This week, we’re going from one extreme to the other.
At one end of the sonic spectrum, we have the stone-country sound of Bradley Gaskin. He stopped the show with “Mr. Bartender” during the CRS Convention, and this hardcore honky-tonk single will leave you gasping for breath. Give that man a DisCovery Award.
At the other end of the sonic spectrum is the magnificent, layered, pop/rock majesty of Music City tunesmith Chas Sandford. Go out right now and buy his Wag More, Bark Less disc debut.
We have everything from the retro-country sound of Brad Paisley to the classic R&B groove of the Don Ray Band, from the bopping return of Donny & Marie to the sober thoughts of papa Trace Adkins.
Our Disc of the Day goes to Martina McBride for telling it like it is in the lyrics of “Teenage Daughters.”
HEIDI NEWFIELD/Stay Up Late
Writer: Jimmy Yeary/Sonya Isaacs/Ben Hayslip; Producer: Blake Chancey; Publisher: Black to Black/ole/Nashvistaville/Sonya Isaacs/WB/Melissa’s Money/Get a Load of This, BMI/ASCAP; Curb
—The too-thick production almost overwhelms her soulful delivery. Mix her voice up hotter, but by all means keep that cool, shambling, backbeat rhythm track.
Writer: Chuck Howard/Bob Regan/Kristy Osmunson; Producer: Chuck Howard & Wilbur Rimes; Publisher: none listed; All Entertainment (www.rachelholder.com)
—Brightly bouncy. Innocent fun. Her saucy delivery is nicely matched with a galloping, sprightly track.
BRAD PAISLEY & ALABAMA/Old Alabama
Writer: Brad Paisley/Chris DuBois/Dave Turnbull/Randy Owen; Producer: Frank Rogers; Publisher: House of Sea Gayle/Words & Music/Circle C/V Bulls/Full Circle/Sony-ATV Tree, ASCAP/BMI; Arista
—Nothing screams “1980s” like an old Alabama record. I’m not at all sure that sounding deliberately dated is a good idea. But if you’re cool with that, Brad quotes the song titles, uses the sounds and even signs up the reunited Alabama, itself, to lend vocals and guitar/fiddle chops.
ZANE WILLIAMS/Ride With Me
Writer: Zane Williams; Producer: Zane Williams; Publisher: Sony-ATV Cross Keys, ASCAP; Hack Circle (track) (www.ZaneWilliamsMusic.com)
—Perennial troubadour Zane has always been his own best interpreter. Here, he keeps things breezy, tuneful and earnest on a dandy open-road song. Love the rapid-fire lyric delivery, the fiddle solo and the steady, stuttering rhythm.
MARTINA McBRIDE/Teenage Daughters
Writer: Martina McBride/Brett Warren/Brad Warren; Producer: Byron Gallimore & Martina McBride; Publisher: StyleSonic/EMI Blackwood/Delemmava, BMI; Republic
—A little slab of universal truth from a lady who has always specialized in it. The crunchy production is full of interesting textures, and her vocal is ultra expressive.
DON RAY BAND WITH SHAUN MURPHY/Love Is
Writer: Don Ray; Producer: none listed; Publisher: Margdon, BMI; Margdon
—Darkly bluesy, throbbing and minor key. Accented with R&B horns. Shaun and Don swap gritty vocal licks like a soul sister and brother. Old school and cool.
BRADLEY GASKIN/Mr. Bartender
Writer: Bradley Gaskin; Producer: John Rich & Charlie Pennachio; Publisher: none listed, ASCAP; Columbia
—It is written so perfectly, you’ll swear you are listening to a revived classic from the catalog of George Jones, Johnny Paycheck or Merle Haggard. Hot, hot honky-tonk music with a ferocious bite. Say, “Amen,” country lovers.
Writer: Chas Sandford/James Matchack; Producer: Chas Sandford; Publisher: Chas Alan Sandford/Madman Matchack, BMI; Hanalei Music Group (track) (www.chassanford.com)
—This pop/rock Nashvillian is notable as the composer of such masterpieces as “Missing You” (John Waite, Brooks & Dunn), “What Kind of Man Would I Be” (Chicago) and “Talk to Me” (Stevie Nicks). Rascal Flatts, Roger Daltrey, Sammy Hagar, Jimmy Barnes and Rick Springfield are among the others who have recorded his tunes. Sandford’s Wag More Bark Less CD is jam packed with potential monster hits. “Drop the needle” anywhere, and you’ll be blown away. His songwriting collaborators on the collection include such stellar contributors as Greg Barnhill, Shane McAnally, Lee Roy Parnell and James Dean Hicks. This particular track is an awesome, torn-from-the-chest ballad that he sings with searing tenor intensity. Sign me up for the fan club. You need this music in your life, too.
TRACE ADKINS/Just Fishin’
Writer: Casey Beathard/Monty Criswell/Ed Hill; Producer: Michael Knox; Publisher: Sony-ATV Acuff Rose/Six Ring Circus/Sony-ATV Tree/Five Hills/Do Write, BMI; Show Dog Universal
—Sweetly sentimental, it’s about a Daddy making memories with his little girl he loves so much. Full of heart.
DONNY & MARIE/The Good Life
Writer: Eric Paslay/Clay Mills; Producer: Buddy Cannon; Publisher: Cal IV/Still Working for the Woman, ASCAP; MPCA (CDX) (212-796-2030)
—Jaunty, well written and produced with panache. Both Osmonds still sing with vigor.
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