CRS 2016 is now in the books and what a great ride that was. It was a thrill to catch up to many of you and to see loads of new talent get ready to spring forward. We’ll be featuring bits and pieces from the grand event in this and future issues. Now let’s get into the music that is setting Country music on fire. Jake Owen is pulling in some rather impressive numbers for his new “American Country Love Song” (RCA Nashville) and that tells us all we need to know about this gem.  Sam Hunt is on a major roll and make no mistake about that. He’s taking his new “Make You Miss Me” (MCA Nashville) out for a spin and has been getting rave reviews from many of our music and program directors.

Eric Church continues to dominate at the format. His new “Record Year” (Capitol Nashville) is also pulling in some rather spectacular numbers. Watch for some big weeks ahead for this monster jam. Newcomer Brooke Eden is getting a lot of attention and there’s good reason for that. Her new “Daddy’s Money” (Red Bow/Sony) is super catchy and some pretty solid song writing at it’s very best. Last year at CRS that super cool   duo in LoCash were spending time with a good many of us. Now it seems they have broken through and in a very big way as their new “I Know Somebody” (Reviver) takes flight. We had a good feeling about them back then and they have not disappointed.

Kane Brown is set to take off at Country radio. The new “Used To Love You Sober” (RCA Nashville) is a real delight and could be just the ticket to take this all the way. We are happy to report that Sam Austin is back at the format. The single “Saturday Night” (Plateau) is pulling in many of our Country stations and the word is that this one is a fast rising hit. Those fabulous Brothers Osborne, who got their party started on The Voice (NBC), are bringing it home once again. “21 Summer” (EMI) is their latest and all indicators area that this one is set to go all the way. Just remember that you heard that from me.

Chris Chitsey is a hard working recording artist who just keeps getting better. He has it all in full display as the new “Just Don’t Know It Yet” (Premier Nashville) takes flight. Also getting some major love at radio is newcomer Tucker Beathard. The debut single of “Rock On” (Big Machine/Universal) from Tucker proves once again that Scott Borchetta and company know just how to find great artists and take them “all the way”.

Nobody is hotter at Country radio than Chris Stapleton. He’s brought back a new brand of Country Rock Blues that is setting the world on fire and good for him. He also has the new     “Fire Away” (Mercury Nashville) that has music critics and programmers dazzled once again. It’s set to be another banner year for the amazing and super talented Chris Stapleton. We’re also getting stellar review about the new single from Cam. The powerful and solid “Mayday” (Arista Nashville) is starting to break all over radio so get on it.

Southern Halo is getting much love at radio. “Little White Dress” (Ind) is the title to watch for but better yet, give it a few spins and let your audience tell you what’s up. Donica Knight is also on fire with the new single “Love Ain’t A Prize” (MTS) and this could also be well worth your time. Country radio is also loving the new single from John Ratliff called  “U” (Ind). Already a smash hit on both our AC & Top40 charts this little song is crossing formats and in a very big way.

Joey Canyon is a two time NMA winner and a big congratulations goes out to him from me and all the good folks at New Music Weekly. He’s also taking the new single “White Limousines” (Glo-Dot) out for a spin and the response from Country radio has been over whelming. Eileen Carey is also a big time NMA winner and she too has a new single that is breaking down the house. Her new “Bring On The Big” (Rolley Coaster) is the talk of the town so if you’re not on it now – what are you waiting for?

As I mentioned at the top of this article, I had such a great time at CRS 2016 that I’m still trying to recover. The new venue seemed to work out just fine and those record label lunches just keep getting better. I loved getting a photo with my new best friend Tim McGraw and his label CEO, Scott Borchetta. Maybe they need one extra artist on their label?