DISClaimer: A Nashville Treasure and a Fresh New Talent

12 stories11On days like today, I love this job. The thrill of discovery was around every corner, with G.B. Leighton, Chris Carmack, Logan Brill and Brandon Hamilton all popping up with dandy new sounds. Mandy Barnett is a Nashville treasure, one of our very finest voices. So it comes as no surprise that she has the Disc of the Day. But the real story here is our DisCovery Award winner. Song for song, the new album by Brandy Clark is among the finest of this or any year. She had me spellbound and breathlessly happy about finding her talent. Buy her record right now.

WILD PONIES/Things That Used To Shine
Writers: Doug & Talisha Williams; Producer: Ray Kennedy; Publisher: none listed; BMI; Ditch Dog (track)
-It has a homemade, slightly goofy simplicity. Nobody sings particularly well, the production is practically nonexistent, and the song is like a nursery rhyme. But there is still something oddly charming about it.

WYATT EASTERLING/Right Before My Eyes
Writer: Wyatt Easterling; Producers: Bill McDermott & Wyatt Easterling; Publisher: Considerable; ASCAP; Phoenix Rising
-The lyric is about someone who inspires and leads by example. Easterling sings it with immense warmth and heart. Lisa Brokop adds a sturdy, sure harmony vocal. His folk-flavored CD is titled Goodbye Hello, and it is worthy.

CHRIS CARMACK/What If I Was Willing
Writers: Randy Montana/Brian Davis/Billy Montana; Producer: Michael Knox; Publishers: Sony-ATV/Mike Curb/Dandon Ranch, BMI; Valory
-Carmack portrays up-and-comer “Will Lexington” on the Nashville TV show, and this tempo single has already been featured on the series. It’s an instantly catchy toe-tapper with a groovy guitar solo and a solid tenor vocal. A winner.

JOHN COWAN, ALISON KRAUSS & SAM BUSH/Nights in White Satin
Writer: Justin Hayward; Producer: David Harvey; Publisher: TRO-Essex; ASCAP; Bunny Rae/Red
-This comes from Moody Bluegrass: A Nashville Tribute to The Moody Blues. Cowan’s yearning lead vocal gives the familiar song new wings. Krauss and Bush harmonize brilliantly on the choruses. Other talents on the double-disc set include Vince Gill, Lionel Cartwright, Larry Cordle, Ricky Skaggs, Peter Rowan, Jon Randall and Tim O’Brien. The original Moodys — Justin Hayward, John Lodge, Graeme Edge, Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder — also make appearances.

GORD BAMFORD/When Your Lips Are So Close
Writers: Gord Bamford/Byron Hill/Brent Baxter; Producers: Gord Bamford & Byron Hill; Publishers: Ole Red Cape/Pretty Paisley/Byron Hill/Writer’s Infinity; SOCAN/ASCAP; Cache (track)
-Bamford is a big deal north of the border, with five Canadian Country Music Association awards to his name. His new Country Junkie CD includes this stirring, driving, sexy tune. It is ultra romantic, wonderfully melodic and completely commercial. Deserving of massive airplay.

mandy barnett

Mandy Barnett

MANDY BARNETT/I Can’t Stop Loving You
Writers: Don Gibson; Producer: Mandy Barnett; Publisher: Sony-ATV/Acuff-Rose; BMI; Cracker Barrel
-Barnett previously scored on Cracker Barrel with a Christmas CD last year. Her new one is a salute to Country Music Hall of Fame member Don Gibson. Like many of her recordings, it is deliberately “old school,” with classic-sounding Nashville Sound arrangements. Her sterling, soulful voice makes this familiar standard seem shiny and new. The I Can’t Stop Loving You CD also includes “Legend in My Time,” “Sweet Dreams,” “Oh Lonesome Me” and all the other favorites created by the legendary singer-songwriter.

G.B. LEIGHTON/Get Up
Writers: none listed; Producer: Tommy Harden; Publisher: none listed; Average Joes
-This invitation to dance has a crunchy beat, a hooky chorus and an admirably earnest vocal performance. An audio good time.

LOGAN BRILL/Scars
Writers: none listed; Producer: Oran Thornton & Matthew Miller; Publisher: none listed; Carnival (track)
-“Your love is like a loaded gun/Should’a put it down before you hurt someone.” She’s surviving a broken heart amid a swirling production and a thumping backbeat. Highly listenable.

BRANDY CLARK/Stripes
Writers: Brandy Clark/Matt Jenkins/Shane McAnally; Producer: Dave Brainard; Publishers: Songs of Parallel/Vista Loma/Amplified/Black Ink/Songs of BIMS/Universal/Smack Ink/Little Blue Egg/Kobalt, ASCAP; Slate Creek (track)
-Everything you’ve heard about this lady’s album 12 Stories is true. Its single is a twang-guitar fiesta with an earthy, everywoman vocal and a dynamite set of lyrics. The only reason she isn’t bumping off her cheating man is, “orange ain’t my color, and I hate stripes.” This is just one of the dozen delights on an absolutely extraordinary record. Clark is the co-writer of the powerful hits “Mama’s Broken Heart” and “Better Dig Two.” This collection introduces her as a powerful record maker, too. Sign me up for the fan club.

BRANDON HAMILTON/You Give Me That
Writers: Bryan Todd/Brandon Hamilton; Producer: Bryan Todd; Publishers: Universal/HamBone, ASCAP; Nine North
-His boyish tenor rides atop a buoyant, rocking track that doesn’t let up for a second. Get up and twirl around the room.

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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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