One of the more traditional-styled artists in the country genre, Jon Pardi scores his second No. 1 on Billboard's Country Airplay chart, both from his sophomore LP California Sunrise, as "Dirt on My Boots" kicks 2-1 on the March 25-dated list, increasing 5 percent to 42.7 million audience impressions in the tracking week ending March 12, according to Nielsen Music.
The song, penned by Rhett Akins, Jesse Frasure and Ashley Gore, is also Pardi's second straight Country Airplay leader with "boots" in its title. Lead California Sunrise single "Head Over Boots" became his first No. 1 on the chart dated Aug. 27, 2016. "Head" took 46 weeks to reach the summit, the third-longest trek to the top of the chart, dating to Country Airplay's Jan. 20, 1990 launch. In comparison, "Dirt" tops the tally in its 25th frame.
"Being No. 1 is a fresh, new place for me and I'm loving it," Pardi tells Billboard. "I really appreciate country radio playing two pretty traditional-sounding songs back-to-back."
Was there any hesitation in releasing a second single with "Boots" in the title? "Nah," Pardi says. "You know, 'Dirt on My Boots' was pegged as the second single from California Sunrise from the get-go and we felt like it was just a fun song to go with. Plus, I had complete support from my label. They had no hesitation at all."
As for Pardi's traditional bent, "A great song is a great song," says Cumulus Nash director of programming, John Shomby. "I don't really think it matters whether a song leans more pop or more traditional, as long as it's strong, and 'Dirt' is just a fun country song. If you've seen Pardi perform it live, you really get the sense as to why the audience loves it. It's fun and hooky and it's easy to sing along to. It has all the ingredients for a hit."
On Hot Country Songs, which Sam Hunt's "Body Like a Back Road" (MCA Nashville) rules for a fifth frame, "Dirt" lifts to a new peak (3-2). It also climbs 3-2 on Country Digital Song Sales (21,000 downloads sold, down 4 percent) and holds with a bullet at No. 3 on Country Streaming Songs (5.8 million U.S. streams, up 7 percent).
THE FOURTH TIME Kelsea Ballerini notches her fourth total and consecutive Country Airplay top 10 from debut her debut full-length The First Time, as "Yeah Boy" rolls 11-10, gaining by 5 percent to 24.5 million in audience.
"Boy" follows Ballerini's three prior Country Airplay top 10s, all No. 1s: "Love Me Like You Mean it" (July 4, 2015, one week), "Dibs" (March 5, 2016, one week) and "Peter Pan" (Sept. 24, 2016, one week).
Ballerini is the first solo female to bank at least four Country Airplay top 10s from a first LP since Taylor Swift, who notched five between 2006 and 2008 from her self-titled debut: "Tim McGraw" (No. 6), "Teardrops on My Guitar" (No. 2), "Our Song" (No. 1, six weeks), "Picture to Burn" (No. 3) and "Should've Said No" (No. 1, two weeks). (Meanwhile, Ballerini shares space in the Country Airplay top 10 with Swift, as the latter is the writer of Little Big Town's "Better Man," down 5-8 after two weeks at No. 1.)
Among all artists, Ballerini is the first to generate at least four Country Airplay top 10s from a debut LP since Sam Hunt, who notched five (including four No. 1s) in 2014-16.
NOW YOU 'KNOW' Brett Young earns his second Hot Country Songs top 10, as "In Case You Didn't Know" surges 13-9. It bounds 28-20 on Country Airplay, up 27 percent to 11.3 million in audience. The song follows Young's debut hit "Sleep Without You," which rose to No. 3 in December.