This week’s list is rather star heavy with the pictured Carrie Underwood leading the list of new singles. Brantley Gilbert and Jon Pardi are also under the microscope while Craig Morgan, Dallas Smith, SaraBeth, Rachel Lynae and Joe Nichols join the list of new singles too. Rounding out the rundown for this week are Rascal Flatts and Texas-based star Aaron Watson.
Craig Morgan - “When I’m Gone” (Black River Entertainment)
The Grand Ole Opry star has been pretty consistent through the years and this only adds to his legacy with a song that reminds me of some of his better hits in blending the mid-tempo ballad with a chorus that allows Craig to showcase his range. “When I’m Gone” has lyrics which talk about making the most of life because you don’t get many circles around the sun and that could sink it in the current climate of happy go lucky country radio but honestly, it’s time for a few songs like this to cross into the top of the charts. “When I’m Gone” may be Craig Morgan’s best single since joining Black River Entertainment.
SaraBeth - “Runnin’ Outta Lipstick” (Circle-S Records)
The latest single from the talented singer/songwriter has a sound that reminds me of something you’d hear from Pam Tillis or SHeDAISY. The song has retro cool feel to it with fiddles and production that suits the mid-tempo vibe. It remains to be seen if country radio is quite ready for this kind of song but they should be as it’s something a lot of fans want to hear, especially from a singer as talented as SaraBeth.
Carrie Underwood - “Smoke Break” (19/Arista Nashville)
If you think this song is about smoking. You need to read the lyrics here. The writers (Carrie/Chris DeStefano/Hillary Lindsey) used the metaphor to talk about the fact that everyone in the USA needs a break from things in life every now and then and even if the people don’t smoke or drink, they still need that break. It’s a highly-relatable song and while melodically and vocally similar to something we might hear from Miranda, it is refreshing to have Carrie singing something that’s not belt-y the whole way through. Love it.
Rachele Lynae - “Quicksand” (Momentum Label Group)
There’s a strong melody here (it’s reminiscent of a Tom Petty song) and “Quicksand” has an overall vibe that’s not unlike “Before He Cheats” in that Rachele Lynae is singing about the kind of guy who uses girls as play things that he gets wrapped around his finger before he tosses them to the side to start the process over again. “Quicksand” is engaging and has a story many will relate to. “Quicksand” is easily the best song of Rachele’s career and hopefully can be her breakout hit.
Dallas Smith - “Kids With Cars” (Big Loud/Blaster Records)
The Canadian star has his third consecutive anthemic single (after “Tippin’ Point” and “Wasting Gas”) and with the record label pushing this one to regular radio this time around, Dallas might have his best chance at a hit single yet. It’s likable with a country/rock vocal style mixed in with an arena-ready melody.
Aaron Watson - “Getaway Truck” (Thirty Tigers)
From his #1 album The Underdog, “Getaway Truck” is the second national single from the project after “That Look” and like that song, “Getaway Truck” is a song that country radio programmers should wanna play. The production from Keith Stegall keeps the record tight, Watson’s vocal is also charming and on point when he sings about taking a woman out of a good
Rascal Flatts - “I Like The Sound Of That” (Big Machine Records)
Is there a song with a more current songwriting pedigree than this one? Pop star (and Nashville’s own) Meghan Trainor, Dan+Shay’s vocalist Shay Mooney and hit songwriter/producer Jesse Frasure co-wrote “I Like The Sound Of That” and it really suits Rascal Flatts. While some might think the veteran trio may have difficulty getting a hit with this, This feels exactly like the kind of single country radio wants from Rascal Flatts.
Jon Pardi - “Head Over Boots” (Capitol Nashville)
The California native brings more of his western country/rockabilly sound to the charts with this lead single from his forthcoming album set for a 2016 release. There’s a “This Thing Called Love” feel and joviality to this one, a song about a guy falling for the woman of his dreams. It’s sweet, it’s unique (nothing sounds like it and nobody sounds like Jon Pardi) and fans of country music that doesn’t have drum loops will be absolutely thrilled with “Head Over Boots.” I can even see it becoming a first dance song for new country music-loving couples.
Joe Nichols - “Freaks Like Me” (Red Bow Records)
This one suits Joe Nichols like a glove. The melody may be contemporary but Nichols’ strong Haggard-like voice works with “Freaks Like Me” and the song is relatable as it talks about a guy with old school values and ideas and how he’s not in the mood to ever change his ways. In fact, “Freaks Like Me” is a song which celebrates being “just outside of the in crowd” and y’know, for most of country music’s audience, “Freaks Like Me” is an anthem for them to wrap themselves around. This might take a while to rise up the charts but like “Sunny and 75,” “Freaks Like Me” is a hit.
Brantley Gilbert - “Stone Cold Sober” (The Valory Music Co.)
The third single from Brantley’s album Just As I Am, “Stone Cold Sober” is from the newly-issued Platinum Edition of the album and it’s an emotive power ballad which suits Brantley’s style and brand just right. He also talks about his life before he quit drinking and how one call helped him turn his life around and on to a better path without drinking. It may be one of the first anti-bro songs from a guy who is often considered a ‘bro.’ It also fits the fall/winter season at radio and all of that means he’ll have a hit here.