DISClaimer Single Reviews (8/15/12)

Tiffany Houghton, Clayton Gardner

Ask and you shall receive.

In last week’s column, I bemoaned the lack of a DisCovery Award contender. So this week, I got two of them.

Both are Texans. Our Male winner, Clayton Gardner, plies his trade in Lone Star State roadhouses. Our Female winner, Tiffany Houghton, has moved to Music City to record her debut, six-song EP.

Eli Young Band

The Disc of the Day goes to Eli Young Band for its warmly romantic “Say Goodnight.” Kudos for another job well done.

CLAYTON GARDNER/I Won’t Settle Down
Writer: Clayton Gardner/Mack Damon; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; CG (www.claytongardner.com)
—This breezy bopper with a touch of twang comes from a Texas newcomer with a smooth, confident, easy-going baritone. Promising.

ALI ISABELLA/Say You’ll Be Mine
Writer: Josh Foster/Julie Downs; Producer: Gregory Lattimer & Josh Foster; Publisher: Alisma, BMI; Alisma (track) (www.aliisabella.com)
—She sounds very young and quite pert. You wouldn’t call her a vocal powerhouse by any means, but this lightweight, up-tempo ditty doesn’t require her to be one. Peppy. Innocent.

KATHY MATTEA/West Virginia, My Home
Writer: none listed; Producer: Gary Paczosa; Publisher: none listed; Sugar Hill (track) (www.mattea.com)
—Mattea has scheduled a trio of Music City appearances next month to celebrate the imminent release of her Calling Me Home CD — Sept. 5 at The Bluebird Cafe, Sept. 7 at The Station Inn and Sept. 8 at the Opry House gift shop. In the meantime, this lilting, sweetly sung, acoustic track is doing the advance work on her website. The wafting, guitar-fiddle-mandolin picking by the CD’s all-star band is as heavenly as the singing.

RODNEY HAYDEN/Buckaroo Man
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Palomino
—A single with a built-in identity crisis. The band thinks it is a Southern-rock outfit. He thinks he’s a cowboy.

JERRY KILGORE/Telephone, TX
Writer: Kilgore/Guess; Producer: Jerry Kilgore & James Mitchell; Publisher: none listed; Nic Nic Neer (track)
—I have enjoyed this fellow’s work many times in the past. The title tune of his new CD is a dark and bluesy lament that showcases both his creativity as a songwriter and his charismatic vocal ability. Another winner from a man who seems fully loaded with them.

TIM DUGGER/(I Called Her) Tennessee
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Curb (www.timdugger.com)
—Talk about drawling — you could cut this guy’s Dixie accent with a jack knife. He falls for a college girl who teaches him a thing or two, except her name. The track is your typical rock ‘em, sock ‘em type.

TIFFANY HOUGHTON/Only One
Writer: Tiffany Houghton; Producer: Tiffany Houghton; Publisher: none listed; TH (www.tiffanyhoughton.com)
—She is a true Triple Threat. Her singing is forceful and expressive. Her song writing is solid. Her production finesse on the pulsing, dynamic track is exemplary. She’s Dallas gal who has moved to Music City to make it big. Keep your eyes and ears on her.

NAT STUCKEY/A Hurt as Big as Texas
Writer: Nat Stuckey; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed, BMI; Music Roow Talent (track)
—Nat Stuckey (1933-1988) was a country hit maker who died too soon. His widow, Ann, has been keeping his memory alive with reissues of his works. The latest, Words and Music by Nat Stuckey and Friends, includes his three best-known compositions, “Pop a Top,” “Sweet Thang” and “Waitin’ in Your Welfare Line.” Its lesser known tunes include this lively western swinger that will set your toes to tapping. Recommended listening.

ELI YOUNG BAND/Say Goodbye
Writer: Katrina Elam/Melissa Pierce/John Paul White; Producer: Mike Wrucke; Publisher: Songs of Universal/Kreative/Music of Stage Three/Gutter-N-Grace/Roger’s Dream/BMG Chrysalis/EMI Blackwood/Mr. Bright Side, BMI; Republic Nashville (track)
—The Eli Young Band is going from strength to strength. This soaring power ballad wears its ultra-romantic heart on its sleeve. Soul-tugging in every respect. You’re also going to be hearing more from its previous chart topper, “Even If It Breaks Your Heart.” It plays during the opening montage of the TV series Nashville on Wednesday nights this fall on ABC.

DAVID ANDERSEN/Malaguena
Writer: none listed; Producer: David Andersen; Publisher: none listed; Andersongs (track) (www.davidandersenmusic.com)
—Thanks to his daily strolls, strumming in the Conservatory of the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, guitarist David Andersen is probably the most famous “unknown” musician in Nashville. He has two new CDs, Vituoso and Virtuoso II. The latter contains his deft, easy-listening run through this classical Spanish instrumental standard.

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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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