“Stunning” is the only way to put this. “A shot out of the dark” might be another. “Awesome” would be a third. But however you want to put it, “King” George Strait is back on country radio, and in a big way with his brand new single “Every Little Honky Tonk Bar.”
Nobody saw this coming. And anyone who says they did is lying. It has been a full six years since George Strait had a single in the Top 30 of country radio, let alone the Top 20. Now he’s debuted at #20 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart in the very first week “Every Little Honky Tonk Bar” has been on the airwaves—something almost unprecedented for any artist in this era, let alone someone like George Strait that corporate radio and the rest of the mainstream country music industry has been putting out to pasture for the better part of a decade.
“Every Little Honky Tonk Bar” received a whopping 81 new adds from reporting stations in the latest chart update compiled by Nielsen, which far and away lapped any competition. Co-written by Strait himself with his son Bubba and regular collaborator Dean Dillon, the song is a fun, mid-tempo tune that isn’t anything super special, but it’s most certainly country, is smartly written, and is likely now to shimmy its way towards #1 in the coming weeks with the way it’s been shot out of a cannon. To put put it plainly, George Strait is back, touring retirement or not.
“Every Little Honky Tonk Bar” also debuts at #36 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. On the Mediabase radio charts, the song is also the most added, coming in at #27 this week with an incredible 97 adds, so this is no reporting fluke. This is the best debut by any artist so far in 2019, one of the best debuts in George Strait’s career which has seen a whopping 45 #1 singles (a country music record), and one of the best in recent memory. This includes debuts by some of country’s hottest performers, including Kane Brown, Luke Combs, and Thomas Rhett.
“Every Little Honky Tonk Bar” is the first official single off George Strait’s upcoming 30th studio album Honky Tonk Time Machine due out March 29th.
Also stunning on the radio charts is Kacey Musgraves and “Rainbow,” which was the 2nd most added song according to Nielsen, and hits #40 on the new radio charts, making it Kacey’s best-charting single in half a decade.
Even after mainstream country radio abandoned George Strait and Kacey Musgraves, they continued to win awards and receive recognition. Radio has been the last major holdout to returning substance and country sounding songs to the mainstream. But with this incredible debut by Strait, and Kacey’s strong performance, perhaps 2019 will be the year the castle walls around country radio fall as well.