This week we look at ten new singles making their way on the country radio charts. included are looks at the debut single from Charles Kelley, a duet featuring Erica Nicole and Jamie O'Neal, new singles from Callie Twisselman, Keith Urban, Zac Brown Band, Ryan Kinder, Brett Eldredge, Chris Janson, Lindsay Ell and Maddie & Tae.
Charles Kelley (Featuring Dierks Bentley and Eric Paslay) - The Driver (Capitol Records Nashville)
Well, Charles certainly didn’t waste any time getting going as a solo artist during Lady Antebellum’s hiatus. Instead, Kelley brings his friends Paslay and Bentley together for a powerful song about the life of a touring musician. It’s an instant anthem and while some will be curious as to why Kelley felt the need to include two other people for his solo debut but the song is better for the three perspectives given here. Radio may not instantly gravitate to it but they should as it’s a song of substance in a time when they really need more songs like it.
Callie Twisselman - “Hung Me On The Line” (Independent)
This talented and new (to me) singer from California showcases her unique brand of country music that is missing from country radio these days. “Hung Me On The Line” is well written, well-produced and brings an air of the talent that Jewel showcased to country music a few years back, a place Callie should be able to slide in and own.
Brett Eldredge - “Drunk On Your Love” (Atlantic Nashville)
There’s a slight calypso feel to the intro and it stays embedded into the groove of this funky sophomore single from Eldridge’s Illinois album. The song’s theme isn’t anything new or but Brett sings the story as well as we’ve come to expect and this will easily become another likable hit in his repertoire.
Maddie & Tae - “Shut Up And Fish” (Dot Records)
Abrasive title aside, the duo’s comparison to early Dixie Chicks is very strong on “Shut Up And Fish.” It has a groove-filled hook, a sunny sing-a-long lyric about a girl who is more than just an accessory to a guy she’s fishing with. She actually wants to fish. It’s cute, young and clever. Should be their third big hit in a row.
Erica Nicole & Jamie O’Neal - “Like I Do” (GoTime Records)
Two talented vocalists share a song which feels like it’s a cousin to Reba and Linda Davis’ “Does He Love You” and like that song, these two powerhouses have the ability to emote the lyrics expertly. This one should easily find a home on the radio and in the hearts of fans who love powerful COUNTRY ballads.
Chris Janson - “Power Of Positive Drinkin’” (Warner Bros.)
After breaking out with “Buy Me A Boat,” Chris is back with an equally fun single release. The track showcases the rising star’s ability to connect to a story, even one as fluffy as needing to have some libations to get over the problems life has thrown at him. Chris Janson is a strong singer and while he probably has ‘better’ songs, as far as radio ready anthems go, “Power Of Positive Drinkin’” is clearly a winner (which is the goal, right?).
Keith Urban - “Break On Me” (Hit Red/Capitol Nashville)
A Keith Urban ballad getting sent to radio is always a treasure to behold. He is a gifted balladeer and these are the moments where his emotive, textured voice is able to shine the brightest. Add in heartfelt lyrics and a cool, interesting musical bed (and harmonies) and you’ve got perhaps one of the biggest hits of Keith Urban’s career.
Ryan Kinder - “Tonight” (Warner Bros.)
As a longtime fan of Ryan’s brand of country music (a mix of country with adult alternative rock), I’m glad he’s getting the chance to release “Tonight” to radio as his lead single with Warner Bros. after landing with the major label following Bigger Picture’s (his first label) closure. It’s a strong blend of what I’ve come to love about Kinder. Strong distinctive singing, a mid-tempo groove and strong lyrics that tell a familiar theme in a fresh way. Few songs feel as tailor-made for success as “Tonight” does.
Lindsay Ell - “By The Way” (Stoney Creek Records)
Lindsay has been looking for the right song to breakout with and “By The Way” really feels like the song to finally break her in the USA. There’s a groove-filled hook, a delicious melody and strong production to back up Ell’s attitude-filled attitude. This reminds me a lot of the great Jo Dee Messina hits from years gone by and it’s cool to hear this kind of song back on country radio.
Zac Brown Band - “Beautiful Drug” (Southern Ground/Varvatos/BMLG/Republic)
The third single from the band’s Jekyll + Hyde, “Beautiful Drug” is perhaps the most ‘different’ song of the band’s career as it melds the sounds and feel of EDM (with hints of reggae) to bring a strong melody and lyric together in a way that fans of the band haven’t heard unless they’ve seen Zac and company live. Other band members get to sing a few lines.