This week we take a look at 10 new/recent singles. We re-cap two singles which just were sent to radio first, followed by a special Father’s Day single from Glen Templeton and then seven new radio singles. Colt Ford’s enlisted the help of country star Jake Owen to sing the hook of his new single and it’s an outright ear-pleasing mid-tempo ride down memory lane while Florida-Georgia Line, an early sales success at iTunes, has released “Cruise” and it, like previously reviewed Little Big Town “Pontoon,” feels like a strong summer radio contender. There’s also the most melodic and atmospheric single from Carrie Underwood (“Blown Away”). All of these singles mentioned stand out amongst a strong crop of singles.
Miranda Lambert – “Fastest Girl In Town”
If anyone really had any questions about why she’s topping a sold-out Arena tour in the USA this summer, all one needs to do is take a listen to “Fastest Girl In Town” and the last single, the #1 hit “Over You” to get what kind of artist Miranda Lambert is. The production is cool, Miranda’s attitude is more rock n roll here than perhaps ever before and the vocal is spot on. It’s a story song of the finest order and has to be an absolute blast to sing and perform every night. Radio should have no trouble playing the hell out of this one.
Casey James – “Crying On A Suitcase”
He got into the Top 20 with “Let’s Don’t Call It A Night” and comes back strong with this, his follow-up single. One of the few songs he didn’t co-write on the album, “Crying On The Suitcase” has a boppy melody driving the song along (the bass line feels a little “every breath you take” like) as the fast yet clearly enunciated lyrics are performed with soulful and vibrato-filled charm by Casey James, a guy who came to be signed because of his 2010 Top 3 performance on American Idol but clearly the winner of that dreadful season and an artist who took the time to develop his self-titled album instead of rushing it out to middling results.
Glen Templeton – “That’s My Job”
Not an official radio single (that is “Sing That Song Again”), “That’s My Job” showcases the sterling vocal ability that Glen Templeton possesses and hopefully that’ll help country radio want to play the singles he does release to radio. “That’s My Job” was a big hit in 1987 for Conway Twitty, who is as close to an untouchable for song remakes as Mariah Carey is in the pop music world. It’s just not done that often but Templeton not only acquits himself well, he downright owns the song as his own.
Carrie Underwood – “Blown Away”
The song has already sold over 200,000 digital tracks and as what’s interesting is that it may be the most ‘epic’ sounding single of Carrie’s storied career thus far. Certainly, the vocals rival anything she’s ever done and the production from Mark Bright suits the lyric and vocal to a T. In fact, in many ways, “Blown Away” feels like something you’d hear from Coldplay (a good thing to me). It may not be traditional in any melodic structure but lyrically “Blown Away” is as country as you can get. I have no doubts that this single will get massive airplay and well it should as it’s easily one of the album’s best songs and as I said above, one of her best vocal performances ever.
JB & The Moonshine Band – “No Better Than This”
This is the Texas-based band’s follow-up to their hugely successful hit “Beer For Breakfast” That song hit #1 on the Regional Radio Report and Texas Music Charts and I have no doubts that “No Better Than This” will eventually hit the upper-reaches of that chart. This tune, which also shows off the growth in JB’s vocal, songwriting, and production skills, finds the band covering that emotion we all feel when getting lost in the good times with the one you love. It’s a vignette of an intimate getaway with a couple who have nothing on their minds but enjoying life and each other. It’s also possible that mainstream country radio may feel more likely to take on the single than they were “Beer For Breakfast.”
Lauren Alaina – “Eighteen Inches”
Lauren Alaina has hit the Top 30 with both of her singles in her career thus far (“Like My Mother Does” and “Georgia Peaches”) and while that could be considered a ‘failure’ for an American Idol alumni, she’s done nearly as well as her 2011 Idol co-finalist, Scotty McCreery and certainly has sold quite a few albums (well over 200,000) which positions her well enough to warrant not only one more single released from Wildflower but also to release another single and album sometime in 2013. Now, talking about this single “Eighteen Inches,” Lauren’s picked up a single that was written by her own personal favorite country singer, Carrie Underwood in one of the writer retreats for one of Carrie’s past albums. While some would say then that Lauren’s trying to ‘copy’ Carrie, I think it’s more of a case of a song that suits Alaina better than Underwood at this point in their careers. If this single doesn’t break her through, the label will have to go back to the drawing board for her sophomore album as this is her most radio-friendly single yet.
Greg Bates – “Did It For The Girl”
We may have discussed this Republic REcords Nashville’s debut single when it was first sent to radio but now that it’s actually getting some airplay, why not talk about it again. “Did It For The Girl” reminds us of the classic, laid-back George Strait songs. Bates clearly is a neo-traditionalist country singer and someone who is a stylist more than a vocalist but that’s fine, not every singer needs to or should be a powerful vocalist. Vocal nuance has often trumped vocal power in country music and when you get a lyrical hook as strong as the one in “Did It For The Girl,” you’ve got the makings of a smooth, whiskey-filled ear worm.
Colt Ford with Jake Owen – “Back”
Colt Ford’s career with country radio has found him touching the Top 60 a few times but up until this point, they’ve been resistant to his style of talking’ country music. But with Jason Aldean’s success with Ford’s “Dirt Road Anthem” (which was originally written and recorded by Colt and Brantley Gilbert), the timing should be just about perfect for Colt to break through at radio (he’s already an established touring artist of Headliner status). “Back” is lyrically strong and laced with the kind of country lyrics that are ripped right from Colt’s own life. It’s personal, real and the song sounds like a country song. Add in Jake Owen’s smooth-as-silk vocal on the chorus and I don’t see how the song can miss, outside of country radio’s strange aversion to songs from Colt Ford. If fans get a chance to hear it, they should fall in love with this song. It gets stuck in your head and it’s easily relatable, everything you can want out of a country song circa 2012.
Chris Lane Band – “Let’s Ride”
This new-to-us band hails from North Carolina and has a marketable country/rock sound that has helped Brantley Gilbert and Jason Aldean become household names and “Let’s Ride” certainly feels like the kind if song that could bring Chris Lane Band some more fans. Except for the guitar solo the song feels like a cousin of “Dirt Road Anthem” in the laid-back nature of the melody and vocal and that is enough to suggest that this could be an underground hit.
Florida-Georgia Line – “Cruise”
Depsite not officially hitting radio charts until later this month, Florida-Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard have broke the Top 60 of the Digital singles charts with “Cruise,” all the while breaking into the all-genre Hot 200 Digital Singles chart as well. This is a remarkable achievement for a new duo and shows not only the strength of their grassroots, from the ground-up word-of-mouth buzz (with an assist by Jake Owen), but the band’s talent itself. Working on the new label Big Loud Mountain (part of Craig Wiseman’s publishing/management group), FGL have reason to be excited with “Cruise,” a song they co-wrote with Chase Rice, Jesse Rice and their producer Joey Moi. “Cruise” isn’t the kind of ‘knock-you-dead’ lyric but it’s not meant to be that either. This is a feel-good song from a band that likes to have a good time and entertain people at concerts. It sounds GREAT on the radio (SiriusXM The Highway is playing it) and I’ll be shocked if mainstream radio doesn’t jump on board.