The Current Pulse of Texas Country Radio [January 9]

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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…

(Note: This week the movement in parenthesis is based on previous Current Pulse of Texas Country Radio spot)

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

The Current Pulse of Texas Country Radio: +19

The pulse stays the same this week. (After all of this movement?!)

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Whiskey Myers – “Lightning Bugs and Rain” +2
  • Jesse Raub Jr. – “She Can Forgive” +3
  • Pat Waters – “Like A Radio” 0
  • Case Hardin – “Sign of a Fool” +3
  • Reckless Kelly – “How Can You Love Him (You Don’t Even Like Him)” +2
  • Jerrett Zoch and The OSR Band – “Everything I Need” 0

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Sundance Head – “13 Years”
    • Funny name, right? That’s what I first thought too. Sundance is the most recent winner of The Voice, but he isn’t really new as he’s released a few albums independently before he went on the show. His most recent was in 2015, titled Soul Country, where this single came from. First I have to say it makes a ton of sense to see him pop up here as his newfound fame surely brings ears to Texas radio and at the same time keeps Sundance’s name out there. One thing I’ve noticed about Voice contestants is their inability to keep their name out there after the show ends, so props to Head for having some foresight. As for this single it’s a heartbreak ballad about a marriage collapsing after 13 years. Head’s vocals aren’t the most impressive, but it’s good enough here to get behind the song. There’s nothing spectacular about this, but it’s solid all-around and it’s the kind of song that makes me want to hear more from him. 7/10
  • Matt Kimbrow – “Homesick Crazy”
    • Kimbrow is an independent artist that has mainly stuck to the Texas/Red Dirt scene for his career and has released a couple of albums. His new single “Homesick Crazy” is from what I’m assuming is a new upcoming album. This is the first time I’ve heard him and I gotta say this is a good first impression. It’s a heartbreak song about a man who desperately missed home with the one he loves the most. He explains how he’s experiences so many things and changed many ways since he’s saw her last. But despite all of this he still holds onto her memory of her and is aching to see her again. Accompanied by some nice steel guitar, this is a country love song done right. 7/10
  • Shane Smith & The Saints – “Runaway Train”
    • This is a group I’ve heard a lot of great things about from fellow fans and critics and I’ve been meaning to check out for a while. “Runaway Train” makes me want to go explore them more. The warm, earthy instrumentation instantly draws you into this song. The harmonies are smooth and inviting. The song itself is about a man knowing he was born to run and hit the open road. This isn’t a groundbreaking theme, but the aforementioned instrumentation and harmonies make it work great. This is a song and group you definitely need to hear. 8/10
  • Randall King (feat. Cleto Cordero) – “Hard Livin’ Illene”
    • I remember New Slang Lubbock talking Randall King and his new EP Another Bullet up a lot last year, so it made me go check it out at the time. While we don’t review EPs, if I would have reviewed it I would have given it a high grade and recommendation for sure. So it made me happy to see the best song on it get released a single and better yet it’s solidly in the top 30 after the winter break. King’s deep, gritty voice matches the energetic and honky tonk sound of the song well. Flatland Cavalry frontman Cordero is the perfect guest vocals to compliment it. This song is just flat-out fun and really easy to enjoy. 8/10
  • Kimberly Dunn – “Traffic”
  • Junior Gordon – “I’m Breaking In”
    • Junior Gordon is another name that’s new to me. Looking at his bio on his site, he seems to stick to the Texas country scene. There’s an interesting tidbit about how he sometimes likes combine country and rap, which he calls “C-RAP.” Okay. Not sure to what to make of this, so on to his single “I’m Breaking In.” It’s a sort of redemption song about a man wanting to make up for the past with a woman and winning her back. He vows to break down both the metaphorical walls around her heart and physical walls kind of too (specifically the part about her living in a castle). The latter is a little creepy. It feels like at times Gordon is singing way too loud. I can say the same about the production being overbearing at times. When you get past this bluster, you get an underwhelming song. 4/10

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Aaron Watson – “Outta Style” – Up 17 from #23 to #6
  • Josh Abbott Band – “Live It While You Got It” – Up 15 from #26 to #11
  • Randy Rogers Band – “Tequila Eyes” – Up 11 from #20 to #9

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Whiskey Myers – “Lightning Bugs and Rain” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Jesse Raub Jr. – “She Can Forgive” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Pat Waters – “Like A Radio” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Case Hardin – “Sign of a Fool” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Reckless Kelly – “How Can You Love Him (You Don’t Even Like Him)” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Jerrett Zoch and The OSR Band – “Everything I Need” – Out of the Top 30 & Done

Songs I See Leaving The Top 30 Soon:

  • Sam Riggs – “High on a Country Song”
  • Jon Wolfe – “Boots on a Dance Floor”
  • Flatland Cavalry – “One I Want”
  • TJ Broscoff – “Should’ve Been Mine”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Luke Robinson – “She Drinks Alone”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Blue Water Highway Band – “Speaking of the Devil”
  • Max Stalling – “Nights Pay in My Boot”
  • Jody Booth – “They Found Me in a Honky Tonk”
  • John Hord – “Blame It on the Whiskey”

 

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

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13 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Texas Country Radio [January 9]

  1. Is Sundance’s single the same 13 years as Cody Jinks release off of his album “30”? If so, I doubt he pulls it off. I’ll have to look it up and see.

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  2. Love to see Josh Ward leading the charts. Great artist.

    Have to listen to the Shane Smith & The Saints album. “Runaway Train” is a winner.

    “I’m Breaking In” by Junior Gordon is not the best album tune (Made In The USA). The first half of the album is better. Traditional (leaning) songs. The second half (with “I’m Breaking In”) sounds lost between country & country-rock with “well tested” lyrics (“Riding Dirty”).

    New Album: Surrender Hill – Right Here Right Now / 14 Tracks / Robin Salmon Afton Seekins / Released (01/02)
    Right Here Right Now is the second Surrender Hill album (after Surrender Hill, 2015). Surrender Hill is a duo. Working together since 2014 & living in Arizona. The sound is a mix of country, folk & a little bit of rock. Call it Americana. The duo sounds great together. The songs are self-written & the production…well…the album was produced in Nashville. But there is not one Trashville tune.
    My highlights: the ballad “Big Mama Big Daddy”, “God Don’t Let The Road Disappear”, sung by Robin Salmon (the male part of the duo) & the rocker “Enemy Inside Of Me”. (9/10)

    My Top Tracks Of The Week:
    #01 – Wade Proctor – “Texas Tonight”
    #02 – Ryan Laird – “Love’s Long Gone”
    #03 – Ashleigh Dallas – “Lighthouse”
    #04 – Drew Taylor Band – “Pickup Soul”
    #05 – Lari White feat. Suzy Bogguss – “Wishes”
    #06 – Southern Pacific – “New Shade Of Blue”
    #07 – Norlina – “Through My Radio”
    #08 – Peter McWhirter – “I Will Stand By You”
    #09 – Chase Stapleton – “When The Dust Clears”
    #10 – Liam Kennedy-Clark & Cassi Hilbers – “How’s The World Treating You”
    On The Rise: Aleyce Simmonds – “Defeated”
    On The Rise: Liam Kennedy-Clark & Cassi Hilbers – “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”
    On The Rise: Liam Kennedy-Clark & Cassi Hilbers – “Dancing In The Dark”
    On The Rise: Cottonwood Creek – “Your Favorite Sin”
    On The Rise: Amber Lawrence feat. Catherine Britt & Funny Lumsden – “Cheers To The Girls”

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  3. I liked Sundance on the voice, he has a bit of a similar sound to Chris, but he’s been doing it for a while, so it’s also his sound. Blake is taking him on tour with him this winter, so that should hopefully help him out. It’s a nice move by Blake.

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    • Yeah for all of the asshole things Blake can do and be at times, he has always treated the artists he mentored on the show well and helped them get their career off the ground the best he can. He seems to have a genuine care for them and it’s nice to see.

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      • Music aside (and I find Blake to be the most frustrating artist for me in country today) I feel like Blake has spent the last year mostly stopping being an asshole.

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  4. “There’s an interesting tidbit about how he sometimes likes combine country and rap, which he calls “C-RAP.” ”

    I reckon he wants to be one of them there outlaws. Key words are “wants to be”

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  5. I definitely recommend exploring Shane Smith & the Saints more. I first heard their latest album, Geronimo, a little over a year ago and it ended up being my top album of 2015. Everything about that album is amazing, from the songwriting to musicianship to production. In my opinion Runaway Train is actually one of the “weaker” songs from that album. I put it in quotations because I still think it’s a great song. I’d probably rate it the same as you. Most of the other tracks I’d give +4 or +5. Their previous album, Coast, is also great. The production’s a little weaker but otherwise pretty comparable to Geronimo as far as quality of the music. As far as I’m concerned they’re one of the best bands out there. Hope they continue to gain more recognition.

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  6. This is an off topic question, but wasn’t sure where to really post it- do you ever listen to/review Bluegrass at all? I figured with you expanding into other genres maybe we would see a review or two from that side of things also. I know it’s probably not as popular and they hardly release as much music as what most other genres do. But you’ve got to give Bluegrass credit, takes a ton of talent to play, and play well!

    Just a thought!! Thanks for the new music reviews and recommendations this week!

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    • I do. In the past though when I’ve done some bluegrass reviews it gets next to no attention. In fact it feels like it creates negative hits. I enjoy and respect bluegrass, but it’s just something that isn’t really in demand by the majority of readers unfortunately. If I do come across fantastic bluegrass though I will give it a review.

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      • I can’t speak for anyone else, but I like bluegrass quite a bit generally. I’m a sucker for anything with a good fiddle though.

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  7. Shane Smith & The Saints: Geronimo is a very good album. The guys know what they do. With a “good fiddle” on many tracks (for the fiddle-suckers). There is only one track i dislike: “I Can Hear Him Now”. The voice & the production are annoying. I will skip the track & enjoy the other songs.

    Bluegrass: even the Opry knows (again) what bluegrass means. Dailey & Vincent were invited to join the Opry. First Crystal Gayle, Dailey & Vincent now…signs of the times.

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  8. Glad to see Josh Ward hit #1 with this song. It’s probably my favorite on the list right now and almost all of his last album is great. Hoping he has something new this year.

    Dalton Domino also announced his new album will be released in April on twitter although I can’t seem to find the post anymore to find the exact date.

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