DISClaimer: It’s Country Music Week

george strait1

George Strait

It’s Country Music Week: Take naps in the daytime and schmooze all night with your music-biz pals.

Appropriately for this season, our Disc of the Day belongs to an undisputed country-music king. That would be George Strait.

Also appropriate is the fact that our DisCovery Award winners made their debut at one of the awards banquets. That would be John & Jacob.

AMY ROSE/Sunshine
Writers: Christopher Alan Young/Phil O’Donnell/Tim James; Producers: Marty Beecroft, Glenn Coulson, Amy Rose; Publisher: none listed; Wild Rose (track)
-This slow, sad ballad of loss is ultra melodic. The production is solid. But the best thing about it is her wonderfully expressive, powerfully range-y and sublimely countrified vocal delivery. This gal has the goods.

SAMMY KERSHAW/Can’t Put My Finger On It
Writers: Tony Mullins/Blair Daly; Producer: Sammy Kershaw; Publisher: Songs of Windswept Pacific/Bless the Bikini/Southside Independent/Almo/Mullintone, BMI; Big Hit (track)
-Sammy’s new CD features re-recordings of his biggest hits, plus a smattering of new tunes. This swampy, funky ditty is one of them. Swerving fiddle work, stuttering guitar and catchy burbled audio effects underscore his light-hearted vocal delivery. Very enjoyable.

ALEX MEIXNER/Three Ring Circus
Writers: Alex Meixner/Ed Klancnik; Producer: Alex Meixner; Producer: none listed, BMI; Meixner (track)
-This hippie-haired guy and his two bandmates opened the Brave Combo polka fest at 3rd & Lindsley last week, and you’ve never heard three people make so much joyous noise. This is the title tune to a 23-tune CD that showcases his musicianship on accordion, trumpet, bass, keyboards and flugelhorn, as well as good-humored vocals. Many of the songs are self-composed. This is proof positive that polka is being reinvented by the next generation.

Writers: Keith Gattis/Tom Douglas; Producers: Tony Brown/George Strait; Publishers: Sony-ATV Tree/Pioneer Town/Tomdouglasmusic, BMI; MCA Nashville
-I have loved this ever since I first heard it on George’s current Love Is Everything collection. He can’t offer his girl much more than the car he’s driving. But that’s enough to start a saga of lasting romance. You’ll fall in love with this lyric, and the rolling, irresistible tempo will take you home.

CHARLIE MAJOR/Friday Nights and You
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; MDM (ERG)
-Canadian superstar Major takes a thumping working-man tune out for a spin. His conversational vocal isn’t exactly powerful, but it certainly sells this effectively, particularly with the production’s emphasis on percussion and some shouting background folks. Very catchy.

JERROD NIEMANN/Drink To That All Night
Writers: Derek George/Lance Miller/Brad Warren/Brett Warren; Producers: Jimmie Lee Sloas and Jerrod Niemann; Publishers: WB/Funky Friar/Songs of Style Sonic/Melvin’s Bullets/Melvin’s Pistol/EMI Blackwood/Sagequinnjude/Farmlove, ASCAP/SESAC/BMI; Sea Gayle/Arista
-This man continues to make some of the most imaginative sounding country music of our day. On this party rocker, he mixes straightforward chorus singing with processed vocals on the verses and a densely produced, layered electro track. I remain a fan, and my hat’s off for audio innovation.



Writers: John Davidson/Jacob Bryant/Derrick Southerland; Producer: none listed; Publishers: Major Bob/Castle Bound/Derrick Southerland, ASCAP/SESAC; Major Bob (track)
-These guys sang their co-written hit “Done” at the SESAC banquet, and Mike Doyle introduced us. Their five-song EP kicks off with this sunny, bopping, Everly-esque duet. It has already been featured on the Nashville TV series and picked up airplay in their hometown of Birmingham and elsewhere. Crunchy, infectious and unstoppable, this little thing is a programmer’s delight. Get on board now: This is an act to watch.

BUSH HAWG/More Than Corn
Writers: Shaun Ames/Ben Hayslip/Jimmy Yeary; Producer: Michael Knox; Publishers: Music of Cal IV/WB/Melissa’s Money/Get a Load of This Music/EMI Blackwood/Beattyville/Great Day at This Music, BMI/ASCAP; RCA
-It’s something loud and rocking about living rural, raising hell, acting religious and being patriotic. Ho hum.

LILLY OF THE WEST/My Window Faces South
Writers: Bob Wills; Producer: Lilly of the West; Publisher: none listed; Musicauter (track)
-Lead singer and fiddler Lilly Drumeva is visiting Nashville and studying country music. She aims to write the first Bulgarian-language book about the genre. Back home, she hosts her nation’s only country radio show and fronts this hot-picking band. This western-swing track appears on the group’s ninth CD, Swings and Heartaches. She got the thrill of her life when she got up to sing it on stage with The Time Jumpers late last month. By the way, in addition to seven country classics (Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, etc.), the album includes “Malka Moma si se Bogu Moli” and “Brala Moma Ruzha Cvete,” which are traditional Bulgarian songs given acoustic-country arrangements.

Writers: Bill Anderson/Buddy Cannon/Jamey Johnson; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; TWI (track)
Life!, the new CD by living legend Anderson, drops digitally a week from today. Whispering Bill’s guests on the collection include Dailey & Vincent, Vince Gill, Joey + Rory, John Anderson and Willie Nelson. The last named merrily duets on this lively, Mexicali-flavored ditty about a guy who’s half redneck and half hispanic and his “barbecue cantina & moonshine margarita” roadhouse. One of its TVs shows NASCAR races and the other one shows bull fights.


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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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