Saturday, 22 March 2014

Country Billboard Chart News March 20, 2014

Country Billboard Chart News March 20, 2014

In Brief:  Billboard Country Charts

Country Album Chart ** No. 1 (1 week) "Spring Break 6 … Like We Ain't Ever" Luke Bryan
Hot Country Songs ** No.1 (1 week) **  “This Is How Me Roll” Florida Georgia Line feat Luke Bryan
Country Airplay ** No. 1 (1 week) *** “Helluva Life” Frankie Ballard 
Country Digital Songs ** No.1 (1 week) ** “This Is How Me Roll” Florida Georgia Line feat Luke Bryan

Billboard Top 200 / Country Album Chart News

The "Frozen" soundtrack returned to #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums (BB200) with sales of 99,242 copies. This is its sixth week on top. That's the longest that any soundtrack has held the top spot since "Titanic" stayed on top for 16 weeks in 1998. This is the album's 12th consecutive week in the top five. "Frozen" is the first soundtrack from a theatrically-released movie to spend 12 or more weeks in the top five since "City Of Angels" had a 16-week run from April to August 1998.

Making a bow No.2 on BB200 was Luke Bryan's "Spring Break 6 … Like We Ain't Ever" EP (Capitol Nashville/Universal Music Group Nashville) with 74,296 copies sold. 
The EP entered the Top Bilboard Country Albums at #1, displacing Eli Young Band's "10,000 Towns" which dropped to No.34 on BB200/ No.8 Country with sales down 75% in their second week. Luke’s new digital-exclusive set is the latest in the country star's spring break-themed EPs, which launched in 2009 with "Spring Break With All My Friends."
Luke Bryan off the top place as His 4 Track EP titled “Spring Break 4: Suntan City” had first week sales of 29,996 and debuted at #2 Country with younger fans drawn to and down loading his new music. Last year, he topped the chart on March 14, 2013 with "Spring Break … Here to Party," (which was a compilation of previously released tracks from the series. It sold 149,515 copies which at the time marked his best sales week.
The new release is Bryan’s fourth No.1 on Top Country Albums, as well as his eighth top 10. Dating to his debut on the Sept. 1, 2007, list, only Toby Keith has logged more top 10s (nine). (Keith has notched 21 top 10s overall.) Bryan’s new EP is economically priced, selling for $6.99 in the iTunes and Amazon MP3 stores.
The project came out the same day as Luke kicked off his annual two-day run of free concerts at Spinnakers in Panama City Beach, FL. Luke says, "These special EP’s all began as a way to get new music out to the fans between studio projects.  I feel like year after year we get a little bit better at writing for this.  I think with these new songs I would be proud to put them on any album we release.

Critical reception for “'Spring Break 6...Like We Ain't Never”:
6 tracks/ Time: 21:22 US iTunes At 37, Luke Bryan is old enough to be the young dad of kids heading to Spring Break and, yet, for the past several years, he’s reverted back to his 18-year-old self and released a Spring Break EP each March: the mini-albums contain six or so tunes that serve as an aural scrapbook for anyone hitting the beach for sun, surf, girls and beer.

Taste Of Country ....Luke Bryan’s sixth spring break EP isn’t so much a party album as it is a project for short-term lovers. Bryan explores the romantic side of Spring Break during ‘Like
We Ain’t Ever.’ In many ways, it’s an extension of the songs on ‘Crash My Party.’ ‘She Get Me High’ comes first, and it may be the album’s finest moment. The “keys to this old Bronco” line is one of a half dozen zingers that stand out on the mini-release. Strong backing vocals fill out this cut, making it the most dynamic of the bunch.
any of the rest rely on stories that are equally compelling. ‘Night One’ is a white hot love story that asks what it would have been like if the two young lovers met early during their trip, and not toward the middle or end.... ‘The Sand I Brought to the Beach’ takes a familiar phrase and uses it to tell a story of what happens when that sand (a woman in this case) splits because she doesn’t care for the party. This last song is best representative of the six, as it’s a fun story that’s not particularly difficult to understand the first time through.

Roughstock  (4 STARS) .....The EP is the largest he’s released yet (outside of his regular albums) and that gives Luke more room to connect with his audience, particularly on the title track, a song as strong as anything on his albums and in fact, this one was written from his perspective as the entertainer entertaining these young kids out to party during their spring break from University. “Night One” is a sweet little song of youthful lust masked as love on the final night and the feelings of wanting to have met his Spring Break girlfriend on ‘night one’ instead. “Are You Leaving With Him” is another song that could hit one of Luke’s regular albums (it’s less ‘spring break themed’) but in reality, any of these songs could’ve been part of his albums if not reserved for the annual EPs. While these aren’t meant to be serious or heavy albums, it is still nice that an artist of Luke Bryan’s stature continues to record music which he has no intention of releasing to radio (outside maybe SiriusXM) and which also come out like clockwork, usually right between album release cycles. It’s a smart, fun collection of songs which no doubt is appreciated by his core audience, many of whom started out following the superstar at a Spring Break concert six or more years ago.

Sara Evans nabs her fourth top 10 album as SLOW ME DOWN (RCA) starts at No. 9 on the BB200 (#2 Country) selling 26,509 copies.
It's also her fourth straight top 10 set, stretching back to 2005's No.3 on the BB200 (#1 Country) with hit REAL FINE PLACE (69,486 copies sold). Back on the 16th March 2011 she debuted at #1 on the Country chart album with a successful comeback after a five year absence when STRONGER (RCA) sold 55,193 copies.

Promoting the new album “Hometown shows are always the most nervous I get," Sara said on Thursday's (3/6) album launch party for Slow Me Down in Birmingham. With a combination of live performances and playbacks of recorded songs, Evans debuted the tracks from the new album, giving a backstory on each. Evans co-wrote three songs on the project, including "If I Run," which she and her band performed live for the first time at the party. "Slow Me Down," is notable for many good reasons -- not the least of which being her selection of duet partners for several of the set's songs..
Evans says her cover of Gavin DeGraw's "Not Over You" with DeGraw on harmonies is her favorite cut on the album and possibly her favorite song she's ever recorded. Vince Gill appears on "Better Off" which Evans calls, "the most country song I've ever recorded." She says it reminds her of a Patty Loveless song. The Fray's Isaac Slade appears on "Can't Stop Loving You".
Sara was going through a roller coaster of emotions as her new album, Slow Me Down, hit the marketplace. "You feel a lot of things, you know, like excitement, nervousness, exhaustion," Sara told ABC News Radio. "'Cause it's a lot of work and a lot of build up because you want everyone in the world to know about it and go buy it because you're so proud, and I have been working so hard on this project."

Critical reception for “Slow Me Down”
11 Tracks / Time: 37:27 CD - UK iTunes -

Billboard by Chuck Dauphin  .. for her newest release, she shakes things up from a musical level once more. The title track hit Country Radio with a vengeance late in 2013, and its’ dramatic arrangement had the word “crossover” written all over it.... If you love the power and passion of the title cut, you’re going to love this album. Evans and producer Mark Bright have assembled a strong collection of material here – much of which has that same feel. “You Never Know” and “Gotta Have You” are strong indications of the direction of the album, as is the springtime-flavored “Put My Heart Down” and “Sweet Spot,”.... Vince Gill (an Evans good luck charm – having added harmonies to her 1998 breakthrough “No Place That Far”) adds some soaring notes on the very traditional “Better Off.”...Sara Evans knows her strength, and Slow Me Down gives her a chance to show it off. She sounds better than she ever has on the record, and Bright’s production allows her vocals to be front and center. I think we’re going to be in for a big career resurgence for one Country’s most talented and beautiful women!

Roughstock (Rating: 3 STARS) It’s not objective journalism to admit this, but I’m a sucker for certain singing voices. Sara Evans is one of these. Thus, that wonderful catch in Evans’ voice, when accompanied by Vince Gill’s high and lonesome harmonies, sweetened all the
Sara Evans in 2011
more with traditional country fiddle on “Better Off,” is simply irresistible.  Ah, if only everything on this latest full-length album included the same time-tested Country music values. Even when Evans goes for straight pop-country, as happens during “Can’t Stop Loving You,” a duet with The Fray’s Isaac Slade, she’s somewhat effective – even though the traditional music fan in my blood much prefers the A-list vocalist getting more down home... The way she spars with a Dobro counterpart during “Good Love Is Hard to find,” in contrast, is simply heavenly.....However, those still trying to keep the flame of traditional country music alive will have problems with the mixed messages sent out via this latest full-length. Evans sounds to be going in two different directions at the same time... Therefore, Sara, please slow down and pick a side. Choose well, because a beautiful, natural singing voice is a terrible thing to waste

Allmusic (Rating: 4 STARS)  A reunion with producer Mark Bright, who produced her 2005 album Real Fine Place, may suggest Sara Evans is returning to the country on her 2014 record Slow Me Down, but a better indication of the sound of this album is in its artwork. The glamour shot showcasing Evans' long legs in all their glory is hardly down-home and neither is Slow Me Down. ... All this suggests how thoroughly pop Slow Me Down is. Forget country-pop -- this is an adult contemporary pop
album through and through....Certainly, fans hoping that Evans will return to country music will be disappointed, but Slow Me Down is something that is rare in 2014: an unapologetic, big-scale adult pop album, constructed with grace and care.                  

Veteran country icon Don Williams debuts with REFLECTIONS (Sugar Hill/ WELK) at No124 BB200 (#19 Country). 
He moved some 3,000 copies of the album despite no radio airplay or much national press exposure in America. It debuted at No.1 on the UK Official Country Chart on Sunday 16th March. On June 27, 2012 Williams’ first new album in 8 years AND SO IT GOES made its debut at #99 on the BB200 and had a similar bow at No.20 on the country chart. Released by Sugar Hill Records on June 19th 2012 it sold 4,751 copies also without any radio support.
Critical reception for “Reflections” :

MICHAEL McCall AP ...Don Williams is on a roll, once again. After talk of retirement — he even embarked on a farewell tour in 2006 — the Country Music Hall of Fame member suddenly is busy again, releasing his second album in the last two years with "Reflections." If anything, the new collection is an even better reminder of Williams' special gifts than 2012's comeback album, "And So It Goes." Sounding as lively and engaging as the laid-back 74-year-old is likely to get, Williams picks out an outstanding collection of songs, including those by his old favorite Townes Van Zandt ("I'll Be Here In The Morning"), Guy Clark ("Talk Is Cheap, co-written with Chris Stapleton and Morgane Hayes), Merle Haggard (the classic "Sing Me Back Home") and Jesse Winchester ("If I Were Free"). "Reflections" was co-produced with a deft touch by Williams' longtime studio partner Garth Fundis. He captures the veteran singer's rich voice — sounding as smooth and subtly emotional as ever — and backs him with the tasteful, restrained contributions of a stellar studio band. "Reflections" is a perfect title from a man who continues to represent the timeless strengths of good country music.

Allmusic (Rating: 4 STARS)  ....There are no originals here, but they weren't necessary.... Doug Gill's quiet anthem "Stronger Back," become as intimate as a kitchen table conversation. In the humble, mellifluous grain of his voice, Williams' gifts as an interpreter allow him to impart the poetry and wisdom in these songs directly, and in their own way, powerfully. At 74, he is in assured command of his voice, and better understands the deeper well it resonates from.

In his second week on the chart David Nail with I’M A FIRE fell 13-39 on the BB200 (#3 - #9 Country) with sales of  8,000 copies, down 66% on his first week bow, when he shifted 23,434.

2014 Country Album sales Year-To Date:
6,330,000 (Physical sales 4,124,000 (down 9%) + Digital sales 2,207,000 (down 8.1%)) which is 15.5% down at the same point in 2013 (7,488,000 sales)

Billboard Top 200 / Country Album Placings

(Issue dated Chart week of March 29, 2014)
(Country Album positions #1 - #25)

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

Billboard Catalog Chart
** Hot Shot Debut  **  #11 Hunter Hayes -  Hunter Hayes

Wondering where Hunter Hayes is on the Country Album chart? Well his self titled album (Atlantic) which was first released on October 11, 2011 has migrated to The Catalog Album Chart. The album was followed up with an Expanded edition titled ENCORE, released April 7, 2013. Hayes’ album was certified platinum by the RIAA on August 8, 2013 and to date has moved 1.114 million copies. It is still charting on the Billboard 200 at #108. Billboard magazine ranks the best selling catalog titles, regardless of genre and defines a catalog title as one that is more than 18-months old and that has fallen below position 100 on the Billboard 200. Albums which meet this criteria are removed from the Billboard Current Albums rankings and begin a new chart runs on Top Pop Catalog Albums.

Top 25 Hot Country Songs (week of March 29, 2014)

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, (tracked by Nielsen BDS from such services as Spotify, Muve, Slacker, Rhapsody, Rdio and Xbox Music, among others) according to BDS it results in:

  • Florida Georgia Line became the first duo in nearly 22 years to notch at least three Hot Country Songs No.1s from a debut full-length album, as “This Is How We Roll” (featuring Luke Bryan) rose 2-1 with dual Digital and Streaming Gainer honors. The song is the third No. 1 from the twosome’s introductory album, HERE’S TO THE GOOD TIMES (Republic Nashville/Big Machine Label Group), which has sold 1.7 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Lead track “Cruise” led for a record 24 weeks beginning with the Dec. 22, 2012, chart, and fourth radio single “Stay” reigned for six frames beginning with the Dec. 14, 2013, chart. (In between, “Get Your Shine On” and “Round Here” peaked at Nos. 5 and 3, respectively.) “Roll” appears on the deluxe version of Here’s to the Good Times, released in November. FGL are the first twosome to tally at least three No.1s on the HCS chart from a debut release since Brooks & Dunn arrived with four from its debut set, Brand New Man, in 1991 (when the chart was solely airplay-based). The chart’s new leader moved 2-1 on Country Digital Songs seling 80,000 units (up 37%) and rocketed 11-2 on Country Streaming Songs (1.2 million U.S. streams, up 92 percent, according to Nielsen BDS) as the survey period encompassed the first full week following the song’s >> official video release (March 8). Luke Bryan now bags his seventh Hot Country Songs No.1.

Top 25 Hot Country Songs:
Florida Georgia Line feat Luke Bryan with “This Is How Me Roll” TOP the Chart, #2 - #1 p
Brantley Gilbert with last weeks No1 “Bottoms Up” slipped, #1 - #2 q
Blake Shelton with “Doin’ What She Likes” stays at #3
Keith Urban with “Cop Car” climbs two, #6 - #4 p
Dierks Bentley with “Hold On” stays at #5
Jerrod Niemann with “Drink To That All Night” is up three, #9 - #6 p
Eric Church with “Give Me Back My Hometown” is up one, #8 - #7 p
Frankie Ballard with “Helluva Life” jumps up four, #12 - #8 p
Jason Aldean with “When She Says Baby” is down five, #4 - #9 q
Thomas Rhett with “Get Me Some Of That” is up three, #13 - #10 p
Rascal Flatts with “Rewind” climbs three, #14 - #11 p
Randy Houser with “Goodnight Kiss” is up four, #16 - #12 p
Luke Bryan with former No.1 “Drink A Beer” falls two, #11 - #13 q
Lady Antebellum with “Compass” points downwards, #7 - #14 q
Dan + Shay with “19 You + Me” stays at #15
Thompson Square with “Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About” is up, #17 - #16 p
Brett Eldredge with “Beat Of The Music” is up one, #18 - #17 p
Luke Bryan with “Play It Again” jumps up seven, #25 - #18 p
Miranda Lambert with “Automatic” is up one, #20 - #19 p
Florida Georgia Line with former No.1 “Stay” is down one, #19 - #20 q
Justin Moore with “Lettin’ The Night Roll” stays at #21
Sara Evans with “Slow Me Down” is up one, #23 - #22 p
Hunter Hayes with “Invisible” is down one, #22 - #23 q
Jake Owen  with “Beachin’” is up four, #28 - #24 p
Tim McGraw with “Lookin’ For That Girl” moves up four, #29 - #25 p

Hot County Songs
** No.1 (1 week)/ Digital & Streaming Gainer ** “This Is How We Roll” Florida Georgia Line feat Luke Bryan
** Airplay Gainer ** No.18 “Play It Again” Luke Bryan
** Hot Shot Debut ** No.31 “Good Lookin’ Girl”  Luke Bryan
Debut No.36 “She Get Me High” Luke Bryan
Debut No.37 “Like We Ain’t Ever” Luke Bryan
Debut No.40 “Wild Card” Hunter Hayes
Debut No.47 “Chainsaw” The Band Perry
Debut No.50 “He Ain’t Gonna Change” Connie Britton & Hayden Panettiere

Billboard Country Airplay Chart Week of March 29, 2014

Frankie Ballard scored his first No.1 on Billboard’s Nielsen BDS-based Country Airplay chart, as “Helluva Life” (Warner Bros./WAR) jumped 4-1 in its 35th week. In his prior two chart visits, both in 2011, “Tell Me You Get Lonely” reached No.33 and “A Buncha Girls” rose to No.27. “Helluva Life” was written by Rodney Clawson, Chris Tompkins and Josh Kear and released by Warner Bros.back on July 29, 2013.
At 35 weeks, “Life” ties David Nail’s “Whatever She’s Got” (MCA Nashville) for the longest trip to the top completed this year. Meanwhile, its three-spot vault to No.1 is the greatest since Blake Shelton’s “Mine Would Be You” also surged 4-1 on the Nov.16, 2013, survey. Ballard told Billboard last month that he knew that “Life,” the lead single from his sophomore album, Sunshine &
Whiskey, “was going to touch people and speak to their journey, but I had no idea it would be the reaction that it has been. “This song speaks to things like hope and getting up every day and putting one foot in front of the other no matter what kind of curveballs life throws you,” he continues. “People have really made the story their own.”
The new set has so far peaked at its No.5 debut on the March 1 Top Country Albums chart.
“Life” logged 41.990 million audience impressions (+3.945 million) and received 6,707 radio plays (+703). Top local audience contributors for in the March 10-16 tracking week were: KKGO Los Angeles (1.4 million impressions), KKBQ Houston (923,000), KPLX Dallas (893,000).

Luke Bryan with "Play It Again" took home the weeks “Most Increased Audience” and “Most Added” trophies. The song logged 8.664 million audience impressions, a gain of 4.644 million, receiving 1,216 radio plays (+682) thanks to 35 fresh radio commitments (ADDS) .
David Nail blew in with "Kiss You Tonight" at No.54 to gain some “Hot Shot Debut” love at radio. 

Swedish DJ Avicii (born Tim Bergling) makes a noteworthy debut on Country Airplay, as “Hey Brother” (PRMD/Island/ IDJMG) bows at No.59. Despite its club-ready beats, there’s a clear connection to Nashville in the song: Its uncredited vocal is from Union Station’s Dan Tyminski, whose W*H*E*E*L*S topped Bluegrass Albums in 2008. Last week, “Brother” crowned Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart, displaced Avicii’s own “Wake Me Up!” after a record 26-week reign.

Women of Country 2014 Watch:
Miranda Lambert at No.18 ("Automatic"), Sara Evans at No.22 (“Slow Me Down”) were the only 2 solo female artists in the Top 30 Country Airplay songs. Sheryl Crow #32, Lucy Hale #53, Kelleigh Bannen at #55, Kacey Musgraves #56 and Maggie Rose #58 were an additional five females in the remaining 31-60 slots, to make it 11.7% of the top 60 chart.

Country Airplay
*** No. 1 (1 week) *** "Helluva Life" Frankie Ballard 
** Most Increased Audience / Most Added **  No.28 "Play It Again" Luke Bryan 
** Hot Shot Debut ** No. 54 "Kiss You Tonight" David Nail
Debut No. 56 "Keep It To Yourself" Kacey Musgraves
Debut No. 59 "Hey Brother" Avicii

Billboard Country Digital Singles Chart Week of March 29, 2014

  • Florida Georgia Line with “This Is How We Roll” (featuring Luke Bryan) rose 2-1 to top of Country Digital Songs. Sales of 80,000 were up 37% on the previous week and the single is now GOLD sweeping past the ½-million mark.
  • Brantley Gilbert’sBottoms Up” switched places (2-1) with FGL after 4 weeks at #1.
  • Luke Bryan’sPlay It Again” jumped up 18-6 after a 66% sales spike. Bryan has three other Top 30 digital singles this week including  “Good Lookin’ Girl” (#18) and “She Get Me High” (#26) from the new Spring Break EP set.
  • David Nail’s single “Whatver She’s Got” at #12 hit PLATINUM with sales having reached 1,012,000 units in 33 chart weeks.
  • Lady Antebellum with “Compass” at #22 have now hit GOLD having shifted 506,000 sales in 23 weeks
  • Hunter Hayes with new album now at pre-order status generated a 62% increase for “Invisible” whilst new single “Wild Card” debuted at #27 with first week sales of 15,000.

Women Of Country Watch
Only 1 solo female artist is on the Top 25 placings:
Miranda Lambert with her new single "Automatic" in its fifth week at retail sold 14K and moved 26-25

Dropping off the Top 30:
29-32 Tyler Farr “Whiskey In My Water”  
28-33 Florida Georgia Line “Stay”  
21-34 Lee Brice “I Don’t Dance”  
24-46 Dan + Shay “What You Do To Me”

Top 30 Digital Singles in Country Music (published March 19, 2014)
 (LW) Last Week  (TW) This Week
*Numbers are rounded to nearest 1000th

Country Aircheck/ Mediabase chart

Frankie Ballard with “Helluva Life” (Warner Bros./WAR) moved 4-1 to top the Country Aircheck/ Mediabase chart for the tracking week March 9 - March 15th 2014. The song logged 6,939 radio spins (+670) and 55.973 million audience impressions (+5.022 million gain) reported by 146 stations.
Team Frankie Click to ENLARGE

It’s congratulates to WARNER BROS./W.A.R. VP/Promotion Chris Palmer, Dir./National Jordan Pettit and the entire W.A.R. promo staff, on scoring Ballard’s first-ever #1 single with “Helluva Life” the lead single from his recently released “Sunshine & Whiskey” album.   
“My heart is overflowing,” Ballard says in a press release. “I’m so thankful to country radio for taking a chance on this song. I’m more than happy to play this one for the rest of my helluva life!”

For a detailed report check out Country Aircheck Weekly Issue 388 - March 17, 2014 [PDF File]
For the very latest up to the minute Mediabase Chart (Past 7 Days) go here -

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