Superstars ruled the day in this edition of “DisClaimer.” The duets by Kenny & Dolly and Keith & Miranda are as good as it gets. Sheryl Crow is back, stronger than ever. Hit maker Justin Moore returns. The stellar pop/rock group Little River Band is knocking on country’s door.
All of these folks have platters that deserve your attention. The best of them belongs to the hottest of them. Keith Urban & Miranda Lambert’s “We Were Us” is undeniable as the Disc of the Day. Three of the four newcomers in today’s listening session were women. And one of them, the excellently named Breelan Angel, is our DisCovery Award winner.
Writers: none listed; Producer: Tim Ash; Publisher: none listed; SMG (track)
-It’s that typical “modern country” sound, a rock track with a banjo on it. He sort of half-sings on the verses, but it’s not exactly hick-hop. He does open up with a convincing tenor vocal on the broken-hearted choruses. Another plus is the fact that the track is imaginatively produced.
SHERYL CROW/Callin’ Me When I’m Lonely
Writers: Rodney Clawson/Brent Anderson; Producers: Sheryl Crow and Justin Niebank; Publishers: Big Red Toe; Big Loud Bucks; Amarillo Sky; House of Sea Gayle; BMI/ASCAP; Warner Bros.
-Crow’s second country single is just about as lilting and catchy as her debut was. It is also further proof that she is as good as any established country artist, and maybe better. I think the thing I like best about this track (and indeed her whole album) is the fact that you can hear what a superb singer she is, now that she’s not buried in pop/rock volume.
Writers: Kendall Beard/A.J. Vallejo/Alex Vallejo; Producer: A.J. Vallejo; Publisher: none listed; VMG (track)
-The production lacks polish, and her vocal is recorded too dry. The wordy song takes forever to get to the hook.
JUSTIN MOORE/Lettin’ The Night Roll
Writers: Justin Moore/Jeremy Stover/Rodney Clawson; Producer: Jeremy Stover; Publisher: none listed; Valory (track)
-Another solid, straight-ahead county performance by this dependable fellow. He’s driving his gal around aimlessly, waiting to see what romantic adventures await.
BREELAN ANGEL/Halfway To Wasted
Writers: Breelan Angel/Clay Mills; Producer: none listed; Publishers: Breelan Angel/Hit Me Again, BMI/ASCAP; MisBHavin’
-She has an instantly gripping, penetrating, slightly sharp delivery that perks up your ears. The lyric is about drinking away a heartache while listening to honky-tonk tunes, and who can’t relate to that? Well written, well produced and well sung.
KEITH URBAN & MIRANDA LAMBERT/We Were Us
Writers: Jimmy Robbins/Nicole Galyon/Jon Nite; Producers: Nathan Chapman and Keith Urban; Publishers: Universal/Extraordinary Alien/Warner-Tamerlane/EMI April/Jon Mark Nite, ASCAP/BMI; Capitol
-This exciting, crunchy country rocker gives both performers plenty of space to strut their stuff vocally. They both phrase brilliantly, and the stunning production cooks with gas.
KENNY ROGERS & DOLLY PARTON/You Can’t Make Old Friends
Writers: Ryan Hanna King/Caitlyn Smith/Don Schlitz; Producer: Dann Huff; Publishers: Hanna/Music of Stage Three/Songs of Cornman/House of Sea Gayle/Yorick, ASCAP; Warner Bros.
-Immensely tender and heart tugging. The ballad ponders the irreplaceable loss of someone close, and both of these master storytellers draw out every ache. Beautifully done.
OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW/Dixieland Delight
Writers: R. Rogers; Producer: Ted Hutt; Publishers: Keats and Shelly/Sony-ATV Tree; BMI; ATO (CDX)
-The Grand Ole Opry’s newest members are in the cast of High Cotton, one of two current CDs saluting Alabama. The string band’s take on Alabama’s 1983 smash is jaunty, acoustic and stripped down. Things really take off when OCMS rips into the fiddle hoedown finale, complete with whoops of joy.
LITTLE RIVER BAND/You Dream, I’ll Drive
Writers: Jack Williams, Thomas Conners, Troy Johnson; Producers: Rich Herring & Wayne Nelson; Publishers: Hopportunity/Bluebonnet Tattoo/Yacht Haven, ASCAP/BMI/SESAC; Frontier (CDX)
-This Aussie group scored lots of big pop hits in the ‘70s and ‘80s with “Lonesome Loser,” “Cool Change,” “Man on Your Mind” and the like. Its catchy, ultra-melodic, harmony-laced sound hasn’t changed all that much, they’re just pitching it to a different audience. Highly listenable.
KASEY LANSDALE/Sorry Ain’t Enough
Writers: Kasey Lansdale/Derek George/Tim Owens; Producer: Kasey Lansdale; Publishers: Big Spaces/Panda Red/Pedal Down/Lux Et Veritas/Trejuilla/Amplified Administration, BMI/ASCAP; Blue Siren
-It’s a cool, bluesy, female “attitude” number. He’s begging to come back, but she’s not buying what he’s selling. Very promising.