Basics

Radio Beats

7 Real-World Applications of Essential, Time-Honored Grooves

by Rich Redmond

In this month’s article we’ll take a look at some popular grooves on country radio right now. All of them are variations of what I call “money beats,” fundamental drumset rhythms that have been used on countless popular songs.

This four-on-the-floor feel is the basis of many pop, dance, country, and modern rock songs. Check out Taylor Swift’s hit “Red” for an example.

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The heavy groove of dubstep has seeped into country-pop music, which you can hear in the same Taylor Swift song, when it transitions to a half-time feel with a triplet bass
drum figure.

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Now check out this time-honored money beat, which can be heard on two songs that I played drums on: Eric Church’s “Drink in My Hand” and Thompson Square’s “Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About.”

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This powerful rock pattern drives the mid-tempo programmed feel of Florida Georgia Line’s hit “Cruise.”

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This hip groove found a heartland application on Blake Shelton’s humorous “Boys ’Round Here” and Jason Aldean’s “Night Train,” the latter of which I had the good fortune
of recording.

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We call this the “push groove” in Nashville. The kick drum accents beat 1 and the “&” of beat 2. With roots in clave, New Orleans second line, and the Charleston beat, this rhythm pilots Hunter Hayes’ hit “Wanted.”

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The train beat, with a swing feel, drives Darius Rucker’s version of the rootsy song “Wagon Wheel.”

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Listening to terrestrial radio is a great way to discover the commonalities among all grooves and how they cross genre lines. Mastering the most-used patterns, and coming up with your own variations, is a great way to keep your drumming fresh and marketable. If you want to be a player in contemporary music, you have to know what’s happening now. Enjoy the journey. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Cheers!


Rich Redmond drums for country star Jason Aldean, is an award-winning clinician, and is an active session drummer in Nashville and Los Angeles. His recent book/DVD, FUNdamentals of Drumming for Kids (coauthored with Michael Aubrecht), is available through Modern Drummer Publications.