What’s that sound?
Oh yes, I remember. It’s called country music. And I don’t mean the overly polished kind that Music Row usually serves us. I mean the Real Deal.
Teea Goans, Herrick, Gold City, Moot Davis, Derek Hoke and Justin Trevino are all back to warm my hillbilly heart with ringing reminders of what old-school country can mean. My enthusiastic encouragement goes out to all of these folks for doing their jobs so well. Again. I’ve praised them all before in this column, and I am happy to do so once more.
It’s awfully hard to argue with the star power of Mary Chapin Carpenter with James Taylor. Especially when the song is as strong as “Soul Companion.” Give that baby a Disc of the Day prize.
I’m sorry to report that no one stepped forward from the ranks of the unknown to claim a DisCovery Award this week. But hope springs eternal. There’s always the next stack of platters….
MOOT DAVIS/Man About Town
Writer: Moot Davis; Producer: Kenny Vaughan; Publisher: Highway Kind, ASCAP; Highway Kind (track) (www.mootdavis.com)
—If you’re a lover of traditional country music and don’t know about Music City’s Moot Davis, you need to get up to speed. The title tune of his newest CD is a moaning barroom ballad that hits right in the gut. His trembling tenor recalls the greatness of Gary Stewart, and his album’s cast includes such luminaries as Harry Stinson, Elizabeth Cook and Chris Scruggs. I caught Moot at the CMA Music Fest a few seasons back, and he blew me away. Get on board.
THE TWANGTOWN PARAMOURS/Chains
Writer: MaryBeth Zamer/Mike T. Lewis; Producer: Mike T. Lewis; Publisher: All Olive/Inside Edge, ASCAP; Inside Edge (track) (www.twangtownparmours.com)
—Led by singer-songwriters Zamer and Lewis, this acoustic group’s new collection is titled The Promise of Friday Night. This tragic, folkie, saga/ballad is one of its compelling centerpieces. Zamer’s clear soprano lead vocals might be too pure sounding for country programmers, but those of you on the Americana airwaves might take to it just fine.
CHUCK HANCOCK/On a Personal Note
Writer: Chuck Hancock; Producer: Bill Bleckley, Mike Schrimpf & Chuck Hancock; Publisher: Chuck Hancock, BMI; CH (track) (www.chuckhancock.com)
—This is the title track to a collection by a country baritone who sings with real Ray Price-style resonance. Its melody is charming, and the lyric catches the ear since it is written as an email to a lover.
MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER & JAMES TAYLOR/Soul Companion
Writer: Mary Chapin Carpenter; Producer: Matt Rollings & Mary Chapin Carpenter; Publisher: Why Walk, ASCAP; Zoe (track) (www.marychapincarpenter.com)
—Chapin’s new Ashes & Roses is as lustrous a set of songs as she has ever issued. Its lead-off single conveys warm yearning for lasting love in its rolling, mid-tempo groove. The two singers are quite striking together, since James’s familiar tenor and Chapin’s soulful alto are coincidentally in exactly the same range and key. Super listening.
DEREK HOKE/Lonely Street
Writer: Derek Hoke; Producer: Dexter Green; Publisher: Slow Hoke, BMI; Electric Western/Thirty Tigers (track) (www.derekhoke.com)
—Mark your calendars. Derek Hoke’s Waiting All Night album release party is at The Groove in East Nashville on Sunday, August 26, at 2:00 in the afternoon. “Free food and beer while it lasts!” reads the invitation. The record will be available in both CD and vinyl formats. That retro touch is appropriate, since this lead-off ballad is a sadly wistful, country-crooner delight. Elsewhere on the set, he bops with garage-band elan, tackles country-rock with fiddle finesse, moans the blues and two-steps like a pro. I have a feeling that his Groove show is going to be a joy.
JENNA JENTRY/Good As Gold
Writer: Jenna Jentry/Kevin DeClue; Producer: Kevin DeClue & Jenna Jentry; Publisher: Jenna Jentry/Kevin DeClue, BMI; JJ (track) (www.jennajentry.com)
—The title tune to Jentry’s CD is a frothy rocker with a well-produced, double-time backing track. Her singing voice is too vanilla to match its energy.
TEEA GOANS & JAMIE DAILEY/That’s Just Me
Writer: Jerry Salley/Lisa Shaffer; Producer: Terry Choate; Publisher: Universal/Brentwood Benson/Lasso the Moon/KLMS, SESAC/ASCAP; Crosswind (track) (www,teeagoans.com)
—This lady’s debut CD made me an instant fan back in 2010. Her sophomore set confirms her complete mastery of country vocal interpreting. She and Jamie sway through this two-step title tune like a perfectly matched honky-tonk prince and princess. Also check out her stunning solo reading of Larry Gatlin’s “I’ve Done Enough Dying Today.” This, my friends, is Country Music, and I am completely in love.
JUSTIN TREVINO/Two of the Usual
Writer: Fred Carter Jr.; Producer: Justin Trevino; Publisher: none listed, BMI; Heart of Texas (track) (325-597-1895)
—This neo-traditionalist has been making exemplary CDs in Texas for several seasons. His latest is a steel-soaked gem that kicks off with this slow-shuffle title tune. His love flaunts her cheating in front of him in this classic-sounding lament. Amber Digby’s harmony vocal on the chorus is a piercing plus.
GOLD CITY/Peter, James and John
Writer: Dianne Wilkinson; Producer: none listed; Publisher: Christian Taylor/Daywind/EverGreen, BMI; New Haven (track) (www.newhavenrecords.com)
—New Haven Records has a nifty compilation of this year’s Southern-gospel winners from the Singing News fan awards. This is meat-and-potatoes, old-school stuff, people. In addition to tracks by The Perrys, The Kingsmen, The McKameys and other all-day-sing favorites, the label’s own Gold City is represented by this soul-stirring, harmony-saturated toe tapper. Clap along and shout, “Hallelujah!”
HERRICK/Do You Love Me
Writer: Kerry Herrick/Donna Herrick; Producer: Herrick & Michael Bonagura; Publisher: Herrick KDK, BMI; BreakAway (track) (www.herricklive.com)
—I have praised this foursome effusively in the past. Lead singer Donna Herrick penetrates this percolating track with passion, while her own mandolin sets the throbbing pace of the production. This has drive, dynamism and drama. Play it.
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