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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

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 »»»
Hunter Hayes Live CD review - Hunter Hayes Live
There is one reason why a Hunter Hayes live album is a bad idea. It's not because of his music, which is pop-country with a severe emphasis on "pop," but very catchy. It's not because of his vocals, which are reminiscent of Rascal Flatts' Gary LeVox after inhaling helium but pleasant nonetheless. It's because of the audience. If you love the sound of hundreds of teenage girls screaming in unison, this is a must-buy for you. They scream at the beginning and ending of every song. »»»
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: Girls with Guitars show voices – With the official departure of Taylor Swift from the genre, country music is eager to find replacement star power. Pittsburgh's annual Girls with Guitars show is proving to be a nebula. This year's crop of artists featured former "The Voice" contestants (one winner), a television star and some local flair. Texas cutie... »»»
Concert Review: Washburn, Fleck give reasons to be happy  – "I sing because I'm happy," sang Abigail Washburn toward the end of her show with fellow banjo picker (not to mention, husband) Bela Fleck in the closing number of the night "His Eye is on the Sparrow." Washburn had a lot of reason to be on this night in a beautiful setting at Harvard University. The two held court over two... »»»
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