Album Review – Aaron Watson’s ‘Vaquero’

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Aaron Watson is undoubtedly one of the biggest stars of the Texas country scene. In terms of stature and achievements, he’s the Luke Bryan of the scene. Watson has racked up numerous #1 hits at Texas radio and has established quite a following over his career. He also achieved a historic accomplishment with his last album The Underdog, becoming the first ever independent, male country artist to debut at #1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. It’s a feat that has since been accomplished by more, but it was significant because it made many in the industry realize that independent artists can sell better than many major label artists. It also brought him onto the radar of many mainstream fans. So his follow-up and new album Vaquero certainly comes more anticipated than any of his previous releases. At 16 songs long I wasn’t sure what to expect. The result for the most part is quality country music.

The easy-going “Texas Lullaby” opens up the album. The song is about a guy named Texas from Texas who goes to serve in the army. It’s a pretty cliché song that takes a very contrived approach. The fiddle and steel guitar play is nice, but that doesn’t automatically absolve the lyrics of course. The next song “Take You Home Tonight” though does a much better job of striking a good balance between the lyrics and instrumentation. The song is about a couple spending the night at home together. The theme is slightly bro-ish, but Watson’s charismatic delivery and the fantastic instrumentation really carry the song well. “These Old Boots Have Roots” is probably the best traditional meets modern country song I’ve heard yet. It’s infectious, catchy and fun from the first listen, utilizing the fiddle well. This song demonstrates Watson’s ability to get the most out of songs with his likable and down home personality. Watson also excels best on love ballads like “Be My Girl.” I especially enjoy how the instrumentation really lets this song breathe and at the same time enhance the mood the song is going for.

Watson laments things not being the same as in the past on “They Don’t Make Like They Used To.” It’s a song that relies on nostalgia and at first kind of comes off curmudgeonly championing the past. But halfway through it comes back around. It touches on how we need more love, compassion and forgiveness in the world so that one day we might be looked back upon as the golden days. Your mileage will vary on this one. The album’s title track has a decidedly Tejano influence, which is great to hear. The song is about a man sitting down at the bar with an old vaquero, who bestows upon him the lessons he’s learned in his long life. It’s essentially along the same lines as the Billy Currington hit “People Are Crazy,” but I think this song does a better job of getting it’s point across. “Mariano’s Dream” is a prelude to “Clear Isabel,” arguably the best track on Vaquero. The song is about Isabel and her father Mariano, a Mexican lawman. After watching his son die at the hands of a drug cartel, Mariano packs their stuff and sets their sites for freedom in south Texas. They are discovered by a Texas man who offers them shelter and work. In the meanwhile the Texas man falls in love with Isabel, marry and have a child. They are also able to obtain a green card for her father, but unfortunately it comes too late as he’s gunned down. It’s a tragic, timely song that conveys the risks people take to seek freedom and a better life.

“One Two Step at a Time” is a song I can imagine will be a hit at the Texas dance halls. Watson gets conciliatory on “The Arrow,” which reads like advice from a father to a child. While a tad sappy, it has a good message of spreading love and kindness. Watson’s charm once again elevates an ordinary song to something I will remember. The album closes out with another standout, “Diamonds & Daughters.” It’s about a father conveying how proud and how much he loves his daughter. He recalls the first time he saw her face to now giving her off at her wedding day. The guitar-play compliments the lyrics well and gives the song some much-needed texture. It’s a great, heartfelt way to end the album.

Vaquero is a pretty solid album from Aaron Watson. I think it’s even better than his previous album The Underdog. But at the same time I can’t help but feel it should have been even better and I think the biggest culprit of this album is the album length. It’s just too long at 16 songs and I think if it was culled down to 12 songs it would have made for an overall better listen. Nevertheless there are some really good moments on this album and they outweigh the more pedestrian moments you might have to wade through. For fans of Texas country there will be a lot to like and for the curious mainstream fan this album will harken them back to the days of early 2000s country. Vaquero will further endear fans of Watson and will surely attract more seeking the sweet sounds of fiddle and steel guitar.

Grade: 7/10

 

Recommend? – Yes

Album Highlights: Clear Isabel, Diamonds & Daughters, Vaquero, Be My Girl, Take You Home Tonight, These Old Boots Have Roots

Bad Songs: None

Wallpaper: Texas Lullaby, Big Love in a Small Town, Amen Amigo, Rolling Stone, Run Wild Horses


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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]

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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. 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]

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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”
  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.