DISClaimer: Who Has New Music For CRS Gatekeepers To Hear?


Tate Stevens & Big & Rich

This week is Country Radio Seminar, so who has the foresight to schedule new music for the gatekeepers to hear?

Gary Allan does. So do Jon Pardi, Phil Vassar and the Zac Brown Band. All of them will be vying for the visiting radio folks’ attentions. The record that captured mine was “Cheat on You” by Big & Rich. In a critical, crucial week, it wins as Disc of the Day.

There is absolutely no question in my mind who the newcomer to watch is in this column. That would be Tate Stevens. He has both the lung power and the song. Give that man a DisCovery Award.

Writer: Kyle Park; Producer: Kyle Park; Publisher: Walk in the Park, BMI; Kyle Park
—Love the thump and bump in the production. His earnest tenor rides atop the sound with confidence. Play it again.

BIG & RICH/Cheat on You
Writer: John Rich/Amanda Watkins/Kasey Buckley; Producer: Dann Huff; Publisher: J.Money/Kobalt/It’s All Bacon/Songs of Octane/Songs of Universal/And It’s All Good/OctoSongs, ASCAP/BMI; Warner Bros.
—Their voices are perfectly Everly-intertwined on this fabulous slab of sound. The track pounds relentlessly while they duet brilliantly on the cautionary tale of a lady trying to be faithful while her man does everything to drive her away. Love it, love it, love it.

Writer: Candy Cameron/Dave Berg/Deanna Bryant; Producer: Blake Chancey, James Stroud & Stephony Smith; Publisher: Sounds of RPM/Cal IV/Love Island/Ridgedreamer, ASCAP; RPM
—She misses him and contemplates drink and a one-night-stand. Considering the depth of the lyric, her somewhat bland vocal performance could use a bit more grit.

Writer: Gary Allan/Odie Blackmon/Sarah Buxton; Producer: Jay Joyce; Publisher: Crystal Beach/Third Tier/Songs of MPR/Ride On Josephine/Molet/We’re Going to Maui/Tom Leis/Songs of Universal, BMI/ASCAP; MCA Nashville
—Gary’s on a roll, and this tempo tune will keep him right on track. As usual, his vocal is an arrow of truth, this time in a lyric about assembling one’s self.

HOLLY WILLIAMS/Gone Away from Me
Writer: Holly Williams; Producer: Charlie Peacock; Publisher: My Own Confusion, BMI; Georgiana 
—This week’s People magazine says that Holly’s CD The Highway is, “an early contender for 2013’s best country album.” You won’t get any argument from me. In recent years, she has really come into her own as a writer-artist. This gentle, meditative, folkie track features harmony vocals by Jackson Browne. Other guests on the excellent set include Dierks Bentley, Jakob Dylan and Gwyneth Paltrow.

JON PARDI/Up All Night
Writer: Jon Pardi/Bart Butler/Brett Beavers; Producer: Bart Butler & Jon Pardi; Publisher: The Song Factory/Golden Vault/Bill Butler/Chrysalis One/BMG/Chestnut Barn, IMRO/BMI; Capitol Nashville
—It’s an invitation to party, country-style. You know the drill: The dirt road, the truck, the cooler full of brew, skinny dipping, radio tunes yadda, yadda, yadda. No exactly an original idea, but inescapably catchy.

Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; RPM
—Rhythm happy and joyously harmonized. The steel-drum vibe is extra cool. Adorable, like everything they do.

TATE STEVENS/Power of a Love Song
Writer: Jeremy Bussey/Bradley Gaskin/Marcus Franklin Johnson; Producer: Blake Chancey; Publisher: Universal/Buzzzcutt/Songs of Program 360/Kobalt/Big Bobcat/Big Loud Bucks, SESAC/ASCAP/BMI; RCA
—December’s winner of the second season of The X Factor sings his face off on this power-ballad debut single. This unstoppable force of nature has “hit” written all over it.

Writer: Gary Hannan/Eddie Montgomery/Phil O’Donnel; Producer: Gary Hannan; Publisher: Chobe/Gary James Hannan/Immokalee/Little Biscuit/Plowin Ground/Sixteen Stars, ; Junebug
—She’s gaining weight, and it’s not from eating too much food. Daddy’s carrying a sawed off under his coat, and the sweatin’ groom is wearing a bullet-proof vest. The whole town’s talkin’ about these nuptials. Sound wise, it’s an outlaw rocker with a southern accent and a wailin’ vocal.

Writer: Phil Vassar/Tom Douglas; Producer: Phil Vassar & Ross Copperman; Publisher: Phylvester/Sony-ATV/Tom Doulgas, ASCAP/BMI; Rodeowave
—Lilting and buoyant, this has a sunny, springtime tone. Super positive, shiny and shimmering with harmonies.


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