Brantley Gilbert has teamed up with Justin Moore & Thomas Rhett for a strong Country entry. “Small Town Throw Down” (Valory Music/Universal) brings this powerhouse trio of new Country talent that is sure to light up any playlist. Lady Antebellum just keep rolling out the hits. Their latest in “Bartender” (Capitol Nashville) should keep them on top of their game for this Sumer. Dan & Shay have already proven that they are no one hit wonders. “Show You Off” (WB/WEA) is their follow-up and according to our panel of music and program directors this one is an out of the park smash hit. Please remember that you read about that first right here on the pages in our Country section. Dierks Bentley keeps rocking strong and seems to be getting back in the game. All bets are on that his new “Drunk On A Plane” (Capitol Nashville) will build into a new Country anthem. We’re thrilled to see that Scotty McCreery keeps building a nice career for himself. So much so that his new “Feelin’ It” (Mercury Nashville) is getting quite the buzz out there at Country radio from this former American Idol winner and one of our favorites. Red hot recording artist Jerrod Niemann keeps building his fane base by leaps and bounds. He’s now taking “Donkey” (Arista Nashville) out for a spin at radio and so far so very good. Eric Church continues to prove that you can rock and still have country hits. He keeps his edge on in the new “Cold One” (Universal Nashville) that is in there for the long haul. Also proving that she’s the real deal is Kacey Musgraves. We just love everything she pens and records and you can add “Keep It To Yourself” (Mercury Nashville) to that ever growing list. Those Brothers Osborne keep rocking the radio world and for good eason. Their latest offering in the song “Rum” (EMI) continues to help build their amazing career. Frankie Ballard seemed to have come out from nowhere but please believe that this artist is here to stay. “Sunshine & Whiskey” (WB/WEA) is fast becoming another real favorite among our gang of music and program directors and for good reason, it’s just that good. Two legends in Ray Price and Vince Gill prove once again that there is strength in numbers. The new duo has released the single “Beauty Lies In The Eyes Of The Beholder” (AmeriMonte) and everybody is raving about this version. We’ll see how is all plays out for the two in the weeks to come but so far we have a winner here. The pairing of Blake Shelton and Gwen Sebastian has proven to be a real big deal. So much so that their track “My Eyes” (Warner Music Nashville) is on track to the top of the charts. Another brilliant pairing in Tim McGraw and Faith Hill continues to reap benefits. “Meanwhile Back At Mama’s” (Big Machine/Universal) is really the one to watch for as it races by leaps and bounds on just about everybody’s playlist. Our good friend and bass guitarist Paul Bushnell joined Tim recently for his stint on The Voice and on Good Morning America and reports that all is well in the Tim and Faith camp. This is our special CMA Festival issue and we could not be more proud of all of these artists, especially some in the independent arena that are continuing to shine. Recording artist Billy White Jr is getting some solid actin for his “A Little Hitch” (Ayemaydah) single. Stonewall Jackson is pulling in some rather impressive numbers for “Black Sheep” (Turp Tunes). Macy Martin is off string with the track entitled “Me With You” (GTR) and John King is building his story ever so bight with “Tonight Tonight” (Ind). Major kudos go out to Andrew Heller as our man “on the cover” for this special CMA issue. He’s a super talent and has had great success on our charts. I hope that all of you have an great CMA Festival and with any luck I hope to meet you at this grand event “in person”. I’ll have more for you on the best of Country next time right here.