DISClaimer (3/6/09)

As you might expect, the stars are twinkling for Country Radio Seminar.

Toby Keith, Sugarland, Telluride and Pat Green all have terrific new tunes for the radio decision makers to savor. Universal South is bringing forth a dandy by this week’s DisCovery Award winners, Jonathan Singleton & The Grove.

Less than a month ago (on February 13, to be exact), Caitlin & Will earned that same honor. Well, today they graduate to their first Disc of the Day prize. I hope it is the first of many to come.

TOBY KEITH/Lost You Anyway
Writer: Toby Keith/Bobby Pinson; Producer: Toby Keith; Publisher: Franklin Road/Music of Stage Three/Bobby’s Song and Salvage, BMI; Show Dog Nashville
—Sumptuous and lustrous as a ballad can be. Guitars chime and percussion pounds all around his passionate, soaring vocal. A big, big sound.

GEORGE CANYON/What I Do
Writer: George Canyon; Producer: Richard Marx; Publisher: Reiny Dawg, SOCAN; Universal (Canada) (track) (www.georgecanyon.com)
—The title tune to the Canadian hunk’s new CD is a tender “daddy” song that tugs at every heart string you’ve got. Another winner in a career that’s had a bunch of ‘em.

JONATHAN SINGLETON & THE GROVE/Livin’ In Paradise
Writer: Jonathan Singleton/Ted Jones; Producer: Dann Huff; Publisher: Crosstown Uptown/Kobalt/Murrah, ASCAP/BMI; Universal South
—The song is ear-catchingly structured, with its chorus at the beginning. Even more impressive is his cool, grainy singing voice. Jonathan has already proved himself as a top Music Row songwriter (”Watching Airplanes,” “Red Light”). This proves he has enormous artist potential as well.

STELLA PARTON/Family Ties
Writer: Stella Parton/Rucker Jones; Producer: Stella Parton; Publisher: My Mama’s/WTRC, BMI; Raptor (track) (www.stellaparton.com)
—During the past few years, Stella has really come into her own as a songwriter and a record maker. Her new Testimony CD leads off with this lilting ditty about kinfolks. Hold on for the clever “gossip” segment at the finale.

CAITLIN & WILL/Address In The Stars
Writer: Caitlin Fisher/Aimee Mayo/Chris Lindsey/Hillary Lindsey; Producer: Chris Lindsey; Publisher: Fleur de Lisa/Little Blue Typewriter/BPJ/Moonscar/Raylene, BMI/ASCAP; Columbia (track)
—At radio’s request, “Even Now” is being pulled as the duo’s single and being replaced by this piercing, penetrating ballad of loss. Both of these kids sing their faces off. Caitlin’s goose-bump raising vocal takes the lead while Will wails soulful harmony on the string-drenched choruses. The electric guitar effects are really neat, too. A super performance. Her aunt’s death from breast cancer inspired Caitlin to pen this stunner.

TELLURIDE/Pencil Marks
Writer: Adam Craig/Dillon Dixon/Michael Howard; Producer: none listed; Publisher: In Tune/Ash Street/Deane Howard, BMI; American Roots/Quarterback (www.tellurideband.com)
—The pencil marks are the ones Dad drew on the door frame as his boy grew up. The kid enters the military, comes home, has a boy of his own and starts making new pencil marks. It’s a neat little slice of life, very nicely sung and produced. I think this band has the goods.

MILEY CYRUS/The Climb
Writer: Jessi Alexander/Jon Mabe; Producer: John Shanks; Publisher: Vistaville/Hopeless Rose/Music of Stage Three/Mabe it Big, ASCAP/BMI; Walt Disney/Lyric Street/Hollywood
—Having succeeded in country music as her dad’s duet partner, pop star Miley sends out this Nashville-penned orchestral ballad as a potential cross-format performance. The gal can for-sure sing, and the chorus of this is pretty undeniable. It’s not exactly my cup of tea, but I can see why country radio might want to give it a try.

PAT GREEN/Country Star
Writer: Pat Green/Brett James; Producer: Dann Huff; Publisher: none listed, BMI/ASCAP; BNA (CDX)
—Pat comes to Music City with stars in his eyes. “I got a drinkin’ problem, so I fit right in.” That’s just one of the hoots in a lyric that name-checks, Tim, Faith, Kenny, Bocephus, Carrie, Big & Rich, Brooks & Dunn, Keith Urban and more. Great tempo tune. Great fun.

SUGARLAND/It Happens
Writer: Jennifer Nettles/Kristian Bush/Bobby Pinson; Producer: Byron Gallimore, Kristian Bush & Jennifer Nettles; Publisher: Jennifer Nettles/EMI Blackwood/Dirkpit/Music of Stage Three/Bobby’s Song & Salvage, ASCAP/BMI; Mercury (CDX)
—It’s a zippy, bopping, working-girl’s lament. Life doesn’t have any rhyme or reason. It just happens. Naturally, she tosses in a “Shhh” and pauses a moment before singing the title.

STEPHANIE CHAPMAN/This Song Is To You
Writer: Stephanie Chapman; Producer: Ray Kennedy & Nathan Chapman; Publisher: Sony ATV Tree, BMI; Pain in the Art (track) (www.stephaniechapman.com)
—The Chapmans are a young couple to watch in Tune Town. Nathan has shot to fame as Taylor Swift’s producer. Stephanie’s songs have been recorded by Trisha Yearwood, Bonnie Raitt and others. The title song to her debut CD is a sweet, soprano love ballad embellished with silvery steel passages and simple, effective guitar strumming. Highly listenable indeed. She’ll celebrate her album release on Wednesday, March 11, at The Rutledge at 7:30 p.m. Jypsi and Lauren Lucas will be there, too.

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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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