Showing posts with label Ashley McBryde. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ashley McBryde. Show all posts

Jan 26, 2022

The Current Poop of Mainstream Country Radio: January '22

  A poop emoji is negative, a strike thru is positive. Total score below the chart.


The current Poop Rating of the Mediabase Top 20 is (0) overall which is exactly the same as this past October (the previous time we did this chart). The best song is Chris Stapleton’s “You Should Probably Leave,” but Carly/Ashley and Cody Johnson have a strong claim. The worst is Sam Hunt’s “23,” by a hair over Blake Shelton’s “Come Back as a Country Boy.” Sam’s rating is because it’s adult contemporary pop meh. Blake’s is cookie cutter listing song drivel.


Chart info from Mediabase/Country Aircheck.

Jan 5, 2022

Bobby's Top 20 Country Songs of 2021


(Editor's note: Bobby's again on his own with a lot of these picks,
but I'll put a link to the song on the ones I like)

By Bobby Peacock

20. "One Mississippi" by Kane Brown

I get why Trailer can't stand Kane Brown. While I find him to have a distinct and commanding voice that doesn't rely on studio trickery, I can totally get any opinion to the contrary. Beyond that, I see an ability to sing about relationships without coming off as a horny fratbro or a Dan + Shay-esque whimpering doormat. I hear production that remembers the "country" half of "country pop" by keeping the verses mostly fiddle and steel. And the hook "one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three shots of whiskey" does a lot to convey that boozy on-again-off-again relationship (I also dig the nod to "Smoke Rings in the Dark"). This might not woo any non-fans, Trailer included, but it's definitely tipped the scales for me.


19. "I Was on a Boat That Day" by Old Dominion

For the most part, Old Dominion have been acceptably "meh" to me. Other than a few good bits of wordplay here and there, their songs usually tend to be neither interesting enough to catch my attention nor bad enough to drive me away (although I did like "No Such Thing as a Broken Heart" and "Some People Do"). The band themselves admitted they had some tequila before cutting this, so maybe that was the trick. The instrumentation is a lot looser and more laid-back (love that accordion!), completely suiting the carefree vibe of a guy too far down the river to care that his relationship's ended. Offbeat lines like "I was drunk as a skunk eating lunch with a cross-eyed bear", combined with some of the goofy ad-libs, do a lot to add an oddball sense of energy that I've found far too lacking in country radio.


18. "Whiskey and Rain" by Michael Ray

After a pretty dubious debut album, Michael Ray seemed to be coming up with better songs but still seemed to lack something. Cue his best single to date. The melody is one of the stronger ones I've heard out of Nashville lately, and Ray's voice seems more relaxed and nuanced than on his previous efforts. I especially like how the two heartbreak themes in the title are paralleled throughout the song -- lines like "'til the bottle runs out or the clouds roll away" do a lot to keep the imagery going. And the crisp, guitar-heavy production feels like a subtle nod to Gary Allan's earlier work. If he's got a few more songs like this in him, then I guess I can forgive "Real Men Love Jesus".


17. "Till There's Nothing Left" by Cam

It'd be easy to dismiss this one as blatantly un-country, but damn it, I love Cam. She has this unusual blend of rock grandeur, pop hooks, country lyricism, and overall classiness that I find blows contemporary country-pop starlets like Maren Morris or Gabby Barrett completely out of the water (it helps that "Burning House" is legitimately one of my favorite songs of all time). The production is big and spacious, leaving more than enough room for her slow-burn vocals and the evocative lyrics. Just the first verse alone is full of winning lines like "I wanna steal every breath of fire / From every star in the Southern sky".It's a very interesting and tuneful promise of love that, like many of Cam's songs, only gets better on every listen.


16. "Justified" by Kacey Mugraves

Kacey usually grabs me far more with her up-tempos than her ballads. I don't know why; I think it's because so many of them seem to have practically the same tempo and content. But this one just has an... edge that isn't usually in her slower songs. Also working in this one's favor is its clever lyricism such as "healing doesn't happen in a straight line". This song was clearly inspired by her divorce from Ruston Kelly, and from the first note to the last, I feel the conflict that could come from fame and reality butting heads. She's clearly up and down, but looking to get the best out of it -- and best of all, her approach to this sounds as believable as a good country song should be.


15. "Evangeline" by Sammy Kershaw

I liked the original by Chad Brock because it was the only song on which he didn't sound like Blue Shirt Guy. Sammy had previously covered it on his obscure 2006 album Honky Tonk Boots, but he silently re-released it this year. And I'm glad he did, because he has the better version. Cute lines like "her pa-paw says he'll get along the best he can / And all the boys will be so brokenhearted then" tell us a lot about a cute Louisianan who drives all the boys crazy with her Cajun charm. It's an incredibly likable little character sketch with a ton of fiddle, and Sammy's voice has lost none of his edge. You could easily make this a bonus track on a re-release of Haunted Heart and not even tell that it was recorded two decades later.


14. "half of my hometown" by Kelsea Ballerini feat. Kenny Chesney

Once Kelsea started singing about something other than being boy-crazy, she got way more interesting. One of the best examples is this song that takes the love of hometown and twists it around. Some people want to stay, some people want to leave, and some people aren't sure. It'd be easy to knock this song for the references to football and prom queens, but these are used to reinforce the central thesis of hometown memories that one can't let go of. Details like Main Street and family do more to keep the theme going, and the inclusion of Chesney on backing vocals manages not to feel gratuitous. Morgan Wallen, take note: this is how you write a mainstream country song about your hometown in the modern age.


13. "My Boy" by Elvie Shane

So it turns out that if you write a song about actual, meaningful events that happen to real people... you might actually get a #1 hit. Not unlike "He Didn't Have to Be", Elvie chooses to sing about the joys of step-fatherhood, and his lyrics are packed with joyous details ("It hit me like a freight train the first time he called me 'dad' / In a three stick figure crayon picture with all of us holdin' hands"). And he delivers in a relaxing, twangy vibe that wouldn't have felt out of place on an early Tracy Lawrence album. Perhaps it's that unconventional yet instantly relatable approach that drove this one to become a major hit. I just hope that he has more songs that are even half this good.


12. "Knowing You" by Kenny Chesney

Why is Kenny Chesney, who first hit the charts in 1993, still having big hits in 2021? I'd like to think it's because he continues to sit just enough outside the norm to get attention. His songs of late have had a bit more of a melancholic bent the likes of which he was able to pull off as early as "A Lot of Things Different", aided by his mostly acoustic production and relaxing vocals. So many songs have been dedicated to the idea of a lost love, but vivid lines like "Knowing you was a free-fall from 100,000 feet / When you don't even care where you land" lend so much imagery and character to an already more than solid foundation. I wonder if this song is a sequel to "Anything but Mine"?


11. "Ain't the Same" by Blackberry Smoke

I have no idea how Blackberry Smoke kept escaping my radar for so long. But this song title caught my eye, and it's definitely a strong starting point. The soldier with PTSD is such a common starting point, but this song is brimming with golden lyrics: "Here lately it's like they've forgotten his name / He just can't forget the way", "The things that he's seen and done / Are so much for any mother's son / To live down or try to run away from", and especially the simple yet effective hook of "Nothing's really changed, it just ain't the same". They're all delivered in a melancholy, plaintive country rock package with lots of electric guitar and charismatic vocals. I may have started late with these guys, but it only took one song to convince me to keep going.


10. "You Should Probably Leave" by Chris Stapleton

This one was a grower for me. I think it's because it took me a few listens to realize the scenario at hand. As Hot Apple Pie once sang, this couple's "on-again, off-again is on again". But the guy wants it to be "off again", so he keeps prodding her to "probably leave" Throughout the song, she seems to resist the "probably"s, only to wake up the next morning and find herself being the one to say that she should "probably leave". It's a great slow-burner, and in true Stapleton fashion, he delivers it with a nuanced vocal and understated production. And it's perhaps that understatement that led me to dismiss this song at first... but at the same time, it also led me to be more pleasantly surprised when I gave the song another chance.


9. "Never Wanted to Be That Girl" by Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde

Usually, when a mainstream-ish artist releases something late in the year, I hold off in the hopes of it being a bigger hit the following year. But with a combo like that, I couldn't wait. Of course, a song that gives both the wife and the mistress their own vocal roles is going to draw comparisons to "Does He Love You" -- a justified classic in my book, as its inclusion on my "Best of the '90s list" showed -- but it's far from derivative. By choosing detailed storytelling (is this the first song ever to name-drop Citgo?), regret ("I thought this kind of lonely only happens to somebody else"),  direct simplicity ("I feel stupid"), and a down-to-earth delivery from both parties, this song carves out its own niche.


8. "I Need Your Love" by Charley Crockett

Charley Crockett (yes, he really is related to Davy Crockett) is a fantastic melting pot of heritage and influences. Cajun, blues, country, rock, soul -- it's all in there, and it's all damn good. This one's slow waltz tempo and horns bring to mind Sturgill Simpson's "All Around You", but his buttery vocal and some fine, slow-burning lyrics ("I can't ask to move the mountain, so just give me the strength to climb") feel like throwbacks to '60s R&B. Rarely has a plea for forgiveness sounded this freaking cool, which is a perfect description of the artist himself. I try to limit these lists to one song per artist, and especially given Charley's tendency to release about 500 albums a year, you have no idea how hard it was not to break that rule.


7. "Undivided" by Tim McGraw feat. Tyler Hubbard

When my mom first heard the opening line about the kid "picked on in school / for things he couldn't change", who else would she think of besides her own autistic son's struggles to "fit in"? Following that are several more lines that you'd probably expect me to bash because I hate "Humble and Kind". But instead, I feel that the "come together... make a change" type lyrics work very well to enhance the message (and the fact that there's, you know, a context that "Humble and Kind" utterly lacks doesn't hurt either). "We're all the same to God" was another line that I did not expect, but will gladly welcome no matter who's saying it. Our country, and our country music, both need a sense of unity. 


6. "I Wish You Would've Been a Cowboy" by Adeem the Beaverist Artist

Queer Country says this was a single, so I'm going with it. Much like Adeem the Artist, I grew up listening to 90s country. So watching Toby Keith spend most of the 21st century embarrassing himself has me being much in the same boat. They pull no punches in pointing out the truth: if you hear the name Toby Keith these days, the picture is usually of a jingoistic hick making money off other jingoistic hicks. It's been 20 years, and "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue" is still a punchline. When Adeem sings "you helped turn my culture into a parody" and especially "There were not a lot of places where a kid like me felt heard and understood" (easily the most relatable lyric here), their conviction pairs with the less-is-more production to deliver a statement that is personal yet relatable without feeling preachy.


5. "That's a Fact Jack" by The Kentucky Headhunters

Yes, Bobby, we get it, you like the Kentucky Headhunters. As if my five-star review of this album didn't make that clear enough. But this was what I needed in 2021, a year that saw one of the most depressed forms of Bobby Peacock that you'll ever see -- one of my favorite bands coming out with a thunderous new song that offers a hopeful message. The "get along" message may seem simple on the surface, but surprisingly incisive lines about the dangers of greed, combined with a plea for racial unity, show that the Headhunters are no slouch at social commentary. The hard-hitting groove and Richard Young's razor-sharp vocals help to complete the package.


4. "Wilder Days" by Morgan Wade

Morgan Wade had me at the first note. Another critic described her as a rougher-edged Sheryl Crow, and that's a description that I have to agree with. The Jay Joyce-esque jangly electric guitar and airy Hammond organ give a perfect sonic backing for such a voice. And the lyrics are a wonderfully believable description of  learning more about her man back when he was a little more rough around the edges. There's a longing in her voice as she asks for even one night of those "wilder days" that likely shaped him into the man that he is now. I'm the kind of guy who always wants to know everything about every person that I click with, and Wade hits on that inquisitive, slightly melancholic tone flawlessly.


3. "We Are Here" by Miko Marks

Miko Marks, like most of my family, is from Flint, Michigan. I know about all that the city has endured: factory closures, demographic shifts, bad water supply, and poverty. Even if I didn't, I would still find her lines about boarded-up houses, "poison water", and struggling parents every bit as convincing. There's just something simple, direct, and powerful about "we hold onto faith, we cry / Oh, we are here", due in no small part to Marks' nuanced vocal. Her delivery and the production are downbeat and pleading, but still showing just enough of that last little ray of hope. Sometimes the biggest emotions come from being as raw and truthful as one can get -- and hitting close to home (literally) doesn't hurt, either.



2. "I'm Not for Everyone" by Brothers Osborne

One of the most encouraging things to happen this year was for one-half of my favorite current mainstream country act to come out as gay. As a pansexual country music fan, I want to see greater LGBT+ representation in the fandom, especially if it's an artist I already freaking love. Everyone is different, and honestly, life would be boring if we weren't. Not everyone can get along with each other, but it doesn't hurt to try and to forgive. To be "hanging with the sinners.” To drink scotch and listen to Townes Van Zandt and tell bad jokes. To have a badass baritone vocalist and his guitar-slinging brother tell me, and others both like and unlike me, that we shouldn't be afraid of being "different". Because "different" is cool, and Brothers Osborne get it.


1. "I Will Follow" by Chapel Hart

I'm glad I stumbled upon Chapel Hart by scrolling through Twitter. These ladies' harmonies are exceptionally strong, and they chose a fantastic and inspired self-empowerment lyric to go with them. Lines like "Mama always told me 'don't be afraid to shine'" seem simple enough when typed out, but the whole musical package is brimming with conviction (the surprise snippet of "This Little Light of Mine" is a welcome treat too). I'm a guy who has spent 34 years and counting unsure of where I am in life, desperately seeking any form of acceptance even when I seem destined to be just out of sync with literally everyone else on the planet. But in their extremely tuneful, heartfelt way, it was first the Brothers Osborne, and now Chapel Hart, that have given me a "be yourself" message that I needed to hear.


Honorable mentions: "Am I Right or Amarillo" (wasn't a single; otherwise it'd be #3), "You Time,” "Drunk (And I Don't Wanna Go Home)"

Sep 14, 2021

Elderly Country Songs 3

Tim McGraw
Live Like You Weren’t Dying


Sturgill Simpson
Girdles All the Way Down


Tyler Childers
Play Me a Welk Song


Ashley McBryde
A Little Nursing Home in Dahlonega


Kacey Musgraves
Follow Your Jello


Walker Hayes
Fancy Like Bennigans

Dec 17, 2020

What Your Favorite 2020 Album Says About You Part 2

----------


Waylon Jennings - What Goes Around Comes Around

You have good taste, but are either convinced no good country music came out after 1979, or have suffered a lot of memory loss from the cocaine and pills.


Florida-Georgia Line - 6-Pack

You had never heard of Charley Pride until last week. You pronounce “EP” (which this is, not an album) as if it rhymes with “step.” You’re a contractor who only has negative reviews for driving like an a**hole.


Ashley McBride - Never Will

You are a strong, independent woman who don’t need no man. Or you’re anybody else with an ear for worthy music, actually. It’s damn good.


Hardy - A Rock

You’re a 25-32 year old male who lost his identity once bro-country went out of fashion and you are so damn thankful you now have something new to crank out of your 2013 ragged-out Raptor with the fading “Lifted Cause Fat Chicks Can’t Jump” sticker.


The Chicks - Gaslighter

You forced yourself to believe this is a great album to fit in with the other trendy left-leaning country fans on Twitter. You’re not enthused with Joe Biden, and are even less enthused with me making you do a self-assessment of what you really think of this, The Chicks’ worst album by a long shot.


Luke Bryan - Born Here, Live Here, Die Here

The last book you read was The Hunger Games. You only have a “Blue Lives Matter” sticker on your car so you won’t get a ticket for going 60 in a 35 every day taking your kids to soccer practice. 


Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit - Reunions

You are a sports writer. You frequently work “30-50 feral hogs” into everyday conversations.


Trapt - Shadow Work

You think the Covid vaccine is a Chinese ploy to seed the American population with mind control nanobots. You were one of the 12 people in attendance at Trapt’s most recent concert. You are the lead singer of Trapt. 


American Aquarium - Lamentations

You are not a pecan farmer. 


AC/DC - Power Up

This is the first album you purchased since AC/DC’s Black Ice. Your wife is tired of your vaping. You blame the pandemic for your weight gain, but you couldn’t fit in those size 36 Levi’s even last November.


Aug 20, 2020

The Current Poop of Mainstream Country Radio: August 2020

A poop emoji is negative. A strike-thru is positive.


The current Poop Rating of the Mediabase Top 20 is (-9) overall which is a 15 point drop from May (the previous time we did this chart). Not too surprising, since summer on country radio is for mindless beer truck boyfriend songs. The worst song is Florida-Georgia Line’s “I Love My Country” being slightly worse than Kane Brown’s “Cool Again.” The best song is Maddie & Tae’s “Die From a Broken Heart,” which finally hit number 1 after forever on the chart.

Chart info from Mediabase/Country Aircheck.

Jul 1, 2020

Top Albums of 2020: First Half Report




1. Futurebirds - Teamwork

2. Mike & The Moonpies - Touch of You

3. Katie Pruitt - Expectations

4. Brandy Clark - Your Life is a Record

5. Gabe Lee - Honky Tonk Hell

6. Hill Country - s/t

7. Ashley McBryde - Never Will

8. Rookie - s/t

9. Jesse Daniel - Rollin’ On

10. Waxahatchee - Saint Cloud


11. American Aquarium - Lamentations
12. Will Hoge - Tiny Little Movies
13. Hailey Whitters - The Dream
14. Reckless Kelly - American Jackpot/American Girls
15. Run the Jewels - RTJ4
16. The Secret Sisters - Saturn Return
17. John Baumann - Country Shade
18. Randy Rogers/Wade Bowen - Hold My Beer 2
19. Aubrie Sellers - Far From Home
20. Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit - Reunions
21. Jaime Wyatt - Neon Cross
22. Caitlyn Smith - Supernova
23. Caleb Caudle - Better Hurry Up
24. Kyle Nix - Lightning on the Mountain
25. Fiona Apple - Fetch the Bolt Cutters
26. John Anderson - Years
27. Rich O’Toole - New York
28. Dalton Domino - Feverdreamer
29. Caitlin Cannon- The Trash Cannon Album
30. Steve Earle - Ghosts of West Virginia

*there are a few recent and forthcoming albums I haven't listened to enough to rank yet

**this is just Trailer's top 30 - year end list will include all FTM contributors

Jun 19, 2020

Simp Actually Enjoys Hearing Women Sing Country Music

Written By This Guy?

Ft. Lauderdale - A male country fan has confessed to actually liking country music performed by women. Florida panhandle man Harvey Christian counts himself a fan of Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, AND Ashley McBryde, among others. The simp finds their shrill and annoying voices somehow enjoyable. Really.

Studies by mainstream country research firms have proven time and again that female singers should only be the exception and not the rule when programming radio playlists. Tomatoes in the salad, if you will. And yet, this purported country music fan truly finds chick songs to be engaging and of artistic merit. P****-whipped! 

“The women sing about subjects of substance more often than their male counterparts,” said the wuss. “And even when their songs are light-hearted, I find them more engaging and memorable.” LOL, I guess he’s never listened to Dustin Lynch!

While other real men listen to stalwarts like Florida-Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, and Sam Hunt, Harvey-freaking-Christian is white knighting all over social media about how much he loves Margo Price and Mickey Guyton. It’s nearly certain he’s just trying to get into some liberal babe’s pants. We don’t buy it. 

“No, I’m happily married and my wife listens to jazz and pop so I’m not trying to impress anybody,” insisted the pansy. “I am telling you the gospel truth when I say that I truly find pleasure in hearing females perform country and western music.” Liar. Data says even women don’t like women singing, so what’s the deal??

“I even love the classics like Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette, and Loretta Lynn,” sucks up Christian. “They didn’t get the due as they deserved in their time.” Patsy’s dead, loser, she’s not going to read this!

At press time, this subservient wimp was queuing up some Lori McKenna, to get in his feelings or whatever. 


Apr 15, 2020

Top Albums of 2020 - First Quarter Report



1. Futurebirds - Teamwork

2. Katie Pruitt - Expectations

3. Brandy Clark - Your Life is a Record

4. Gabe Lee - Honky Tonk Hell

5. Ashley McBryde - Never Will

6. Rookie - s/t

7. Marcus King - El Dorado

8. Jesse Daniel - Rollin’ On

9. Waxahatchee - Saint Cloud

10. Hailey Whitters - The Dream

-------
*there are a few recent and forthcoming albums I haven't listened to enough to rank yet

**this is just Trailer's top 10 - year end list will include all FTM contributors

Apr 12, 2020

Sunday Mornin’ Music / Ashley McBryde / “Amazing Grace”

Apr 7, 2020

Really Dumb Country Reviews: April 2020

Real reviews from a popular music service.



Sam Hunt - Southside







Ashley McBryde - Never Will



Dixie Chicks - Gaslighter





Tyler Childers - Country Squire


Luke Bryan - Born Here, Live Here, Die Here




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