DISClaimer: A Flash of ‘Summer’


Brad Paisley

The platters this week are mainly as blah as the weather. Skies are gray and so are most of these sounds. The most brilliant flash of light is the second single from the upcoming Brad Paisley album. It easily wins a Disc of the Day prize. I know nothing about Clayton Gardner except the fact that his single has been sitting in my to-be-listened-to stack for weeks. Now I’m sorry it’s been buried there so long. He’s got the goods. Also a DisCovery Award.

MARTY RAYBON/That Janie Baker
Writers: Marty Raybon/John Fountain; Producer: Marty Raybon; Publisher: Mart and Mel/Cudzuhollar, ASCAP; Rural Rhythm
-Former Shenandoah frontman Raybon continues his bluegrass journey with a set titled The Back Forty featuring this uptempo romp celebrating the heroine of his old band’s 1993 hit “Janie Baker’s Love Slave.” Among the collection’s coolest tracks are his Full Circle band’s bluegrass reworkings of Charley Pride’s “She’s Just an Old Love Turned Memory” and Webb Pierce’s “Slowly.” The CD’s title salutes the singer’s 40th anniversary as an entertainer.

clayton gardner111

Clayton Gardner

Writers: Charlie Hager; Producer: Billy Jo High; Publisher:none listed, ASCAP; CH
-The band’s playing is mixed so that it fights the lead vocalist. But he’s bland and colorless, so maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

Writers: Shane Minor/Rachel Bradshaw/Bobby Huff; Producer: Chuck Howard & Wilbur Rimes; Publisher: EMI Blackwood/Shane Minor/Coburn/Ten Ten, BMI/ASCAP; Curb
-She gets over him in no time, five days to be exact. Full of verve, personality, humor and rhythm. Sprightly. Buoyant.

Writers: Jason Royall; Producer: Chris McIuan; Publisher: none listed, BMI; JR
-Perfectly tailored for the lead singer’s two-note range.

BRAD PAISLEY/Beat This Summer
Writers: Brad Paisley/Chris DuBois/Luke Laird; Producer: Brad Paisley; Publisher: none listed; Arista
-It might still be chilly outside, but Brad has a single that sings, “Sunshine!” loud and clear. The cloppy rhythms, snazzy guitar lines, interjected vocal effects and dazzling acoustics in this production are all mighty impressive indications of his ongoing progress as a record maker. Call me dazzled and delighted.

Writers: Jiggley Jones; Producer: Chris Tristram & Jiggley Jones; Publisher: Jiggley Jones, BMI; JJ
-His voice is okay. He has no idea how to write a coherent song. Wandering around blindfolded in search of a melody.

Writers: John Denver/Taffy Nivert Danoff/Bill Danoff; Producer: Brandi Carlile, The Twins and Buddy Miller; Publisher: Chrysalis One/Ruby Songs/WB/BMG, ASCAP; ATO
The Music Is You is the title of the John Denver tribute album. Despite his acceptance in country music, few of the tracks are by country artists. My Morning Jacket, Train, Dave Matthews, Evan Dando and the like dominate. Old Crow Medicine Show drops by for “Back Home Again,” and Mary Chapin Carpenter takes on “I Guess He’d Rather Be in Colorado.” Americana fave Brandi performs this, one of Denver’s best known songs. Emmylou is buried in the harmony-vocal mix until the last choruses, when you can more clearly hear her alto backing. In any case, the whole thing sounds like a demo.

Writers: none listed; Producer: James “Bubba” Hudson; Publisher: none listed; TXN
-The tune is spare and simple. He begins softly, with stark acoustic accompaniment. I kept hoping his voice would get stronger, and that the production would become more complex. The latter happened with addition of some layered background vocals. The former never did, since he was as tentative sounding at the end as he was at the start.

WYNONNA/Something You Can’t Live Without
Writers: Cactus Moser/David Lee Murphy; Producer: Cactus Moser; Publisher: Cactus Doin’ Work/Old Desperados/N2DCarol Vincent, ASCAP; Curb
-Over the weekend, I watched the absorbing GAC special about what Wy and Cactus have been going through for the past few months. He has produced and co-written her return to disc with quite a bit of flair. As usual, she sings her heart out, and the song gives her plenty of melodic space in which to work. The surrounding production is a stew of electric rock guitars and pulsing percussion.

Writers: Clayton Gardner/Mack Damon; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; CG
-I like the yearning tenor moan in his voice, and the twanging-guitar upbeat track is a plus as well. A winner.


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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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