DISClaimer: All Stars, No Waiting

best night ever111It’s all stars, no waiting, in this week’s Country column. Most of them are in peak performance mode, so there’s a lot to like. I was particularly impressed with the new tunes from Eric Church and Keith Urban. Despite the presence of a number of superstars, a second-tier act seized the Disc of the Day prize. Gloriana is gloriously listenable. We also have a dandy audio experience from our DisCovery Award winners, The Swon Brothers.

ERIC CHURCH/Give Me Back My Hometown
Writers: Eric Church & Luke Laird; Producer: Jay Joyce; Publishers: Sony-ATV Tree/Longer and Louder/Songs of Univesal/Creative Nation/Twangin and Slangin, BMI; EMI (CDX)
-Arguably Church’s finest vocal on a single to date. Joyce’s brilliant production starts with soft electronic burbling then kicks into a delayed-reaction thunderous stomp. Gripping listening, from start to finish.

RONNIE MILSAP/Summer Number Seventeen
Writers: Joe Hunter/Sam Hunter; Producer: Richard Landis & Rob Galbraith; Publishers: Donavan the Sloth/Bluewater/Johala, no performance rights listed; Legacy (CDX)
-An easy-listening, old-school romantic ballad, complete with sighing orchestra, a sizzling sax solo and piano triplets. Veteran Milsap is in excellent voice here.

KEITH URBAN/Cop Car
Writers: Zach Crowell/Matt Jenkins/Sam Hunt; Producers: Zach Crowell & Keith Urban; Publishers: Songs of Southside Independent/External Combustion/Who Wants to Buy My Pub/WB/Twang Tractor/Wrensong, ASCAP; Capitol Nashville
-Getting busted has never sounded more romantic. The left-of-center song totally charmed me, and Urban’s performance gives it immense warmth and personality. A winner, for sure.

GLORIANA/Best Night Ever
Writers: Hillary Lindsey/Luke Laird/Ashley Gorley; Producer: Matt Serletic; Publishers: BMG Gold/Songs of Universal/Creative Nation/Twangin’ and Slangin’/Songs of Southside Independent/Out of the Taperoom/External Combustion, BMI/ASCAP; Warner. Bros.
-Driving and propulsive, this tempo tune makes excellent use of the band’s double-threat vocalists. The song alternates from the male and female points of view as a romance is unwittingly kindled. Meanwhile, the production churns and burns up into the stratosphere. Superbly executed, all the way around.

EASTON CORBIN/Clockwork
Writers: Carson Chamberlain/Wade Kirby/Ashley Gorley; Producer: Carson Chamberlain; Publishers: Carson Chamberlain/Steel Wheels/Kirbtone/Big Loud Bucks/External Combustion/Out of the Taperoom/Songs of Southside Independent, BMI/ASCAP; Mercury
-The lyric is somewhat wordy. The gist of it is that she makes love to him and breaks his heart over and over again. This single sort of went in one ear and out the other without ever really engaging or captivating me.

JAKE OWEN/Beachin’
Writers: Jaren Johnston/Jon Nite/Jimmy Robbins; Producer: Joey Moi; Publishers: Sony-ATV Harmony/Texa Rae/EMI April/Jon Mark Nite/Universal/Extraordinary Alien, ASCAP; RCA
-Drowsy, dreamy summer romance for stoners everywhere.

ELI YOUNG BAND/Dust
Writers: Jon Jones/James Young/Kyle Jacobs/Josh Osborne; Producers: Justin Niebank, Frank Liddell & Eli Young Band; Publishers: Agent 415/Young James Young/Curbsongs/Jacobsong/Wizard of Os/Songs of Black River, BMI/ASCAP; Republic Nashville
-She’s sick of her life with that boy in that nowhere town, so she’s putting pedal to the metal, turning up the radio and heading for the open road. And this band has just the punching tempo accompaniment for her flight to freedom. Tap your toes and sing along.

RASCAL FLATTS/Rewind
Writers: Chris DeStafano/Ashley Gorley/Eric Paslay; Producers: Jay DeMarcus & Rascal Flatts; Publishers: EMI April/Sugar Glider/External Combustion/Out of the Taperoom/Songs of Southside Independent/Cal IV, ASCAP; Big Machine
-Sweetly romantic. He wishes he could turn back time so he can fall in love with her all over again. As usual, the trio sings with shiny-bright verve.

swon brothers111THE SWON BROTHERS/Later On
Writers: Ryan Hurd/Joey Hyde/Justin Wilson; Producer: Mark Bright; Publishers: Universal/Lake Allegan/Sony-ATV Tree/Magic Mustang/Big Loud Bucks, ASCAP/BMI; Arista
-I loved these guys when they competed on The Voice and was delighted when they got a recording contract. Their debut single is a sunny salute to an alluring babe that has a deliciously addictive chorus. Bopping and promising in the extreme.

TIM MCGRAW/Lookin’ For That Girl
Writers: James Slater/Chris Tompkins/Mark Irwin; Producer: Byron Gallimore & Tim McGraw; Publishers: EMI Blackwood/Jamesslatermusic/Sony-ATV/Big Loud Songs/Play Animal/Big Loud Bucks/Green Vinyl, BMI/ASCAP; Big Machine
-It is very cool sounding, even though — like a dismaying amount of today’s “Country” music — it doesn’t have much of a melody. Go with the groove.

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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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