Let’s hold the chart chatter for a moment and, with our eye toward shattered Las Vegas, recall what the poet Emily Dickinson had to say about confronting almost insurmountable grief.
After great pain, a formal feeling comes —
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs —
The stiff Heart questions ’was it He, that bore,’
And ’Yesterday, or Centuries before’?
The Feet, mechanical, go round —
A Wooden way
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought —
A Quartz contentment, like a stone —
This is the Hour of Lead —
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow —
First — Chill — then Stupor — then the letting go —
Our “hour of lead” will extend into days, even as fresher calamities beg for our caring. But standing through it all will be those two unbroken pillars of comfort: the unwavering joy of the music and the ready humanity of the stranger sitting beside us.
Now to more quantifiable matters. Kenny Chesney’s “All the Pretty Girls” glides into the No. 1 niche on the Billboard’s country airplay charts after a relatively quick 18-week transit. Meanwhile, Thomas Rhett’s Life Changes remains the top country album for the third straight week.
Midland boasts the highest — debuting album, On the Rocks, which bows at No. 2. Also new — and entering at No. 3 — is Home Free’s Timeless.
There are two other first-timers — Chris Janson’s Everybody (No. 7) and Chris Hillman’s Bidin’ My Time (No. 37). Hillman, as you may remember, was a standout vocalist in the fabled Desert Rose Band of the late 1980s and early ’90s. Moreover, he’s in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a founding member of the Byrds. So listen with awe.
Following “All the Pretty Girls” in descending order within the Top 5 songs array are Dustin Lynch’s “Small Town Boy” (last week’s No. 1), Kane Brown’s “What Ifs,” featuring Lauren Alaina, Jason Aldean’s “They Don’t Know” and Jon Pardi’s “Heartache on the Dance Floor.”
Here’s to a happier next week.