Hallelujah! Kenny Chesney’s The Big Revival makes its rapturous debut this week at the top of Billboard’s country albums chart. It was borne aloft by first-week sales of 120,670 copies, Nielsen SoundScan testifies.
Cole Swindell’s prayers are answered, too, as his “Hope You Get Lonely Tonight” arrives at No. 1 in country airplay heaven after devilishly slow 30-week ascension.
OK, enough with the ecclesiastic effluvium.
Three other new albums break the tape — stop me before I metaphor again: Big & Rich’s Gravity (No. 8), the Josh Abbott Band’s Tuesday Night EP (No. 12) and Lee Ann Womack’s The Way I’m Livin’ (No. 18).
Returning CDs include Joey + Rory’s Joey + Rory Inspired: Songs of Faith & Family (No. 32), the TV series soundtrack Nashville: Season 2: Volume 2 (No. 46), David Nail’s I’m a Fire (No. 47) and Johnny Cash’s Out Among the Stars (No. 50).
There are three new songs, as well: Chesney’s “Til It’s Gone” (bowing at No. 40), Jon Pardi’s “When I’ve Been Drinkin'” (No. 58) and Chris Lane’s “Broken Windshield View” (No. 60).
Kelleigh Bannen’s “You Are What You Love” comes back on at No. 59.
The No. 2 through No. 1 albums, in that order, are Tim McGraw’s Sundown Heaven Town (last week’s No. 1), George Strait’s The Cowboy Rides Away: Live From AT&T Stadium, Luke Bryan’s Crash My Party and Lee Brice’s I Don’t Dance.
Rounding out the Top 5 songs are Bryan’s “Roller Coaster,” Florida Georgia Line’s “Dirt,” Jason Aldean’s “Burnin’ It Down” and Dustin Lynch’s “Where It’s At (Yep, Yep)” (last week’s No. 1).
It’s October. So where are the Christmas albums?
CMT All-Time Top 40: George Jones
One of country music’s truly iconic and original voices, George Jones arrives at No. 10 on CMT All-Time Top 40: Artists Choice.
A list of the most influential artists in history chosen by country stars themselves, another honoree is revealed each week on CMT Hot 20 Countdown.
Praised for an unequaled ability to inhabit the songs he sang, Jones has often been held up as the ideal country singer since his breakout hit “White Lightning” in 1959. He would go on to record what are recognized as some of country music’s greatest songs of all time, including “She Thinks I Still Care,” “The Grand Tour,” “Golden Ring” (with then-wife Tammy Wynette) and the incomparable “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”
Plagued with alcoholism throughout his life, Jones had just as many troubles as he had success stories. He earned a reputation as “No Show Jones” for failing to make some concert dates and famously drove a riding lawn mower to the nearest liquor store after his wife hid all of the keys to the family’s cars.
Despite his setbacks, Jones’ career stands as a truly legendary monument to country music as an art form.
Jones was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992. He passed away in Nashville in 2013 at the age of 81.
Charlie Daniels, The Oak Ridge Boys, Bobby Bare, Rhonda Vincent, Craig Morgan and George Strait are just a few of the artists who named Jones as one of the most influential artists in history.
“George Jones is one of two or possibly three of the most influential singers, style-wise, that ever came along in country music,” Daniels said. “I did a song with George one time, just an album cut we did with (producer) Billy Sherrill. George is the only person I’d ever seen make a five-syllable word out of ‘church.’
“A lot of kids try to sing like George in their own way, and when they do, they try to stretch a word out or make a lot of syllables out of it or something. It was an affectation. When George did it, it was natural. That was his vocal style. It belonged to him, and it didn’t belong to anybody else. No one ever sang like George Jones did.”
“He milked out every word,” the Oak Ridge Boys’ Duane Allen agreed. “If he was singing about hurting, I mean, it hurt. He drug those vowels and syllables out and wallowed around on them a little bit, and you could feel it. … He got the most out of every lyric of anybody.”
“He understood what he was singing about,” Bare explained. “He could make you feel the pain, and that’s what his songs are all about — pain. He knew how to put it to you.
“‘He Stopped Loving Her Today’ … it doesn’t get any better than that. That’s as good as country music will ever get. They might talk about different subjects, but when you say country music, you think George Jones and ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today.'”
“I think he made no excuses. He made no apologies for however he wanted to sing,” said Vincent. “Of course, it was country music through and through, but he might step out and do something out of the ordinary a little bit. But it always stayed within the template of the voice of George Jones, no matter what song he sang.”
For Morgan, Jones’ gifts were almost otherworldly.
“George is just one of those extremely unique people who had an aura about him,” he said. “There’s not a whole lot of those guys and, honestly, I don’t think we’ll ever have them again. … When George Jones came on the radio, even people that don’t listen to country music knew who that was.
“It was really weird because he’s the complete opposite of everything that I expected,” Morgan explained about getting to know Jones. “You’ve seen the movies, you’ve seen the shows, you’ve seen George and ‘No Show’ and the drinking and the partying … but the George Jones that I knew was a sweet, kind, loving, caring gentleman. Every time I ever talked to him, he hugged me and made me feel extremely comfortable. He always made me feel welcomed, and he was just very kind. I always felt like he spoke from his heart, and he was honest.”
Because of his musical gifts and that warm personality, it was almost as if Jones could do no wrong.
“George liked to have fun,” said Strait with a grin. “He was a free-spirited, happy-go-lucky, fun-loving guy, and I think that came out in his music. But his fans could never hate him, no matter what he did. If he ever did something wrong, everybody forgave George. I mean, if he was ‘No Show Jones’ or if he showed up and kicked everybody’s ass, he was still great.”
Check out the rest of the CMT All-Time Top 40: Artists Choice list, and find out who will be announced each Saturday at 11 a.m. ET/PT on CMT Hot 20 Countdown.
- 2011, Hank Williams Jr.’s “Are you ready for some football” theme is permanently removed from “Monday Night Football” telecasts days after the singer linked the president and Adolf Hitler. ESPN says it’s a network decision; Bocephus insists it was his choice
– 2005, Trace Adkins’ “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” video debuts on CMT
– 1998, Alabama is honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 7060 Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles
– 1990, “Friends In Low Places” puts Garth Brooks at #1 on the Billboard country singles chart
- 2012, Florida Georgia Line earns a gold single for “Cruise”
– 2006, Little Big Town shoots a new installment of “CMT Crossroads” at The Factory in Franklin, Tennessee, with Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham. The set list includes “Boondocks,” “Bring It On Home” and “Go Your Own Way”
– 2001, Delayed twice in the aftermath of terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Reba McEntire’s WB sitcom, “Reba,” debuts
– 1990, Columbia releases Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “Shooting Straight In The Dark” album
- 2008, Dierks and Cassidy Bentley have a daughter, Evalyn Day Bentley, at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville
– 2000, The Dixie Chicks win four honors in the 34th annual Country Music Association awards at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House, including Entertainer of the Year; Vocal Group; Album, for “Fly”; and Music Video, for “Goodbye Earl”
– 1995, Alison Krauss takes home four trophies in the 29th annual Country Music Association awards, aired on CBS from Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House: Female Vocalist of the Year; the Horizon Award; Vocal Event; and Single, for “When You Say Nothing At All”
– 1975, Willie Nelson picks up his first #1 single as an artist with “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain”
- 2011, Hank Williams Jr. compares president Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler on a FOX News broadcast. ESPN subsequently pulls Bocephus’ theme song from that night’s telecast of “Monday Night Football”
– 2002, Faith Hill’s “Cry” video premieres on CMT
– 1998, Willie Nelson holds Farm Aid ’98 at the New World Music Theatre in Tinley Park, Illinois, with Neil Young, Brian Wilson, Michael Peterson, Toby Keith, Vern Gosdin, David Allan Coe, K.T. Oslin, Steve Earle, John Mellencamp and Martina McBride
– 1992, Collin Raye’s “In This Life” rises to #1 on the Billboard country chart
- 2010, Carrie Underwood performs her first concert at the historic Hollywood Bowl. Randy Travis is a surprise guest on “I Told You So,” and rock guitarist Orianthi joins Underwood on “Last Name”
– 1996, George Strait takes three trophies during the 30th annual Country Music Association awards, aired by CBS from the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville. Strait takes Male Vocalist of the Year; Album, for “Blue Clear Sky”; and Single, for “Check Yes Or No”
– 1986, The Everly Brothers receive a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame
– 1954, Elvis Presley makes his only appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, singing “Blue Moon Of Kentucky” at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. Opry manager Jim Denny allegedly tells him not to give up his day job
Loretta Lynn: 10 Prime Hits
Loretta Lynn began writing songs as a teenager on her Sears Roebuck guitar during the downtime between laundering other folks’ clothes and raising her own kids. Today, she indisputably stands as one of country music’s greatest singers, writers and performers ever — not bad for a poor coal miner’s daughter from Appalachia.
Lynn placed No. 11 on CMT All-Time Top 40: Artist’s Choice. Each influential musician or band is ranked based on an artist poll conducted by CMT among the biggest stars in country music. The ballot isn’t limited to just country artists, thus highlighting artists from all genres that influence country’s biggest names. One by one, the countdown is revealed each week on CMT Hot 20 Countdown.
Here, in chronological order, are 10 prime hits that trace the incredible path of the Country Music Hall of Famer’s groundbreaking career.
“You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)”
Lynn issued this razor-sharp takedown of a competitor for her man’s affection in 1966. The title track of her second album, the self-penned song climbed to No. 2, becoming her highest-charting single to date. The Grateful Dead, Martina McBride and Paramore have all covered the hit, in which the rival has naively come to tell Lynn to get lost. Lynn turns the tables: “Women like you, they’re a dime a dozen/You can buy ‘em anywhere.”
“Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)”
This swift right hook was Lynn’s chart-topping answer to years of men singing country songs glorifying honky-tonk carousing. The first No. 1 single of her career, the tune’s simultaneously coy and direct treatment of sex ruffled plenty of feathers in 1966 — one year before Lynn became the first woman ever to win CMA entertainer of the year. It was far from the last time she courted controversy.
Another rollicking threat written and inimitably sung by Lynn, 1968’s “Fist City” warned women to stay away from her husband, Oliver “Doolittle” Lynn. She promises some serious brawling if those women chose to ignore her, sweetly snarling: “I’ll grab you by the hair of the head and I’ll lift you off of the ground.” Lynn wrote several songs cautioning ladies to steer clear of Doo, whose alcoholism and womanizing over more than 50 years of marriage gave Lynn ample writing material.
“Coal Miner’s Daughter”
The second of eight children born to Clara and coal miner Ted Webb in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, Lynn was married as a teenager and a mother several times over before she hit her 20s. This 1970 smash is the story of her life — a portrait of poverty and love, proudly delivered. The best-selling autobiography and iconic film of the same name followed, while Sissy Spacek’s portrayal of Lynn earned her the Oscar for best actress.
“After the Fire Is Gone” with Conway Twitty
Artistic chemistry has rarely topped the sparks that flew as Conway Twitty and Lynn sang about passion, lying and cheating. The two became one of country music’s most beloved pairs, and in 1971, this scorcher became their first No. 1 duet and won a Grammy. The song kicks off with the gut-wrenching chorus, as Twitty and Lynn cry together about the chill that settles in once love has died: “There’s nothing cold as ashes/After the fire is gone.”
“One’s on the Way”
When Lynn tackled women’s issues in her music, she was upfront, plainspoken and never lost her sense of humor, which is on dazzling display in this 1971 hit written by the brilliant Shel Silverstein. Without a trace of bitterness or self-pity, Lynn reels off tabloid-worthy tidbits from the glamorous lives led by Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Kennedy before breaking into a chorus that acknowledges leaky faucets, clueless husbands and humble, overwhelming motherhood.
This send-up of society’s treatment of divorced women as damaged goods topped the charts in 1973. Like most of Lynn’s work, the song features Nashville’s legendary A-Team studio musicians and was produced by Music Row rajah Owen Bradley, whose lush arrangements provided ideal juxtaposition for Lynn’s unpolished power. In 2001, devoted fan Jack White included a live cover of “Rated ‘X'” as the B-side to the White Stripes’ single “Hotel Yorba,” off the White Blood Cells album that he also dedicated to Lynn.
“Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” with Conway Twitty
Thankfully, Twitty and Lynn could be as mischievously giddy as they could be sorrowful. This 1973 Cajun-infused romp about one man and one woman who refuse to let the Mississippi River and its alligators keep them away from each other became the pair’s third No. 1.
She had stirred the pot before, but with the 1975 release of this song extoling the virtues of birth control, Lynn set off high-voltage alarms. Numerous country stations banned the tune, which still climbed to No. 5 on the Billboard charts in spite of its critics. In her signature sly drawl, she compares herself to a worn-out hen sick of roosting and looks forward to miniskirts and hot pants now that those baby-making days are behind her.
“Portland, Oregon” featuring Jack White
Jack White produced Lynn’s 2004 studio album Van Lear Rose, which clinched Lynn’s first Grammy in more than three decades. White and Lynn trade flirtatious lines on “Portland, Oregon,” a blues-laced barroom jaunt that introduced a generation or two of new fans to one of country music’s defining voices and proved the girl from Butcher Hollow has still got it in spades.
2010, Jason Aldean’s “My Kinda Party” video premieres on CMT
2005, Dierks Bentley is inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, performing “Come A Little Closer” after being introduced by Marty Stuart
1986, MCA releases Patty Loveless’ self-titled debut album
1977, Kenny Rogers collects a #1 country single in Billboard with “Daytime Friends”
Kerr is a former American Idol contestant from the 2012 season and a former LadyCat, NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats basketball cheerleaders. Her Instagram bio now describes her simply as “Lucky in love, Animal Lover, Gypsy Life, Roll Tide.”
On Thursday, Kerr Instagrammed a picture of herself at the zoo feeding a sea lion in jean cutoffs, a white tank top and black booties, but no visible sign of an engagement ring. “My man did it again. Today was amazing,” she wrote, without any specific mention of the marriage proposal.
The couple has been openly dating since the summer of 2014 when Aldean brought Kerr as his date to the CMT Music Awards in June. Prior to that, Kerr posted her first photo of the two of them together in May and continues to share photos and videos of the life they are building together.