Here we are at the beginning of 2024, and you may be wondering if independent country artists and country legends will continue to see the same success and resurgence that they saw in 2023. We’ll if this new song partnering Charley Crockett with Willie Nelson is any indication, 2024 could be a very good year.
Though the first week of the year is always relatively slow for new singles, 2024 was slightly different. Mainstream country star Gabby Barrett released a big single called “You’re My Texas” that created a lot of buzz since it was co-written with Miranda Lambert. Megan Moroney is one of the fastest-rising country stars at the moment, and she released the song “What Are You Listening To?” originally recorded and written by Chris Stapleton.
There were a slew of other anticipated singles as well. But the one that far and away got the most spins via streaming networks and social media buzz was Charley Crockett’s traditional country song “That’s What Makes The World Go Around” featuring Willie Nelson. It received over 140,000 spins on Spotify, another 100,00 on YouTube, and became the biggest single of the first week of 2024.
Don’t expect the positive reception to result in mainstream country music stations scrambling to add the song to their playlists. But in 2024, none of that matters. People stream what they want to hear as opposed to being spoon fed, and they clearly want to hear a 90-year-old singing with an independent country crooner.
“Willie called me up, said he was out at Pedernales cuttin’, and asked if I had any songs ready he could jump on,” Crockett says. “I told him I had plenty. Hung up the phone, drove out to Billy Horton’s place, and wrote a couple on the spot. We fired ’em off to Spicewood, where he sang and took a ride on one that very next day. When I heard him come in singing on his first line, I shed a tear. Then his leads on Trigger hit, and I was crying!”
Charley Crockett is regularly invited to participate in Willie Nelson events, including Outlaw Fest and Farm Aid, and he sang “Yesterday’s Wine” at Willie Nelson’s 90th Birthday celebration in April, though Crockett was left off the televised portion of the recent CBS Special of the event.
Crockett wrote “That’s What Makes The World Go Around” with his keys/trumpet player Kullen Fox, guitarist Rich Brotherton, and Taylor Grace. Crockett usually releases new albums at a two-per-year pace, but 2023 only saw his Live from the Ryman release, and a redux version of his 2022 album The Man From Waco. That means you can be assured a new album of original songs is likely on the way from Crockett for 2024.