DISClaimer: Let The March To Stardom Begin

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Kacey Musgraves

Let the march to stardom begin. It has been so, so gratifying to watch the world fall in love with Kacey Musgraves. [MusicRow Publisher] Sherod [Robertson] and I rejoiced together when she introduced “Merry Go Round” at the 2012 CRS convention. It took a full year, but that song finally entered the top-10 in time for CRS 2013. All of that is a preamble to stating that Kacey’s follow-up, “Blowin’ Smoke,” is the Disc of the Day. It’s a good idea to populate a new band with seasoned vets. That’s the way the Texas Jamm Band won a DisCovery Award. Special kudos go to the group for keeping real country music alive.

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Texas Jamm Band

Billy Currington/Hey Girl
Writers: Rhett Akins/Chris DeStefano/Ashley Gorley; Producer: Dan Huff; Publishers:EMI Blackwood/EMI April/Sugar Glider/External Combustion/Out of the Taperoom/Songs of Southside Independent, BMI/ASCAP, Mercury
-A bit of a disappointment. In the past, he has shown such unerring good taste in material, so I was startled by how lackluster this pick-up ditty is. Back to the drawing board.

Danielle Car/Turn You On
Writers: Danielle Car; Producer: Chuck AlKasian, Danielle Car and Brian Lord; Publisher: none listed, BMI; DC
-I have liked this Detroit diva in the past. This time around, she’s rocking a boozy, saucy, sexy roller with more than enough backbeat to kick you in the rear end. Rock on, sister.

Kacey Musgraves/Blowin’ Smoke
Writers: Kacey Musgraves/Luke Laird/Shane McAnally; Producers: Kacey Musgraves, Luke Laird & Shane McAnally; Publishers: Warner-Tamerlane/351/Universal Careers/Crazy Water/Smack Songs/Little Blue Egg/Kobalt,BMI/ASCAP; Mercury
-I am totally smitten with her conversational vocal drawl. The fact that she’s such a brilliant songwriter is another reason I hang on every line. Buy this woman’s record right now.

Tyler Barham/It’s Valentine’s Day
Writers: Bobby Hamrick/John Griffin; Producers: Dave Flint and John Griffin; Publisher: none listed, YN (track)
-He has a sincere, warm singing style that is extremely engaging. The meandering, lovelorn ballad, however, does nothing for me. Find him a hit song.

Little Big Town/Your Side of the Bed
Writers: Lori McKenna/Karen Fairchild/Kimberly Schlapman/Phillip Sweet/Jimi Westbrook; Producer: Jay Joyce; Publisher: Songs of Universal/Hoodie/Warner-Tamerlane, BMI; Capitol
-Love has died in this gorgeous, harmony-soaked ballad. Jimi Westbrook, who is one of our finest male vocalists, swaps lines with wife Karen Fairchild during the group’s spectacular performance. In a word, superb.

Joni Rae Jack/Wild Side
Writers: none listed; Producer: Shayne Morrison and Greg Hunt; Publisher: none listed; Rockin Moon
-She’s in church, daydreaming about the not-so-holy things she was up to the night before. He catches her eye from a pew and gives her a grin. A naughty-but-nice rocker.

Johnny Rivers/My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It
Writers: traditional; Producer: Johnny Rivers; Publisher: public domain; Soul City
-Pop legend Rivers refashions this Hank Williams/Ricky Nelson oldie into an acoustic romp. There’s still plenty of thump in the rhythm, but it also has a definite bluegrass vibe. By the way, why isn’t this guy in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame?

Jeremy Steding/Lyin’
Writers: Jeremy Steding; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed, BMI; Smith
-The track works up a lather with its double-time, rumbling tempo while the baritone vocalist drawls languidly atop the audio excitement. Quite listenable.

Carrie Underwood/See You Again
Writers:Carrie Underwood/Steve Hodges/Hillary Lindsey; Producer: Mark Bright; Publisher:Carrie-Okie/EMI Blackwood/1206/Raylene/BMG Chrysalis, BMI/ASCAP; Arista/19
-It would be hard to top the drama in either “Blown Away” or “Two Black Cadillacs.” Instead, Carrie opts for a big, beefy, pop power ballad. Loaded with melodic hooks and heart-tugging, love-eternal lyrics, it’s pretty hard not to get completely caught up in it.

Texas Jamm Band/Drinkin’ Doubles
Writers: none listed; Producer: Texas Jamm Band and Tommy Detamore; Publishers: none listed; Glad/MDM
-This eight-man group contains members of George Strait’s Ace in the Hole band. So it’s no surprise that its debut single is country, country, country all the way. The members settle into a slow two-step groove, and super-tasteful steel guitar lines dominate the arrangement. Excellent work, fellas.

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About the Author

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

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