DISClaimer Single Reviews (11/30/11)

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• November 30, 2011

It’s all stars, no waiting, this week as everyone from Princess Taylor Swift to King George Strait and his fellow Hall of Famers Bill Anderson and Dolly Parton are on deck.

Because everyone here is a known quantity, there is no DisCovery Award this week.

One of the most difficult things about this gig is that you’re always comparing apples to oranges. For that reason, there are two Disc of the Day prizes. Craig Campbell is dealing with humor, so he gets the apple. Brantley Gilbert is dealing with heartache, so he gets the orange.

CHRIS CAGLE/Got My Country On
Writer: Kelly Archer/Justin Weaver/Danny Myrick; Producer: Keith Stegall; Publisher: Internal Combustion/Southside Independent/Year9/Music of Stage Three/Songs of Cornman/BMG Chyrsalis/Root 49/Danny Myrick, BMI; Bigger Picture
—Hasn’t this song been written, like, a hundred times during the past few years?

TAYLOR SWIFT/Ours
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Big Machine (track)
—The lyric is one of her better efforts, but the melody isn’t all that memorable. Still, we could use a ballad on our playlists these days.

BILL ANDERSON & DOLLY PARTON/If It’s All The Same To You
Writer: Bill Anderson; Producer: Bill Anderson; Publisher: none listed; Bear Family (track)
—This ultra rare 1963 demo featuring these two Hall of Famers can only be had by getting Bill’s new, deluxe, four-CD boxed set covering the first decade of his stellar career. The then-unknown Dolly sings a duet harmony part that is mixed as hot as Bill’s lead, and the result is pretty dang cool. The song later surfaced as a 1970 chart-topper for Bill and his real duet partner, Jan Howard.

STEVE HOLY/Until The Rain Stops
Writer: Matt Ramsey/Trevor Rosen/Matt Jenkins; Producer: Lee Miller; Publisher: Music of RPM/Sonic Geo/Unfair Entertainment/Songs of BMP/Kobalt, ASCAP; Curb
—Languid and sensuous, with a nifty guitar groove. The production is a little bottom-heavy, but this is a winner.

CRAIG CAMPBELL/When I Get It
Writer: Craig Campbell/Jason Matthews/Jim McCormick; Producer: Keith Stegall; Publisher: Melodies of Bigger Picture/Acoustic Peanut/Steel Wheels/Big Loud Bucks/Matthews Millions/Warner-Tamerlane/Jim McCormick, SESAC/BMI; Bigger Picture
—His answer to the bill collector is, “When I get it, you’ll get it.” His answer to his ex-wife’s demand for money is the same. When he tries to collect a $50 bet from a buddy, the tables are turned. An extremely likable, hard-times, sing-along tune.

GEORGE STRAIT/Love’s Gonna Make It Alright
Writer: Al Anderson/Chris Stapleton; Producer: Tony Brown & George Strait; Publisher: International Dog/Big Yellow Dog/Bucked Up/House of Sea Gayle/Small Fish, BMI/ASCAP; MCA (CDX)
—This lopes along with a steady, gently swaying pace. His burnished baritone is answered by steel licks that pop up throughout the track. In a word, classy.

THE OAK RIDGE BOYS/What’cha Gonna Do
Writer: Steven J. Williams/Will Nance/Sherrie Austin; Producer: Michael Sykes & Duane Allen; Publisher: Magic Mustang/Big Loud Bucks/Smokin’ Grapes/Bilangray/Lil’ Geezer/Rockin’ the Delta/Starboard Left, BMI/SESAC; ORB (CDX)
—Bass man Richard Sterban’s stuttering delivery of the title lines of this bopper is priceless. The rest of the boys are still harmonizing flawlessly. The song is as catchy as all get out.

.38 SPECIAL/Help Somebody
Writer: Kip Raines/Jeffrey Steele; Producer: Danny Chauncey; Publisher: 3 Ring Circus/Songs of Windswept Pacific, ASCAP; .38 Special (CDX)
—These veteran Southern rockers have a true blue-collar lyric here. Despite that and the mid-tempo rhythm, there’s no getting around the “rock” attitude in the performance.

JASON MICHAEL CARROLL/Meet Me In The Barn
Writer: Jason Michael Carroll/Dallas Davidson/Patrick Davis; Producer: Patrick Davis Music; Publisher: Universal-Careers/More Than Rhymes/EMI Blackwood/String Stretcher, BMI; Stray (CDX)
—The cute country girl sure knows how to get his attention when she whispers sweet nothings in his ear. Especially when it’s the title of this romper that she’s whispering.

BRANTLEY GILBERT/You Don’t Know Her Like I Do
Writer: Brantley Gilbert/Jim McCormick; Producer: Dann Huff; Publisher: Warner-Tamerlane/Indiana Angel/Jim McCormick, BMI; Valory (track)
—Sung with pained sincerity, this is easily his most powerful performance to date. Plus, the songwriting and production are both first rate. Hang on for the hushed, anguished vocal passage near the finale.

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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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