DISClaimer: Music With Heart

blake shelton 2013

Blake Shelton

Even as the days of 2013 draw to an end, the sounds of Music Row keep on coming. Isn’t it lucky that one of our biggest current male stars is also a real Country music artist? In a world of pop-country, hick-hop, imbecile bro country and rock tracks containing banjos, Blake Shelton still stands for music with heart. Give that hero a Disc of the Day award. For some reason, I didn’t expect to find a DisCovery Award winner this late in the year. But I did. His name is Dallas Smith, and he is refreshingly different.

CRAIG CAMPBELL/Keep Then Kisses Comin’
Writers: Dallas Davidson/Ben Hayslip; Producer: Keith Stegall/Matt Rovey; Publishers: EMI Blackwood/WB/TarCam-Knox/Get A Load of This; BMI/ASCAP; Bigger Picture
-Sprightly and loaded with romantic verve. The steady beat is irresistible, and his warm, boyish vocal delivery radiates sincerity. Recommended.

BLAKE SHELTON/Doin’ What She Likes
Writers: Phil O’Donnell/Wade Kirby; Producer: Scott Hendricks; Publishers: Sixteen Stars/Rooster Pecked; BMI; Warner Bros.
-What she likes turns out to be Mexican food he brings home, speeding in his car, singing silly songs and, most of all, making love all night. The dreamy, rhythmic, midtempo song is expertly written and — it goes without saying — sung by a country-music master.

TOMMY CASH/The Greatest Voice is Gone
Writers: Tommy Cash/Clayton Claxton; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; BMI; TC
-This veteran clocks in with a George Jones tribute tune that’s laced with steel and twin fiddles. The simplistic melody isn’t much, but the lyric cleverly incorporates several of the Possum’s hit titles.

DEAN MILLER/’Till You Stop Getting Up
Writers: Dean Miller/Sean Patrick McGraw; Producers: Dean Miller/Brian Eckert; Publisher: none listed; Off The Verge
-Dean is back with a set of 10 new originals. Its title tune is the tale of a boxer who becomes a metaphor for life’s lessons. “You ain’t a loser/Until you stop getting up.” Very cool.

KELLEIGH BANNEN/Famous
Writers: Sara Haze/Troy Verges/Gordie Sampson; Producers: Jason Lehning/Jedd Hughes; Publishers:Songs of Universal/Comp and Circumstance/Songs From the Engine Room/Dash8/Bughouse/Bug/BMG Chrysalis, BMI/ASCAP; EMI (CDX)
-The bubbling, percolating production is quite ear catching. Her vocal performance sounds somewhat processed and compressed. Catchy pop-country.

BERNIE NELSON/Scarecrow
Writers: Bernie Nelson/Rob Beringer; Producer: Bernie Nelson; Publisher: Robert Beringer/Dumpster Diver; ASCAP; Fikvow Blue (CDX)
-Nelson is a successful, durable Music Row songwriter who also has vocal charisma to spare. This moody, bluesy outing is a gripping saga about dreams that die hard. There is a weird electric guitar part in the middle that interrupts the overall tone.

JASON ALDEAN/When She Says Baby
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Broken Bow (ERG)
-She inspires him to keep going on days when he feels like giving up. There seems to be a lot going on in the rocking instrumental background, but fortunately his vocal is mixed up front.

Dallas Smith

DALLAS SMITH/Tippin’ Point
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Republic Nashville
-Nicely done. I like the highly imaginative, slapping, punching production as well as his personality-packed vocal. Wildly catchy and engaging. Who is this guy?

RESTLESS HEART/Santa’s Prayer
Writers: Steve Tittle/Connie Tittle/Aaron Bosewell; Producers: Paul Gregg/Dave Innis/Harry Smith; Publisher: Cal4; no performance rights listed; Red River (track)
-This reunited group has a new holiday collection titled A Restless Heart Christmas. The band’s performances remain captivating, whether on “The Christmas Song,” “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “Little Drummer Boy” or on Nashville chestnuts such as “Tennessee Christmas” and “Jingle Bell Rock.” The new songs are the stirring toe-tapper “Season of Harmony” and this sweet ballad wherein Mr. Claus aims to remind us about the reason for the season.

SHERRY LYNN/Christmas on my Mind
Writers: Sandy Ramos/Carmen Logan; Producer: Christos Gatzimos; Publisher: none listed; Steal Heart
-She has a pert, bright vocal style on this sprightly, bouncy tune. I love it that the lyric name drops Brenda Lee and Nat King Cole as icons of the holiday season.

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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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