DISClaimer Single Reviews (10/13/10)

Variety is the spice of life, they say.

It’s certainly true in this week’s stack of platters. We have an electronic dance record, a comedy disc from a Country Music Hall of Famer, a pop/folk outing by a Russian country performer, a homespun ditty from a husband-and-wife team, a group re-naming, an Oz man’s cowbell-backed guitar rocker and a Texan with singer-songwriter grit to spare.

Where to turn?

Well, there’s no denying the pull and potency of the Tim McGraw single. So it is an obvious favorite for a Disc of the Day award.

But I don’t think I’d be out of line by suggesting that he could share it with the Oz man, Keith Urban.

KRYSTI WORLEY/Cowman
Writer: Paul Cook; Producer: Terry Mashburn; Publisher: Turtle on a Fencepost, ASCAP; Electric Cactus (www.krystiworley.com)
—More redneck rock, with the usual verbal cliches strung together (drankin,’ torn blue jeans, Skoal rings, tattoos, belt buckles, jacked-up trucks, lovin’ all night, blah, blah, blah) over thundering drums and guitars. Pass.

TIM McGRAW/Felt Good on My Lips
Writer: Brett Warren/Brad Warren/Jim Beavers/Brett Beavers; Producer: Byron Gallimore & Tim McGraw; Publisher: StyleSonic/Bilzuzz  & Bilzuzz/Buzz & Buzz/Sony-ATV Tree/Beavertime/FSMGI/Chestnut Barn/Chrysalis One, BMI/IMRO; Curb
—Droning electronica pulses steadily beneath Tim’s delivery of the tumbling-into-love lyric. Madly rhythmic. Insanely catchy. Everybody on the dancefloor!

ADAM CRAIG BAND/Nothin’ Wrong
Writer: Adam Craig/Keesy Timmer/Jon Nite; Producer: none listed; Publisher: InTune Nashville/Cowboy Timmer/Zavitson, BMI/ASCAP; Quarterback/American Roots (www.adamcraigband.com)
—Formerly billed as TelluRide, the group is now named after its solid lead vocalist. As usual, he delivers the goods, as do his ultra-accomplished band mates. Lively and engaging.

JOEY+ RORY/That’s Important to Me
Writer: Rory Feek/Joey Martin/Tim Johnson; Producer: Carl Jackson; Publisher: Giantslayer/Black in the Saddle/ole/Rufus Gold/Tim Johnson/Warner-Tamerlane/Marathon Key 2, ASCAP/SESAC/BMI; Sugar Hill/Vanguard/Roar(track) (www.joeyandrory.com)
—Simple truths, delivered with Joey’s customary emotional pull. The sweet song is wonderfully memorable, and the Rob Ickes dobro lines that echo the vocal are sheer poetry.

RIDIN’ HIGH BAND/Too Well to Go to Work
Writer: M. Jason Greene/Chris Cagle; Producer: none listed; Publisher: Son Daddy/Anjelito/Mark Hybner/WAMA, BMI/ASCAP; Centennial (www.ridinhighband.net)
—Recorded at the bottom of an empty grain silo. And I guess they didn’t have any pitch-correction machines down there.

KEITH URBAN/Put You in a Song
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Capitol Nashville (ERG)
—Radio magic. Joyous, rocking, melodic and utterly uplifting. Plus, it has a cowbell!

BLEU EDMONDSON/No Room for Mercy
Writer: none listed; Producer: Dwight A. Baker; Publisher: none listed; American Saint (track)
—I was completely smitten with this guy’s first record. The new one (titled The Future Ain’t What it Used to Be) has all the hallmarks of its predecessor. He writes with supremely poetic confidence and sings with gritty, gripping passion. This lead-off single is a tuneful, mid-tempo thumper with a chorus that goes straight for the heart. Somebody make this 2008 DisCovery Award winner a star.

MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER/The Way I Feel
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Rounder (ERG)
—As gorgeous a track as she has ever recorded. It is a grand and glorious road song about heading South alone on a midnight highway, listening to “I Won’t Back Down.” She is still just so totally great.

NATASHA BORZILOVA/Balancing Act
Writer: Natasha Borzilova; Producer: Natasha Borzilova; Publisher: Uncle Hadley, ASCAP; HMG (track) (www.natashaborzilova.com)
—She was formerly the front woman for the Russian country band Bering Strait. On the title track to her second solo CD, she carries a lilting acoustic tune along with her gentle soprano. It’s very pretty, but probably too pop for most country programmers.

MEL TILLIS/You Wouldn’t Believe It
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Show Dog Universal (track) (www.meltillis.com)
—Despite winning six consecutive Comedian of the Year awards from Music City News back in the day, Mel has never recorded a comedy album. Until now. Titled You Ain’t Gonna Believe This, it features three new songs (”Huntin’ Buddies,” “Who’s Gonna Wear the Dress” and “Slowing Down”). but the other 20 tracks are monologues. Including this little rib tickler about the lady finding the escaped elephant in her backyard garden. When she phones the police, she is asked what the animal is doing. “He’s pulling up my cabbage with his tale,” she replies. “What is he doing with it?” inquires the cop. “If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me!”

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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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