Local singer/songwriter hits the charts rising

Published 1:37 pm Sunday, April 19, 2020

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The career of local singer/songwriter Andrew Hopson, who proved his immense musical talents last fall with the release of his first single “Paint the Town Redneck,” continues on its meteoric rise.

Over the winter, Hopson delved deeper into his arsenal to co-create a second hit with veteran country songwriter and producer Steve O’Brien. The two collaborated on the album “New to Neon,” pulling the duo’s first original single entitled “Stronger than That” for airplay in March. Hopson’s first single “Paint the Town Redneck” was a remake of the John Michael Montgomery hit, co-written by O’Brien.

Released on March 9, “Stronger than That” immediately broke onto the Play MPE Charts for most downloaded and streamed songs, topping out at the 4th and 5th positions during its initial release week, respectively. The accomplishment is pretty impressive, when you consider that Hopson’s single was mingling on the Play MPE Top 20 with new releases from the likes of Keith Urban, the Dixie Chicks and Pam Tillis.

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On April 9, “Stronger than That” made the Music Row Break Out Chart for 7th most-added songs. The song climbed from 154 to 106, moving to 104 plus 10 spins – a 14 percent increase – with a total of 82 spins just for the one week.

The track charted at 24 the following week, climbing to 28 on the HotDisc Top 30 International Best Releases for April. This chart keeps track of new music spanning the United Kingdom, Britain and Ireland.

Hopson says he loves it when a solid country song can be given a unique rock twist like adding chords and special melodies that would be unexpected in the more traditional country vein. Still, he says he remains true to himself and to classic country artists like Hank Williams Sr., Vern Gosdin, Merle Haggard and Keith Whitley – a few of his biggest idols.

The Tazewell native first came into contact with these and other traditional country singers/songwriters as a child, growing up with a mother who was a big fan of country and southern rock. Hopson began to form his own unique version of country music through daily doses of Willie Nelson, Charlie Rich, Reba McIntyre, Johnny Cash and other stars.

His brother, Matt, “unintentionally” turned the young seven-year-old onto the guitar. One day, the youngster picked up his brother’s instrument and decided it was a better fit than the piano lessons he had begun the year before.

A few electric guitar lessons later, Hopson settled on the acoustic. The first song he learned to sing and play was the Jamey Johnson hit “In Color.”

Hopson says he might not have ever pursued his passion if not for the encouragement of his family and friends. While in college, he found it hard to settle on a major. One day, his mother sat him down and reminded him of his lifetime love of music. Hopson said his mother told him to “go for it.”

Even though he enjoys taking a few risks in his musical style, Hopson says his repertoire remains “true to the bone” – a little part of his hometown packaged in every song.

Once social distancing is put to rest, Hopson will be one very busy musician as he meets his obligations with station tours and music venues.

Hopson grew up in the Springdale community of Claiborne County. He graduated from Claiborne High School prior to entering Walter State Community College. For more from Hopson, follow him on Twitter and Instagram. You may access his tracks on Apple, Spotify or Amazon Music or catch some of his work on YouTube via posts from the CDX Nashville Listening Party, recorded last fall.