The Endless Music Odyssey, Vol. 3 — Freddie Gibbs, Eric Church, Khruangbin & More!

Hey y’all! There are several albums I’ve been wanting to talk about since taking my break, so no fancy introduction is needed. Let’s talk about some albums….

Freddie Gibbs & The AlchemistAlfredo

Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist both solidify themselves as two of the most consistent artists in hip-hop with Alfredo. Gibbs’ rapping and flow are flawless while The Alchemist’s beats are smooth and his sampling is completely on point throughout. Opener “1985” may be the best opening song to an album I’ve heard in 2020, as the blaring guitar and Gibbs’ relentless attack approach to the lyrics makes me want to hit play over and over again. The lyricism is what you come to expect from Gibbs, which is not a knock at all, as he raps about cocaine, the dark sides of the street and mixes in his trademark dark humor. He also has more social commentary, as on “Scottie Beam” he ominously raps his execution may be televised, highlighting the systemic racism in the country. All the features on this album fit well, especially Rick Ross and Benny The Butcher (I definitely want to hear Gibbs and Butcher together again). This is a pretty great project and for many artists this would be amongst their best, but Gibbs sets the bar pretty damn high with previous projects like Piñata and Bandana. So I guess you could call this 9/10 album slightly down for Gibbs as hilarious as this is to type. But seriously don’t sleep on this album, as it’s one of the best you’ll hear out of hip hop in 2020. Light 9/10

Run The JewelsRTJ4

Unfortunately this album just flat out bored me and I just lose more interest in it as I delve deeper into it. It certainly has nothing to do with the messages, as they’re timely, important and should be heard. But every other aspect of this project feels like I’ve heard it before from the duo and it was better. While I rated Run the Jewels 3 quite highly, admittedly it didn’t hold up as well as time has passed. I thought it was due to the runtime. But now after listening to RTJ4, the issue is clearer. The delivery, approach and style of the lyrics have simply waned for Killer Mike and El-P. On Run the Jewels 3 they covered over a lot of this because it wasn’t as prevalent like it is on this album and quite frankly the beats were much more interesting and varied on Run the Jewels 3 (there’s not a single beat on this album that comes as close to being as interesting or cool as “Panther Like a Panther”). 

Not to mention the idea well feels empty on this album. Nothing feels new, it all feels the same and maybe that’s the point on how injustice in this country never changes, which is the reoccurring message of this album. But I feel like this album is all about great messages and the songs themselves are an afterthought. As I’ve continually said, great messages won’t be heard if the songs themselves aren’t interesting or good. Run the Jewels 3 managed to deliver timely messages behind great music. And this album seems to forget the latter. That’s largely the conclusion I come away from with this album: the music just isn’t as interesting like the previous three records. Light 5/10

Diplo/Thomas WesleyChapter 1: Snake Oil

I’ve talked about before how electronic and country will eventually be fused together more and how it will become a more prevalent sub genre (for better or worse). So I was actually quite excited to hear that famous electronic producer Diplo would be trying his hand at a country album. The ultimate result? Very hit and miss for me. What works: “Heartless” with Morgan Wallen is surprisingly something I’ve come to enjoy. The delivery of Wallen gives the song an infectious urgency and the drum machines are actually utilized in a way that makes the song enjoyably catchy (so many from the pop genre completely bastardize drum machines and make them a torturous ear worm). The unlikely team up of Thomas Rhett and Young Thug on “Dance with Me” is fun, although I would have liked to have heard more from Young Thug. “On Me” may be my favorite though, as Noah Cyrus delivers a memorable vocal performance. “So Long” and “Heartbreak” are solid tracks too.

What doesn’t work: The Jonas Brothers are good pop artists but don’t belong anywhere near a country record and “Lonely” doesn’t feel country in the slightest. “Do Si Do” has a good idea on paper but it’s bone dry and boring. Julia Michaels continues to prove she’s one of the most boring artists in music today with her appearances (her voice is the music equivalent of paint drying). “Hometown” is your standard generic, mediocre pop country that I’m not shocked Zac Brown signed on to take part in (it would fit nicely on his garbage solo album). And the inclusion of Diplo’s remix of “Old Town Road” is well…Diplo says it best in his interview with Apple Music: “We just added this on because it was on Columbia.” Hey, at least he’s honest! And I appreciate that he admits this album is a bit incoherent (because it definitely is). So while this is by no means a great album, it shows flashes of potential and makes me want to hear what he has in store for the next album. Light 5/10

Gone WestCanyons

You know I had some hope for this group to be a fresh sound in the mainstream realm. Instead I’m not entirely convinced this isn’t Gloriana but they somehow added former pop star Colbie Cailat as the new front-woman. This is just dull, generic pop country album in a sea full of so many albums that already sound like this. Don’t bother with this/10

Jimmy BuffettLife On The Flip Side

Well I’m not sure what I expected listening to this. It’s a Jimmy Buffett album. If you want light beach music this is it. I imagine this is best enjoyed while drinking a few on the beach. It’s five o’clock somewhere/10

Gabby BarrettGoldmine

While lead single “I Hope” is an enjoyable revenge ballad in the same vein as Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats,” the rest of this album is unfortunately your average pop country mediocrity. Barrett really doesn’t establish a unique sound or identity with this album and instead teeters between bad Underwood impersonation and radio bait. Solid 3/10

Blackberry SmokeLive From Capricorn Sound Studios EP

As always an enjoyable listen from one of the best rock bands in music today. Although I will admit I hoped to enjoy this more. While I enjoy the guest vocals of Jimmy Hall, I would have liked to have heard more from Charlie Starr on lead vocals. But it’s a minor nitpick on an otherwise pretty good EP. Light 8/10

Hill CountrySelf-titled

I’ve seen a lot of buzz about this album and Luke Combs even gave this group a shoutout. So I had to check this out even though I found Zane Williams’ solo output to be hit and miss in the past. Ultimately this is a country album that does nothing spectacularly but it does nothing wrong either. It’s an enjoyable mixture of country, roots rock and bluegrass that has something for all types of country listeners. It’s breezy and accessible music that represents a solid start for this new group. 7/10

Khruangbin Mordechai

I find it difficult to get into instrumental music most of the time and even harder to review it. But Khruangbin is easily an exception to this rule. I had never heard of this group until their excellent collaborative Texas Sun EP with Leon Bridges earlier this year. I’m so glad I found them, as I’ve now listened to their entire catalog after hearing the EP. Even better that they’ve dropped even more music with new album Mordechai. While I wouldn’t put it at the level of their great, southwestern-flavored 2018 album Con Todo El Mundo, this album is another pretty damn good record from the trio. This album centers mostly around a groovy, psychedelic funk sound with tinges of disco and jam pop mixed in at times. The band also surprises by mixing in some vocals on this record and they actually work pretty well. Most importantly they don’t detract from the hypnotic sounds of the band, which will always be the focus and strength of the group. If I had to pick my favorites they would be “Time (You and I)”, “Father Bird, Mother Bird” and album closer “Shida.” The latter is probably the top song for me, as the bass line is simply flawless. And if you’re looking for a relaxing album, you will be hard-pressed to find one more chill than this one in 2020. Solid 9/10

Eric Church — “Stick That in Your Country Song”

Finally I have to of course comment on the lead single for Eric Church’s upcoming new album, “Stick That in Your Country Song.” Without a doubt Church has been one of the best artists in country music for the last several years, as both Mr. Misunderstood and Desperate Man were fantastic albums. So he easily has the clout and respect to drop a song that’s basically calling out lazy songwriting and pandering bullshit being released by all kinds of artists in the industry. Church has been a bit more understated and introspective on his last two albums, so he was due to bring back the fiery, passionate side. 

The results are pretty good, as Church brings an infectious energy in all aspects. The lyrics are as subtle as a hammer to the head and get the point across pretty well, while also bringing attention to what needs to be heard more in country songs. It’s interesting how Church did not have a hand in writing this song, as this is not only a rarity for him, but this song also fits him perfectly. While I’m not fond of country songs that focus on if something is country or not these days, this song is not really about being country, but rather demanding more from his fellow artists. And he’s absolutely right to call them out for this. Once again I’m excited for another Church album!

The Current Pulse of Texas Country Radio [February 6]

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Each week we take a look the Texas Regional Radio Report chart and grade the top 30 songs. 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 current top thirty country songs, with the highest possible score being a +150 and the lowest possible score being a -150. How do I determine the score for the song? The review grade it received on the site or myself will determine this. If it hasn’t been reviewed yet, then I will make the call. The grade it has received or 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 current state of Texas country radio and determine if it’s improving or getting worse. Let’s take a look at this week’s top thirty…

  1. Aaron Watson – “Outta Style” (Up 2)
  2. Curtis Grimes – “From Where I’m Standing” 
  3. Randy Rogers Band – “Tequila Eyes” +3 (Up 2)
  4. Josh Abbott Band – “Live It While You Got It” (Up 2)
  5. Sundance Head – “13 Years” +2 (Up 3)
  6. Kevin Fowler – “Texas Forever” (Down 2)
  7. Mike Ryan – “New Hometown” (Up 5)
  8. William Clark Green – “Old Fashioned” -2 (Down 1)
  9. Jamie Richards – “Second Hand Smoke” +1 (Down 8)
  10. Matt Kimbrow – “Homesick Crazy” +2 (Up 1)
  11. Deryl Dodd – “The Ride” +2 (Down 1)
  12. Dalton Domino – “July” +2 (Up 1)
  13. Turnpike Troubadours – “Come As You Are” +5 (Up 1) [Best Song]
  14. Randall King (feat. Cleto Cordero) – “Hard Livin’ Illene” +3 (Up 2)
  15. Brandon Jenkins – “Shadow of a Broken Heart” (Up 2)
  16. Shane Smith & The Saints – “Runaway Train” +3 (Down 1)
  17. Reckless Kelly – “Forever Today” +3 (Up 5)
  18. Josh Ward – “Broken Heart” +3 (Down 9)
  19. TJ Broscoff – “Should’ve Been Mine” -1 
  20. Mark McKinney – “Bridge” +2 
  21. Casey Donahew Band – “Kiss Me” -3 (Down 3) [Worst Song]
  22. Junior Gordon – “I’m Breaking In” -1 (Down 1)
  23. Kimberly Dunn – “Traffic” +1 (Up 3)
  24. Jody Booth – “They Found Me in a Honky Tonk” +3 
  25. Adrian Johnston – “Rather Have You” +2 (Up 3)
  26. Jerrett Zoch and The OSR Band – “Still Not Over You” (New to Top 30)
  27. Max Stalling – “Nights Pay in My Boot” +2 (Down 2)
  28. Bri Bagwell – “Beer Pressure” +1 (New to Top 30)
  29. Dustin Sonnier – “People Like Me” +2 
  30. Blue Water Highway Band – “Speaking of the Devil” +3

The Current Pulse of Texas Country Radio: +40

The pulse improves one spot this week. 

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Zane Williams – “Bringin’ Country Back” -1
  • Luke Robinson – “She Drinks Alone” +1

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Jerrett Zoch and The OSR Band – “Still Not Over You”
    • I wasn’t a big fan of this group’s last single “Everything I Need,” so I’m hoping for better with “Still Not Over You.” Right away we’re introduced to some twangy steel guitar, which is great. It’s a heartbreak ballad about a man not being able to get over his ex. On paper it sounds good, but upon repeated listens it turns out to be a sleepy song to my ears. It just lacks the emotional punch to really get the lyrics across. As I said the instrumentation is nice, but the song itself doesn’t do enough to make me remember it. 5/10
  • Bri Bagwell – “Beer Pressure”
    • Bri Bagwell is one of the bigger names amongst women artists in the Texas country scene, who first came onto people’s radars when she finished in the top ten of CMT’s music reality show Next Superstar. Ever since she’s formed a band called The Banded and stuck to the Texas scene, as she prides herself on her independent status and relentless touring schedule. She has a few albums under her belt and is a veteran of the scene despite her young age. Her new single is “Beer Pressure,” which as you can guess from the title is a play on peer pressure except with beer. Despite the telegraphed theme, it’s a relatively fun song about letting loose and enjoying a few drinks. It’s not very deep and isn’t trying to be; it’s just a laid back song and I enjoy it for what it is. 6/10

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Jerrett Zoch and The OSR Band – “Still Not Over You” – Up 6 from #32 to #26
  • Mike Ryan – “New Hometown” – Up 5 from #12 to #7
  • Reckless Kelly – “Forever Today” – Up 5 from #22 to #17

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Zane Williams – “Bringin’ Country Back” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Luke Robinson – “She Drinks Alone” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Josh Ward – “Broken Heart” – Down 9 from #9 to #18

Songs I See Leaving The Top 30 Soon:

  • Josh Ward – “Broken Heart”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Blue Water Highway Band – “Speaking of the Devil”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Robert Ray – “Dream of You”
  • Stephanie Urbina Jones – “Vamonos! (Let’s Go)”
  • Dirty River Boys – “Simplified”
  • The Buffalo Ruckus – “Hills and Valleys”

 

As always be sure to weigh in on this week’s Pulse in the comments below. 

The Current Pulse of Texas Country Radio [February 2]

texas-flag

Each week we take a look the Texas Regional Radio Report chart and grade the top 30 songs. 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 current top thirty country songs, with the highest possible score being a +150 and the lowest possible score being a -150. How do I determine the score for the song? The review grade it received on the site or myself will determine this. If it hasn’t been reviewed yet, then I will make the call. The grade it has received or 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 current state of Texas country radio and determine if it’s improving or getting worse. Let’s take a look at this week’s top thirty…

  1. Jamie Richards – “Second Hand Smoke” +1 (Up 3)
  2. Curtis Grimes – “From Where I’m Standing” (Up 3)
  3. Aaron Watson – “Outta Style” 
  4. Kevin Fowler – “Texas Forever” (Down 3)
  5. Randy Rogers Band – “Tequila Eyes” +3 (Up 2)
  6. Josh Abbott Band – “Live It While You Got It” (Up 2)
  7. William Clark Green – “Old Fashioned” -2 (Down 1)
  8. Sundance Head – “13 Years” +2 (Up 1)
  9. Josh Ward – “Broken Heart” +3 (Down 7)
  10. Deryl Dodd – “The Ride” +2  
  11. Matt Kimbrow – “Homesick Crazy” +2 (Up 1)
  12. Mike Ryan – “New Hometown” (Down 1)
  13. Dalton Domino – “July” +2 
  14. Turnpike Troubadours – “Come As You Are” +5 [Best Song]
  15. Shane Smith & The Saints – “Runaway Train” +3 (Up 3)
  16. Randall King (feat. Cleto Cordero) – “Hard Livin’ Illene” +3 
  17. Brandon Jenkins – “Shadow of a Broken Heart” (Up 2)
  18. Casey Donahew Band – “Kiss Me” -3 (Down 3) [Worst Song]
  19. TJ Broscoff – “Should’ve Been Mine” -1 (Up 1)
  20. Mark McKinney – “Bridge” +2 (Up 3)
  21. Junior Gordon – “I’m Breaking In” -1 (Up 1)
  22. Reckless Kelly – “Forever Today” +3 (Up 2)
  23. Zane Williams – “Bringin’ Country Back” -1 (Down 2)
  24. Jody Booth – “They Found Me in a Honky Tonk” +3 (Up 3)
  25. Max Stalling – “Nights Pay in My Boot” +2 (Up 4)
  26. Kimberly Dunn – “Traffic” +1 (Up 2)
  27. Luke Robinson – “She Drinks Alone” +1 (Down 1)
  28. Adrian Johnston – “Rather Have You” +2 (New to Top 30)
  29. Dustin Sonnier – “People Like Me” +2 (New to Top 30)
  30. Blue Water Highway Band – “Speaking of the Devil” +3

The Current Pulse of Texas Country Radio: +39

The pulse improves four spots this week. 

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Kaleb McIntire – “Find Another Baby” -2
  • Jake Worthington – “How Do You Honky Tonk” +1

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Adrian Johnston – “Rather Have You”
    • It’s about damn time we got another woman artist in the top 30. I mean there’s plenty of quality music, but I don’t want a total sausage party. Johnston is a fairly new artist from Dallas who is self-described as sassy, citing the likes Bonnie Raitt, Miranda Lambert and Stevie Nicks as influences. She’s released one EP and four singles so far, including her newest one “Rather Have You.” The sassiness shines through, as Johnston sings of wanting the wilder side of a relationship. I can definitely hear the Raitt influence in her voice and it’s quite nice. The fiddle play really compliments the lyrics well too. All-around a solid song and I definitely want to hear more from Johnston, as her potential intrigues me. 7/10
  • Dustin Sonnier – “People Like Me”
    • Hailing from Vatican, Louisiana Dustin Sonnier is an up and comer in the Texas scene. He’s been making music from an early age and has been relentlessly touring across Texas. So far he’s released an album, an EP and a few singles. His newest is “People Like Me.” Right away I enjoy the instrumentation, a blend of guitars, fiddle and piano. The song itself is about a honky tonk man taking responsibility for his own behavior, saying it’s people like him that give him a bad name. It’s a little repetitive, but it’s fun and I enjoy Sonnier’s vocal performance. 7/10

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Dustin Sonnier – “People Like Me” – Up 10 from #39 to #29
  • Adrian Johnston – “Rather Have You” – Up 6 from #34 to #28
  • Max Stalling – “Nights Pay in My Boot” – Up 4 from #29 to #25

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Kaleb McIntire – “Find Another Baby” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Jake Worthington – “How Do You Honky Tonk” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Josh Ward – “Broken Heart” – Down 7 from #2 to #9

Songs I See Leaving The Top 30 Soon:

  • Zane Williams – “Bringin’ Country Back”
  • Luke Robinson – “She Drinks Alone”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Blue Water Highway Band – “Speaking of the Devil”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Bri Bagwell – “Beer Pressure”
  • Jerrett Zoch & The OSR Band – “Still Not Over You”
  • Robert Ray – “Dream of You”
  • Stephanie Urbina Jones – “Vamonos! (Let’s Go)”

 

As always be sure to weigh in on this week’s Pulse in the comments below. 

The Current Pulse of Texas Country Radio [January 24]

texas-flag

Each week we take a look the Texas Regional Radio Report chart and grade the top 30 songs. 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 current top thirty country songs, with the highest possible score being a +150 and the lowest possible score being a -150. How do I determine the score for the song? The review grade it received on the site or myself will determine this. If it hasn’t been reviewed yet, then I will make the call. The grade it has received or 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 current state of Texas country radio and determine if it’s improving or getting worse. Let’s take a look at this week’s top thirty…

  1. Kevin Fowler – “Texas Forever”
  2. Josh Ward – “Broken Heart” +3 
  3. Aaron Watson – “Outta Style” (Up 3)
  4. Jamie Richards – “Second Hand Smoke” +1 (Up 1)
  5. Curtis Grimes – “From Where I’m Standing” (Down 2)
  6. William Clark Green – “Old Fashioned” -2 (Down 2)
  7. Randy Rogers Band – “Tequila Eyes” +3 
  8. Josh Abbott Band – “Live It While You Got It” 
  9. Sundance Head – “13 Years” +2 (Up 1)
  10. Deryl Dodd – “The Ride” +2 (Down 1)
  11. Mike Ryan – “New Hometown” (Up 3) 
  12. Matt Kimbrow – “Homesick Crazy” +2 
  13. Dalton Domino – “July” +2 (Up 3)
  14. Turnpike Troubadours – “Come As You Are” +5 (Up 3) [Best Song]
  15. Casey Donahew Band – “Kiss Me” -3 (Down 4) [Worst Song]
  16. Randall King (feat. Cleto Cordero) – “Hard Livin’ Illene” +3 (Up 7)
  17. Kaleb McIntire – “Find Another Baby” -2 (Down 2)
  18. Shane Smith & The Saints – “Runaway Train” +3 (Up 2)
  19. Brandon Jenkins – “Shadow of a Broken Heart” (Down 1)
  20. TJ Broscoff – “Should’ve Been Mine” -1 (Up 4)
  21. Zane Williams – “Bringin’ Country Back” -1 (Down 8)
  22. Junior Gordon – “I’m Breaking In” -1 (Up 5)
  23. Mark McKinney – “Bridge” +2 (Up 5)
  24. Reckless Kelly – “Forever Today” +3 (New to Top 30)
  25. Jake Worthington – “How Do You Honky Tonk” +1 (Down 4)
  26. Luke Robinson – “She Drinks Alone” +1 (Down 1)
  27. Jody Booth – “They Found Me in a Honky Tonk” +3 (Up 3)
  28. Kimberly Dunn – “Traffic” +1 (Down 2)
  29. Max Stalling – “Nights Pay in My Boot” +2 (New to Top 30)
  30. Blue Water Highway Band – “Speaking of the Devil” +3 (Down 1)

The Current Pulse of Texas Country Radio: +34

The pulse improves ten spots this week!  

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Sam Riggs – “High on a Country Song” -3
  • Jon Wolfe – “Boots on a Dance Floor” -2

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Reckless Kelly – “Forever Today”
    • One of the best in the Texas scene return with new single “Forever Today.” The song is about a man and woman continuing to want each other, yet never being able to come together. Things just never work out like their hearts want them to work out. The heartache and desperation reflected in the vocals really make the lyrics standout well. The sparse instrumentation also really allows the lyrics to be front and center. Once again the Braun brothers deliver a really good single to Texas radio. 8/10
  • Max Stalling – “Nights Pay in My Boot”
    • Max Stalling is a veteran country artist of the Texas scene. He says he never expected to make it in music until he started picking up the guitar in graduate school. Ever since he’s made quite a lengthy career out of it. Stalling cites stalwarts such as Townes, Guy and Lyle Lovett among his biggest influences. With that in mind I dove into his new single “Nights Pay in My Boot” and based off the title I didn’t expect much. But it’s actually quite solid. While a tad cliché the song is about making your own way and working hard for what you want and how this lifestyle has served him well throughout various points in his life. While it’s not a groundbreaking theme, Stalling sings it with gusto and there’s some nice fiddle play in the bridge. It doesn’t blow me away, but it’s pretty good. 7/10

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Reckless Kelly – “Forever Today” – Up 8 from #32 to #24
  • Randall King (feat. Cleto Cordero) – “Hard Livin’ Illene” – Up 7 from #23 to #16
  • Mark McKinney – “Bridge” – Up 5 from #28 to #23

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Sam Riggs – “High on a Country Song” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Jon Wolfe – “Boots on a Dance Floor” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Zane Williams – “Bringin’ Country Back” – Down 8 from #13 to #21

Songs I See Leaving The Top 30 Soon:

  • Zane Williams – “Bringin’ Country Back”
  • Jake Worthington – “How Do You Honky Tonk”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Luke Robinson – “She Drinks Alone”
  • Kimberly Dunn – “Traffic”
  • Blue Water Highway Band – “Speaking of the Devil”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Robert Ray – “Dream of You”
  • Bri Bagwell – “Beer Pressure”
  • Jerrett Zoch & The OSR Band – “Still Not Over You”
  • Dustin Sonnier – “People Like Me”

 

As always be sure to weigh in on this week’s Pulse in the comments below. 

The Current Pulse of Texas Country Radio [January 16]

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Each week we take a look the Texas Regional Radio Report chart and grade the top 30 songs. 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 current top thirty country songs, with the highest possible score being a +150 and the lowest possible score being a -150. How do I determine the score for the song? The review grade it received on the site or myself will determine this. If it hasn’t been reviewed yet, then I will make the call. The grade it has received or 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 current state of Texas country radio and determine if it’s improving or getting worse. Let’s take a look at this week’s top thirty…

  1. Kevin Fowler – “Texas Forever” (Up 1)
  2. Josh Ward – “Broken Heart” +3 (Down 1)
  3. Curtis Grimes – “From Where I’m Standing” 
  4. William Clark Green – “Old Fashioned” -2 (Up 1)
  5. Jamie Richards – “Second Hand Smoke” +1 (Down 1)
  6. Aaron Watson – “Outta Style” 
  7. Randy Rogers Band – “Tequila Eyes” +3 (Up 2)
  8. Josh Abbott Band – “Live It While You Got It” (Up 3)
  9. Deryl Dodd – “The Ride” +2 (Up 1)
  10. Sundance Head – “13 Years” +2 (Up 4)
  11. Casey Donahew Band – “Kiss Me” -3 (Down 4)
  12. Matt Kimbrow – “Homesick Crazy” +2 (Up 7)
  13. Zane Williams – “Bringin’ Country Back” -1 (Down 5)
  14. Mike Ryan – “New Hometown” (Up 2) 
  15. Kaleb McIntire – “Find Another Baby” -2 (Up 3)
  16. Dalton Domino – “July” +2 (Up 5)
  17. Turnpike Troubadours – “Come As You Are” +5 (Up 8) [Best Song]
  18. Brandon Jenkins – “Shadow of a Broken Heart” (Up 4)
  19. Sam Riggs – “High On A Country Song” -3 (Down 7) [Worst Song]
  20. Shane Smith & The Saints – “Runaway Train” +3 (Up 3)
  21. Jake Worthington – “How Do You Honky Tonk” +1 (Down 8)
  22. Jon Wolfe – “Boots on a Dance Floor” -2 (Down 7)
  23. Randall King (feat. Cleto Cordero) – “Hard Livin’ Illene” +3 (Up 4)
  24. TJ Broscoff – “Should’ve Been Mine” -1 (Up 5)
  25. Luke Robinson – “She Drinks Alone” +1 (Up 1)
  26. Kimberly Dunn – “Traffic” +1 (Up 2)
  27. Junior Gordon – “I’m Breaking In” -1 (Up 3)
  28. Mark McKinney – “Bridge” +2 (New to Top 30)
  29. Blue Water Highway Band – “Speaking of the Devil” +3 (New to Top 30)
  30. Jody Booth – “They Found Me in a Honky Tonk” +3 (New to Top 30)

The Current Pulse of Texas Country Radio: +24

The pulse improves five spots this week. 

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Roger Creager – “Wanna Wanna Bar” -3
  • Troy Cartwright – “Busted” +3
  • Flatland Cavalry – “One I Want” +3

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Mark McKinney – “Bridge”
    • Mark McKinney is a veteran artist of the Texas country scene, with multiple albums under his belt. This single is off his new upcoming album World in Between on February 3. It’s a song about the fallout of a broken relationship, with the man claiming both sides were the fault of it ending. But now she’s back to throw more matches on the bridge they burnt. While the song runs a little too long, the lyrics are solid and there’s a large dose of fiddle throughout the song that I enjoy. All in all a solid breakup song. 7/10
  • Blue Water Highway Band – “Speaking of the Devil”
    • This is the first time I’ve come across this group. It was formed by two longtime friends Zack Kibodeaux and Greg Essington. Both studied music in college, with Zack convincing Greg to come back to Texas from New York for his crazy idea of a band he had come up with while writing songs. Soon after Catherine Smith would join as a vocalist, Kyle James Smith as a bassist and Zach Landreneau as a multi-instrumentalist. They’re named after the highway that runs near the founders’ hometown of Jackson Lake, Texas. They’re self-described as a three-part harmonies Americana group, which certainly intrigued me. After listening to this single I’m even more interested. They aren’t kidding about the three-part harmonies, as it’s powerfully fantastic. Their sound is so much different and more unique than the usual on this chart. It’s fun, infectious and dare I say soulful. I can’t wait to hear more from this group. 8/10
  • Jody Booth – “They Found Me in a Honky Tonk”
    • Jody Booth is another name that’s new to me. It appears he’s fairly new based on his discography, as he only released one album six years ago. But on his site he boasts of writing and performing with the biggest names in the Texas scene, as well as opening for legends like Willie and Haggard. So I really wasn’t sure what to expect. What you get is some pretty damn good country music. The song is about being a young boy and wondering off from his parent, only for them to find him in a honky tonk listening to country music from the jukebox. The song continues on about how you can always find him a honky tonk listening to country music, even grown up. There’s plenty of fiddle and steel guitar in this catchy and fun song too. Booth makes quite a good first impression with this single. 8/10

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Turnpike Troubadours – “Come As You Are” – Up 8 from #25 to #17
  • Mark McKinney – “Bridge” – Up 8 from #36 to #28
  • Matt Kimbrow – “Homesick Crazy” – Up 7 from #19 to #12

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Roger Creager – “Wanna Wanna Bar” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Troy Cartwright – “Busted” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Flatland Cavalry – “One I Want” – Out of the Top 30 & Done

Songs I See Leaving The Top 30 Soon:

  • Casey Donahew Band – “Kiss Me”
  • Zane Williams – “Bringin’ Country Back”
  • Jake Worthington – “How Do You Honky Tonk”
  • Sam Riggs – “High on a Country Song”
  • Jon Wolfe – “Boots on a Dance Floor”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Luke Robinson – “She Drinks Alone”
  • TJ Broscoff – “Should’ve Been Mine”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Reckless Kelly – “Forever Today”
  • Max Stalling – “Nights Pay in My Boot”
  • Adrian Johnston – “Rather Have You”
  • Bri Bagwell – “Beer Pressure”

 

As always be sure to weigh in on this week’s Pulse in the comments below.