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.