Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Country Billboard Chart News October 9, 2014

Country Billboard Chart News October 9, 2014

In Brief:  Billboard Country Charts

Country Album Chart ** No. 1 (1 week) “Bringing Back The Sunshine” Blake Shelton
Hot Country Songs ** No.1 (11 weeks) ** “Burnin’ It Down” Jason Aldean
Country Airplay ** No.1 (1 week) ** “Roller Coaster” Luke Bryan
Country Digital Songs ** No.1 ** (1 week) ** "Something In the Water" Carrie Underwood

In this easy-to-use format discover where your favourite acts songs and album are charting across the four Billboard Country charts. It is prioritized by the first column showing the Hot Country Songs chart frame standings for the week of October 18, 2014.
There are also separate rows highlighting Women of Country music.

Scroll down for further details on each of the individual charts.

Billboard Top 200 / Country Album Chart News

Blake Shelton earned his second No.1 album on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart (BB200) as his new release, BRINGING BACK THE SUNSHINE made its debut atop the list. Released by Warner Bros. Nashville Records on Sept. 30, it sold 100,544 copies in the week ending Oct. 5, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Billboard reported that it Shelton’s fourth Billboard Top Country Albums leader.

He previously tallied a No.1 with 2011's RED RIVER BLUE, which opened with 116,402. His best sales week ever came in 2013, when his last album, BASED ON A TRUE STORY, bowed at No.3 with 199,086.
His new album's current single, "Neon Light," rose 8-7 to become his 21st top 10 on the Country Airplay chart, a new peak (10% audience gain)
Bringing Back the Sunshine is only the third country album to hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in 2014, following Eric Church's The Outsiders (on the chart dated March 1) and Shelton's wife, Miranda Lambert, with her PLATINUM set (June 21).
Two other married couples have each had #1 albums in the same calendar year. Beyonce and Jay Z have achieved the feat twice: in 2011 (with 4 and Watch The Throne, respectively) and again in 2013 (with Beyonce and Magna Carta Holy Grail, respectively). Faith Hill and Tim McGraw did it once, in 1999 (with Breathe and A Place In The Sun, respectively).

Lady Antebellum, arrived in the No.2 slot on the Billboard 200 with their fifth studio release, 747. It sold 73,944 copies in its first week, which is less than half of what their last album, 2013's GOLDEN, bowed with 167,314 copies. “747” is the group's sixth top 10 album. With Shelton and Lady A at Nos. 1 and 2, this is the first time the top two albums are country efforts in nearly four years. Country music last controlled the top two rungs on the Nov. 20, 2010-dated chart, when Taylor Swift's Speak Now and Jason Aldean's My Kinda Party were Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.
Barbra Streisand's duets album Partners held at No.3 on the BB200 with 72,870 (down 43%) and last week's No.1, Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga's Cheek to Cheek, fell to No.4 with 59,000 (down 55%).

Despite the disappointing sales tally, there was a ray of “Sunshine” for Shelton as he logged his second #1 album on The Billboard 200. The bad news: Both Shelton and Lady A posted disappointing sales tallies. “Sunshine” also sold much less than the latest by Maroon 5 (164K debut sales), the group headed by Adam Levine, Shelton’s frequent foil on The Voice! It’s also far less than first week tally of the current album by wifey, Miranda whose PLATINUM (which had a massive promotional roll out) sold 179,646 copies in its first week (June 21, 2014) then 62,303 (241,949 in the first 2 weeks). But even that is now shifting 5,000 copies after 18 weeks at retail.

What’s happening? 
There’s a glut of albums right now by top country acts. Too many than hard pressed country fans have time or money to pursue perhaps?. We recently had Tim McGraw with SUNDOWN HEAVEN TOWN (#2-5 Country; sales down 43%) closely followed by a new album from Kenny Chesney with THE BIG REVIVAL (#1-3 Country, sales down 70% in his 2nd frame).
Jason Aldean's OLD BOOTS, NEW DIRT is out this week followed by Florida Georgia Line's ANYTHING GOES (Oct. 14), Little Big Town's PAIN KILLER (Oct. 21) and Garth Brooks's MAN AGAINST MACHINE (Nov. 11). All these artists are looking for fourth quarter sales spikes to capitalize on the pre Thanks Giving Holiday period and the exposure of the annual Country Music Awards telecast (set for Nov. 5) the biggest platform of the year for the genre.

Is it that the quality of the music has diminished and that Shelton & Lady A’s were rushed out? Blake said - “We've taken years to make an album before and I think this one we made in just, I don't know, maybe six months or something," he said on Thursday's Live with Kelly and Michael. "It was just like man, let's make the record and keep doing the show. I'm having fun. God, who wouldn't love to do this?"

Prior to the launch of TV show The Voice in April 2011, on which Shelton has gained popularity as a coach and judge for 4 seasons, he had never sold more than 77K copies of an album in one week.
  • His self titled BLAKE SHELTON released July 31, 2001 made a #45 Billboard 200 debut (#3 Country) but went on to be certified PLATINUM by Feb 6, 2014 nearly 13 years later.
  • BARN AND GRILL released Oct 26, 2004 landed at #20 on the BB200 (#3 Country) and was certified GOLD by May 31, 2005.
  • Pure BS released May 1, 2007 made a debut the chart week of chart week May 19, 2007 selling 48,494 copies #8 BB200 (#2 Country) then 20,801 the following week (69,391 after 2 weeks) and was certified GOLD by March 5, 2009.
  • RED RIVER BLUE (Warner Bros. Nashville | WMN) released July 12, 2011 made a debut the chart week of July 30, 2011 selling 116,402 copies then 46,975 (163,452 in first 2 weeks). By Dec 28, 2011 it had gone GOLD at retail selling 25,478 units to reach 499,000 and hold #56 on the BB200. After 25 weeks (chart week Jan 14, 2012) it sold 8,306 (down 67% after Christmas, 25-week tally 507,653) .For the Chart week of August 10, 2013 as a Catalog Album at #29 it sold 2,099 and went PLATINUM scanning over 1-million at retail (1,002,514 total) as of Sept 10, 2014 it had shifted 1,354,000 copies. Last week it was # 3 on the Catalog chart. 
  • BASED ON A TRUE STORY...released March 26, 2013 made a debut the chart week of April 13, 2013 selling 199,086 copies. By the chart frame of June 1, 2013 it held at No.4 on the Country chart (9-10 BB200) selling 28,033 albums, down 26%, for an 8 week tally of 521,683 and thus scanned GOLD at retail passing the ½-million mark. By the chart week of Oct 12, 2013 it had gone PLATINUM (1,000,000 units shipped to retail, 907,000 copies actually sold at retail) .It had sold 1,109,000 copies at retail in 40 weeks.

Critical reception for Blake Shelton’s “Bringing Back the Sunshine”:
Allmusic (Rating: 3.5 STARS)....Bringing Back the Sunshine, relies on sweetness, not swagger. Underneath the gloss, there are remnants of redneck rhetoric -- drinks mixed in Sonic cups, a reliance on a corny backwoods growl on "Buzzin'" -- but they're just the accent, not the foundation. At its core, Bringing Back the Sunshine is a middlebrow makeout record that can double as a fine morning tonic. Nothing here rocks (although the closing "Just Gettin' Started" tries to work up a full head of steam), nothing is gritty, even the ode to a "Good Country Song," which isn't a slice of hardcore honky tonk but rather a slow-burner in
the vein of Keith Whitley and Earl Thomas Conley, who are both name-checked in the tune. This insistent mellowness is the strength of Bringing Back the Sunshine. Shelton has an easy touch with a ballad and he never gets subsumed in the thick overdubs of his midtempo pop songs because his warm, resonant voice anchors them both, making them seem slightly more substantial than mere cannily crafted contemporary country-pop. Yet, that's exactly what Bringing Back the Sunshine is: a state-of-the art country-pop record, a modern update of urban cowboy that works because it never hides its soft aspirations but never makes a fuss about them either.

Pop Matters (Rating: 4/10)  ...Based on a True Story was refreshing because Shelton knew exactly what he was doing and never pretended to be singing anything but that certain flavor of country that is very much in vogue right now. It was the sound of someone thoroughly comfortable tapping into that pop/rock and roll crossover brew that informs much of modern country artists’ output. This knowing quality isn’t lacking on Bringing Back the Sunshine, but on the second time around, it isn’t enough to save the album. Almost every song here comes off like a pale imitation of something he’s done before. Here we have “Good Country Song”, which has a vibe phoned in straight from “Country on the Radio”. That track was a catchy, defiant kiss-off to detractors who complain about how country music lyrics are over-stuffed with beer, cutoff jeans, trucks and “hey girl” machismo. The follow-up comes off like a pale imitation of the same thing.  And speaking of “hey girl” machismo, Shelton channels Nickelback-level butt-rock sexism on the borderline creepy “Gonna”. It’s a track that hardly sounds like the same man who sang the wistful, lovelorn “Sure Be Cool If You Did”. It is missing the warmth that Shelton brings to most of his music, making this track feel a bit out of place....With “Buzzin”, Shelton rolls out a de facto sequel to “Boys ‘round Here”, and while it’s pleasant and catchy in all the right places for maximum effect, it comes off sounding far too calculated. If someone ever said there’s a reason why country music is maligned at times for its (supposedly) limited subject matter, retreads like “Buzzin” would provide a prime example for anyone trying to make that argument. What saves the album from being a complete loss are languid, relaxed tunes like “Sangria”. Even if it does play a bit like “Blake Shelton trying on his Kenny Chesney hat”, it’s still one of the bright spots on this album.....Bottom line, Bringing Back the Sunshine is competent, but its sheer lack of variety, and over-reliance on trying to recapture the vibe of his previous effort sinks the album in a hurry. Best to label this one for die-hards only.

Taste Of Country... Shelton’s unique mix of country and R&B returns for this project — don’t fix what ain’t broke, right? But the best moments are his revealing ballads. ‘I Need My Girl’ is powerful, similar to ‘She Wouldn’t Be Gone’ from 2008. ‘Sangria’ is sexy and simple, and ‘A Girl’ is 100 percent adorable. Key Tracks: ‘Neon Light,’ ‘A Girl,’ ‘Good Country Song’

Billboard Track-by-Track Review by Chuck Dauphin (Rating: 3.5 stars)....On Bringing Back The Sunshine, the eighth studio disc from Blake Shelton, there are plenty of songs that will go hand in hand with weekend parties and celebrations, but if you look a little deeper into the album, you will see another side of the four-time CMA Male Vocalist of the Year. The uptempo songs are entertaining, but it's the ballad performances that set this disc apart. "Bringing Back The Sunshine" – An energetic way to get the album started with some nifty guitar licks, this is four minutes of pure adrenaline rush. "Lonely Tonight" – This track is reminiscent of Shelton's work on albums such as Startin' Fires or Pure B.S. ear candy -- which still stands as some of his best work. "Sangria"– The steel work from Russ Pahl gives this song a deep and moody feel that is both romantic and dramatic, and also crosses the line into fantastic. "Buzzin'" – Infectious guitar sounds make the song work. Though it doesn't plow a lot of new musical ground, the "B-B-B-Buzzin" reference of the chorus make this song memorable.....

For The Country Record  ...Blake Shelton had some pretty big claims when it came to ‘Bringing Back The Sunshine’. Even the title itself is a grandiose announcement, standing above the others and shouting with arms open wide, “Here I am! It is I – bringing back the sunshine! Never fear! The darkness is over!” in some kind of cinematic epic.....In fact, Blake goes even more bro on this record, even more irritating, and takes even more liberties. This is not only incredibly frustrating given his back catalogue, but insulting considering the wild claims he was making about the collection. He’s almost as if he was playing with us, or just
trying to convince traditionalists that the album really was country. I’m sorry, but just because you can spew bullshit, that doesn’t mean anyone’s going to actually believe it (aside from the sheep who follow him – disciples maybe?)....‘Buzzin’’ is just as bad, possibly even worse. The lyrics are over-swaggery nonsense, the sonic base is hick-hop, and it might as well be music for getting  high to for those who don’t like reggae. The inclusion of RaeLynn is both bizarre (the style of song really doesn’t suit her), pointless (she only has a few blended harmonies thrown her way), and creepy considering the way Blake sings (raps?) about the opposite sex on the song. Imagining them performing this together is uncomfortable because he is nearly twice her age.....‘Sangria’ is another song which presents a few issues. Couched in a polished alt. rock embrace, the minor key and lashings of reverb build a moody atmosphere that could easily attribute itself to complex heartbreak and emotion. Instead, however, we get an all-too-detailed picture of a drunken, lustful, one night stand. The lyrics are so graphic at times it makes me cringe.... Perhaps the most ironic and ludicrous track on this album however is ‘Good Country Song’. Even from the title it sounds obnoxious and overly self-aware, and more unbelievably it actually calls upon a neo-traditional country sound! ..This is not a good album, all things told....Somehow, the album’s closer, ‘Just Gettin’ Started’, feels like an omen that this won’t be the last time he releases subpar material. I guess I just shouldn’t have been surprised.

747 is Lady Antebellum’s fifth studio effort (its previous four opened at No.1) and, when counting the act’s entire catalog, its eighth overall top five launch. The BB200 debut (73,944 copies sold) at #2 broke a string of three consecutive #1 non-holiday studio albums by the trio. 
747 also entered the Billboard Country chart at #2.

 It’s Lady A’s first non-holiday studio album to fall short of #1 on the country chart. The trio scored its best sales week when NEED YOU NOW arrived with 481,000 almost five years ago (Feb. 13, 2010 chart).

The rise and fall of Lady A!:

  • Their self titled “Lady Antebellum” (Capitol Nashville) was released on April 15, 2008 and made a debut the chart week of May 3, 2008 at #4 Billboard 200 (#1 Country) selling 43,384 copies then 22,168 and 15,774 (81,367 sold first 3 weeks ). After 94 weeks in the chart frame Feb 13, 2010 (the week in which NOW YOU NEED made its debut) it was #15 on Billboard 200 selling 31,043 copies and a total of 1,453,734 sold. By Nov 10, 2010 it was certified 2X Platinum!
  • NEED YOU NOW released on Jan 26, 2010 made a debut at #1 on the BB200 (#1 Country) the chart week of  Feb 13, 2010 selling 480,922 copies. Lady A’s sophomore effort became the biggest debut sales week for a country album since Taylor Swift's "Fearless" opened at No.1 on the Billboard 200 with 592,000 copies in November 2008. The eye-popping sum that Lady A's "Need You Now" racked up was also the biggest opening week for an album released in January since the Game's "The Documentary" bowed with 587,000 at No. 1 in 2005. Traditionally, January isn't packed with albums that earn blockbuster debut weeks, as most of the big guns come out in time for the busy November-December holiday shopping season. But for the Capitol Nashville set, all the stars seemingly aligned. In its second week it sold 208,828 then 207,507 then 144,117 to reach 1,041,420 to scan PLATINUM after just 4 weeks then shifted 104,597 and 125,595 in week 6. As of the chart week Oct 27, 2012 at No.60 on the Country chart it sold 1,431 copies with a total of 3,925,077. It was cerified 4X Platinum.
  • OWN THE NIGHT released September 13, 2011 made a debut at #1 on the BB200 (#1 Country) the chart week Oct 1, 2011 selling 347,479 copies followed by 124,730 then 75,086 (down 40%) in 3 weeks it had sold 547,489 units. It was certified Platinum (?) by Oct 19, 2011. By chart week June 8, 2013 as a Catalog album it sold 1,316 copies with a a total of 1,837,525. Lady A remains only the third country group to have notched No.1 sets on the Billboard 200 following the Dixie Chicks and Rascal Flatts. The Chicks have three leaders while Rascal has four.
  • ON THIS WINTER'S NIGHT released Oct 22, 2012 made a debut at #8 Bilboard 200 (#2 Country) selling 24,584 copies. As the Christmas holiday trade picked up the week of Nov 28 it sold 51,723 in its 7th week and had its peak week sales of 77,875 and by year end had sold 439,438 copies.
  • GOLDEN released May 7, 2013 made a debut at #1 Billboard 200 (#1 Country) the chart week of May 25, 2013 selling 167,314 copies then 55,735 folllowed by 33,968 (3-week total of 257,553). It was certified GOLD by the RIAA on Nov, 2013. 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.
By contrast it looks like Lady A’s new “747” will take a very long time to reach GOLD (500K) and will be their worst selling album! Teaming with producer Nathan Chapman this time around, the trio found new inspiration and hits including the platinum-selling first single "Bartender."

Critical reception for Lady Antebellum’s “747”:
14 Tracks/ Time: 48:24  CD - MP3 -  UK iTunes - Smart Choice Music - Amazon.com 
Lady Antebellum talk about new single, >> "Freestyle"

Allmusic (Rating: 3.5 STARS) ....Lady Antebellum severed ties with their longtime producer Paul Worley for 2014's 747, choosing instead to work with Nathan Chapman. His best-known work was for the Band Perry and, especially, Taylor Swift's Fearless and Speak Now, a good indication that the trio was looking to capitalize on the soft pop crossover of "Compass,"....
Lady Antebellum always have been a pop band so this concentrated gloss doesn't feel inappropriate. If anything, it feels like acceptance, as if the trio is embracing all of its crossover inclinations while cutting away the corniness that led to such previous missteps as "Generation Away." 
Perhaps some of this focus is due to the presence of Chapman, who helped Swift craft her blockbusters, and he performs a similar task here, sculpting a clean, friendly sound that showcases the trio at its best. Nevertheless, all of the credit can't be placed at his feet as the band possesses a fair amount of the songwriting copyrights here and, when combined with contributions by such Nashville mainstays as Shane McAnally and Gordie Sampson, it adds up to one of the trio's strongest albums.

Billboard (Rating: 4 STARS)....The trio's fifth proper album, 747, ditches piano-heavy ballads in favor of fully fleshed-out productions and a notable boost in confidence. Leadoff track "Long Stretch of Love," a crisp, pulsating rocker that highlights Lady Antebellum's knack for memorable song structure, exudes this newfound self-assurance. Later, co-lead singers Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley perfect their harmonizing on the fiddle-laced "Down South," an ode to the band's Nashville roots; "Lie With Me," a bittersweet tale of not wanting to let go, wouldn't sound out of place in a country version of a John Hughes movie (don't worry, that's a good thing). Producer Nathan Chapman, who took over the reins from Dixie Chicks producer Paul Worley, deserves a lot of credit for leading the aural explorations...But not everything on 747 soars. Soul-searching ballad "One Great Mystery" lands with a tepid thud ("Maybe there's some other life out there/But as long as you're here with me, baby, I don't really care"). Requisite barroom stomper "Freestyle" is filler next to the mischievous fun of lead single "Bartender," in which a heartbroken Scott declares, "What I'm really needing now/Is a double shot of Crown." The group's move away from its comfort zone is a worthy venture. Any band that clings to a formula for success -- they've won seven Grammys and sold more than 9.7 million albums, according to Nielsen SoundScan -- runs the risk of boring fans with every new release. But Lady A has always demonstrated the potential to deliver a little something more. On 747, we finally get a glimpse of it.

LA Times (Rating: 1.5 out of 4) ...Once a reliable source of lustrous country-soul ballads such as "Need You Now" and "Just a Kiss," Lady Antebellum roughed up its sound a bit for last
year's up-tempo "Golden," which paid off neither artistically nor commercially. So you can understand the trio's recruitment here of producer Nathan Chapman, best known for his hit-making work with Taylor Swift. A behind-the-scenes look at filming around the world for music videos. But if Chapman restores some of Lady Antebellum's polish, he still keeps the group moving too fast with zippy pop-country arrangements that rarely allow Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott to harmonize as sumptuously as they're able. And at a moment when every second song on country
radio is about throwing back a cold one, another elegant weeper like "Need You Now" might've gone further than the ho-hum "Bartender" to set Lady Antebellum apart from the pack.

For The Country Record .....The album is helmed by ‘Bartender’, a groove-led pop song about deliberately getting uncontrollably wasted in order to forget a heartbreak, under the guise of a “fun” girls’ night out (some of the lyrics do worry me considering their target market). Of course its commercial crossover appeal secured its place at #1 recently, leading me to wonder if an album that I personally didn’t feel was up to scratch will regardless keep them at
the top of the charts? It’s something to ponder. ‘Freestyle’, for example, an early promotional release from the project, has a southern rock vibe with a focus on rhythm and lyrics tumbling into the realms of semi-rap. The lyrics hold nothing to make the song stand out from generic radio fodder, but it becomes more of a talking point as soon as we learn that Lady Antebellum passed up on Kenny Chesney’s smash ‘American Kids’ because they didn’t feel it suited them.... ‘Sounded Good At The Time’ jumps onto center stage in an array of R&B beats, synths and other electronic sounds along with that particularly patronising token banjo. ‘She Is’ has the kind of soulful, pop/R&B vibe of Jason Mraz and other such artists, a similar style and lyric to David Nail’s ‘Whatever She’s Got’, and huge crossover potential.....So when ‘747’ presents further songs about first loves and what it is to be young, even from a nostalgic perspective, it becomes even more bizarre when we consider how much they have personally grown up in the past couple of years. They’re all married, two of the three of them have kids, and yet we feel stuck in this vignette of late teenage hormones and emotions, acting crazy, having fun and falling in love. That’s all very well, but when it comes to artistic development, I would rather hear songs about where they are at as adults now, than songs that try to incorporate R&B and EDM, just because newer artists are driving that force. There are ways to keep pushing yourself, and I fear this album isn’t it....Of course, there are a couple of good songs on this record. .....I feel as confused as Lady A would probably never admit they are.

Alabama with Angels Among Us: Hymns And Gospel Favorites rose from #10 to #7 on the country chart as a deluxe version hit Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores.

Marty Stuart’s SATURDAY NIGHT & SUNDAY MORNING made a debut at No.162 on the BB200 (#24 Country) selling 2,300 copies of his double album which features traditional country on disc 1 (Saturday Night) and gospel on disc 2 (Sunday Morning).

Critical reception for Marty Stuarts’ “Saturday Night & Sunday Morning”:
23 tracks/ Time: 44:43 CD - MP3 - Smart Choice Music - Amazon.com 

“tremendously entertaining...a testament to the indisputable fact that he has one of the best bands working in any genre today” – Rollingstone Country Online
“the double-disc shows this versatile, charismatic songwriter and performer at the top of his game with sides devoted to both traditional country fare” – American Songwriter
“The first side is steeped in sin, with 11 hard-charging, good-timing country songs that could have come straight from a honky-tonk on a particularly rowdy Saturday night. The second side digs into redemption with a dozen deep gospel songs.” – Wall Street Journal
“Ambitious” – Chicago Tribune

Saving Country Music.com (Rating: 1 3/4 of 2 Guns Up) ........Since Saturday Night is chased by Gospel, Marty and the boys put the pedal down on the first album and rarely let off. Think of old school honky tonk country rock. The middle of this album gets just a little bit sleepy. 
There’s a decent amount of covers on this record, and in stretches you feel like Marty is doing a little too much interpreting of old song styles than offering more original-sounding material like on recent albums. But there’s not a slouch anywhere on this track list either. Sunday Morning continuously builds toward the end of the album, to where the brilliant four part harmonies of Marty, “Cousin” Kenny, “Handsome” Harry Stinson, and “Apostle” Paul Martin unfold into some brilliant, and spine-tingling works of inspirational music. For years the foursome has been performing one of the best renditions of “Angels Rock Me To Sleep” ever bestowed to human ears, and we finally get a recorded version of this masterpiece. And the album resolves in the mostly-a cappella original “Heaven” that is so haunting and touching, it should be considered one of the essential recordings of Marty Stuart’s entire career...Once again Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives prove they are at the core of keeping the traditions of country music alive, while doing so in a manner that is energetic, inviting, informed, and broad-based where people of all stripes—the Saturday night and Sunday morning people—can come together and enjoy the gift of good country music together.

Billboard (by Chuck Dauphin)....For their brand new collection, the band turns in a two-disc set that combines the best of what this group does – in concert as well as their successful RFD-TV weekly series. Disc once is titled Saturday Night, and features the band at its’ hillbilly best. Kicking off with the rollicking “Jailhouse,” the guitars are crisp and in tune, and Stuart is vocally inspired – showcasing that rockin’ side that would be at home on a Sun Label....The set comes to a close with the inspiring ‘Cathedral,” which proves that true Church has nothing to do with a building and the soaring “Heaven,” which is absolutely brilliant and beautiful – with its’ old school harmony. Just because you might not find it on a radio dial today doesn’t mean the sounds of our fathers and grandfathers has gone. It’s still out there. And, seriously, if  music this incredible was that easy to find, would it truly be worth it? It kind of makes it our little secret, and what a secret it is! Somebody say “Howdee” To Me…..then go buy this one!

Outside the Top 25 Country Albums

  • In their second week at retail the Josh Abbott Band with Tuesday Night EP fell 12-48 and despite the critical acclaim Lee Ann Womack with The Way I'm Livin' (Sugar Hill | Welk) retreated 18-30.
  • Alabama with their set Alabama & Friends: At The Ryman (GAC/Eagle / Eagle Rock) made a debut at No.29 Country
  • Moonshine Bandits with their EP REBELS ON THE RUN (Backyard/ Average Joes) which features "Arrest Me" and a new remix of Demun Jones' "Country Fried" made a debut at No.49 on Country Albums.
Of Note:
Americana singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams with her 11th studio album DOWN WHERE THE SPIRIT MEETS THE BONE (Highway 20) made a debut at No.13 on the Billboard 200 selling 19,707 copies at the age of 61.

Critical reception for Lucinda Williams’ “Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone”:

Allmusic (4 Stars)... and though this doesn't always sound like an album where Williams is challenging herself musically, for a musician who has long believed in the power of nuance, this is an album that feels unerringly right for her, full of sweet and sour blues, acoustic pondering, and simple, bare bones rock & roll that slips into the groove with Williams' literate
but unpretentious songs. Love and its infinite complexities have always been some of Williams' favorite themes, and they certainly pop up a few times on this double set, but she has just as much (if not more) to say about the world around her this time out, setting one of her father's poems to music as she pleads for "Compassion," spits venom at a dilettante from the perspective of someone living in poverty in "East Side of Town," recounts a real-life tale of justice gone wrong in "West Memphis," and issues a call to action on "Temporary Nature (Of Any Precious Thing).... Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone is the sound of Lucinda Williams doing what she does best and letting her muse do the speaking, and if that sounds simple, in practice it is and it isn't -- this music is taut and soulful, but also a document of one woman baring her spirit and mind to the world, which has always been the case with her best music, and if this isn't a masterpiece, it's as pure, straightforward, and compelling as anything she's done since Essence.

The Independent (Rating: 5 STARS) In Lucinda Williams’ case, her new double-album may be the best work of her career, a compelling survey of love and life to challenge the bitter insights of West and World without Tears. With her long-time trio augmented by guitarists Bill Frisell and Tony Joe White, along with sundry Wallflowers and Attractions, her blues-inflected country-soul sound is subtly tempered here to fit each song’s requirements, from the gritty, dark Americana noir employed to contemplate the fall from grace in “Something Wicked This Way Comes”, to the pedal-steel-streaked country lament “This Old Heartache”. Williams’ wracked vocal tones, meanwhile, have rarely been more effectively employed, perfectly matching the desperation caused by “a string of bad decisions” in “Burning Bridges”, and wringing tender compassion for the plight of a relative vainly searching for their wayward kin in “Wrong Number”. Compassion is the abiding emotion through most of the 20 songs: it’s the title of the opening track, Williams’ setting of a poem by her father recommending “compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don’t want it”. Elsewhere, the minutiae of love are insightfully addressed in songs like the swampy Southern soul plaint “Stand Right By Each Other” and especially the country-rocker “Stowaway in Your Heart”, a beautiful conceit sure to become a standard. All told, it’s a magnificent, career-defining set, full of hard-won wisdom, assertive independence – and compassion in abundance.

Total third-quarter country sales

  • Luke Bryan’s year-old CRASH MY PARTY and Jason Aldean’s 11-week-old “Burnin’ It Down” each won tight races, topping country’s third-quarter sales totals, though the two presided over lists with notably slimmer numbers as customers continue their shift from purchases to streaming.
  • Bryan’s album sold 170,000 units between June 30 and Sept. 28, according to Nielsen SoundScan but a very low total for a title occupying the No.1 position on the genre’s third-quarter list.
  • Total third-quarter country album sales were 6.6 million, a 23% drop from the 8.5 million in sales in third-quarter 2013.
  • The entire music business also faced a double-digit drop, though it wasn’t as severe as country’s decline.
  • Two-thirds of country’s dip took place among the genre’s best sellers. Sales were brisk for Bryan’s Crash My Party last year and Florida Georgia Line’s HERE’S TO THE GOOD TIMES. Together they moved more units by themselves in third-quarter 2013 than the entire top 10 in third-quarter 2014.
  • Country’s digital tracks suffered double-digit contraction, though they fared slightly better than the entire industry. The genre’s 34.1
  • Miranda Lambert’s PLATINUM and Brantley Gilbert’s JUST AS I AM challenged Bryan for the top of the 2014 album heap. Just 1,600 units separated Platinum from Crash My Party.
  • Country’s fourth quarter should be better? Well following Brad Paisley (fast on the slide), Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney new albums from Lady Antebellum and Blake Shelton have now dropped with much reduced numbers compared to their last efforts. There is still a glut of big hitter major names to come: Aldean, FGL, Garth Brooks, Little Big Town and Carrie Underwood, among others. Taylor Swift’s “1989” album numbers will be welcomed by POP!

Top-Selling Country Albums, Third-Quarter 2014
1) Luke Bryan — Crash My Party 170,000 (61 weeks on the country chart)
2) Miranda Lambert — Platinum 169,000 (18 weeks on the country chart)
3) Brantley Gilbert — Just As I Am 165,000 (20 weeks on the country chart)
4) Kenny Chesney — The Big Revival 130,000 (2 weeks on the country chart)
5) Florida Georgia Line — Here’s to the Good Times 119,000 (96 weeks on the country chart)
6) Tim McGraw — Sundown Heaven Town 94,000 (3 weeks on the country chart)
7) Brad Paisley — Moonshine in the Trunk 90,000 (6 weeks on the country chart)
8) Blake Shelton — Based on a True Story… 85,000 (80 weeks on the country chart)
9) Chase Rice — Ignite the Night 84,000 (7 weeks on the country chart)
10) Various Artists — Now That’s What I Call Country: Vol. 7 80,000

Top-Selling Country Albums, Third-Quarter 2013
1) Luke Bryan — Crash My Party 983,000

Top-Selling Country Digital Songs, Third-Quarter 2014
1) Jason Aldean — “Burnin’ It Down” 970,000
2) Florida Georgia Line — “Dirt” 944,000
3) Kenny Chesney — “American Kids” 794,000
4) Lady Antebellum — “Bartender” 595,000
5) Dierks Bentley — “Drunk on a Plane” 581,000
6) Sam Hunt — “Leave the Night On” 526,000
7) Miranda Lambert duet with Carrie Underwood — “Somethin’ Bad” 460,000
8) Lee Brice — “I Don’t Dance” 445,000
9) Florida Georgia Line featuring Luke Bryan — “This Is How We Roll” 412,000
10) Luke Bryan — “Roller Coaster” 349,000

Top-Selling Country Digital Songs, Third-Quarter 2013
1) Florida Georgia Line — “Cruise” 1.2 million

Year-Over-Year: Digital Track sales so far in 2014 is 108.1 million (down 17%) compared to 130.3 million in 2013

2014 Country Album sales Year-To Date:
22,535,000 (Physical sales 14,987,000 (down 9%) + Digital sales 7,547,000 (down -14.0%)) which is 21.2% down at the same point in 2013 (28,587,000 sales)

Billboard Top 200 / Country Album Placings
(Issue dated Chart week of October 18, 2014)
(Country Album positions #1 - #25)
(TW) This Week, (LW) Last Week, Co (Country Album Chart placing / Movement)

Billboard Catalog Albums Chart (week of October 18, 2014)

Garth Brooks' "The Ultimate Hits", which was #1 in the last two weeks, slipped to No.2 (sales 6,100).
Willie Nelson's SUPER HITS has reached two years (104 weeks) on the Billboard 200 as a Catalog album, despite spending just two weeks on the chart in its original run.
Luke Bryan's TAILGATES & TANLINES (Capitol Nashville/ UMGN) slipped off the Billboard 200 for the first time in 164 weeks, also ending a 45-week run on the chart as a Catalog album albeit it at #50 falling from #43.
David Allan Coe's 17 GREATEST HITS was a new entry at #48 (#197 BB200). Coe is an "outlaw country" performer and ex-con who achieved mainstream popularity in the early 1980's; his best known song is "Take This Job And Shove It". “17 Greatest Hits" first released in 1985 has reached the Billboard 200 for the first time this week. The No.197 entry makes it just the second Billboard 200 set for Coe.

Top 25 Hot Country Songs (week of October 18, 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:

  • Jason Aldean held for an 11th week on Hot Country Songs with “Burnin’ It Down” (Broken Bow). He also landed the chart’s Hot Shot Debut and claimed his second top 10 bow in as many weeks on as “Just Gettin’ Started” (Broken Bow) began at No.10. He logged his highest debut on the Oct. 11 chart with “Tonight Looks Good on You” (No. 8). All three tracks are from his album OLD BOOTS, NEW DIRT, which is set for No.1 Billboard 200 debut but with less than first predicted sales.
  • Carrie Underwood arrived atop the sales/airplay/streaming hybrid Hot Christian Songs chart with “Something in the Water” (19/Arista Nashville), her first No.1 on the survey. The Christian conversion theme (a new song that will be included on her Greatest Hits: Decade # 1, due Dec. 9) also flew 48-2 on the similarly multimetric Hot Country Songs list. It also made a bow atop Country Streaming and Christian Streaming with 1.4 million U.S. streams and the Country Digital and Christian Digital scorecards with 125,000 downloads sold. Sony’s Provident Label Group is working the track at Christian radio. Underwood’s previous best rank on Hot Christian Songs was No.4 with “Jesus, Take the Wheel” in 2006 (seven years before the chart adopted a hybrid methodology).
Top 25 Hot Country Songs:

Jason Aldean with “Burnin’ It Down” stays Top the chart!
Carrie Underwood with “Something In The Water” rockets #48 - #2 p
Florida Georgia Line with former #1“Dirt” slips one, #2 - #3 q
Blake Shelton with “Neon Light” is up two slots, #6 - #4 p
Sam Hunt with “Leave The Night On” is down one, #4 - #5 q
Luke Bryan with “Roller Coaster” was down, #5 - #6 q
Kenny Chesney with “American Kids” falls four, #3 - #7 q
Chase Rice with “Ready Set Roll” climbs one, #9 - #8 p
Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood’s former #1 “Somethin’ Bad” up #11 - #9 p
Jason Aldean with “Just Getting’ Started” debuts at #10 NEW
Lady Antebellum with “Bartender” is up one, #12 - #11 p
Maddie & Tae with “Girl In A Country Song” is up two, #14 - #12 p
Frankie Ballard with “Sunshine & Whiskey” holds at #13
Keith Urban with “Somewhere In My Car” climbs one, #15 - #14 p
Florida Georgia Line with “Bumpin’ The Night” debuts at #15 NEW
Dustin Lynch with “Where It’s At” (Yep, Yep) drops six, #10 - #16 q
Brantley Gilbert with “Small Town Throwdown” is down one, #16 - #17 q
Little Big Town with “Day Drinking” stays at #18
Dierks Bentley with “Drunk On A Plane” falls two, #17 - #19 q
Big & Rich with “Look At You” lifts one, #21 - #20 p
Parmalee with “Close Your Eyes” is up two, #23 - #21 p
Tim McGraw with “Shotgun Rider” fires up three, #25 - #22 p
Scotty McCreery with “Feelin’ it” is down one, #22 - #23 q
Tim McGraw feat Faith Hill with “Meanwhile Back At Mama’s” falls, #20 - #24 q
Brad Paisley with “Perfect Storm” slips one, #24 - #25 q

Hot County Songs
** No.1 (11 weeks) ** “Burnin’ It Down” Jason Aldean
** Streaming Gainer ** No.4 “Neon Light” Blake Shelton
** Airplay Gainer ** No.5 “Leave The Night On” Sam Hunt
** Hot Shot Debut ** No.10 “Just Getting’ Started” Jason Aldean
** Digital Gainer ** No.26 “Drinking Class” Lee Brice
Debut No.15 “Bumpin’ The Night” Florida Georgia Line
Debut No.48 “Til It’s Gone” Kenny Chesney

Billboard Country Airplay Chart Week of October 18, 2014

Luke Bryan claimed his 10th career leader on Billboard’s Country Airplay tally and became the only artist to score three No.1s this year as “Roller Coaster” (Capitol Nashville) stepped 2-1 in its 16th chart week. The song logged 49.794 million audience impressions (+0.756 million; up 2%) and received 7,906 radio plays (+159).
The song written by Michael Carter and Cole Swindell was first released to country radio on July 14, 2014 as the fifth single from his fourth studio album, CRASH MY PARTY.
Bryan’s other two chart-toppers in 2014 are “Drink a Beer,” which started a two-week reign on the Feb. 15 list, and “Play It Again,” which wrapped a four-week run on the June 21 chart. The Georgia native also peaked at No. 2 in a featured role on Florida Georgia Line’s “This Is How We Roll” (May 24 chart). Three artists have topped the chart twice in 2014: Dierks Bentley, Lady Antebellum and Blake Shelton. Dating to his first week at No. 1 (July 24, 2010), Bryan’s No. 1 count is surpassed only by Shelton’s 11 leaders.
Top local audience contributors for “Roller Coaster” during the Sept. 29-Oct. 5 tracking week: KKBQ Houston (1.5 million impressions), WUSN Chicago (1.3 million), WNSH New York (1.2 million), KKGO Los Angeles (956,000) and WKLB Boston (953,000).

  • Little Big Town on the heels of last week’s invitation to join the venerated WSM-AM Nashville Grand Ole Opry nabbed their sixth Country Airplay top 10 with “Day Drinking” (Capitol Nashville), which amassed 31.9 million audience impressions during the tracking week and hops 13-10 in its 18th chart week. It’s the harmony quartet’s first song to reach the upper region since “Tornado” peaked at No. 2 on March 16, 2013. The group’s chart history includes its lone No.1, “Pontoon,” which spent two weeks at the summit beginning Sept. 15, 2012.
  • Carrie Underwood propelled significantly by coordinated hourly play on Sept. 29 on iHeartMedia-owned stations, posted a career-high bow with Hot Shot Debut honours at No.17 on Country Airplay with “Something in the Water” (19/Arista Nashville). The track is a new song that will be included on her Greatest Hits: Decade #1, due Dec. 9. She posted her previous best start with “So Small,” which roared in at No.20 on Aug. 18, 2007 and eventually spent three weeks at the summit. She most recently topped the chart with “Blown Away,” which reigned for two weeks starting on Oct. 27, 2012. “Water” logged 17.995 million audience impression, a whole gain of +17.993 million and received 2,413 radio plays (+2,412) thanks to a huge 111 fresh radio commitments (ADDS) to also snag both Most Increased Audience and Most Added stripes.
  • The Band Perry made a bow at No. 54 on Country Airplay with a cover of John Hartford’s 1967 chestnut “Gentle on My Mind” (Big Machine/Republic Nashville) from the soundtrack EP to the documentary Glen Campbell ... I’ll Be Me, which premieres in Nashville and New York on Oct. 24. Campbell recorded the best-known cover of Hartford’s song, although it has been covered by more than 300 artists, according to some estimates.
Women of Country 2014 Watch:

There was one solo female artist on the Top 30 Country Airplay songs with Carrie Underwood’s “Something In The Water”. Her duet with Miranda Lamberts’ “Somethin’ Bad” rose 10-8. “Girl In A Country Song” by duo Maddie & Tae climbed three 16-13.
RaeLynn #35, Jana Kramer #39, Trisha Yearwood #45, Lindsay Ell #52, Lucy Hale #55 and Kelsea Ballerini #60 were the additional six solo females in the remaining 31-60 slots, to make it 11.6% of the entire Top 60 chart.

Country Airplay
*** No. 1 (1 week) *** "Roller Coaster" Luke Bryan
** Hot Shot Debut/ Most Increased Audience/ Most Added ** No.17 "Something In The Water" Carrie Underwood
Debut No.54 "Gentle On My Mind" The Band Perry
Debut No.58 "Kinda Dig The Feeling" The Railers
Debut No.59 "Say You Do" Dierks Bentley
Debut No.60 "Love Me Like You Mean It" Kelsea Ballerini

Billboard Country Digital Singles Chart Week of October 18, 2014

Carrie Underwood landed the No.1 and top sales slot with her powerful ballad "Something In the Water." She replaced “Tonight Looks Good On You” from Jason Aldean which fell 1-9 (sales down 71%). Aldean, though, has three singles in the Top 10 and six titles out of the Top 30.
Click to ENLARGE
On the overall all genre Digital Songs chart, UK boy band One Direction and Carrie come crashing in at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively, with their newest singles. Carrie’s new lead of track is from her first greatest hits set, Greatest Hits: Decade #1, due out Dec. 9.
Her last album BLOWN AWAY has now sold 1,693,000 copies. "Something In the Water" clocked Underwood's best debut sales week for a digital song, and her highest sales frame since 2009 (when "I Told You So," featuring Randy Travis, sold 126,000 in the week after the pair performed it on Fox TV's American Idol).

Jason Aldean's new preview track "Just Gettin' Started" was the third and final debut in the top 10, bowing at No.9 with 86,000. Taylor Swift's pop single "Shake It Off" was steady at No. 2 with 188,000 (down 16%).

Aldean's “Burnin' It Down” (2-4) topped the 1 million PLATINUM mark in digital sales after 11 weeks on the chart and Florida Georgia Line's ”Dirt” (3-5) was just 8,000 short short in their 13th frame of achieving the same milestone. “Dirt” peaked at #11 on the Hot 100. “Burnin' It Down” has climbed as high as #12. “Dirt” spent two weeks at #1 on Hot Country Songs.
FGL’s new track “Bumpin’ The Night” arrived at No.3 on Country Digital Songs with 71,000 copies sold.

Women Of Country Watch
Carrie Underwood was the lone solo female artists on the Top 30 placings with “Something In The Water”. On the Top 50 the only other solo female was RaeLynn with “God Made Girls” which rose 42-38

Dropping off the Top 30:
9 - Off the Top 50 Chart Blake Shelton “Sangria”
18 - Off the Top 50  Blake Shelton “Buzzin’”
30-31 Luke Bryan “Play It Again”
27-34 Tim McGraw feat. Faith Hill “Meanwhile Back At Mamas”

Top 30 Digital Singles in Country Music (published October 9, 2014)
 (LW) Last Week (TW) This Week
*Numbers are rounded to nearest 1000th

Luke Bryan moved 2-1 to land the No1 on Mediabase with “Roller Coaster” (Capitol). The song logged 8,052 radio spins (+263) and 58.226 million audience impressions (+1.485 million) from 149 tracking stations for the tracking week September 28 to October 4, 2014 and published chart October 6th.
Congratulations to UMG Nashville SVP/Promotion Royce Risser, Capitol Nashville VP/Promotion Steve Hodges and the entire Capitol Nashville promo team for scoring this week’s #1 single on the MEDIABASE Country singles charts, with Luke Bryan's  "Roller Coaster." This is Bryan’s fifth consecutive chart-topper from his CRASH MY PARTY album, which was released in Aug 2013 and quickly achieved PLATINUM status.

Congratulations to Arista Nashville VP/Promotion Lesly Simon, Dir./National Promotion John Sigler, Dir./National Promotion Jeri Cooper, Dir./National Promotion Andy Elliott, and the entire Arista Promo team for earning 87 MEDIABASE Country adds on Carrie Underwood's "Something In The Water." Those adds give Carrie the "Most Added" title for the second consecutive week. Bagels were due to be delivered to the Arista Nashville office (Oct 7) to congratulate the staff on their success.

Carrie is making waves and making history with her compelling new single, the first single from her December 9 album release, Greatest Hits: Decade #1.  Released on Monday, September 29, “Something in the Water” has amassed more than 124,000 digital sales to date, earning the highest first-week sales tally of Underwood’s career.  The sales figure also marks the best opening-week sales of any female country artist in 2014.
With its official airplay impact date, “Water” has set the all-time record for a country single at Mediabase, achieving a massive 144 total stations on impact date. In all, the single tallies a whopping 157 first-week stations on board, including Billboard and Country Aircheck reporting stations.
On the Mediabase country airplay chart, “Something in the Water” explodes onto the chart at #25, tying Underwood’s previous personal-best debut (2007’s smash, “So Small”) and also tying the highest debut of any artist in 2014. - Carrie Underwood Official.com

For a detailed report check out Country Aircheck Weekly Issue 417 - October 6, 2014 [PDF File]
For the very latest up to the minute Mediabase Chart (Past 7 Days) go here - www.mediabase.com

Billboard Boxscores 
(Selective Country concerts, published Chart Week of Oct 18, 2014)

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