DISClaimer: It’s a day of dueling divas

divas3It’s a day of dueling divas. Both LeAnn Rimes and Miranda Lambert have terrific new singles this week. Since one is a ballad and one is a tempo tune, I don’t want to compare apples to oranges. So they are sharing the Disc of the Day award.

I have never done this before, but I am giving a repeat DisCovery Award. Singer-songwriter Charlie Worsham won it last June, and I am bestowing it again, for the same song, no less. If you seek a complete unknown, give a second DisCovery prize to another singer-songwriter, Max Gomez.

Writer: LeAnn Rimes/Darrell Brown/Dan Wilson; Producer: Darrell Brown & LeAnn Rimes; Publisher: Curb/Lucky in Love/Grey Ink/Chrysalis, ASCAP; Curb
—Enchanting. Softly strummed guitars, brushed drums and sighing steel back a delicately shaded vocal performance. Cheating has never sounded so lovely. Her finest single in years.

Charlie Worsham

Charlie Worsham

JOHN LOWELL/I Am Going to the West
Writer: Connie Dover; Producer: John Lowell & Fred Baker; Publisher: Taylor Park, BMI; JL (track) 
—The title tune of this flattop guitarist’s debut solo CD has a pleasant, languid, folky quality. The lyric seems to recall the Lewis & Clark Expedition in its evocation of American scenic splendor.

Writer: Gary LaVox/Neil Thrasher/Wendell Mobley; Producer: Dann Huff & Rascal Flatts; Publisher: Sony-ATV/BMG Gold/We Jam Writers Group/BMG Chrysalis/Songs of Peer/Warner-Tamerlane/Boatwright Baby, ASCAP/BMI; Big Machine
—The stately rhythm track gives low, undertow power to the track, which contrasts nicely with Gary’s high-tenor vocal performance. The lyric’s Christian imagery should make this attractive to CCM broadcasters as well as to the group’s country constituency.

JILLIAN KOHR/What You’ve Done
Writer: Kohr/Cirimelli/Kohr; Producer: Gary Cirimelli; Publisher: Jillian Kohr, BMI; HMG Nashville 
—Her soulful, raspy vocal is ear catching, but the instrumental track just lays there.

MIRANDA LAMBERT/Mama’s Broken Heart
Writer: Brandy Clark/Shane McAnally/Kacey Musgraves; Producer: Frank Liddell, Chuck Ainlay & Glenn Worf; Publisher: Tunes of Bigger Picture/Vista Loma/Crazy Water/Little Blue Egg/Kobalt/Warner-Tamerlane, ASCAP/BMI; RCA 
—Very cool. The production is loaded with little audio tricks and unexpected turns. As usual, Miranda sings her face off. The sassy lyric outlines a feisty response to a breakup, and she delivers it with pounds of personality.

Max Gomez

Max Gomez

Writer: John Driskell Hopkins/Sean McIntyre; Producer: John Driskell Hopkins & Balsam Range; Publisher: Brighter Shade, BMI; JDH (track)
—Hopkins is a founding member of the Zac Brown Band. On this CD, he is teamed with bluegrass headliners Balsam Range, plus several guest stars. In the cast are Joey + Rory, Jerry Douglas, Zac Brown and on this title tune, banjo master Tony Trischka. It meanders melodically, but is consistently listenable, as is the whole project. Recommended.

Writer: Tyler Hubbard/Brian Kelley/Rodney Clawson/Chris Tompkins; Producer: Joey Moi; Publisher: Big Loud Mountain/Big Red Toe/Amarillo Sky/Big Loud Bucks/Big Loud Songs/Angel River, BMI/ASCAP; Republic (track) 
—Country rock with big echoey guitars and stomping percussion. He’s cuddling up to his honey with some ‘shine in the bright sunshine, and the sound is appropriately ebullient.

RICH MAHAN/Mama Found My Bong
Writer: Rich Mahan; Producer: Brian Harrison & Rich Mahan; Publisher: Rich Mahan, BMI; Snortin’ Horse (track) 
—Ya gotta love a title like this. Elsewhere on the CD, you’ll find “Rehab’s for Quitters,” “Overserved in Alabam” and “I’ll Get Off the Booze.” Mahan’s singing voice is an almost strangulated wail and the production is minimal, but he keeps you listening. The album is titled Blame Bobby Bare, since he was inspired to write these songs by listening to “Tequila Sheila” and “Drop Kick Me Jesus.”

Writer: Charlie Worsham/Ryan Tyndell/Marty Dodson; Producer: Charlie Worsham & Ryan Tyndell; Publisher: Purple Cape/Dad’s Retirement/Black to Black/I Hope Mama’s Listening, BMI; Warner Bros. 
—I reviewed this when it was an ole Publishing EP tune last summer. Now it’s a real single, so here we go again: This guy sings with immense warmth and personality. The production is an ear-tickling, acoustic-with-a-thump delight. The harmony work is flawless. And the song is a melodic wonder. Make this man a star.

MAX GOMEZ/Run From You
Writer: Max Gomez/Jeff Trott; Producer: Jeff Trott; Publisher: Warner-Tamerlane/Marveltone/New West Independent/Cyrillic Soup/Wixen, BMI/ASCAP; New West (track) 
—The song is super rhythmic and catchy. So much so that it really doesn’t matter that his vocal performance of it is somewhat laid back. The punch in the production helps, as do a splendid steel solo and some echoey background singing. Promising. The CD is titled Rule the World. Lend it your ears.


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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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