Zach Bryan, Mike & the Moonpies Make Moves on Radio
Zach Bryan is arguably the 2nd biggest thing going in all of country music at the moment behind Mullett Boy, but of course you couldn’t tell that by piping up your country radio, unless you have one of those cool radio stations in your area that actually play what they want. But all of that might be changing very soon.
As verified by radio chart expert Chris Owen Monday morning (10-3), Zach Bryan’s song “Something in the Orange” has been officially sent to country radio by Warner Records. Already a #3 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart with no radio support whatsoever, and already with well over 100 million streams on Spotify alone, it’s the monster hit that the country music industry has been mostly ignoring. Last week the song was the #2 streamed track in all of country behind Morgan Wallen’s “You Proof.”
Some of the radio stations who report to country radio’s major charts have already broken from the norm and started adding the song into their rotations, which resulted in “Something in the Orange” reaching #49 on the charts a couple of weeks ago—a feat that is pretty unheard of for a song without any radio promotion behind it at all. Now that the label will be actively working it to radio, there’s a good chance “Something in the Orange” could be making major moves on the format.
Zach Bryan’s album American Heartbreak continues to remain permanently affixed at #2 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart, and is likely to remain there for the foreseeable future, even ahead of titles from superstars like Luke Combs and Chris Stapleton. And it’s not just due to the amount of tracks the album has. The strength of “Something in the Orange” shows Zach’s popularity is broad based. So does the fact that his recent EP Summertimes Blues also remains a perennial in the Billboard Country Albums chart’s Top 20 with only 9 tracks.
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Another very interesting move is also about to happen on radio. Mike and the Moonpies are sending their song “Hour on the Hour” to mainstream country radio on October 17th. As the reigning Single of the Year here at Saving Country Music, “Hour on the Hour” is not only a great song, it’s a song about radio, which tend to do better on the radio format than other songs.
The move by Mike and the Moonpies comes at a time when the group finally seems to be finding the traction many fans have believed they’ve deserved for the last five years. Arguably one of the best live bands in all of country music, and with a string of top notch studio albums in Steak Night at the Prairie Rose (2018), Cheap Silvers and Solid Country Gold (2019) and One To Grow On (2021), Mike and the Moonpies feel like an independent country band that should have blown up as big as Zach Bryan, Tyler Childers, and others, but have been lagging behind for no good reason.
Mike and the Moonpies made their Grand Ole Opry debut on September 6th, speaking to how they’re finally starting to see recognition beyond the Austin, Texas scene. And though it’s completely anecdotal, when Saving Country Music posted about the band playing the recent Born & Raised Festival in Oklahoma, it broke the 1,000-like barrier on Instagram—something usually only reserved for top-tier performers like Zach Bryan and Tyler Childers.
What are the prospects for “Hour on the Hour” on mainstream country radio? If we’re being honest, probably not good in regard to making it to the top of the charts. But with the way artists like Zach Bryan, Drake Milligan, Kolby Cooper, Morgan Wade, and other more independent-oriented stars have found some traction on the format, who knows?
Sometimes, just a few spins on some bigger radio stations can make a big difference, including for things such as touring. Many radio stations are currently looking to diversify playlists to survive, and “Hour on the Hour” by Mike and the Moonpies certainly has great appeal to audiences if just given a chance, while an artist like Zach Bryan finding success could help open doors for other artists.
Radio is the final frontier in helping to revolutionize mainstream country music, and we continue to see significant moves that could ultimately change what we think of the format in the coming years.
October 3, 2022 @ 11:18 am
Any updates on how Cody’s loud and heavy did on the radio? I remember back in August when it was supposed to be released and then never heard anything more about it. I don’t listen to country radio so I couldn’t say if it was getting played. Hopefully the moonpies fair better!
October 3, 2022 @ 11:51 am
I never saw any blip from it on any charts, and “most added” lists, or anything like that. His song “Like a Hurricane” fared much better. It never charted, but I think it did decently in certain regions. Ultimately I think “Loud and Heavy” was just too old. I think they promoted it to radio almost more to make a point than anything. The thing about these radio campaigns is that if you hit a wall early, you might as well back out, because if not, you can throw a lot of good money at bad. With Mike and the Moonpies, they’re not trying to top the charts. They’re just trying to open some new markets to their music.
October 3, 2022 @ 12:57 pm
I was surprised when Cody decided to try the radio rout anyway after he pretty much physically and verbally gave the mainstream radio the middle finger. Looks like he got one back.
October 3, 2022 @ 3:24 pm
There are still ads for it in Country Aircheck so it seems they are still trying
October 3, 2022 @ 11:19 am
I feel like if Tyler Childers had another hit on his album, radio would almost be forced to elevate a bunch of independent country tracks at the same time. Or if Loud and Heavy starts doing really well. A rising tide lifts all ships and all that.
Curious if you’re planning to write a review on the Dropkick Murphys album – I’ve never heard anything quite like it.
October 3, 2022 @ 11:53 am
A ton of records came out this Friday. I’ve reviewed four already and have others in he works. The Dropkick Murphys album is definitely being considered.
October 3, 2022 @ 11:55 am
Dropkick Murphy’s album surprised me how much I like it.
October 3, 2022 @ 5:11 pm
Was way more hyped for the Tyler album than Dropkick this weekend and ended up the opposite. If you skip out on the Dropkick album since they’re not “country” you really are missing out. It is fantastic in my opinion although I’m biased and have always been a fan. One of the best albums of the year for me personally.
October 3, 2022 @ 11:23 am
Hour on the Hour is great, and Mike and the Moonpies are great at being modern, fresh and still traditional sounding.
Zach Bryan is definitely one of the greatest new forces in country music today. My two sense: He would benefit from collaborating with top songwriters. My only beef with his music is that his lyrics are often amateur. It may sound profound to young women, but often it’s just nonsense that he’s singing
King Honky Of Crackershire
October 3, 2022 @ 11:24 am
Mullet Boy is more country than Zach Bryan. He’s a better singer, too. If only he didn’t love Rap so much, he could really make himself worth listening to.
October 3, 2022 @ 4:23 pm
You are correct.
October 4, 2022 @ 4:29 am
I don’t understand why Midland can’t get any good singles when they have Music Row behind them. Maybe their visual schtick wore thin but the lead singer has a good sound. I’ve never understood adhering to a 3 piece when the other 2 are “dead weight”
Cool Lester Smooth
October 4, 2022 @ 5:47 am
Of course Mullet Boy has a better voice – people have only heard of him because he’s a pretty-boy reality TV star, haha.
He just doesn’t, y’know, have anything to say.
King Honky Of Crackershire
October 4, 2022 @ 10:50 am
I didn’t know Wallen was a reality TV star, or are we talking about two different Mullet Boys?
October 4, 2022 @ 11:46 am
“Reality TV” might be an oblique reference to the infamous TMZ “slur” video.
Cool Lester Smooth
October 4, 2022 @ 12:14 pm
Nope – he was on The Voice.
That, a bloodless cover of another man’s love song to his wife, and a video of him being a drunk jackass are the three reasons anyone knows who he is, haha.
October 3, 2022 @ 11:29 am
Just curious, Trigger. Are we nearing the point that you hang up your keyboard and announce “Mission Accomplished”?
October 3, 2022 @ 11:56 am
I wish I could downvote a post. How dare you even suggest such a thing?
October 3, 2022 @ 11:59 am
Well, if we’re talking about mainstream country radio, we have a LONG way to go. But I do think that things have continued to improve across the board in country music since the height of Bro-Country. I also think it’s important that we recognize that, and that is why I write stories like this about little successes. The last thing I want to be is the mercenary who constantly feels the need to fight even when the time for fighting is over. I see some of this in the folks who advocate for more women, and more Black people in country music. Because they’ve become so married to that fight and feed off how reporting negative things gets them significantly more attention than reporting positive things, they start looking for fights, focus almost entirely on the negative, while downplaying or outright erasing positive developments to their causes. There is still a lot of work to do and country music will never be “saved,” but we should be afraid to focus on the positive and remain hopeful instead of cynical.
October 3, 2022 @ 12:49 pm
I’m not on this website for the fight. I’m here for the shaman to keep leading me to good music.
October 4, 2022 @ 9:28 am
I saw we collectively vote to kick Trace Atkins and his legacy from country music for the sins of Bro Country.
October 3, 2022 @ 11:54 am
If I hear “Hour on the Hour” on my local country station (92.5 – WESC), I might just shit a brick. Happy for Mike and the boys and can’t wait to see them live for the first time next week in Macon.
Wilson Pick It
October 3, 2022 @ 12:31 pm
Can you still call FM radio stations and request songs? I used to do that back in the day.
October 3, 2022 @ 1:14 pm
It’s sort of the opposite system these days. Corporate overlords call down from on high and dictate what the local radio station plays, if they haven’t fired all of the local talent, and just installed syndicated programming on a local repeater.
October 3, 2022 @ 3:22 pm
Actually, at least for iHeart stations, there is some local input. WWYZ Hartford has a very tight playlist and is slow to never when it comes to adding anything too genuine. Up the road in Springfield, Mass., WRNX is a little more open and progressive. They beat WWYZ by several weeks on “You Should Probably Leave,” and played “Wilder Days,” a song I’m pretty sure WWYZ never added.
The “overlords” do push the artists and songs that the big labels want to be hits (Kane, Sam, Jason, the two Lukes, Carrie, etc.) but local market differences are taken into account when the rest of the playlist is being put together. For the artists, it’s the difference between having a top 10 hit in airplay and a top 30 hit. Some corporate stations need to be playing pretty much every song that charts in the top 30 for airplay, but if stations in markets with a strong pop-country lean — usually in the Northeast, the West Coast, or in places like Miami and Los Angeles where the listeners overwhelmingly prefer rhythmic genres like hip-hop and reggaeton — don’t get on the more traditional or positively innovative songs, then those songs’ chart potential is limited. Morgan Wade’s “Wilder Days” is an excellent example — peaked around No. 28 nationally despite being very big at quite a few stations.
Cool Lester Smooth
October 4, 2022 @ 5:51 am
When I still lived in Boston, WKLB’s daytime show took requests, as well – plus, they would consistently play the Chicks and 90s McGraw.
101.7 is just a straight up corporate country, though.
October 5, 2022 @ 9:45 am
I grew up in the Boston area, still had family there until 2015, so kept track of Boston radio. 101.7 is “The Bull”, a cookie cutter format that iHeart uses mainly in markets where there’s a dominant country station run by another company. Bull always plays safe, young, pop-country. I haven’t listened to KLB lately, but it wouldn’t take much for it to be more adventurous than The Bull.
Up here in largely rural Northern New England, none of our country stations are owned by big chains and a couple of them are very open to new, less mainstream music. One of them is WJEN (Cat Country) in Killington, VT. They’re one of the first stations to add Hailey Whitters’ “Everything She Ain’t,” which is finally getting traction and hopefully will be everywhere by winter. In fact, I’ve just seen that back in Connecticut, WWYZ, which I criticized in my last post for conservatism, has also added “Everything She Ain’t,” so I’m smiling extra wide today at yet another positive sign for country radio.
Cool Lester Smooth
October 5, 2022 @ 5:35 pm
I’m a big fan of 91.9 – it’s the WUMB station, and they usually have a good mix of folk, country, and Americana.
Solid step above most NE radio stations.
October 6, 2022 @ 11:50 am
Great little station, I was a fan back when they were known as Folk Radio and were pretty much for folk purists. I just looked at their playlist and saw they played the Dropkick Murphys’ “Two 6’s Upside Down” this morning, between Bob Dylan’s “Red River Shore” and Sturgill Simpson’s “The Promise.” Pretty cool for FM!
October 3, 2022 @ 1:32 pm
Yeah I was gonna say I would be shocked if anyone actually answered the phone at a music radio station anymore except “contest line” to win tickets etc…. In major market corporate radio I’m sure there’s a not a request number so to speak like there was when we were young…lol. In smaller markets (not in my area) there might be a “text request/suggestion” space on a station web page or their Twitter/FB/IG thing? Maybe someone on here that listens to independent Country stations can fill us in?
October 3, 2022 @ 1:38 pm
Good for Mike and the boys. Would love for it to do well but I’m not optimistic. I’ve tried conversions preaching the gospel of independent country. Just this weekend a buddy I hadn’t seen in awhile said he was starting to get into country after listening to nothing but Pearl Jam for the last quarter century. Oh cool, who are you listening to? Old Dominion, Mullet Boy, even said there was one FGL song he liked. Oh my, I’ll fix you. Go listen to Turnpike and let me know. Be aware they don’t sing about screwing on tailgates though. If you like them I’ll send you some more. Let’s just say he didn’t want any more. But I’ll keep preaching, one knucklehead at a time.
David: The Duke of Everything
October 3, 2022 @ 2:06 pm
Cool for Bryan and the moonpies as well. I’m not really into either but what’s good for some will help the others.
October 3, 2022 @ 3:20 pm
Mullet(t) Boy …
October 3, 2022 @ 5:10 pm
Pretty childish. I am not all-things Wallen supporter but I am also not against everything he has put out. I wish, with the fan base he has, that he would come out with a stone-cold country album and shove it right up these armature dissenter’s butts.
October 3, 2022 @ 5:36 pm
A stone-cold country album would be most welcome from Wallen.
Doubt his recording label would allow that.
Cool Lester Smooth
October 7, 2022 @ 7:33 pm
Also…who would write it for him, who would arrange it for him, and who would play it for him?
He’s just a pretty boy with a singing competition voice, haha.
October 7, 2022 @ 8:49 pm
: D i think he does alright.
Meanwhile, i continue to plot a way into the Johnny Depp/Jeff Beck Oct. 19th concert.
Surely there has to be a way. As devious/sneaky/resourceful/calculating as i am, not giving up.
Where are my Navy Seal/Special Forces/Black Ops brothers, when i need them. Dam*
Hey, Steve Viola!
Where you at?❗
Wish me luck Cool Lester.
As music enthusiasts, you know this is important.
October 3, 2022 @ 3:46 pm
I love Mike and the Moonpies and they are one of my top listens, Zach Bryan is ok but a bit too sparse in instrumentation for me, I like a full band sound with steel guitars, fiddles, keys, accordian, (anyone remember Ponty Bone with Joe Ely?) that the Moonpies have.
Please don’t bash me for that, he sounds alot like John Baumann who I think is one of the best and he really needs to be elevated as well,…but It’s all good and I’m glad they are both being recognized by the unwashed, but what do I know, I’m just an old chunk of coal
October 3, 2022 @ 4:35 pm
Mike & The Moonpies are so good! We were there for their Opry Debut and it was great seeing them on that stage! I hope this song does well for them on the radio!
October 3, 2022 @ 5:02 pm
Not a big fan of Mullett Boy but vocally he’s miles ahead of Boy Taylor Swift.
October 3, 2022 @ 7:54 pm
She sang the hair off “Ain’t Nothing ‘Bout You” on the Brooks and Dunn “Last Rodeo” special on CBS years back, but her vocals were way too perfect to be genuine. Auto-Tune must have been in the audio chain that night.
Cool Lester Smooth
October 4, 2022 @ 6:10 am
Yeah, Swift always worked best while using the limits of her voice as a tool within her songwriting, a la Isbell or WCG, rather than trying to “belt it.”
And Bryan straight up sings like an amateur…probably because, y’know, he was a bit too busy in the Navy to dedicate time to voice lessons, haha
Cool Lester Smooth
October 4, 2022 @ 6:07 am
Mullet Boy got his start as a pretty face on a reality singing competition, so it’s no surprise he beats the hell out of Bryan, vocally…and I’m pretty sure the latter is thrilled when people call him “Boy Taylor Swift,” haha.
Like I bet “You’re not great at singing or playing music, you just write songs that connect so intensely to the lived experiences of your target audience that it inspires a fanatical devotion as they play you on repeat” really cuts him to the quick, haha.
You look good in neon
October 6, 2022 @ 6:10 pm
Mike and The Moonpies- oh yes!!!! Been listening for the past 5 years and that Zach kills it on pedal!! They deserve all the success that’s headed their way.
October 12, 2022 @ 8:25 am
Thanks for the Mike @ the MP’s shout. I will check them out.