Beyond Radio’s Personal Music Assistant

Country/Heartland Picks 2016

Listen to all of 2016’s song picks on spotify

To listen on Napster/Rhapsody

In search box type Beyond Radio Country Picks 2016


Country/Heartland Picks December 7

A little country, Christian, folk and roots rock to whet your whistle.


Listen to/Watch all the songs featured on this pick list on YTUBE


Retro Country
BRANDY CLARK    Love Can Go To Hell

This is the current #4 song on the Beyond Radio Untapped Resources Country chart. This singer-songwriter was nominated for best new artist at last year’s Grammy’s and has written songs for a huge number of artists including Reba, Sheryl Crow and Darius Rucker. Her own music is steeped in a more old time country groove (like “Big Day In A Small Town” and “Soap Opera”) than a lot of the pop/country that is on the airwaves.


Christian Pop

This Irish worship band reached #10 on the Christian album chart earlier this year with their debut album. ‘Magnify’ is currently in the top 15 in Christian airplay. The album also includes the top 10 “Everything Comes Alive” and the poignant album closer “I Don’t Have The Answers”.


Canadian Folk/Rock

This singer-songwriter from Prince Edawrd Island has put out 2 EP’s, one in 2013 and the current “Adolescent Nature” including “Julia” and “Talk To Me”. He has been compared to the Lumineers (one of their current album tracks “Sleep On The Floor” has spent a number of months on the AAA Untapped Resources chart this year).


TIM HICKS    Slow Burn

Canadian Hicks has had 7 top 10 singles since 2012 on the Canadian Country chart including “Stompin’ Ground” and “Here Comes The Thunder”. He specializes in twangy rock, just to the right? of Jason Aldean.

I can not deny that I have soft spot for some bro-country as Aldean’s “My Kinda Party” is one of my all time favorite songs.It’s the type of song that I have never tired of and has grown in stature since it’s chart run in 2011, when it only reached #2 on my weekly chart. Now It is likely in my top 50 of all time and is the epitome of the current country-rock style. He’s had 33 songs on my personal chart including “Sweet Little Something”, one of 3 #1’s. He just released his current single “Any Ol’ Barstool” last week. 


Roots Rock
GREG GRAFFIN    Lincoln’s Funeral Train

Seems a lot of old rockers veer into this territory and Bad Religion’s lead singer is certainly one of them as evidenced by ‘Train’ and 2006’s “Don’t Be Afraid To Run”. His punk band formed in 1979 and remained obscure until the 1994 song “21st Digital Boy” put them on the alt radio map. They had their biggest radio success in the mid 90’s. The band is still together and has kept the punk edge on all 16 of their albums since 1982.


Artist updates

TYLER FARR    Our Town

Recent singles by 2 artists that were featured on the June 6 pick list. Both have had top 5 songs on my personal chart, including “Kiss Me When I’m Down” and “Withdrawals”.


Country/Heartland Picks November 16

Listen to/Watch all the songs featured on this pick list on YTUBE


As this list transcends just country and showcases a variety of genres I will start to indicate the style before each artist


Indie Folk/Adult Alternative

This indie-folk artist from St. Louis has released 4 albums since 2011. She is finally making some waves on Adult Alternative radio with the song “Shut Up And Kiss Me”. The epic alt-country “Sister” at first has a decidedly sparse sound that brings to mind old school songs from the 50’s/60’s era and then cranks it up towards the end.


Country Rock


Maryland siblings John & T.J. Osborne play a true mix of country twang and rock as evidenced on songs like ‘Rich’, “Pawn Shop” and “Down Home” from their debut album. They released their first single “Let’s Go There” and hit #1 on the country airplay chart & my personal chart last year with “Stay A Little Longer”. The video is very progressive for the country audience showing somewhat intimate protrayls of straight and gay couples.


UK Country & Scottish Alt-Rock

RED SKY JULY    The Truth And The Lie

There is a burgeoning UK country scene and this husband/wife duo have been a part of it since 2011. They come from 2 former bands, Texas and Alisha’s Attic. One of my favorite parts of researching artists is finding unknown (to me) connections. Texas is a band from Scotland whose debut single in 1989 “I Don’t Want A Lover” was my #4 song of that year. It has a slight country feel behind it’s alt rock sheen. Alisha’s Attic was a UK pop duo in the vein of the Spice Girls that were together from 1996-2001. On songs like “Sway” and “House Of Cards” this duo shows an easy going country vibe.


Country & 2000’s era Post grunge

DALLAS SMITH    Autograph

Discovery #2. In putting Smith as the next artist on the list (‘Autograph’ is the current #1 song on Canadian country radio) I had no idea he was also the lead singer of Canadian rock band Default. They’ve had 9 songs on my personal chart and 2 in my top 10 of 2011. “Yesterday’s Song” (#2) and “Hold Onto You” (#6). They were discovered by Chad Kroeger of Nickelback in 1999. Many of my friends know that I have always said I like bands that sound like Nickelback more than Nickelback itself (although to be clear they have had 27 songs on my personal chart). Their current cover of Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry” is a faithful yet harder edged remake.

Smith started his solo country career in 2012 and has had 14 Canadian top 10 country hits since then. It’s hard to hear the same voice between his rock and country persona’s but you can sort of hear it in  “Side Effects”, “Cheap Seats” and “One Little Kiss”.



BLUE WATER HIGHWAY BAND    Speaking Of The Devil

This rousing current single is the perfect introduction to this Americana roots band from the Texas gulf coast. The band is named for the highway that runs up the coast from Galveston. The sound is a mix of country, New Orleans and gospel. They released an EP in 2013 and a full length album “Things We Carry” last year featuring  “Medicine Man” and “City Love, City Lose”.



DAVID FANNING    Where Are You Now

Fanning’s first break as a singer was his cover of Justin Timberlake’s “Drink You Away” (the song Timberlake dueted with Chris Stapleton live and shot that artist into the country stratosphere). Fanning had previous success as a songwriter and producer of a few #1 country hits and part of Jason Aldean’s road band. “Doin’ Country Right” and “What’s Next” are 2 singles from 2015 but he as of yet has failed to reach the country top 50.

Country/Heartland Picks October 21

Listen to/Watch all the songs featured on this pick list on YTUBE

SHANE GAMBLE    Lost In A Mystery
Hailing from Maryland, Gamble glides between country, rock and Americana effortlessly. On this song he plays on the the radio friendly country-rock side of the street.


Rollin’ And Tumblin’/Turn My Way
This independent artist released his second album, “American Heart” in June. ‘Turn’, from his 1st record made impact on Sirius/XM channel The Highway in 2013.


AUTUMN HILL    Return Policy
Canadian duo Tareya Green and Mike Robins, who have had 7 top 25 country singles in Canada since 2012. This was a #22 from 2015.


2 others from their latest album “Anchor”. Like duo Thompson Square they trade male/female lead vocals. “Blame” is their only top 10, reaching #4.


BLIND PILOT    Packed Powder
This indie folk band from Portland, Oregon is currently #21 on the AAA radio chart. This sounds like something America would have put out 40 years ago.


Umpqua Rushing/The Story I Heard
The band has released 3 albums and have an easy going style that is so very west coast. ‘Rushing’, another single from this year, is actually in sound, the antithesis of that. ‘Story’ is from their 2009 debut, “3 Rounds And A Sound”.


Born in Missouri, Dunn handles the fiddle and mandolin as well as lead vocals for her band. She is not afraid to get down and dirty on this song. Crunchy guitars and intricate fiddle swirls highlight the song



You Or The Whiskey/Anywhere You Go
2 songs from her 2014 debut album “You Or The Whiskey”. ‘Go’ slows the pace down to showcase her songwriting and vocal.


CHRIS LANE    Drinkin’ Games
Lane is just coming off his first country #1 single “Fix”, which was also a top 10 on my chart. The twin from North Carolina just released this new single on Oct. 7. It definitely fits into that bro country, Florida Georgia Line realm.


For Her/Stolen Car
He released 7 singles before the debut album “Girl Problems” came out earlier this year. ‘Her’ is a straightforward country ballad while ‘Car’ employs the R&B vibe that current stars Thomas Rhett and Brett Eldredge employ.


DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS    Surrender Under Protest
This southern alternative country-rock band put out their first record in 1998. On this song they sound like Neil Young fronting the Replacements.



What It Means/First Air Of Autumn
Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley are the core members of the band but there has been a revolving cast of characters over the course of 11 albums. “What it Means” is a sobering reflection on American values from their just released “American Band” and ‘Autumn’, which vocally elicits Willie Nelson, is from 2014’s album “English Oceans”.


FOY VANCE    Upbeat Feelgood
This sounds like mid-70’s classic country-rock, with shades of Van Morrison. Vance was born in Northern Ireland but his family,led by his preacher father, moved to Oklahoma soon after his birth in 1974. So I guess the sound is somewhat predictable.



Indiscriminate Act of Kindness/Bangor Town
‘Kindness’ was featured in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy in 2006. Of interest, for his most recent album, Ed Sheeran approached him to release iton his record imprint Gingerbread Man records and Elton John was the executive producer. Not surprising considering his love for Americana. ‘Bangor’ is his hometown.

ELTON JOHN  Where To Now St. Peter?
His love for Americana shone through especially on a trio of early 70’s albums, “Tumbleweed Connection”, “Madman Across The Water” and “Honky Chateau”. This song is one of my favorite’s from that period and I credit Elton for the music journey my life has revolved around.



We come almost full circle here. This band was born out of pop-rock band Allstar Weekend. They claim influences of country, rock, Motown and gospel. While some other songs definitely lean towards pop-rock, this current single is totally in the Americana/AAA/Country rock arena. The first artist featured claims similar influences, perhaps signaling that your influences can take you in seemingly different directions while keeping you under a wide brim umbrella.


Soft & Sweet/Tears
“Soft’ is another current single while “Tears” is the lead off cut from their debut album in 2013. Both come from a strummy folk center with the latter employing a percussive back beat. These songs are a far cry from the original band’s original affiliation with Radio Disney.


Listen to the current pick list here on YTUBE




 Country/Heartland picks Oct. 5

BILLY CURRINGTON        Soundtrack

This 43 year old Savannah, Georgia native has had 10 #1 country singles since his debut in 2003, including country radio’s current #1 “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To”. 3 of his 6 albums have gone to #2 on the U.S. album chart.

Wake Me Up

In 2013 Currington pleaded no contest to an elder abuse charge and was sentenced to 5 years probation. By doing so he had a terrorist threat charge dropped. Hmmm.



This is the Glee actor and son of country artist Paul Overstreet’s first post Glee single. His older brother Nash is in a pop band called Hot Chelle Rae.

Beautiful Girl

HOT CHELLE RAE              I Like To Dance

The band had 6 pop top 40 songs between 2010 and 2014. This was their first release which did not chart. Their biggest hit was the #5 “Tonight Tonight” in 2011

PAUL OVERSTREET          Daddy’s Come Around

During his recording career between 1982 and 2005 Overstreet released 10 albums and 18 singles. He had a string of 8 top 10 singles in a row between 1988-1991 including this #1 song from 1990.


WARD THOMAS               Carry You Home

UK twin sister duo Catherine and Lizzy Ward Thomas are credited with being “Britain’s first country stars”. Their just released second album “Cartwheels” hit #1 on the UK album chart last month.

Guilty Flowers


THE SHIRES         Beats To Your Rhythm

Another UK country duo, this time a male-female duo. Their first album “Brave” reached #1 in 2015. This single from the just released this past Friday “My Universe” album is currently in top 25 of the UK airplay chart.

My Universe/Nashville Grey Skies

Their most recently single and first release in 2014.


ERIC PASLAY      Angels In This Town

Latest single from this singer/songwriter from Abilene, Texas. He’s had 3 top 15 singles from his debut album in 2013.

Never Really Wanted/She Don’t Love You

His first single from 2011 reached #48 on the country chart. The gorgeous “She Don’t Love You” was on my personal chart for 9 months and ended up as my #46 song of 2015.

WILL HOGE         Even If It Breaks Your Heart

Paslay has written #1 songs for others including Jake Owen, Love & Theft and the Eli Young Band. On the last country picks list I featured Will Hoge who had recorded the Eli Young #1 back in 2009.


Radio picks

Two songs I think will perform well this fall.


LAUREN ALAINA               Road Less Traveled

HUNTER HAYES                Yesterday’s Song


Country/Heartland Picks Sept. 10



Country/Heartland Picks Sept. 10

KALIE SHORR     Fight Like A Girl

From Portland, Maine and was the southern Maine winner of 2010’s Maine’s Got Talent?! ROFL.  From there Perez Hilton took notice of her covers of songs like “Blank Space” on YouTube. More recently she received some exposure on Sirius/XM’s station The Highway with this song.

WILL HOGE         All I Want Is Us Tonight

Nashville, Tennessee native Hoge has released 9 albums since 1997 but the first to chart on any Billboard charts was “The Wreckage” in 2009. As a songwriter, his song “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” was a #1 country hit for the Eli Young Band. He penned the theme song to the sitcom Still Standing “You Make Me Happy” and his song “Strong” was featured in a Chevy Silverado commercial.

Be The One/King Of Grey

“Be The One” was my #3 song of 2003 which I discovered on adult alternative station The River in Boston. I fell in love with this album, “Blackbird On A Lonely Wire”. He’s charted 11 songs on my personal chart (7 of them from that album), his version of the Eli Young Band song reached #14.

CHARLES KELLEY               Your Love

Founding member of Lady Antebellum has failed to ignite country radio with his solo project. I had featured his second single “Lonely Girl” in June and another song “Dancing Around It” on an adult contemporary list as well. This album cut has a nice upbeat feel and could have been a good single choice.

LADY ANTEBELLUM         Better Off Now (That You’re Gone)

The connections that happen while I put these lists together keep piling up. This was written by Hoge and was on his “Blackbird” album. This version hit #23 on my personal chart in 2014 and forgot that it was a Hoge tune. The 2 versions are very similar.

LAST EXIT IN NEW YORK               I Can’t Call You Mine

This band transplanted from NYC to Columbia is making inroads in that country. While they claim influences like Nirvana, the Cloud Nothings and Taking Back Sunday, this song belies the hard rock of those bands for a slide guitar tinged shuffle.

Take Two

This song hit #1 on the VivaColumbia100 charts in 2015, more in keeping with their influences. “I Can’t Call You Mine” is currently #3 on that chart.


Here roots rocker, alt country artist Simpson takes a country turn on Nirvana’s song.

Breaker’s Roar

Life Ain’t Fair and The World Is Mean

From his 2013 solo debut, the highly acclaimed “High Top Mountain” which owes a great debt to Merle Haggard. Previously he had formed the bluegrass band Sunday Valley in 2004.

ERIC CHURCH    Knives Of New Orleans

One of the most diverse current country artists, Church has no problem jumping from style to style. This song has Springsteen written all over it.

Kill A Word/Chattanooga Lucy

Country Picks Aug 27

JAKE OWEN        American Love

One of the first artists in country to incorporate rap (of course more of a talk/sing scenario). This, from his new album of the same name, is straightforward fun bro country with a little horn in the mix to spice things up.


One of Rolling Stone’s 10 new country artists to watch in 2016. Nice country rock swagger.

Birds And The Bees

Both of these are a little more traditional.


CLARE DUNN     Move On

Speaking of swagger, this bluesy country-rock jam. This song went to #1 on my personal chart for 3 weeks in Dec. 2015 but only managed to crack the country top 50 on radio. Current single “Tuxedo” is having similar success (or lack thereof) at radio currently. It’s a shame females do not get equal time in country music.

Cowboy Side Of You

A bit less gritty


This band whose breakout first single “Smoke” achieved the highest debut by a new act since the Zac Brown Band (and they have a member named Zach Brown…hmmm) in 2008. Both bands scored #1’s with their first single. They are self described as a hybrid of English rock, country, American rock, soul, and blues. This song totally sounds like a Black Crowes tune.

Heaven Is Close


These songs certainly let us know the Southern Rock is not dead.


Rootsy male/female duo from Austin, Texas incorporate folk-rock, alt country and southern psychedelia into their mix. Their first album in 2014, “From The Wreckage” was highly acclaimed. This first single from their latest is currently in the top 20 on Adult Alternative radio.–zhov5kpbQ

It’s A Longer Road To California Than I Thought

Easy going folksy ballad from the first album fueled by handclaps.

Country Picks Aug 13

MAREN MORRIS               Once

Texas native Morris released her first cd in 2005 when she was 15. It wasn’t until this year that she broke through with the massive “My Church”. This was due to her self-releasing a 5 song sampler on Spotify in August 2015. Within a month she had received 2.5 million streams and made Spotify’s Viral chart which made major labels notice and she was signed to Columbia Nashville the next month. This is a nice bluesy ballad.

FRANKIE BALLARD           L.A. Woman

Track from his current cd “El Rio” that has a John Mellencamp feel. As country artists continue to blur the lines of the genre more songs are sounding like are coming from the Springsteen/Mellencamp style. He has had 3 #1 songs on the country airplay chart since 2013


This is his current single.

BRIAN FALLON  Painkillers

Another in that heartland vein, Fallon is best known as the lead singer of the rock band Gaslight Anthem. And interestingly he was born in Red Bank, NJ, a stone’s throw from Springsteen’s Asbury Park.

Wonderful Life

I did not know this until I watched the video but this song starts with an image of Greetings from Asbury Park and has Springsteen written all over it.

CAITLYN SMITH                Tacoma

When Smith moved to Nashville a few years back she focused on songwriting and has success penning songs for Meghan Trainor (her duet with John Legend, “Like I’m Gonna Love You”), Jason Aldean and James Bay to name a few. With a voice like this it’s wonder she didn’t start recording on her own sooner. This is a gorgeous slow builder.

Before You Called Me Baby

Another powerful showcase for her vocal ability.

JUSTIN MOORE Somebody Else Will

Moore had a top 5 song on my personal chart in 2013 with “Point At You”. He just entered the top 10 on the country airplay chart with “You Look Like I Need A Drink”. This could easy make my top 10 in the coming weeks. He’s amassed 4 #1 country hits since 2009.

Country Picks July 24

DOLLY PARTON Pure & Simple

Parton seems to transcend the country label even if her sound is usually steeped in the tradition. This her 106th single since 1959!! Is just that.

CHASE BRYANT Room To Breathe

Just released third single from Nashville singer songwriter whose grandfather performed with Roy Orbison and Waylon Jennings. His first 2 singles reached the country top 10.

KREE HARRISON               This Old Thing

American Idol 12th season runner-up does a nice country blues take on this song which I would play on Adult alternative if I was a radio programmer.

GARY ALLAN      Do You Wish it Was Me

Allan released his first single “Her Man” in 1996 and has had 29 singles to date, with this his latest currently just outside the top 50 country airplay chart. This has been an instant favorite of mine, his best performance on my personal chart was with 2007’s “Watching Airplanes” which was my #24 song of the year.

AARON LEWIS   That Ain’t Country

I thought I would open and close this list with some traditional country. Lewis, the metal band Staind’s lead singer, who as with Gary Allan released their first cd in 1996, loves to dabble in country on his off time and has placed 4 songs on the country charts since 2011. He is ranked as one of the best heavy metal vocalists of all time but you would never know that on the homage to old style country.

Country Picks July 10

JENNIFER NETTLES           Unlove You

Gorgeous ballad from the Sugarland vocalist and Georgia native. Just hit the country top 25 after 29 weeks in release. Country radio is a weird space where sometimes songs take up o a year to climb the chart.

FUTURE STUFF  Act Like You Love Me

From their Facebook page: FUTURE STUFF is a young poppy-folk duo based out of The Midwest. The team is made up of Gabe Burdulis and Thea Grace. Their heavy blues influence gives their music and lyrics a sound beyond their years and can best be described as a vintage folk/pop style that will keep you on the edge of your seat, as well as tear at your heart strings.

TRACE ADKINS  Jesus And Jones

Adkins has been cranking out country hits for 20 years. His latest single just missed the top 40. In 2013 he won All Star Celebrity Apprentice. Maybe he’ll be Trump’s VP choice.

CHAD BROWNLEE            I Hate You For It

British Columbia’s Brownlee had a short career in the NHL before turing his sites on music. He debuted in 2009 and has had 7 top 20 Canadian country hits since 2013. This, his latest, is currently #10.

Hearts On Fire

This one hit #8 in Canada earlier this year.

ELIZABETH COOK              Methadone Blues

A bit of country blues, Cook self-released her first cd in 2000. She had one major label cd in 2002 but the rest of her 6 cd’s have been from independent labels.

Sometimes It Takes Balls To Be A Woman

Beyond Radio Tim YouTube Country playlist July 3

LAUREN ALAINA Road Less Taveled


GARY ALLAN Do You Wish It Was Me

ELI YOUNG BAND Saltwater Gospel

AUBRIE SELLERS Dreaming In The Day

OLD DOMINION Beer Can In A Truck Bed



KACEY MUSGRAVES Pageant Material

Country Picks June 20


Totally fun song with a retro country vibe but also totally current and fresh. This trio from San Antonio are self described as Tex Mex/Pop Rock.

LITTLE BIG TOWN             Tumble And Fall

Sounds like a mid-70’s pop song, think America. They released their first cd in 2002 and their 7th a couple of weeks ago.

One Of Those Days

The latest cd is a departure for them as evidenced by this song.

CASSADEE POPE               Summer

2012 Voice winner’s latest single. She was in a pop punk band Hey Monday before embarking on her solo career.

ROD MELANCON              Perry

Americana artist hailing from Louisiana. Probably wouldn’t make it to country radio which is a shame.

JORDAN RAGER w/ JASON ALDEAN         Southern Boy

Young country artist who was mentored by Jason Aldean’s father, thus Aldean dueting on his debut single.

Country Picks June 6

RYAN KINDER    Tonight

Country newcomer who had a failed start on a now defunct label. He has a new label so we’ll see what happens. I feel this could do well outside of country as well. This and first single “Kiss Me When I’m Down” went top 5 on my chart. Love his voice.


Cover of the Justin Bieber hit

CAITLYN SHADBOLT        Pushing Through

Contestant from Season 6 of Australia’s version of X Factor.

Shoot Out The Lights

CHARLES KELLEY               Lonely Girl

One third of trio Lady Antebellum goes solo. Second single from his debut cd is starting to climb the country chart. Sounds a bit different from most country radio fare.Like Ryan Kinder,  would sound good on adult contemporary or adult pop as well.


Typical superstar Reba duet but that’s not  bad thing.  Not available on YouTube but a male version is and featured here.

TYLER FARR        Withdrawals

Powerful song from Missouri native Farr, was released as second single from his current record but failed to reach the top 50, perhaps due to the lyrical content. Spent 4 weeks at #2 on my chart last fall.

Beyond Radio Tim YouTube Country picks May 29


ALAN JACKSON Angels And Alcohol

VICTORIA AVENUE          Available

KANE BROWN   Excuses

DEAN BRODY     Monterey

LITTLE BIG TOWN             One Of Those Days

THOMAS RHETT               Vacation


THOMPSON SQUARE     You Make It Look So Good