The understated, well-written, and rootsy song with mandolin prominently featured might not be what you think of when you think of a modern day country hit. And certainly, many of the songs that constitute radio “hits” these days are little more than a record label’s favored child being shepherded to the front of the class.
But with her strong Southern accent that luckily wasn’t dialed back by some busybody producer, and just enough of a list-like element at the start to sound like something radio would warm to, “Things a Man Oughta Know” officially makes it to #1 this week, and it’s a big moment for the bona fide redneck warrior princess Lainey Wilson as she continues to present a bright spot and more country-sounding alternative in the mainstream.
Written by Wilson with Jason Nix and Jonathan Singleton, like many radio singles these days—especially from new artists—it took over a year for “Things a Man Oughta Know” to mature. It was first released on August 24th, 2020. It found a strong audience, also hitting #4 on the more consumer-based Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, and being Certified Gold by the RIAA on August 9th. That means there’s real traction behind Lainey and this song beyond radio.
The implications here are much bigger than radio. Lainey Wilson is one of these artists that helping to symbolize a return to country’s roots in the mainstream, evidenced by her well-received new record Sayin’ What I’m Thinkin’. She really deserved a New Artist of the Year nomination from the CMA for 2021. But perhaps with a #1 under her belt now, they’ll consider her next year.
Originally from the small town of Baskin, Louisiana (pop. 300), and born and raised on Hank Williams, Buck Owens, and Lynyrd Skynyrd, Lainey Wilson is working to upset the pecking order in the world of country pop by pushing the bros aside. That’s how she ended up on the main imprint of Broken Bow Records right beside bro dudes like Jason Aldean, Dustin Lynch, and Chase Rice, as well as on the mostly male-dominated soundtrack of the Paramount TV Series Yellowstone.
Hopefully the #1 for “Things a Man Oughta Know” is the first of many for Lainey Wilson.