Dave Gibson’s “King Me,” Donna Beasley’s “Under the Rushes” and Flynnville Train’s “Preachin’ to the Choir” are all excellent examples of song craftsmanship. So is “You Take Yourself with You,” which wins Bo Bice his first Disc of the Day award.
There’s a youngster down in Texas named Nick Verzosa who has an EP called The Smoking Gun. It contains a fine little single titled “Back When Love Was Easy” which earns him our DisCovery Award. Call the always delightful Gerrie McDowell for more info.
BRAD HINES/Please Don’t Push Me Down
Writer: Brad Hines; Producer: Walt Wilkins & Greg White; Publisher: Brad Hines, ASCAP; Blue Boot (www.bradhinesmusic.com)
—The track is okay, but his singing is somewhat colorless, and the song is as dull as dirt.
JIMMIE VANZANT/Too Much Town, Not Enough Ground
Writer: Charlie Craig/Mel Besher ; Producer: Charlie Craig; Publisher: Sock and Roll/Songmachine/Callie Cat, BMI; EPS (CDX) (www.jimmievanzant.net)
—Solidly country, with plenty of twang, drawl and more than a little “outlaw.” Very cool sounding. Jimmie is the cousin of Ronnie, Johnny and Donnie, famed for their work in Lynyrd Skynyrd and .38 Special. (As “Van Zant” Johnny and Donnie have also sung country music.)
STEVEN L. SMITH/I Stole The Bible
Writer: Steven L. Smith; Producer: Steven L. Smith; Publisher: none listed, ASCAP; Vinyl (track) (www.slsmith.info)
—Bellowing and blustery, with a southern-rock vibe.
DAVE GIBSON/King Me
Writer: Dave Gibson/Craig Monday; Producer: Dave Gibson; Publisher: Savannah’s House/Songs of Bud Dog/Music of Windswept Pacific, BMI/ASCAP; Savannah (www.savannahmusicgroup.com)
—I love a good story song, and this one is a dandy. He sits down to play checkers with an old man, and they share yarns, lies and truths. Sung with heart, produced with taste and written with class.
PHILIP DAIN POWELL/Save Me A Place At The Table
Writer: Philip Dain Powell/Keith Lambert/Corky Holbrook/Barton Stevens/Josh Kitchen/Traci Ann Stanley; Producer: none listed; Publisher: Billy Ray Crittendon/Circle of Life/Gregory K. Swint/Sixteen Stars/Chuck Jones/Music of Three, BMI; PDP (www.pdpmusic.biz)
—There’s just a little too much vibrato in this vocal. But it does add emotional impact to the lyric about dying.
BO BICE/You Take Yourself With You
Writer: Bo Bice/D. Scott Miller; Producer: Bo Bice & D. Scott Miller; Publisher: Sugarmoney, BMI; Saguaro Road (track) (www.bobice.com)
—He competed as a rocker on American Idol, but this Nashvillian’s new single will fit any country playlist like a glove. The soaring, highly melodic choruses and advice-from-daddy lyric are both just terrific. Bo rules on this majestic outing.
NICK VERZOSA/Back When Love Was Easy
Writer: N. Verzosa; Producer: Walt Wilkins; Publisher: Tiyaga, BMI; Indie Extreme/Fontana (track) (www.nickverzosa.com)
—Highly listenable and loaded with hooks. The tempo chugs right along, guitars punctuate his phrasing and the production is crystal clear.
FLYNNVILLE TRAIN/Preachin’ To The Choir
Writer: Justin Wilson/Adam Wheeler; Producer: David Barrick & Flynnville Train; Publisher: Music of Stage Three/Noble Vision, BMI/ASCAP; Next Evolution (track) (www.flynnvilletrain.com)
—It is a rousing, working-man’s anthem about how messed up everything is. Well penned and performed. The soul-sister gospel harmonies are a plus.
Writer: Patty Loveless/Emory Gordy Jr.; Producer: Emory Gordy Jr.; Publisher: Clay Root/Jahazah, BMI; Jahazah (CDX) (615-478-0391)
—The song is accompanied by a public service announcement about the lung condition COPD (which Patty’s sister Dottie died of), so the lyric about “breathe deep and drive” is extra special. Emory’s snappy, punchy, rocking production is perfect, and Patty’s fiery vocal is, as usual, a country lover’s delight.
DONNA BEASLEY/Under The Rushes
Writer: Donna Beasley; Producer: Tom Spaulding & Donna Beasley; Publisher: Bless Her Heart, ASCAP; Strange Magic (track) (www.donnabeasley.com)
—Ms. Beasley’s CD has a cast that’s a who’s-who of the Music City alt-country scene, including Chuck Mead, Elizabeth Cook, Kenny Vaughan, Tim Carroll and Bob Britt. On its title tune, her languid vocal spins a tale of small-town romance, pregnancy and betrayal. Highly recommended.
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