The stars are twinkling so brightly that I am temporarily blinded.
That is to say, I simply can’t make up my mind. Should I choose the hearty male country vocal? What about our teen-queen sales champion? And then there’s the refreshingly rocking group performance.
All three qualify for a Disc of the Day prize, yet they’re all quite different musically. So I’m copping out and giving a male, female and group award to Josh Turner, Taylor Swift and Jypsi, respectively.
The one thing I am sure of this week is that Steel Magnolia wins the DisCovery Award.
JOSH TURNER/Why Don’t We Just Dance
Writer: Jim Beavers/Jonathan Singleton/Darrell Brown; Producer: Frank Rogers; Publisher: Sony-ATV/Beavertime Tunes/Crosstown Uptown/Kobalt/Grey Ink, BMI/ASCAP; MCA Nashville (CDX)
—This is a nice little groover of a romantic come-on. His voice retains a wondrous, burnished glow that makes even the simplest of sentiments sound profound. I remain a huge fan.
Writer: Taylor Swift; Producer: Nathan Chapman & Taylor Swift; Publisher: Sony-ATV Tree/Taylor Swift, BMI; Big Machine
—A high-school slice of life, winsomely and tenderly sung. The single comes with a “teen service announcement” that encourages kids to be themselves, to not be afraid to be different and to realize that these turbulent years are not the be-all and end-all of your life.
ANNA GARROTT/What A Way To Go
Writer: Bobby Fischer/Phil Vassar/Charlie Black; Producer: none listed; Publisher: Anyone’s/EMI/Phil Vassar/Flybridge Tunes/EMI Blackwood, ASCAP/BMI; Blue Steel (www.annagarrott.com)
—Who spiked the session with amphetamines? Way beyond “peppy.”
Writer: Ed Hill/Josh Kear; Producer: Nathan Chapman; Publisher: none listed, BMI/ASCAP; Arista (CDX)
—She’s so dizzy in love that she can’t help speeding. Joyously rocking.
Writer: Kennard/S. Colvin; Producer: Russell Garrett; Publisher: none listed; Diamond Eye (track)
—She has a beefy pop sound, with plenty of echoey guitars and keyboards. Vocally, she is airy, but solid. Her six-song EP is titled Lonely Girl. Recommended.
JULIA BURTON/Party Down
Writer: P.R. Battle/Anthony Smith/Michael Garvin; Producer: Biff Watson; Publisher: Harris Gordon/Music Sales Corp./Notewrite/Michael Garvin, ASCAP/BMI; Emerald River (CDX) (615-533-7611)
—Don’t let the spoken-word intro throw you. As soon as it’s over, she rocks out, shouting her intention to “party down” and celebrate his leaving. Clever and listenable.
BEN GREGG/Radio Waves
Writer: Jerry Cupit; Producer: Jerry Cupit; Publisher: Cupit, BMI; Cupit (CDX) (www.cupitmusic.com)
—The raucous, rocking production completely swamps his vocal.
DELBERT McCLINTON/Starting A Rumor
Writer: Delbert McClinton/Gary Nicholson/Guy Clark; Producer: Delbert McClinton & Gary Nicholson; Publisher: Nasty Cat/Carol Vincent/Sony-ATV Cross Keys/Gary Nicholson/EMI April, ASCAP; New West (CDX) (www.newwestrecords.com)
—The swampy, R&B slow groove is a pure delight. Needless to say, the vocal is drenched with soul. Grab your baby and sway on the dance floor.
STEEL MAGNOLIA/Keep On Lovin’ You
Writer: Chris Stapleton/Trent Willmon; Producer: Dann Huff; Publisher: House of Sea Gayle/New Son of a Miner/Happy Cattle/Calhoun Enterprises, ASCAP; Big Machine
—This male-female duo was the winner on season two of CMT’s Can You Duet. Both vocalists have more than a little soul-music influence, but she has the edge. Whatever the case, their TV win was no fluke, because their debut disc is a winner, too.
BRYAN WHITE/The Little Things
Writer: Bryan White/Erik Bledsoe/James Dean Hicks; Producer: Bryan White & Derek George; Publisher: Dustbowl Dreamer/Pedal Down/Sally Pretzel/On the Market, ASCAP/BMI; Just a Pup (CDX) (www.bryanwhite.com)
—Where has this guy been? His return to disc is a sweet, romantic outing with swirling breezes of steel, organ, fiddle, acoustic guitar and piano. His tenor vocal wafts right along.
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