DISClaimer: Blue Sky Riders Rise Above

Blue Sky Riders

Blue Sky Riders – Kenny Loggins, Georgia Middleman, and Gary Burr.

I am in love. Blue Sky Riders have eased the pain of slogging through years of Nashville mediocrity with their sterling vocal harmonies and sensational songwriting ability. It comes as no surprise that this trio has the Disc of the Day.

This week’s DISCovery Award also goes to Blue Sky Riders. Yes, I know they are comprised of the already well known Kenny Loggins, Gary Burr and Georgia Middleman. But as a group, they are new. And wonderful.

CHICAGO FARMER/Everybody In This Town
Writers: Chicago Farmer; Producer: Chicago Farmer and Chris Harden; Publisher: Napkin Poet, BMI
–File this under “Americana.” Recorded live and analog, this band has a ragged, rustic charm as well as some serious songwriting chops. The CD is titled Backenforth, IL. The man behind the band is singer-songwriter Cody Diekhoff. Remember him.

Writers: Ryan Broshear/Amie Broshear; Producer: Daniel Agee; Publisher: Painted Horse, ASCAP
–Well done. The production mixes nicely arranged strings with a poetic steel guitar. His resigned vocal on the ballad is just right for the lyric of a man who’s lost his love for good. And I do mean “for good,” because she has passed away, you see.

Writers: Blue Sky Riders; Producer: Peter Asher and Blue Sky Riders; Publisher: Gnossos/Connboy/Middle Girl, ASCAP/SESAC
–I have no idea if this sizzling bopper is the single or even if there is a single. It doesn’t really matter, since I adore every track on this group’s 15-track, harmony soaked, pop-country, melody blessed Finally Home CD. Blue Sky Riders are singer-songwriter dynamo Georgia Middleman, pop star Kenny Loggins and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member and Carole King/Ringo Starr sideman Gary Burr. The harmonies and songs they create together are spine tingling. If you buy one album this season, make it this one.

ACE DIAMOND/Rockabilly Man
Writers: R. Cowell, Producer: Harry King; Publisher: Richard E. Cowell, BMI
–As you might expect from the title, it has a ‘50s throwback sound. The band kicks butt, but his vocal has none of the passion or yelp of a classic backwoods rockabilly artist. A noble effort, but no sale.

Writers: Jon Nite/Nicolle Galyon; Producer: Dennis D’Amico; Publishers: Zavitson/Warner Tamerlane, BMI/ASCAP
–“I want to know you like I know my hometown.” Okay, it’s a little different as a lyric. Which I could forgive if the melody was interesting or if she had charisma as a vocalist. Neither is the case, alas.

THE MAVERICKS/Back In Your Arms Again
Writers: Raul Malo, Gary Nicholson, Seth Walker; Producer: Raul Malo and Niko Bolas; Publisher: Big Music Machine/Raul Malo/Sony-ATV Cross Keys/Gary Nicholson
–Delightful. Malo’s lead vocal is piped in from an echo chamber and the bopping band chugs along with plenty of twang and a wheezing organ. The song is beyond catchy.

Writers: Dan Hannon, Jesse Covin; Producer: Dan Hannon; Publisher: Emilex/Jessta James, BMI/ASCAP
–This starts out as a joyous country rocker then strangely veers into a rap. By the finale, it’s a shouting-crowd thang with a soul singer wailing. Schizophrenic.

KRISTEN KELLY/He Loves To Make Me Cry
Writers: Kristen Kelly/Paul Overstreet/Even Stevens; Producer: Tony Brown and Paul Overstreet; Publisher: none listed, BMI
–It’s a stately, steady blues lament. Kelly wails it for all it’s worth and stakes her claim as a newcomer to watch. Essential listening.

Writers: Luke Laird/Shane McAnally/Natalie Hemby; Producer: Paul Worley and Lady Antebellum; Publisher: Songs of Universal/Creative Nation/Twangin & Slangin/Crazy Water/Smack/Cobalt/EMI
–I’m not sure what is “country” about this song and performance, but it is certainly well executed.

Writers: Chris Leigh; Producer: Jim “Moose” Brown; Publisher: Chris Leigh, BMI
–He’s a total slob and sounds it. She kicks his buddies out in the middle of the football game and tosses his stuff onto the lawn. What’s a guy to do? Head down to the bar and commiserate with his boozy friends. Sloppy-drunk enjoyable.


Powered by Facebook Comments

Follow MusicRow on Twitter


Category: Artist, Featured, Reviews

About the Author

Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

View Author Profile