Saturday, 4 June 2016

Country Billboard Chart News May 16, 2016

Country Billboard Chart News May 16, 2016

RIAA Certifications

Tim McGraw Celebrates Success With Big Machine On Facebook Live
Big Machine Records artist Tim McGraw was surprised on May 20, 2016 with a presentation at the label offices celebrating his current single, "Humble And Kind" being certified GOLD by the RIAA. The staff gathered to celebrate McGraw's accomplishment as well as the fourth anniversary of the partnership between McGraw and Big Machine.
Big Machine Label Group Pres./CEO Scott Borchetta hosted a Facebook Live stream of the event that was broadcast live on McGraw's Facebook page. Find out why McGraw had Borchetta meet him at the bus station to sign his contract four years ago and why Tim said he has "only ever signed with BORCHETTA."

In Brief: Billboard Country Charts (Chart issue week of May 28, 2016)

Country Album Chart ** No.1 RIPCORD Keith Urban
Hot Country Songs ** No.1 (2 weeks) ** H.O.L.Y.  Florida Georgia Line
Country Airplay ** No.1 (2 weeks) ** "Somewhere On A Beach” Dierks Bentley
Country Digital Songs ** No.1 (2 weeks) ** H.O.L.Y.  Florida Georgia Line

Billboard Top 200 / Country Album Chart News (Chart issue week of May 28, 2016)

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

Drake’s VIEWS held at No.1 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart (BB200) for a second week, while Radiohead logged the week’s highest debut, at No.3, with A MOON SHAPED POOL.
Views earned another 219,000 equivalent album units in the week ending May 12, according to Nielsen Music (with 174,706 copies of that in pure album sales), as A Moon Shaped Pool launches with 181,000 units (173,093 in sales).
Views tallied a 79% decline in units compared to its debut frame a week ago (1.04 million units), while its sales collapsed by 79% as well (falling from 852,000 to 175,000).
Views has quickly sold more than a million copies (1.03 million) in just two weeks' time, and it is the first album released in 2016 to surpass 1 million copies sold. Only two albums have sold more than a million this year: Views, and Adele’s 25, which was released in 2015. 25 sold 1.27 million in 2016, of its total 8.71 million.
Beyonce with LEMONADE held at No. 2 on the new Billboard 200 with 202,000 units (down 27%). The former No. 1 album sold another 153,367 copies in pure album sales (down 22%).

Keith Urban nabbed his sixth top 10 effort with his new album RIPCORD, as it made a debut at No.4 with 106,000 units (92,726 in pure album sales). His last album, 2013’s Fuse, debuted at No. 1 with 98,000 copies sold.
Cole Swindell with YOU SHOULD BE HERE granted him his second top 10 album, as it entered at No. 6 with 76,000 units and 65,353 copies sold. He previously hit the region with his self-titled set back in 2014, which debuted and peaked at No. 3 (63,000 copies sold).
Chris Stapleton with TRAVELLER closed out the top 10, falling two positions to No.10 with 31,000 units (down 2%).

Billboard Top Country Albums (Chart issue week of May 28, 2016)

Keith Urban with his eighth studio album, Ripcord (Hit Red/Capitol Nashville/ Universal Music Group Nashville), bounded in at No.1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart (dated May 28) with sales of 92,726 copies in the week ending May 12, according to Nielsen Music. On the all-genre Billboard 200, it arrived at No. 4 (106,000 equivalent album units).
Urban earned his fifth No.1 on Top Country Albums, all of which have debuted at the summit. His first four were BE HERE, released in 2004 with a debut sales week of 148,000; LOVE, PAIN & THE WHOLE CRAZY THING (2006, 270,000); DEFYING GRAVITY (2009, 172,000); and FUSE (2013, 98,000).
Urban co-wrote five of the new album’s tracks and co-produced the set, which features collaborations with Carrie Underwood (featured on “The Fighter”), as well as Nile Rodgers and Pitbull (“Sun Don’t Let Me Down”).
I went into the making of Ripcord with a real creative liberation,” Urban told Billboard. “My dad was a drummer, and I feel like that rhythmic DNA in me drove so much of the energy and spirit in the recording sessions. It’s an incredible feeling to see it hit No.1.”
The current single from the set, “Wasted Time,” is its third, following “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16,” which peaked at No. 2 on both Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay, and “Break on Me,” which reached Nos. 6 and 1, respectively.
How does Urban remain relevant? “I grew up with equal parts contemporary country and top 40 influences,” he said. “I’ve always loved hooks, riffs and melodies you can sing along with. Universal themes seemed to be present in a lot of the songs I heard as a kid, so it has influenced the way I write. “When I moved to Nashville, I just hoped I could hear a song of mine on the radio one day. The fact that country radio and the listeners have been so good to me is beyond anything I could’ve imagined.”
His last album FUSE with a debut bow 98,037 sales, marked the "American Idol" judge's lowest sales start for an album since 2002's GOLDEN ROAD drove onto the chart with 67,000 at No.11. His Nov 16, 2010 release GET CLOSER, debuted and peaked at No.7 with a 162,000 start.

Critical reception for Keith Urban’s Ripcord:
13 Tracks/ Time: 45:40 Amazon UK - UK iTunes -  

Roughstock (Rating: Very Positive)..Keith Urban's "Ripcord" is perhaps the most unique, melodically cohesive record he's ever done. It features the hits "Break On Me," "John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16" and "Wasted Time" along with collaborations with Carrie Underwood, Nile Rodgers and Pitbull. From the opening banjo strums of “Gone Tomorrow (Here Today),” it's apparent that Keith Urban’s Ripcord is an album different than anything he’s ever released, including his previous project, FUSE. The lead-off track blends banjos, percussive beats and synths into a cohesive track that can only be described as uniquely Keith Urban, circa 2016......There are a plethora of hits to be found on this record — and to
Capitol Nashville: Keith Urban & UMG Nashville
Celebrate his No1 Country album Ripcord

be sure at the release of the album “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” and “Break On Me” are already #1 hits — and Keith Urban could easily go six or seven singles deep. There could (and probably should) be a multi-radio format approach for singles. Absolute must-release singles include “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” a smoldering jam that recalls the best of old school soul and is one of — if not the — best vocals in the history of Keith Urban’s career. “Boy Gets A Truck” grabs an epic U2-like melody and doesn’t let go for 3:30 minutes of pure musical bliss.....This one is a cohesive recording from start to finish and isn’t a record that’s just a few singles with filler wrapped around it. I can see Ripcord becoming an award-winning project and at a time when artists of Keith Urban’s stature could just make the same record over and over and get people to buy and play their records, Urban strives to constantly make new, interesting records.

Allmusic (Rating: 3.1/2 STARS) ...The album's very title suggests he's diving into the great wide open and he makes no attempt to disguise the record's heavy hip-hop and electronic influence.
Given how contemporary country has shifted in the years following 2013's Fuse -- the party-hearty swagger of bro country is in decline, replaced by the flexible R&B rhythms of the likes of Sam Hunt and Brett Eldredge -- Urban's shift is not only adventurous, but commercially savvy. It also suits his style, which always threads subtly modern, mass appeal moves into a country pop that's never beholden to Music City conventions. . All throughout Ripcord, the electronic elements are at the forefront and foundation, but it's to Urban's credit that this never feels desperate or pandering: it's a smooth, logical progression that makes his music feel sleek and mature.

Sounds Like Nashville (Very Positive)
While many songs on Ripcord are highlighted with banjo accompaniment like the edgy opening track “Gone Tomorrow,” drum loops are also prevalent throughout Ripcord, allowing the tracks to cross genre lines. “Sun Don’t Let Me Down” which features Pitbull is easy to envision hearing on pop radio with dance floor beats and party anthem flavor thanks to guest raps from Mr. Worldwide himself....Overall a diverse release, Ripcord has much to offer listeners. Whether it’s slick beats, guitar slinging or vivid storytelling, Urban’s eighth effort launches the singer into uncharted territory exemplifying exactly why he is one of the most highly regarded talents within the genre.

Sydney Morning Herald (Rating: 3 STARS) ..It is, at first suggestion, an almost ludicrous concept, but it's testament to Urban's craftsmanship that the record is dexterous and pleasing. Some touches are coolly bland, such as rapper Pitbull's generic guest verse on Sun Don't Let Me Down, but the same song has invigorating elements – vamping guitar parts courtesy of Nile Rodgers, and whimsical keyboard stabs. ....the ticked boxes are outnumbered by the surprises, such as the soulful, swinging The Fighter, a terrific duet with Carrie Underwood. Urban doesn't take as many chances lyrically, but the studio idiosyncrasies definitely add some charm.

ABC News (Rating: 3 STARS)..First off, Keith Urban’s new album, “Ripcord,” is not really a country record. It is more of an electronic-influenced pop record. Having just been a judge on “American Idol,” this isn’t that much of a surprise. Sure, there are bits of twang on “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16,” and yes, this fits in what passes for country in Nashville these days, but with its hip-hop beat, Urban isn’t fooling anyone. But, you know what? That’s OK...
At its peaks this album can be an interesting sonic hybrid. Sure, there are a bit too many simplistic, down-home style narratives (like “Boy Gets A Truck”) and a bit too many names dropped for sake of being relatable to a mass audience, but that kind of factory-style writing is part of the problem with modern country music. The reason why this album kind of wins is because it goes pretty far sonically outside the box. Nile Rodgers and Pitbull strangely don’t sound out of place on “Sun Don’t Let Me Down,” and that in itself is pleasurably bizarre. Urban wants to be a pop star. He wants to go beyond his country fan base. While “Ripcord” definitely has its flaws, it still has its moments and gets him closer to that goal.
Focus Tracks:“Sun Don’t Let Me Down”, “The Fighter”, “Blue Ain’t Your Color”.

Cole Swindell with his sophomore studio album, YOU SHOULD BE HERE (Warner Bros./Warner Music Nashville [WMN]) made a debut at No.6 on the Billboard 200 (75,510 units) and No.2 on Top Country Albums with a career-best 65,353 copies sold.
His self-titled debut (released Feb 27, 2014) opened at No.2 Country and No.3 Billboard 200, in 2014, with 63,247 sales. By November 2015 it had sold 432,000 and was certified Platinum on March 31, 2016 (Note: For ALBUM certifications the RIAA base their figures on the number of units SHIPPED together with, track sales and on demand audio/ video stream units and NOT based purely on traditional retail sales). Swindell's single, "Chillin' It," hit No.1 on the Hot Country Songs and Swindell joined a throng of rookie male artists who have invaded Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart during 2014.  

Even though Cole Swindell’s sophomore effort takes its title from the multi-week number one he wrote about the loss of his dad, the die-hard Georgia Southern fan warned you shouldn’t expect an album’s worth of songs like “You Should Be Here.”
I want everybody to know it's not 12 'You Should Be Here' songs," he pointed out. "They all can't be like that. I think that's what makes that one so special. But there's fun stuff on this album that I think that will remind people of the first album, the fun side of me. But then also, not just dealing with loss, but breakups and heartbreak, stuff like that, like 'Ain't Worth the Whiskey,' there's some more songs like that that are just, I cannot wait to play live!”
Having written eight songs that have already made it to number one -- including five he sang himself -- Cole considers it a point of pride that nearly half of his new album is made up of tunes contributed by other people.
“You know, me being a songwriter, and proud of that, I'm proud of the songs I write. There's five songs on this album that I did not write, that I wish I would've written," he confesses. "You know, you work really hard to be able to say that, that your favorite writers are sending you songs now. Honestly, I know how hard that is to get songs, to write 'em and I think I've put together -- I want to have 12 great songs -- I want 'em to buy the album and not have to switch a song.”

Critical reception for Cole Swindell’s You Should Be Here:
12 Tracks/ Time: 41:19 Amazon UK - UK iTunes -

Allmusic (Rating: 3 STARS).. As a partial architect of bro-country, Cole Swindell can't be expected to jettison the swaggering sound once it starts to get a little long in the tooth. As a commercially savvy songwriter, however, he knows he needs to expand his reach for a second album, which is what he does on 2016's You Should Be Here. Dialing back the party tunes that gave him number one hits, Swindell nevertheless doesn't entirely abandon his suburbanite anthems. He does, however, move his way toward minor keys and adopts hints of the looped R&B rhythms Sam Hunt popularized in 2015.... the one time the tempo really gets kicking is in "No Can Left Behind," a drinking song stowed away at the end -- but that does give it a casual crossover vibe, one that never suggests Swindell is gunning for the middle of the road. That slyness turns out to be his greatest asset: beneath that everyday grin he not only knows what sells, but he knows how to look like he's not selling any wares, which is the key to a successful country-pop artist.

Boston Globe (Rating: Negative) …His second crowd-pleasing album barely extends beyond territory he staked out on his successful bro-and-a-brew debut. He already has a major hit with the well-intentioned but vague title track, a sentimental ode to his late father
overloaded with clichés. Like other heart-tugging ballads “Stars” and “Remember Boys,” it’s kitsch country devoid of observed detail and emotional truth. The slick production throughout lacks definition — guitars hardly bite — and the formulaic lyrics scream calculation (especially “Up” and “Middle of a Memory”). The best song, “Flatliner,” with Dierks Bentley, actually kicks up dust with a dueling guitar dynamic. Unfortunately, the rest of the tracks translate to country equivalents of a McDonald’s shake: They’re mostly artificial, but go down easy. ESSENTIAL “Flatliner”

Roughstock (Rating: Positive) The album is hopefully going to help the singer/songwriter avoid a sophomore slump and after a handful of listens to the entire project (the Target Deluxe Edition, specifically), Cole Swindell largely does avoid that slump. In fact, The album is more consistent with stronger songs and Cole’s voice, while “pedestrian,” sounds much improved here, as one would expect with a singer having toured and sung night after night and learned how to best use his voice.... raucous opener “Flatliner,” a song performed with Dierks Bentley and it has Dierks’ trademark style with thumping kick drums and country rock guitars but it works REALLY well for Cole and I can easily see country radio loving this tune, if it ever hits stores. 90s country groves are represented by “Home Game,” “Stay Downtown,” and “No Can Left Behind” and that should find some loving those three tracks more than others....with You Should Be Here, Cole has not only avoided the sophomore slump but he’s improved on his debut album with a record that is sure to please many, including his biggest fans.

Sounds Like Nashville (Positive) ….While 32-year-old Swindell shows his ability to portray everyday emotions throughout his lyrics, he also knows a thing or two about having a good time. One of the most enjoyable moments on the album is opening track “Flatliner.” ....Additional album highlights include “Broke Down,” a unique lyric that has Swindell stuck on the side of the road but not because his car broke down. In fact, it’s quite the opposite as he has emotionally broken down when he hears an old school Tim McGraw song that strikes up a memory of his ex. ...While Swindell got his start selling merchandise on the road with Luke Bryan, often co-writing with him, You Should Be Here cements the country singer as a solo artist who is able to write hit after hit while emotionally connecting with the listener. With five consecutive No.1 songs as an artist under his belt, Swindell’s latest endeavor promises many more.
Taste Of Country (Rating: Mostly Positive) Cole Swindell gets his heart broken — or at least wounded — on many songs from You Should Be Here, his second studio album. But the album as a whole offers diversity and depth that his debut did not....“Stay Downtown” is a fine representative of the album as a whole. Sonically and lyrically Swindell continues to sing to the crowd and not the band. Arthouse critics won’t be fawning over much from this 12-song collection, but there are sure to be multiple hits beyond the title track. The Cole Taylor and Matt Dragstrem-written ballad twists the late-night phone call story on its head and wraps the chorus in a snackable melody. ...Fans of the Cole Swindell album will find a few party songs (“No Can Left Behind” and “Flatliner” with Dierks Bentley), but the heart of this album is Swindell’s heart. While not vulnerable, it’s a project that opens doors for him to show more scars in the future. Key Tracks: “Broke Down,” “Up,” “Remember Boys”

Cyndi Lauper made her first visit to Top Country Albums, as DETOUR (Sire/Rhino) started at No.29 on the Billboard 200 & No.4 Country with 15,556 copies sold.
Recorded in Nashville, the set, produced by Lauper and Tony Brown, sports covers of such country classics as “Walkin’ After Midnight” and “Heartaches by the Number.” Guests include Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Jewel, Alison Krauss and Willie Nelson.
Promoting the album Cyndi Lauper took the stage on NBC-TV's "Late Night With SETH MEYERS" (May 5) to perform "Funnel Of Love".
Billboard (The Stark Report Phyllis Stark): Just to clear the air, Cyndi Lauper is not the latest in a long string of pop stars attempting to “go country.” Her new release, Detour, an album full of classic country song covers, is less an indicator of the veteran pop star’s desire to change genres than it is a sincere homage to a dozen tunes she grew up listening to on a transistor radio in her aunt’s kitchen and falling in love with. That she happens to have enlisted country luminaries including Willie Nelson, Vince Gill and Emmylou Harris, bluegrass superstar Alison Krauss and pop-turned-country chanteuse Jewel for the project merely adds heft to her purpose as she lends her vocal skills to songs both famous (“I Fall to Pieces,” “Heartaches by the Number”) and somewhat obscure (“You’re the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly”), largely culled from the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s. Lauper recorded the album in Nashville with veteran country producer Tony Brown and a crop of Music City’s A-list session players. Sire Records founder Seymour Stein served as both the project’s executive producer and its instigator.
It was exciting to come here and make a record that’s an homage to country,” said Lauper of Nashville. “It’s a real singer’s album.”
When it came time to select songs for Detour, Lauper said, “I tried to choose variety, because I don’t like listening to a record where it’s [all] the same … I chose things that had variety to them so you could go on a journey and have different storytellers. But they were all stories that I could kind of believe. “I wasn’t good in school, so I think I just learned on my feet,” she noted, adding that she eventually discovered “you have to diversify, because if you don’t diversify, you’re stuck in one thing with the gatekeepers, and I just will not have it. I don’t want them telling me what I can and can’t do. I don’t want to be stopped. I want to keep growing. I want to learn. I love to learn. “How are you going to know what you could do if you never try something new?” she asks. “You might fall on your butt, but if you don’t try, you don’t know, and you won’t grow.”

Critical reception for Cyndi Lauper’s Detour:

Allmusic (Rating: 3 STARS).. A spiritual sequel of sorts to Memphis Blues, Detour finds Cyndi Lauper swapping out blues for country & western. The "western" part of the equation is crucial to Detour, a record equally enamored of cowboy camp as it is of Music City craft and corn. Such a wide purview is testament to Lauper's taste-savvy show biz sensibilities, but by balancing ballads with riotous romps, she winds up with a bit of a mess on her hands.....much of Lauper's charm lies in her innate theatricality, and when she's paired with someone who shares her humor -- Emmylou Harris on "Detour" and, especially, Vince Gill on "You're the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly" -- there's a crackling vitality that nevertheless winds up diluting the diva showstoppers, something that could possibly be finessed on-stage but seems like a sharp turn on record. Nevertheless, on a track-by-track level, Detour has a few stumbles -- the biggest is "Night Life," and that's due to the gravelly growl of Willie Nelson, not Lauper -- and if it's taken as a collection of performances and not a coherent record, it's fun.

Pop Matters (Rating: 6/10) …What does it say about the music industry in the 21st century that so many former pop artists are embracing country music? So intertwined are these two formerly disparate market segments that there now seems to be little difference between contemporary country and pop/rock music. With each borrowing liberally from one another, it seems only logical that many former pop stars would try their hand at a country crossover.......Unfortunately her take on Skeeter Davis’ maudlin “End of the World” falls flat, her voice not entirely suited to the arrangement and, compared with the preceding “Heartache By the Numbers”, feels largely devoid of life. ...Not entirely successful yet not entirely without merit, Cyndi Lauper’s work on Detour is just that: a detour from the norm and an attempt at finding something new in something old. The material is there, as is the voice, but too often the two become muddled despite her best efforts to the contrary. If nothing else, Detour is a enjoyable glimpse into a career path untaken.
Uncut (Rating: 70/100) With Nashville stalwart Tony Brown co-producing, she flexes both empathy and interpretive might.
Mojo (Rating: 80/100) She immediately impresses with a solid version of Wanda Jackson's Funnel Of Love, then moves on to deliver a brace of Patsy Cline classics that stand the comparison test, before with the aid of Vince Gill, whooping it up on You're The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly.

Mary Chapin Carpenter with THE THINGS THAT WE ARE MADE OF (Lambert Light), arrived at No.102 on the all genres Billboard 200 and No.8 on Top Country Albums with 6,249 pure sales. It’s the singer-songwriter’s ninth top 10 and first since THE AGE OF MIRACLES (No.6 Country, No.29 Billboard 200; 13,370 sales) in 2010. The new record, her 14th full-length LP, was produced by Dave Cobb.
Previously her album SONGS FROM THE MOVIE (Decca (UMO)) released Jan 14, 2014 debuted on the BB200 at #75 (#6 Billboard Folk Chart) with sales of 4,000+. ASHES AND ROSES (Zoe/Rounder) released June 12, 2012 debuted at #72 on the Top 200 (#15 Country) with 7,162 sales.  THE CALLING (Zoë) released: March 6, 2007 debuted and peaked at No.59 Billboard 200 and No.10 Country with sales of 12,768 copies.

Like the Roman god Janus, with an eye trained on both beginnings and endings, Mary Chapin Carpenter opens her new album The Things That We Are Made Of with a song that beautifully sums up where she's been and sets the stage for what's yet to come. In "Something Tamed Something Wild," Carpenter stares into a shoebox full of old letters and gazes at "a map I've memorized of everywhere I've ever been, and the faces of everyone I loved and left to try again." As that song's title and the subsequent tracks on the LP suggest, there is comforting stillness at the heart of movement and something wondrous and unexpected in the familiar.
Carpenter reveals that she took great pains in making sure the album's tracks were perfectly sequenced, with "Something Tamed Something Wild" leading the way.
"It was important to me that it be the first song on the record," Carpenter told Rolling Stone Country. "I think sequencing is really important. I'm old-school; I still think of the excitement of getting a full album. I still think in those terms when I'm writing… trying to create a particular environment and a thematically-related collection of songs. That's how I grew up listening to music and how I grew up receiving an artist's work."

Critical reception for Mary Chapin Carpenter’s The Things That We Are Made Of:
13 Tracks/ Time: 57:46 Amazon UK - UK iTunes -

Allmusic (Rating: 4 Stars) After the orchestral recording Songs from the Movie in early 2014, Mary Chapin Carpenter returns to basics. Working with Grammy-nominated producer Dave Cobb and a small group of musicians at his Nashville studio, The Things That We Are Made Of is a powerful collection that bridges two poles of existential tension: the past and the present with the future, ever uncertain, looming beyond our grasp... "Map of My Heart" borders on country rock with honky tonk piano and organ. ..."Oh Rosetta" is a prayer of doubt and confusion offered in solitude to the ghost of blues guitarist Sister Rosetta Tharpe, while a swelling gospelized organ claims the bridge. The set's most haunting cut "Hand on My Back," floats amid layers of acoustic guitars, a Rhodes piano, and Eamon McLoughlin's strings... It reveals what it's like to be fully seen by another after a lifetime of longing for it. In "The Blue Distance," a Celtic melody underpins a lyric drenched in the willingness to follow her vulnerability with bravery. "Note on a Windshield" paints the protagonist hesitantly taking a chance on a romantic connection, as she leaves her phone number in a parking lot and then watches the rain wash it away. ...For Carpenter, redemption comes from knowing who we are in spite (or because) of what we wished for, how we reconcile it in the present in the time allotted, and who we become as a result.

Renowned For Sound (Rating: 3.1/2 stars) ..The Things That We Are Made Of isn’t quite adventurous or ground-breaking, but it remains enjoyable regardless of the fact. With the minimal elements of each song making them difficulty to decipher from one another, it’s the lyrics that truly sell the package and in turn make the album more enjoyable, especially in its first half. While it’s not quite as endearing as her previous material or as refreshing as Songs from the Movie, The Things That We Are Made Of is still another quality album from Carpenter.
NPR (Rating: Positive) The last three songs represent the album's well-earned reconciliation while providing its finest moments. "The Blue Distance" finds light in an unknown where before she'd found loneliness. Her album plays out both sides of that classic country gesture at the unknown — darkness and latent enlightenment — and by emphasizing both, she accomplishes what sounds like a transformation. She arrives where she starts, at the title song. In the process, she makes you believe that the lucky end of the stories we tell ourselves is the ability to look through memories and find real acceptance — the things we're made of and the strength to set off again.
Country Music People (2 STARS; Michael Hingston) …more recent albums just haven’t me in but shut me out with their introversion, was this going to be a return to commercial Carpenter? Unfortunately, from there it was all downhill, slow, dull, depressing and inward looking. I couldn’t tell you what any of it is about
Maverick Magazine (Rating: 5 STARS; John Roffey) easy listening gem Every song is a classic with beautiful, constructed lyrics

In her second chart frame Martina McBride with RECKLESS fell 31-128 on the BB200 and 2-12 Country with sales of 5,030 (down 68%; 2-week total 20,600).
Joey + Rory with HYMNS (Farmhouse/Gaither | Capitol CMG) in its 13th fell 39-41 BB200 fell at #3-5 Country (12,966 sales; down 8%; 13-week total 366,600). It led Top Christian Albums for a straight 14 weeks
Sturgill Simpson with SAILOR’S GUIDE TO EARTH (Atlantic/Atlantic Group) fell 55-70 Billboard 200 (#4-6 Country) selling 7,277 copies (down 23%; 4-week total 82,700)

Outside of Top 25 Country Albums:

Ryan Beaver with Rx made a debut at No.41 Country selling around 800 copies.
Watch his official video >> “Dark
Ryan Embry Beaver (born March 17, 1984) is a country music singer-songwriter from Emory, Texas.
Beaver's first album, UNDER THE NEONS, was released on Feb 27, 2008 with producing credits to David Grissom (who has worked with John Mellencamp, Dixie Chicks, and Ringo Starr). The album spawned 3 singles for Texas radio: "I Shoulda Kissed You", "Under the Neons", and "Streets of Austin".
This album is titled Rx because these songs are like medicine to me,” Ryan Beaver said of his consistently compelling new release.  “Making this record was so much fun, and so therapeutic. These songs serve as a prescription for getting excited about music and life.  And if they’re like medicine for me, maybe they will be for the listeners.”
Blurb: Indeed, the 12-song set, the Texas-bred, Nashville-based singer-songwriter’s third longplayer, offers a potent mix of haunting emotional depth and resonant melodic craft.  His insightful, infectious compositions and deeply expressive voice honor the artist’s deep country roots, while transcending the genre’s stylistic boundaries to incorporate a widescreen sense of drama that’s anchored by his lifelong love for raw, gritty rock ‘n’ roll.....“This is my third album, but in a lot of ways it feels like it’s my first,” Ryan stated, adding, “I feel like I’ve reached the point where I know what a good song is, and I have a clear vision of what I want to accomplish.”

Critical reception for Ryan Beaver’s Rx:
12 Tracks/ Time: 42:45 Amazon UK - UK iTunes -

Country Perspective (Rating: 8/10) …Rolling Stone compared him to Will Hoge and Dierks Bentley, which after hearing him I can definitely hear. Beaver hails from Texas, but has established himself as a singer-songwriter in Nashville the last few years...One of my favorite tracks on Rx is “Vegas.” Playing on the phrase “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” the song is about a man realizing this really isn’t true, as the memories of a weekend he spent with a woman in Vegas aren’t really going away. ...With all of the hype I was hearing about this album and Ryan Beaver from critical circles, I’ll admit I was expecting a little more. But I wouldn’t say Rx is a disappointment. It’s a very solid country album with smart songwriting for the most part. There’s just a few songs that aren’t quite up to grade with the rest and the production gets a little carried away at times. The rest of the album though is an enjoyable listen once it grows on you.
For The Country Record (Rating: Positive) …From the opening down-strum bar chords of empowerment anthem ‘Dark’, it’s clear that a special album is about to unfold. “Way out here, you can feel it coming,” Ryan sings in the record’s first line, his voice inflected with grit but beholding a strength that doesn’t truly unleash until the song’s climax. ....Intriguingly, spliced right in the centre of the album are two songs that rather differ from the rest of the content. The sub-minute country ditty ‘Jesus Was A Capricorn’ serves as the intro to ‘Kristofferson’, a Jessi Alexander that happens to be one of my favourite songs of the past few years. Celebrating the hardships and incredible artistry of the legend, it fashions something of a light relief amidst the darkness and inner strife that ‘Rx’ delivers so potently....‘Rx’ is a career record, an excellent collection that stands together as a whole in addition to delivering 12 unique and individual tracks. Ryan’s gritty and hard-worn vocals guide us through the highs and lows of addiction, no matter which form it takes, drawing from his own experiences as well as allowing us to insert our own. Not only is this record extremely well-written, it is well-sung and it is well-produced – a rarity in today’s market. Ryan Beaver straddles that guitar-driven country/Americana borderline like a seasoned pro, and I hope more people get the chance to hear him.

Year-To-Date Albums
8,584,000 (Physical sales 5,634,000 (down 9%) + Digital sales 2,949,000 (down -19.1%)) which is 11.6% down at the same point in 2015 (9,715,000 sales)
Year-To-Date Digital Tracks

34,495,000 down 20.8% at the same point in 2015 (43,567,000)

Billboard Hot Country Songs (Chart issue week of May 28, 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:

Florida Georgia Line with new single “H.O.L.Y.” (Republic Nashville) enjoyed a second week atop Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart (dated May 28). On Country Digital Songs, “H.O.L.Y.” sold another 90,000 downloads in its second week according to Nielsen Music. In its third on Country Airplay it rose 25-19 (15 million audience impressions; up +4.355 million, 2505 spins) to snag Airplay Gainer honours.
DUETS DEBUT Blake Shelton’sGo Ahead and Break My Heart,” featuring Gwen Stefani (Warner Bros./WMN), bowed on Hot Country Songs at No.14, marking Stefani’s first entrance on any Billboard country chart.
After the couple, who co-wrote the song, performed it on NBC’s The Voice on May 5, it entered Country Digital Songs at No.2 with 58,000 sold. The collab is from Shelton’s 12th studio album, IF I’M HONEST, release date May 20. Also making her country chart debut is Demi Lovato, who is featured on Brad Paisley’s Without a Fight” (Arista Nashville), which entered Country Airplay at No.27 (9 million impressions) and Hot Country Songs at No.48. The song previews Paisley’s upcoming 12th studio set.

Hot County Songs
** No.1 (2 weeks)/ Airplay Gainer ** H.O.L.Y.  Florida Georgia Line
** Digital & Streaming Gainer ** No.12 “Wasted Time” Keith Urban
** Hot Shot Debut ** No.13 “Go Ahead And Break My Heart” Blake Shelton feat. Gwen Stefani
Debut No.25 “The Fighter” Keith Urban feat. Carrie Underwood
Debut No.31 “Middle Of A Memory” Cole Swindell
Debut No.34 “Love Has No Pride” Adam Wakefield
Debut No.35 “My Church” Mary Sarah
Debut No.48 “Without A Fight” Brad Paisley featuring Demi Lovato
Debut No.50 “Vacation” Thomas Rhett

Billboard Country Airplay (Chart issue week of May 28, 2016)

Dierks Bentley with Somewhere on a Beach” (Capitol Nashville) remained at No.1 (49.1 million audience; down 1.5%).

Country Airplay
*** No. 1 (2 weeks) *** "Somewhere On A Beach” Dierks Bentley 49.189 million audience (-0.713 million) / 8,385 radio plays (-211)
** Hot Shot Debut/ Most Increased Audience/ Most Added ** No.27 “Without A Fight” Brad Paisley featuring Demi Lovato 8.983 million audience impressions (+8.983 million gain); 1,210 radio plays thanks to 68 fresh radio commitments (ADDS)

Billboard Country Digital Singles Chart (Chart issue week of May 28, 2016)

Florida Georgia Line (Tyler Hubbard, Brian Kelley) with “H.O.L.Y.” (Republic Nashville) held the pole position at No.1 for the second week on Billboard’s Country Digital Singles Chart and fell 2-4 on the all genre Digital Songs Chart with 90,315 sales (down 28%; 2-week total 215,224).

Blake Shelton's duet with Gwen Stefani, "Go Ahead And Break My Heart" made a #2 with 57,684 downloads. last week. His album If I'm Honest hits stores Friday May 20th. Meanwhile Blake Shelton with “Came Here to Forget” (Warner Bros./ WMN) rose 9-4 in his 10th week (#63-29 Digital Songs; 30,986 sales; up 59%; 10-week total 338,183 copies).
Tim McGraw with “Humble and Kind” (McGraw/Big Machine/Big Machine Label Group) slipped 2-3 (#26-24 Digital Songs; 35,552 sales; up 1%; 17-week total 543,257 copies).
Maren Morris with "My Church" (Columbia Nashville/Sony Music Nashville) rose 7-5 in her 18th week (#53-35 Digital Songs; 27,490 sales; up 245; 18-week total 510,978). It has now reached and past GOLD status, sales were helped this week after Mary Sarah's version of the song was performed on The Voice.
Dierks Bentley with “Somewhere On A Beach" fell 3-6 (#35-36 Digital Songs; 27,381 sales; down 2%; 17-week total 437,397).
Keith Urban's new track featuring Carrie Underwood, "The Fighter" made a bow at No.7 (#39 Digital Songs; 25,212 sales) as his solo single “Wasted Time” climbed 23-11 (#99-53 Digital Songs; 20,022 sales; up 61%; 7-week total 124,248)
Luke Bryan with "Huntin' Fishin' & Loving Every Day" fell #4-8 (#40 non-mover Digital Songs; 24,698 sales; down 5%; 10-week total 207,165)
Thomas Rhett with "T-Shirt" fell 6-9 in his 17th week (#46-43 Digital Songs; 23,310 sales, down 2%; 17-week total 317,566)
Chris Young duet with Cassadee Pope retreated #5-#10 (#45- 51 Digital Songs; 20,455 sales; down 15%; 17-week total 368,605)

Adam Wakefield (The Voice contestant) with "Love Has No Pride” (recorded by Bonnie Raitt in 1972) made a debut at #17 selling 17,000 copies. He performed it on Episode 23 (Monday, May 9, 2016)).
Fellow Season 10 Voice contestant Mary Sarah with her take of Maren Morris’ “My Church” (performed Episode 23) was new at #19 after selling 16,000 downloads.
Cole Swindell with "Middle of A Memory" blew in at #24 scanning 12,000 units.
At #31 is Jennifer Nettles whose album PLAYING WITH FIRE was set to drop saw her lead-off single "Unlove You" at #31 with 95,000 sales in 8 weeks.

Country Aircheck MEDIABASE Chart

16 May April 2016

Congrats to Dierks Bentley, Royce Risser, Shane Allen, David Friedman and the Capitol promo team on scoring a second week at No.1 with “Somewhere On A Beach.” The song is the first single from Bentley’s new album Black.
The song logged 9,014 radio spins (+35) and 63.89 million audience impressions (+1.125) with 29077 Total Points from 158 tracking stations for the tracking week May 8 to May 14, 2016 and published chart May 16th 2016.

Kudos to Josh Easler and the Arista staff for securing 99 adds for Brad Paisley’s “Without A Fight” featuring Demi Lovato. The song topped the week’s "Most Added" board.
This was superstar Brad Paisley's biggest add day of his career! Paisley’s first single from his forthcoming studio album on Arista Nashville accumulated 120 adds from combined Mediabase and Billboard monitored country radio stations! “Without A Fight” debuted at #27 on Billboard’s country airplay chart and at #34 on the Country Aircheck/Medibase chart.
Fans can download “Without A Fight” here and stream it above.

Co-produced by Brad Paisley and Luke Wooten, the song was co-penned by Paisley, Kelley Lovelace and Lee Thomas Miller.
The national television debut of “Without A Fight” was confirmed for Tuesday, May 24th, on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on ABC.
Pictured L-R: All Access Nashville Editorial Asst. Briana Galluccio; 
Arista Nashville National Specialist Olivia Laster; Brad Paisley (may or may not be a standup); 
and Arista Nashville Dir./South and Southwest Promotion Rusty Sherrill.

For a detailed report check out Country Aircheck Weekly Issue 499 - May 16, 2016 [PDF File]
For the very latest up to the minute Mediabase Chart (Past 7 Days) go here -

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