DISClaimer Single Reviews (12/8/10)

Brad Paisley performs “This is Country Music” at The 44th Annual CMA Awards (11/10). Photo: John Russell

The moment this listening session began, the rest of the platters might as well have packed up and gone home.

As soon as I saw Brad Paisley’s “This Is Country Music” in the stack, I knew what the Disc of the Day was going to be. And it is.

One interesting trend of this edition of DisClaimer was the presence of offspring of famous country families. Both of them, coincidentally, are named Nathan. Nathan Stanley is descended from Opry star Ralph Stanley. Nathan Osmond comes from the clan of Osmonds. He is also the DisCovery Award winner.

JOE HAND/Million Million Years
Writer: Joe Hand; Producer: Joe Hand; Publisher: McHand, BMI; Songsfamous (track) (www.joehand.com)
—Songwriter Hand has cleverly titled his CD Songs Famous People Should Sing. Furthermore, he specifies which artists he thinks each song is suited for. This upbeat, positive love song, he says, would be good for Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, Vince Gill, Lonestar and/or Emerson Drive. It is somewhat wordy, but the chorus is hooky.

STEEL MAGNOLIA/Last Night Again
Writer: Joshua Scott Jones/Meghan Linsey/Hillary Lindsay; Producer: Dann Huff; Publisher: Universal/Kind Vibe/Meghan Linsey/Steel Mag/EMI Blackwood/Raylene, ASCAP/BMI; Big Machine
—Sweetly sexy. They hooked up last night, and both are ready for a repeat performance. The track bops nicely, and their harmony singing is splendid.

MATT BAILIE/Man Behind These Eyes
Writer: Matt Bailie/Donnie Van Zant/Aaron Sherz; Producer: Chip Martin & Matt Bailie; Publisher: MDB True Vibe Entertainment/Shanty Town, ASCAP/BMI; True Vibe (track) (www.mattbailiemusic.com)
—Did you write it with no melody on purpose?

BRAD PAISLEY/This Is Country Music
Writer: Brad Paisley/Chris DuBois; Producer: Frank Rogers; Publisher: House of Sea Gayle/Words & Music, ASCAP; Arista
—I was completely charmed by this when he introduced it during the CMA telecast last month. Evidently, a lot of radio folks were too, for it has become the second song from the awards show that they’ve asked for now (the other being the Jason Aldean & Kelly Clarkson duet). In addition to having the coolest lyric, it boasts an absolutely brilliant guitar solo. This just might be country music’s national anthem.

NATHAN OSMOND/Feels Like Heaven
Writer: Jim Collins/Marv Green/Dean Sams; Producer: Gary Baker & Nathan Osmond; Publisher: Hope N Cal/Living Big/Warner-Tamerlane, BMI; Ntune (track) (801-553-3480)
—Nathan is the son of Alan Osmond of The Osmonds. He’s definitely inherited the family’s musical genes. He sings with plenty of conviction and emotion. The title tune to his CD is a wide-open power ballad with a chorus that leaves him room to cut loose into his upper register. Seven tunes are co-produced with Gary Baker, and the other four are co-produced with Lonestar’s Dean Sams.

ALABAMA/Are You Sure Hank Done it This Way
Writer: Waylon Jennings; Producer: Alabama & Witt Stewart; Publisher: Universal Songs of PolyGram, BMI; Scatter/Big Machine (www.waylonjennings.com)
—This doesn’t stray far from Waylon’s original arrangement. A few lyrics are altered, which irritated me. And, frankly, I missed the swagger and snarl of Waylan’s delivery. It is drawn from a forthcoming tribute album titled The Music Inside: A Collaboration Dedicated to Waylon Jennings.

LUCY BILLINGS/Daddy’s Last Drive
Writer: Lucy J. Billings; Producer: John Jennings; Publisher: none listed; Sassy Time (track) (www.lucybillings.com)
—Producer Jennings is previously noted for his work with the esteemed Mary Chapin Carpenter. Why he chose to work with this bland, wimpy, limp vocalist is beyond me.

THE GRASCALS & DOLLY PARTON/I Am Strong
Writer: Jamie Johnson/Susanne Mumpower-Johnson/Jenee Fleenor; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; BluGrascal (track) (www.grascals.com)
—The Grascals upcoming CD is a Cracker Barrel project that teams the band with various country celebs (Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Tom T. Hall, Darryl Worley, Joe Nichols, The Oak Ridge Boys, Charlie Daniels). The package’s single is an empowering anthem that’s far more country than bluegrass. It’s about a child with cancer, and a portion of the album’s proceeds benefits St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

NATHAN STANLEY & VINCE GILL/The White Dove
Writer: Carter Stanley; Producer: Nathan Stanley & Alan Maggard; Publisher: none listed;  NS (track) (615-248-8105)
—Nathan is the 17-year-old grandson of Ralph Stanley. He has a pure and true Appalachian tenor voice, and his My Kind of Country CD indicates that he already has plenty of fans in the country community. His collaborators on it include Gene Watson, Patty Loveless, Marty Stuart & Connie Smith, Ricky Skaggs, John Anderson and Jimmy Dickens, as well as his father and grandfather. This performance with Vince on high harmony is the lovely, mournful bluegrass waltz initially popularized by his forebears The Stanley Brothers.

GURF MORLIX/Blaze Foley’s 113th Wet Dream
Writer: Blaze Foley; Producer: Gurf Morlix; Publisher: Texas Ghostwriters/Bug, BMI; Rootball (track) (www.gurfmorlix.com)
—Blaze Foley was one of the great characters in Texas music. Morlix, noted for his work producing Lucinda Williams and other roots music makers, is releasing an entire album of his late friend’s compositions. It is a listening delight, throughout. This title tune is a witty and wacky outing with Morlix rasping the lyric and strumming dandy twang guitar. On “If I Could Only Fly,” Foley’s best known song, he is joined by Kimmie Rhodes on harmony vocal. Heartily recommended.

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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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