DISClaimer: Baby Acts Steal The Musical Thunder

John King

John King

The baby acts stole the thunder from the established stars this week. As much as I loved the performances by Jamie O’Neal, Blake Shelton and Johnny Cash, my heart was captured by record makers who have far less experience than those three. Blake looked like he was sailing straight for a Disc of the Day prize, until he was trumped by his label-mate, Frankie Ballard. And then Frankie got the award snatched from him by the even newer Brothers Osborne.

And just as delightful was a total unknown, John King. He wins this edition’s DisCovery Award.

BROTHERS OSBORNE/Rum
Writers: John Osborne/T.J. Osborne/Barry Dean; Producers: Brothers Osborne & Brad Hill; Publishers: WB/All the Kings Pens/Universal-Careers/Barrytones, ASCAP/BMI; EMI Nashville
-Can I have the hands of everyone who’s ready for beach weather? That’s what I thought. Brothers Osborne have a single that will take you there in your mind. Everything is right about this: the hearty singing, the crunchy rhythms, the cool lyric, the vibe, the good-time mood. Play this massively.

COLE SWINDELL/Hope You Get Lonely Tonight
Writers: Cole Swindell/Michael Carter/Tyler Hubbard/Brian Kelley; Producer: Michael Carter; Publishers: Sony-ATV Tree/Sony-ATV Cross Keys/243/Big Loud Mountain, ASCAP/BMI; Warner Bros.
-Swindell’s sophomore single is a torrid invitation to romance with a roaring track backing a fierce tenor vocal performance. Radio ready.

Brothers Osborne

CARISSA LEIGH/Bad Boy
Writers: Carissa Leigh/Marty Dodson/Andrew Fromm; Producer: ToneDef; Publisher: none listed, BMI; 9 North/Little
-The production is messy with too much going on. The melodically weak song does nothing for me.

JOHN KING/Tonight Tonight
Writers: Marshall Altman/Dylan Altman/Andy Cortes; Producer: Marshall Altman & Doug Johnson; Songs of the Galt Line/Razor & Tie/Music of Cal IV/Andy Cortes, BMI; Black River
– Working for a paycheck, but looking forward to nighttime fun. EVERYBODY can relate to this. Especially since it is ridiculously hooky and completely ebullient. Love the guitar-crazy production, frothing rhythm and little electro touches. Who is this guy?

FRANKIE BALLARD/Sunshine & Whiskey
Writers: Luke Laird/Jaren Johnston; Producer: Marshall Altman; Publisher: Songs of Univeral/Creative Nation/Twanging and Slangin/Sony-ATV/Texa Rae, BMI/ASCAP; Warner Bros.
-This one gets bonus points for being sung in a super catchy, slightly raspy, country soulman style. Plus, the lyric is super clever: “Every time you kiss me/It’s like sunshine and whiskey.” Ain’t that cool?

SCOTTY MCCREERY/Feelin’ It
Writers: Frank Rogers/Matthew West; Producer: Frank Rogers; Publishers: House of Sea Gayle/External Combustion/Songs for Delaney/Songs of Southside Independent, ASCAP; Mercury/19 (CDX)
-The burbling, bubbling production is an audio delight and his vocal is totally assured. I’m even willing to overlook the fact that this is the one millionth summer-country-party lyric.

JAMIE O’NEAL/Wide Awake
Writers: Jamie O’Neal/Jimmy Murphy; Producer: Rodney Good & Jamie O’Neal; Publishers: EMI Pakimo, ASCAP; Shanachie (CDX)
-Jamie’s Eternal CD is mostly reinterpretations of country classics. It’s lone original tune starts out as a dreamy ballad, then takes a hard left turn into a honky-tonk lament about her guy who snores in bed. Wonderfully country-humorous, extremely listenable and sung like a hillbilly goddess.

BLAKE SHELTON/My Eyes
Writers: Josh Osborne/Tommy Lee James/Andrew Dorff; Producer: Scott Hendricks; Publishers: Want a Fresh One/Black River/Pretty Woman/Super Phonic/BMG/Songs of Universal/Endorffin, ASCAP/BMI; Warner Bros.
-Introduced on the ACM telecast this month, Shelton’s latest is an ultra sultry, swaying, sensuous delight. Gwen Sebastian provides the harmony vocal.

DANIELLE BRADBERY/Young In America
Writers: Jaren Johnston/Kylie Sackley/Whitney Duncan; Producer: Dann Huff; Publishers: Sony-ATV/Texa Rae/BMG Gold/We Jam Writers Group, ASCAP; Big Machine
-As long as we’re young, what do you say that we see the country and enjoy being in love? Sounds like a plan to me.

JOHNNY CASH/She Used To Love Me A Lot
Writers: Rhonda Fleming/Dennis Morgan/Charles Quillen; Producers: Billy Sherrill, John Carter Cash & Steve Berkowitz; Publishers: none listed; Columbia Legacy
-Johnny is in fine voice on his “lost” album, Out Among the Stars. Originally recorded in 1984, this dark saga of lost love has a burning, driving quality that is super engaging. The album also includes two June Carter Cash duets, a duet with Waylon Jennings and a remix/production “bonus” track of this song by Elvis Costello. All in all, a fine listening outing.

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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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