DISClaimer Reviews (7/7/10)

Company, halt!

Rockie Lynne, Cory Walker and Jadi Norris all want you to stop whatever you’re doing and salute our armed services. Alas, only Rockie’s song is a fitting and listenable soldier tribute.

Lacking any other newcomer competition this week, the Canadian trio Hey Romeo nails down a DisCovery Award. They have Byron Hill to thank for it, because he is at least partly why they sound so good.

Competing for Disc of the Day were Georgette Jones, Joe Nichols and Burns & Poe. All three are well worth your attention. But the Joe Nichols single has the extra finesse it takes to finish first.

BURNS & POE/How Long Is Long Enough
Writer: Keith Burns/Frankie Golden; Producer: Hal Oliverius; Publisher: none listed; Blue Steel (track) (www.burnsandpoe.com)
—In a word, “Wow.” LOVE the track: It pulses like a heartbeat. Michelle aches exquisitely in her lead vocal. The chorus has monstrous hooks. This thing has the wings of a mighty angel.

HEY ROMEO/Searchin’ For You
Writer: Rob Shapiro/Darren Gusnowsky/Stacie Roper/Victoria Banks; Producer: Byron Hill & Hey Romeo; Publisher: Rob Shapiro/Darren Gusnowsky/Stacy Roper/Little Spoon/Victoria Banks/Sony ATV Cross Keys, SOCAN/ASCAP; Royalty (Canada)(track) (www.heyromeo.com)
—Hey Romeo is a pop-country trio from western Canada. The CD is titled That’s the Way I Am. Stacie Roper’s lead vocal on its bopping lead-off single is assured if somewhat whitebread and bland. The production and instrumental support are both absolutely superb.

GEORGETTE JONES/Slightly Used Woman
Writer: Tammy Wynette/Melvin Powers/Tommy Boyce; Producer: Justin Trevino; Publisher: Songs of Universal, no performance rights listed; Heart of Texas (track) (www.heartoftexascountry.com)
—The title tune to Georgette’s new CD is one of her mother’s lesser known songs. True to her heritage, she wrings every drop of emotion out of the steel-soaked ballad. This woman can sure-enough sing. She also covers “I Don’t Wanna Play House” and her father’s “The Race Is On” on the collection. If you love country music, this is essential listening.

ROCKIE LYNNE/Proud To Be A Soldier
Writer: Rockie Lynne/Mark Prentice; Producer: Mark Prentice & Rockie Lynne; Publisher: Carolina Blue Sky/Song for John, BMI; CBSR (track) (www.rockielynne.com)
—Rockie’s current project is called Songs for Soldiers. It kicks off with this thumping rocker that will make you want to stand and salute our fighting men and women. Spirited, to say the least.

VINCE HATFIELD/Through That Glass
Writer: Jeff Jackson; Producer: Eric Paul & Vince Hatfield; Publisher: Judy Harris/Launch Her, ASCAP; Blue Moon (track) (www.vincehatfield.com)
—If they ever give out an award for the indie act who puts out the most singles, this guy is going to win it. This morbid ballad concerns a drinking driver who kills and winds up in prison. Guess what? He reforms himself. Betcha didn’t see that one coming.

GEORGE STRAIT/The Breath You Take
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; MCA Nashville
—It sounds like he’s rehearsing for a gig fronting the New York Philharmonic.

CORY WALKER/Soldier’s Last Letter
Writer: none listed; Producer: Eric Paul; Publisher: none lited; Walker (track) (www.corywalkermusic.com)
—How on earth a teenager even knows this 1944 Ernest Tubb chestnut is beyond me. I can tell you this much, he doesn’t have the vocal maturity to pull it off.

JADI NORRIS/Hail The American Soldier
Writer: none listed; Producer: Gabriel Farago; Publisher: none listed; NSD (track)
—It begins with the John F. Kennedy sound clip, “Ask not what your country can do for you/Ask what you can do for your country.” Vocally, it’s all down hill after that.

JOE NICHOLS/The Shape I’m In
Writer: Rhett Akins/Dallas Davidson/Ben Hayslip; Producer: Mark Wright; Publisher: EMI Blackwood/Rhettneck/String Stretcher/WB/Melissa’s Money/Get a Load of This, BMI/ASCAP; Show Dog Universal
—Heartbreak never sounded groovier. He’s lost her, but the cool backbeat, electric guitar work, harmonica touches and choppy-rhythm-happy track all help the aching vocal performance go down smoothly. What a class act this guy is.

GORD BAMFORD/Day Job
Writer: Gord Bamford/Byron Hill; Producer: Gord Bamford & Byron Hill; Publisher: God Bamford/Almo/Great Escape, SOCAN/ASCAP; Cache Entertainment (Canada) (track) (www.gordbamford.com)
—Gord is a big star north of the border. His trip to Music City last year resulted in a dandy and very country CD whose twanging, uptempo title tune is bound to liven up dance floors everywhere. Grab hold and hang on.

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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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