DISClaimer: A Session Full of Surprises

Disc of the Day winners Florida Georgia Line

Disc of the Day winners Florida Georgia Line

Hats off to Maddie & Tae for delivering a feisty female romp that slaps down the “bro-country” genre. A salute to Jake Owen for making a left turn into soulful ballad territory. A nod to rocking newcomers The Cadillac Three.

The Disc of the Day award goes to Florida Georgia Line for taking on a song of surprising substance.

Danika Portz visit

DISCovery winner Danika Portz visits MusicRow.

And speaking of surprises: The DISCovery Award belongs to Danika Portz. I can’t remember the last time I heard a new artist with this much creativity at her fingertips.

Writer: Jon Nite/Jimmy Robbins/Jaren Johnston; Producer: Dann Huff & Justin Niebank; Publisher: EMI April/Jon Mark Nite/Universal/Extraordinary Alien/Sony-ATV/Texa Rae, ASCAP; Big Machine
–Rocking and Southern sexy. Getting loaded in the bar with a dancing doll driving him wild. The relentless track drives like there’s no tomorrow.

JAMES HOUSE/Everytime It Rains
Writer: J. House/M. Bradford; Producer: James House & Michael Bradford; Publisher: none listed; Victor House
–House’s new CD includes his versions of hits he’s written for others—“Ain’t That Lonely Yet” (Dwight), “A Broken Wing” (Martina) and “In a Week or Two” (Diamond Rio)—plus new gems like this dramatic, brooding outing. He still sings like a bird.

Maddie and Tae

Maddie and Tae

MADDIE & TAE/Girl in a Country Song
Writer: Aaron Scherz/Maddie Marlow/Taylor Dye; Producer: Dann Huff & Aaron Scherz; Publisher: Big Music Machine/Super Big/Big Machine, BMI/ASCAP; Dot
–Fabulous. They have the guts to sass every “bro-country” cliche out there. She hates her tight cut-offs, her bikini top and being called pretty little thing, hottie or baby. Not to mention being whistled at, shaking her money maker and being invited to ride along in the pickup truck. Bonus points for the lively tune, the catchy track, the saucy harmonies and the overall wit. I guarantee you will smile.

Writer: Cary Barlowe/Zach Crowell/Matt Jenkins; Producer: Mickey Jack Cones; Publisher: none listed; Broken Bow
–The “Cowboys and Angels” man is back. The lead single from his forthcoming CD is a bopping romance ditty with a sunny disposition.

DANIKA PORTZ/Greatest Show on Earth
Writer: none listed; Producer: Steve Mitchell, Danika Portz & John Willis; Publisher: none listed; DP
–The imaginative “circus” production touches are matched by terrifically inventive songwriting and a highly accomplished, sweet/tart vocal. There’s a bonanza of creativity on parade here. Essential listening.

jake owen2222

Jake Owen

JAKE OWEN/What We Ain’t Got
Writer: Travis Jerome Goff/Travis Meadows; Producer: Joey Moi; Publisher: Red Vinyl/Words & Music/Songs of Universal, BMI; RCA
–Jake tries on a ballad for a change. His aching delivery of its lovelorn lyric is right on the money. The simple piano accompaniment emphasizes what an expressive performance this is. Love it.

SCARLETTA/That’s Where You’re Gonna Find Me
Writer: none listed; Producer: TheTimeKeepers (Stefon Hamulak & Eric Torres); Publisher: none listed; Average Joes
–Congratulations. Scarletta lead singer Emilie Allan becomes the first female to sing a bro country song. She’s even volunteering to wear her Daisy Dukes for ya.

Writer: Shooter Jennings; Producer: Shooter Jennings; Publisher: none listed; BCR
–Shooter’s new five-song EP is a salute to George Jones. His vocal delivery of its title tune is garbled, muffled and mush-mouthed, but has a certain quasi-psychedelic charm, thanks to a twinkling, trippy track.

Writer: Chris Tompkins/Rodney Clawson; Producer: Joey Moi; Publisher: Big Loud Songs/Play Animal/Big Red Toe/Farm Town, ASCAP/BMI; Republic Nashville
–Swirling, atmospheric and completely involving. The song is marvelous, and their delivery of it drawls and soars. Play it again.

Writer: Ryan Hurd/Joey Hyde/Aaron Eshuis/Matthew McGuin; Producer: Phil O’Donnell & Aaron Eshuis; Publisher: none listed; BA
–For such a simple sentiment, it sure is a busy production.


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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.

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