DISClaimer: A Song That Shakes You

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Dierks Bentley

Despite the plethora of big names in today’s column, there isn’t a great deal of undeniable music. Almost everything is well done, but nothing really shook me down to my boots. Some of my favorite moments came from collaborations, such as John Fogerty & Miranda Lambert and Hank Williams Jr. & Merle Haggard. The best new message lyrics of the week are being sung by Ty Herndon and Ash Bowers.

The Disc of the Day prize goes to the always reliable Dierks Bentley. The DisCovery Award belongs to the Maryland-reared Brothers Osborne. Although I’m not all that enthused by their debut single, I sense that they are harboring much more compelling sounds. Plus, the reaction they are getting at their live shows is super encouraging.

ASH BOWERS/Shake It Off
Writers: Ash Bowers/Adam Craig/Shane Minor; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Wide Open/New
-Be strong and carry on when the weight of the world is bearing down on you. This song’s lyric has a message for us all, delivered by an encouraging tenor with roll-on, steady-groove instrumental support. Play this every Friday after work, and you’re bound to feel better.

RECKLESS KELLY/The Last Goodbye
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; No Big Deal
-As usual, these guys are models of professionalism. The understated vocal harmonies, easy-going instrumental work and deft song craftsmanship simply sparkle on this mid-tempo outing. Stay tuned for the dream-like, extended instrumental coda. All country bands should sound this cool.

TY HERNDON/Lies I Told Myself
Writers: Neal Coty/Neal Carpenter; Producer: Paul Compton; Publisher: Bug/BMG Chrysalis, BMI; Funl/Flying Lizard
-This superbly well written ballad lists familiar phrases to hold you back that we all might have heard. The singer has heard them, and is “glad I didn’t believe.” Ty’s heart-in-throat vocal conviction conveys the message movingly. The restrained production is also just right.

HANK WILLIAMS JR. & MERLE HAGGARD/I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink
Writer: Merle Haggard; Producer: Chris Farren; Publisher: Sony-ATV, no performance rights listed; Blaster/Bocephus
-Merle’s boozy 1980 hit gets an update with a drawled duet assist from Bocephus. Brotherly love.

SARA EVANS/Slow Me Down
Writers: Marv Green/Heather Morgan/Jimmy Robbins; Producer: Mark Bright; Publishers: Warner Tamerlane/The Good The Bad The Ugly/Made For This/Sony ATV; RCA (CDX)
-The plucked violin strings are nifty and catchy, as are the range-y vocal melody and the stacked chorus harmonies. In the lyric, she’s thinking of leaving, but wants to be stopped.

Brothers-OsbourneBROTHERS OSBORNE/Let’s Go There
Writers: Jon Mabe/John Osborne/T.J. Osborne; Producers: Brothers Osborne/Brad Hill; Publishers: Music of Stage Three/Mabe It Big/BMG Chrysalis/WB/All The Kings Pens; BMI/ASCAP; EMI (CDX)
-Bopping and jaunty, if not particularly memorable. A production that emphasized acoustic textures rather than electric guitars might have helped it sound more distinctive.

DIERKS BENTLEY/I Hold On
Writers: Brett James/Dierks Bentley; Producer: Ross Copperman; Publishers: WB/Songs of Brett/External Combustion/Big White Tracks; ASCAP; Capitol Nashville
-The deep bass rumble grabs you first. As usual, Dierks delivers with conviction as the rocker unleashes its message of cherishing the tried and true, the good, the old and the winning things. The production is like a crashing, foaming surf wave.

TOMMY ROE/Memphis Me
Writer: Tommy Roe; Producer: Tommy Roe; Publisher: Sony-ATV, BMI
-Pop vet Tommy Roe (”Sheila,” “Dizzy,” “Sweet Pea,” “Jam Up Jelly Tight,” etc.) has a mellow comeback ditty with a rolling groove that goes down easy. His vocal is a little thin sounding, but nevertheless glides smoothly over the simple, downhome melody.

JOHN FOGERTY & MIRANDA LAMBERT/Wrote A Song For Everyone
Writer: John Fogerty; Producer: John Fogerty; Publisher: Jondora, BMI; Vanguard (track)
-Miranda lands the duet slot on the title tune of the acclaimed new John Fogerty CD. The two take turns singing leads and harmonies, sounding thrilling together throughout. Other country stars collaborating on the set include Brad Paisley (”Hot Rod Heart”), Alan Jackson (”Have You Ever Seen the Rain”), Zac Brown Band (”Bad Moon Rising”) and Keith Urban (”Almost Saturday Night”). The album includes many of the legend’s most famous songs as well as a handful of new compositions. Because of the cool arrangements, even the familiar tunes seem entirely fresh. Heartily recommended.

KRYSTAL KEITH/Get Your Redneck On
Writers: Krystal Keith/Nathan Chapman; Producer: Nathan Chapman; Publishers: Bumperdoo/Songs of Universal/Art in the Pain/BMI; Show Dog
-The lyric contains every cliche in the modern country playbook–beer, skinny dipping, listening to country songs, backwoods party–you know the drill. But there is absolutely nothing routine about her ringing vocal delivery, the lovely melody or the ear-opening production. A winner.

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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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