The official first day of Autumn was Tuesday, and everyone is polishing up their late-year releases. Tim scores big points in this column with “Southern Voice,” the title tune of his Oct. 20 CD. Last night, Miranda debuted her Revolution at the Ryman. That CD drops next Tuesday. Last week, Rosanne did the same with The List, which drops Oct. 6. Toby’s American Ride is also due on Oct. 6, and Carrie’s Play On drops Nov. 3.
Blackberry Smoke, of whom I know nothing, is our DisCovery Award winner.
JACK INGRAM & PATTY GRIFFIN/Seeing Stars
Writer: Jack Ingram/Chris Tompkins; Producer: Jack Ingram & Jeremy Stover; Publisher: Beat Up Ford/Bug/Big Loud Songs/Big Loud Bucks, BMI/ASCAP; Big Machine (track)
—It’s a spacious ballad with plenty of atmosphere. Patty’s luminous voice carries the hushed finale and is heard singing harmony throughout.
Writer: Allen Shamblin/Robert Mathes; Producer: Dann Huff & Rascal Flatts; Publisher: Built on Rock/EMI Blackwood/Maybe I Can’t, ASCAP/BMI; Lyric Street
—Teen suicide is on the rise, so this deeply emotional song couldn’t be more timely. This is the group’s finest single since “Bless the Broken Road,” and it is easily its most important. Essential listening.
SAMMY SADLER/I’ll Always Have Denver
Writer: Steve Wariner/Bill Anderson; Producer: none listed; Publisher: Steve Wariner/Mr. Bubba/Song Tree, BMI; E1 Music
—Co-writer Wariner puts in a guest harmony appearance on the choruses of this lovely, sweet-sad ballad. But Sammy’s strong tenor vocal performance needs no assist in completely selling this.
TIM McGRAW/Southern Voice
Writer: Tom Douglas/Bob DiPiero; Producer: Byron Gallimore, Tim McGraw & Darran Smith; Publisher: Sony ATV/Tomdouglasmusic/Love Monkey, no performance rights listed; Curb
—The track thumps mightily with a wailing harmonica and grinding guitars. Tim rides on top, rattling off a string of references to Dixie—Dolly, Hank, Charlie Daniels, Billy Graham, Rosa Parks, Scarlett O’Hara, the Allman Brothers, Jack Daniels and the like. All in all, it’s pretty darn cool.
NATHAN LEE JACKSON/Desperate Man
Writer: none listed; Producer: Jeff Glixman, Zak Rizvi & Nathan Lee Jackson; Publisher: none listed; StarCity (track) (www.nathanleejackson.com)
—He encounters an armed robber and tells him, “God loves a desperate man.” Luckily, the bullet misses him.
JASON ALDEAN/The Truth
Writer: Brett James/Ashley Monroe; Producer: Michael Knox; Publisher: Stage Three/Brett James Cornelius/Reynsong, ASCAP/BMI; Broken Bow (track)
—Jason tries on a heartbroken ballad, and it fits just fine. The sizzling organ flourishes in the mix are an extra delight.
TOMMY CASH/Fade To Black
Writer: Tommy Cash/Nathan Whitt; Producer: Rick Lloyd; Publisher: Tomcat/Next Guess, BMI/SESAC; InLight (track) (www.fadetoblackcd.com)
—The title tune to Tommy’s new CD is a tender ode to his legendary older brother. Much of the album is devoted to revivals of Johnny’s iconic songs, but Tommy’s own “Six White Horses” is reprised as well, as a duet with Marty Stuart. On Faron Young’s “Some Kind of a Woman,” George Jones joins Tommy, and sister JoAnne Cash is his vocal partner on Ferlin Husky’s “Wings of a Dove.”
JIMMY WAYNE/Sara Smile
Writer: Daryl Hall/John Oates; Producer: Dann Huff; Publisher: none listed; Valory Music
—This 1976 Hall & Oates goldie has aged well—it’s still a dreamy melody. Jimmy’s version doesn’t stray far from the original arrangement, and harmonies by Daryl and John, themselves, add to the familiarity.
JOHNNY RIVERS/The American Dream
Writer: Johnny Rivers; Producer: Johnny Rivers & Oren Walters; Publisher: Rivers, BMI; Soul City
—Pop great Johnny still sounds good. This reggae-rhythmic bopper is embellished with horns, acoustic guitar and harmony singers. The lyric is wonderfully hopeful and uplifting, which are certainly qualities we can use these days.
BLACKBERRY SMOKE/Good One Coming On
Writer: Lee Roy Parnell/David Lee Murphy/Gary Nicholson; Producer: Dann Huff & Justin Niebank; Publisher: Lillie Dale/Dean-Parnell/EverGreen/Old Desperados/N2D/Carol Vincent/Sony ATV Cross Keys/Gary Nicholson, BMI/ASCAP; BamaJam (CDX)
—He has his smokes, his booze, his babes, his ride and his tunes, plus a weekend stretched out in front of him. Southern rock is alive and well. Par-tay!
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