Jimmie Allen and Brad Paisley‘s “Freedom Was a Highway” rises to No. 1 on Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart, dated Feb. 19. In the week ending Feb. 13, it gained by 7% to 25.1 million audience impressions, according to MRC Data.
Allen banks his third Country Airplay leader and Paisley adds his milestone 20th. Allen wrote the song with Ash Bowers and Matthew J. Rogers.
“This song is super special to me,” Allen tells Billboard. “I wrote it about the streets I grew up driving on in Milton and Lewes, Delaware. It has been amazing to see the song connect with so many people.
“Working with Brad was great,” continues Allen. “I have been a fan since his career started and have always wanted to work with him. I’m honored to call him a collaborator and friend. Also, he crushed that guitar solo and vocals!”
Paisley says that he “couldn’t be prouder to ride shotgun on this record with Jimmie” – in reference to the classic 1977 Burt Reynolds road flick Smokey and the Bandit, among other movie team-ups, quipping, “I’ll be the Sally Fields to his Burt Reynolds anytime.”
Allen began his Country Airplay history with two consecutive No. 1s: “Best Shot” reigned for three frames beginning in November 2018 and “Make Me Want To” led for a week in March 2020. “Highway,” released on Stoney Creek, is from Allen’s second LP, 2020’s Bettie James.
Paisley paces Country Airplay for the first time since “Perfect Storm” led for two weeks in January 2015. He first reigned with his sophomore single, “He Didn’t Have to Be,” for a week in December 1999. With 20 Country Airplay leaders, Paisley ties Brooks & Dunn and Toby Keith for the 10th-most. Kenny Chesney’s 31 No. 1s mark the most among all artists since the chart started in January 1990.
On the airplay-, streaming- and sales-based Hot Country Songs list, “Highway” rides 8-5 for a new best. In the week ending Feb. 10, it drew 5.4 million U.S. streams and sold 900 downloads.
‘CAN’T’ CAN Cody Johnson nets his first Country Airplay top 10, among six entries so far, as “‘Til You Can’t” pushes 11-10 (16.3 million impressions, up 2%).
Johnson logged his previous best with “On My Way to You,” which hit No. 11 in June 2019. “Can’t” follows Johnson’s duet with Reba McEntire, “Dear Rodeo,” which reached No. 34 in December 2020.