Monthly Archives: December 2010

Billboard Chart Flash: Week of Dec. 13 – 19

With Christmas shopping hitting its peak this week, we saw a big increase in album sales but no one was able to outsell Taylor Swift’s Speak Now. However, on the Hot Country Songs chart, we do have a new number one song in the country. Find out who replaced Rascal Flatts’ “Why Wait” in this week’s Chart Flash.

Taylor Swift’s Speak Now sold an additional 250,000 copies this week to remain number one on the Country Albums chart and it also reclaimed the top spot on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart. The album’s total rises to 2.6 million copies in just eight weeks. Following Taylor is Rascal Flatts’ latest album, Nothing Like This, while Jason Aldean’s My Kinda Party stays put at number three. Rising up one spot to number four is Sugarland’s The Incredible Machine while Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now rounds out the top five selling albums at number five. (Note: Need You Now reached the 2,995,000 mark and will pass the 3 million mark next week)

Over on the Hot Country Songs chart, Reba McEntire’s “Turn on the Radio” blasts into the number one spot. 2010 saw Reba begin the year with a number one single (“Consider Me Gone”) and she’ll end the year with her second number one single of 2010. Following Reba is Jason Aldean with his smash, “My Kinda Party.” Jumping up two spots to number three is Tim McGraw with his latest single, “Felt Good on my Lips.” Holding strong at number four is Carrie Underwood’s “Mama’s Song” while Kenny Chesney’s “Somewhere With You” rounds out the top five songs in the country.

This week saw four songs make their debut on the chart. Leading the way is Lady Antebellum with one of their Christmas songs, “Blue Christmas,” which comes in at number 54. Following Lady A are: Zac Brown Band’s “Colder Weather” (no. 56), Steel Magnolia’s “Last Night Again” (no. 59), and Lady A’s “Silver Bells” (no. 60).

Early numbers are showing little movement on the Country Albums chart so once again, all eyes will be on the Hot Country Songs chart as Jason Aldean could score his second number one single of the year and fifth of his career while Reba looks to extend her reign to two weeks atop the chart. Find out who’ll win the battle for number one in next week’s Chart Flash!

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ATC’s Best of 2010: Artists of the Year

Our final “Best of 2010” list focuses on the five artists who, in our opinion, have done an amazing job representing country music this year. These five artists have all hit number one on at least one of Billboard’s country charts and have shined a positive light on country music. Let’s reveal who ATC thought were 2010’s Artists of the Year.

5. Easton Corbin
It takes a lot for a newcomer to impress me but Florida native Easton Corbin has done just that this year. Corbin skyrocketed to the top of the charts not once, but twice this year with his first two singles “A Little More Country Than That” and “Roll With It” while his album, Easton Corbin, debuted inside the top five of the country albums chart. In fact, his album also made our list of the top five albums of the year.
After seeing him in concert twice this year, it’s hard not to imagine this young heartthrob becoming one of country’s finest traditionalists and one of the genre’s best representatives. In his debut year, Corbin has already toured with Entertainer of the Year Brad Paisley and nabbed three CMA nominations as well as seven American Country Awards nominations (he went on to win three ACA’s). He was just named Billboard’s Top New Country Artist for 2010. Look for Easton to be around for a long time.
4. Jason Aldean
Jason Aldean is probably the most under appreciated artist in country music. This year, Aldean has strung together smash hit singles with “Crazy Town,” and “My Kinda Party.” Jason’s newest single, his duet with Kelly Clarkson, “Don’t You Wanna Stay” could prove to be his career making hit. His third studio album, Wide Open, has been consistently inside the top 10 country albums throughout the year while his fourth, My Kinda Party, had one of the biggest selling debut weeks from a male artist in a few years.
After headlining last year’s CMT on Tour, Jason moved onto headline his own tour this year and is quickly becoming one of the genres newest superstars. Just recently, Jason was honored as one of CMT’s Artists of the Year along with Lady A, Carrie Underwood, Zac Brown Band, and Taylor Swift.

3. Carrie Underwood
Just as Miranda Lambert has proven you don’t always need to win a talent competition, Carrie Underwood has proven that it doesn’t hurt to win a talent competition. Since her run to the title on the 2004 season of American Idol, Carrie Underwood has been on top of the country music world and has yet to come down. This year, Carrie continued to sell copies of her 2009 album, Play On, while sending two more singles to the top of the chart (“Temporary Home” and “Undo It”).
What makes Carrie one of ATC’s top five artists of the year is the incredible tour she put together in this year’s Play On Tour. Carrie performed in front of nearly one million fans and the tour helped propel her to become the first woman to win the ACM Entertainer of the Year award twice. Carrie keeps continuing to rewrite the country music’s history books so there’s no telling what she can accomplish in 2011.
2. Miranda Lambert
Miranda Lambert has proven that you don’t need to win a talent competition to make it big in country music. The Texas native placed third on the first season of Nashville Star and has since seen her career rise from a talented newcomer to country’s newest leading lady. 2010 has been a career milestone for Miranda Lambert and could go down as the best year of her career.
This year, Miranda scored her first top five hit with “White Liar,” but it was the follow-up single that has taken Miranda to the next level. Her brilliant single, “The House That Built Me,” not only became her first number one single but also spent four weeks atop the Billboard chart and was named the CMA Song of the Year and topped ATC’s list of the best singles of the year. She was named Female Vocalist of the Year by both the ACM’s and CMA’s and also claimed both organization’s Album of the Year for her masterpiece, Revolution. She also made history by receiving 9 CMA nominations which is the most for any female artist in the CMA’s history. 2011 could turn out to be another fairytale year since she’s just been nominated for four Grammy awards.
1.Lady Antebellum
It was just a little over two short years ago when I was fortunate enough to meet a new country band called Lady Antebellum when they performed in a local high school auditorium. After their performance, I knew Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, and Dave Haywood were going to be superstars, but I never imagined they’d take the country music scene by storm. This year they’ve experience the true meaning of a breakthrough year which is the reason why Lady A tops ATC’s Artists of the Year list for the second year in a row.
Their sophomore album Need You Now was released in January and is not only the best selling country album but it’s also been certified triple platinum. Need You Now also claimed the title as ATC’s best album of the year. The group also added two more number one songs to their credit this year in “American Honey” and “Our Kind of Love.” They’ve racked up several ACM, CMA, and American Music Awards and are currently up for a whopping six Grammy awards including the overall Album of the Year trophy. Along with the chart and awards success, the group headlined their first tour and received their first CMA Entertainer of the Year nomination. They’ve repeatedly stated that they will probably never have a year like 2010 again, but I beg to differ. This is only the beginning for this trio that has what it takes to become this generation’s leading group.

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Billboard Chart Flash: 2010 Year-End Charts

2010 has been a big year for country music. We’ve seen career defining years from artists like Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, and Brad Paisley as well as artists like Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift having continued success.  But according to Billboard’s year-end charts, 2010 can be summed up by the success of one trio: Lady Antebellum. Find out which charts Lady A topped this year in our special year-end Billboard Chart Flash.

Lady Antebellum has been the story of the year in country music this year. The trio was named Billboard’s Hot Country Songs Artist as well as Top Country Albums Artist. The trio’s sophomore album, Need You Now, was named Top Country Album. In addition to the country charts, Lady Antebellum was also named Adult Contemporary Artist and their smash hit single, “Need You Now,” was named Adult Contemporary Song. The single also topped the Ringtones list as well as the Hot Radio Songs chart. The group also ranked number four on the overall Top Artists list, fourth on the Top Billboard 200 Artists chart, second on the Ringtones Artist chart, and number four on the Digital Albums Artists list. “Need You Now” ranked number two on the Hot 100 Songs chart, number seven on the Hot Digital Songs chart, and Need You Now was third on the Top Billboard 200 chart, number five on the Digital Albums chart.
The fourth country chart, Hot Country Songs, was topped by Lee Brice’s record-breaking hit, “Love Like Crazy.” The song spent an astounding 56 weeks on the Hot Country Songs chart and became Brice’s first smash hit single. In other country related charts, Jason Aldean was name Independent Artist while his album, Wide Open, was name Independent Album. Dierks Bentley was named Bluegrass Artist while his bluegrass album, Up on the Ridge, was named Bluegrass Album. Meanwhile, Taylor Swift topped the Top Billboard Artists list and Easton Corbin was named Top New Country Artist.

That wraps up our special year-end edition of the Chart Flash! It’s been an awesome year in country music this year and we can’t wait to see who will make it big in 2011.

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Indie Spotlight: Getting to Know Danielle Car

For the second installment of our Indie Spotlight featuring Danielle Car we are getting to know Danielle a little bit better by asking her a few questions. Find out which artists she considers influences as well as how she feels about songwriting and the recording of her very own EP in our interview with Danielle!

First off, coming from Detroit, how did you manage to get into country music? Detroit isn’t exactly known for producing country music stars.

Keen observation.  We basically have a radio station and a Toby Keith restaurant, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I’m a Detroiter born and raised.  The richness of our cultural and musical legacy lends itself perfectly to new creative endeavors regardless of genre or medium.  Also, I feel traditional country music themes are universal and not limited to location. Tammy Wynette never specified where she wanted to stand by her man.

Who do you feel are some of your biggest influences and who do you consider your heroes in the genre?

Growing up, I ultimately identified with whomever Mom had on the turntable.  Glen Campbell, Kenny Rogers, Gene Pitney, John Denver, Neil Diamond…  Though Charlie Rich’s lighter may not agree, some of those artists really brought a different style of country music to the masses and ushered in throngs of new fans including a little Italian kid from Metro-Detroit. As far as current influences go, it wasn’t until my late teens that my discovery and subsequent obsession with Dwight Yoakam and Queen entered the equation.  For Dwight, I don’t know that “hero” would be a fitting term (not too sure I have any of those), but inspiration, unknowing teacher and object of my desire may be more appropriate labels, if we’re givin’ ‘em out! Also, I really admire the path Jack White has taken with regard to music.  He’s managed to forego labeling himself in favor of asserting his creativity while maintaining incredible success.

Of those influences, who would you most love to sing a song with? Are there any artists outside of the country genre you would partner up with for a song?
“Dwight and Dani” has a nice ring to it, eh?  I’ve been singing background vocals with Dwight for years now (if you count harmonizing in the car) and would be honored to share a stage with the man himself. I would also love to duet with Jack White…something along the lines of June & Johnny’s “Jackson”…yeah, we’d have to share a microphone…real close…. sweat meandering slowly down his…oops, sorry, I forgot where I was for a second.

When did you discover songwriting? What are your favorite songs you’ve been able to record that you’ve written?
Writing is something I’ve been doing since childhood.  My brother had a ¾ sized acoustic guitar and the rest is history. Finally recording “Walk of Shame” was an accomplishment.  I’d been singing it 4 days a week for over a year at the honky-tonk and enjoyed the spirited response it always garnered, so finally laying it down and having it be a success is a dream come true.

How does it feel to have your singles featured on the Promo Only releases along with singles by superstars like Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, and newcomer Easton Corbin?
Speaking of dreams coming true…I’m absolutely thrilled to see a bit of my plan come to fruition.  It’s difficult at times to convince folks you’re worth listening to when you don’t fit the usual criteria for country music.  I’m from an unlikely country music hub and don’t have the benefit of a label’s promotional powerhouse behind me, so the fact that an esteemed outlet like Promo Only sees fit to put my music on the same disc as these legendary talents is an unbelievable vote of confidence….so pin a rose on my nose.

Speaking of songs you’ve recorded, tell us a little about the EP and its songs.
The EP is basically a soundtrack to what I’ve seen and lived over the past few years.  In “Walk of Shame”,  I’m merely the narrator of a scene I’d witnessed night after night playing shows at the Diamondback Saloon.  Good times, flowing nectars, horny people…perfect for a song! “Drive My Car” is a blues number and a re-telling of events between me and a certain egomaniacal country star who came through the club one night to play a few songs…don’t ask, I’ll never tell.  “Biggest Mistake” is a very personal song for me and one I’m sure folks can relate to.  “Hazard to My Health” details the physical changes one can incur upon falling in love…or like…or lust.  “Pretty Please” just rocks…it’s one of my favorite songs, plain and simple.

How often do you perform live? Have you had the chance to share the stage with any country stars?
I’ve fronted the house band of southeast Michigan’s biggest and best honky-tonk for four-and-a-half years…that’s over 900 shows, 7,000 songs, 1,800 fiddle solos, and 2,000 guitar riffs…I’m tired.  I’m taking this opportunity to really hunker down and support my EP.  I’m serving up these tunes as my little cheese and cracker tray to see if anyone’s hungry for a main course.  I’ve shared the stage with Eric Church, Tracy Lawrence, Trent Tomlinson…lots! It’s always a blast when you can jam with some talented music folk passing through!

When you do perform live, what is your favorite cover (other artist’s) song to perform?
I try to choose cover tunes very carefully.  As a new artist, I want to make sure folks hear my voice and point of view, so I usually relegate covers to heritage crowd pleasers and classics.  Honky Tonk Women by The Stones, Folsom Prison Blues, Love Hurts…

Right now, what is your favorite country song? Album?

Hmmm, how ‘bout this…here are the next 6 songs on my iPod as we speak: 

*Dreams of Clay (Dwight Yoakam…incredible, incredible tune)

*Young Girl (Gary Puckett and The Union Gap…disturbing lyrics, great song)

*It’s Late (Queen…one of my very favorite album cuts)

*Listen (Dwight Yoakam…see “Dreams of Clay”)

*The Comedian (Roy Orbison…I could cry just thinking about it)

*Goodbye Time (Blake Shelton…great song, great voice)

Some are country, some aren’t…the bottom line is great music is great music.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Good question…if I had a crystal ball, I’m sure I’d see music everywhere…playing it, singing it, writing it…  hopefully a couple of bambinos running around the house to share it with…and a tray full of cannoli to celebrate living life and creating my music on my own terms.
There you have it! I’d like to thank Danielle for taking time out of her schedule to answer our questions! In the next few days, we’ll finish our second Indie Spotlight with a review of the EP Danielle discussed with us!

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Billboard Chart Flash: Week of Dec. 6 – 12

With work slowing down and school finally done, it’s time to get All Things Country back on track with our weekly posts. So a good place to start is restarting our Billboard Chart Flash. In the next few days expect to see new single reviews, a special year-end edition of Billboard Chart Flash, and a new installment of our Indie Spotlight featuring Danielle Car! Now let’s get to the charts!

This week’s albums chart is led by Taylor Swift whose Speak Now album continues to hold down the number one spot atop the Country Albums chart. Following Swift is Rascal Flatts’ latest release, Nothing Like This, which rises up one spot to number two. Also climbing up one spot to number three is Jason Aldean’s fourth album, My Kinda Party. Meanwhile, Keith Urban’s Get Closer falls down two spots to land at number four. Rounding out the top five country albums is Sugarland’s The Incredible Machine which holds onto the number five spot.

Over on the Hot Country Songs chart, Rascal Flatts enjoys another week at number one with their smash hit, “Why Wait.” Hot on their heels is the red-headed Reba McEntire due to her latest single, “Turn On The Radio,” climbing up two spots to land at number two. Also enjoying a two spot move up the charts is Jason Aldean whose “My Kinda Party” moves from number five to number three. Making a three spot leap from number 7 to number 4 is Carrie Underwood with her latest single, “Mama’s Song.” Rounding out the most played songs in the country is Tim McGraw with his newest single, “Felt Good On My Lips.”

Three songs made their debuts this week and they are led by country heartthrob Chuck Wicks who sees his single, “Old School,” land at number 57 this week. Following Wicks is The Band Perry who debut at number 59 with their third single, “You Lie.” Making her debut at number 60 is Margaret Durante with “Mississippi’s Cryin’.”

Next week all eyes will be on Reba who could capture her 25th number one single if “Turn On The Radio” replaces Rascal Flatts’ “Why Wait.” It should be a photo finish so check back next week to see who comes out on top!

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ATC’s Best of 2010: Freshman Class

2010 has been a great year for newcomers in country music. We’ve seen plenty of solo artists as well as new duos and groups make big splashes on the charts in their first year out. We view the following four artists as the Best of the Freshman Class of 2010. With these four artists just making their debuts, the future of country music looks very bright.

4. Jerrod Niemann
This year saw Jerrod Niemann make big splashes on both the country songs and albums charts. His hit “Lover, Lover” shot straight to number one which helped his album, Judge Jerrod and the Hung Jury, debut at number one on the albums chart. In fact, Jerrod’s album was the album that ended the 24-week reign that Lady Antebellum’s album, Need You Now, enjoyed at the top. In November, Jerrod was nominated for his first CMA award in the Best New Artist category. Jerrod is also one of the few artists that is releasing quality singles to radio as “Lover, Lover” and it’s follow-up, “What Do You Want?,” are some of the best singles released to radio this year.  If 2010 is just the beginning for this talented newcomer, then I expect him to be around for a long time.
3. Steel Magnolia
Steel Magnolia is just another reason why auditioning for a talent competition can pay off big time. This new country duo won the second season of CMT’s Can You Duet?  and have since splashed onto the country music scene. The duo’s debut single, “Keep on Lovin’ You,” peaked inside the top five of the country songs chart and the follow-up single, “Just By Being You,” which became the duo’s second top 25 single. They’ve nabbed nominations from both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association Awards for Duo of the Year all before releasing their debut album. In just their first year, the duo has already toured with CMA Entertainer of the Year Brad Paisley on his summer H2O tour. With their debut album expected for a January release, look for this talented duo to have an even bigger year in 2011.
2. The Band Perry
The family trio known as The Band Perry made their first appearance on the chart’s with their debut single, “Hip to My Heart,” which went on to become the group’s first top 20 single. The follow up single, “If I Die Young,” has become the group’s breakout hit. The song recently just hit number one on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and nabbed the group its first Grammy nomination in the Best Country Song category. The single was also just certified platinum for sales of over 1,000,000 copies while the debut album, The Band Perry, is well on its way to being certified gold. The group nabbed nominations at the CMA awards as well as the inaugural ACA awards and are no doubt a lock to nab a few nominations for the upcoming Academy of Country Music awards. With groups like Lady Antebellum rising to superstardom, look for this trio to be next in line in the next few years.

1. Easton Corbin
2010 has been good to all these artists but it hasn’t treated any of them like it has Easton Corbin. Corbin has had a record-breaking year thanks to his breakout singles, “A Little More Country Than That” and “Roll With It.” Easton became the first male artist to send his debut single to number one since Dierks Bentley’s “What Was I Thinking” and he became the first male artist to send his first two consecutive singles to the top spot in 17 years. His debut album, Easton Corbin, hit the top five on the albums chart back in March and has since sold nearly 300,000 copies. Easton received multiple CMA nominations including New Artist of the Year and Single of the Year. He co-led the inaugural American Country Awards nominations with 7 (tied with Lady Antebellum) and took home three of the night’s awards. Easton was also just named the top New Country Artist of the 2010 by Billboard and his album was named Country Breakthrough Album of the Year by iTunes.  “Roll With It” also landed among the top ten country songs of the year while he was named among the top 10 male country artists of the year. In addition to the accolades from Billboard and iTunes, Easton Corbin also landed on our list of top 5 albums of the year. This has certainly been a breakthrough year for this country traditionalist and I see an extremely bright future for this talented 27 year old, Florida native.

 

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ATC’s Best of 2010: Albums

2010 saw the release of albums from some of the genre’s biggest superstars like Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift, and Lady Antebellum as well as newcomers like Easton Corbin, Jerrod Niemann, and Joey + Rory. However, not all those artists made a big enough impact with their albums to land on our list of top 5 favorite albums. See which five albums we couldn’t stop listening to this year.

5. The Red Letter Days, The Stephanie Eason Band
This Arizona based group is country to the core and their independently released album proves it. From strong country dittys like “Country Time” and “Happy Ever After” to heartwrenching ballads “My Heart Won’t Leave Me Alone” and “He Don’t Know,” this album shows off the entire group’s many talents and allows bandleader Stephanie Eason to show off her strong vocal abilities. The toned down production from John Rickard is one of the strongest I’ve heard from a country album this year. This is a fantastic 12-song set that ranks right up there with some of country’s best mainstream albums this year.

4. Easton Corbin, Easton Corbin

This year saw debut album releases from newcomers like Jerrod Niemann, Laura Bell Bundy, and Danny Gokey but none of them were as fantastic as Easton Corbin’s self-titled debut. The album includes the smash hits “A Little More Country Than That” and “Roll With It” along with album highlights “I Can’t Love You Back,” “Leaving a Lonely Town,” and “Someday When I’m Old.” Corbin infuses his traditional country roots in every song including the Cabo-flavored “A Lot to Learn About Living” and the honky tonk infused “The Way Love Looks.” This is one of the best debuts I’ve heard in a while and is a great introduction to this talented newcomer.

3. Album #2, Joey + Rory
Obviously no one mentioned the words “sophomore slump” to the husband and wife duo of Joey + Rory. Just like their debut album, The Life of a Song, the album continues to be a mix of hardcore traditional country, bluegrass, and folk music that creates an album that any traditionalist would be proud of. From the sweet love songs “Born to Be Your Woman” and “That’s Important to Me” to the humorous “God Help My Man” and “Baby, I’ll Come Back to You,” Joey + Rory continue to shed light on every aspect of their artistic beliefs. Though they’ve been overlooked by country radio, this duo proves to be one of country music’s greatest assets.

2. Up on the Ridge, Dierks Bentley
Dierks Bentley earns the honor of 2010’s biggest risk taker. Bentley was riding a wave of success with his previous album, Feel That Fire, when he put it all on the line to release this bluegrass flavored album. His risk no doubt paid off as he released one of the best albums of the year. The album’s incredible highlight “Bad Angel” found Dierks partnering with two of the genre’s finest traditionalists, Miranda Lambert and Jamey Johnson, to create one heck of a song about the devil’s temptation that alone led the album to be included on my list. The album also includes great songs in “Draw Me A Map,” “Down In the Mine,” and even the title track, “Up on the Ridge.” This album further cements Dierks Bentley as one of the genre’s best artists.

1. Need You Now, Lady Antebellum
Hands down this is my favorite album of the year. The country trio of Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, and Dave Haywood combine country sounds with pop flavored beats and the end result is the top selling country album of the year. Consisting of the number one singles “Need You Now,” “American Honey,” and “Our Kind of Love,” this album shows off the many talents and personalities of Lady A. They tackle songs that deal with different themes from the album’s highlight “Hello World” which talks about the ability to take life for granted to the fun summer song “Perfect Day.” With nominations in the overall Album of the Year and Country Album of the Year categories at the upcoming Grammy awards, it’s no surprise the sophomore effort from Lady Antebellum tops our list of Best Albums of the Year.

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