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Hayes, Swift lead charts

Thursday, February 21, 2013 – Hunter Hayes is first on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart with Wanted, while Taylor Swift's "Red" lies atop the Top Country Albums chart for the week ending March 2.

Swift took back the top spot from Tim McGraw's "Two Lanes of Freedom," which slipped to second. Hayes was third with his self-titled debut. Gary Allan was fourth with "Set You Free." Little Big Town was fifth with "Tornado."

Connor Christian & Southern Gothic debuted at 17 with "New Hometown." Kenny Chesney held the 20th spot with "Welcome to the Fishbowl," up 4. Pistol Annies were 24th with "Hell on Heels," up 4. Dierks Bentley's "Home was up 4 to 25. Chris Young was 37th with "Neon," up 3. Jake Owen had a big mover with "Barefoot Blue Jean Night" jumping from 37 to 28. Couple Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison debuted at 29 with "Cheater's Game." Hayes also was on the chart at 30th with his "Live" EP, up 32. The Time Jumpers jumped from 54 to 38 with its self-titled disc.

Blake Shelton moved up to second on the songs chart with Sure Be Cool If You Did, while The Band Perry's Better Dig Two was third. Carrie Underwood jumped from eighth to fourth with Two Black Cadillacs. McGraw rounded out the top five with One of Those Nights.

Swift and Underwood jumped back into the top 10 with We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together and Blown Away respectively. The songs had been 14th and 19th with both performers benefitting from face time at the Grammys.

Lady Antebellum's new single, Downtown, fell from 6th to 12th. Swift also was 15th on the chart with Begin Again up 6. Miranda Lambert registered a similar gain withMama's Broken Heart. Florida Georgia Line have a second hit on their hands with Get Your Shine On at 20, up 3.

George Strait stood at 22nd with Give It All We Got Tonight, up 3. Eric Church was 29th with Like Jesus Does, up 3.

On the bluegrass chart, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out led with "Timeless Hits From the Past: Bluegrassed" again. Yo-Yo Ma/Stuart Duncan/Edgar Meyer/Chris Thile were second with "The Goat Rodeo Sessions." Last week's number one, "Hammer Down" by The SteelDrivers was third. Old Crow Medicine Show was fourth with "Carry Me Back." Punch Brothers were fifth with "Who's Feeling Young Now?"

On the overall top 200 Swift was 4th, McGraw 12th, Hayes 17th, Allan 24th and Little Big Town 25th.

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CD reviews

The 21 Project CD review - The 21 Project
It's impossible to not be impressed with the variety Hunter Hayes has packed in his brief, seven-song "The 21 Project." The diminutive singer/songwriter proves himself to be the master of multiple song styles - even with such a short project. Each song is presented three times (studio, acoustic and live). Perhaps Hayes' greatest lyrical character trait is empathy, which he reveals again with "Where It All Begins," a track he both wrote and recorded with superstar »»»
Storyline CD review - Storyline
A few things changed since Hunter Hayes debuted in 2011, but the bottom line remains the same - Hayes has a syrupy smooth and sweet voice, but there's not a tremendous amount of depth there to his feel good material. Hayes struck it rich the first time out on his major label debut garnering 3 top 10 songs including "I Want Crazy." The Louisiana native also was a one-man band playing and singing all parts. That's not the case this time as he ceded CO-directorial control to Dann Huff. »»»
Encore (deluxe) CD review - Encore (deluxe)
Hunter Hayes rereleased his debut self-titled album with a few additional tracks and three rerecorded ones. In any other genre of music, the new songs would have simply been released as an EP, but for some inexplicable reason, country music seems to be reluctant to embrace that form. The 800,000 fans who already own the original may find it irritating to pay full price for 5 new songs. People who have not warmed up to Hayes maple syrup smooth voice and decidedly pop version of country probably »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Drive-By Truckers finds little to celebrate – While introducing "Guns of Umpqua," off the new "American Band" album, Drive-By Truckers' Patterson Hood wondered out loud - in a profanity-laced observation - why he can never seem to see a flag not at half-mast anymore. "We can do better, people!" he admonished the crowd. In an election year with two of the most... »»»
Concert Review: Simpson rides the night out in style – Sturgill Simpson came to Beantown with a deserved music reputation after three albums and a well-received, albeit quite adventurous release earlier this year, "A Sailor's Guide to Earth." He doesn't have hits per se or much of a commercial presence. His rep has been built on quality. While the Kentuckian's first two discs... »»»
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