The radio stars in question include Brad Paisley, Craig Morgan, Lee Brice and our Disc of the Day winner, Dierks Bentley.
The comeback belongs to K.D. Lang & The Sis Boom Bang. Their Nashville-recorded Sing It Loud album sizzles with excellence.
The Damn Quails have one of the finest freshman collections I’ve heard all year. It is titled Down the Hatch. The debut single is out now, and the rest of the disc drops on Oct. 25. Brand new band. Brand new label. Brand new sound. The core of the group is a pair of singer-songwriters, Gabriel Marshall and Bryon White. Give those boys a DisCovery Award.
CRAIG MORGAN/This Ole Boy
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Black River (ERG)
—Sunny, romantic and utterly optimistic. Plus, he still sings his face off.
Writer: Dan Wilson/Brett Beavers/Dierks Bentley; Producer: Brett Beavers & Luke Wooten; Publisher: Chrysalis/Sugar Lake/BMG Rights Management/Chestnut Barn/Big White Tracks, ASCAP/IMRO/BMI; Capitol Nashville (CDX)
—Stirring and uplifting. This manages the tricky task of being patriotic without being jingoistic. In addition to being well written, it is brilliantly produced, with a rumbling, drumming undertow and subtle, judiciously placed chimes.
THE DAMN QUAILS/Fools Gold
Writer: Bryon White; Producer: Mike McClure & Joe Hardy; Publisher: C.P. Sparkman, BMI; 598 (track)
—Refreshing, with a splash of harmonica, a dash of dobro, an acoustic-guitar solo, lightly crunchy rhythm and jaunty, folkie vocals. Oklahoma strikes again.
LEE BRICE/A Woman Like You
Writer: Johnny Buford/Phil Barton/Jon Stone; Producer: Jon Stone & Lee Brice; Publisher: Warner-Tamerlane/3JB/Sixteen Stars/How Bout That Skyline/Songs From Ferry Street/BMG Chrysalis, BMI; Curb
—Charming. She asks him what he’d be like if he hadn’t met her. He rattles off a list that includes poker, fishing, football, golf, poor dietary choices and more. But the payoff is that he’d also be looking for her.
WADE BOWEN/Saturday Night
Writer: Wade Bowen/Lee Thomas Miller; Producer: Justin Niebank; Publisher: House of Sea Gayle/Sparks to Strings/Itchy Baby, ASCAP/BMI; Sea Gayle/BNA
—Very cool. He sings with a lot of heart, and the track is cooking with gas. Best of all, the song is superbly written: He’s alone, out on the town and miserable, so why is everybody in love with Saturday night?
Writer: Brad Paisley/Chris DuBois/Kelley Lovelace; Producer: Frank Rogers; Publisher: House of Sea Gayle/Words & Music/EMI April/Didn’t Have To Be, ASCAP; Arista
—I generally dislike records with crowd cheering/shouting in the track.
COREY WAGAR/I Hate My Boyfriend
Writer: P. Brust/C. Brown/C. Wagar; Producer: Kent Wells; Publisher: none listed; GTR (track)
—It rocks with plenty of percussion and screaming guitars. She wants to go out and party with her friends, but he doesn’t like that, hence the title.
KID ROCK & ANGALEENA PRESLEY/Care
Writer: R.J. Ritchie/M. Young/H. Boone/C. Harris; Producer: none listed; Publisher: RJR/Kobalt/Jo Ray Dean/Sony ATV/Family Three/Universal/Crown Club/Warner-Tamerlane, BMI/ASCAP; Atlantic/Top Dog/Quaterback
—Alas, all the time he’s spent in Nashville has not made him a country songwriter.
ANSON CARTER/One Of Those Days
Writer: Arlis Albritten/Mickey Jack Cones/ Chad Hudson; Producer: Michael Bowen & Anson Carter; Publisher: none listed; Black Gold (track) (www.ansoncartermusic.com)
—It’s a little thin sounding, but he gets the job done vocally.
K.D. LANG & THE SIS BOOM BANG/I Confess
Writer: K.D. Lang/Daniel Clarke/Joshua Grange; Producer: K.D. Lang & Joe Pisapia; Publisher: Bromelain/It All Works/De La Grange, ASCAP; Nonesuch (track) (www.kdlang.com)
—Lang returned to Music City to craft her new Sing It Loud CD, and her new Sis Boom Bang band is comprised of East Nashvillians. The album’s lead-off single has an Orbison-bolero vibe that simmers with sensuous heat. Essential listening.
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