The Next Big Country Hits: Randy Montana, Ashton Shepherd + More
Now that 2011 is finally here, the question lingers: What will be the first big country hit songs of 2011? We decided to ask the experts -- more specifically, the program directors in country radio.
Tom "Jake" Jacobsen, program director of country radio station WGNA in Albany, N.Y. (the No. 1 radio station in Albany) narrows in on a new single from a small town girl with big talent, as well as a "great love song" written by the offspring of Billy Montana. Check out his picks below, and let us know if you agree in the comments!
Randy Montana, '1000 Faces':
This is a great love song from an up-and-coming artist on Mercury Records. Randy Montana has a gritty quality to his voice that makes you listen. Randy is also a native of the Albany, N.Y. area and he will never have a shortage of material because his father is none other than songwriting legend Billy Montana.
Listen to Randy Montana, '1000 Faces'
Ashton Shepherd, 'Look It Up':
Before she got her deal with MCA Records, Ashton had never been on a commercial airplane in her life. She is from a town of about 300 in Alabama, the home state of country music brother-in-arms Jamey Johnson. This song is going to break this talented lady through to the next level in quick fashion.
Listen to Ashton Shepherd, 'Look It Up'
Brett Eldredge, 'Raymond':
His voice takes me back to Jeff Bates with great depth and clarity. This song tears at your heart as a nursing home worker does what he can to make a sweet old lady happy in her final days.
Listen to Brett Eldredge, 'Raymond'
Jerrod Niemann, 'What Do You Want':
Have you ever had a big break up with someone you loved very much, and then get that phone call when that person wants to see you again? Here’s the tricky part of the equation: they only want to see you for the night. Do you take them up on the offer and then go through the pain of not seeing them again or just let it go? Now take that conundrum, apply it to music with blistering vocals and you have got a future No.1 record.
Listen to Jerrod Niemann, 'What Do You Want'
Sara Evans, 'A Little Bit Stronger':
This woman is still one of the top five premier female voices in country music. She hasn’t had a hit in a while. The streak has ended with this song. How many times has your grandfather said, “If it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger"? If you apply that to love and lost love, then you have the formula used in this song.
Listen to Sara Evans, 'A Little Bit Stronger'