Thursday, 23 May 2013

Country Billboard Chart News May 16, 2013

Country Billboard Chart News May 16, 2013

In Brief: 

Billboard Country Charts

Country Album Chart ** No. 1 (1 week) ** GOLDEN - Lady Antebellum
Hot Country Songs ** No. 1 (11 weeks) ** “Cruise”  Florida Georgia Line
Country Airplay ** No. 1 (2 weeks) ** "Get Your Shine On” Florida Georgia Line 
Country Digital Songs ** No. 1 **  “Cruise”  Florida Georgia Line

Billboard Top 20o / Country Album Chart News

Lady Antebellum’s GOLDEN debuted at No.1 on both the all-genre Billboard Top 200 (BB200) and the Billboard Country Chart.
It’s the trio’s fifth Top 10 album and their third studio album to reach No.1.
This puts Lady A just one album behind Rascal Flatts, which reached #1 with four studio albums between 2004 and 2009. Dixie Chicks also reached #1 with three studio albums. One country duo, Sugarland, has had three #1 albums, but that tally includes a live album.
GOLDEN displaced Kenny Chesney’s LIFE ON A ROCK, which fell from No. 1 to No. 8 on the BB200 with 2nd week sales of 48,000 (down 68%). This marks the first time that country albums have appeared at #1 back-to-back since Jason Aldean’s Night Train and Taylor Swift’s Red did it in October.
PEOPLE Magazine called GOLDEN the Group’s “Best Yet” and sales for the album were 167,314 picking up some Mother's Day gift shopping on the final day of the BDS tracking week, Sunday, May 12.
The album follows Lady Antebellum's previous No.1s OWN THE NIGHT (2011) and NEED YOU NOW (2010). Their first set, a self-titled effort released in 2008, debuted and peaked at No. 4. Own the Night started much bigger than Golden selling 347,479 copies in September 2011 which was 28% down on predecessor and Grammy Award Winning NEED YOU NOW (481,000 debut sales). Their self-titled debut sold 43,000 in its first week.
In Canada “Golden” opened with sales of 14,993 and in the UK it bowed at No.7 on the Official Album Chart with 11,784 sales. Worldwide sales racked up to 202,000.

“Golden” dropped on Tuesday 7th May 2013 and was again co-produced with Paul Worley.
The band followed up the No.1 Billboard Country Airplay single "Downtown" with "Goodbye Town." The song reunites Hillary, Charles and Dave with Josh Kear, who wrote "Need You Now." Charles says the song is about "that time after a breakup when everything about a place reminds you of that person, so all you want to do is just get the hell out of there."
We embraced risk,” said Hillary Scott of the band's latest. -  When you are pushing yourself to not go back to the same well, you’re gonna come up with something different, or you’ll find songs that are different. And that’s what happened on this album.”
Charles Kelley said  We let the music speak for itself a little more this time around,” about the album’s straightforward style. “We wanted to go  with more of an organic feel and vibe.”
Lady A on Ellen

The title track “Golden”, a honey-soaked love letter, was the last song Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, and Dave Haywood wrote for the record. They invited Eric Pasley, a fellow Nashville artist and songwriter (Eli Young Band’s “Even if it Breaks Your Heart,” Love and Theft’s “Angel Eyes”) to write with them at Kelley’s home. Golden” was chosen as the title track, Kelley says, because the word captures the feel of the entire album. “The record, in general, has a nice kind of breezy road-trip warm feeling. That’s what ‘golden’ says to me — it’s really warm.” Plus, he continued, “I think we’re really proud of that song. It felt like we were getting back to the basics of how the three of us started out — just sittin’ in a room and writin’ and not thinkin’ about trying to write a hit.”
Watch their acoustic performance on Vevo -

Lady A Remain Loyal to Country Music…In an interview with Taste Of Country Charles Kelley stated. “We feel loyal to the country market,” “I don’t know how well we would fit in between Bruno Mars and Phoenix. It’s so funny. We think maybe we’re not the country-est thing in the world until we’ve played some shows with pop artists. Then it’s like, ‘Yep. We are definitely really country.’
Promotion -Lady A made coast to coast runs with TV Stops on The Voice, Good Morning America, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, multiple nights on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Chelsea Lately and continued on to Toronto for more media appearances and events.
It was to end with an exclusive and intimate “Golden” release show at New York City’s newest hot spot The McKittrick Hotel presented by Citi. The VIP event was to include a donation made to Musicians on Call on behalf of the group’s charity initiative LadyAID.
Cute - Mummy to be Hillary Scott received Pop-Tarts and a miniature drum set for her baby when Lady A stopped by The Ellen DeGeneres Show Tuesday (5/7) they also performed "Downtime"-

Critical reception for “Golden”    12 Tracks / Time 43:51

Allmusic (Rating: 3 STARS) .. Instead, this is all shimmering and slick, more of an adult contemporary pop album than a country record. Apart from the intro of "Get to Me," there's nary a hint of twang here....So cheerful is Golden that it seems a little churlish to complain that the songs here aren't grabbers: they're slow burns, designed to sink into the subconscious through repeated plays...Lady Antebellum go out of their way to not make waves; they may represent the safeness of their time but they're in no way paving the way toward the future, and the suggestion that they see themselves this way goes a long way toward explaining the tricks celebrity can play on a mind.

Pop Matters (Rating: 5/10) - Golden is a Spring/Summer album; bright in tone.... Lady Antebellum’s M.O. has always involved clichés; at their best they manage to elevate them, or string so many together that the abundance feels ridiculous enough to no longer seem like a cliché....mixing clean-cut, fresh-faced surfaces with subtexts of lust and pain is nothing new for Lady Antebellum....(“Generation Away”) It’s a befuddling way to end an overall sedate, relatively predictable album; it’s kind of a wake-up call that says, hey, we can do crazier stuff than you think.

Associated Press - After pulling out the stops with the heavily orchestrated grandeur of 2011’s platinum-selling album “Own The Night,” Lady Antebellum heads in the opposite direction with the stripped-down sound of “Golden.”..........A couple of weak songs dampen the overall impact, but all in all, Lady A continues to experiment and grow while sounding like no one else in contemporary country music.
Rolling Stone - Nashville stars Lady Antebellum shine on their new album, Golden, offering up a bittersweet batch of bright, rich tracks that often hide a deeper layer of sadness.

“Golden” Album Sampler >> YouTube
Brand new video for "Goodbye Town" -
“Golden” is available at: Amazon UK CD - Amazon UK MP3
Sainsburys  (£8.99 Nectar Points: 16)

Pistol Annies’ ANNIE UP (Columbia) debuted at No.5 on the BB200 and No.2 Country with sales of 83,460.
It’s the trio’s second top five album in a row. HELL ON HEELS reached #5 in September 2011.
The act comprises Ashley Monroe, Angaleena Presley and superstar Miranda Lambert. The start for Annie Up almost doubles the launch of the group's first album, 2011's Hell on Heels (44,000 at No. 5) which at the time was a digital only release.
Frank Liddell, Chuck Ainlay and Glenn Worf produced the follow up to Annies' 2011 debut. “We laid it on the line with Hell On Heels and we wanted to bring it again on this album,” said Miranda Lambert. “The goal of our music is to have people feel like they’re having a conversation with us."
Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley wrote all 12 tracks on the album.
Pistol Annies are packed up their makeup, heels and lots of fabulous outfits to head to New York City for the album launch.
The trio debuted their new single, “Hush Hush”, on the Today Show May 7.
We are so excited to release the new album,” Miranda Lambert said. “It’s been like waiting for Christmas morning to come.”
The trio has introduced ‘The Great Annies Adventure,’ a first-of-its-kind interactive experience that allowed the entire Pistol Annies community to be involved in the excitement leading up to the release of Annie Up.
Pistol Annies played “Hush Hush” on Letterman >> YouTube

Critical reception for “Annie Up”    12 Tracks /  Time: 42:29

EW (Rating: A-).. their second release, Annie Up, is a more fully formed take on Southern sisterhood. There's plenty of hell-raising — see: the dump-that-cowboy anthem ''Don't Talk About Him, Tina'' — but there's also self-reflection, as on the darkly pragmatic ''Dear Sobriety.'' In Pistol Annies, the Dixies' spirit is alive and kicking.
Allmusic ( Rating: 4.1/2 Stars) -....a record that feels in every sense like a thoroughly integrated effort; the work of a group, not three individuals....Annie Up doesn't have the rhythm of a relationship, it has the relationship of life, the mess of family, new loves, and exes that hang around. In this context, the camaraderie of the Pistol Annies cuts deep -- they're a gang, encouraging the other two not to talk about Tina, raising sobriety, realizing life goes on even when love leaves -- and that gives Annie Up a bruised, beautiful richness.
Country Weekly Freeman (Rating: A-).... offering more engaging studies of real-life heartbreak,domestic inertia and the daily trials of womanhood....But those missteps are few—especially when there is a tune like the devastating, Ashley-led “Blues You’re a Buzz Kill,” which doesn’t pull any punches about the self-destructive stuff some of us do to avoid feeling lousy. It’s a potent reminder of just how great the Annies are when they stick to their guns. 
Slant Magazine (Rating: 3.1/2 STARS)  ...Like Hell on Heels, Annie Up walks the line between rebellion and conformity in ways that are both troubling and provocative.....Musically, this sophomore album isn't groundbreaking, but it feels more self-assured than the group's debut: the percussion packs a punch, the pedal steel conspicuously asserts itself, and the three-part harmonies sound mercifully richer.... If Annie Up doesn't quite break the country genre's familiar format, it's a hell of a lot of fun, and one could do worse than spend 40 minutes with these sassy almost-outlaws.
Associated Press - "Annie Up" is a good title for the Pistol Annies' second album. Like the gambling term it playfully puns, the title underscores that this brash trio is raising the stakes, investing more time, effort and artistic nerve into its new 12-song collection.. Rather than play it safe, they roll the dice with another daring collection that should lift their profiles even higher.
Rolling Stone (Rating: 3.1/2 STARS) - There may be better bands than Pistol Annies, but what band is more of a hoot? its 2011 debut, full of attitude and guffaws, delivered in three-part harmony over down-home country.
GAC - Pistol Annies return with their follow up, Annie Up, a 12-round blast signaling that these three Annies are just getting started.... The world around us isn’t always pretty, but the unfiltered and honest approach to Annie Up is as refreshing as it was the first time, as the trio appears to just be getting better.

“Annie Up” is available at:

With sales of 27,199 Various Artists The Music Of Nashville Season 1, Volume 2 (Big Machine) made a No.13 BB200 and No.5 Country bow.
The first album, Volume 1 sold 55,896 copies, debuting at No. 14 on the Billboard Top 200 and landing a #4 placing on the Country album Chart. Before that the last time a TV soundtrack sold more was when "Glee, the Music - Season 3: Volume 7" bowed with 58,000 on the Dec. 24, 2011, chart.
Producers T Bone Burnett, Buddy Miller, Gabriel Witcher, Garth Fundis, Frank Liddell, Dan Auerbach, and Ross Copperman worked together to create music for both the show and soundtrack. This second instalment includes the Lennon & Maisy cover of The Lumineers' "Ho Hey.
The second collection of music taken from season one of the hit TV show Nashville, exploring the fictional underbelly of Nashville, Tennessee's world-famous country music scene, features eleven tracks (Time: 37:17) taken from this first season performed by the show's stars, including Hayden Panettiere and Connie Britton.
AllMusic (rating: 3.1/2 STARS) - ....this soundtrack is the second volume from its first season.  Like the second half of the first season in this series, this volume has plenty to offer fans of the show, but more importantly, to fans of Americana and non-formulaic contemporary country to boot.
“Nashville Season 1, Volume 2” is available at:

Now That's What I Call a Country Party, a “Now” offshoot, debuts at #31 on BB200 and a No.10 country placing with sales of 13,000. This collection is ideal for outdoor parties, get-togethers, long drives or just passing the time away. It features a good array of songs from past artists such as George Strait and Brooks & Dunn to current ones such as Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan.
Toby Keith's humorous sozzled "Red Solo Cup" makes its third appearance, opening on this 18 track Now compilation (Time: 64:45) set. It also includes "My Kinda Party" (Jason Aldean), "Beer In Mexico" (Kenny Chesney), "Alcohol" Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan's ridiculous "Country Girl (Shake It for Me)," Joe Nichols' funny "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off," Billy Currington's easy rolling "Pretty Good at Drinkin' Beer," George Strait's amiable "Here for a Good Time," Alan Jackson's modern classic "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" and the sole female contribution comes from Gretchen Wilson’s "Here For The Party".
So yes, specifically hits on the party-hearty contemporary country tunes theme and everything is about having an unapologetic good time.
Eight tracks explicitly mention alcohol, with the remaining handful of songs such as the Big & Rich chestnut "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)" are designed for partying.
It bookends (if your still standing upright) with Jerrod Niemann’s “One More Drinkin' Song”!

Natalie Maines’ first solo album, MOTHER, entered The Billboard 200 at #17 with sales of 22,824, the highest-charting set from a solo woman since Lana Del Rey's "Paradise" EP also debuted at No. 4 on Dec. 1, 2012.
That’s far below the level of success that Maines enjoyed as a member of Dixie Chicks. All four of that trio’s studio albums reached the top five; the last three debuted at #1.
Dixie Chicks, who have sold more albums than any other female group in the SoundScan era (27.2 million; 1991-present), last released a studio album in 2006 with "Taking the Long Way." The country trio's set debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and has sold 2.5 million to date.
While it's been a spell since the group last dropped a new album, its members have been busy with side projects. The other two-thirds the group – Emily Robison and Martie Maguire -- formed Court Yard Hounds and released its self-titled debut on Columbia Records in 2010 (No. 7 debut and peak; 61,000). The
duo's second album is due later this year.
“Mother” is a rock album, not a country album, so it doesn’t appear on Top Country Albums. The title track first appeared on Pink Floyd’s 1979 album The Wall.
On MOTHER, people will hear a new direction from the singer. Heavily influenced by the more rock-based, edgy and intense sound of title track, and Pink Floyd cover, "Mother," Maines teamed up with friend and Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, and guitar wizard Ben Harper, who co-produced the record with Maines. The album was recorded in Harper's studio.
"I wanted this music to be very different from the Dixie Chicks," she says. "Lots of albums by lead singers might just as well have been made by the band, but I think this is very different from anything the Chicks could make. That separation and distinction was important."
Natalie recently told CBS Sunday she didn’t simply dislike country, she said “it burned my ears.” Ouch.!
The album did not receive a “country tag” and appears instead at No. 4 on The Rock Chart.
On Tuesday May 14th  promoting the album Natalie appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show – “They still like us in Canada” said Maines referring to the Dixie Chicks.
 >> YouTube

Critical reception for “Mother”    10 Tracks /  Time: 46:03 (Pop/Rock)

Allmusic (Rating 3 STARS) - The set's best moments are the most unexpected. Her reading of Eddie Vedder's "Without You" finds Maines digging into its lyric and exposing its veins....her scorching take on Patty Griffin's unreleased "Silver Bell," which is nearly off the rails in its intensity and features blazing guitars from Harper and Jason Mozersky... While Maines' singing is the glue that holds everything together, the set's overly polished production and the scattershot curation of the material makes it feel like more like just a haphazard collection of songs than a cohesive album.
Rolling Stone (Rating: 3 STARS) - It's serious and at times grim, full of midtempo songs in brooding minor keys. The straight-forwardness is in Maines' choice of repertoire: songs by Harper, Eddie Vedder, Jeff Buckley and the Jayhawks, most of them tastefully rootsy.
NY Daily News  (Rating: 5 STARS) - Dixie Chicks singer's first solo CD is a masterpiece, a perfect blend of technical agility and emotional savvy...Let’s just say it: “Mother” is a flat-out masterpiece, an ideal match of singer and songs that moves Maines from being a skilled and decorative singer into one of the most emotive vocalists of our time..... “Lover, You Should Have Come Over,” like everything here, it’s a melding of technical agility and emotional awareness you can’t hear without tears.

EW (Rating: B+) - Maines has grown into something newly dynamic, and entirely her own. Like the Annies [Pistol], she knows how much it hurts to get burned — but also, still, how much fun playing with fire can be.
Paste Magazine - If she pursues her own experiences and insights, as on “Take It On Faith,” then this whole arc might have the happy ending it deserves, an end that makes all the struggle seem worth it and transcends all the political and business realities that got Maines to this point. If Maines can truly “create” out of all of this, then her story might allow for the biggest of crossovers, from a great singer to a great artist.
“Mother” is available at:

Another female artist with country associations is Patty Griffin who landed at No.36 on The Billboard 200 and a No.4 Folk place with her new 12 track (46:35) set, and seventh solo album, AMERICAN KID.
The cult singer/songwriter already connects with a legion of fans through songs detailing all manner of heartbreak and joy. But for her first album of new solo material since 2007's "Children Running Through It" she said: "I wanted it to sound like I was in the room with you."
To that end, she and producer Craig Ross hired her stage sound engineer Roy Taylor to rig up "a bunch of old microphones to get that local sound," while hunkered down at the "funky, lived-in" Zebra Ranch Studio located an hour outside of Memphis.
With its hypnotic rhythms and varied textures, first single "Ohio," (video) inspired by the Toni Morrison book "Beloved," was a natural pick to set up the album. The track is one of three that features Robert Plant. The Led Zeppelin frontman, whom Griffin is dating and with whom she collaborates in the rootsy Band of Joy, sings harmony and gets a co-writing credit for rearranging the track.
Griffin seems bemused by the subject of online speculation about whether the two are married or not? "We're not legally married, no," she told Billboard, putting rumours to rest.

Critical reception for “American Kid”   
Allmusic (Rating: 4.5 STARS) - .....Griffin's first album of primarily original material since 2007's Children Running Through. It's her most stripped-down recording since her debut; Living with Ghosts.....Griffin delivers these 12 songs not as gifts or statements, but as her own evidence of what is, what was, and what yet may come.
American Songwriter (Rating: 4/5 stars) .. Griffin digs deep into introspective lyrics, some with historical references, to display her distinctive vocals and original songs with stripped down arrangements that use space and the silence between notes to create shimmering music you won’t soon forget.
Montreal Gazette (Rating: 4.1/2 STARS)  - ... gains an extra layer of poignancy if you know Patty Griffin wrote most of these songs as her father was dying.... But Griffin invests her music with so much universal truth that her heartache and hope is her listener’s.
Paste Magazine - .. Griffin reminds us it is where we are that is to be celebrated: appreciate what we're given while we're here and help those around us when we can.

The only other new country release to land on the Billboard 200 was Craig Campbell with NEVER REGRET (Bigger Picture) with sales around 5,000 giving him a No.96 bow and a No.27 Country album slot.
Campbell worked with producer Keith Stegall (Alan Jackson, Zac Brown Band) and Matt Rovey on this sophomore effort, co-writing six of the 12 songs including "Topless" with his wife Mindy and "When She Grows Up" with daughter Preslee.

Critical reception for “Never Regret”  
12 Tracks / Time: 42:26

Roughstock (Rating: 4 STARS)  - There really isn't an unlikable song on Never Regret. It's a 12 song collection of strong songs that shows a slight evolution of the sound of his first record, something that George Strait and Alan Jackson have both done throughout their careers. The production of Keith Stegall and Matt Rovey is tasteful and tight and suits Craig Campbell's vocals just perfectly. All of this makes Never Regret one of the year's most-enjoyable albums.
Country Weekly (Rating: B) - It’s one of the greater mysteries as to why this guy can’t seem to get the big break. Craig Campbell is a solid writer, has an uncanny knack for crafting (or finding, in some cases) catchy melodies and delivers the goods with enough personality to separate him from the general flock.
Got (Rating: 4.1/2 STARS) - Lyons, Georgia native Craig Campbell has worked hard to get to where he is, but he has not forgotten his upbringing and the value of hard work. ...every track included was chosen carefully, to represent Campbell’s life and values....This is a fine second effort, well written and produced; Campbell won’t be an opening act much longer.
“Never Regret” is available at:

Lenny Cooper debuts his sophomore album MUD DYNASTY for BackRoad Records/Average Joes Entertainment.
Colt Ford, JB and the Moonshine Band and Montgomery Gentry are some of Average Joes clients.
The title track which kicks off the album acts as Cooper's mission statement for the growing mud digging, mud bogging lifestyle. "What Do You Call That" is a track that features Copper and guests Bubba Sparxxx & I4NI as they discuss their lifestyle and ask "If I Ain't A Country Boy Then What Do You Call That?" 
One might ask watching and listening to the videos what is happening to Country music?
Is the label testing the waters to see just who might actually want to buy it?
I can report the album debuted at No.34 on the Country chart sitting 2 places higher than Willie Nelson And Family: Let's Face The Music And Dance!
New single from Lenny Cooper "Mud Dynasty" >> YouTube

BROTHERS OF THE HIGHWAY (Rounder Records) the sixth album from Dailey and Vincent debuted at No.40 on the Country chart. The pedigree of both Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent is unequivocal, coming from careers with Doyle Lawson and Ricky Skaggs' bands, respectively.
This is a standard collection, their last two albums were a tribute to the Statler Brothers and a collection of gospel tunes.
Vincent has said that they felt it was time to make an album that was just a straight-up bluegrass release
It has original scores, as well as tunes by The Louvin Brothers, George Strait, Vince Gill, and the father of Bluegrass himself, Bill Monroe.

Mickie James debuted at No.55 on the Country Albums in this chart this week with her eOne debut SOMEBODY’S GONNA PAY.  The album sold around 1,000 copies
She is better known as an American professional wrestler and the 33-year old country music singer of mixed Native American-Caucasian descent, signed to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA).
James' first country music album, STRANGERS & ANGELS, was released on May 18, 2010 on iTunes which she marketed and promoted on her own
On December 2, 2010, James released a new country single called, "Hardcore Country" which is also used as her TNA theme song. For her second album, James rather aptly joined a Kickstarter campaign in order to partially fund the album.
The album took on a different life of its' own – as she was first just looking at a scaled-down version of the release. “I used the Kickstarter program to do the first six songs. Then, my management team started shopping them to the labels. I was just going to release the six on an EP, but Van Fletcher heard it, and we talked. He said ‘Let's just go back in the studio, and make a full album, so that's what we did." she shared.
With “Somebody's Gonna Pay”, she was therefore glad to have a helping hand from a label standpoint - "I just got signed by E1, which is a huge honor. I learned a lot doing it by myself, as far as the inner workings go, but now to have E1 behind me. Van Fletcher is there, and he is really pushing me. It's great to have that backing from someone who really believes in you, and wants you to be successful” The label is also home to Shooter Jennings and Bucky Covington.
Mickie can claim a built-in fan base thanks to her exposure as a multi-time champion in the world of TNA Impact Professional Wrestling:
Stats: 450,000 Reverbnation Friends, 55,000 Facebook Likes, 380,000 Twitter Followers, 2X TNA Knockouts Champion, 5X Woman's WWE Champion, 1X WWE Divas Champion

"Making people feel something," is James' approach to music. And it goes the same for her day job as a professional wrestler. "With wrestling, you're running on raw passion and adrenaline," she says. "With music, your emotions are more present and your heart goes more into it." 
Mickie James is less a "Stand by Your Man" country singer than the "Hit Him over the Head with a Folding Chair" type is the viewpoint some might say watching the video for title track "Somebody's Gonna Pay" as she smashes a guitar over the head of fellow Total Nonstop Action wrestler Magnus, who plays a jerky pickup artist who'd just done a woman wrong. Former WWE star Trish Stratus cameos in the video as a bartender. It was filmed by the same team who shot Bucky Covington's and Shooter Jennings' 2012 video "Drinking Side of Country," in which James cameos.
Watch “Somebody's Gonna Pay” >> YouTube

Both Mickie and this album can proudly be “tagged” country and most certainly are not to be taken lightly, they both demand attention!
It includes songs written by John Paul White from the Civil Wars; Rivers Rutherford, who penned No. 1 hits (Brooks and Dunn, Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton, Kenny Chesney) and Bridgette Tatum (who co-wrote Jason Aldean's No. 1 "She's Country") penned “A Good Time” with Yorkshire’s Lorna Flowers now based in Nashville. 
Performers on the album include ACM 2013 Guitarist of the Year  J.T. Corenflos,  Dan Dugmore (Acoustic Guitar, Lap and Pedal Steel Guitar), Allison Moorer (Background vocals), Greg Morrow (Percussion) and Rob McNelley, a touring and studio musician for Lady Antebellum.
Mickie has co-writing credits on 3 songs: "80 Proof",  "Best Damn Night" and the album's bonus track, her TNA theme song, "Hardcore Country".
TNA President Dixie Carter, is supportive of her musical moonlighting and she also managed Tanya Tucker!

Mickie James joined PWTorch editor Wade Keller discussing her new album
Here she talks about the song "If I Can't Be Me"  >> YouTube

Critical reception for “Somebody's Gonna Pay”    12 tracks / Time: 45:52 - The resulting release is eclectic with songs for every kind of country listener...Some songs you may not like, but others you will love....The disc kicks off with the first single "Somebody's Gonna Pay."  The song is a kick ass..and could lend way to an anthem for women around the country and actually acts as my favorite track on the release.  Another standout was "Long Way Down," a more laid-back track about how once you get up, it can be dangerous heading back down.... It is evident that she has her die hard fans, but this release might just get lost in the mix.

Got Country Online (Rating: 3.5 STARS) - Mickie James’ sound will remind you of another artist with attitude (and one she has opened for) – Gretchen Wilson...However this Virginia native doesn’t want to be known as the wrestler who sings. Her dedication to doing her best started when she played the violin and rode horses growing up....

Somebody's Gonna Pay” is available at:
UK iTunes - US iTunes  - Walmart

Alan Jackson, "Precious Memories" charted at No. 170 on the BB200. This set was originally intended as a gift to Jackson's mother so its jump in sales caught the Mother's Day trade. The album, first released in 2006, saw a 48% increase and its 2013 sequel, "Precious Memories: Volume II," gained by 106% in sales, rising 36-20 and moved up to No.8 on the current Country chart.

The next chart will feature a string of new albums impacting including George Strait, Trace Adkins, and Jason Boland & the Stragglers’.

Billboard Top 200  Placings / Top 25 Country Albums

(Issue dated Chart week of May 25, 2013)

(Country Album positions #1 - #25)

(TW) This Week, (LW) Last Week, Co (Country Album Chart placing / Movement)

Billboard Catalog Albums
George Jones’ 1987 compilation SUPER HITS jumped from #90 to #68 in its third week on the Top 200 chart. The album jumps to #1 on Top Catalog Albums, displacing Jones’ 1998 compilation 16 BIGGEST HITS which fell to No.9. "Super Hits” first charted sporadically from 1992 to 1995 and has returned to the tally since the singer's death. This completes the first sequence of three country albums to reach the #1 position on the Catalog chart consecutively, with "Super Hits" and "16 Biggest Hits" following Blake Shelton's "Loaded: The Best Of Blake Shelton".
It makes 2013 only the second year with more than two country #1's (there were four in 2003).
Jones is the first artist to top the catalog chart in each of the first three weeks after his or her death since Whitney Houston did it in each of the first five weeks after her death in February 2011. Though Super Hits didn’t crack The Billboard 200 until after Jones’ death (when it finally debuted at #56), it has been a big seller (sold 2,278,000 copies)
Jones joins a short list of 27 artists who have more than one #1 album on the Catalog chart, and he is the very first country musician to do so.
Pistol Annies got their first Top 10 Catalog album. HELL ON HEELS has had five weeks on the chart and moved up from No.38 to No.8

Billboard Video Chart
Eagles’ History Of The Eagles, a three-disk documentary/concert video, stayed at #1 on Top Music Videos for the second week. It sold 10K copies, down from 23K first week debut.

Top 25 Hot Country Songs (week of May 25, 2013)

On Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart - which blends:
a) All-format airplay, as monitored by BDS  b) Sales, as tracked by Nielsen SoundScan and c) Streaming, according to BDS it results in:

Florida Georgia Line spends an 11th cumulative week atop Hot Country Songs with “Cruise,” adding Airplay Gainer stripes with a 13% radio audience spike.
Gloriana’sCan’t Shake You” (Emblem/Warner Bros./WAR) is the Digital Gainer (24,000 sold, up 13,000), up 27-20.

The Pistol Annies achieved their highest rank with second billing on Blake Shelton’sBoys ’Round
Here,” which bullets at No. 3.
The May 6th video premiere of Tim McGraw’sHighway Don’t Care” (Big Machine) helped boost the duet with Taylor Swift moving 6-4 with “Streaming Gainer” honours (981,000 streams, up 71%, according to Nielsen BDS). The track vaults 13-4 on Country Streaming Songs.

Danielle Bradbery, a contender on NBC’s “The Voice,” snagged the Hot Shot Debut trophy at No. 25 with her cover of “Maybe It Was Memphis.” Pam Tillis took the original version to No. 3 on Hot Country Songs some 21 years ago (one of her 13 top 10’s).
George Strait achieved his 86th top 10 with “Give It All We Got Tonight” (12-10). Remaining in second place among artists with the most top 10’s on the tally. George draws closer to Eddy Arnold’s vaunted record total (92).

Florida Georgia Line with “Cruise” stays Top The Chart #1
Darius Rucker  with former No.1 “Wagon Wheel” stays at #2
Blake Shelton with “Boys ‘Round Here” stays at #3
Tim McGraw & Taylor Swift with “Highway Don’t Care” is up, #6 - #4
Florida Georgia Line with “Get Your Shine On” stays at #5
Miranda Lambert with “Mama’s Broken Heart”is down two,  #4 - #6
Kenny Chesney with “Pirate Flag” is up one, #8 - #7
Lady Antebellum with “Downtown” is down one slot, #7 -#8
Luke Bryan with “Crash My Party” stays at #9
George Strait with “Give It All We Got Tonight” is up two, #12 - #10
Hunter Hayes with “I Want Crazy” drops one place, #10 - #11
The Band Perry with “Done” is up three,  #15 - #12
Jason Aldean with “1994” is down two, #11 - #13
Eric Church with “Like Jesus Does” moves up two slots, #16 - #14
Blake Shelton with former No.1 “Sure Be Cool If You Did” drops, #13 - #15
Brad Paisley with “Beat This Summer” is up one notch, #17 - #16
Jake Owen with “Anywhere With You” moved up one, #18 - #17
Thompson Square with “If I Didn’t Have You” fall four slots,  #14 - #18
Kip Moore with “Hey Pretty Girl” is up one, #20 - #19
Gloriana with “Can’t Shake You” jumps up seven places, #27 - #20
Carrie Underwood with “See You Again” is up two, #23 - #21
Brantley Gilbert with “More Than Miles” stays put at #22
The Band Perry with former #1 “Better Dig Two” is up one, #24 - #23
Randy Houser with “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” is up four, #28 - #24
Danielle Bradbery with “Maybe It Was Memphis” debuts at #25

Hot Country Songs
*** No.1 ( 11 weeks) /Airplay Gainer/ ***  “Cruise”  Florida Georgia Line
** Streaming Gainer ** No.4 “Highway Don’t Care”  Tim McGraw with Taylor Swift
** Digital Gainer ** “Can’t Shake You”  Gloriana
** Hot Shot Debut **  No.25 “Maybe It Was Memphis”  Danielle Bradbery
Debut No.34 “Barefoot and Buckwild”  Lauren Alaina
Debut No.43 “I Feel A Sin Comin’ On”  Pistol Annies
Debut No.44 “Fishin’ In The Dark”  The Swon Brothers
Debut No.45 “All For Love”  Lady Antebellum
Debut No.49 “Parking Lot Party”  Lee Brice

Billboard Country Airplay Chart Week of May 25, 2013

Florida Georgia Line scores the highest weekly country radio audience in almost eight years, according to Nielsen BDS, as “Get Your Shine On” (Republic Nashville) draws 40.702 million impressions, receiving  6,254 spins (+74)  in its second week atop Billboard’s Country Airplay chart.
The sum is the biggest since Toby Keith stacked 40.6million in two frames during a six-week No.1 run with “As Good As I Once Was” in the summer of 2005. The rookie duo almost matched Keith’s audience mark last week, when “Shine” led with nearly 40.6 million. Top local audience contributors for “Shine” during the May 6-12 BDS tracking week: KKBQ Houston (1.4 million impressions), WUSN Chicago (1.2 million), WNSH New York (811,000), KKGO Los Angeles (766,000) and KMNB Minneapolis (730,000).

Eric Church achieves his seventh Top 10 with “Like Jesus Does” (EMI Nashville), which gains 1.892 million impressions reaching a 27 million audience with 4,443 plays (+308) and rises 11-9.
The new song is the artist’s fifth consecutive promoted single to reach the upper tier. He scored a pair of No.10 peaks with “Love Your Love the Most” (2009) and “Hell on the Heart” (2010), but missed the top 10 with subsequent singles “Smoke a Little Smoke” and “Homeboy,” which stopped at No.16 and No.13, respectively (both in 2011). Church’s current streak of five top 10s opened with “Drink in My Hand” and “Springsteen,” which both topped the chart last year,followed by a No.5 peak with “Creepin’” last December. He logged his third leader as a featured artist alongside Luke Bryan on Jason Aldean’s “The Only Way I Know” in February.

George Strait earned the “Most Increased Audience trophy with “Give It All We Got Tonight
(MCA Nashville), which spiked 3.842 million impressions; received 5,108 plays (+708) and reached a new peak with an 8-6 hop on Country Airplay. It’s the lead track from Strait’s new LOVE IS EVERYTHING album due to drop Tuesday (May 14). He most recently topped Country Airplay with “River of Love” four years ago. With 26 leaders during the 23-year Nielsen BDS era, Strait is tied with Alan Jackson for the most No.1s on Country Airplay; Tim McGraw follows with 25 No.1s during that frame. Of course, Strait is the all-time No.1 king on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, where he’s taken 44 songs to the summit starting with “Fool Hearted Memory” in 1982.

Thomas Rhett wears the “Most Added” crown with “It Goes Like This” (Valory), which collects 19 new airplay commitments which granted him a 3.027 million audience (+1.078); with 653 plays (+241) during the tracking week. The second-generation country singer—his dad is singer/songwriter Rhett Akins—also achieves Breaker status and rises 41-26 with spins at 83 of the 129 stations monitored for the chart.
Lady Antebellum bagged the “Hot Shot Debut” cup with “Goodbye Town” (Capitol Nashville), which bowed at No.46 with a 1.352  million audience (+1.311); receiving 260 plays (+252) at 52 monitored stations.

Country Airplay

*** No. 1 (2 weeks) *** "Get Your Shine On” Florida Georgia Line  
** Most Increased Audience ** No.6 "Give It All We Got Tonight" George Strait 
** Most Added ** No.36 "It Goes Like This" Thomas Rhett
** Hot Shot Debut ** No.46 "Goodbye Town" Lady Antebellum
Debut No.54 "Aw Naw” (RCA Nashville) Chris Young
Debut No.58 "Daddy Dance With Me” (Show Dog-Universal) Krystal Keith
Debut No.59  "Lucky Sometimes” (HitShop) Weston Burt
Debut No.60 “Still Rollin’ (Redneck) Gretchen Wilson

Billboard Country Digital Singles Chart Week of May 25, 2013

Florida Georgia Line with “Cruise” sold another 151,000 copies (Numbers include the Remix with Nelly) to remain at the top of the chart.
Blake Shelton’sBoys ‘Round Here” moved 3-2 selling 110,000; up 11% on the lead country digital singles sales.
Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift’s “Highway Don’t Care” increased sales by 11% over the previous to hold at No.4.

Danielle Bradbery debuted at No.9 with “Maybe It Was Memphis” selling 58,000 units.
Danielle is a 16-year-old country artist from Texas and is a member of "Team Blake" (Blake Shelton) on The Voice (U.S. season 4). On Episide 15  (Tues, May 7) contestants were asked to sing a stripped down version of a song in order to concentrate on the voice.
It was immediately made available on US iTunes as a digital track and subsequently went to the #1 spot on the iTunes Country Charts the next day.
Listen to the studio Audio >> YouTube
Released originally on November 25, 1991 by Arista and written by Michael Anderson, “Maybe It Was Memphis”  was
the fourth single and recorded by Pam Tillis for her 1991 album PUT YOURSELF IN MY PLACE.
It was also her third Top Ten hit on the Billboard country charts, peaking at number 3 there. "Maybe It Was Memphis" was also nominated for the Country Music Association's Song of the Year in 1992.
On May 24, 2011, Lauren Alaina performed the song during the finale of American Idol. Carrie Underwood selected the song as part of the round of competitionas an Idol contestant too.

Lauren Alaina debuted at No.25 with her new single “Barefoot and Buckwild” (19/Interscope/Mercury), which she performed on the closing stages of American Idol on May 9. The single sold nearly 20,000 in just 3 full retail days on iTunes store. Her second album is expected to drop later this year.
A big digital gainer (up 300%) was Lady Antebellum’s smash Grammy winning “Need You Now” which moved up 46 slots (76-30) thanks to an iTunes sale.

Top 30 Digital Singles in Country Music (May 16, 2013)

 (LW) Last Week  (TW) This Week 
*Numbers are rounded to nearest 1000th

Country Digital
** No.1 "Cruise" Florida Georgia Line (48 weeks on Chart)

Billboard Boxscores (Selective Country concerts)

Rank Artist: #2
Event Venue City/State:
Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Austin Mahone, Brett Eldredge Ford Field Detroit, Mich
Dates: May 4, 2013   Gross Sales: $3,969,059    Attend: 48,265 / 48,265
Capacity Shows: 1/1  Sellouts Prices: $99.50, $69.50, $39.50
Promoters: The Messina Group/AEG Live

Rank Artist: #11
Event Venue City/State: Jimmy Buffett Bridgestone Arena Nashville, Tenn
Dates: April 27, 2013  Gross Sales: $1,435,660     Attend: 13,980 / 13,980
Capacity Shows: 1/1 Sellouts Prices: $136, $36    Promoters: Live Nation

Rank Artist: #30
Event Venue City/State:
Brad Paisley, Chris Young, Lee Brice, The Henningsens Klipsch Music Center Noblesville, Ind.
Dates: May 10, 2013 Gross Sales: $708,774     Attend: 24,006 / 24,006
Capacity Shows:1/1  Sellouts Prices: $65, $25  Promoters: LiveNation

Rank Artist: #57
Event Venue City/State:
Zac Brown Band, Blackberry Smoke The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas.
Dates: April 27, 2013  Gross Sales: $309,975  Attend: 4,200 / 4,200
Capacity Shows: 1/1 Sellouts Prices: $75, $37.50  Promoters: C3 Presents

Rank Artist:#62
Event Venue City/State:
Reba McEntire Mohegan Sun Arena Uncasville, Conn.
Dates: April 27, 2013  Gross Sales: $258,975  Attend: 4,343 / 4,699
Capacity Shows: 1 / 0      Sellouts Prices:$65, $45  Promoters: Live Nation

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