DISClaimer Single Reviews (1/23/13)

Phil Lee

Phil Lee

What a bunch of crap. There was precious little pleasant listening during this session, since nearly half the discs were dogs. The bright spots included Joel Crouse, John Damian and Chris Wall. The critically acclaimed and criminally unrewarded Phil Lee has the Disc of the Day. All country lovers should shower him with their love and money. The brightest spot of all was the DisCovery Award winner. Tyler Farr grabbed ahold of my ears and didn’t let go for a second.

JOHN DAMIAN/Gingerbread Man
Writer: Vernon Rust; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Reptile 
—The chiming, driving track has plenty of catchy, sitar-ish guitar work and his vocal on this well-written, hooky country rocker is packed with passion. Nicely done.

EASTON CORBIN/All Over the Road
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Mercury Nashville (ERG) 
—Bland. In one ear and out the other.

JORDAN ANDERSON/Toxic
Writer: Anderson/Robbins/Wilson; Producer: Kent Wells; Publisher: none listed; GTR (www.jordanandersoncountry.com)
—It’s a wild, super-energetic rocker laced with fiddle. Her vocal is ever so slightly flat.

Tyler Farr

Tyler Farr

EMERSON DRIVE/She’s My Kind of Crazy
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; TTA Quarterback (ERG)
—She has a tattoo on her butt, wears a ponytail and drives a junk car. Naturally, he’s completely smitten. I’m not. Pass.

CHRIS WALL/Six Shiny Strings
Writer: Chris Wall; Producer: Chris Wall, Lloyd Maines & Merel Bregante; Publisher: Shallow Pockets, BMI; Cold Spring (track) 
—This Texas favorite recorded his new El Western Motel CD in Austin with the gifted Lloyd Maines providing instrumental support. This acoustic, folk-country lead-off track is the tale of a boy who falls under the spell of music making. It’s like listening to a good buddy tell you a story. A sound of warmth and charm.

TYLER FARR/Redneck Crazy
Writer: Josh Kear/Mark Irwin/Chris Tompkins; Producer: Jim Catino & Julian King; Publisher: Global Dog/Big Yellow Dog/Lunalight/Words & Music/Green Vinyl/Big Loud Songs/Angel River/Big Loud Bucks, ASCAP; Columbia 
—I listened to him introduce this song on the Opry on Saturday night. It sounded good to me then, and it sounds good to me now. It’s a gripping little record. He sings with fevered, raspy emotion, and the creepy, quasi-stalking lyric is kinda scary in its obsessiveness. Well worth your spins.

DALE WATSON/Daughter’s Wedding Song
Writer: Dale Watson; Producer: none listed; Publisher: Dale Watson/Bug, BMI; Red House (track) 
—I just can’t get over the fact that this guy is not a gigantic country superstar. He sings like a lost son of Merle Haggard, writes songs with the best of them and looks cool to boot. This sweet, slow waltz appears on his new El Rancho Azul collection. It is a mite repetitive, but daddies everywhere will melt for its sentiment.

JOEL CROUSE/If You Want Some
Writer: Joel Crouse/Jamie Houston/Luke Laird; Producer: Jamie Houston; Publisher: Joel Crouse/Happy Cake/Songs of Universal/Creative Nation/Twangin’ and Slangin,’ BMI/ASCAP; Show Dog Universal 
—Happy and youthful, it’s an invitation to a party that is just about irresistible. Love his drawl and his phrasing. The track chugs right along.

PHIL LEE/She Don’t Let Love Get in the Way
Writer: Phil Lee; Producer: Richard Bennett; Publisher: Grim Reminder, BMI; Palookaville (track) (www.philleeone.com)
—Lee is the greatest honky-tonk singer in the modern history of Lower Broadway in Music City. His new CD is called The Fall & Further Decline of the Mighty King of Love. This track blends blues, country and calypso with just a touch of Mexicali while he intones like a young Dylan. I remain an enormous fan.

COUNTRY YOUTH ASSOCIATION/Trailer Trash
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; WSR 
—Completely incompetent, from vocal performance to instrumental noise to studio sonics. Easily the worst record I have heard in decades. Must be heard to be believed.

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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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