The 9513 Chart Update (12-13-09)

Sam Gazdziak | December 15th, 2009 has put together a list of the Top 1000 artists for 2009. Artists tagged as country take up… eight spots. By way of comparison, “pop” has 121 artists, “folk” has 80 and “melodic death metal” has 26.’s Top 8 Country artists of the year are, by order of where they ranked in the Top 1000:

  • #13 Taylor Swift with the album Fearless (5,512,011 plays)
  • #77 Neko Case with the album Middle Cyclone (1,553,592 plays)
  • #211 Ryan Adams & The Cardinals with the album Cardinology (679,153 plays)
  • #583 Rascal Flatts with the album Unstoppable (230,822 plays)
  • #591 Keith Urban with the album Defying Gravity (227,605 plays)
  • #596 Jessie James with the album Jessie James (224,785 plays)
  • #711 Ilse DeLange with the album Incredible (174,602 plays)
  • #975 Justin Townes Earle with the album Midnight At The Movies (98,907 plays)

Three of the eight are mainstream favorites, three are Americana favorites, one is a pop singer who puts some country elements into her songs (that would be James I’m describing, not Swift), and one is the most popular Dutch country singer around. DeLange, the most unknown of the group in the U.S., once released an EP of John Hiatt songs, so she’d probably rank closer to Americana than mainstream country. If you throw related tags like “alt-country” and “Americana” into the mix, you get 10 more artists, led by Wilco at #102 and M. Ward at #141.

Clearly, country fans are in the minority, but this data isn’t scientific by any measure. For one thing, it’s based on worldwide users, and country music is still a predominantly American genre (with apologies to Canada and Australia). There were more than a few artists in the Top 40 that are British artists I’ve never heard of before now. Secondly, the list measured plays from new/recent albums, which explains why popular artists like Carrie Underwood and Johnny Cash got left off the list, as they didn’t have new albums in the time frame. It doesn’t look like you can break down the data to take only U.S. users, but that might bring a few more country artists into the mix as well.

The 9513 group, incidentally, has now grown to 138 people, with members in more than a dozen countries. So from its humble beginnings, our group has gone international. One the recent articles posted to the group, by the way, was a review of Taylor Swift at Wembley Stadium. If you want a take on how one of country’s biggest stars was received overseas, check it out. Top Artists

It’s a bit of a down week for listenership, as no artist topped the 30-listener mark. Maybe everyone was out Christmas shopping and left their iPods at home. George Strait took the top spot with 28 listeners, followed by Cash at 27 and Underwood at 25, marking her best performance in some time. Dolly Parton jumps into the Top 10, with 23 listeners putting her at #7. The group of artists at #10, all with 21 listeners, include Gary Allan, Swift, Trisha Yearwood, Lady Antebellum and Toby Keith. The only real new release for the week was Jimmy Buffett‘s new Buffet Hotel, but he just had 7 listeners. We are not a Parrothead-heavy group, apparently. Top Albums

There are 14 albums in the Top 10, and just two of them (Paisley’s American Saturday Night and Jamey Johnson‘s That Lonesome Song) were from male vocalists. They both had 10 listeners to come in at #10. Miranda Lambert was #1 with Revolution, which had 16 listeners. Carnival Ride and Play On from Underwood had 14 and 13 listeners respectively, and Fearless from Swift also had 13 listeners. Kellie Pickler had a #5 album with Small Town Girl, which may be the first time she’s ever charted in the Top 10 in pretty much any of our charts. I’m not sure what brought that on… she seems like a nice person and says all the right things about country music in interviews, but I’ve never gotten the appeal of her singing. If her next album is as traditionally country as she says it will be, she might find herself in the Top 10 much more frequently. Top Tracks

Now that people are weaning themselves off Lambert’s new songs, this chart is getting interesting again. This week, Lady Antebellum moved up from #2 to #1, with 11 people listening to “Need You Now.” Thinking back, I can’t recall a band ever being the #1 artist for The 9513’s charts, but that may change when this new album comes out. Lee Ann Womack had two of the three songs tied for #2, with “I May Hate Myself In The Morning” and “Last Call” having 9 listeners, along with Lambert’s “White Liar.” Strait had 8 listeners for “Twang,” as did Allan’s “Songs About Rain.” There are nine songs tied for #9 with 7 listeners, including Zac Brown Band‘s “Toes,” Steel Magnolia‘s “Keep On Lovin’ You,” Pickler’s “Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved You” and The Avett Brothers‘ “I And Love And You.” Last year, there weren’t a lot of holiday songs that did well on the charts, but Elvis Presley made it up to #39 this week with “Blue Christmas,” which had 5 listeners.

Billboard Country Songs

Not only is “Need You Now” still #1, but it’s also at #16 on the Billboard Hot 100, giving Lady Antebellum some very significant crossover success. Craig Morgan‘s “Bonfire” moves up unfathomably to #4, and Dierks Bentley‘s “I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes” enters the Top 5 at #5. “White Liar” moves up to #10, but Swift’s “Fifteen” wasn’t so lucky. After peaking at #7 last week, it moves down a couple places to #9. I’m sure the call went out to the legion of Swiftheads (or whatever they call themselves), and they all got their parents’ permission to bombard their local radio stations with requests. Also falling backwards are Rascal Flatts’ “Why” (from #19 to #22) and Pickler’s “Didn’t You Know…” (#25 to #28). Womack is also having a problem with “There Is A God,” which peaked at #44 last week and fell back to #48 this week.

Billboard Country Albums

Yes, Fearless is still #1, so we’ll just move on. Sugarland continues to gain momentum with Green And Gold, which moved from #5 to #3. There it will sit unless it can get past the Swift-Underwood blockade. There were some big gains made by Urban’s Defying Gravity, which moves from #19 to #17, and Rosanne Cash‘s The List, which went from #21 to #16. Every week it sells well makes The List II more likely. Too bad her albums with original material haven’t done nearly as well.

Americana Music Association Chart

The Top 5 haven’t changed, with The List still at the #1 spot. Chip Taylor‘s Yonkers NY moves up from #8 to #6 with 261 spins, and David Rawlings Machine moves into the Top 10 with A Friend Of A Friend getting 232 spins. James Hand moves up five spaces, with Shadows On The Ground getting 148 spins, good for #23.

The AMA also listed its Top 100 albums for the year, and the Top 10 were:

  1. Buddy & Julie MillerWritten In Chalk (8,188 spins)
  2. Steve EarleTownes (7,501)
  3. Slaid CleavesEverything You Love Will Be Taken Away (7,384)
  4. FlatlandersHills And Valleys (7,015)
  5. Willie Nelson and Asleep At The WheelWillie And The Wheel (6,591)
  6. GourdsHaymaker! (6,580)
  7. Tejas BrothersTejas Brothers (6,519)
  8. Levon HelmElectric Dirt (6,516)
  9. Justin Townes EarleMidnight At The Movies (6,236)
  10. J.J. CaleRoll On (5,998)
  1. Country Lover
    December 15, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Sorry you don’t get the appeal of Kellie Pickler’s wonderful singing. I get it, many people do and she’s one of the most popular artists. Jamey Johnson and his sold-out Wildhorse audience gets it:

    “About halfway through the set, as weary concertgoers called it a night, Houser remarked, “It looks like we got rid of the faint of heart, so say hello to Miss Kellie Pickler.” Earlier in the evening, she appeared at the nearby Schermerhorn Symphony Center to assist the Country Music Association in presenting a $1 million donation to Metro Nashville Public Schools for musical instruments and education.

    Sporting a large peace symbol on the back of her black jacket and a return to her usual blond hair, she only sang one song, Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man.” After sharing hugs with the two burly frontmen, she left the stage. Amid cheers for her return, the list of roadhouse favorites continued on.”

    As we know, some artists can’t sing the classics as well as Kellie and that’s why they rarely do while Kellie sings them all the time.

    Music reviewers who hear her sing live get her singing:

    “First I’ll reiterate that she really is a remarkable vocalist.”

    Zac Brown gets her singing:

    “I’m also told the brave girl will be going back to Iraq on a tour with Jamey Johnson and Randy Houser to entertain our troops. Lastly, I hear Zac Brown is writing a song that could turn into a duet with Kellie.”

    Here’s a comment about her sold-out concert a few days ago to open Country Crossing, the big new country complex in Alabama:

    austinjj: “Just left Civic Center from Kelly Pickler ! She can hit every note in the book! That was great!”

    Every year Kellie tours with top artists with the biggest tours including those winning EOTY. Carrie and Miranda have said they want to tour with her and Taylor booked her 2 years ago. Who just won EOTY?

    So fans, artists and reviewers get and love Kellie’s singing.

    Hopefully her next album will be more country and less produced with no altering her voice. She sounds perfect live and gets many compliments at every concert, so why would anyone would want to change that? Kellie sounds better live than on some songs on her albums due to overproduction and not releasing her best vocal performances as singles. This can improve with the right producer and as you may know, Kellie has a new producer:

    “I understand that the wonderful Kellie Pickler has a new record producer, Frank Liddell. He also produces Miranda Lambert, and I love her music.”

  2. Steve Harvey
    December 15, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    Wow, that’s a pretty epic defense of an artist who wasn’t being disparaged all that much.

    Glad that she’s hooking up with Frank Liddell though. If anyone can get a good record out of her, it’s him.

  3. Razor X
    December 15, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Well now we know what the talking points are. Do you have any glowing reviews that aren’t from the CMT blogs?

  4. Sam G.
    December 15, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Nice of the head of the Kellie Pickler fan club to stop by…

  5. Ben Milam
    December 15, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    what the hell was that?

  6. Steve M.
    December 15, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    There are Kelly Pickler fans? Its like meeting a Vanderbilt fan-you heard of them, you just never had seen one in person before.

  7. Sheep
    December 15, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    Exactly what I was thinking, Ben M.

    By the way, I’m greatly happy for Lady Antebellum spending their 5th week at #1 with “Need You Now.”

  8. Marc
    December 15, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    @Sam G. I think the two members just share that title.

  9. Nicolas
    December 15, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    Kellie Pickler is awesome… and no one really notices that her debut is actually very good, because her more recent album leaned a little too heavy on pop and had some throwaway tracks on it

    Small Town Girl was full of quality country songs, well-sung and well-produced =)

  10. Country Lover
    December 15, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    Steve, Kellie is an epic singer and it wasn’t a defense, I merely stated my observations and examples as to why many people get the appeal of her singing and why some don’t. She’s probably the most underrated singer among those who haven’t seen her in concert and posters here. Kellie has already made good records that are better than most. They just aren’t as good as they could be with better production and she’s still learning so give her time. When her sophomore album was reviewed here, most of the complaints posted were about the popish overproduction. I’m surprised Joe Galante or someone didn’t hook her up with the best producers before.

    Razor X, most reviews of her concerts aren’t on the CMT blogs and many from every tour she’s done every year pointed out her vocal talent. Here are just a few reviews from this year and I’ll start with a “thumbs up” from right here at The 9513:

    “Kellie Pickler opened for Swift, a choice that complimented both.

    Pickler got the crowd energized with her first song, “Best Days of Your Life,” a top-charting hit currently on country radio that she co-wrote with Swift.

    Pickler, known for her more glamorous-side, wore a black tank top, jeans and fashion boots.

    The show was more about her singing and ability to command the crowd than being glamorous, though.”

    “Pickler’s energy never faltered throughout her performance.

    She really got the crowd’s attention with her rendition of her idol’s, Dolly Parton, hit “9 to 5.”

    People of all ages were clapping along.

    She even slowed the show down with her song “I Wonder” and still captivated the audience’s attention.

    It’s no wonder that she was an “American Idol” finalist, she certainly has the ability to project her voice and did a much better job of it than Julianne Hough did when opening for George Strait on Saturday.”

    –“Taylor Swift/Kellie Pickler CFD Night Show Review” Wyoming Tribune Eagle entertainment reporter Karen Cotton, July 24, 2009

    “Treven Wisz, 21, of Kronenwetter, said that he enjoys Pickler’s music and has been a fan of hers since her time on “Idol.”

    “From watching ‘Idol,’ I knew she had a great voice. Her songs are all really catchy, and she can really belt out the notes,” said Wisz, who was looking forward to hearing “Rocks Instead of Rice,” a song from Pickler’s most recent album.

    “You can tell she truly appreciates her fans getting her to where she’s at and that she doesn’t take things for granted,” he said. “It’s refreshing to see a big star with traits like that.””

    –“Country star Kellie Pickler dazzles sold-out crowd” Dan Richter, Wausau Daily Herald, August 8, 2009

    “Kellie Pickler chose the first song of the night just right as “Best Days of Your Life,” which described what Katie Falk, 15, and her cousin Stephanie Falk, 14, were going through during the concert as their favorite country artist belted out tune after tune pitch perfect before the fairgrounds-bursting crowd of more than 10,000.”

    ““Rocks Instead of Rice,” “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful” and “Don’t You Know How Much I Love You” came pumping out of the songstress in rapid fire, exciting the crowd of 8 to 80.”

    –“It was Pickler-mania,‘American Idol’ star wows grandstand” Scott Schmeltzer, Albert Lea Tribune, Friday, August 7, 2009

    “Her opening acts were the upcoming band, Gloriana, and former “American Idol” contestant, Kellie Pickler. I was impressed as they warmed up the crowd for Swift. Who knew that they could sing better than what you hear from others on the radio?”

    –“FLIPSIDE: Talented Taylor Swift wows sold-out Charleston crowd” The Charleston Gazette, July 24, 2009

    “There were no red high heels in sight… but Kellie Pickler oozed her trademark southern charm and easily filled the Craven valley with her big voice Friday night.

    Dressed down in a white T-shirt, black pants and knee-high riding boots, the petite Pickler delivered a simple set that was free of frills, but full of heart.”

    “Soon into her set, Pickler proved that her American Idol Top 10 finish in 2006 was just a springboard for a well-deserved career on the country stage. Pickler showed she has a stronger voice than her records suggest, which she proved over and over with songs like “Things That Never Cross a Man’s Mind” and “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful.””

    –“Review: Kellie Pickler charms Craven crowd” Erin Harde, The Leader-Post, July 11, 2009

    “Don’t Close Your Eyes: (5/5) a perfectly traditional Country/Western ballad that brings Kellie’s subdued voice brilliantly to the front in a big Country way. A musical wish to rediscover love with your lover.”

    “Somebody To Love Me (5/5!!!!!!): another pitch perfect performance from a voice that God made to sing big, big, and bigger Country ballads as Pickler sings about the human desire/need/want to save someone special in life. The song just cries out for a music video, complete with weeping violins.”

    “One Last TIme (5/5!!!!!!): Another magical ballad meditating on the redemptive effects of having ‘one last time’ with a soulmate. Elegant in its simplicity but absolutely beautiful in execution. A real tearjerker in the best possible way. This is probably my favorite track on the disc.”

    Then again Jim Malec and all these other professional writers could just be the head of the Kellie Pickler fan club, you never know. LOL

  11. Razor X
    December 15, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Kellie Pickler is awesome… and no one really notices that her debut is actually very good, because her more recent album leaned a little too heavy on pop and had some throwaway tracks on it

    No one notices the first album is good because the second one sucks? How come no one noticed the first album was good before the second one was released, then?

  12. Country Lover
    December 15, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    Maybe he meant no one on this site notices. Plenty of people noticed. If no one noticed, there would not have been a second or third Pickler album, her big touring success or best new artist nominations. Go read the reviews of Small Town Girl and you’ll see that most are very positive. Not many albums earned more respect, garnered more attention at radio and sold more from ’06-’08. Swift got more attention and was the only new female artist to sell more. Neither Pickler album sucks even if they aren’t your cup of Jim Beam. I could name a few albums that do and none of those artists got to make second albums unless they went indie and sold a few dozen.

  13. BOBASH
    December 15, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    country lover…
    why would u send so much time writing this about any artist. and that artist is kellie pickler.
    im sorry.

  14. Steve M.
    December 16, 2009 at 12:27 am

    I am starting to worry Kelly Pickler may need a restraining order.

  15. Razor X
    December 16, 2009 at 5:08 am

    Not many albums earned more respect, garnered more attention at radio and sold more from ‘06-’08.

    That’s right. She had exactly zero Top 10 hits in that time frame if memory serves me correctly.

  16. J.R. Journey
    December 16, 2009 at 8:58 am

    Attack of the Superfans 4: The Morons Return.

  17. Thomas
    December 16, 2009 at 10:06 am

    …hey country lover, why not just saying: “i love tits, arse and red high heels that can sing a country song”. hiding the girlie magazine in the wall street journal is so yesterday.

  18. Sheep
    December 16, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Why on earth did this guy start defending her anyway? It’s not like anyone attacked her…

  19. Razor X
    December 16, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    I’m thinking that 18 comments (so far) pretty much ensures that there will be Pickler jab in every chart update from now on. ;)

  20. Country Lover
    December 16, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    Bobash, I was going to write about who sings better, Carrie or Taylor but that topic has been done to death. Sam said he doesn’t get the appeal of Kellie Pickler’s singing and that’s unusual because most writers get it, so I tried to enlighten him. He didn’t say that about any other singer and he simply gave us their chart numbers, so why would I write about their singing here? Razor X asked for more reviews so I obliged. See how that works? Neat huh? It didn’t take “so much time” and I didn’t write most of it. I’ve read other articles I wanted to comment on and didn’t have time. Some people spend time posting on every article and the message boards, so why don’t you ask them why they do it? Why do Sam and others spend so much time writing articles and reviews for us to spend time reading and commenting on? Maybe I should join the staff or start a blog and spend more time writing. Why do some people spend time writing jibberish that has nothing to do with and adds nothing useful to the article or discussion? Why do you care about and spend time questioning what anyone writes, and why don’t you like anyone writing about Kellie Pickler? Are you the blog police, is the meter running and do I need to insert another quarter to post again? If you want to spend your free time in bars, watching TV, playing video games or whatever tickles your fancy go ahead. Just don’t worry about or tell others how to spend ours unless you want to pay us to write about the topics of your choice.

    Steve M., from yourself? I’m starting to worry I may need one.

    Razor X, all of her singles from Small Town Girl hit top 15 and that’s better than most artists managed. How many women had top 10 hits during that time? Miranda had her first after seven singles. Women can’t control how radio treats them. So you think every song that hit top 10 is better than every song that didn’t? Hell I love some songs that didn’t hit top 30.

    J.R. Journey, the morons never left.

    Thomas, whatever turns you on. I’m all about the music and singing talent. Do you realize Pickler has many female fans or are you so dumb you think they are all guys? From what I’ve seen over half of her fans are female. Take an English class.

    Sheep, see above posts.

    The way some people act and jump all over others it’s easy to see why more people don’t come to this site. It’s a real welcome wagon around here.

  21. Razor X
    December 16, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    So you think every song that hit top 10 is better than every song that didn’t?

    No, but if Pickler had been truly embraced by radio as you claim, I’d expect to see some — or at least ONE — top 10 hits.

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