CountryBreakout No. 1 Song

Know what sounds like a good time? Scoring a No. 1 song, even if you’ve already had more of them than any other artist in any genre.

While I can’t attest to that feeling, George Strait undoubtedly can. Powered by oodles of good vibes, Strait’s “Here For A Good Time” seizes the CountryBreakout Chart’s No. 1 spot for its first week at the top. The song pits a bopping two-step beat against optimistic lyrics which extol the virtues of living for the moment. Resistance is futile, and besides, is there a better way to cast off one’s worries than with a generous combination of sun and moonshine?

The title track from “King” George’s new album, “Here For A Good Time” was written by Strait with his son Bubba and frequent collaborator Dean Dillon and marks the 89th single of his 30 year career. Here For A Good Time the album, which Strait co-produced with long-time friend Tony Brown, was released Sept. 6 and debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Albums Chart with first week sales totaling over 91k.

“I still enjoy it—I still love it,” says Strait of his 30 years in music. “As long as I love it and enjoy it and am having fun, then I’m gonna keep doing it. I’m motivated by what I’ve always been motivated by—trying to make the best records that I can make and doing the best shows that I can do. Whenever that doesn’t motivate me anymore, then I’ll have to quit. It’s still a lot of fun for me now.”

Keep those good times rolling, George.

Weekly Chart Report (9/16/11)

Blair Garner’s (L) “After MidNite Live” summer concert series will take listeners backstage to Brad Paisley’s H2O II: Wetter & Wilder World Tour this weekend at the 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre in Tampa, FL. The series gives listeners a behind-the-scenes account of what happens on the road with a superstar country concert. Special guests include Blake Shelton (pictured with Garner), Jerrod Niemann, JaneDear Girls, Sunny Sweeney and Edens Edge.

It’s a perpetual party at the top of MusicRow’s CountryBreakout Chart, so it only makes sense that George Strait’s “Here For A Good Time” get to spend a little time at No. 1. This week the King’s latest single is blessed with an additional 175 spins and moves up from No. 2, staying ahead of Blake Shelton’s “God Gave Me You” which jumps up from No. 6. Right behind at No. 3 is Thompson Square’s “I Got You” and Eli Young Band’s “Crazy Girl” at No. 4.

New singles from young stars dot the chart’s Top 40, comprising many of the hottest upcoming tunes. Miranda Lambert’s “Baggage Claim” has already climbed to No. 11 in its seven week journey, faster than her previous releases. Lady Antebellum’s domination continues with “We Owned The Night,” up to No. 18 in its fifth week charting. That other hot new trio–The Band Perry–is two spots behind at No. 20 with “All Your Life” after only seven weeks. Also quickly rising are Eric Church’s “Drink In My Hand” at No. 21 (five weeks), Jason Aldean’s “Tattoos On This Town” at No. 28 (four weeks), Luke Bryan’s “I Don’t Want This Night To End” at No. 33 (three weeks), and Zac Brown Band’s “Keep Me In Mind” at No. 36 (two weeks).

Eric Lee Beddingfield (R) recently spent some time with WSM-AM host Bill Cody (L) to promote his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. He performed his debut hit “The Gospel According to Jones” on the hallowed stage for George Jones’ 80th birthday celebration.

Indie-label new face Andy Gibson notches a big debut at No. 64 with “Wanna Make You Love Me” (R&J Records), thanks to a 150-spin gain. Montgomery Gentry and Phil Vassar might have major label pedigrees, but they’re both now working outside that world on smaller labels. MG’s “Where I Come From” is currently at No. 24, with Vassar’s “Let’s Get Together” right behind at No. 25. Sneaking in the Top 30 is the iconic Dolly Parton’s “Together You and I” (Dolly Records), followed by newcomer Rachel Holder’s “Chocolate” at No. 31 and Burns & Poe’s “Second Chance” at No. 32.

Frozen Playlists: KYKX, WBYZ, WCJW, WDHR, WKWS

Upcoming Singles
September 19
The Lost Trailers/Underdog/Stokes Tunes/CO5
JaneDear Girls/Merry Go Round/Warner Bros./WMN
Bill Gentry/This Letter/Tenacity
Courtney Stewart/Telling You/Lamon

September 26
Coy Taylor/Fall For You/Twang City/Flying Island Ent.
Bobby Dean/White Lightning or Pink Champagne/Lamon
Crystal Shawanda/Love Enough/Sun/Nine North
Kip Moore/Somethin’ ‘Bout A Truck/MCA

• • • • • •

New On The Chart—Debuting This Week
Artist/song/label — chart pos.
Andy Gibson/Wanna Make You Love Me/R&J Records — 64
The O’Donnells/She Leaves The Light On/Song Valley Music — 73
Chris Cagle/Got My Country On/Bigger Picture — 75
David Wood/Ride The Wild West (Cowabunga)/DeW Note Records — 76
Ronnie Milsap/If You Don’t Want Me To (The Freeze)/Bigger Picture — 77
Joel Warren & Jason Allen/Straight Up Country/Wynnesong — 80

Greatest Spin Increase
Artist/song/label — spin+
Zac Brown Band/Keep Me In Mind/Southern Ground/Atlantic — 428
Luke Bryan/I Don’t Want This Night To End/Capitol — 390
Lady Antebellum/We Owned The Night/Capitol — 389
Eric Church/Drink In My Hand/EMI Nashville — 293
Jason Aldean/Tattoos On This Town/Broken Bow — 282

Most Added
Artist/song/label — New Adds
Zac Brown Band/Keep Me In Mind/Southern Ground/Atlantic — 22
Luke Bryan/I Don’t Want This Night To End/Capitol — 19
Sunny Sweeney/Drink Myself Single/Republic Nashville — 15
Jason Aldean/Tattoos On This Town/Broken Bow — 14
Chris Young/You/RCA Nashville — 13
Andy Gibson/Wanna Make You Love Me/R&J Records — 12
David Wood/Ride The Wild West (Cowabunga)/DeW Note Records — 9
Scotty McCreery/The Trouble With Girls/19 Ent./Mercury — 9

On Deck—Soon To Be Charting
Artist/song/label — spins
Scotty McCreery/The Trouble With Girls/19 Ent./Mercury — 183
Jimmy White/Forever And A Day/Tone Box Records — 152
Randy Travis/Everything and All/Warner Brothers — 152
Sunny Sweeney/Drink Myself Single/Republic Nashville — 149
Kevin Fowler/That Girl/Average Joe’s — 144

Cold River Records artist Katie Armiger meets up with WRNS/Greenville/New Bern, NC Program Director, Tommy Garrett and his wife Vicki backstage at Katie’s show in Winterville, NC this weekend. (L-R): Cold River SE Rep Halie Hampton, Tommy Garrett, Armiger, Vicki Garrett

Warner Music Nashville’s Brett Eldredge (“It Ain’t Gotta Be Love”) recently opened for Little Big Town at WKLB’s charity show at the Hard Rock Boston benefiting The Floating Children's Hospital. (L-R) Eldredge, LBT's Jimi Westbrook & Kimberly Schlapman, Ginny Rogers (MD WKLB), Mike Brophey (PD WKLB), LBT's Karen Fairchild, and Philip Sweet

Charlie Cook On Air

A Kinder, Gentler Ratings Period

This is a very important time of the year for smaller market radio stations. We have already talked about the top 48 markets being measured for 13 months a year (only Arbitron has figured out how to charge a monthly fee 13 times).

This year Arbitron measures medium and smaller markets from September 15-December 7. Radio stations do things during this 12 week period (and another 12 weeks in the Spring) that they don’t do during the Summer or other non-rated periods.

Often stations tighten down on the music that they play, believing that listeners actually make choices based on familiar/favorite music. How dare those programmers mess with Scott Borchetta’s marketing plan.

Considering so many in the record industry spent their formative years on radio I am surprised that they don’t understand this programming anxiety and cut radio some slack. What the heck are the record folks thinking releasing new music in the last quarter of the year, knowing that radio is locked in a battle for their ratings life?

Okay, I hope that you get the point. From now to the end of the year is VERY important to both sides of the business. Records has to get the new music exposed to take advantage of the Christmas buying season. I don’t know what percentage of their budget is hit from now through New Year’s Day (don’t forget gift cards). I’m sure that bonuses are on the line. But I can tell you that 50-60% of a small to medium market radio station’s success is set in the next month or two.

So what can the two industries do to make sure both have success? Can we strive to be kinder and gentler for the next couple of months?

Music Row is meeting radio more than halfway. With CD releases from Lady A, George Strait, Martina and Dierks this Fall and with new product from newcomers like Luke Bryan and Eric Church creating a lot of excitement we should all be excited about our fortunes.

Add to this the CMA Awards show right in the middle of the radio rating period and we have a lot to talk and be eager about. Let’s make sure that we get the record buyers and the radio listeners enthusiastic too.

We can do that by working together for the greater good. How about both sides pulling out music-based promotions this rating period? I am not a fan of radio stations giving away CDs or downloads. I know that it is an easy deal to pull off. Record companies get way more promotion for each give away than they could pay for. A $15 CD gets promotional time, solicit time and delivery time, and the radio station gets “free” stuff to give away.

The problem: this is a zero sum game.

If you were in the focus group panel during CRS 2011, I asked a participant who had won a Reba CD from her favorite radio station what she did with that CD. She told us that she took it to her car and listened over and over to it on the way to and from work. Presumably this is time she would have been listening to her favorite radio station.

Not the end of the world in an Arbitron diary rated market—people list “top of mind” listening habits more than anything—but in PPM markets that listening is like an empty seat on Delta. Once it’s in the air you are never getting the revenue back. Once that quarter hour ticks to the next you lost audience, and likely from an active listener who spends a great deal of time with your station.

But what other things can you do? How about autographed material from the artists? Pictures? Once at an auction I bought a script for the TV show Adventures of Superman. I don’t know why, but I did. You know what would be cool to win? An autographed lyric sheet from a hit song. A phone call from Luke Bryan. Heck, I know he would do that. He is a great guy and he loves to talk to his fans. We’re close to 2012. Why not do a down and dirty station calendar that lists the top songs of the year so far? Just a one sheet that can be traded out. Get the okay to include some pictures and I can guarantee you that it will land on the refrigerator for 2012, with your call letters and pictures of their favorites.

Let’s get creative this quarter and make everyone a winner.

Aldean Goes Double Platinum, Sets Nashville Date

Only 10 months after release, Jason Aldean’s My Kinda Party has been certified double platinum by the RIAA for shipments of over two million units. The disc is 2011’s best selling country album and has already spawned three consecutive No. 1 hits, each of which has also been certified platinum for digital downloads. Most recent single “Dirt Road Anthem” went on to score double platinum.

Aldean’s team just announced that his My Kinda Party tour will hit Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Feb. 24 with opener Luke Bryan. Tickets through

Aldean is up for five awards at the Nov. 9 CMA Awards.

CMA Awards Re-up With Bridgestone Arena

Bridgestone Arena and the Country Music Association have entered into a three-year agreement for the Nashville venue to continue hosting the CMA Awards in 2011, 2012 and 2013. “Country Music’s Biggest Night” has been held at the arena annually since it first hosted the event in 2006.

“Being the home of the CMA Awards is a great source of pride for us at Bridgestone Arena,” says Bridgestone Arena Vice President of Booking Brock Jones. “It is a fantastic event and first-class way to showcase our venue, the talented people in the Country Music industry and the community we all call home. We greatly value our relationship with the CMA and all that it represents. We are thrilled to extend our agreement with the CMA Awards for the next three years.”

“Country Music’s Biggest Night deserves a world-class venue and we have that with the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville,” explains CMA Chief Executive Officer Steve Moore. “Our industry appreciates the convenience and amenities, and our attendees enjoy the downtown location with access to clubs and hotels.”

This year’s CMA Awards will be held Wed., Nov. 9.

Weblinks: Early Lady A Numbers

• Soundscan prognosticators say that the new Lady Antebellum album will chart with debut week sales of about 260K-300K units, according to HitsDailyDouble and Billboard. Regardless, Own The Night is expected to enter at No. 1. Soundscan tallies close Sunday (9/18) and numbers will be released Wednesday morning (9/20). This is the follow-up to Need You Now, which debuted in January 2010 with 481k in first-week sales. The same sales-watchers predict Brantley Gilbert’s release will move about 45-50k in its first week.

• The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s All for the Hall Los Angeles fundraiser was held Tuesday night (9/13) at L.A. LIVE’s Club Nokia. The guitar pull featured performances by Zac Brown, Sheryl Crow, Country Music Hall of Fame member Vince Gill, and Kevin Cronin. See the LA Times coverage.

• Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz will meet with U.S. Justice Department officials next week, reports The Tennessean. The Gibson manufacturing plant and offices were raided on Aug. 24 by federal officials who claim that Gibson violated the Lacey Act, which is designed to protect endangered imported wood.

• Music streaming services are scrambling to keep up with Spotify, which hit the US in July. Mog is now offering a similar free version. More from the New York Times.

Bobby Karl Works The Room

Chapter 373—Part 1

The party circuit is on warp speed this week.

In just the first three days of it, there were multiple schmoozefests to attend on the same day, often at the same time. This party boy sometimes felt like he was juggling multiple plates on sticks. Filled with hors d’oeuvres.

Ten Out of Tenn Launch Party

“I am the TOT Mom,” explained Kristen Dabbs when Clay Bradley introduced us at BMI (9/12). “This is our seventh tour and our fourth album.”

The BMI party was to launch this year’s edition of “Ten Out of Tenn,” the compilation CD and its accompanying fall tour, which starts this week. Each year, Nashville’s pop/alternative community pulls together to show just how fabulous our non-country music makers are. They not only share the TOT Vol. 4 CD, but also a bus.

After the first successful compilation, Kristin approached BMI about hosting its annual TOT kick-off celebration, which the organization has been doing for the past three years in a row.

This year’s TOT participants are Katie Herzig, Matthew Perryman-Jones, Gabe Dixon, Tyler James, k.s. Rhodes, Andrew Belle, Trent Dabbs, Amy Stroup, Butterfly Boucher and Jeremy Lister. Most of this collective attended the soiree.

“These are the most unique, valuable songwriters in our community,” said Clay in welcoming the crowd. This year’s tour will hit 16 cities with sensational TOT sounds.

“Everyone at BMI has been amazing in supporting this whole concept,” said Trent. “There’s so much happening – so many people are moving here. Tell all your friends [who live] in the cities that we’re playing.”

Trent introduced Gabe, who recently splendidly showcased his new One Spark CD at the newly expanded and renovated 3rd & Lindsley (9/4). Gabe followed that with a performance of the CD’s “Running on Fumes” on Jimmy Kimmel Live (9/8), which is the same song he did at BMI. The participants all sang and played percussion behind him, then gathered at the front of the stage to form a circle around Trent for an unplugged moment.

Amy was next, followed by k.s. Rhodes, whose ebullient “Where I Come From” fully captures the spirit and camaraderie of Ten Out of Tenn. Last week (9/8), k.s. performed with The Nashville Symphony, by the way.

Susan Myers, Suzanne Alexander, Jon Randall Stewart, David Wykoff, Dan Keene, Heather Byrd, Luke Laird and more were digging the sounds and sampling the roast beef mini sandwiches, quiche slices, fruits, cheeses and beverages.

The Ten Out of Tenn tour runs through Oct. 1 with dates all across the eastern U.S. The group's latest album, aptly titled Volume 4, is available on iTunes. Pictured (L-R): BMI’s Clay Bradley and Ten out of Tenn’s Trent Dabbs, Jeremy Lister, Andrew Belle, K.S. Rhoads, Amy Stroup, Tyler James and Gabe Dixon. Photo: Drew Maynard


City National Grand Opening

The party bar has officially just been raised. The opening of the Music Row office of City National Bank (9/12) was among the most flashy and opulent of celebrations. After touring the office, we entered a massive white tent on the blocked-off South Street. Inside, it was like an igloo Casbah. White couches, white carpet, white flowers, white chandeliers, white cloth, white tables, white, white, white. Palm trees stood in the corners.

Bartenders were serving “CNBtini’s,” a specially concocted blue martini. Wait staff circulated, bearing trays of sushi, bacon-wrapped asparagus, mushroom tarts, cheeseburger sliders and other assorted canapes. Las Paletas frozen treats of various flavors were also served.

In one corner was a green screen where you could have your photo taken with a Times Square, tumbling dollar bills or CNB logo digital backdrop. Before you departed, they handed you the finished snapshot in a leather CNB frame.

I am told that event planner Jayne Bubis put the bash together. Well done, Jayne.

Lori Badgett shushed the schmoozing fabulons to introduce celebrity impersonator Pete Peterkin. He came out wailing as Little Richard, then had the crowd clapping and laughing as he “did” Elvis, Tom Jones, Tina Turner, Neil Diamond, Chuck Berry (complete with duck walk), Jerry Lee Lewis, James Brown and Michael Jackson. “I taught them all!” he brayed. “Shut up!” It was quite entertaining.

Tim DuBois, Joe Galante, Dwight Wiles & Diana Johnson, Ed Hardy, Becky Harris, Bob Doyle, Kerry O’Neil, Susan Stewart, Chuck Flood, Pete Fisher, Harry Chapman, Beverly Keel, Dan Hill, Jayne Rogovin, Jon Freeman, Karen Oertley, Barry Coburn, Sherod Robertson, Allen Brown, Sarah Brosmer, Mary Ann McCready, John Lytle, Sally Williams and Mike Vaden were in the throng.

The office, itself, at 54 Music Sq. E., gleamed with modern décor. Posters of the Hollywood films that CNB has financed were placed throughout the space. This is, after all, the bank of everyone from Jack Benny to Marilyn Monroe. CNB loaned Lucille Ball the moolah to buy out Desi Arnez and become the first female head of a major studio, Desilu. CNB provided the big cash for Frank Sinatra to pay off the kidnappers of his son. We are talking loaded and show-biz connected up the wazoo.

And now the CNB largess extends to Music City. At the party, the bank made a $15,000 donation to Jonah Rabinowitz for the W.O. Smith Community Music School.

Let the record show that Holly Bell, who heads the new Nashville division, chose the smaller office and gave the bigger ones to Diane Pearson and Lori Badgett.

“We’re very proud and excited to be here,” said Lori. It showed, believe me.

To mark the grand opening, City National Bank presented a check for $15,000 to Nashville’s W. O. Smith Music School. Pictured (L-R): Jonah Rabinowitz, WO Smith executive director; Holly Bell, SVP/team leader, CNB; Martha Henderson, EVP Entertainment, CNB; Russell Goldsmith, CEO, CNB; Ed Hardy WO Smith board president; and Tony Conway, WO Smith board.


Connie Smith Wraps Residency

Zipping on down to the Country Music Hall of Fame, we caught the finale of Connie Smith’s three-concert Artist-in-Residence shows at the Ford Theatre (9/12). So did Ricky Skaggs, The Whites, Dallas Frazier, Marty Stuart, Hunter Kelly, Craig Havighurst, Steve Betts and David McCormick. Bill Denny and Barry Mazur had perfect attendance records, having witnessed all three shows.

Her theme of the eve was “Connie and the Girls.” She welcomed mentor Jean Shepard and disciples The Quebe Sisters Band, Tanya Tucker and Martina McBride. “I stole everything from you,” Tanya told Connie. “Well, not everything, because you’ve still got it.” And how.

Connie closed with “Take My Hand,” featuring daughters Jodi Seyfried, Jeanne Haynes and Julie Barnick. She encored with a hand-clapping “Satisfied.”

Many of the attendees, by the way, were also at the BMI party last week (9/8) celebrating the release of Connie’s awesome Long Line of Heartaches CD.

Onward. The festivities continued on Tuesday (9/13) with a downtown party to salute the 80th birthday of George Jones.

Read Pt. 2 of Bobby Karl Works the Room tomorrow exclusively on

Connie Smith with two featured performers, Martina McBride and Jean Shepard, before her final Artist-in-Residency show Monday night (9/12) at the Country Music Hall of Fame ® and Museum. Pictured (L-R): Martina McBride, Connie Smith, Jean Shepard and Museum Senior Vice President of Public Relations Liz Thiels. Photo: Donn Jones

Cumulus – Citadel Transaction Closing Tomorrow

Cumulus Media’s $2.4-billion takeover of Citadel Broadcasting has been granted approval by company shareholders, the FCC and the Department of Justice. The transaction, due to close tomorrow (9/16) will add an additional 200-plus stations to the nearly 350 that Cumulus already owns.

This merger brings together Nashville country outlets WSM-FM (Cumulus) and WKDF (Citadel), as well as Dallas’ country signals KPLX and KSCS. Also included are WIVK/Knoxville and KIIM/Tucson.

Other country stations affected by the change include MusicRow CountryBreakout Reporters WHWK/Binghamton, NY and WEBB, Augusta, ME.

To satisfy D.o.J. regulatory requirements, Cumulus will divest two stations in the Harrisburg, Pa. market (including country WCAT) and one in Flint, Mich.

Prior to the acquisition, Citadel was the No. 3 largest radio chain in the U.S. following Cumulus. Their combined powers will put them in closer competition with No. 1 radio leader Clear Channel and its approximately 850 stations.

Wade Mainer Dies At Age 104

Wade Mainer, photo by Flint Journal

America’s oldest country star has died at age 104.

Wade Mainer died Monday, September 12, at his home in Flint Township, Michigan. As a member of Mainer’s Mountaineers, he recorded “Maple on the Hill” in 1935. It became one of the most massive country hits of the Great Depression.

“Take Me in the Lifeboat” was another popular Mainer number from this era. The group is regarded as one that paved the way for the development of bluegrass music. Mainer invented a two-finger style of five-string banjo playing that was widely influential.

He was the subject of Dick Spottswood’s 2010 book Banjo on the Mountain: The First 100 Years of Wade Mainer.

Wade Mainer was born April 21, 1907 in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. He formed his band with his fiddling brother J.E. (Joseph Emmett) Mainer (1898-1971). After rising to fame on WBT radio in Charlotte, the group recorded prolifically for RCA’s Bluebird Records label in 1935-39. He also recorded as a duo with Zeke Morris during the same time period.

He formed Wade Mainer & The Sons of the Mountaineers and continued recording for Bluebird in the 1940s. This group was responsible for his other major hit, 1939’s “Sparking Brown Eyes.” The Stanley Brothers later re-recorded several of the band’s songs.

He was performing at WNOX in Knoxville when he was invited to join the cast of the Grand Ole Opry in 1940. He declined the invitation, because it meant breaking his contract.

Mainer in the 1940s.

Wade Mainer entertained Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt at the White House in 1941. In 1943, Alan Lomax booked him on BBC radio alongside Woody Guthrie, Burl Ives, The Coon Creek Girls and others. He recorded for King Records in 1947 and 1951.

When honky-tonk music swamped old-time string band sounds in the 1950s, Mainer quit music and moved to Flint, Michigan to work for General Motors, 1953-1972.

As a born-again Christian, he began performing and recording again in the 1970s, frequently with wife Julia Brown Mainer. Performing as “Hillbilly Lilly,” she was also a North Carolina country radio entertainment veteran. During this “second” career, he recorded LPs for Old Homestead Records, June Appal Records and other labels, and the couple toured on the folk and bluegrass festival circuits.

Wade Mainer staged his debut on the Grand Ole Opry in 1995. In 1997, he and Julia were featured guests at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. President Reagan conferred a National Heritage Fellowship on him on that occasion.

He was the grand marshal and Heritage Award honoree at Uncle Dave Macon Days in Murfreesboro in 2002, when he again appeared on the Opry.

His annual birthday celebrations in Michigan have become big news in recent years. He was considered to be the last survivor of country music’s “golden age,” the days of Jimmie Rodgers, The Carter Family and Uncle Dave Macon.


Morris, Oswald Add Team Member

Titans fan Bob Mitchell.

Dale Morris and Marc Oswald of Morris Artist Management have added longtime industry exec Bob Mitchell as a management partner.

Mitchell has been associated with the Morris Management team in recent years through his work with their client Gretchen Wilson. He relocated to Nashville in 2009 to help launch Wilson’s Redneck Records following 15 years in record promotion for Sony Music, DreamWorks and the Smith Music Group, as well as time in radio and talent buying.

Mitchell’s office number (615-327-3400 ext. 118), and cell phone number (615-720-7467) remain the same. His new e-mail address is [email protected].