With a pair of chart-toppers from their #1 Gold-certified Jekyl+Hyde already out, Zac Brown Band’s next single promises something different and it’s looked at here as is Thomas Rhett’s equally different follow-up to “Crash And Burn.” Danielle Bradbery and Lauren Alaina continue the “different” vibe of the songs discussed this week while we also look at songs from 3 Story House, Dustin Lynch, Dianna Corcoran, Jason Pritchett, and George Strait in this feature of what’s new and hot in the mainstream realm of country music.
Thomas Rhett - “Die A Happy Man” (Valory Music Co.)
Yes there is a bit of a “Thinkin’ Out Loud” vibe to the melody here but this is a great single choice from the young talent. It showcases that he can sing ballads as well as he can sing the uptempo country/soul/pop and this one will most certainly become a wedding staple. Quite simply, “Die A Happy Man” is one of the — if not the — best singles of Thomas Rhett’s young career to date.
3 Story House - “Story Of My Life” (Independent)
Three of the best vocalists to ever grace country music (Ty Herndon, Jamie O’Neal and Andy Griggs) take on the One Direction song and showcase that a good song is a good song no matter what ‘genre’ it originated in. All three vocalists (Who tour together) sound great here and Herndon in particular still has a lot of great moments here. It likely won’t get much radio airplay but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t.
Danielle Bradbery - “Friend Zone” (Big Machine/Repbulic)
Quite different from the kind of single she’s released in the past, this one definitely straddles the fences of what is “pop” and what is “country.” That being said, it’s a bundle of energy and sassy attitude that will have you singing along before the breakdown about beats and banjos. Could be her breakout hit.
Dustin Lynch - “Mind Reader” (Broken Bow)
DL’s three for three with the singles from Where It’s At. There are nice steel guitar fills in the melody and story quite nicely. Dustin delivers the Rhett Akins and Ben Hayslip-penned track with the charisma needed to sell this mid-tempo single. It may not be the home run that “Cowboys and Angels” was but like “Where It’s At,” this one will sound great on the radio and will also likely sell a lot, which is obviously the goal here.
George Strait “Cold Beer Conversation” (MCA)
While “Let It Go” felt like a George Strait single, this one feels even more like a George Strait song and has a message — with classic country barroom wisdom —that’s easy to digest. While the tempo might be a wee bit too slow for modern radio, hopefully it’ll scrape the Top 30 or higher for the king of country music.
Jason Pritchett - “Good Show” (Indie)
A hit on the secondary charts, “Good Show” is a well-written song which uses a rodeo performance as a metaphor for living life to the fullest and putting your best foot forward in everything you do. Yes it IS about being a rodeo star but it is those things too. Nice debut single.
Dianna Corcoran - “God Did Good” (Global Records/KMG/Universal)
The Australian country star is making her move to the US market with this single and any fans of SHeDAISY or Shania Twain will certainly find something to like with “God Did Good,” a song which is about finding the perfect man to spend the rest of her life and how he treats her. Refreshingly retro cool production and vocal delivery.
Zac Brown Band - “Beautiful Drug” (Southern Ground/Varvatos/Republic/BMLG)
This is probably the most out-out-left-field single the band could’ve released but what’s cool about Zac Brown Band is that they’re able to do songs like this and they’re unafraid of releasing them to see if they’ll stick or not. It’s percussive, it allows for other artists to sing vocals during part of the song and best of all, it’s not the same ole song over and over again. That’s enough for me.
Lauren Alaina - “Next Boyfriend” (19/Interscope/Mercury)
After sending a dreadful single in 2014, Lauren comes back with a song which showcases her as the talented vocalist that she is and this time she can add songwriter to her list of credits as she co-wrote this uptempo and youthful song which puts the pickup line clearly in the female narrator’s hands as she’s looking to find a guy to be with her. Youthful, flirty and fun. Exactly the kind of song which country radio should eat up.