DISClaimer: Two Vocal Beacons of Light

david nail111

David Nail

Amid a sea of mediocrity, we have two vocal beacons of light this week.

They are David Nail and Joe Nichols, who duke it out for the Disc of the Day award. In a close race, soulman David Nail takes home the honor.

Even if you combined their abilities, this week’s two newcomers couldn’t manage to be one viable artist. Therefore, there is no DisCovery Award.

There are some honorable mentions to be made, however. I was quite fond of the Sundy Best record, of the T.G. Sheppard & Kelly Lang duets platter and of Ralph Stanley II’s vocal performance. Give ‘em a spin.

Writers: Bryan Simpson/Ashley Gorley; Producer: Tony Brown; Publishers: Writers of Sea Gayle/WAWA/Esternal Combustion/Songs of Southside Independent/Out of the Taperoom, BMI/SESAC; Red Bow (track)
-Whatever she wants, thinks or does, the answer is an enthusiastic, “Yeah,” with a bob of the head. The track is echoey, big and beefy, but producer Brown wisely mixes the star’s magnificently burnished vocal front and center. This man is a sure ‘nuff singer.

DAVID NAIL/Kiss You Tonight
Writers: David Cook/Jay Knowles/Trent Summar; Producers: Frank Liddell/Chuck Ainlay/Glenn Worf; Publishers: Analog Heart/The Haber Corporation/RanDill/Acme Nashville/Songs of Universal/Songs of NTN, BMI; MCA Nashville
-The power of this record is in the restraint and tension in his vocal performance. As we all know, he is capable of burning the building down with his singing. As this rumbling, relentless production drives forward he simmers with heat, yet never boils over. The new album is called I’m a Fire. And he is.

SUNDY BEST/Until I Met You
Writers: Nick Jamerson; Producer: R.S. Field; Publisher: ALMAR/BMI; Entertainment One
-He sowed his wild oats, but then he fell in love. The tenor lead vocal rides on top of a track that’s so bopping it practically smiles. I remain a fan.

joe nichols1111BIG & RICH/Look At You
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Big & Rich
-Listenable and pleasant. But the repetitive song is just barely there, and the production is never anything more than background noise.

ABBI WALKER/Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Writers: Abbi Walker; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; AW
-If you are going to sing a rowdy lyric, at least have the smarts to kick it in the production. Can a single be feisty and plodding at the same time?

Writers: Bob Dylan; Producers: Charlie Daniels/Casey Wood; Publishers: Rams Horn, SESAC; Blue Hat (track)
-In case you didn’t know, once upon a time Charlie was a Nashville session musician. And once upon a time, he backed Bob Dylan, who really liked his playing. That’s why his new CD is Doin’ It Dylan. The CDB tackles “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight,” “I Shall Be Released,” “Just Like a Woman,” “Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” “The Times They Are A-Changin,’” and other classics. The set kicks off with this acoustic romp, which is an accurate introduction to the album’s overall folk-thump approach to this renowned catalog.

iconic duets111T.G. SHEPPARD & KELLY LANG/Islands In The Stream
Writers: Barry Gibb/Maurice Gibb/Robin Gibb; Producers: T.G. Sheppard/Kelly Lang; Publishers: Crompton Songs/Gibb Brothers, no performance rights listed; Leopard
-In recent months, Kelly has become buddies with Barry Gibb, singing with him on the Opry and at the Hall of Fame induction of Kenny Rogers. Husband T.G. Sheppard steps into Barry’s shoes for this take on the hugely successful Gibb song. In the original version, Dolly sang lead and Kenny sang harmony throughout. Kelly and T.G. swap parts instead, which makes it sound new and lively. Just in case you were wondering: The slightly slower arrangement doesn’t mean the lyric makes any more sense than it did before. The track can be found on the couple’s excellent new Iconic Duets collection. Pay special attention to the album’s one new tune, the lovely, wistful “Lonely on Lake Shasta,” co-written by Kelly with Lorrie Morgan and Mark Oliverius.

CASSADEE POPE/I Wish I Could Break Your Heart
Writers: Gordie Sampson/Ashley Monroe/Jon Green; Producer: Dann Huff; Publishers: Bughouse/Dash8/Bug/Reynsong/Ayden/Dalmatian/Universal, ASCAP/BMI; Republic Nashville
-This pageant singer has yet to demonstrate that she has any earthly idea how to get inside a lyric and truly feel a song.

Writers: Ralph Stanley/Earl Sykes; Producers: Ralph Stanley II/John Rigsby; Publisher: Mountain Empire, BMI; Rebel (track)
-Unlike his Appalachian-stylist dad, Ralph II is essentially a honky-tonk vocalist, albeit one with a decided mountain moan. What that means is that this mournful bluegrass song has an extra dose of soul with him singing lead and his legendary father providing tenor harmony on the choruses. Their new CD is titled Side By Side.

Writers: Kenny Davin Fine; Producer: Michael Lloyd; Publisher: FinerMusic, BMI; Finer
-This guy is billed as “A Physician-Musician on a Mission.” He evidently lectures on nutrition and healing and such. Whatever. His neo-rockabilly single has plenty of instrumental punch, but he’s merely adequate as a singer.


Powered by Facebook Comments

Follow MusicRow on Twitter


Category: Artist, Exclusive, Featured, Reviews

About the Author

Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

View Author Profile