DISClaimer (9/4/09)

Melanie Denard

Melanie Denard

This is quite a mixed bag.

Leeann Atherton clocks in with a dreamy blues tune. Rocker Ronnie Godfrey has a Tennessee Titans fight song. We have excellent Nashville songwriter albums from Bill Luther and Kent Blazy. And there’s a whole flurry of newcomers. Among them, Melanie Denard wins our DisCovery Award.

And to add some extra spice to the eclectic mix, we have the son of a country legend with a terrific song to sing. Dion Pride wins Disc of the Day with his fine message number “We All Gotta Live Here.”

TOM WURTH/If The Road Runs Out

Dion Pride

Dion Pride

Writer: David Frasier/Bill Luther/Tom Wurth; Producer:
none listed; Publisher: none listed; Echelon (track) (www.tomwurth.com)
—The title tune to Wurth’s CD is a power ballad that showcases his sturdy, warm voice. He cowrote five of the album’s tunes and chose the rest from such top-drawer names as Rivers Rutherford, Brett James and Sonny LeMaire. Well worth a listen.

RONNIE GODFREY & THE ROLL ON TITAN THUNDER BAND/Roll On Titan Thunder
Writer: Martha Maria/Dan Gold; Producer: Dan Gold; Publisher: Dancing Rabbit/Golden Oak, ASCAP; Dan Gold (615-754-0299)
—Godfrey was formerly with the Marshall Tucker Band, so that explains the gruffness in the vocal. The track is a slab of rock with thunder sound effects amid the electric guitars and pounding percussion. Sample lyric: “Thunder, blood and glory/Run, but you can’t hide/The battle will be gory/And mortal men will die….Titans show no mercy/We’re here to kick some butt.” We’ll see. Next week’s opening game is versus the Super Bowl champion Steelers.

HOUSTON COUNTY/I Can’t Make It Rain
Writer: Adam Hooper/John Milldrum/Dallas Davidson/Ben Hayslip; Producer: James Stroud; Publisher: Songs of Loud/EMI Blackwood/WB/Get a Load of This/Melissa’s Money, BMI/ASCAP; Stroudavarious
—Attractive, if somewhat bland sounding. He’s pleading on her doorstep, but that’s still not good enough.

DION PRIDE/We All Gotta Live Here
Writer: Bobby Fisher/Steve Leslie/Lance Miller; Producer: Dan Mitchell; Publisher: Anyone’s/Chord Boy/Lance Allan/Morris, ASCAP/BMI/SESAC; Weblast! (615-242-8181)
—Dion is Hall of Famer Charley Pride’s son. He sings with great heart and warmth, and the song has a terrific message. Count me in.

DAVID BRADLEY/Soak It Up
Writer: David Bradley/Brady Seals; Producer: Brady Seals; Publisher: Wrensong/Gypsy Outfit, BMI/ASCAP; Libolli Unlimited (www.davidbradleymusic.com)
—The timing on this seems a little off. It’s a shiny, summer-sun single, and we’re heading into football season. Whatever the case, Bradley sings with verve, and the “island” production vibe is sprightly.

MELANIE DENARD/Tumblin’ Down
Writer: Rodney Clawson/Brian White; Producer: Dan Frizsell; Publisher: Writers Extreme/Big Loud Bucks/Warner Tamerlane/BMG/Multisongs/Brentwood Benson, BMI/SESAC; Weblast! (www.weblastonline.com)
—She has a very appealing huskiness in her voice, full of barely suppressed fire. I’ll bet she can really take charge of a stage. Promising, indeed.

LEEANN ATHERTON/Looking For A Rainbow
Writer: Leeann Atherton; Producer: Rich Brotherton; Publisher: Heaven Thunder, BMI; LA (track) (www.leeannatherton.com)
—This former Nashvillian has found her niche in Austin, and it’s in a sultry, country-blues groove. This stately blues ballad is one of the many standouts on her Heart Traveled Road CD. Recommended listening.

KENT BLAZY/Play Guitar
Writer: Cory Batten/Kent Blazy; Producer: Kent Blazy; Publisher: I Want to Hold Your Songs, BMI; Kent Blazy (track) (www.kentblazy.com)
—The title tune to Kent’s latest CD is a lovely meditation wherein he gets through emotional times by playing his acoustic guitar. His singing is packed with feeling, and his picking is exceptional. This Nashville songwriting treasure has crafted hits ranging from “Headed for a Heartache” to “If Tomorrow Never Comes.” Several of his most powerful can be found on this new collection, since they grew from the passing of his wife, Sharon.

BILL LUTHER/Scarecrow Dreams
Writer: Bill Luther; Producer: Justin Weaver; Publisher: Universal/Evansville, BMI; Bill Luther
—The only way you can get a copy of this Nashville songwriter’s Songs for the Scarecrow CD is if he gives one to you. Count yourself lucky if he does. This highly poetic and upliftingly melodic song is just one of its 10 lustrously produced tracks. Bill’s singing is quite soulful and expressive, and he has surrounded himself with superb players (Ilya Toshinsky, Dan Dugmore, Kenny Greenberg and Joe Chemay among them). Considering that he’s noted for such country gems as “Let it Go,” “Who You’d Be Today,” “Let’s Make Love,” “Believers” and “My Best Friend,” this whole project is impressively and ambitiously pop-oriented. But check out his duet with Hillary Lindsey on “This Town.” It has country smash written all over it.

J. LEE STEVENS/Right About Now
Writer: Steve Yocum; Producer: Curt Perkins; Publisher: Born & Bred, BMI; Tone Lucky (track) (www.jleestevens.com)
—The track is drowning in echo and reverb. The lyric is loaded with regret. The vocal is appropriately mournful. Haunting and unsettling.

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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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