When you have so many cool newcomers that it is hard to pick your award winner, that is a good day. This week marks the DisClaimer column debuts of Erica Hoyt, Leather & Lace and Chad Sullins & The Last Call Coalition. Any or all of them could be the DisCovery Award winner. With a toss of the coin, I’m giving the award to the family band, Leather & Lace.
Many of the rest of the discs reviewed here are flawed in one way or another. Miranda Lambert’s song doesn’t scan terribly well. Florida Georgia Line’s single with Luke Bryan is hardly a song at all. Maggie Rose has a terrific lyric, but can’t seem to deliver it with apt emotion. The only true piece of perfection is the Clinton Gregory/Collin Raye effort “Some Real Good People.” I’d give it some kind of song award if anybody had bothered to tell me who wrote it.
That leaves us with the disc which is offering something that’s always reliable, a grand vocalist performing classic songs. The Disc of the Day prize goes to the always classy Suzy Bogguss.
JJ LAWHORN/Good Ol’ Boys Like Us
Writer: Jonathan Lawhorn; Producer: Jeremy Stover; Publishers: EMI April/Songs of Hanover Holler/You Gotta Want It, ASCAP; Average Joe’s
-I still like his drawling accent, and this is his best written song to date. Once you get past the premise that God has a special place in Heaven for guys splattering mud in pickup trucks.
CLINTON GREGORY & COLLIN RAYE/Some Real Good People
Writer: none listed; Producers: Tammy Hyler/Larry Beaird; Publishers: none listed; Melody Roundup
-You wouldn’t think these two voices would go together, but they do. And what both men share is an appreciation for a well-written message song. Which this driving, uplifting number most certainly is. Richly deserving of massive airplay.
SUZY BOGGUSS/I Always Get Lucky With You
Writers: Merle Haggard/Gary Church/Freddy Powers/Bobby Whitson; Producers: Suzy Bogguss/Doug Crider; Publishers: Sony-ATV Tree/Shade Tree, BMI; Loyal Duchess
-There is something about this woman’s voice that I have always found completely captivating. Her trademark lustrous warmth is all over Lucky, her just-released collection of Merle Haggard songs. She gives this 1983 George Jones hit co-written by the Hag a sweetly bluesy lilt that makes it sound brand new. This whole album is an audio gift with its emphasis on simple arrangements and pristine instrumental solos as well as its songs and their singer.
MAGGIE ROSE/Looking Back Now
Writer: Lisa Carver; Producers: Blake Chancey/James Stroud/Stephony Smith; Publishers: Sony-ATV Cross Keys/Big Alpha Writers Group, ASCAP; RPM (track)
-This tale of betrayal, murder and prison execution is pretty dang cool. Her delivery of it, however, is bafflingly “sunny.” The purse doesn’t match the shoes.
FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE & LUKE BRYAN/This Is How We Roll
Writers: Brian Kelley/Tyler Hubbard/Cole Swindell/Luke Bryan; Producer: Joey Moi; Publishers: Big Loud Mountain/Big Loud Bucks/Sony-ATV Tree/Peanut Mill, BMI; Republic Nashville
-Catchy bro country with beats to spare and a repetitive, repetitive, repetitive chorus that infects your mind.
CHAD SULLINS & THE LAST CALL COALITION/Couple 1,000 Miles
Writer: Chad Sullins; Producer: Mike McClure; Publisher: Madcor; no performance rights listed; Madcor (track)
-He sings in a macho, world-weary baritone, and the band backs him with an appropriately muscular tone. Steel, electric guitar, organ and percussion are as important here as the wandering-man lyric. The album is titled Wicked Spell, and it casts one. Very promising.
Writers: Miranda Lambert/Nicolle Galyon/Natalie Hemby; Producers: Frank Liddell/Chuck Ainlay/Glenn Worf; Publishers: Sony-ATV Tree/Pink Dog/Warner-Tamerlane/EMI Blackwood/Wruckestrike, BMI; RCA
-The thrilling track churns and froths and foams all around her. Amid the excitement, Lambert yearns for a simpler time when everything wasn’t automatic. The song is somewhat word-y and hardly ever rhymes, but I guarantee you’ll hang on every line.
ERICA HOYT/Love Me For Me
Writers: Armstrong/Hoyt/Rossebo/Waters; Producers: Jon Armstrong/Ryan Rossebo; Publisher: none listed; EH (track)
-Sweet and girl-y. Well produced, well written and well sung. But you might want to double check your insulin level before listening.
KELLIE PICKLER/Closer To Nowhere
Writers: Carson Chamberlain/Wade Kirby/Phil O’Donnell; Producers: Luke Wooten/Frank Liddell; Publishers: none listed; Black River (track)
-La Pickler’s latest is a rhythmic sultry suggestion about going out, making out, acting out or just being alone together. I remain a huge fan, and this sensuous song is splendid.
LEATHER & LACE/Red
Writers: Sam Tinnesz/Jennifer Zuffinetti/Blake Bollinger/Lisa Carver; Producer: Kim Copeland; Publishers: none listed; Leather & Lace
-This is a sibling band of three brothers and a sister, so the CD is titled Family Tree. On its kick-off single, the sound is faintly menacing, minor-key, “outlaw” country rock, and the lyric has a roulette-wheel gambling romantic theme. Hot stuff.
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