DISClaimer Single Reviews (7/28/10)

There’s a lot to like this week.

Among the new super sounds are efforts by Mark Chesnutt, Train, Kenny Chesney and Matt Kennon. Newcomers Kathe Knight, Manning-Dickson and The Ketucky Linemen are also welcome additions to our audio environment.

Despite superior efforts by Misters Kennon and Chesnutt, Kenny Chesney handily wins the Disc of the Day award.

Our three newcomers also ran their races well. But the sibling trio The Kentucky Linemen cross the finish line as the DisCovery Award winners.

RICHIE ALBRIGHT/Makeup And Faded Blue Jeans
Writer: Merle Haggard; Producer: Bill Green; Publisher: Sony-ATV Tree/Shade Tree, BMI; Electric Cactus (210-654-8773)
—You’re only asking for trouble when you set yourself up to be compared to Haggard. Needless to say, he comes up way short of the Master.

KENNY CHESNEY/The Boys Of Fall
Writer: Casey Beathard/Dave Turnbull; Producer: Buddy Cannon & Kenny Chesney; Publisher: none listed, BMI/ASCAP; BNA (CDX)
—Audio magic. It’s a wistful look back at playing high-school football that is rich with imagery, emotion and honesty. A brilliant piece of songwriting, an awesome production and a perfectly moving vocal performance. Country-music records simply do not come any finer than this.

THE KENTUCKY LINEMEN/Walk On
Writer: Ebert/Andy Wren/Brian Randle/Tim & Jeanette Culpepper/Buck & Kathy Jarrell; Producer: Ebert West; Publisher: Moo Town, ASCAP/BMI/SESAC; MooTown (CDX) (www.mootownentertainment.com)
—Hearty harmonies are the hallmark here. These men sing with immense gusto, and the hooky, mid-tempo song is a solid, rolling winner.

TRAIN/Hey Soul Sister
Writer: Pat Monahan/Espen Lind/Amund Bjorklund; Producer: Martin Terefe & Espionage; Publisher: none listed, BMI/ASCAP; Columbia (CDX)
—These San Francisco soft rockers are best known for the pop hits “Drops of Jupiter” (2002) and “Calling All Angels” (2003). This highly tuneful, acoustic bopper is quite enjoyable and is “country” enough for these ears. Come on in, boys. The water is fine.

MATT KENNON/You Can Still Wear White
Writer: Natt Kennon/Aaron Scherz; Producer: James Stroud, Julian King, Matt Kennon & Aaron Scherz; Publisher: Songs of Loud/Matt Kennon/Songs of Elevation/Big Loud Bucks, BMI; BamaJam (CDX)
—Matt Kennon’s “The Call” was one of best indie singles of the past few months. He proves it was no fluke with this driving, propulsive, pounding, power-packed anthem. I still love his soulful, raspy delivery. Make this man a star.

JOHNNY TILLOTSON/Not Enough
Writer: Johnny Tillotson/Nancy Tillotson/Cary Park; Producer: Johnny Tillotson & Nancy Tillotson; Publisher: none listed, BMI; Maydu (CDX) (www.johnnytillotson.com)
—Tillotson was a teen idol of the ‘50s and ‘60s with hits such as “Poetry in Motion,” “It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin’,” “Send Me the Pillow You Dream On” and “Talk Back Trembling Lips.” His catchy, upbeat comeback single finds him still in fine voice. The lyric about thanking our troops is timely and winning.

MANNING – DICKSON/Drive
Writer: Jason Manning/Jason Dickson; Producer: Manning-Dickson; Publisher: none listed, BMI/ASCAP; Blue Boot (www.manningdickson.com)
—Breezy, melodic and well sung. Its only drawback is its somewhat compressed, murky sound.

KATHE KNIGHT/I Will
Writer: Michael P. Heeney/Liz Rose; Producer: John R. Craig; Publisher: Sony-ATV, BMI; TAM (track) (828-758-2349)
—Intimate sounding. Her soft, delicate delivery focusses your attention on the very well-written lyric of considering cheating by picking up a stranger in a bar. In addition to her fine performance and the song craftsmanship, the track also benefits by being produced with crystal clarity. Lend this your ears.

MARK CHESNUTT/Lovin’ Her Was Easier
Writer: none listed; Producer: Pete Anderson; Publisher: none listed; Saguaro Road (track)
—Mark’s new CD is titled Outlaw. It is a salute to the music of Waylon, Willie, Hank Jr. and the rest of the boys who shook things up on Music Row in the 1970s. This tune tips its hat to both The Glaser Brothers, who had a big hit with it in 1981, and to its maverick songwriter, Kris Kristofferson. The singer’s expressive, resonant baritone and the spacious production put the spotlight on Kris’s extraordinarily poetic lyric. Quite a song and quite a performance. An A-plus effort by all concerned.

DAISY MALLORY/Do You Think Of Me
Writer: Daisy Mallory/Ben Caver; Producer: none listed; Publisher: Daisy Mallory/Sony-ATV, ASCAP/SESAC; DM (602-538-7878)
—There already is a Taylor Swift. Find your own sound.

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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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