DISClaimer (5/29/09)

kylieharris-lies150Her television show is called The Edge of Country, and she practices what she preaches.

Love, Lessons & Lies, the new CD by GAC’s Kylie Harris, is a splendidly left-field listening experience. It is not only produced with imagination, it is filled with excellently written tunes. A tip of the cap and a Disc of the Day salute.

We have a number of newcomers on hand today. My pick to click is Jack County a.k.a. Dallas singer-songwriter Jackson Doyle. By whichever name, he/it jackcounty-radio150gets the DisCovery Award.

SEAN PATRICK McGRAW/Dollar Ain’t Worth A Dime
Writer: Sean Patrick McGraw/David Kroll; Producer: Sean Patrick McGraw; Publisher: Seananigan/Smokin’ Grapes, ASCAP/BMI; Little Engine
-It kicks off with big, mean, dooom-y electric guitars, then he comes in with his tales of economic woe. The gist of it is that it is easy to turn to a life of crime when your back is against the wall. Very “outlaw” sounding.

JASON ALDEAN/Big Green Tractor
Writer: Jim Collins/David Lee Murphy; Producer: Michael Knox; Publisher: Sexy Tractor/Big Loud Bucks/Hope-N-Cal/Cal IV/Old Desperados/N2D/Carol Vincent, BMI/ASCAP; Broken Bow (track)
-Sweetly romantic, with a gently rolling groove and a surprisingly intimate vocal. A nice change of pace.

JACK COUNTY/Lonesome Radio
Writer: Jackson Doyle; Producer: Jackson Doyle & Jon Skaggs; Publisher: none listed; Jack County Music (track) (www.jacksoncountymusic.com)
-She’s gone, so he drives at night from town to town, “with the lonesome radio on.” Plain spoken, yet highly evocative. If nothing else, he shows fine songwriting promise, as this is the title tune of an entirely self-composed, 10-tune collection.

Writer: Gary LeVox/Brett James/Busbee; Producer: Dann Huff & Rascal Flatts; Publisher: Sony-ATV Cross Keys/Stage Three/Brett James Cornelius/Crosstown Uptown/Kobalt, ASCAP; Lyric Street
-It kinda sounds like it was written to be an in-concert rabble rouser. The whistles and cheers in the track add to the energetic atmosphere.

Writer: Mark Houser/Mark D. Conklin/Cooper Boone; Producer: Mark D. Conklin; Publisher: none listed; Cooper Boone (track) (www.cooperboone.com)
-Mama is breaking out tonight. The hooky chorus is the best thing about it.

Writer: Keith Gattis/Charles Brocco; Producer: Charlie Robison; Publisher: Gattis/Glass Rose, BMI; Dualtone
-Beautiful Day, out next month, is Charlie’s “divorce” album. Its first single is appropriately remorseful and regretful. It’s really sad, but really, really lovely.

Writer: Scott Burgess; Producer: Scott Burgess, Tim Burge & Tim Phelan; Publisher: Scott Burgess, BMI; Burgess (www.thegringokings.com)
-I love their name, but they’re hopelessly amateur sounding.

GEOFF UNION/Big Sky Tonight
Writer: G. Union; Producer: Geoff Union; Publisher: Shining Castle, ASCAP; Shining Castle (track) (www.geoffunion.com)
-The title tune to this Texan’s CD is painful. The vocal harmonies are out of key. The band members sound like they just picked up their instruments last week, and they aren’t listening to each other in any case. The lead vocal is a pitch disaster.

Writer: Marco Giovino/Kyle Harris; Producer: Marco Giovino; Publisher: Rabid Gator/Kylie Harris, ASCAP/APRA; Fuzzy Feet (track) (www.kylieharris.com)
-Perhaps best known to U.S. audiences as a TV host on GAC, in her native New Zealand Kylie wins major awards for her music. Her second American CD features this rolling, melodic, mid-tempo meditation with a scintillating harmony from Patty. Will Barrow’s accordion backup work is stellar. Listenable in the extreme. The whole album is a sonic delight, with lots of refreshingly different audio textures. Check out the rumbling, shuddering guitar on “Down to the Ground” the heartbeat rhythm of “Drive” the sighing slide on “Now and Then” the clarinet (!) on “Waltz Me Til Dawn” and the dreamy organ on “Sundown.”

BILL RHOADS/Too Many California Memories
Writer: Bill Rhoads; Producer: Mark Burchfield, Bill & Rose Rhoads; Publisher: Bill Rhoads, BMI; Bill Rhoads (track) (www.billrhoadsmusic.com)
-Well written, in a classic-country sort of way. His vocal isn’t the strongest, but the instrumental work is so gorgeous it more than makes up for whatever he lacks. The rippling, gut-string guitar picking, alone, is worth the price of admission.


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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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