After taking a week off last week, we’re back with this week’s weekly single recap with a look at 10 new singles from the likes of Chris Young, Hunter Hayes, Josh Turner, Uncle Kracker, newcomers Amy Rose, Ben Wells, Ashley Forrest and, finally, Gloriana, Taylor Swift, and Josh Abbott Band. Most of the songs are good to great with a couple really standing out. We hope you enjoy this rundown of tunes.
Uncle Kracker – “Nobody’s Sad On A Saturday Night”
After a decade with Top Dog/Atlantic Records, Kid Rock’s cohort Uncle Kracker has moved onto Sugar Hill/Vanguard Records (the same label home of Joey +Rory). The label is also working with EMI Nashville for radio promotion of this single and it should be an easy one for country radio to spin. It features a robust rollicking southern rock melody and Kracker doing what he does pretty well. It may not be a #1 or even a Top 10 hit but there are far worse songs on country radio than “Nobody’s Sad On A Saturday Night.”
Amy Rose – “(Redneck Reunion) Party Like A Redneck”
With a full-bodied voice, Amy Rose clearly can sing but I’m just not feeling this song. Yes, the melody is country – lots of fiddle – but it’s mixed with crowd chants and generic 80s rock production that just doesn’t suggest that this independent singer can break through the pack with this one. Still, I don’t mind her voice and if paired with a better song, I think Amy Rose could have a shot at breaking out. Better luck next time.
Chris Young – “I Can Take It From There”
The melody of the opening track to Neon is pretty much stock and trade of most mainstream country studio sessions of the past 10-15 years but that doesn’t mean this is a bad song for any song that has Chris Young singing is gonna rise above the pack. Quite simply, Chris Young has one of the best, purest voices in country music. He not only can sing, he can sang. This is one of the best vocals on Neon and was a very smart follow-up to the disappointing Top 20 success of the album’s title track (after 5 consecutive #1 hits). This one should be at least a Top 10 hit and it will carry fans and Chris through the spring where he’ll be able to release a lead single from his fourth album sometime in 2013′s summertime.
Ben Wells – “Get Down”
Ben Wells has a voice and sound and style that’s very similar to Brantley Gilbert – at least on this song. The difference is that the music here doesn’t overpower Wells nor is his voice paper thin. Consider Ben Wells a more good looking, better singing sort of rock/country artist and you’ll get an idea of who he is. Lyrically, this is everything country radio seemingly wants so it’ll be interesting to see if how many more songs about the rural, down home lifestyle radio lets in (and artists that sing them over rock arrangements).
Taylor Swift – “Begin Again”
Taylor really needed to start over and she does that brilliantly here with a single that is a sonic delight and has what is one of the best choruses she’s written in years. We still would love to see songs about life/things that happened to her and not just relationships but the relationship angles clearly works for her. Despite this, this is her best single in years, probably since “White Horse.” Soft Taylor Swift is an easy sell to radio and folks like me.
Josh Turner – “Find Me A Baby”
On the album version of this song, we find Josh singing the song with his wife and kids and on the radio edit the family voices are stripped so as to leave the song a more traditional Josh Turner sounding song. While fun and cute to have his kids on the track for the album, it was a smart decision to leave the singing to Josh and other pros as children singing on a song can get grating if heard multiple times throughout the day. The lyrics are true to Josh’s life (he co-wrote with Frank Rogers) and the production from Frank Rogers sparkles with fiddles and steel guitars and it’ll be really interesting to see if we can get this strong sounding track to become another Top 10 hit for Josh Turner (and perhaps another gold selling single). It is clearly contemporary but it is also clearly still a country song.
Josh Abbott Band – “I’ll Sing About Mine”
The song is written about all the songs that have come out recently about small towns and rural life that doesn’t quite ring true (“Tractors Ain’t Sexy and working is hard” is a line). Basically it’s written as the antithesis of songs like Ben Wells sings above. Written by Adam Hood and Brian Keene (it was a Texas Chart hit for Keene last year), the song’s lyrics were changed by Josh Abbott to ring more true to his life and experiences (the size of the population of the hometown for instance) and that was a smart thing and it’s also one of the few songs Abbott didn’t write for the band’s album Small Town Family Dream. The single is also the first from Abbott’s new label deal with Warner Music Nashville. Look for this one to be another nice sized hit and giving country music another Texas import and band worthy of our attention.
Hunter Hayes – “Somebody’s Heartbreak”
Hunter Hayes hit #1 with “Wanted” and now that song is crossing over to pop and AC (with a remix) which should help that great tune continue to sell well digitally. This one features some groovy guitar, mandolins and a soulful vocal from Hunter that finds him singing a lyrical pick-up line that is cleverly written. The vocals are well-performed, Hayes guitar soars and this one feels like a country song that has more than a little of John Mayer’s playing influencing it. Still, it’s a great song and should have no trouble being the next big radio hit and strong digital single seller for Hunter Hayes.
Ashley Forrest – “Pourin’ Over Me”
Have you been having a terrible day? Have you been wanting to get out and have a little fun? If so then “Pourin’ Over Me” is a song for you. Written by Kate & Kacey Coppola with Danny Myrick and Jeff Spence, the song is about as optimistic as a song can get and you know what, Ashley Forrest is a dynamite vocalist. Clearly a country artist (and not just in name), she has a sound that feels like a cross between the natural twang of Ashton Shepherd and Sunny Sweeney’s easy folksy sound. There’s a little Patty Loveless in her voice as well. “Pourin’ Over Me” is a promising debut.
Gloriana – “Can’t Shake You”
Gloriana had a couple fits and starts before truly breaking through with “(Kissed You) Good Night” this summer. That song only hinted at the strong modern Country material on the disc and wouldn’t you know it, “Can’t Shake You” is released as the follow-up from A Thousand Miles Left Behind and with a lyric about not being able to leave behind the memories and love of a failed relationship, Gloriana should have no problem getting this well-written duet up the charts (Tom Gossin and Rachel Reinert once again sing lead vocals here).