This stack of platters is a nice mix of veterans and baby acts.
In the former column are Marty Raybon and Brady Seals, both of whom have splendid CD’s coming your way. Somewhere in between vet and baby are Trey Hensley, The Coal Men, Emma Jacob, Mica Roberts and Lee Brice, all of whom competed for Disc of the Day. Brice takes the prize.
Definitely in the baby category is Josh Thompson, whose debut single wins him a DisCovery Award.
JOSH THOMPSON/Beer On The Table
Writer: Josh Thompson/Ken Johnson/Andi Zack; Producer: Michael Knox; Publisher: not listed, ASCAP/SESAC/BMI; Columbia (CDX)
—Thumpa, thumpa, thumpa, thumpa. This rocking working man’s lament is a nice piece of writing, but his tenor vocal veers over toward Tim McGraw’s territory a little. In sum, I’d say he’s promising. Send more.
TREY HENSLEY/It Is What It Is
Writer: Steve Wariner/Lane Turner/Rick Carnes; Producer: Paul Martin & Steven Robinson; Publisher: Steve Wariner/Major Bob/Songs of Peer, BMI/ASCAP; Kid in the Hat (track) (www.treyhensley.com)
—I have praised this teenage prodigy’s talents before. The title tune to his latest collection has a delightful Buck Owens vibe. Co-writer Wariner provides the stinging guitar licks. Essential listening.
KELLIE PICKLER/Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved You
Writer: Troy Verges/Chris Lindsey/Aimee Mayo; Producer: Chris Lindsey; Publisher: Songs of Universal/Songs From the Engine Room/Universal Careers/Silverkiss/MGB Songs/Magic Farming, BMI/ASCAP; BNA (track)
—I am a fan of all things Pickler. Thus, it pains me to hear her releasing such a generic Music Row ballad instead of a smash.
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Black River
—This is her second home-run single in a row. She sings with such fire and passion. Here’s some even better news: The song’s lyric of a gal going wrong is brilliantly crafted. The heart-pumping production supports her performance at every turn. Somebody make this woman a star.
LEE BRICE/Love Like Crazy
Writer: Doug Johnson/Tim James; Producer: Doug Johnson; Publisher: Mike Curb/Sweet Radical/Warner-Tamerlane/T-Bird’s Music, BMI; Curb
—Nicely done. Lee’s vocal delivers the everyday-folks lyric with pitch-perfect dramatic sense. He goes from conversational intimacy in the verses to shout-to-the-heavens power in the choruses.
MARK WAYNE GLASMIRE/Everything Is Gonna Be Alright
Writer: Mark Wayne Glasmire; Producer: none listed; Publisher: Traceway, ASCAP; Spinville (www.markwayneglasmire.com)
—The factory closes. Daddy loses his job. The bank forecloses on their home. The family becomes homeless. But they survive with faith, love and hope intact. The hang-on-every-line story song is surrounded by an acoustic-based production that keeps the emphasis on the lyric. An admirable effort all around.
MICA ROBERTS/Days You Live For
Writer: Mica Roberts/Regie Hamm/Lee Thomas Miller; Producer: Regie Hamm; Publisher: Hears a Hit/BBGB/Writers of Sea Gayle/Emmas Garden, SESAC/BMI; Show Dog Nashville
—Hit songwriter Hamm (David Cook’s pop giant “The Time of My Life”) turns out to be a nifty record producer, too. The pumping energy in this track is terrific. Mica attacks the lyric with gusto.
BRADY SEALS/Ho Down
Writer: Brady Seals/Kizzy Plush; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; StarCity (track) (www.bradyseals.com)
—Are we allowed to say “ho” on country radio? The floozy passes out in front of the bandstand, hence “Ho Down.” This well-produced stomper advises the dancers not to tramp on the tramp.
THE COAL MEN/Farther Find Me Now
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Funzalo (track) (www.thecoalmen.com)
—The group’s new Kids With Songs CD includes this beautifully atmospheric audio masterpiece. This doomed session of hide-and-seek has already achieved a measure of notoriety by being featured last month in the Discovery Channel show The Deadliest Catch. I remain a massive fan of Dave Coleman and his power-Americana trio. I can’t wait for the rest of you to hear this.
MARTY RAYBON & FULL CIRCLE/Leavin’ On The Next Thing Smokin’
Writer: Joe Diffie/Danny Morrison/Johnny Slate; Producer: Marty Raybon; Publisher: Forrest Hills/Sony-ATV Acuff Rose, BMI; Synchoro (track) (www.martyraybon.com)
—Marty’s new This, That & the Other CD kicks off with this banjo-and-percussion driven romp. Try adding a little bit of bluegrass flavor to your playlist. Elsewhere on the CD are tastes of Cajun, honky-tonk, gospel and comedy from such stellar writers as Bobby Braddock, Mark Collie, Dickey Lee, the Hemphills, Red Lane and Ben Speers.