DISClaimer Single Reviews (9/21/11)

Let’s take a break from the Music Row mainstream and listen to some platters that have, shall we say, a little more class?

I refer to records like the new ones by the likes of Matraca Berg, Jeff Bridges and Glen Campbell. Glen brings his Goodbye Tour to the Ryman for shows on Nov. 30 and Dec. 5. Based on his touching musical eloquence on The Tonight Show last week, those should be pretty emotional occasions.

For profoundly moving musical moments, Matraca Berg’s The Dreaming Fields and Glen Campbell’s The Ghost on the Canvas are sharing today’s Disc of the Day award.

The newcomers this week were Taylor Made, Krysti Worley, James Justin & Co., The Farm Inc. and Brian Coy & The Remaining Few. None of them was award worthy.

BRIAN COY & THE REMAINING FEW/Highest Of The Low
Writer: Brian Coy; Producer: Britt Lloyd & Adam Odor; Publisher: none listed; RF (www.theremainingfewmusic.com)
—The bass and guitars are so overly amped that you can hardly hear his muffled voice. Maybe that’s a plus.

BURNS & POE/I Need A Job
Writer: Keith Burns/John Ritter; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Blue Steel (www.burnsandpoe.com)
—It’s an uptempo twang fest with Keith doing the vocal heavy lifting. Best jab at D.C.: “Fire them all, then they’ll be screaming like you and me” or, if you prefer, “Tell them S.O.B.’s I need a J.O.B.”

TAYLOR MADE/Good Love
Writer: Candy Cameron/Tyler Hayes/Michael Boggs; Producer: Dale Morris & Dan Mitchell; Publisher: Rave On/Calhoun Enterprises/Roxboo/My Maxx/Razor & Tie/Upsurge/EM CMG, ASCAP; LGR (615-946-6055)
—This group features a husky-voiced female lead singer who displays plenty of panache on this bluesy outing. The song is catchy, too. Promising.

GLEN CAMPBELL/A Better Place
Writer: Glen Campbell/Julian Raymond; Producer: Julian Raymond & Howard Willing; Publisher: Seventh Son/Maxava, ASCAP; Surfdog (track)
—In a word, heartbreaking. The lead-off track from this mighty music man’s Ghost on the Canvas farewell album is an aching meditation on mortality. “Some days I’m so confused, Lord. My past gets in my way….One thing I know, the world’s been good to me/A better place awaits, you’ll see.” The sterling collection includes six instrumentals, two tunes from Paul Westerberg, one from Jakob Dylan and five originals that pierce your soul. The recording cast includes Chris Isaac, Dick Dale, Brian Setzer and Billy Corgan. The man is saying goodbye with style.

DRAKE JENSEN/All You Need
Writer: D. Jensen/K. Copeland; Producer: Kim Copeland; Publisher: Soaring Eagle/Sage House, SOCAN/ASCAP; Soaring Eagle (track) (www.drakejensen.ca)
—The sophomore single by this Canadian is a dull, plodding outing, but he’s still country to the core.

JEFF BRIDGES /What A Little Bit Of Love Can Do
Writer: S. Bruton/G. Nicholson; Producer: T Bone Burnett; Publisher: Brutunes/Bug/Gary Nicholson/Sony-ATV, BMI/ASCAP; Blue Note (track)
—For his solo CD, Bridges re-teams with his Crazy Heart soundtrack producer T Bone Burnett and works with such guest celebs as Rosanne Cash, Sam Phillips and Ryan Bingham. This kick-off track rumbles along tossing hooks left and right. I’d have preferred a more “open” stripped-down production approach rather than this somewhat heavy handed style. But there’s no denying the Oscar winning actor’s musical talent.

THE FARM INC./Home Sweet Home
Writer: Danny Myrick/Rick Hoffman/Krista Marie/Damien Horne; Producer: Danny Myrick & Nick Hoffman; Publisher: Root 49/Danny Myrickmusic/Tailing Loop/Krista Marie/Mista D, BMI; All In/Elektra/Warner Bros.
—This trio debuts with a stuttering rocker with choppy verses that only hits its stride when it swings into the sunny, melodic harmony-soaked choruses. Then there’s the quasi chanting toward the finale. The whiplash shifts in tone are jarring. A little more consistency, please.

MATRACA BERG/Racing The Angels
Writer: Matraca Berg/Gretchen Peters/Suzy Bogguss; Producer: Matraca Berg; Publisher: Songs of Universal/Hannaberg, BMI; Dualtone (track) (www.matracaberg.com)
—Matraca’s new The Dreaming Fields CD contains her version of her current Kenny Chesney hit “You and Tequila,” but there’s plenty more to recommend it. This ballad, for instance, is a lovely, lilting thing that imagines death as a flight heavenward. For a more bluesy, saucy side of this talented lady, check out “Your Husband’s Cheating on Us.”

JAMES JUSTIN & CO./Dark Country
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; JJM (track) (www.jamesjustinmusic.com)
—It starts with the sound of thunder, then turns into a moody country rocker with spooky, echoey guitar jangles and a high, pleading vocal. This is evidently their second album, but it’s the first I’ve heard. My gut instinct is to guide them toward Americana Land.

KRYSTI WORLEY/A Bible And A Six-Pack
Writer: Becky Hobbs/Red Jenkins; Producer: Bill Green & Lynn Massey; Publisher: Becka’s Mecca/Red Hot, BMI/STIM; Electric Cactus (210-654-8773)
—Ya gotta love the title. Her overly bright and shiny sound, however, is trying way too hard to be liked.

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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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