DISClaimer: The Best of Sounds, The Worst of Sounds

gordon mote

Gordon Mote

It was the best of sounds; it was the worst of sounds. There were some real stinkers in this week’s stack of platters. But there were moments of true bliss as well, notably from Mandy Barnett, Natalie Stovall & The Drive, Thomas Rhett and Aaron Watson. The best of the bunch are, naturally, our award winners. Gordon Mote captured my complete affection with “All Things New,” the title tune of his excellent new collection. It earns him the Disc of the Day honor. The album by Sundy Best has been sitting in my to-be-listened-to pile for weeks. I am so sorry I didn’t give it a spin before today, because these guys really, really have the goods. Toss a well-deserved DisCovery Award at those Kentucky boys.

MITCH GOUDY/Blow These Speakers Out
Writers: Mitch Goudy/Justin Hill; Producer: Justin Hill; Publishers: Mitch Goudy/Bread n Pants, ASCAP; Third Floor (track)
-His voice is thin and pitch-y. The production is junky sounding.

AARON WATSON/July in Cheyenne
Writers: Aaron Watson; Producer: Sam Seifert and Wes Hightower; Publishers: Sonnet/Aaron Watson, BMI; HTK
-It’s an upbeat, sweet elegy to the late rodeo cowboy Lane Frost. Well sung and well produced. The timing seems odd, since the famed professional bull rider died at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo 24 years ago.

THOMAS RHETT/Get Me Some of That
Writers: Cole Swindell/Michael Carter/Rhett Akins; Producer: Luke Laird; Publishers: Sony-ATV/243 Music/EMI Blackwood/Rhettneck, BMI; Valory
-He’s got the hots for the girl in tight shorts that he spots dancing, drinking and tossing her hair. Youthful and bopping.

Sundy Best

Sundy Best

SUNDY BEST/These Days
Writers: Kris Bentley; Producer: Coleman Bear Saunders; Publisher: Almar, BMI; Entertainment One
-I dig this Eastern Kentucky duo (Kris Bentley & Nick Jamerson). The singing has just the right blend of drawl, rasp and soul. The song is a splendid country rocker with dandy rhythmic thump. What’s just as nice is the fact that you can get it as a free download from their website. The album is an 18-track delight titled Door Without a Screen. It also contains “Home,” which inspired a hit CMT video.

THE JIMMY RAY GUNS/Company’s Comin’
Writers: Jimmy Permenter; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; JRG (track)
-The band includes such notables as Lloyd Maines (guitar), Earl Poole Ball (piano) and Herb Remington (steel). Considering the talent involved, this is a real sonic disappointment.

MANDY BARNETT/Blue Blue Day
Writers: Don Gibson; Producer: Mandy Barnett; Publisher: Sony ATV Acuff Rose, BMI; Cracker Barrel
-Barnett’s Don Gibson tribute CD now has a single. She transforms the singer-songwriter’s toe-tapping 1958 chart topper into a languid, aching ballad. Her lustrous voice is cushioned by silky strings, keening harmonica and gently plucked gut-string guitar notes. Exquisite.

DOUG BRINEY/Super Country Cowboy
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Tate (track)
-The title tune to Briney’s CD name checks his dad’s country favorites and his mom’s rock records. Which is why he’s a “hybrid super country evangelic, rockabilly, psychedelic cowboy.” Nevertheless, he can just barely sing.

STEVE SCOTT COUNTRY/Those Tears I’ve Cried
Writers: Steve Scott; Producer: Steve Scott; Publisher: Bona Vista; SSC (track)
-The auditions for amateurs are through that door right over there.

GORDON MOTE/All Things New
Writers: Gordon Mote/Michael Puryear/Kenna Turner West; Producers: Frank Rogers, Gordon Mote; Publishers: Slicky/Gordon James Mote/Horse and Hawk/Christian Taylor/Daywind, BMI; New Haven (track)
-Known up and down Music Row for his superlative work as a session keyboardist, Mote also moonlights as a country-gospel record maker. His singing of the thrilling, inspiring, pile-driving title song of his new album will lift your heart, pierce your soul and dazzle your spirit. What an anthem. Play it again. Guests on the collection include Trace Adkins, Sheryl Crow, Josh Turner, Darius Rucker, The Gaither Vocal Band and Scotty McCreery. And as you might expect, his fellow A-Team session players are beyond flawless as they back him.

NATALIE STOVALL & THE DRIVE/Baby Come On With It
Writers: none listed; Producers: Paul Worley and Clark Schleicher; Publishers: none listed; HitShot (track)
-This high-energy quintet performs 200 shows a year and has been named College Entertainer of the Year by Campus Activities Magazine. Lead singer and fiddler Stovall is a vocal dynamo on this rocking kick-off track of the group’s debut 6-song EP. Promising in the extreme.

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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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