December 2012 Archives - Country Songs Online

Archive | December, 2012

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Country Songs – 2012’s Best and Worst

Posted on 30 December 2012 by Bill West

Pontoon LBTBest and worst of 2012? In the past year many songs were both.  It was more case of who’s the most polarizing. Little Big Town’s Pontoon, Taylor Swift’s” We Are Never Getting Back Together” and Jason Aldean’s “The Only Way I Know” cover both extremes.

Little Big Town scored the song of the year with an unlikely song about boating’.  After lukewarm success with initial hits like “Boondocks” followed by a dry spell and then “Little White Church” and then more quiet some industry insiders had left LBT for dead.  Still, everyone seemed to like the group.   So when “Pontoon” came along it planted their eight feet back on the path to the A list.

Some immediately hated the song.   Others were smitten, and – like all the songs on our polarizing list – airplay was undeniable.  For a moment Country music was pop culture.

In fact “Pontoon” written by Natalie Hemby, Luke Laird and Barry Dean, went on to win the 2012 CMA Single of the year award at the Country Music Association Awards.   The song hit number one on the radio and is the band’s first Platinum selling single.

LBT is keeping up the momentum by launching The Tornado Tour with David Nail and Kacey Musgraves in the new year.

Taylor Swift RedIn a different twist, Taylor swift came to radio with an obvious pop song that was instantly memorable.  Despite producing a “Country Mix” that was nearly identical to the pop mix (both super bubblegum) hundreds of country and pop stations jumped on the launch of the- then mystery- single’s world premiere.  In an evening YouTube live release Swift played the song to a room full of teenage girls and disclosed “Never Getting Back Together” as the first single and the album art and title (RED).   Clear Channel issued every hour airplay on hundreds of stations.  Many listeners complained about the repetition with dislike. Clearly many others were humming along with a smile as “We Are Never Getting Back Together” became an instant number one on iTunes and helped propel the full release of “Red” to epic sales numbers.   Records include the first artist to sustain 6 weeks at #1 on the Billboard album charts with three consecutive albums.   Also she is one of the first artists since Garth Brooks to hold a number one slot the week before TWO Christmas Holidays (with 2 different albums).

night trainJason Aldean has never played it safe. In 2012 he released a unique “event” song called That’s The Only Way I Know where he teams up with fast rising country stars and tour mates Eric Church and Luke Bryan.
It was another bold step towards infusing rap into mainstream country on the radio. Aldean has been the only one to succeed with the spoken word delivery in the past so it was a daring move but proof that he can pull it off as more than just a novelty. There could be more of e sound to come as a future track on Night Train called 1994 gives us a hilarious Joe Diffie tribute is rumored for a 2013 radio single choice.

Pontoon, Never Getting Back, and The Only Way I Know are songs that may not receive continued strong airplay(or GOLD as it’s called)  on the radio due to their polarizing nature, but – love ‘em or hate ‘em – there is no doubt they’ve left their mark on 2012.

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Beer With Jesus and 3 Things You Need to Know About Thomas Rhett

Posted on 21 December 2012 by Bill West

Thoams Rhett Akins

Beer With Jesus’ Thomas Rhett/photo: Valory Music)

Country music has a string of new and edgy stars breaking through.  One of the fastest rising male singer songwriters is Thomas Rhett.  He’s broken into the country radio world with “Beer With Jesus” and his debut and top 15 single “Something To Do With My Hands.”

So who is Thomas Rhett?  Here’s three things you should know:

If the name Thomas Rhett alone seems familiar it may be because you’ve been a fan of country music for a while.  His daddy, Rhett Akins,  has been rockin’ the country world for about twenty years.  Akins scored a number one hit single back in May of 1996 called “Don’t Get Me Started,” but he is more remembered for hit top 3 hit “That Ain’t My Truck.”   A song that has lived on in Gold playlists on radio stations across the United States.  Lately he’s been writing some of the biggest songs in Nashville.

Thomas Rhett is also a songwriter.   He has a “cut” on one of the biggest multi platinum selling country albums of the last few years with the song “I Ain’t Ready To Quit,” on Jason Aldean’s “My Kinda Party” album.

He was schooled in country at a young age.  His official bio on his website admits he played in front of his Dad’s audience when he was 8 or 9.  He performed songs like Will Smith’s Gettin’ Jiggy With It.”  He was able to go to Reba’s Halloween parties and one time he got help on his English homework from Blake Shelton.

Thomas Rhett (Akins) was born March 30th 1990 and is originally from Valdosta Georgia.

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American Beautiful Sets Debut For The Hennigsens

Posted on 19 December 2012 by Bill West

hennigsensCountry radio has embraced a new family trio called The Hennigsens.  The singer songwriters from Atwood, Illinois have been immediately accepted by a record number of playlists  and their new song “American Beautiful” has jumped onto the country top forty chart.

When you hear the band for the first time you may mistakenly think it’s another family trio called The Band Perry.  It’s not total coincidence   The  Hennigsens wrote the Band Perry hit “All Your Life” and the female vocals from both groups sound similar.

The Hennigsens consist of a Dad (Brian Hennigsen on bass, guitar and vocals), one son (Aaron on guitar and vocals) and the blonde knockout  Clara (lead vocals).

The three family members have other solid writing credits behind them as they have  also penned songs for Wynonna and Sara Evans and have now teamed up with Brett Beavers for the debut single “American Beautiful.”

The country credibility has been baked into the family. For seven generations the family has maintained a 1700 acre farm where they have tended soybeans, corn, cows and most recently kids.  The Hennigsens are a family of many.   Aaron and Clara are just two of ten kids.

Expect to hear more of the Hennigsens lyrics on their debut album produced by four time Grammy winning Paul Worley (Lady Antebellum)to be released in 2013 on Arista Nashville.

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Rucker Covers Wagon Wheel by Dylan and Old Crow

Posted on 18 December 2012 by Bill West

Rock Me Mama, Wagon WheelLooks like the lyrics “Mama Rock Me”  from the song Wagon Wheel by various voices will soon be heard on Country Radio.   Darius Rucker has had a long tradition of covering other singer’s hits in concert.  In Hootie and The Blowfish the band happily  catered to fan’s desires for covers like “Family Tradition” and “Purple Rain.”

When Rucker first launched his country career before (Learn To Live) he had indicated a desire to do a cover album, but had reservations with the idea of covers as radio singles.

Now it looks like the time is right and Rucker’s choice of this cover seems to be spot on.    He has released his own version of Old Crow Medicine Show’s  “Wagon Wheel” to radio and is set to include it on his next country album.

Darius Rucker

Wagon Wheel by Dylan?

The song is a unique but brilliant choice for the singer who has been linked to Bob Dylan since the “Only Wanna Be With You ” days.  The song Wagon Wheel (sometimes called Mama Rock Me) was popularized by O.C.M.S. but was first inspired by the chorus written by Dylan as part of his “Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid Sessions.”  After discovering it on a bootleg Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show wrote the rest of the song around the lone chorus and released the tune under the name “Wagon Wheel” in 2001 and again on the Old Crow debut album O.C.M.S. in 2004 where it became a grass roots signature song for the band. The additional lyrics are said to be autobiographical for Secor.

The song has previously been covered by Mumford and Sons as well as many others.

Rucker notably sang the song “Rock Me Mama” / Wagon Wheel by/with Old Crow Medicine Show this past summer at the Grand Ole Opry  to rave reviews.  Rucker’s new album (he co-wrote 9 of the 11 tracks) will be called “True Believers” and will hit stores January 22nd.

Track listing for True Belivers Below:

  1. “True Believers”
  2. “Miss You”
  3. “Wagon Wheel”
  4. “Love Without You”
  5. “Radio”
  6. “Lost in You”
  7. “I Will Love You Still”
  8. “Take Me Home”
  9. “Shine”
  10. “Heartbreak Road”
  11. “Leavin’ the Light On”
  12. “Lie to Me”

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Reba The Mother In Law – It’s not a sitcom it’s Reality

Posted on 17 December 2012 by Bill West


Clarkson’s Ring /

Can you imagine the story… Reba plays a rascally mother in law to a young dynamic pop singer who married her lovely son. Watch the fireworks. Make it a musical.

Well it’s reality (Reality show anyone?) The original American Idol Kelly Clarkson has just announced (via her twitter @kelly_clarkson) that she is engaged to boyfriend / manager Brandon Blackstock.

I’M ENGAGED!!!!! I wanted y’all to know!! Happiest night of my life last night! I am so lucky and am with the greatest man ever :) — Kelly Clarkson via twitter 12/15/12


The announcement is not a total shock as the romance between Clarkson and Blackstock (son of Reba Husband and manager Narvel Blackstock) was widely reported and noted during interviews with Clarkson.  No wedding date officially announced.


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Scotty Christmas Video

Posted on 14 December 2012 by Bill West

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Tim McGraw Partners Up with a New Blonde

Posted on 14 December 2012 by Bill West

tim_mcgrawTim McGraw has been experimenting lately.  It’s not that McGraw needed to reinvent himself.  He’s the biggest country star of the last fifteen years.  But he has had some legal tussles with the record label that brought him to the table so he has branched out recently with unique collaborations that allowed him to record under different umbrellas.   His last full studio album on Curb records was a long time in the making and it was released as Emotional Traffic in 2012 to solid acceptance despite McGraw feeling it was long overdue for release.

Next up for McGraw is a new studio album on a new home, Big Machine Records.  Big Machine is also the home to superstar Taylor Swift so it may be no surprise to some that she appears on a special new cut on the album along with Keith Urban called Highway Don’t Care.

The new album, along with a “deluxe” version that includes a live performance of his recent hit “Truck Yeah” is set for a February 5th 2013 release.

Tim McGraw ‘Two Lanes of Freedom’ Track Listing:

Tim Mcgraw album1. ‘Two Lanes of Freedom’
2. ‘One of Those Nights’
3. ‘Friend of a Friend’
4. ‘Southern Girl’
5. ‘Truck Yeah’
6. ‘Nashville Without You’
7. ‘Book of John’
8. ‘Mexicoma’
9. ‘Number 37405′
10. ‘It’s Your World’
13. ‘Highway Don’t Care’ (Feat. Taylor Swift and Keith Urban)

Deluxe Version Includes:

14. ‘Annie I Owe You a Dance’
15. ‘Tinted Windows’
16. ‘Let Me Love It Out of You’
17. ‘Truck Yeah’ Live

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Keith Urban Is Somebody Like You

Posted on 12 December 2012 by Bill West

Keith Urban

Keith Urban is somebody like you if you’re a good looking country rock superstar married to a award winning actress.  That’s not you?  Well you may have more in common with this country superstar than you thought.   Born Keith Lionel Urban in New Zealand the singer’s musical success has grown well beyond his Australian roots.

Urban, known for his pumped up banjo tinged songs, Keith Urban lyrics have also become legendary.  His second US single as a solo artist “Your Everything” made him the first New Zealand artist to have a top ten country hit in the U.S.  Since then he has delivered more than fifteen number one country singles from “Somebody Like You” to 2012’s “You Gonna Fly.”

In recent years Urban, who is one of music’s highest paid stars, has taken his act to the small screen with stints on Australia’s  version of the hit talent show “The Voice.”

He signed on for the 2013 season of arguably the most watched TV series in the World, American Idol, where he is judging talent along with Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and Randy Jackson.

Nine critically acclaimed albums under his belt for Capitol Records Nashville, Urban has announced in a fun video that he will tour in future years.

Somebody Like You’s Keith Urban is married to Superstar actress Nicole Kidman on June 25th 2006 and have two children Sunday Rose and Faith Margret.

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American Country Awards Recognize New Country

Posted on 11 December 2012 by Bill West

AMAsVegas was alive for the 2012 American Country Awards and the usual take on awards for the biggest country stars was turned on it’s ear.

New country music star Luke Bryan put on usual backwards cap  performance and walked away with the most awards in the form of the blue Fender Telecaster trophy.   In fact the backwards cap (trucker or otherwise) looked like a theme for the night with Luke, Lee Brice, Kip Moore and others making the same fashion statement.

Big surprises came in the New Artist category with the award going to the lovable Lauren Alaina over the expected Hunter Hayes and the odd Breakthrough Artist guitar going to a deserving Jake Owen. Some categories seemed a bit forced like the single for new artist award and group/collaboration mash ups.

Still the ceremony lacked the broad star appeal of the CMA or ACM awards with A Listers Taylor Swift, Chesney, McGraw, Eric Church and Blake Shelton all absent.  What remained was a who’s who of artists just breaking through and on the rise.  One wonders what the FOX producers thought of Miranda’s shout out to her husband saying she was TIVOing the Voice.

Indeed, Luke Bryan had a great year and scored deserved recoginiton in at least seven awards.  The most of all the new country song artists.

2012 American Country Award Winners:

Artist of The Year: Like Bryan

Artist of The Year – Male: Luke Bryan

Artist Of The Year – Female: Carrie Underwood

Artist Of The Year – Group: Lady Antebellum

Artist of The Year: Breakthrough: Jake Owen

Artist of The Year – New Artist: Lauren Alaina

Album of The Year: Luke Bryan Tailgates and Tanlines

Single of The Year – Breakthrough Artist: Brantley Gilbert “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do”

Single Of The Year: Luke Bryan “I Don’t Want This Night To End”

Single Of The Year – Male:  Luke Bryan “I Don’t Want This Night To End”

Single Of The Year – Female: Miranda Lambert “Over You”

Single of The Year – Group: Lady Antebellum “We Owned The Night”

Single of The Year – Vocal Collaboration: Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood “Remind Me”

Single of The Year – New Artist: Hunter Hayes “Wanted”

Music Video of The Year: Luke Bryan “I Don’t Want This Night to End”

Music Video of The Year – Male: Luke Bryan “I Don’t Want This Night to End”

Music Video of The Year – Female: Miranda Lambert “Over You”

Music Video of The Year Group of Collaboration: Little Big Town “Pontoon”

Music Video of The Year – New Artst: Hunter Hayes “Wanted”

Touring Artist of The Year: Jason Aldean

Song of The Year: Eric Church “Springsteen”

Most Played Radio Track: Luke Bryan “I Don’t Want This Night To End”

Most Played Radio Track – Male: Luke Bryan “I Don’t Want This Night To End”

Most Played Radio Track – Female: Miranda Lambert “Over You”

Most Played Radio Track – Group: Zac Brown Band “Keep Me In Mind”

Most Played Radio Track – NewArtist: Kip Moore “Somethin’ About A  Truck”







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Hunter Hayes Lyrics Define New Country Music

Posted on 10 December 2012 by Bill West

Country Singer Hunter Hayes

Hunter Hayes Photo:

When you hear today’s country music songs online or on the radio Hunter Hayes’ lyrics may catch you by surprise.

His voice is fresh and his lyrics are modern and while Hayes just turned old enough to drink in 2012 he’s been honing his country music songs since his early childhood.

Born in Breaux Bridge, Louisianna on September 9th, 1991 he was quickly influenced by the musical culture of his state. At the age of two his grandmother gave him a toy accordion. By the age of four he was making national television appearances showcasing his talents. Millions have seen of Hayes performing on stage during an massive outdoor Hank Williams Jr. concert recorded for the now defunct Nashville Network cable channel. His performance of the Hank Williams country song Jambalaya (On The Bayou) went on to become a viral YouTube hit.

It has been reported that actor Robert Duvall gifted Hayes his first first guitar at the age of six and since that time Hayes has also developed skills on drums, piano, mandolin and more.

His self titled album Hunter Hayes is special not only for the impressive lyrics but also because Hayes had a hand in writing every song on the album and he played every song on the album. He shares Producing credit with superstar Producer Dann Huff (Faith Hill and others).

In 2012 his star continued to rise with the success of his songs at country radio. His debut single Storm Warning received Top 15 status on the charts, but it was his power ballad Wanted that made him the youngest male solo act to ever top the Billboard Country Songs Chart. The album has gone on to certified Gold status.

The radio success has also brought Hayes awards in the form of the coveted Country Music Association New Artist (formerly Horizon) Award. Additionally he was named Male Country Artist at the 2012 Teen Choice Awards and was nominated for three Grammy Awards (Best New Artist, Best Country Album, and Best Country Solo Performance for Wanted).

In 2012 he was honored to be named a brand ambassador for the prestigious Martin Guitar company. Touring is the next frontier for the young star. He has already hit the road with mega-stars Rascal Flatts and Taylor Swift and there is no doubt you’ll hear many Hunter Hayes lyrics and new country songs on stage for many years to come.

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