DISClaimer (4/10/09)

Mac McAnally

Mac McAnally

I love a good cry.

There’s something so purifying and soul-cleansing about it. And it has long been my contention that people love to weep as much as they love to laugh when consuming popular culture. Think of every sad movie you’ve ever cherished.

At any rate, Mac McAnally opened my tear ducts this week. And for that he gets a well-deserved Disc of the Day.

I’m pleased to report that Mac’s “You First” is but one of many extremely well written songs in this stack of platters. Give a listen to Fernando Ortega’s

Wyatt Easterling

Wyatt Easterling

“Honkytonk & the Altar,” Bucky Covington’s “I Want My Life Back,” Jayne Nelson’s “What it Really Is” and Carla Williams’s “Every Word You’re Thinking” for more examples of fine craftsmanship.

And most especially, listen to Wyatt Easterling’s excellent “Where the River Goes.” Give that man a DisCovery Award.

Writer: Lenny LeBlanc/Mac McAnally; Producer: none listed; Publisher: LenSongs/Wordfarmer, ASCAP; Show Dog Nashville
—I have always been a major Mac fan. This gentle meditation tugs at every heart string you have. I was blubbering openly by the time he reached the tender finale. An awesome little piece of work.

WYATT EASTERLING/Where This River Goes
Writer: Wyatt Easterling/Celeste Krenz/Rebecca Folsom/Liz Barnez; Producer: Celeste Krenz & Wyatt Easterling; Publisher: Considerable/Dakota Wind/Mudhead, ASCAP/BMI; High Horse (track( (www.highhorserecords.com)
—This is the tender title tune to singer-songwriter Easterling’s new CD. His songs are simply splendid, and he sings them with hearty, immensely appealing warmth. Imagine a country-boy Cat Stevens, and you’ll be somewhat in the ballpark. Cast members include Jessi Colter, Sonny LeMaire, Danny Parks and Paul Jefferson. Check him out, folks.

KATE & KACEY/Dreaming Love
Writer: Kacey Coppola/Kate Coppola/Danny Myrick; Producer: Jeremy Stover; Publisher: EMI Blackwood/Two Is Better Than One/Root 49/Danny Myrick, BMI; Big Machine
—Wafting, airy, wispy, youthful harmony sopranos. The tinkling acoustic guitar notes in the production are quite fetching.

WHITEACRE/Trailer Park Pulp Fiction
Writer: Michael Kosser/Kelly Garrett; Producer: none listed; Publisher: Southern Cow/Sony ATV Cross Keys/Grinnin’ Garrett, ASCAP; VFR/Lofton Creek (www.loftoncreekrecords.com)
—Hillbilly hip hop, anyone?

Writer: Wendell Mobley/Jason Sellers/Neil Thrasher; Producer: Mark Bright; Publisher: Warner-Tamerlane/Boatwright Baby/This Is Hit/Troy D/Sweet Summer/Crosstown Uptown/Major Bob, BMI/ASCAP; Valory/Starstruck
—The melody is a little shapeless and odd. The production is a mite “busy.” But she makes it all work in the memorable choruses.

FRANK ORTEGA/Honkytonk & The Altar
Writer: Phil O’Donnell/Kelley Lovelace/Tim Owens; Producer: Phil O’Donnell; Publisher: none listed; Villa One/Quarterback (www.frankortega.com)
—What a cool song. “Before you point that finger, don’t bother/We all fall somewhere between the honkytonk and the altar.” The production is absolutely perfect, and he sings it with immense heart. Deserving of massive spins.

TORNADO MAGNET/Austin City Lights
Writer: Bensimon; Producer: Phillip Bensimon & Mike Ashley; Publisher: none listed, ASCAP; Big Bender (track) (www.tornadomagnet.net)
—The lead vocalist is wobbly in the pitch department, and the band’s playing is decidedly unexceptional.
But there’s something kinda charming and homemade about it.

Writer: Frank Myers/Anthony Smith; Producer: Mark A. Miller & Dale Oliver; Publisher: Sixteen Stars/Frank Myers/HoriPro/Grand & Gee, BMI/ASCAP; Lyric Street
—I’ve always liked the husky/raspy quality in his voice. This well-crafted cautionary tale suits him just fine, despite the fact that the bridge is way in the upper reaches of his range.

JAYNE NELSON/What It Really Is
Writer: Michael Higgins; Producer: Mark Oliverius; Publisher: Handhewn, ASCAP; Funky Gorilla (www.jaynenelson.com)
—Another fine story song. She sounds more “country” in her alto register in the verses. Her soprano in the choruses is more Broadway than Lower Broadway. But the whole thing remains a heartening listening experience. Her first name is pronounced Jay-nee, by the way. It says so on the back of the record.

CARLA WILLIAMS/Every Word You’re Thinking
Writer: Steve Dorff/Milton L. Brown; Producer: Steve Dorff & Milton L. Brown; Publisher: Dorffmeister/Bama Boy, BMI; Lofton Creek (www.carlawilliamsmusic.com)
—Her throaty delivery handles this sophisticated melody with aplomb. The piano and synth accompaniment is fairly pop, but the vocal keeps it down to earth.


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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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