My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Tag Archives: The Wreckers

Week ending 9/17/16: #1 singles this week in country music history

8962160d82ebc1039afceb9e1863f6572014221013919381956 (Sales): Crazy Arms — Ray Price (Columbia)

1956 (Jukebox): Hound Dog/Don’t Be Cruel — Elvis Presley (RCA)

1956 (Disc Jockeys):Crazy Arms — Ray Price (Columbia)

1966: Almost Persuaded — David Houston (Epic)

1976: I Don’t Want to Have to Marry You — Jim Ed Brown & Helen Cornelius (RCA)

1986: Little Rock — Reba McEntire (MCA)

1996: Guys Do It All the Time — Mindy McCready (BNA)

2006: Leave the Pieces — The Wreckers (Maverick)

2016: H.O.L.Y. — Florida Georgia Line (Republic Nashville)

2016 (Airplay): American Country Love Song — Jake Owen (RCA)

Week ending 9/10/16: #1 singles this week in country music history

Michelle Branch, Jessica Harp, The Wreckers The Wreckers Photo Shoot JPI Studios West Hollywood 4/17/06 ©John Paschal/jpistudios.com 310-657-9661

Michelle Branch, Jessica Harp, The Wreckers
The Wreckers Photo Shoot
JPI Studios
West Hollywood
4/17/06
©John Paschal/jpistudios.com
310-657-9661

1956 (Sales): Crazy Arms — Ray Price (Columbia)

1956 (Jukebox): I Walk The Line/Get Rhythm — Johnny Cash (Sun)

1956 (Disc Jockeys):Crazy Arms — Ray Price (Columbia)

1966: Almost Persuaded — David Houston (Epic)

1976: (I’m a) Stand By My Woman Man — Ronnie Milsap (RCA)

1986: Desperado Love — Conway Twitty (Warner Bros.)

1996: She Never Lets It Go to Her Heart — Tim McGraw (Curb)

2006: Leave the Pieces — The Wreckers (Maverick)

2016: H.O.L.Y. — Florida Georgia Line (Republic Nashville)

2016 (Airplay): Make You Miss Me — Sam Hunt (MCA)

Occasional Hope’s Top 10 Singles of 2014

what we ain't got

jake owenEvery year the pickings on country radio seem to get slimmer and slimmer, with fewer slots available for anything really country, or for material with any lyrical depth. But there are still some gems out there, and a few of them are even hits. So here is my personal pick of the year’s singles.

10. All Alright – Zac Brown Band
The arrangement is a bit rock-oriented for my taste with fuzzy guitars but this is a great song with a very strong melody and plaintive vocal from Zac, so it just squeezes into my top 10 ahead of Josh Turner’s current single ‘Lay Low’ which I liked a lot but didn’t feel had a lot of depth. ‘All Alright’ underperformed on country radio, just scraping into the top 20, perhaps because the band have cut their ties with Atlantic and lost some promotional muscle.

9. Bad Girl Phase – Sunny Sweeney
Sunny rocks out and exercises her wild side.

brandy clark8. Hungover – Brandy Clark
One of the best songwriters in Nashville (she also co-wrote ‘Bad Girl Phase’), Brandy is also a fine singer, and this single comes from my Album of the Year of 2013. A jaundiced depiction of a marriage failing thanks to one party’s drinking, while the other moves on, unnoticed, it is a brilliantly observed slice of life. Brandy has recently signed a deal with Warner Brothers which may get her music wider recognition.

7. I’ll Be Here In the Morning – Don Williams
One of the biggest stars of the 1970s and 80s revives a deeply romantic song reminiscent of his best, written by the legendary Texas songwriter Townes Van Zandt. Warm and tender in all the right ways.

dreamers6. That’s What Dreamers Do – Travis Tritt
The 90s star at his ballad-singing best, with a sensitive and thoughtful lyric about rising past hard times. It was written for a Walt Disney biopic, but its genuinely inspirational message is universal. Tritt’s vocal is excellent, sweet and tender, and backed by a tasteful arranagement.

5. What I Can’t Put Down – Jon Pardi
The young country-rocker’s third single (written by himself with Brice Long and Bart Butler) peaked just outside the top 30 – a disappointment following his top 10 breakthrough in 2013. The singer’s youthful energy sells the cheerful confession of over indulgence in sinful pleasures. Highly likeable.

ronnie dunn4. I Wish I Still Smoked Cigarettes – Ronnie Dunn
Technically this came out at the end of 2013 (and Razor X listed it in his top 10 singles for that year), but I’m counting it as a 2014 single. A melancholy reflection on growing older which was written by Lori McKenna, Luke Laird, and Barry Dean, Dunn’s vocal is perfectly judged with a wistful yearning for the lost innocence and carelessness of youth, “When I didn’t know what wasn’t good for me, but I knew everything else for sure”. Unfortunately it was far too good, and adult, for country radio to give it the time of day.

3. Girl In A Country Song – Maddie & Tae
This smart and funny satirical take on bro-country was a big surprise, coming from a pair of unheralded teenagers. It’s still on the poppy side aurally – but the clever and punchy lyrics work so well I don’t care about that for once (and the production is relatively restrained). They remind me quite a bit of the shortlived Wreckers. I’m interested in seeing what they come up with in future – and this song making it big on country radio is a great sign.

2. Blue Smoke – Dolly Parton
A delightful confection from another veteran who still has the goods. Dolly wrote the bluegrass-tinged tune as well as performing it with her customary zest.

1. What We Ain’t Got – Jake Owen
This is a beautifully understated and philosophical sad lost love song written by Travis Meadows based on his own bitter experiences. Jake has gone on record to declare this the best song he has ever recorded, and he is dead right. It’s also the best mainstream single by anyone for quite some time. It’s still rising slowly up the charts, and may not be the smash hit it deserves to be: but it’s the song of the year as far as I’m concerned.

Moving backstage

Former Wrecker Jessica Harp surprised many by her recent announcement that she was leaving her record label and abandoning hopes of a solo career in favour of becoming a full time songwriter. While retaining rather more dignity than Jason Michael Carroll’s unforgettable but rather sad “Arista and I are going our seperate [sic] ways! They called and said they would be moving forward without me!” this may be a case of jumping before she was pushed, as Jessica’s solo singles had failed to set the charts alight, although her now ex-label has chosen to release her album digitally as a parting gift for her fans.

Time will tell whether she will be successful in her new course. She would hardly be the first Nashville songwriter to start out wanting to be an artist in her own right, or indeed the first to enjoy a short chart career.

Dean Dillon’s distinctive turn of phrase has made him one of the most sought-after writers in the past 20 years. With a voice as quirky and distinctive as his writing, he started out as a singer. A string of singles on RCA were minor hits in the late 70s and early 80s, including the first versions of his own songs ‘Nobody in His Right Mind Would’ve Left Her’ and ‘Famous Last Words Of A Fool’. The former was a top 30 hit, the latter failed to make the top 50, but neither had the chart impact they deserved – or that they had when George Strait covered them. The label also teamed Dean up with honky tonker Gary Stewart as a duo, releasing one full length album and a six track EP. Those early RCA recordings (both solo and duet) are virtually all now available on one CD. A successful run as a songwriter followed, but he had not given up his dreams of solo stardom, and in 1988 he signed to Capitol. Two albums for that label, and two more for Atlantic, failed to quite take off. The critical moment arrived when he planned to release ‘Easy Come Easy Go’ as a single – and found Strait wanted to record the song. He relinquished the song, and settled down to life as a writer for others.

I’ve never really understood why Larry Boone’s solo career never took off. He was signed to Mercury in the late 80s, and later Columbia; he was good looking, had a great voice, and was an excellent songwriter. But only a few of his singles charted, the most successful being his #10 ‘Don’t Give Candy To A Stranger’ which was our Classic Rewind a week ago. Luckily, he had that songwriting talent to fall back on.

Skip Ewing was another recording artist to enjoy a handful of hit singles in the late 80s, then turn to writing them for others when his own chart career wound down. He had much more success in the latter capacity, writing multiple #1s. He made a return to the airwaves in his own right as Reba’s duet partner on the radio version of ‘Every Other Weekend’.

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Single Review: Jessica Harp – ‘A Woman Needs’

Written by Jordan Stacey.  – J.R.

Jessica Harp was once one half of The Wreckers along with Michelle Branch. After one successful record they decided they’d go back to pursuing their solo careers. Jessica looked to be off to a good start last year with her first song, ‘Boy Like Me’, climbing nicely when it suddenly died out at #30 on the charts. She comes back this time with the title track to her delayed debut album A Woman Needs. Much like her first single this one is an uptempo song with a catchy driving beat. What probably killed ‘Boy Like Me’ was that while catchy it was a little hard to relate to it. The first verse was inventive if hard to follow. This song sounds much less convulted while sacrificing some of the inventiveness.

Girl power anthems were all the rage back in the 90’s with Shania Twain and Jo Dee Messina leading the way. They’ve more or less gone away at this point with the last one in recent memory being Bomshel’s ‘Fight Like A Girl’ which also peaked at #30. However this one feels like a hit, it has the same clear voiced performance that drove most of Twain and Messina’s biggest hits, it’s catchy as hell, and just judging by my little sister and her friends singing along to this one I can see the target audience eating this up.

Jessica sounds fun and lively on it, the music doesn’t blend together for the most part, and it’s relatable, all the things hit songs are made of. Is it a great song that’ll be remembered in ten years? Probably not. It’s a good sounding single that should get Jessica the hit she’s been looking for.

Grade: B

Single Review: Jessica Harp – ‘Boy Like Me’

Jessica Harp

In case you don’t know, Jessica Harp was the not-Michelle-Branch-half of The Wreckers, a country duo on hiatus currently (Although they seem to still get nominated for stuff for some odd reason…). If you still don’t remember, they had the hits “Leave The Pieces” and “My, Oh My”, two great songs from their partially disappointing debut album.

This song finds Harp trying to start her solo career in country music, and it’s a pretty good song! First of all, the song rocks just enough for mainstream radio, but has enough twang to still be country. It has a good balance. It doesn’t hurt that Keith Urban is playing the guitar throughout, and it really reminds me of his hit “I Told You So”. (Rumor has it that Urban was going to record “Boy Like Me” as “Girl Like Me” but decided not to, so he contributed to Harp’s version instead.) It has a great mix of electric guitar and more traditional country sounds, not to mention Harp herself, who proves herself as a vocalist.

I never knew she could sing on her own! She was always the harmony half of The Wreckers, so it’s nice to hear her great voice, and she sounds engaging here. She has just enough grit to make this song believable, and she’s very entertaining. She doesn’t belt, but sings like she really wants that boy who’s just like her. She can also make her voice big enough to handle the chorus. Luckily, she never has to stretch, but sounds very comfortable in this song.

The song is very frivolous, but not in the annoying and mindlessly catchy way that the recent “Chicken Fried” is. Harp sings about how she wants a boy like her who wants to be more… rebellious… than I will ever be in my life. She wants that guy who will “lead her down the wrong road”, and she makes it sound fun! Most of the lyrics are fairly nondescript, but there are some fun parts like where she sings, “You’re the kind of boy who likes the kind of girls who like to fool around with the boys on the first date.” There are parts with some fun tongue-twisters that just sound like pure fun, but none of it is groundbreaking in any way.

It’s interesting to contrast this song with a single I reviewed last month, Gloriana’s “Wild At Heart”. While that fun song is way too saccharine (I’ve stopped liking it since I wrote my review), this song is just rough enough to make it appealing to most of mainstream country radio. Still, a really fun song. I hope her solo album keeps up this kind of quality.

Grade: A-

Written by Jerry Flowers

Listen to “Boy Like Me” on Jessica’s Myspace here.
Buy here from iTunes.