This week we take a look at 10 recent or soon-to-be-released country chart singles and it’s a mix of fresh names, established names and artists who are on labels big and small. Indie country vocalist Daniel Smith surprises us with his strong new single “Sometimes Love” and that makes him a contender with the strong new singles from Justin Moore, Eden’s Edge, The Band Perry and Darryl Worley. After listening to each of these songs a few more times, we feel that Daniel Smith song deserves the “Best Single of the Week” title with Moore coming a close second.
Justin Moore – “Til’ My Last Day”
There certainly is an appeal to Justin Moore when he releases songs like “Bait A Hook” and “Backwoods” but let’s be honest here. Justin Moore’s much better when he sings songs like #1 hits “Small Town USA,” “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” and “Til’ My Last Day,” easily one of the best tracks off of his nearly Gold sophomore album Outlaws Like Me. “Til’ My Last Day” is an up-tempo ballad which finds the Arkansan’s natural twang guiding a sweetly romantic song that just sounds good coming out of the radio speakers. I get that Justin Moore loves to show his ‘redneck side’ and that certainly has its appeal in concert but for radio hits, I hope to hear more of songs like “Til’ My Last Day” and less of the ‘bravado’. And given the success of “Small Town USA” and “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away,” so does radio and, most importantly, a majority of the fans.
Daniel Smith – “Sometimes Love”
This singer/songwriter remains an unknown to most fans of big market radio but in the regions that have played past singles like “Man Like Me” and “Until I Close My Eyes For Good,” they know what a strong singer and writer he is. If the music charts were purely based on talent, Daniel would be a household name right up there with Lady Antebellum and Kenny Chesney. It’s an unforgiving industry and while many would’ve given up, Daniel’s persevered and with “Sometimes Love” he once again proves that he’s ready to have his songs played on mainstream radio of all market sizes. Even if “Sometimes Love” doesn’t become a household hit for Daniel as a singer, the top tier artists would do well to think about covering the tune on their own albums. It’s that good.
Darryl Worley – “You Still Got It”
With a natural Western-Tennessee twang and charm, Darryl Worley has managed to survive in this volitle music business for over a dozen years now. He’s managed to touch on all parts of the hallmarks of country music with his neotraditionalist tunes like “I Miss My Friend,” “When You Need My Love,” “Awful Beautiful Life” and “If Something Should Happen. He’s also scored a couple of patriotic tunes through the years including the juggernaut 2003 hit “Have You Forgotten.” With “You Still Got It,” the tenacious artist (who is now on his fourth label) steps out of his ‘comfort zone’ so to speak with “You Still Got It,” his Tenacity Records debut. The song has a natural, laid-back and romantic charm to it that recalls the great Johnny Lee songs and it certainly sounds like a great radio song. Here’s hoping it can rise up the charts but coming from a small label this may be the hardest rise he tries for yet.
Eden’s Edge – “Too Good To Be True”
This talented trio spent most of 2011 climbing the charts with Top 20 debut single “Amen” and while that song would’ve gotten into the Top 10 in a perfect world, it’s not a perfect world and it’s very hard for any new act to breakthrough. Hoping to become 2012’s The Band Perry, Eden’s Edge has sent this moody, vibe-y throwback sounding tune to country radio and it’s hard to see any way in which country radio resists playing this tune. It’s definitely ‘pop-leaning’ in terms of lyrical tempo and ‘classic’ melody structures but lead singer Hannah Blaylock’s twang is too natural to suggest that she could sing anything but country and Dean Berner and Cherrill Green’s acoustic instruments help keep the song grounded in the rootsy sound required to remain country these days. This is a hit.
James Wesley – “Walking Contradiction”
James Wesley’s last two singles “Didn’t I” and “Real” both showcased a modern traditionalist vocalist with the ability to ebb and flo with the times and that’s exactly what he does again here, on this very ‘rockin’ sounding song that is most certainly almost a ‘loud, yell’ type of song that honestly recalls Craig Morgan and Justin Moore quite a bit. Will that mean that he’s more likely to score more than a Top 25 hit and finally have an album released? We’ll have to wait and see but if there was ever an artist that ‘deserved’ to succeed based on his hard work and perseverance it’s James Wesley.
Josh Abbott Band – “Touch”
This Texas-based singer/songwriter somehow had “Oh, Tonight” rising up the National Billboard and Aircheck charts where it peaked at 44, a remarkable effort for an artist who didn’t have the backing of a big label like nearly all of the other artists on those charts do. He’s back there again already with “Touch” and it’s easy to see why. He’s got a gritty enough voice and sings a romantic tune here (featuring Kasey Musgraves on harmony vocals) and a progressive modern melody which features audible fiddles (including a solo) and the song should be his first National Top 40 hit (he’s had a lot of #1 hits on the regional Texas charts).
The Band Perry – “Postcards From Paris”
Undoubtedly rising stars, The Band Perry smartly chose to release a fifth single from their strong selling self-titled 2010 debut album. From the very beginning of their start, “Postcards From Paris” felt like a hit. It features Kimberly Perry’s appealing twang, strong harmony vocals and the brothers strong musical skill on a song that is one of their albums strongest lyrical tracks and it’s the fifth different sounding song they’ve released, a sign of a versatile band who can look forward to scoring their 4th straight Top 5 hit with this tune.
Lisa Matassa – Wouldn’t You Like To Know”
Once signed to a label back when she was in her 20s the now 40 something vocalist debuts with this single on It Is What It Is Records/Nine North Records. It’s a great story of a woman who put her career on hold to raise a family. She is a living example of a large portion of the mainstream country audience and on this rockin’ tune she sings a song directly to that audience and should find herself a sizeable hit because of it. The tune leads off the equally strong debut album Sunrise Highway.
Taylor Made – “Good Love”
Already a hit on the Music Row Charts, Little General Records family trio Taylor Made looks to break even bigger with this single. A well-liked touring act, Taylor Made recently released a six song EP of the same name and this tune certainly showcases their strong suit, those family harmonies and an ability to entertain. The song is well-written and production from Dale Morris and Dan Mitchell is crisp and all of that leads to “Good Love” being as good as anything else you’re likely to hear on your local radio dials.
Kingston – “Dear Someone”:
With this track off of their upcoming album, Kingston showcases the talent that most knew when Josh and Zach Carter first appeared on the scene as teen duo The Carter Twins four years ago. Now in their early 20s, the brothers have matured and grown into their voices and their sound is decidedly still country, particularly on this fun tune that finds them singing to a potential ‘someone’ for their life. If given a shot with country radio, the duo could have a nice little hit on their hands, God knows the song sounds as good (if not better) than anything on mainstream radio.