DISClaimer Single Reviews (4/04/12)

Jerrod Niemann, Joni Rae Jack

There are lots of new faces to greet us this day.

Newcomers to the column include Chelsea Bain, The Coleman Brothers, L.D. Whiehead & The 80 Proof Band and our DisCovery Award winner, Joni Rae Jack.

Missouri’s LiveWire continues to impress. In between helping its hometown of Joplin rebuild from tornado devastation, the band continues to issue extremely listenable singles. “Gone” got to me. Similarly, Glen Templeton continues his winning ways. Both of these indie acts deserve your support.

You know what I like about Jerrod Niemann? I mean, besides the fact that he spells his last name with two “n’s.” He’s such a cool artist because he isn’t afraid to be different. His records don’t sound like they come from a factory. They sound hand-crafted. And that’s why he wins this week’s Disc of the Day honor. That, and the fact that “Shinin’ on Me” is the catchiest song in this stack.

KIX BROOKS/New to This Town
Writer: Kix Brooks/Marv Green/Terry McBride; Producer: Kix Brooks & Jay DeMarcus; Publisher: none listed, BMI; Arista (CDX)
—“Every street’s a memory/Of how things used to be.” Everywhere he goes, he sees her and remembers what they once had. Kix drawls this with conviction, and the track crackles with power and clarity. Rascal Flatts star DeMarcus continues to impress as a record producer.

JERROD NIEMANN/Shinin’ on Me
Writer: Jerrod Niemann/Lee Brice/Rob Hatch/Lance Miller; Producer: Jerrod Niemann & Dave Brainard; Publisher: none listed, BMI/SESAC; Sea Gayle/Arista (CDX)
—Quirky and funky, this has a loose-limbed charm that’s hard to deny. The bluesy vocal has immense personality, and the bright horn blasts, Dobro solo and organ riffs are all ear-opening. I remain a fan.

JONI RAE JACK/Maybe You’ll Love the Way I Leave
Writer: Wynn Varble/Randy Hardison; Producer: Shayne Morrison & Greg Hunt; Publisher: WB, ASCAP; Ah Ha (www.joniraejack.com)
—Lickety-split stuttering guitar. Pert, personable hillbilly vocal. Twinkling piano plunking. Rapid, bopping, backbeat percussion. Sizzling steel and fiddle work. This rocks splendidly.

MARTY RAYBON/I’ve Seen What He Can Do
Writer: Lee Black/Sue C. Smith/Kenna Turner West; Producer: Mark L. Carman; Publisher: Christian Taylor/BMG/House of Blacks/Universal/Brentwood-Benson/CCBT, no performance rights listed; Rural Rhythm (track) (www.ruralrhythm.com)
—Marty’s Hand to the Plow CD has already yielded one big Christian hit, his self-penned “You’ve Got to Move.” Its second single is a lovely, melodic ballad that glorifies the beauties of nature, the wonders of the human spirit and the power of love to prove the existence of the Almighty. As always, this man’s voice reaches right into your soul. He’s a hoss.

LIVEWIRE/Gone
Writer: Daniel Bell; Producer: Justin Woods; Publisher: Country Party, BMI; Way Out West (615-319-1863)
—I like their silvery harmonies, the catchy tune, the chiming tone, the sterling electric guitar work and the thumping rhythm. I even like the “kiss my ass” line. Definitely worth some spins.

NEAL McCOY/Shotgun Rider
Writer: Rhett Akins/Dallas Davidson/Keith Anderson/Ben Hayslip; Producer: Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton & Brent Rowan; Publisher: none listed; Blaster (www.nealmccoy.com)
—The songwriting and production credits sure are impressive. In this friendly, innocent-sounding bopper, he wants to cruise in the country with her in the title role.

GLEN TEMPLETON/Sing That Song Again
Writer: Ben Hayslip/Deric Ruttan; Producer: none listed; Publisher: Sony-ATV/Warner Chappell, no performance rights listed; Black River Entertainment
—The songs in question are “Brown Eyed Girl” and “Glory Days,” both of which are certainly worth singing again. Yes, radio plays the soundtrack of our lives, which is what this rocking, romantic sound celebrates. Solid.

THE COLEMAN BROTHERS/Tribute to a Firefighter
Writer: Mike Black/Judy Kellersberger; Producer: Greg Cole; Publisher: Gaylord/Blanco River, no performance rights listed; American Sounds (www.thecolemanbrothers.net)
—At last, someone has rhymed something with “orange.” Here’s how: “The sky is ghostly orange/This ain’t no false alarm.” As the title indicates, it is a straightforward, literal ode to the heroism of these public servants. Complete with sirens.

CHELSEA BAIN/Rockin’ That Trailer
Writer: Peter J. Sallis/Brian Gene White/Karyn Kristyne Williams/Mark David Carson; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Jobe/Rock Ridge
—Another rock performance trying to pass itself off as “country” by name-checking “Hank” and “the truck” and “trailer” and all such as that. Loud, in-your-face and headache inducing.

L.D. WHITEHEAD & THE 80 PROOF BAND/Mexico
Writer: Larry Doyle Whitehead II; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed, BMI; 80 Proof (www.80proofband.com)
—There’s ability here in the writing, the instrumental support and the vocal. But it sounds kinda like a demo. A little more production polish, please.

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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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