DISClaimer Single Reviews (4/13/11)

Every doggie has his day.

This week, it’s the puppy platters that are in the winner’s circle. None of the major-label offerings made my ears wild with excitement. But two pieces of indie product did.

Singer-songwriter David G. Smith is a major find. He hails from Iowa, but spends most of his time in Music City. If a man is judged by the company he keeps, this guy is an A-lister for casting the likes of Mary Gauthier, Kenny Malone, Verlon Thompson and Dan Dugmore on his Non-Fiction CD. He also wins this week’s DisCovery Award.

The new trio Stealing Angels had the wisdom to enlist Paul Worley as its producer, and the classy sonic result is all over its disc debut. The harmonizing threesome is Jennifer Wayne (the granddaughter of John Wayne), Caroline Cutbirth (a descendent of Daniel Boone) and Tayla Lynn (the granddaughter of Loretta Lynn). In addition to penning many of their own, they chose (again wisely) to include songwriters Gary Burr, Dave Berg, Paul Kennerley, Al Anderson, Marcus Hummon, Georgia Middleman and Leslie Satcher on their project. Give those wise, wise women a Disc of the Day prize.

DAVID G. SMITH/You’re The Reason God Made Tequila
Writer: Lori Shropshire/Deanna Walker/David G. Smith; Producer: Miles Wilkinson & Buddy Mondlock; Publisher: Shire/ZMG/Alrose, ASCAP/BMI; Hey Dave (track) (www.HeyDaveMusic.com)
Gig alert: Mr. Smith is staging his CD release show tomorrow (Thursday, April 14) at The Bluebird Cafe at 6:00 p.m. It will feature several of his stellar supporting players from the disc, including Jonell Mosser, Jelly Roll Johnson and Buddy Mondlock. Jelly Roll is particularly prominent on this delightfully bluesy, funky, loose-limbed track. The album is called Non-Fiction, and there’s audio pleasure in every track. The vulnerable, hushed ballad “In This Cage” will stop your heart. “Her Body Won’t Lie” has steady, thumping rhythm to spare. “Fear (That Son of a Bitch)” is packed with wry vocal personality. Very highly recommended.

STEALING ANGELS/Paper Heart
Writer: Gordie Sampson/Hillary Lindsey/Steve McEwen; Producer: Paul Worley; Publisher: No Such/Bug/Music of Windswept/Songs of Southside Independent/Raylene/EMI Blackwood/Birds with Ears, SOCAN/ASCAP/BMI; Skyville (track) (www.stealingangels.com)
—This female trio includes Tayla Lynn, who is Loretta’s granddaughter. The harmonies are perfectly lovely on this soaring, melodic, heartache-with-tempo outing. Hang on for the overdubbed, layered, deliciously interwoven vocals in the finale, plus the superb sounding instrumental fade. I’m definitely into this.

RANDY HOUSER/In God’s Time
Writer: Randy Houser/David Lee Murphy/Shane Minor; Producer: Cliff Audretch III, Randy Houser & Mark Wright; Publisher: Little Britches/Do Write/Old Desperados/Carol Vincent/Sony-ATV Tree/Code Six Charles, BMI/ASCAP; Show Dog Universal
—This artist has such a magnificent voice, but has yet to find the song that propels him to radio stardom. I don’t think this ultra slow ballad is the one, but I still love to hear him sing.

TERRY BAUCOM/Do You Wrong Kind Of Girl
Writer: James Cody Shuler; Producer: Terry & Cindy Baucom; Publisher: Pine Mountain Railroad, BMI; John Boy & Billy (track)
—Bluegrass banjoist Baucom is issuing this lively ditty as the debut single from his CD In a Groove. In addition to his scampering banjo, it features trio vocal harmony on the choruses thanks to Jamie Dailey and Lou Reid.

BLAKE SHELTON/Honey Bee
Writer: Ben Hayslip/Rhett Akins; Producer: Scott Hendricks; Publisher: WB/Melissa’s Money/Get a Load of This/EMI Blackwood/Rhettneck, ASCAP/BMI; Warner Bros.
—Sunny, smiley and a sure-fire hit. Ya gotta love this guy.

ROBYN LUDWICK/Hollywood
Writer: Robyn Ludwick; Producer: Gurf Morlix; Publisher: Robyn Ludwick, BMI; Late Show (track) (www.robynludwick.com)
—Her album is called Out of These Blues, and she solo wrote every song on it. This lead-off track drawls its way into ever deepening misery. This babe is seriously bummed out, and it sounds just fine. Americana programmers, in particular, take note.

RODNEY ATKINS/Take A Back Road
Writer: Rhett Akins/Luke Laird; Producer: Ted JHewitt & Rodney Atkins; Publisher: EMI Blackwood/Rhettneck/Universal-Careers/High Powered Machine, BMI; Curb
—It’s the one about loving rural life. Again.

BRANTLEY GILBERT/Country Must Be Country Wide
Writer: Dekle/Ford/Gilbert; Producer: Dann Huff; Publisher: none listed; Valory Music
—It’s kind of the audio offspring of Hank Jr.’s “A Country Boy Can Survive,” only with a loud rock backing track.

MICHELLE TURLEY/My X Husband
Writer: Turley/Putman/Braddock; Producer: C.F. Turley; Publisher: Popdark/Sony-ATV, BMI; Victorio
—Fiddles saw merrily away during the opening notes. The mood stays light once she starts to sing in her thin-yet-feisty little voice. Amusing, especially with the yammering “answering” voices.

KATE RUSSELL/Damned If I Do
Writer: Kate Russell/Rich Mouser; Producer: Kate Russell & Rich Mouser; Publisher: none listed; Urunga (615-302-0072)
—This gal has been making regular appearances in this column for several years. As before, her womanly, husky, blues-tinged vocal works best with an “attitude” lyric like this one. Her rocking performance is backed up with some snazzy electric guitar work by co-writer and co-producer Mouser.

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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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