This week’s stack of platters includes peppy rockers by The Roys, Melanie Denard, Charlie Allen and Todd O’Neill. Even the midtempo effort by The Band Perry has a sunshiny lilt.
So it comes as no surprise that both of our award winners are rockers. Curb’s new duo Martin Ramey debuts with a splendid twang bopper called “Twisted.” It earns them an easy victory for the DisCovery Award. The Disc of the Day also happens to be this listening session’s most lathered-up tempo tune. It is “How I Got to Be This Way” by a fellow who is most definitely on a roll, Justin Moore.
TODD O’NEILL/Somethin’ with Some Attitude
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Aria
—As you might expect from the title, it is an in-your-face party rocker. He doesn’t want to hear a slow song. Instead he’ll take Led Zeppelin or Charlie Daniels. Whatever.
THE GRINGO KINGS/On My Way Home
Writer: Scott Burgess; Producer: Scott Burgess, Tim Burge & Tim Phelan; Publisher: Winding Road, BMI; Winding Road (www.thegringokings.com)
—These Texas boys take it all echoey, stately and slow here. The highlights are a dramatic, resonant, expressive lead vocal and some very tasty electric-guitar lines. For those shy about its 4:50 length, the single also contains an edited, 3:59, version.
Writer: Brad Martin/John Ramey; Producer: Doug Johnson, Richard Bennett & Bobby Terry; Publisher: Mike Curb/Sweet Hysteria/Sixteen Stars/Hori-Pro, BMI; Curb
—This new Curb duo is, truly, a duo. We have become so used to country “duos” having only one real voice, that this comes as a truly refreshing sound. Their harmonies are heavenly-Everly derived, and the neo-rockabilly track kicks tail. Very promising. Send more.
KEVIN PICKETT & SOUTHERN RAIN/Long Strange Ride
Writer: Kevin Pickett; Producer: Mark A. Parker; Publisher: none listed, BMI; KP (track) (www.kevinpickettmusic.com)
—That’s not your phone ringing. That’s the record’s opening sound. It’s also the most coherent thing on it.
JUSTIN MOORE/How I Got to Be This Way
Writer: Justin Moore/Rivers Rutherford/Jeremy Stover; Producer: Jeremy Stover; Publisher: Super Slick98/Universal/Macirhyco/EMI April/Songs of Countrywood, BMI/ASCAP; Valory Music (track)
—Plenty of rhythmic punch anchors this Nitro-fueled speedster. Summertime’s first top-down rocker has arrived, screaming around the track shooting flickering flames. Easily this boy’s finest performance to date.
SEAN HOGAN/Suck It Up
Writer: Sean Hogan; Producer: Sean Hogan; Publisher: Lakeland Heart, SOCAN/BMI; Lakeland Heart (CDX) (615-584-0628)
—It’s yet another one of those Buffett rip-off beach-bum things. Enough already.
Writer: Lee Roy/Matthew J. Rogers/Jay Brunswick/Keesy Timmer; Producer: The Roys & Steve Dean; Publisher: Roy Family/Better Angels/Croton U/Cowboy Timmer/Canalco/Mjosephrogers, BMI/ASCAP; Pedestal (CDX) (www.theroyscountry.com)
—This duo is bopping this time around. They’ve goosed up their sound with a bigger production and a thumping backbeat. The happy-sunny lyric works, too.
MELANIE DENARD/All I Ever Did Was Love You
Writer: Kylie Sackley/Gary Burr/Victoria Shaw; Producer: Dan Frizsell; Publisher: Steel Wheels/Figjam/Connboy/Multisong/Avaru, no performance rights listed; Star Path (CDX) (678-488-1927)
—This sassy belter has been noted for her dynamic delivery in this column several times. The upbeat romp of a song gives her plenty of ammo to work with. The electric guitarist, tambourine shaker and piano pounder turn up the heat, too.
CHARLIE ALLEN/Grandpa’s Recipe
Writer: Charlie Allen/Tony Stampley; Producer: Henry Paul & Charlie Allen; Publisher: U Tell Me, BMI; River Run (CDX) (203-605-3803)
—Charlie remains a solid honky-tonk vocalist, but he’s surrounded by a muscular rock track here. The lyric has some real meat on its bones. The overall result is somewhere in the Montgomery-Gentry vicinity.
THE BAND PERRY/If I Die Young
Writer: Kimberly Perry; Producer: Paul Worley; Publisher: Pearlfeather/Rio Bravo, BMI; Republic Nashville (track)
—This one is considerably more “country” than “Hip to My Heart” was. Kimberly’s lead vocal is all airy and sweet, the song is full of heart, and the siblings’ instrumental support is stellar. An audio delight.