Carrie Underwood rules. The Oklahoma-bred gal who cleverly calls her publishing company Carrie Okie has absolutely no challengers this week. She stands tall with the undisputed Disc of the Day.
Jay Jolley is a Detroit-area keyboardist and singer who has opened for many big names in the Midwest. His “It’s a Friday Thing” earns him the DisCovery Award for this edition.
Writer: none listed; Producer: The Cadillac Black; Publisher: none listed; TCB (track)
—The guys in this Southern-rock trio used to be in the super Nashville pop/rock band American Bang. Their debut as a country act sounds like they haven’t drifted too far from their roots. This rocks in a party kinda way. Look for The Cadillac Black in upcoming episodes of TV’s Nashville. (Did you catch Lindi Ortega doing her new single on the show last week?)BIG & RICH/Party Like Cowboyz
Writer: John Rich/Big Kenny; Producer: Dann Huff; Publisher: J. Money/Kobalt/Big Love, ASCAP/BMI; Warner Bros.
—And speaking of party, these two practically patented the country-boys-on-a-rampage thang. This is straight from their typical playbook, complete with sung/spoken passages, screaming guitars and stomping beats.
AMBER HAYES/Any Day Is a Good Day
Writer: Amber Hayes/Bill Diluigi/J.P. Williams; Producer: Paul Compton; Publisher: Okie Girl/888 Red/Rio Bravo/Blonde Leading Blind, ASCAP/BMI; AOK
—Simply lovely. Her sweetly wistful singing voice is perfectly framed by an airy production and pristinely placed harmony vocals. Plus, it has a message to warm your soul. I could definitely get used to listening to this wafting through the radio speakers.
AARON WATSON/Real Good Time
Writer: none listed; Producer: Aaron Watson, Sam Seifert & Wes Hightower; Publisher: none listed; HTK
—Aaron Watson has rounded up a bevy of impressive guest stars on his new CD. Pat Green, Elizabeth Cook, Willie Nelson, John Anderson and Kevin Fowler all drop by. But on the set’s title tune, Mr. Watson is on his own. It’s a rapid romp with a pace that’s almost tongue tripping. Guitar and fiddle notes splatter all over the place.
CARRIE UNDERWOOD/Two Black Cadillacs
Writer: Carrie Underwood/Josh Kear/Hillary Lindsey; Producer: Mark Bright; Publisher: Carrie Okie/Global Dog/Big Yellow Dog/Lunalight/Words & Music/Raylene/BMG Crysalis, BMI/ASCAP; Arista
—Very atmospheric and mysterious. The brooding, swirling production surrounds her full-throated singing of a tale about a wife and a mistress evidently teaming up to do away with the man who deceived them.
NO JUSTICE/Shot in the Dark
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; NME/Smith Entertainment
—Country-rock music with a slightly muddy sound. I’d have upped the tempo a tad and tweaked the tuning.
Writer: Cowboy/Bad News; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Raw
—Of the song’s co-writers, “Cowboy” is Chad Kaltenberg and “Bad News” apparently doesn’t have any other name. The band sounds competent enough, but the production is dreadful. “Garage” would be a compliment. Get a studio and a producer.
JAY JOLLEY/It’s a Friday Thing
Writer: Bill Edwards; Producer: Chuck Alkazian; Publisher: Edwardsongs, ASCAP; Double J (CDX)
—With its menacing guitar work and minor-key melody, this has a cool “outlaw” vibe. Darkly compelling. Well done.
TYLER STEPHENS/Freedom Don’t Come Free
Writer: Scott Patrick/Courtney Patrick; Producer: Dann Huff; Publisher: Aria/Five Star Country, BMI; Big Appal (CDX)
—He sings flat and slurs his words.
OUTBOUND ROAD/Home to Me
Writer: B. Shannon/B. Vames/A. Jannotti; Producer: Alan Stein; Publisher: Cannon Biggs, BMI; Lure (CDX)
—It seems to take forever to get to the title line. The gist of the power ballad is that big-city life isn’t for him.
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