Charts of the Past #1: 2012 Year End Country Chart.

A look back at country music’s top 100 from 2012, where are they now?

Justin Higuchi, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Everyone loves a good hit of nostalgia every once in a while, sometimes you see an image of an old room you grew up in, maybe you get a hint of something that smells just like that blueberry yum-yum your grandma used to make, and sometimes you hear a song that takes you back to middle school, or marriage, or any time really. Music is one of the best ways to get a quick hit of that sweet drug called nostalgia. A great way to remember some songs that you forgot is to look back at the top 100 chart from any given year, from any genre. This blog theme is country music so that’s what we’re gonna be doing. The year we’re gonna look at today is 2012. I was inspired to do this when I stumbled upon 2012s chart by happenstance and realized there were so many hits I had completely forgotten about, with artists who seemingly fell off the earth after said hit was made. So let’s look at 2012’s Country Top 100 and see what songs and artists are worth taking a deeper dive on, to see where they’ve gone. I will preface this by saying that I won’t be taking a look at the artists that have clearly established themselves in the country music scene, because the whole point of this piece is to find the more obscure stuff you’ve probably forgotten about, and let’s face it, nobody has forgotten about Luke Bryan.

Jana Kramer burst onto the country music scene when she released “Why Ya Wanna” as her debut single, which promptly went to number 3 on the country charts and 52 on the Billboard Top 100. It would manage to score the number 3 spot on the official year end chart as well. She would also end up scoring several ACM and CMA awards nominations, and even won Top New Female Artist at the 2013 ACMs. What many didn’t know about Kramer though, is that she actually began as an actress, from 2002 to around 2012 she had quite a few small roles in TV shows and movies such as Friday Night Lights, CSI, Click, and Grey’s Anatomy. In 2012 she landed a lead role in an indie film called Heart of the Country just after the release of “Why Ya Wanna”. June of 2012 is when the debut album came out, simply titled Jana Kramer. The album got good reviews, and the second single; “Whiskey” did well on the charts too, but not quite on par with the lead. In 2015 Kramer would gear up to release her sophomore album; Thirty One. The first single “Love” did alright, peaking at 32 on the US Country Airplay chart. However, it was her second single that blew up, and has even had more longterm success than even “Why Ya Wanna” did. “I Got the Boy” released March 30th, 2015 to radio and took off like wildfire. The song peaked at number 5 on the Hot Country chart, and finished 2015s year end list at 47. Although the chart numbers aren’t as appealing for “I Got the Boy”, Kramer’s Spotify stats show that it has easily been the song with the most longevity for her. When Thirty One did eventually release in October of 2015 it peaked at number 3 on the Country Album chart, but died out somewhat quickly. Since 2015 Jana has dealt with some different issues in her personal life, but has still released several singles, starting in 2017 and putting at least one new one out every year since, as of 2021. If Kramer ever does put out another full album, I would not be surprised to see her charting another catchy hit.

Unlike Jana Kramer, the band Gloriana weren’t totally new to the country scene when their 2012 hit was released. Gloriana was formed in 2008 by brothers, Mike and Tom Gossin, along with Cheyenne Kimball, and Rachel Reinert. They quickly released a self-titled album in 2009 and had their first minor hit with “Wild At Heart”. The album peaked at number 2 on the Country chart, with the single hitting 15, going gold certified, and becoming the highest selling debut country single of the year. The group went on to win both an AMA award, and an ACM award in that same year. After touring as an opener for Taylor Swift in 2010, they began work on a sophomore album called A Thousand Miles Left Behind. To lead off 2011 they released the opening single for that album “Wanna Take You Home”. Shortly after, Cheyenne Kimball would leave the group. The second single was the smash hit, “(Kissed You) Good Night” it officially released in October of 2011, but really took off after the marketing push around the time of the music video’s premiere in January 2012. The song peaked at number 2 on the Country chart, 34 on the US chart, and got certified platinum. In 2015 they put out their 3rd and (seemingly) final album Three, which saw a couple singles chart, but never really take off like the others had. Rachel Reinert departed from the group in 2016 which effectively broke it up entirely. Tom Gossin released two solo songs on Spotify in 2020, which are essentially lo-fi pop. Rachel Reinert put out a solo album in 2020 titled Into The Blue, and it seems as though she has stuck with her country sound and it’s actually a pretty solid album. Mike Gossin and Cheyenne Kimball have not released anything new since they left Gloriana, as far as I can tell.

This is the song that inspired me to make this list. I adored this song in 2012, and forgot about it entirely until a few weeks ago when I saw it on the 2012 chart and had to go back and listen again. Love and Theft was originally a three man group, consisting of Brian Bandas, Eric Gunderson, and Stephen Barker Liles. They had one very minor hit with their debut single, “Runaway” when it peaked at number 10 on the Country chart in 2009, but prior to even that, they opened for Taylor Swift in 2008, just like Gloriana would go on to do the next year! “Hey Stephen” by Taylor Swift is actually written about Stephen Liles! Liles did a little songwriting for other artists in this time. Just after the release of their first album, World Wide Open, they ran into some record label issues and Bandas ended up leaving the band. “Angel Eyes” was released as a single for their new self-titled album just months after the remaining two boys signed with RCA Nashville, and was a smash hit. The song peaked at number 1 on the Country chart and went platinum. I remember this song being played constantly on the radio, TV, in stores, etc. All their singles after this would fail to break through the top 30, and their 3rd studio album Whiskey On My Breath would place higher on the Indie chart than the Country chart in 2015. Since 2016 they have been putting out new singles here and there, playing a few shows, and their website promises new music is still ahead for the duo.

Greg Bates is the absolute outlier on this list. Greg Bates made a hit song, and dipped out of the scene almost entirely. It took me a good little while to find anything about what Greg Bates is up to these days. “Did it For The Girl” was his debut single, released in April, 2012 and much like Jana Kramer, it was an instant splash, it peaked at number 5 on the Country Airplay chart, and landed him the opportunity to play the Grand Ole Opry. It wasn’t until nearly a full year later in February, 2013 that he would put out a second single, “Fill in The Blank”, which is an absolutely spectacular, cleverly written song, and I’m personally angry it didn’t receive nearly the love that “Did it For The Girl” did. He never released a full album, but did put out a self-titled EP in 2012 which had these 2 songs, plus 3 more. The EP is a great listen and I highly recommend it. Bates only ended up releasing one more song in 2015 called “Sand”. After this, at first glance, it would seem Greg Bates dropped off the face of the Earth in the music world. With another glance however, on his Twitter and some other various sites, you will find out he has faded behind the curtains to the writing/producing side of music! He currently produces specifically for a band called Southerland, and a new female solo artist named Peytan Porter. Neither of which have any abundance of music out so far, Porter actually only has one song so far, “Therapy”, and boy, I could see this girl being the next big female superstar in country music. Bates also has a co-writer credit on up-and-coming country duo Muscadine Bloodline’s single “Nothing Much to Do”, another great song. It’s a damn shame Greg Bates disappeared as an act himself, he was making great neo-traditional country music, but it’s amazing to see him help budding young, potential stars, with some amazing tracks of their own.

The Farm or The Farm Inc. is a trio made up of Kenny Chesney’s former fiddle player, Nick Hoffman, Damien Horne, a member of songwriter group, MuzikMafia, and Krista Marie, a former solo artist. “Home Sweet Home was one of the first singles off of their debut self-titled album, and was the only one that ended up with any real success, peaking at 19 on the Country Chart. They only released one more single which came in 2014, and have seemingly disbanded as quick as they came together. Hoffman now hosts the Outdoor Channel hunting show Nick’s Wild Ride. Krista Marie went on to try several different things, but ended up landing on being the host a live recorded TV show called The Song. Damien Horne has worked further with Krista Marie as well, making music and being a co-host of The Song. He is kind of a jack of all trades and has had a hand in many things, including; working with John Legend, being an inspirational speaker, giving TED Talks, being a life coach, and releasing solo music for himself as well.

I forgot about this song until I went and listened to it for this article, and when the chorus hit I instantly remembered it, and my love for it. Such a cute and catchy little tune. Eden’s Edge was technically founded in 2006 by Hannah Blaylock, Dean Berner, and Cherrill Green, but took a while to get a record deal and have everything really take off after moving to Nashville. “Amen” was their debut single, releasing in April 2011 and slow crawled to a respectable peak at 18 on the Country chart. The second single to be released was (ironically) “Too Good To Be True” which actually placed at 92 on the year end 100. Their self-titled album would be released in mid 2012, and the band parted ways soon after in 2013 when Blaylock left. They did put out a random “from the vault” record in 2018 though. Blaylock went on to release a solo album in 2017, and then try out for The Voice in 2018, but didn’t qualify. I can’t find anything solid on what Berner is doing now, seems like a stray solo show here and there. According to Green’s LinkedIn page she actually is now the Sr Access Coordinator at HCA Healthcare in Nashville. It’s a shame they parted ways so early, but I imagine it was hard to make it at a time where so many group acts were finding success, like The Band Perry, Little Big Town, Lady A, and more. They couldn’t all survive in such an overpopulated ecosystem.

Andy Gibson started out as a writer, and co-wrote the killer number 1 hit “Don’t You Wanna Stay” by Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson in 2011. Later in 2011 he signed a record deal of his own with R&J and released three singles over the course of as many years. The debut single was “Wanna Make You Love Me” and was the only single he released under R&J; however, the other two were with Curb Records. This is where information gets fuzzy and hard to find. Apparently he released his official studio debut album Throw it Into Gear in 2012, I can’t find anything to back that up, other than his Spotify page, which goes for pretty much everything from here on out. In 2017 he apparently released a self-titled album entirely in spanish. Then in 2020 he released a genre-jumbled album called I’m Gonna Be There. It seems as though nowadays Gibson is just living a laid back life, performing at small events in or near the town he lives in, still making music for himself, not limited to country. This one was short, but there really isn’t much to find out there on Andy Gibson.

  • Honorable Mentions

Just wanted to add this little section before I close out here, just to throw in some interesting things involving the 2012 chart.

First and foremost, I was absolutely shocked to see “Missin’ You Crazy” at number 84 and seeing this was JON PARDI. I did not realize he popped up on the charts this early. He took 2019–20 by storm and is on pace to be one of the top dogs in the neo-traditional movement. I just somehow never noticed him in these early years.

Secondly; I forgot Big & Rich existed. That’s all. I just completely forgot for some reason.

Third and finally, was anyone else really surprised that “Time is Love” by Josh Turner was number 1? I love Josh Turner and I love the song, but there are an enormous amount of songs on here I remember so much better than that one for better or for worse. Josh Turner is just one of those very few, 100% timeless artists.

Well, that’s gonna do it for this one, if you want more of these be sure to follow the page and comment to let me know any other interesting years! This one I think had a good amount of times while I was researching all this that I was very surprised by something or another. It was just overall a fun time rediscovering some of these songs and listening to them, and I strongly suggest using the links to listen to the music and watch the videos!

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