the equally brilliant “Gunpowder and Lead,” “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” and “White Liar.” Stealing Angels’ “He Better Be Dead” is their version of a girl-done-wrong anthem.

The song – written by the trio along with Leslie Satcher – finds its protagonist angry after the man she had a one night “playdate” with the night before hasn’t replied to any of 21 text messages. Not only is she bitter with the fact that he’s not replying, but she’s also dealing with being played and made to look like a fool. With her anger reaching a boiling point, she begins to imagine different scenarios he could be in that are preventing him from calling or texting. Ranging from his car hanging off a cliff to being tied to a motel bed after being “handcuffed, gagged, and bound,” all leading up to the main excuse that he better be dead.

Taking the lead vocals is Tayloa Lynn which is a perfect choice for the song. Lynn, much like her grandmother, has a voice filled with plenty of southern, country twang that suits the song perfectly. The remaining women of the trio provide excellent harmonies that remind me of sister group Carter’s Chord. The production Paul Worley comes up with is exceptional and manages to be a bit loud without overshadowing the vocals.

Stealing Angels fill this song with plenty of attitude that gives it a very mainstream feel. Unfortunately, it’s doubtful that this song will gain major airplay at country radio. However, that doesn’t mean the song isn’t good enough because it is. This is a solid debut from this new country group and I’m looking forward to hearing more from these angels.

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Billboard Chart Flash: Week of June 28 – July 4

For the last four weeks Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, and Jason Aldean have occupied the top three spots on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. This week, however, saw one of those artists fall out of the top three. Find out which artist finally fell out of the top five and what song replaced it in the top three in this week’s Chart Flash.

As usual, we’ll start off with Lady Antebellum continuing its super strong hold atop the Country Albums chart for a 23rd week in a row. This week the album, Need You Now, sold another 30,000 copies which brings the total sales to 2.35 million copies. Returning to the number two spot is the Zac Brown Band with its debut album, The Foundation. Climbing up to the number three spot is Miranda Lambert’s Revolution while Jaron and the Long Road to Love’s Getting Dressed in the Dark slides down to number four after a strong debut last week. Holding in the fifth spot is Carrie Underwood’s Play On.

On the Hot Country Songs chart, Brad Paisley’s “Water” stays atop the chart for a second consecutive week. Following Paisley is Jason Aldean’s “Crazy Town” which has been stuck in the number two spot for five weeks now. Climbing into the top three at number three is Luke Bryan’s latest smash hit, “Rain is a Good Thing.” Moving up one spot to the number four spot is Clay Walker’s comback hit, “She Won’t Be Lonely Long.” Rounding out the top five is Carrie Underwood’s latest hit, “Undo It.”

This week saw the debut of six new songs which were led by Miranda Lambert’s newest single from Revolution, “Only Prettier,” which debuts at number 45. The remaining five songs are John Rich’s “Country Done Come to Town” (no. 52), Danny Gokey’s “I Will Not Say Goodbye” (no. 53), Zac Brown Band’s “A Different Kind of Fine” (no. 58), Stealing Angels’ “He Better Be Dead” (no. 59), and Leann Rimes’ “Swingin'” (no. 60).

Check out next week’s Chart Flash to see if Brad Paisley can make it three weeks in a row atop the songs chart or if Jason Aldean’s “Crazy Town” will finally move up to the top spot. Also check back to see how many copies Lady A has sold to remain at number one for a 24th week in a row.

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Billboard Chart Flash: Week of June 21 – 27

This week saw Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now extending its stay at number one to 22 weeks. On the singles chart it was a bit of a battle to see who would come out on top. Did Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me” make it 5 weeks at number one or did either Jason Aldean’s “Crazy Town” or Brad Paisley’s “Water” take over number one? Keep reading this week’s Flash to find out!

Lady A’s seemingly unstoppable run at number one keeps on going after their album Need You Now sold another 32,000 copies to stay atop the Country Albums chart. Off the heels of his successful debut single, Jaron and the Long Road to Love debut at number 2 with first week sales of nearly 24,000 copies of the debut album, Getting Dress in the Dark. Falling one spot to number 3 is the Zac Brown Band’s The Foundation while Miranda Lambert’s Revolution holds at number 4. Once again rounding out the top five albums is Carrie Underwood’s Play On which has now moved 1.6 million copies since its release last year.

Over on the Hot Country Songs chart, Brad Paisley leaps into the number one spot with his summertime hit, “Water.” For the fourth week in a row Jason Aldean’s “Crazy Town” holds onto the runner-up spot keeping his hope alive for a fourth number one song in a row. Sliding down two spots to number three is the multi-week number one song from Miranda Lambert, “The House That Built Me.” Holding onto the number 4 and 5 spots are Luke Bryan’s “Rain is a Good Thing” and Clay Walker’s “She Won’t Be Lonely Long,” respectively.

Darius Rucker’s newest song, “Come Back Song,” leads this week’s debut singles bowing in at number 44. Following Rucker is iCarly star Jennette McCurdy’s “Not That Far Away” (no. 58), Williams Riley’s “Makes Me Go (La La)” (no. 59), and the country version of Train’s hit, “Hey, Soul Sister” (no. 60). This week’s biggest jump comes from Chuck Wicks’ latest single, “Hold That Thought,” which jumps up five spots from no. 51 to no. 46.

With Paisley and Aldean pretty much neck and neck when it comes to radio airplay (according to the Mediabase chart), it should be interesting to see if Aldean can squeeze by Paisley’s “Water” to become the number one country song in America. Make sure you check back next week to find out who claims the number one spot.

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Legends Corner: George Jones in Concert

Starting this week, All Things Country will start a weekly post I like to call our Legends Corner. Each week we will honor the country of old with reviews of some of country music’s greatest songs as well as concert reviews and news stories. It would be only fitting to start off our Legends Corner with a review of a recent George Jones concert I attended. Read on to see the review.

Country music legend George Jones visited the small town of Camp Verde, Arizona last Saturday and delivered a solid 90-minute set that spawned hits from throughout his illustrious career. The man known as “The Possum” kicked off his set with a noticeably slower version of his hit, “Why Baby Why.” Backed by his band the Jones Boys, George sailed right into his hit “Once You’ve Had the Best.”

Throughout his show, Jones constantly made it known that his raspy voice was the result of allergies acting up as a result of the outdoor venue. It was more noticeable on the more uptempo songs like the opener as well as “The Corvette Song” where the lyrics could barely be heard as well as “White Lightening” which was the end of a medley of some of Jones’ biggest hits including “The Grand Tour,” “Walk Through This World With Me,” and “She Thinks I Still Care.” However, the raspy voice didn’t stop Jones from making sure the senior citizen-dominated audience left happy.

One of the highlights of the night was when Jones delivered his brilliant song, “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes,” after saying he wasn’t a big fan of today’s “hot, new country radio.” During the song the big screen flashed pictures of past country legends like Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, and many, many more. At the end of the song, George seemed to have answered the song title’s question of who’s gonna fill their shoes by showing pictures of current artists Kenny Chesney, Sara Evans, Alan Jackson, and Carrie Underwood. Other highlights included the duets “Take Me” and “Gold Ring” which background singer Brittany Allyn joined George on.

As the show wound down Jones delivered the song that has become one of the greatest – and saddest – songs ever written, “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” The performance brought the crowd to its feet and Jones capitalized on their energy to finish with his racous hit, “I Don’t Need No Rockin’ Chair.”

It’s clear the 78 year old George Jones has lost a few steps that he had back in his prime. All the uptempo songs, and some of the slower tunes, were slowed way down to allow the singer to keep up with the band. There were also a few fiddle solos thrown in to give Jones a small break throughout the set. Despite the slower production, the audience was still treated to a fantastic night of traditional country music from one of the genre’s finest singers.

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