The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music [March 2001]


This is the past pulse of mainstream country music. Each week, I take a look at the Billboard Country Airplay Chart (or, “Hot Country Songs” as it used to be called) from years ago and grade the top 30 songs. Each week will be a different year. The grading format I use each week is every song will receive one of the following scores: +5, +4, +3, +2, +1, 0, -1, -2, -3, -4, -5. These will then be tallied up for an overall score, or pulse of the past top thirty country songs, with the highest possible score being a +150 and the lowest possible score being a -150. The grade I would give it determines its Pulse score. The grading key: 10 [+5], 9 [+4], 8 [+3], 7 [+2], 6 [+1], 5 [0], 4 [-1], 3 [-2], 2 [-3], 1 [-4], 0 [-5].

The goal of this exercise is to evaluate the past state of mainstream country music and determine if it was better or worse compared to now. To see the full list of the top 30 country airplay songs for this week, click here. This week’s chart will be from March 31st, 2001.

  1. Diamond Rio – “One More Day” +3
  2. Jessica Andrews – “Who I Am” +2
  3. Toby Keith – “You Shouldn’t Kiss Me Like This” +3
  4. Travis Tritt – “It’s A Great Day To Be Alive” +3
  5. Faith Hill – “If My Heart Had Wings” -1 [Worst Song] (Overproduced and cheesy)
  6. Keith Urban – “But For The Grace Of God” +4 [Best Song] (Yes, Urban is rated higher than Strait, Tritt…etc)
  7. Brooks & Dunn – “Ain’t Nothing Bout You” +1 (Cool sound, not so cool lyrics)
  8. Kenny Chesney – “Don’t Happen Twice” +1
  9. Tim Rushlow – “She Misses Him” +4 (I really don’t like his voice, but I can’t deny this is a damn good song)
  10. Dixie Chicks – “If I Fall (You’re Going Down With Me)” +2
  11. Martina McBride – “It’s My Time” +2
  12. Trick Pony – “Pour Me” +2
  13. Tim McGraw – “Grown Men Don’t Cry” +2
  14. Lee Ann Womack – “Ashes By Now” +3 (Those bongos are pretty cool!)
  15. SheDaisy – “Lucky 4 You (Tonight I’m Just Me)” 0 (Yes, they used 4 instead of “for.” Why? I have no idea)
  16. Gary Allan – “Right Where I Need To Be” +3
  17. The Warren Brothers – “Move On” 0
  18. Jamie O’ Neal – “There Is No Arizona” +3
  19. Mark McGuinn – “Mrs. Steven Rudy” -1 (It’s catchy, but oh so creepy)
  20. Jo Dee Messina – “Burn” +1
  21. Phil Vassar – “Rose Bouquet” +3
  22. George Strait – “If You Can Do Anything Else” +3
  23. Pam Tillis – “Please” 0 (In terms of country, 0. In terms of pop I’d give this a solid +2)
  24. Garth Brooks – “Wild Horses” 0 (Not because I dislike the song, but because Garth can’t put the f***ing song on YouTube, or really anywhere for me to hear)
  25. Patty Loveless – “The Last Thing On My Mind” +3
  26. Sara Evans – “I Could Not Ask For More” +1
  27. Alan Jackson – “When Somebody Loves You” +3
  28. Montgomery Gentry – “She Couldn’t Change Me” +4 (This sort of describes me)
  29. Steve Holy – “The Hunger” +2
  30. Aaron Tippin – “People Like Us” 0 (Good sound, but I’m not a fan of the “I’m so country” lyrical template)

The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music: +56

As always, if you have any questions as to why I gave a song a certain grade feel free to ask me. Also, let me know what you guys think of the chart in the comments!

24 thoughts on “The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music [March 2001]

  1. Ron October 21, 2016 / 11:11 am

    I love seeing such a diverse chart and so many female artists represented. I listened to country alot during the late 90s/early 2000s so I remember most if not all these songs. The Pam Tillis one doesn’t ring a bell.
    i didn’t mind the Faith Hill song but definitely not one of her more memorable ones and that is probably my fave Keith Urban song


  2. Stew October 21, 2016 / 11:40 am

    The Garth Brooks song is a good one of his in my opinion!


    • Zackary Kephart October 21, 2016 / 1:04 pm

      I could bet it is. Since I can’t hear it though, I can’t grade it. So at 0, it’s not helping or hurting the Pulse. I’d grade it if I could 🙂


  3. Justin W Adams October 21, 2016 / 12:06 pm

    Right Where I Need to be is badass.

    Wild Horses is a great song. It was off one of his older albums but released it as a single a decade later.

    Don’t Happen Twice is one of my favorite Chesney songs,

    And even though George Strait will always be my favorite artist, If You Can do anything else is not one of his better songs


  4. OlaR October 21, 2016 / 12:49 pm

    “I am Rosemary’s granddaughter
    The spitting image of my father
    And when the day is done my momma’s still my biggest fan
    Sometimes I’m clueless and I’m clumsy
    But I’ve got friends that love me
    And they know just where I stand
    It’s all a part of me
    And that’s who I am”
    (Jessica Andrews – “Who I Am” / Lyrics according to

    Teeny-soap country. One hit wonder. Jessica Andrews is still making music (Album: Ain’t That Life – released in Jan. 2016)

    +4: “There Is No Arizona”, “Right Where I Need To Be” & “Ashes By Now”
    All other songs are between +3 & 0. “Worst” tracks: “People Like Us” & “Mrs. Steven Rudy”


  5. Amanda October 21, 2016 / 1:31 pm

    My chart:

    1. One More Day: +2
    2. Who I Am: +3 (this song was one of my favorites when I was a little girl)
    3. You Shouldn’t Kiss Me Like This: +1 (personally, I’m not a huge fan of this song. But it’s not a bad song.)
    4. It’s a Great Day to Be Alive: +3
    5. If My Heart Had Wings: -1 (way too cheesy and overproduced) [worst song]
    6. But for the Grace of God: +3 (great song but not the best song here, in my personal opinion. That’s coming up later in the chart 😉 )
    7. Ain’t Nothing ‘Bout You: +1 (I totally agree with Zack on this song)
    8. Don’t Happen Twice: +2
    9. She Misses Him: +3
    10. If I Fall You’re Going Down With Me: +3
    11. It’s My Time: +2
    12. Pour Me: +2
    13. Grown Men Don’t Cry: +3
    14. Ashes By Now: +4 (I’m actually considering singing this song the next time I get the chance to sing. I’m a huge Lee Ann Womack fan.)
    15. Lucky 4 You: +2 (guilty pleasure)
    16. Right Where I Need to Be: +4 [best song] (this is a great song. Of course, I may be a little biased. 😉 any way you slice it, however, it’s a great country song. I love the energy and the instrumentation. And that video, hell yes. Gary Allan performing in a tight black t-shirt, black jeans, boots, and a black cowboy hat? Yum. 😉 anyways, back to the chart… 😉 )
    17. Move On: 0
    18. There Is No Arizona: +3 (A bit on the pop side but super-cool song.)
    19. Mrs. Stephen Rudy: -1 (yes, it’s catchy. Catchy to the point where it gets stuck in your head all day and annoys the shit out of you. And it is super creepy. The narrator reminds me of this guy in one of my literature classes I’m taking this semester.)
    20. Burn: +2
    21. Rose Bouquet: +2
    22. If You Can Do Anything Else: +3
    23. Please: 0
    24. Wild Horses: +3 (actually one of my personal favorite Garth songs, the fiddle sounds heavenly here.)
    25. The Last Thing On My Mind: +4 (I almost forgot that Patty released this song as a single. It’s a great song and probably one of my favorites on this chart.)
    26. I Could Not Ask For More: +2
    27. When Somebody Loves You: +3
    28. She Couldn’t Change Me: +3 (I have a special place in my heart for the music of Montgomery Gentry. So many of their songs remind me of my childhood and special people and places in my life. When I was about four years old (around the time this song was popular), my mama and I used to love riding around and singing along with this song.)
    29. The Hunger: +1
    30. People Like Us: +1 (decent song, but William Michael Morgan’s “People Like Me” is still better.)


  6. Amanda October 21, 2016 / 1:36 pm

    Best song and worst song were both difficult to choose between. Best song was a three-way tie between Patty Loveless, Lee Ann Womack, and Gary Allan, but I gave the slight edge to Gary Allan. Worst song was hard to determine as well: either Mark McGuinn’s annoying catchiness and creep factor to Faith Hill’s overproduced all-over-the-placeness (is that even a word?). I eventually went with Faith Hill because Mrs. Stephen Rudy has its place and can be fun to sing along to.


  7. Bob Loblaw October 21, 2016 / 2:19 pm

    “Lucky 4 You (Tonight I’m Just Me)” is a VERY 2001 song title 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derek Hudgin October 21, 2016 / 5:53 pm

      It is! And it doesn’t even fit in with the fact that the rest of chorus uses numbers to describe people since ‘4’ isn’t personified in the song.

      BTW, where’s the Bob Loblaw Law Blog?


      • Bob Loblaw October 24, 2016 / 10:26 am

        Working on my next post ‘Bob Loblaw Lobs Law Bomb’


  8. Jess October 21, 2016 / 4:44 pm

    I haven’t been following for the past few weeks…… did I miss something or did you stop posting The Hodgepodge each week? Was probably one of my favorite parts of this blog. All these past n present charts are great n all, but I really value your opinions and input into what’s going on in the industry. Also was a great source for new and upcoming music that would be out soon.

    Hope to see it again soon.


    • Frank the Tank October 26, 2016 / 12:54 am

      I’ve been wondering about this as well. I enjoy all the articles, but I particularly enjoy the Hodgepodge.


    • Josh Schott October 26, 2016 / 11:37 am

      The Hodgepodge is on a break as I catch up on album releases to review. It’s probably going on break for the rest of the year because even if I didn’t have to catch up on reviews, I really don’t have anything to say right now. Not a lot happening in the industry at the moment, as this is sort of a dead period, other than the CMAs taking place next week.


      • Raymond October 26, 2016 / 11:52 am

        Will you talk or at least watch the CMA Awards?


        • Josh Schott October 26, 2016 / 11:54 am

          See comment in the Current Pulse.


          • Raymond October 26, 2016 / 12:17 pm

            I noticed that literally after I posted this comment, sorry Josh!


          • Josh Schott October 26, 2016 / 12:20 pm

            No problem


  9. petemarshall724 October 21, 2016 / 7:18 pm

    Mrs. Stephen Rudy is the worst song on there -5 and Diamond Rio “One more Day is best song +5.


  10. petemarshall724 October 21, 2016 / 8:38 pm

    Lee Ann Womack, Patty Loveless, and Gary Allan have excellent songs and Diamond rio is the best in my opninion, but Faith Hill was okay but not her best but Mark McGuinn song is annoying and stupid!


  11. Tanner October 22, 2016 / 9:35 am

    I found Garth Brooks songs on Try that in the future


  12. Jordan October 22, 2016 / 7:55 pm

    I would love to read what you think about some of the charts in 2009. To me, that was the transition point from solid 2000s country to the trash we have today.


  13. jmartin103 October 22, 2016 / 9:49 pm

    Overall, a pretty great chart. But, I have to say that the best song here is Tim Rushlow’s “She Misses Him”. Truly a beautiful song about a woman whose husband has Alzheimer’s, and it does a great job of showing emotion, especially from the woman’s point of view, missing how her husband used to be before he got this awful disease. Worst song is “Mrs. Steven Rudy”. Talk about creepy!


  14. Frank the Tank October 26, 2016 / 12:52 am

    I’ve always thought that “Mrs Steven Rudy” was awful and the video was incredibly annoying as well.

    “Ashes by Now” would be a +4 for me and maybe the best song. “Right Where I Need to Be” is also very good.

    For some reason, I can’t recall the Patty Loveless song, but I’ve no doubt that it’s excellent.

    “She Couldn’t Change Me” is the only Montgomery Gentry song that I like.


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