Bluegrass Today Top 30 for 2012

tracks2012Since Bluegrass Today launched in September 2011, one of the more popular features on the site has been our radio airplay chart. It is published both weekly and monthly, showing which songs received the most spins as reported by more than 100 participating terrestrial and satellite radio hosts across the US.

The chart was the brainchild of Bluegrass Today co-owner Terry Herd, a long-time radio syndicator with the Bluegrass Radio Network, and a former programmer for Sirius prior to their merger with XM. It was Terry’s belief that the bluegrass world deserved a chart that specifically measured spin count for broadcast radio, and creating one was a founding goal for the new site.

Following the chart each week (and month) has been great fun for fans, artists, labels and songwriters alike, and provided plenty of fodder for social media celebration.

Now that we have a full year of data from our Bluegrass Today Weekly Airplay Chart, we can publish an annual Top 30 report for 2012. This list shows which individual tracks received the most airplay, as reported by our participating programmers.

  1. Final Farewell – Chris Jones & The Night Drivers (Rebel); writers: Chris Jones, Jon Weisberger

  2. Carolina Moonshine Man – Lou Reid & Carolina (KMA Records); writers: Ray Edwards, Terry Foust, Lou Reid

  3. Dirt Road Heartache – Marty Raybon (Rural Rhythm); writers Melissa Pierce, Jerry Salley

  4. Monroe’s Doctrine – Special Consensus (Compass); writers: Ronnie Bowman, Craig Market, Bob Minner

  5. Oh, Kentucky – Lou Reid & Carolina (KMA Records); writer: Dennis Duff

  6. Nobody Knows You – Steep Canyon Rangers (Rounder); writer: Graham Sharp

  7. Another Man’s Arms – Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice (Rebel); writer: Russell Johnson

  8. Life Finds A Way – The Grascals (Mountain Home); writers: Jamie Johnson, Dierks Bentley, Ronnie Bowman

  9. When You’re Holding Me – Rhonda Vincent (Upper Management Music); writer: Donna Jo Webster

  10. Close The Door Lightly When You Go – Lonesome River Band (Rural Rhythm); writer: Eric Anderson

  11. A Natural Thing – Audie Blaylock & Redline (Rural Rhythm); writer: Harley Allen

  12. Anywhere Is Home Again – Volume 5 (Mountain Fever); writer: Jesse Daniel

  13. I’m Over You – The Boxcars (Mountain Home); writer: Keith Garrett

  14. The Other Side of Lonesome – Brand New Strings (Brand New Strings/Rural Rhythm); writer: Randall Massengill

  15. Your Kind of Love – Michelle Nixon & Drive (Mountain Fever); writer: Nick Nixon, Michelle Nixon

  16. Old Moonshiner – Russell Johnson (CDBY); writer: Russell Johnson

  17. Sounds of Home – Blue Highway (Rounder); writer: Shawn Lane

  18. January Night – Wayne Taylor (Wayne Taylor Records); writers: Raymond Adams Jr., Wayne Taylor

  19. That’s Just Me Lovin’ You – Darin & Brooke Aldridge (Mountain Home); writers: Lisa Shaffer, Jerry Salley

  20. I’ll Be Broken Hearted – Tony Holt & The Wildwood Valley Boys (Old Heritage Records); writers: Cardell Eaton, Al Eaton

  21. Rain – Clay Hess (Kang Records); writers: Craig Market, Wayne Winkle

  22. Little Pink – Bill Emerson & Sweet Dixie (Rural Rhythm); traditional

  23. Somewhere South of Crazy – Dale Ann Bradley (Compass); writers: Pam Tillis, Dale Ann Bradley

  24. Lovin’ Liza Jane – Detour (Bluegrass Ahead); writer: Melissa Armstrong

  25. My Heart Is On The Mend – Larry Stephenson (Compass); writer: Randall Hylton

  26. Water Under The Bridge – NewTown (NewTown); writers: Rich Alves, Guy Clark

  27. Quarterline Road – Detour (Bluegrass Ahead); writer: Jeff Rose

  28. Catch Me If I Try – Kenny & Amanda Smith Band (Kenny & Amanda Smith); writers: David Wilcox, Pat Patrick

  29. Restless Workin’ Man – Blue Highway (Rounder); writer: Shawn Lane

  30. My Rose of Old Kentucky – Del McCoury Band (McCoury Music); writer: Bill Monroe


Have a quick listen to the tracks in our 2012 Top 30 in the iTunes player to the left.

Congratulations to all our 2012 chart toppers, and everyone who appeared on the chart over the course of the year.

Special thanks to the radio hosts who report their spins each week.

If you host or program bluegrass radio (terrestrial or satellite broadcast), and would like to take part in our chart reporting, we would love to hear from you.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.

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  • Ivor Trueman

    A while ago I put the Bluegrass Unlimited chart into a database & applied a position weighting, so I could generate a notional chart over different time periods.

    It’s mildly interesting to note that there’s only 9 tunes common to both charts for 2012.

    My Cobbled together BU chart, with the BT posn at the end:-

    1 – Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice – A Far Cry From Lester & Earl (-)
    2/3 – Blue Highway – Sounds Of Home (17)
    2/3 – Carolina Road – A Light In The Window, Again (-)
    4 – Dale Ann Bradley – Somewhere South Of Crazy (23)
    5 – Dale Ann Bradley – Come Home Good Boy (-)
    6/7 – Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme out – Pretty Little Girl From Galax (-)
    6/7 – Donna Ulisse – Let It Rain (-)
    8 – Blue Highway – Bluebird Days (-)
    9 – Russell Johnson – Anytime, Anyplace, But Only You (-)
    10 – Blue Highway – I Ain’t Gonna Lay My Hammer Down (-)
    11 – Lou Reid & Carolina – Carolina Moonshine Man (2)
    12/13 – Dailey & Vincent – Living In The Kingdom Of God (-)
    12/13 – Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme out – If Your Heart Should Ever Roll This Way Again (-)
    14/15 – Darin & Brooke Aldridge – Lonely Ends Where Love Begins (-)
    14/15 – Rhonda Vincent – When You’re Holding Me (9)
    16/17 – Gibson Brothers (with Ricky Skaggs) – Singing As We Rise (-)
    16/17 – Chris Jones & The Night Drivers – Final Farewell (1)
    18 – Cedar Hill – I’ve Got A Thing About Doors (-)
    19 – Tommy Webb – From Rock ‘N’ Roll To Bill Monroe (-)
    20 – Gibson Brothers – Walkin’ West To Memphis (-)
    21 – Spinney Brothers – Memories (-)
    22 – Larry Sparks – Almost Home (-)
    23 – Steep Canyon Rangers – Nobody Knows You (6)
    24 – Lonesome River Band – Close The Door Lightly When You Go (10)
    25 – Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme out – Old Kentucky Farmers (-)
    26 – Grascals – Life Finds A Way (8)
    27 – Ronnie Bowman – The Story In Your Eyes (-)
    28 – Alison Krauss & Union Station – Dust Bowl Children (-)
    29 – Johnny Williams – Chilly Winds (-)
    30 – Special Consensus – Monroe’s Doctrine (4)

    • Greetings Ivor and thanks for your observation. While both the Bluegrass Unlimited and Bluegrass Today charts are compiled from information submitted by bluegrass DJ’s, the similarities pretty much end there.

      In the case of the BU chart, DJ’s are asked to submit their top 10 list each month ranked in order from 1 to 10. However, this may not necessarily be reflective of which songs received the most airplay. At least that was the case when I was a contributor.

      Additionally, there is no differentiation between syndicators and single market broadcasters. So a syndicator with 100 stations for example would count as only one vote. As a result, the chart cannot accurately reflect the amount of airplay given to any individual track. Lastly, the BU chart is published monthly (not weekly), and there is lag time until publication.

      The Bluegrass Today chart was created to give a realistic and up to date snapshot by tracking actual spin counts at both terrestrial and satellite radio and reporting the data in a timely manner.

      At present we have over 100 DJ’s in our roster. Each week they receive an electronic survey request and are asked to record the actual number of spins given to each song. Each station in a syndicators’ lineup is counted too. The data is then compiled and sorted electronically to produce our weekly and monthly charts.

      The results sometimes vary significantly from week to week, but it is reflective of what is actually occurring at radio. As one would expect, less fluctuation occurs at the macro level on our monthly chart.

      I hope that helps explain the differences you are seeing between the BU and BT charts. Again, thanks for your observation and question!

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