Thursday, 10 March 2016

Country Billboard Chart News February 22, 2016

Country Billboard Chart News February 22, 2016

In Brief: Billboard Country Charts (Chart issue week of March 5, 2016)

Country Album Chart ** No.1 (1 week) HYMNS Joey + Rory
Hot Country Songs ** No.1 (15 weeks) ** Die A Happy Man” Thomas Rhett
Country Airplay ** No.1 (1 week) ** Dibs” Kelsea Ballerini
Country Digital Songs ** No.1 “Girl Crush” Little Big Town

Billboard Top 200 / Country Album Chart News (Chart issue week of March 5, 2016)

The Billboard 200 chart measures multi-metric album consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).

After a two-week vacation from the No.1 slot on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart (BB200), Adele’s 25 was back on top for a ninth non-consecutive week. The set rose 2-1 with 151,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Feb. 18, according to Nielsen Music (up 25%). It sold 125,000 in pure album sales (up 23%).
Justin Bieber’s Purpose climbed 5-2 with 84,000 units (up 15 percent), while Rihanna’s Anti is steady at No. 3 with 79,000 (down 18%).
Both Adele and Bieber, like many artists on the chart, profited from performances and wins on the Grammy Awards (Feb. 15). The show was broadcast live on CBS. During the broadcast, Adele performed the 25 album cut “All I Ask,” while Bieber sang a medley of “Love Yourself” and his Grammy-winning “Where Are U Now” (with Diplo and Skrillex).

Country duo Joey + Rory scored a career high week with the arrival of their new inspirational album HYMNS, at No. 4. The effort bows with 70,000 units (68,300 in pure album sales), logging their first top 10 album on the Billboard 200 and best sales week ever.
The album also crowned both Top Country Albums and Top Christian Albums -- their first leader on both tallies. Hymns was released on Feb. 12 through the pair’s own Farmhouse Recordings label.

Billboard Top Country Albums (Chart issue week of March 5, 2016)

Joey + Rory with HYMNS (Farmhouse/Gaither/Capitol Christian Music Group) made a bow atop Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart (dated March 5). The inspirational country album sold 68,341 copies in the sales week ending Feb. 18, according to Nielsen Music. On the multi-genre Billboard 200, the LP arrived at No.4 (with 70,000 in consumption). It also opened at No.1 on Top Christian Albums.
The duo’s debut was a bittersweet one. Joey and Rory Feek married in 2002 and have one daughter, Indiana, who just turned 2 years old on Feb. 17.  In 2014, Joey began chemotherapy for stage-four cervical cancer. She relapsed in 2015, with the cancer being deemed terminal. Electing to cease treatments, Joey was under hospice care at the family’s home.

No one is more surprised that our Hymns record has sold this many copies than Joey and I,” Rory told Billboard. “For the last few months, we’ve been in Indiana, far away from the music business, living and sharing the story of our personal journey through my blog. We haven’t been promoting our careers at all. The only way I can explain the sales of this record is that it’s a by product of something bigger: love.”

Joey + Rory 'Hymns' Debuts At #1 On Country, Christian Album Charts
Released on their own FARMHOUSE RECORDINGS label, “Hymns” also had an impressive Billboard 200 all-genre debut, landing at #4 and putting them in impressive company such as Adele, Rihanna, Chris Stapleton and Justin Bieber.
Even with all of the Grammy Awards love, fans supported went out and bought Hymns: That Are Important To Us showing the love of American country fans (and beyond) who followed the couple and their life. Joey recorded the album last year whilst receiving ongoing treatment. It was great for their fans especially uplifting news, in the midst of JOEY’s ongoing battle with stage 4 cancer; she was currently in hospice care
CAREER HIGH WEEK with the debut of album Hymns - Billboard Article

Stats for
#4 Billboard Top 200 Album Chart (all genres)
#2 Billboard Top Albums (based on pure sales)
#1 Billboard Top Country Albums
69,500 Total Activity (multi-metric consumption)
68,300 PURE Album Sales
10,800 Song Sales
Other charts
Digital Albums (all genres)
#21 New 1 Hymns - Joey + Rory
Top Christian Albums
TW LW 2W Wks
#1 50 – 2 Hymns - Joey + Rory
Music Video Sales
#1 NEW 1 Hymns: That Are Important To Us - Joey + Rory
#3 18 9 48 Inspired: Songs Of Faith & Family - Joey + Rory

The sales week easily marked the pair’s strongest. The Life of a Song (2008) represented the act’s prior best weekly sales total: 8,000 upon its debut (Nov. 15, 2008).
Debuts:
The Life of a Song (Vanguard/Sugar Hill Records) released Oct 28, 2008: #10 Billboard Top Country Album #61 Billboard 200 selling 8,309 copies
Album Number Two (Vanguard/Sugar Hill Records) released Sept 14, 2010: #9 Billboard Top Country Album, #60 Billboard 200 selling 6,981 copies
His and Hers (Vanguard/Sugar Hill Records) released July 31, 2012: #24 Billboard Top Country Album #112 Billboard 200 selling 3,971 copies
Inspired: Songs of Faith & Family (Gaither Music Group) released July 16, 2013: #27 Billboard Top Country Album #166 Billboard 200 sold 2,500 copies
Made to Last (Farmhouse Recordings) released October 8, 2013: #44 Billboard Top Country Album 1,600 copies (300 to ‘pre-sale’ fans and 1,300 on release week)
Country Classics: A Tapestry of Our Musical Heritage (Gaither Music Group) released May 2014: (Cracker Barrel)/ October 27, 2014 (wide release) #33 Billboard Top Country Album and had sold 28,700 (chart week March 3, 2016)
Hymns (Farmhouse/Gaither/Capitol Christian Music Group) released Feb 12, 2016: #1 Billboard Top Country Album #4 Billboard 200 selling 68,341       

Critical reception for Joey+Rory’s HYMNS That Are Important To Us:
13 Tracks/ Time: 41:34 (Country Music People March 2016; 5 Stars) Amazon UK - UK iTunes - Amazon.com

CCM Magazine (Rating: 4.5 STARS)…In what they knew would be their final musical release, Joey + Rory have made another inspiring and courageous statement with Hymns That Are Important to Us...While each of the hymns present on Joey + Rory’s
new album have been recorded many times over, it’s impossible to separate the gravity of their situation while listening to classic songs of the church like “It Is Well With My Soul” and “I Need Thee Every Hour.” The band’s throwback country sound mixes well with these familiar hymns, and the lyrics take on an added depth as Joey sings them.

Country Standard Time (Rating: Positive) ...the couple took advantage of Joey's good days to head into the studio to craft this collection of time-honored hymns that resonates with deep emotion....Put into the context of Feek's illness however, these songs take
on even deeper meaning. As she sings lines like "I am tired, I'm weak, I am worn/Through the storm, through the night/Lead me on to the light/Take my hand, precious Lord/Lead me home......Yet, when drawn into the light of the Feeks' current journey, the record delivers even more, offering up a rare, beautiful look into the heart of a faithful follower prepared to meet her Savior. It's a bittersweet but beautiful journey that bears listening to.

Sounds Like Nashville by Chuck Dauphin (Rating: Very Positive) .if you have any part of you that believes in a higher power, their performance of “It Is Well With My Soul” will render you speechless. In spite of everything they are going through, to still have that fire to proclaim a wish for God’s will is a trait to be admired. Beautiful simply doesn’t do it justice. If it’s God’s will…..yes, I am a believer, this will not be the last time we hear these two song together. In either case, this is an album that will make you the better simply by listening to it – and that’s a rare trait these days!

For The Country Record (Rating: Very Positive) ...In a sentence: Hymns (That Are Important To Us) is perfection. It is truly bittersweet; on one hand, the album is an excellent, wonderful record, but on the other hand,

you can’t help but be saddened by the fact that we will never have another album from this talented duo. You could almost accept that fact if they had just decided to stop making music, but because it happens that they have no choice in the matter, it just makes it so hard to accept. But that is the decision God has handed down, and we must accept and honor that decision, the way Joey + Rory have, and hopefully we can do it with a quarter of the grace, strength, and faith that they have...

Chris Stapleton with TRAVELLER (Mercury Nashville | UMGN) moved 11-5 on Billboard 200 in his 23rd chart frame and slipped 1-2 on Top Country Albums chart in his 42nd chart frame selling another 51,300 copies (up 60%) for a 42-week total of 913,800.
Sam Hunt with MONTEVALLO (MCA Nashville | UMGN) stayed at No.3 Country (20,400 sales; up 86%; 69-week total 1,042,600.
In his second chart week Charles Kelley withTHE DRIVER (Capitol Nashville/Universal Music Group Nashville) fell 2-12 Country, selling 4,900 copies (down 65% from debut week 13,989)

‘DOWN’ IS UP Vince Gill collected his 15th top 10 on Billboard Top Country Albums, as DOWN TO MY LAST BAD HABIT (MCA Nashville/Universal Music Group Nashville) started at #35 on Billboard 200 & blew in at No.4 Country selling 17,088 copies.  
Gill co-wrote and co-produced all 12 tracks on the set, which includes guest appearances from artists including Little Big Town, the featured act on launch single “Take Me Down,” which holds at No.60 on Country Airplay.

 “Take Me Down,” the first single from the album, features vocal assists by Little Big Town and has already been shipped to radio. “A masterful appraisal of the volcanic force of love,” one critic calls it. Vince has played, sung and/or written songs on more than 500 albums by other artists. And he’s produced projects beyond these - Press Release
Gills’s last solo studio album, his 13th, GUITAR SLINGER (released October 25, 2011) debuted at No.14 Billboard 200/ #4 Country selling 21,484 copies (then 9,318 in week two down 56%)

Critical reception for Vince Gill’s Down To My Last Bad Habit:
12 Tracks/ Time: 46:13 (Country Music People March 2016; 4.1/2 Stars) Amazon UK - UK iTunes - Amazon.com

NPR (Rating: Positive) ..On Down To My Last Bad Habit, Gill continues to work from multiple musical angles while also bringing into focus perhaps the greatest of all the skills he's cultivated over the years: his ability to translate his devotion
to craft into richness of expression. As is often the case for him — especially these days — he had a hand in every facet of the album-making process, recording in his home studio, co-producing with respected engineer Justin Niebank, writing or co-writing every number, laying down lead-guitar tracks, and singing a lot of the background vocals. The refined simplicity of Gill's writing comes through in "I'll Be Waiting For You," its plaintive melody gently exposing the pain in the words' patient pining, and "One More Mistake I Made," a rumination mellowed by its lilting tune and Gill's subtle vocal shadings.....He powers his clear, rippling tenor
to the high notes, buoyed by a meticulously constructed swell of guitar and synthesizer. Friction has no place in Gill's music, but he can't be beaten at fully formed feeling, which is what makes him one of country's great, graceful romantics.

Allmusic (Rating: 4 STARS) While it can't be called a concept album, it's certainly unified by a soulful sensibility, trading heavily on slow, simmering grooves and favoring a feel so warm it feels as comfortable as an old tattered sweater. A lot of skill went into a record that appears so casual, and Gill once again is the chief architect of this record, writing every number and co-producing with Justin Niebank, playing all the guitar and singing most of the harmonies, too..... Gill maintains an elegant, soulful air throughout the record even when he's singing about Jimmy Dickens or sneaking in a little bit of fingerpicking.....the appeal of Down to My Last
Bad Habit feels more Memphis than Nashville: it's Vince Gill's soul album, which is a welcome thing indeed.

Country Weekly (Rating: A | Review Image)..It’s always amazing to see a Hall of Fame artist like Vince record something that’s absolutely contemporary without pandering in choice of material or losing his identity.
Vince is still in great vocal form as he shows us the breadth of his range from funky R&B, as in the solid opener “Reasons for the Tears I Cry,” to a plaintive ballad like “I’ll Be Waiting for You,” which has always been his stylistic strength. This is likely Vince’s best album since The Key, in terms of overall musicality, song sense and production. Vince’s guitar work remains as tasty as ever, note-perfect but never sterile or bland....“Me and My Girl” has an upbeat flavor best described as “jaunty,” while “Like My Daddy Did” taps into Vince’s bluesy side. Vince always selects just the right collaborators when needed, and here he makes perfect use of Little Big Town on “Take Me Down” and current hot favorite Cam on “I’ll Be Waiting for You.”
One of Vince’s protégés, Ashley Monroe, contributes to the effort with the fascinating “My Favorite Movie,” which she co-wrote with Vince. Down to My Last Bad Habit is simply Vince having loose-limbed fun with his cohorts, resulting in one of the most enjoyable listening experiences you’ll be privy to all year. You’ll want to play it over and over.

American Songwriter (Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars)...If Don Henley decides to keep the Eagles brand alive after the untimely death of Glenn Frey, extending an invitation to Vince Gill to fill that void would be a logical move. ...He’s in fine fettle for this dozen song (14 on the deluxe edition) return. All are written or co-penned by the veteran and are firmly in his comfort zone of country, slightly blues-tinged rootsy-rock that manages to avoid most of the clichés now baked into the genre...Gill still concocts a snappy hook the equal of anything he has done while getting musically down and dirty...... And, despite an impressively rootsy, George Jones dedication on “Sad One Comin’ On,” there isn’t much pure country either. Also, the less said about the histrionic, creepy-stalker power ballad “I Can’t Do This” (where the protagonist spies on his ex with her new boyfriend), the better...If Gill maintained the rawness displayed on a few tracks and added more upbeat tunes, this would have been an edgier return to form. But Gill’s talents sell even the weaker material making this a terrific addition to an already classic catalog. It also indicates that the singer/songwriter/guitarist’s best work may still lie ahead of him.

Country Standard Time (Rating: Mostly Positive) ..And there is quite a lot that works on his first solo album since 2011's "Guitar Slinger." (He did release the excellent "Bakersfield" with Paul Franklin in 2013). Gill prefers a more soulful approach, while not forgetting his roots. The slow burning title track, which percolates as well with slow, steely guitar leads, is a song in point.....Gill does a bit of name checking here with Jimmy Dickens on the mid-tempo "Me And My Girl" with Jordan setting a simple, but steady beat, and the very fine closing "Sad One Comin' On (A Song For George Jones)". This is not the usual name checking to establish cred. Gill already has that in spades, and unlike many poseurs seeking to glom onto an artist's rep, Gill is legit....About the only misstep is "One More Mistake I Made." The song, which includes Chris Botti on trumpet, never takes off musically, and the trumpet sounds out
of place. Once again, Gill shows that he's a man of diversity - honky tonk, country ballads, blues - and no dilettante. Gill remains tried and true.

NO JOKE
Also on Top Country Albums was the first top 10 debut for a comedy set in nine years. It came courtesy of Wheeler Walker with his irreverent REDNECK SHIT (Pepper Hill/ Thirty Tigers), his first entry on the chart which arrived at No.127 on Billboard 200 & No.9 Country with 5,780 copies sold. The most recent comedy LP to bow in the top 10 was Larry the Cable Guy’s 2007 LP Morning Constitutions (No. 5, 56,000).
Rollingstone wrote: ...In a week where an album of hymns and gospel songs tops the Billboard Countrys Album chart, the polar opposite sits only a few notches below at Number Nine: Wheeler Walker Jr.'s debut album Redneck Shit. The demon brainchild of comedian Ben Hoffman, Redneck Shit leaves no group unoffended, as Hoffman's outlaw-country alter-ego sings about all manners of deviance. Produced by Dave Cobb, Redneck Shit features some of Nashville's most seasoned players. As such, Hoffman (speaking out of character) thinks it deserves to be heard by fans of traditional country music — despite its undeniably obscene lyrics.
"The goal was I wanted to make a really funny record that is as good as any country album that you're going to hear this year," Hoffman says. "I know I'm not as good as Sturgill [Simpson] or Waylon [Jennings], so I'd never compare myself. But as far as the contemporary country I hear, I think this stands up." Read more…Rollingstone

Critical reception for Wheeler Walker Jr. - Redneck Shit:
11 Tracks/ Time: 32:22 (Country Music People March 2016; 4 Stars)  Amazon UK - UK iTunes - Amazon.com
...the album isn’t for everyone and even people who don’t have a problem with swearing may tire of the content after a while - Adrian Peel (Country Music People)

Saving Country Music (Rating: 1 3/4 of 2 Guns Up 8/10) Ben Hoffman, who dreamed up the foul-mouthed Wheeler Walker Jr. and developed his back story of a Nashville songwriter and performer whose been under the radar and jobbed by the industry, may not even know what role he’s fulfilling either....It was a friendship with Sturgill Simpson—a fan of Ben Hoffman’s The Ben Show on Comedy Central—that resulted in Hoffman getting hooked up with producer Dave Cobb, and eventually in a studio with a crack team of session musicians cutting completely inappropriate country songs in a totally authentic manner....It was either genius, or
unfortunate to release “F**k You B*tch” as >> the first song YouTube off the album, because despite the title, it’s the cleanest, most straight-laced song on the project if you can believe it. It may have lulled the public into thinking there was a semblance of seriousness here, when in reality, there’s nothing of the sort. Redneck Shit is all about trying to shove as much offensive language and behavior into songs as humanly possible....The genius of Redneck Shit is how each of the 11 songs is perfectly structured and stylized to reflect a specific era or influence in classic country music, making the album a really strong country music experience beyond the lyrics. The music of Redneck Shit is excellent. And so are the lyrics if you’re looking for belly laughs....This music is best served in smaller portions. But it appears country music finally has a new court jester and he’s got one hell of a potty mouth.

Daily Country (Rating: Positive) Fearless, foul-mouthed filthy….and down-right funny...The subject matter on the other hand....be prepared to hear language so dirty that you may find yourself needing a bath afterwards, either from wetting yourself from laughing so hard or feeling utterly disgusted. ..Redneck Shit is a ballsy album that’s not for the easily offended. Give it a pass and make your own decision. Like it or loathe it, there’s one thing for sure: there’s certainly no one else out there like Wheeler Walker Jr.

Wynnona with WYNONNA & THE BIG NOISE (Curb) made a debut at No.162 on the Billboard 200 & No.14 Country selling 4,701 copies.
With husband-drummer Cactus Moser producing, Wynonna returned with another solo album. After topping the charts with 14 #1 hits as half of the country music duo The Judds, Wynonna ventured out on a solo career and has eight previous studio albums to her credit. Wynonna and the Big Noise was number nine.
Wynonna & the Big Noise performed three songs from their self-titled first album on CBS This Morning Saturday Sessions (Feb 20). You can check out "Cool Ya," "You Are So Beautiful" and "You Make My Heart Beat Too Fast" 


Critical reception for Wynonna & The Big Noise:

American Songwriter (Rating: 4 Stars)...This is arguably the finest release of her extensive career......Look no further than the cover art to see this is somewhat of a new beginning for Wynonna. Where once her albums featured only her face, generally in a studied close-up with a Mona Lisa half-smile, this shows the singer with her road band in a far less stilted pose. It accurately reflects the music that is similarly looser and more limber because it’s recorded with her touring group—the slightly misleadingly named Big Noise — instead of polished studio pros...But this is primarily Wynonna and her band collaborating on a set of first-class songs that succeed by sounding far more rootsy, earthy and raw than in the past. For better or worse, the disc is front loaded with its rockers,
closing with ballads or slower, swampier fare that dominates the approach and plays to this group’s strengths....Perhaps a better balance of rockers and reflective selections might have made this stronger and more diverse. But those who shied away from Wynonna’s slicker commercial heyday will find this direct, collective style a refreshing transformation for the better.

Allmusic (Rating: 4 STARS) ...the resulting album feels neither fussy nor rushed: this music is well weathered, embracing its slow, steady roll and cherishing its old-fashioned contours. That's not to say that Wynonna & the Big Noise are either unaware or uninterested in modern music. Two of the biggest rebels in 2010s Nashville have a presence here -- Chris Stapleton co-wrote the opening "Ain't No Thing" and Jason Isbell duets on "Things That I Lean On" -- but a greater indication of how assured and muscular Wynonna & the Big Noise feels are cameos by both members of Tedeschi and Trucks, both providing a big, bluesy kick whose
aftershocks are felt elsewhere, surfacing in slow, swampy vamps and soulful grooves.....Wynonna will sing anything she damn well pleases and she's wound up with a monster of an album.
Sounds Like Nashville (by Chuck Dauphin)....Never before has the singer put all of those directions on one record as solidly as she does here – with her band The Big Noise. Cactus
Moser, who is the drummer for the band (and Wynonna’s husband / producer) gave the vocalist the room to stretch in ways that she never has before and use her voice for the good of song...The early era of the singer comes to light on tracks like “Jesus And A Jukebox,” the inspiring “Something You Can’t Live Without,” and the absolute power of “Things That I Lean On.” Jason Isbell lends his harmomies on the latter, but make no mistake about it – this is Wynonna’s show. And, lyrically, the singer manages to not only sing the words of those songs – she is the lyrics of those
songs – which makes the music all the more powerful....You might not hear Wynonna & The Big Noise on mainstream Country radio anytime soon, but in a sense, that makes it all the more enlightening. When you listen to this album, you drink in the music as if it’s your own personal meeting with the singer. And, what could be any cooler than that?

News Day.com (Rating: B+) The big voice is still there — deep, pure and throaty enough to growl at the drop of a hat — and she wraps it around whatever style she is feeling. She matches up well with Susan Tedeschi on the blues rocker “Ain’t No Thing,” belting out big notes while Tedeschi offers soulful harmonies.....Wynonna finds the groove on “Staying in Love” from R&B singer Raphael
Saadiq, playing up the rock edge and showing off her soulful falsetto. ...She even channels late-’70s Carly Simon on “I Can See Everything” with Timothy B. Schmit, who wrote the song when he was with Poco. But Wynonna is still best when she’s taking a pretty folk song to church, like she does on the gorgeous “Things That I Lean On” with Jason Isbell or the soothing “Jesus and a Jukebox.”

Rollingstone Aus (Rating; 3 STARS) ....Confessional "Things That I Lean On" (featuring Jason Isbell) is a frank centrepiece, while "Jesus and a Jukebox" is a consummate country weeper. But there's a touch too much vestigial schmaltz – witness "Every Ending". -

Outside the Top 25 Country Albums

Brett Young with his self-titled 6 track EP was new at #35 Country selling 1,300 copies
6 Tracks/ Time: 21:03 Amazon UK - UK iTunes - Amazon.com
He co-wrote all six songs on the EP. The project was produced by Dann Huff and features his lead single, “Sleep Without You.” A Southern California native, Young previewed the new music at February's Country Radio Seminar (CRS) in Nashville.
This week has been beyond what I ever imagined,” Young said. “I am so thankful that country radio has been so receptive to my music, and I look forward to getting on the road to play for more of you very soon.”



Lorrie Morgan with LETTING GO... SLOW made a debut at #47 Country selling 800 copies.
Press ReleaseI have been a daughter, a bride, a mother, a divorcee, a widow, a single mother, a grandmother, a breadwinner, and, ultimately a survivor. It seems, in many ways, I am a living, breathing country song, and I know what I sing.” – Lorrie Morgan
Lorrie >> shared her journey to recording one of its songs, “Spilt Milk,” exclusively with The Boot’s readers.

Lorrie Morgan Is ‘Going for a Grammy’ on New Album
“There’s quite a few reasons for why so long between albums. I guess I kind of lost my drive,” she admits matter-of-factly. “It’s been a long battle, I guess, with me in my inner mind. I wasn’t happy with the music I was hearing, what was being played on the radio, and what radio thought were great songs, I thought were not great songs......“It just became, ‘Why go in and record music I don’t believe in just to get on radio?’ And I said no, I’m not gonna do that,” Morgan said. “So I just waited and waited, and it’s not necessarily that I know the right time … I just felt like it was time for me to put the music that I love back out, and I’m excited about it. We’re going for a Grammy on this. I’m really excited about that as well.” ..Read More at Taste Of Country

Critical reception for Lorrie Morgan’s Letting Go... Slow:
12 Tracks/ Time: 46:36 (CMP March 2016; 3 Stars) Amazon UK - UK iTunes - Amazon.com

Allmusic (Rating: 3 STARS) ...Released on the indie Shanachie, Letting Go…Slow feels as hushed as its title suggests, proceeding at a relaxed gait as Morgan alternates between covers and originals. She's not beyond throwing a curveball -- Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay"
bounces to a slight reggae lilt, and she picks up the tempo on the wry, funny, original "Jesus & Hairspray" -- but this feels handsomely settled, its arrangements spare but not skeletal, pushing focus on the warmth of Morgan's voice. What's best about Letting Go…Slow is its relaxed conversational intimacy: this plays not like a missive from a star but like a long, lazy talk between old friends.
Country Weekly (Rating: B) Lorrie has never sounded better as she pays homage to some of her favorite country classics. Retro remixes frame each track with era-appropriate productions that can distract from Lorrie’s voice, which is so compelling on the Gatlins’ “I’ve Done Enough Dying Today” that you forget it’s a cover....Where the album truly shines is with original tunes that showcase Lorrie’s lush vocals. Lyrics seemingly chronicle her storied personal life with aching ballads like “Slow,” “What I’d Say” and the deliciously smoky “Spilt Milk.” But just like Lorrie herself, there comes a flash of tempo and sass on “Jesus and Hairspray,” filled
with fiddle and fun.... It’s best enjoyed with a glass of wine and dreams of Mr. Right, or a shot of tequila and Mr. Right Now.

Country Standard Time (Rating: Mostly Negative) ..Speaking of covers, for some reason Morgan has gone with a 1967 Barbara Eden "I Dream Of Jeannie" look on the front of this CD. Seriously, she looks like she just popped out of that bottle ready to cause trouble for her beloved Major Nelson. She's even got that weird '60s hairstyle that looks like someone trying to slip past customs, smuggling a grapefruit in their wig....."Ode to Billie Joe" is a song that hardly anybody has the nerve to cover, and if you want to know why, listen to Morgan's version. There's nothing an artist can do with it, Bobbie Gentry nailed it so perfectly that it will always be her song and only hers....The original tracks fare only slightly better. Lyrically "Jesus and Hairspray" reads like it might have been an album filler track back in Ms. Morgan's heyday, but it's unlikely to appeal to today's more empowered female demographic. "How Does it Feel" a weepy ballad which Morgan co-wrote and which closes out the album has its moments, but not enough of them.....Sorry, Lorrie, but maybe it's those comeback dreams you ought to let go.

Year-To-Date Albums
2,904,000 (Physical sales (down 13.8%) at the same point in 2015 (3,370,000)
Year-To-Date Digital Tracks
12,375,000 down 22.6% at the same point in 2015 (15,993,000)

Billboard Hot Country Songs (Chart issue week of March 12, 2016)

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:

Rhett Yet Again: Thomas Rhett with “Die a Happy Man” (Valory) earned a 15th frame atop Hot Country Songs (the last 14 in succession) but its 15th week at the summit of Country Digital Songs (the past eight consecutively) came to an end after Grammy winning Little Big Town hit the top spot

Hot County Songs

** No.1 (15 weeks) ** “Die A Happy Man” Thomas Rhett
** Digital & Streaming Gainer ** No.2 “Heartbeat” Carrie Underwood
 ** Airplay Gainer ** No.7 “Dibs” Kelsea Ballerini
 ** Hot Shot Debut ** No.38 “Hold On” The Scott Brothers
Debut No.43 “Record Year” Eric Church

Billboard Country Airplay (Chart issue week of March 5, 2016)


Kelsea Ballerini became one of only five women to notch Country Airplay No.1s with their first two charted titles, and the first in 15 years, as “Dibs” (Black River) rose 3-1 (45.4 million, up 10%). Her debut hit, “Love Me Like You Mean It,” topped the July 4, 2015, list. It was the first No.1 debut by a solo female since Carrie Underwood’s 2006 six-week leader “Jesus, Take the Wheel.”
The last solo female to send her first two entries on Country Airplay to No.1 was Jamie O’Neal, who arrived with the leaders “There Is No Arizona” and “When I Think About Angels” in 2001. The other women to earn the honor are Deana Carter (1996-97 | "Strawberry Wine" & "We Danced Anyway"), Faith Hill (1993-94; "Wild One" & "Piece of My Heart") and Wynonna (1992; "She Is His Only Need", "I Saw The Light", " No One Else On Earth"), who is the only one of those artists whose first three singles rose to No. 1 (from the start of her solo career, apart from The Judds).
“It just kind of blows my mind hearing that I’m the first female artist since 2001 to have my first two singles go to No. 1,” Ballerini told Billboard. “All I ever intended was to make good music, to have a voice and have that voice be heard. As an artist and songwriter, that’s all I wanted. For country radio to commit and trust me as they have has been the start of a beautiful relationship. I still can’t believe this news. I am so grateful.”
“In addition to another great song, Ballerini’s bubbly and charming personality really makes you want to root for her,” said WBWL Boston PD Lance Houston.
Among all artists, Ballerini is the first to reign with her first two Country Airplay entries since Sam Hunt led with his first three: “Leave the Night On,” “Take Your Time” and “House Party,” in 2014-15
Kelsea Ballerini Calls “Dibs” On Second Consecutive #1 Single At Country Radio
The other night I was with a bunch of my friends waiting on a phone call that came, at midnight, telling me I had my second number one,” said Ballerini. “I had foils in my hair, I was eating pizza, and it was one of the best moments of my life because in that moment I remembered having girls' nights when I was 12 and 13, playing all my friends songs on the guitar and talking about one day having a song on the radio. It was like a flash forward. I’m so incredibly grateful to Country radio for giving me a voice this early on in my career and supporting not one, but two, singles now like they have. I’m so excited to keep working hard and to hopefully keep making good music.”
Ballerini’s debut single “Love Me Like You Mean It” hit #1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart on June 22, 2015 and she held her reign as the only solo female artist to hit #1 on this chart since then.
“It’s amazing to be a part of this history making debut,” said Black River Record’s VP of Promotion Mike Wilson. “Kelsea’s artistry is amazing, it’s such a pleasure to work with her on a daily basis. She works so hard for her fans and she loves Country radio. We have an amazing staff at BRE that will walk through walls for our roster.”
Dibs” going #1 is a big win for the teams at Black River Publishing and Black River Records.
"Humble, hardworking, relentless, grateful,” said Black River Entertainment CEO Gordon Kerr. “And that's only what I think about Kelsea!  Imagine my words about the Black River staff!” Kerr continued, “I'm ‘callin’ dibs’ on an incredible team effort. I’m so thankful for Country radio and all the wonderful people who have worked so hard to make this day happen for Kelsea and BRE!”
Written by Kelsea Ballerini, Josh Kerr, Jason Duke and Ryan Griffin, “Dibs” is also the second U.S. #1 for Black River Publishing’s Josh Kerr and is found on Ballerini’s critically-acclaimed debut album, THE FIRST TIME, co-produced by Forest Glen Whitehead and Jason Massey.
About Kelsea Ballerini
Kelsea Ballerini launched to stardom with two consecutive #1 smashes – the GOLD-certified debut "Love Me Like You Mean It” and infectious “Dibs.” Abuzz with shout-outs from superstars Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Little Big Town, she is the first solo female artist in nine years to hit #1 with her debut country single and one of only 11 women to have ever hit the top of the charts with a debut. Scoring a number of recent high-profile media appearances, the Black River Entertainment recording artist has been named “The Country Sweetheart” in People Magazine’s elite “Ones to Watch” portfolio, touted by Billboard Magazine as “Country’s Next Queen,” praised by Rolling Stone as the “Nashville It Girl” and selected as one of CMT’s Next Women of Country. Co-produced by Forest Glen Whitehead and Jason Massey, THE FIRST TIME landed Top 5 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart and released to critical acclaim with Billboard praising, “Her frankness and honesty are rooted in country’s long tradition of storytelling, a tradition that she deftly adapts to both 21st century and timeless concerns.” The talented singer/songwriter wrote or co-wrote all 12 songs on the project. Racking up her first CMT, CMA and AMA award nominations, she received Billboard’s “Rising Star” award at the prestigious 2015 Women In Music event. Gearing up for her first international trek to Australia this March to perform at the Country CMC Rocks Festival, she will join select dates this spring with Billy Currington and Rascal Flatts. Previously, she shared the stage with Alan Jackson, Lady Antebellum, Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban. Press Release

Country Airplay
*** No.1 (1 week)/ Most Increased Audience *** "Dibs” Kelsea Ballerini 45.389 million audience (+4.389 million gain) / 8,090 radio plays (+679)
** Most Added ** No.28 “T-Shirt” Thomas Rhett (27 ADDS)
** Hot Shot Debut ** No.57 “21 Summer” Brothers Osborne
Debut No.58 “Sleep Without You” Brett Young
Debut No.59 “Tuxedo” Clare Dunn

Billboard Country Digital Singles Chart (Chart issue week of March 5, 2016)

Little Big Town with their 2016 double Grammy Winner “Girl Crush” sold 49,000 copies and rocketed 192-17 Digital songs 39-1 Country Digital to top the chart with a new 61-week total of 2,058,000
Thomas Rhett slipped 1-2 with "Die A Happy Man" 16-23 of all genre Digital Songs (39,765 sales; down 7%; 21-week total 1,150,265).
Carrie Underwood with “Heartbeat” lifted 63-25 Digital Songs and 11-3 selling 36,844 copies up 133% with a 15-week total 220,572. She performed the song on the Grammy’s joined by Sam Hunt
Maren Morris fell 3-4 (up #30-27 Digital Songs) with "My Church" (35,266 sales; up 19%; 6-week total 145,444)
Cole Swindell with “You Should Be Here” fell 4-5 (31,077 sales; #32-31 Digital songs; 10-week total 283,287)
Sam Hunt with "Break Up in a Small Town" dropped 5-6 (28,489 sales; down 12%, 57-week total 1,154,490) whilst his Grammy performance for “Take Your Time” made it climb 26-7 (24,010 sales; up 176%, 69-week total 1,982,904)
Brett Eldredge with “Drunk On Your Love” slipped 6-8 (24,000 sales; 11-week total 193,000)

Country Aircheck MEDIABASE Chart

22 February 2016

Congrats to Kelsea Ballerini, Mike Wilson, Bill Macky and the whole Black River promo crew who took No.1 with “Dibs.” The song
is Ballerini’s second consecutive chart-topper, joining “Love MeLike You Mean It.”
The song logged 8,331 radio spins (+841) and 58.79 million audience impressions (+4.533) with 26981 Total Points from 157 tracking stations for the tracking week February 14 to February 20, 2016 and published chart February 22nd 2016.
















Kudos to Jimmy Rector and the EMI Nashville team on earning 40 adds for Eric Church’s Record Year,” topping the week’s "Most Added" board.
Mediabase Adds Report - February 22, 2016
BOLD = Went for Adds
Adds TW Total
Adds Artist / Song Record Label
40 98 Eric Church / Record Year Emi Nashville
32 44 Locash / I Know Somebody Reviver Records
28 33 Brooke Eden / Daddy's Money Red Bow Records
26 101 Dan + Shay / From The Ground Up Warner Bros. Records/Warner Music Nashville/War Promotion
23 24 Clare Dunn / Tuxedo MCA Nashville

For a detailed report check out Country Aircheck Weekly Issue 487 - February 22, 2016 [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)

Rank Artist: #8
Event Venue City/State: Blake Shelton, Chris Janson Palace of Auburn Hills     Auburn Hills, Mich.
Dates:  Feb. 20, 2016 Gross Sales: $1,211,978 Attend: 15,102 /15,102
Capacity Shows: 1/1 ** SOLD OUT ** Sellouts Prices $99, $49
Promoters: Live Nation

Rank Artist: #11
Event Venue City/State: The Corrs, The Shires O2 Arena London, U.K.
Dates: Jan. 23, 2016 Gross Sales: $1,027,230 Attend: 12,651/ 15,121
Capacity Shows: 1/0  Sellouts Prices $121.22, $49.91
Promoters: Live Nation

Rank Artist: #23
Event Venue City/State: Brad Paisley, Eric Paslay, Cam Scotiabank Saddledome Calgary, Alberta
Dates: Feb. 18, 2016 Gross Sales: Attend: 11,324/ 11,324
Capacity Shows: 1/1 ** SOLD OUT ** Sellouts Prices $71.62, $35.45
Promoters: AEG Live

Rank Artist: #88
Event Venue City/State: Patty Griffin, Sara Watkins, Anais Mitchell Fox Theatre Atlanta, Ga.
Dates: Feb. 18, 2016 Gross Sales: $25,227 Attend: 466/ 736
Capacity Shows: 1 / 0  Sellouts Prices $60, $50


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