DISClaimer: Day of the Duos

dan and shayDuos rule in DisClaimer today.

The Disc of the Day prize goes to Dan + Shay, who are headed directly for stardom, in my opinion.

As far as having perfect vocal harmonies, that prize goes to the twin sisters who comprise Ward Thomas. They nailed down the DisCovery Award with ease.

Honorable mentions this week go to Sheryl Crow, Eric Church and Sawyer Brown. Play and believe.

WARD THOMAS/The Good and the Right
Writers: Lizzy Ward Thomas/Catherine Ward Thomas; Producers: Chris Rodriguez/Bobby Blazier; Publishers: WTW/Matt Greaves/Copyright Control/Ann Bailey/Bambino, no performance rights listed; WTW (track)
-Catherine and Lizzy Ward Thomas are British twins who came to Music City to record their A Different Country EP. I met ‘em at the Grammy Block Party, and they gave me a copy. Its fizzy single is a sprightly, uptempo, carbonated ditty wherein their perfectly matched voices shout and soar in search of higher meaning. Bonus points for songwriting talent. Promising in the extreme.

MIKE AIKEN/Put a Sail on It
Writers: Mike Aiken/Tim Buppert; Producers: Dan Baird/Ben Strano/Mike Aiken; Publishers: Big Boat/Saddle Blanket/Buffrin Boy, SESAC; Northwind (CDX)
-The old guy at the seaside bar has this advice: “Put a sail on it/Let your troubles catch the wind.” And, “Put a sail on it/Let your troubles float away.” And, “Doncha dwell on it.” Relaxing and reggae-fied.

SAWYER BROWN/Walk Out of the Rain
Writers: Harley Allen; Producer: Mark A. Miller; Publisher: Coburn, BMI; Beach Street (CDX)
-Sweetly lulling and summer-sun kissed. This cleanly recorded, mid-tempo delight features sighing steel and a lovely lyric that invites a loved one out of her blues and into romance. Very, very nicely done.

ward thomas1111

Ward Thomas

BLACKHAWK/Brothers of the Southland
Writers: Henry Paul/Dave Robbins/Jim Peterick; Producers: Dave Oliver/Henry Paul/Dave Robbins; Publishers: Henry Paul/Dave Robbins/Jim Peterick/Penny Farthing/Bicycle, BMI/ASCAP; Loud & Proud/Tenacity (CDX)
-It’s a stately salute to the Southern-rock brotherhood, name checking The Marshall Tucker Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers, complete with twin-guitar playing.

Writers: Eric Church/Jeff Hyde/Lynn Hutton; Producer: Jay Joyce; Publishers: Sony-ATV Tree/Longer and Louder/Bug/Mammaw’s Cornbread/Little Louder/House of Sea/Vestal Boy, BMI/ASCAP; EMI (track)
-Loose-limbed and funky, this cool romp concerns a southern boy left high and dry by a gal who splits, leaving him “one beer short of a 12 pack.” I could have done without the rapid-fire electric guitar solo in the middle, but otherwise it’s a groove-o-matic.

Writers: Sheryl Crow/Chris DuBois/Kelley Lovelace/John Shanks; Producer: Sheryl Crow & Justin Niebank; Publishers: Old Green Barn/House of Sea Gayle/EMI April/Didn’t Have to Be/Imagine Sounds, BMI/ASCAP; Warner Bros.
-Sheryl puts pedal to the metal on this stomping, driving song of escape. My favorite line: “Drive it like it’s stolen/Park it like it’s rented.” Get up off your fanny and dance.

LIVEWIRE/Drivin’ You Outta My Mind
Writers: Andrew Eutsler/Daniel Bell/Landon Rolfe/Johnny Bulford; Producers: Paul Carabello/Justin Woods/Clif Doyal; Publishers: Real Man/Parrot Island/Warner-Tamerlance/3JB, BMI; Way Out West
-Performed with drama and passion, this has a doom-y, minor-key vibe. On the Southern-rock side of country.

Writers: Johnny Rivers; Producer: Johnny Rivers; Publisher: none listed; Soul City
-This pop legend continues his quest for country acceptance with this mellow dab of romance. It is smooth, lovely and lilting, but it takes forever to get to the title.

WAYLON SPEED/Until It All Ends
Writers: Waylon Speed; Producers: Mark Spencer/Waylon Speed; Publishers: Crow on Ten, ASCAP; Crow on Ten
-This Vermont-based, country-rock band evidently didn’t get the “keep it bland” memo from Nashville. They are full-speed-ahead and headed straight for the wall on this outing.

DAN+SHAY/Show You Off
Writers: Dan Smyers/Shay Mooney/Danny Orton; Producer: Dan Smyers; Publishers: WB/Beats and Banjos/Warner-Tamerlane/Shay Mooney/50 Toes, ASCAP/BMI; Warner Bros.
-This densely packed production includes “Hay-oh” shouting, perfect vocal harmony, thumping percussion and whistling (!). Not to mention a fabulously catchy melody and a charming, love-struck lyric. I really like these guys.


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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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