DISClaimer (1/30)

Newcomers, baby acts and veterans are all in the mix this week.

Both Aaron Tippin and Collin Raye arrived with excellent sounding comeback discs. Chris Young, Bomshel, Jamey Johnson continue to shine with blindingly bright promise.

Newcomer Mike Adkins totally nails the DisCovery Award.

And I continue to be in awe of the talent of Eric Church (as well as his producer, Jay Joyce). Give that man yet another Disc of the Day prize.

BOB HARVEY/Completely Harmless
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Echo
—I’m not sure what this is all about. It has a copyright notice on it that clearly says “1969.” So what’s it doing in this week’s reviewing stack? Beats me. In any case, it is an audio waste of time.

JAMEY JOHNSON/High Cost Of Living
Writer: Jamey Johnson/James Slater; Producer: The Kent Hardly Playboys; Publisher: EMI Blackwood/Big Gassed Hitties/Hope-N-Cal/Pick Them Maters/Diversion/Cal IV, BMI; Mercury Nashville (track)
—Jamey’s extraordinary Grammy-nominated That Lonesome Song CD kicks off with this harrowing—and completely gripping—tale of substance abuse. It ends in prison. When was the last time country music was this gritty and real? I applaud the courage and authenticity of this.

JOSH DAVIS BAND/House In The Hills
Writer: Josh Davis; Producer: Mike Musgove & Josh Davis; Publisher: none listed, BMI; Joshua655 (817-944-8785)
—Muddy and cluttered sounding.

CHRIS YOUNG/Gettin’ You Home
Writer: Chris Young/Cory Batten/Kent Blazy; Producer: James Stroud; Publisher: Runnin’ Behind/EMI April/I Want to Hold Your Songs/Words & Music, ASCAP/BMI; RCA
—I still think this guy is a star waiting to happen. This sexy little seduction number is just the thing to raise him up. It has a cool, rolling groove, and his burnished baritone vocal dips and slides on all the right notes.

MIKE ADKINS/Easy The Hard Way
Writer: Jamie Richards/Biff Watson; Producer: Greg White & Jamie Richards; Publisher: Mike Curb, BMI; MAB (www.mikeadkinsband.com)
—It has a nice “outlaw” sound, some dandy guitar work, a punchy rhythm track, a solid ccountry-boy vocal and a nicely penned, dues-paying lyric. I’m in.

AARON TIPPIN/Drivin’ Fool
Writer: Aaron Tippin/Terry Brown; Producer: Aaron Tippin & Tim Grogan; Publisher: Sony ATV Acuff-Rose/TCT Rose/Terry Brown, BMI; Nippit (track) (www.aarontippin.com)
—Aaron is going all retro with a collection of classic trucker songs like “Six Days on the Road,” “East Bound and Down,” “Truck Drivin’ Man,” “Prisoner of the Highway” and “Drivin’ My Life Away.” He provides one new original to the genre, and it’s a dandy, a rhythm-happy prayer for truckers everywhere. The CD is called In Overdrive, and it’s a keeper.

KATIE ARMIGER/Trail Of Lies
Writer: Katie Armiger/Lisa McCallum/Quinn Loggins; Producer: Paul Compton; Publisher: Lily Road/Castle Street/Large Opportunity/Jaden Lane, BMI/ASCAP; Cold River (www.katiearmiger.com)
—This boasts a lickety-split tempo and a very well-written cheatin’ lyric. As usual, her delivery is spunky and confident.

ERIC  CHURCH/Love Your Love The Most
Writer: Eric Church/Michael P. Heeney; Producer: Jay Joyce; Publisher: Sony ATV Tree/Sony ATV Acuff-Rose, BMI; Capitol Nashville
—I can’t wait for the rest of you to hear Eric’s Carolina CD when it appears in March. It is simply the coolest sounding country record of the year to date. This glowing, warm, brilliantly-produced and refreshing single is a fine introduction to this man’s distinctive style. Spin it a zillion times.

COLIN RAYE/Mid-Life Chrysler
Writer: Neal Thrasher/Wendell Mobley/Tony Martin; Producer: Collin Raye; Publisher: Major Bob/Crosstown/Warner/Sony, ASCAP; Saguaro (CDX) (www.collinraye.com)
—His tenor vocal cuts like a hot knife through butter. The startling, original and different lyric is supported by a bopping, pop-inflected production awash in electric guitar work and stacked, soft, wafting harmony vocals.

BOMSHEL/Fight Like A Girl
Writer: Kelley Shepard/Kristy Osmunson/Bob Regan; Producer: Chuck Howard; Publisher: Getting Grown/KupKake/Osmunson/Green Hills/Big Loud Bucks/Travelers Ridge/Regan, BMI/ASCAP; Curb
—It’s a stately-sounding, empowering-female ballad with plenty of audio oomph and a terrific lead vocal performance. Recommended without reservation.

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Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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