This is not rocket science, people.
Listen up, you indies. In an industry publication, we are interested in who wrote the song, who produced the record, what PRO is representing and who the publisher is. This basic information should be on the disc (not on some accompanying piece of paper that could be separated from it), alongside the title and artist information. More than half the records in this reviewing session lacked at least one of the four key facts. In two cases, all of them were missing.
But just to show how magnanimous I can be, one of those two platters wins a DisCovery Award. Despite keeping me in the dark about its participants, “Twenty Years Late” by David St. Romain gets the nod.
It will come as no surprise to most of you that Kenny Chesney has hit another home run. “You and Tequila” is a minor masterpiece of songwriting, vocal performance and production. And it wins Disc of the Day.
KELLY PARKES/Girl with a Fishing Rod
Writer: Adrienne Follese/Keith Follese/Victoria Shaw/Hillary Scott; Producer: Darran Smith & Mike Borchetta; Publisher: Animal Planet/Midas Magic/Jamanayre/Victoria Shaw/Do Write/Shaw Enuff, SESAC; Lofton Creek (615-288-4234 x101)
—The bouncy, Cajun-accented track is cute. Her voice doesn’t exactly burn down the barn, but is adequate in delivering the clever, nicely crafted lyric.
BRYAN FONTENOT/Too Drunk to Be Drinking
Writer: Carson Chamberlain/Mark Sanders; Producer: Bryan Fontenot; Publisher: Laravista/Songs of Sanderosa/Universal Songs of Polygram/Bug, ASCAP/BMI; Yes (927-254-6955)
—With a title like this, I HAD to listen. As I expected it’s a rowdy, humorous honky tonker. Also predictably, he sounds like the ultimate slob. Worth a smile or two.
DAVID ST. ROMAIN/Twenty Years Late
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Aria
—Perfect for Mother’s Day. In a heartfelt, soulful voice, he wakes his mom to thank her for everything she did for him and to apologize for his shortcomings. It’s a real shame that it lacks credits, because both the driving production and the songwriting are first rate. [Ed. note: “Twenty Years Late” was written by Aaron Lines, Monty Powell and Troy Verges, with Shawn Pennington producing.]
WHISKEY MYERS/Bar, Guitar and a Honky Tonk Crowd
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; WM (track) (www.whiskeymyers.com)
—It’s a Southern rawk thang with plenty of punch in the percussion. Most promising.
MARK COOKE/I Love It
Writer: Philip Douglas/Ron Harbin/Jimmy Yeary; Producer: J. Gary Smith & John Smith; Publisher: Curb/Gremlin Corner/Charlie Monk/Pitcher’s Mound/Hookline East, ASCAP; Cotton Valley (www.cvrmusic.com)
—Jittery guitar, stuttering banjo and way-high scampering fiddle set the pace of this sunny ode to his hottie. Just so you know: she has two tattoos, cut-off jeans and an unpredictable personality.
JUSTIN GRANT/Till It Don’t Burn Going Down
Writer: Justin Lantz/Richie Brown; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed, ASCAP; BCR Entertainment
—He has approximately a two-note vocal range. Fortunately, the darkly brooding song doesn’t demand any more.
CHRIS FILER/When it Don’t Come Easy
Writer: Tony Wood/Danny Myrick; Producer: Dennis Dearing; Publisher: BMG Songs/Careers-BMG, ASCAP/BMI; Kidney (track) (www.chrisfilermusic.com)
—The sound is a simple and maybe a little thin, but his singing of this country-rocker is strong and true, and the instrumental support is note perfect, especially that insistent little mandolin. As a song, it is a well constructed homily: “Give it all you got, because it means so much more/When it don’t come easy.”
BRYAN COLE/Talkin’ Dirty
Writer: Tom Paden/Don Ellis/Eddie Kilgallon; Producer: Chuck Ainlay; Publisher: none listed; Perfect Vision (www.bryancolemusic.com)
—He and his honey like getting outdoors in the mud and muck. He wails with finesse, while electric guitars scream. I’d like to hear what he can do with something a little less frenzied.
Writer: Anthony Smith/David Lee Murphy/Chris Wallin; Producer: Anthony Smith; Publisher: Inventor of the Wheel/Old Desperados/Ole, no performance rights listed; GForce (CDX) (www.lucyangel.com)
—Here’s a new theme: We’re gonna party!
KENNY CHESNEY/You and Tequila
Writer: Matraca Berg/Deana Carter; Producer: Buddy Cannon & Kenny Chesney; Publisher: none listed, BMI/ASCAP; BNA (track)
—New England’s Grace Potter provides the harmony vocal on this evocative, sighing ballad. In fact, when she played the Ryman opening for The Avett Brothers last fall, Kenny made a surprise appearance to sing this with her. Simply put, it is a gorgeous piece of work, produced with acoustic perfection and sung with thoughtful resignation. This man just gets better and better.
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