This week’s stack of platters contains a bevy of boppers. Marty Stuart, The McClymonts, Blaine Larsen, Mason Douglas and Eric Heatherly are all tapping their toes. Margaret Durante and Jewel are both breezy, too.
Eric, Marty and Blaine were the competitors for Disc of the Day. By virtue of his superbly phrased vocal, Blaine Larsen wins the prize.
Who is Mason Douglas, and where has he been all my life? I don’t know when I have heard a more accomplished debut single. And he wrote it all by hisself. Give that man a DisCovery Award.
MARK COOKE/Can’t Cheat In A Small Town
Writer: Don Goodman/Abby Boyken/Brad Wolf; Producer: J. Gary Smith & John Smith; Publisher: Rainy Graham/Big Hitmaker’s/Little Tornadoes, BMI; Cotton Valley (www.markcooke.com)
—His phone starts ringing the minute another man’s car pulls into her driveway. Now that’s what I call a tiny hamlet. An energetic production, loaded with guitar licks.
MARTY STUART/Little Heartbreaker
Writer: Marty Stuart/Ralph Mooney; Producer: Marty Stuart; Publisher: Marty Stuart, BMI; Sugar Hill/Superlatone (track) (www.martystuart.net)
—Itchy, twitchy neo rockabilly that’s splendidly written and sung. An awesome return to form. And given Marty’s co-writer, would you be surprised to learn that it is blessed with some of the greatest chiming steel playing I’ve heard all year? Play this.
CLINT MARTIN/The Lady She Is
Writer: none listed; Producer: Tommy Detamore & Clint Martin; Publisher: none listed; CM (www.clintmartinband.com)
—The track is big and beefy. His vocal is not.
Writer: Jewel/Dave Berg; Producer: Nathan Chapman & Jewel; Publisher: Wiggly Tooth/EMI April/Cal IV/Stupid Boy, ASCAP; Valory Music
—The percussion is mysteriously overbearing, particularly considering her whispery soprano performance. The song is cleverly penned, revolving around a couple counting to ten to avoid conflict. You guessed it. By the time she gets to “10,” she’s in his arms again.
CRAIG CAMPBELL/Family Man
Writer: Craig Campbell/Jon Henderson/Joel Shewmake; Producer: Keith Stegall; Publisher: Melodies of Bigger Picture/Acoustic Peanut/Murrah/Bug/Michael Murrah/Katank/Warner-Tamerlane/Big Hits of Amylase, SESAC/BMI; Bigger Picture (ww.craigcampbell.tv)
—There’s nothing especially distinctive or memorable about his singing. But the song is sturdy, and the track gets the job done.
Writer: Paul Brandt; Producer: Jimmy Ritchey; Publisher: Rio Bravo/Foothillbilly, BMI; Treehouse/Stroudavarious (www.blainelarsen.com)
—Blaine’s welcome comeback continues with this superbly produced tempo tune. His dynamic vocal dips into a lower register, has hushed passages and soars upward as he heads to the title. Terrific work by all concerned. I hung with it right to the ringing finale, and then I played it again.
MASON DOUGLAS/Anything Can Happen
Writer: Mason Douglas; Producer: Greg Strizek; Publisher: Wild Cateclysm/Little Biscuit/Chobe, BMI; Rural Rhythm (track) (www.masondouglasmusic.com)
—Wow. This guy’s wedding song takes off like a rocketship and blazes across your brain with its jets firing wide open. Power and drive to spare. The CD is titled My Wild Heart, and you can bet I’ll be playing the rest of it.
ERIC HEATHERLY/Mona Lisa
Writer: Eric Heaatherly; Producer: Eric Heatherly; Publisher: Psychobilly, ASCAP; EH (track) (www.myspace.com/ericheatherly)
—Eric new CD is called Painkillers, and it’s available online for just ten bucks. He continues to be one of the most brilliantly catchy songwriters around. This single from it rocks so fiercely that it just might give you whiplash. Spin this and prepare to grin from ear to ear while you bop around the room.
MARGARET DURANTE/Mississippi’s Crying
Writer: Shelly Fairchild/Stephony Smith; Producer: James Stroud & Stephony Smith; Publisher: Silvery Dog/Souljet, BMI; 9 North/emrose/Stroudavarious (www.margaretdurante.com)
—You might recall Ms. Durante as the lady who had out that cool country cover of Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody” a few months ago. She’s back with a new label and production team. “Mississippi’s Crying” was previously on an Emily West project. I thought it sounded like a hit when I heard it then, and I still think it does.
THE McCLYMONTS/Save Yourself
Writer: none listed; Producer: Adam Anders; Publisher: none listed; EMG/Fontana/
Universal (track) (www.themcclymonts.net)
—This femme trio harmonizes perfectly on the choruses. The track bops relentlessly. The song does nothing for me.