DISClaimer Single Reviews (11/16/11)

Since this is awards season, let’s chop the DisClaimer honors into categories this week.

Our Vocal Collaboration Award goes to Matt Nathanson & Sugarland. Drop what you’re doing and go out and buy his Modern Love pop CD right now.

Our Female Vocalist Award is a no-brainer. Faith Hill rules. The Male Vocalist Award goes to an artist of a completely darker stripe, the wicked good Greg Garing.

The Vocal Group prize is a toss-up between Sawyer Brown and Stealing Angels, with the gals grabbing the bouquet.

Writer: Daniel Warren; Producer: Al Hurschman & Daniel Warren; Publisher: Chaprielle, BMI; Quarterback (www.danielwarrenband.com)
—The track is breezy and wafting with sighing organ and deftly plucked guitars. His song is nicely written, but his voice is quite thin and lacks authority.

Writer: Cassidy/Stockton/Diggs; Producer: Doug Deforest, Jody Booth & Jason Cassidy; Publisher: none listed; Blake-A (www.jasoncassidymusic.com)
—I have liked this fine country vocalist in the past, and this single is another in a string of solid efforts by him. The ballad is extremely well constructed, and his resonant singing has ache and longing in all the right places. A winner.

Writer: Ryan Tedder; Producer: Byron Gallimore & Faith Hill; Publisher: Sony-ATV Tunes/Velvet Hammer/Midnight Miracle, ASCAP; Warner Bros.
—Introduced on last week’s CMA Awards telecast, this ballad of lovers separated by war has timely emotional heft. Faith sings it in her upper soprano range, which brings out the pain of loneliness.

Writer: Kenneth Brian; Producer: Johnny Sandlin; Publisher: none listed, BMI; Southern Shift (track) (www.kennethbrian.com)
—This bluesy Southern-rock outfit has connections. Its CD features such notable guests as David Hood, Jason Isbell, Bonnie Bramlett, Charlie Hayward and James Pennebaker, not to mention Allman Brothers producer Johnny Sandlin. This title tune is strikingly reminiscent of classic-era Charlie Daniels.

GREG GARING/My Time for Leaving
Writer: Greg Garing; Producer: Todd Perlmutter; Publisher: none listed; L.E.S. (track)
—The greatest of all the neo honky-tonk performers on Lower Broadway is back with a collection titled, simply, Greg Garing. It kicks off with this doom-y, echoey ballad punctuated by squalling saxophone. His singing remains hair raising in its intensity. Spooky, scary and thoroughly hypnotizing.

LAUREN ALAINA/Georgia Peaches
Writer: Mallary Hope/Blair Daly/Rachel Proctor; Producer: Byron Gallimore; Publisher: none listed; Mercury/19 (CDX)
—The American Idol runner-up’s second single is a bright rocker celebrating the fairer sex of the state of Georgia. She gives shout-outs to the state’s Alan Jackson and Jason Aldean along the way. I still say this teen sings better than winner Scotty McCreery does.

Writer: Caroline Cutbirth/Tayla Lynn/Jennifer Wayne/Keith Follese/Adrienne Follese; Producer: Paul Worley; Publisher: Shaw Enuff/Red Leo/Multisongs/How Bout That Skyline/BMG Chrysalis/Songwriters of Platinum Pen/Little Dutchess/The Family Business/3 In the Key, BMI/ASCAP/SESAC; Skyville (CDX) (615-320-7052)
—I was crazy about this group’s debut single, and this follow-up is just as good. I know it’s confusing with so many female trios out there right now, but this is the one to keep your ears on. Superb melody, heartbeat percussion, stunning production and celestial vocals, this has it all. Stay tuned for the passage where all three voices weave together like an audio tapestry.

SAWYER BROWN/Travelin’ Band
Writer: Mark A. Miller; Producer: Mark A. Miller; Publisher: Travelin’ Zoo, ASCAP; Beach Street (CDX) (615-799-2229)
—Miller reflects nostalgically back on the glory days of his band. Strikingly autobiographical, it specifically mentions having hits like “Some Girls Do” and “Used to Blue,” touring with Kenny Rogers, wearing ‘80s haircuts and identifying various band members by name. Undeniably wistful and quite moving.

DANNY CLICK/I Feel Good Today
Writer: Danny Click; Producer: none listed; Publisher: One Bullet, no performance rights listed; DC (1-800-584-5524)
—He sings in an earnest, sincere tenor. The production is rather dull, and the bopping song with its downbeat lyric is just so-so.

Writer: Matt Nathan/Jennifer Nettles/Kristian Bush; Producer: Kristian Bush, Matt Nathanson, Jennifer Nettles & Mark Weinberg; Publisher: Little Victories/Stage Three/BMG Chrysalis/Jennifer Nettles/Dirkpit, ASCAP/BMI; Vanguard (track) (www.mattnathanson.com)
—I was so smitten with this when they performed it on the CMA show that I bought Matt’s Modern Love sophomore CD just so I could hear it again. It is just as throbbing and sexy and melodic as I remembered it. Maybe even more so. This guy is a major, major talent.


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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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