DISClaimer: Musgraves, Rogers Get The Kudos

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Kacey Musgraves

The upstarts rule the roost at DisClaimer today. The new Lady Antebellum single is super. Veterans Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan are singing their faces off on a powerful new female anthem. Vince Gill is a jazzbo delight on the Buddy Emmons tribute album.

But the kiddies got the kudos. The Disc of the Day goes to Kacey Musgraves. For having originality, sonic splendor, wit and for daring to be different, she captures my heart. The DisCovery Award goes to Chris Rogers. I have no idea who his producer Sorted Noise is, but my hat’s off to him/her/them.

AMY ALLEN/Someday Is Today
Writer: Amy Allen; Producer: Denny Martin; Publisher: 8th Street Blues, ASCAP; Wormwood (track)
-The well-written tune has an r&b vibe. She sings with lots of power, and definitely on the pop side, stylistically.

TYLER FARR/Whiskey In My Water
Writers: Tyler Farr/Philip Larue/John Ozier; Producers: Jim Catino/Julian King; Publishers: Sony ATV Tree/Let the Road Pave Itself/Maxx/Razor and Tie/Curb/Over the Bar, BMI; Columbia (track)
-“Redneck Crazy” launched this fellow, big time. The follow-up single is a groove-soaked love song with the payoff line, “She’s the moon in my shine, the whiskey in my water.” As before, his singing voice is a raspy, soulful listening pleasure.

IRENE KELLEY/Pennsylvania Coal
Writers: I. Kelley/T. Jutz; Producer: Mark Fain; Publishers: Shiny Stuff/Thomm Songs/Bluewater, BMI/SESAC; Patio (track)
-I have long been a huge fan of this gal. The title tune to her new collection is a bluesy, minor-key miner’s lament that haunts you. On the CD, Kelley is surrounded by bluegrass instrumental stars such as Bryan Sutton, Stuart Duncan and Adam Steffey and celebrity harmony vocalists such as Trisha Yearwood, Rhonda Vincent, Claire Lynch, Dale Ann Bradley, Carl Jackson and Darren Vincent. The whole project is simply sublime.

Writers: Kacey Musgraves/Brandy Clark/Shane McAnally; Producers: Kacey Musgraves, Luke Laird and Shane McAnally; Publishers: none listed; Mercury (track)
-This woman gives me hope for the future of country music. This brilliantly hilarious song will definitely perk up your ears. I defy you not to grin. In a word, genius.

Writers: H. Bethel; Producers: Andy Sheridan/Hannah Bethel; Publisher: Hamywyn, BMI; Freedom (track)
-Jaunty, bopping, good-natured and sung with verve. The jazzy fiddle solo is cool, too.

Writers: Mary Sue England/Thom Shepherd; Producers: Pam Tillis/Lorrie Morgan; Publishers: Janesparade/Oxford Drive; BMI/SESAC; Red River (track)
-Dos divas, indeed. These two Grand Ole Opry stars are a double dose of vocal soul. This ballad from their Grits and Glamour CD is one of the most powerful female anthems I’ve ever heard. Listen and believe.

Writers: Joe and Kristen Sins; Producer: Kent Wells; Publishers: Merordo/Twobillygoats/Kristen Welch Sins; ASCAP/BMI; GTR Nashville
-I have enjoyed the couple’s music in the past. The new single has a lilting, dreamy quality that conjures the feeling of summer romance. As before, they harmonize together beautifully.

Writers: Tor Erik Hermansen/MIkkel Storleer Eriksen/Amar Malik/Ross Golan/Daniel Omelio/Emile Haynie; Producers: Nathan Chapman and Lady Antebellum; Publishers: EMI April/Maru Cha Cha/Lotza Ball Soup/Where Da Kasz At/Songs of Kobalt/Warner-Tamerlane/Back In Djibouti/BMG Gold/Robopop/Heavy Crate, ASCAP/BMI; Capitol (CDX)
-The layered track is splendid, as is the vocal mix. The upbeat song is beyond catchy.

rollin wheelCHRIS ROGERS/Rollin’ Wheel
Writers: Chris Rogers/Jay Brunswick/Josh Dunne; Producer: Sorted Noise; Publisher: none listed
-The title tune to this guy’s EP is a moody, self-reflective meditation set in a sterling, evocative audio bed. His laconic, softly ingratiating vocal delivery draws you in, and the brilliant production work does the rest. Extremely promising.

Writers: Felice and Boudleaux Bryant; Producer: Steve Fishell; Publisher: House of Bryant, BMI; MPI (track)
The Big E is an all-star tribute to steel-guitar great Buddy Emmons. This essential-listening collection kicks off with a version of a Jimmy Dickens oldie that’s soaked with jazzy licks. Dickens, himself, makes an appearance on the album, as do Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Duane Eddy, Willie Nelson, Chris Stapleton, Raul Malo, John Anderson and a who’s-who of steel players. A collection that’s a thorough delight, from start to finish.


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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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