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.


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.


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.”


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


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.


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.”


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


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.