I’m digging this kid’s singing more and more. If memory serves, he has been at the top of the charts twice now. I’m betting that “Til My Last Day” makes it a trifecta.
There’s a lot more music to recommend this week. Curb’s Rachel Holder has her finest single to date. Lionel Richie & Shania Twain are glowing together on Mercury. The Michigan duo Some Velvet Evening have a refreshing retro sound. And speaking of retro, the always dependable Chuck Mead is back and sounding as great as ever.
Our DisCovery Award goes to Logan Mize. Next week, this Big Yellow Dog songwriter will also become the debut artist on the publishing company’s new record label. Raise a glass and wish him bon voyage.
ROY SOLIS/Corpus Christi
Writer: Roy Solis/Johnny Garcia/Troy Powers; Producer: Johnny Garcia; Publisher: Avenue 1/Busy at Play/Mia’s Pub Shop, BMI/ASCAP; Avenue 1 (www.roysolismusic.com)
—Gently rolling, with some wonderfully deft guitar picking in between his softly plaintive tenor vocal phrases. Pleasantly listenable and easily programmable.
JUSTIN MOORE/Til My Last Day
Writer: Brian Dean Maher/Justin Moore/Jeremy Stover; Producer: Jeremy Stover; Publisher: Tunes of Bigger Picture/Big Music Machine/Double Barrel Ace/Super 98/EMI Apirl/Songs of Countrywood, ASCAP/BMI; Valory (track)
—He’s a bad boy who promises to change in order to prove the depth of his love. In fact, he’s vowing to love her until the day he dies. The driving, percussive production is terrific. His performance is soaked with sincerity, and the way he employs that small-town Arkansas drawl is completely endearing. This thing is going places.
SOME VELVET EVENING/Shooting the Breeze
Writer: Carrie Shepard/John Holkeboer; Producer: John Holkeboer; Publisher: none listed; SVE (track) (www.somevelvetevening.com)
—This Michigan duo is going for a retro sound here, and they nail it with charming simplicity. The nifty guitar twang and well-practiced harmony singing are both delightful. Check out their vintage, Opry-style video on the website.
LIONEL RICHIE & SHANIA TWAIN/Endless Love
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Mercury (ERG)
—The production is quite toned down from Lionel’s massively successful 1981 version with Diana Ross. But like virtually everything he’s ever written, the melody is so irresistible that you get swept away no matter what the musical surrounding. And, yes, this deserves to be a country smash.
RACHEL HOLDER/In Your Arms
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Curb (ERG)
—I was smitten with this the moment I heard it during CRS. It’s a lushly melodic power ballad with an almost hymn-like quality, and she delivers it with full fervor. Hang on for the chill-bump, upward modulation in the last chorus.
GEORGE HAMILTON IV & DARRELL McCALL/Abilene
Writer: L. Brown/G. Gibson/J. Loudermilk/A. Stanton; Producer: Justin Trevino; Publisher: Sony-ATV Acuff Rose, BMI; Heart of Texas (track) (325-597-1895)
—The much-loved and durable Grand Ole Opry star traveled to the Lone Star State to record his new CD, In the Heart of Texas. He kicks it off with a reprise of his 1963 signature song that’s drenched in steel and twin fiddles. Honky-tonk great McCall takes a turn at the mic, too, but with quite a bit more vibrato.
EASTON CORBIN/Lovin’ You Is Fun
Writer: Jim Beavers/Bob DiPiero; Producer: Carson Chamberlain; Publisher: Sony-ATV/Beavertime/Love Monkey, BMI; Mercury (CDX)
—There’s nothing really wrong with this blandly bouncy ditty. But considering the caliber of material he’s previously released (”A Little More Country Than That,” “Roll With It,” “I Can’t Love You Back”), this has to be counted as a disappointment.
DEEANN DOMINY/Daddy Went to Prison
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Dizzee (track) (www.deeanndominy.com)
—This gal is a previous DisCovery Award winner, and I still say she deserves major-label attention. This is a distinctive, individual new songwriting voice that needs to be nurtured and encouraged.
CHUCK MEAD & JAMEY JOHNSON/You Better Treat Your Man Right
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Ramseur (track) (www.chuckmead.com)
—Back at the Quonset Hut is the second solo CD by this former BR5-49 frontman. In between them, he was the musical director for the successful Broadway musical The Million Dollar Quartet. The concept here is to return to Music Row’s very first studio and cut some straightforward country classics with his band, members of the original A-Team and some terrific guests. Jamey is a merry and lively vocal foil on this wry, Wayne Raney outing. Elsewhere, you’ll find Bobby Bare (”Hey Joe”), Elizabeth Cook (”Pickin’ Wild Mountain Berries”) and Old Crow Medicine Show (”Wabash Cannonball”). Highly recommended.
LOGAN MIZE/Rock N Roll Band
Writer: Logan Mize/Blake Chaffin; Producer: Daniel Tashian & Logan Mize; Publisher: Even the Losers/Year of the Dog/Big Yellow Dog/Music of Parallel/Amplified/Zoe and Her Friend Munkee, ASCAP/BMI; Big Yellow Dog (track) (www.loganmize.com)
—Logan’s Nobody in Nashville debut CD drops next Tuesday. His website is teasing this track as a sneak peak. It showcases his raspy, gripping delivery amid a blue-collar rock audio surrounding. He says he’s a disciple of Tom Petty, but you can also hear the hook-conscious, hillbilly influence of his uncle Billy Mize (who wrote Charlie Walker’s iconic 1960 hit “Who Will Buy the Wine”). To say the least, extremely promising. Count me in.
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