Michael Ray nets his second No. 1 on Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart (dated Jan. 22) with “Whiskey and Rain.” The song gained by 4% to 27.3 million audience impressions in the week ending Jan. 16, according to MRC Data.
Penned by Jesse Frasure and Josh Thompson, the track is the lead single from Ray’s seven-track set Higher Education, released in August 2021.
“The journey of this song has been one of the wildest rides of my career,” says Ray. “To watch ‘Whiskey and Rain’ grow into my second Billboard No. 1 [after] recording it during quarantine, where we were forced to take a different approach to making music, is a highlight that lets me know I’m on the right path. This song truly feels like a turning point in my career, both sonically and stylistically. I’m so grateful for the way fans have gravitated toward the song and thankful to country radio. The way this song connected makes me eager to share what we have coming next.”
Ray, originally from Eustis, Fla., first topped Country Airplay with “Kiss You in the Morning” for a week in August 2015. He has notched two additional top 10s: “Think a Little Less” (No. 2, 2017) and “One That Got Away” (No. 3, 2019).
As “Whiskey” rules in its 65th week on Country Airplay, it ties for the longest journey to the summit since the chart began in 1990. Travis Denning’s “After a Few” also took 65 weeks on its way to No. 1 in June 2020.
On Billboard‘s streaming-, airplay- and sales-based Hot Country Songs list, “Whiskey” ranks at No. 7 (after hitting No. 6). It drew 4.6 million U.S. streams and sold 1,600 downloads in the week ending Jan. 13.
‘FANCY’ FOURTH Walker Hayes’ “Fancy Like” extends its Hot Country Songs domination to 24 weeks, tying for the fourth-longest reign since the chart became an all-encompassing genre songs tally in October 1958.
Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line’s “Meant to Be” (50 weeks, beginning in December 2017) holds the record, followed by Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road” (34, starting in February 2017) and Gabby Barrett’s “I Hope” (27, beginning in July 2020). FGL’s debut hit “Cruise” also ruled for 24 weeks, starting in October 2012.
Co-written by Hayes, Cameron Bartolini, Josh Jenkins and Shane Stevens, “Fancy Like” drew 10.4 million streams and sold 5,000 downloads in the tracking week. It leads Country Streaming Songs for a 21st week, after topping Country Digital Song Sales for 25 frames. The track logged 20.8 million impressions in all-format radio audience in the tracking week; it crowned Country Airplay for a week in November.
Meanwhile, Hayes’ new single, “AA,” rises 3-1 on Country Digital Song Sales (5,500 sold), marking his second leader. It also drew 4.3 million streams. The track ranks at No. 22 on Hot Country Songs and No. 33 on Country Airplay (2.8 million, up 4%).
‘TOWN’ & COUNTRY Maren Morris achieves her ninth Hot Country Songs top 10, and her second debut in the tier, as “Circles Around This Town” rolls in at No. 9. Morris wrote the song with husband Ryan Hurd, Julia Michaels and Jimmy Robbins. (It references her breakout hits “My Church” and “80s Mercedes”: “Couple hundred songs and the ones that finally worked / Was the one about a car and the one about a church … that I wrote.”)
Released Jan. 7, the track tallied 3.5 million streams and sold 2,500 in its first week. It bounds onto Country Digital Song Sales at No. 6, granting Morris her 10th top 10. On Country Airplay, it places at No. 35 (2.5 million impressions).
The tune is the first single from Morris’ upcoming album, as well as her first new solo music since Girl, which opened at No. 1 on Top Country Albums in March 2019.
WELL DONE, ‘YOU’ Parker McCollum achieves his second career-opening Country Airplay top 10 as “To Be Loved by You” pushes 11-10 (16.3 million, up 6%). His maiden entry, “Pretty Heart,” led for a week in December 2020.