DISCLAIMER: Twin Towers of Talent

brett-eldredge-400x379This listening session starred two twin towers of talent.

The two best records of the week belong to Craig Morgan and Brett Eldredge. Both of them are superb country singers. They have the two best-written songs of the day. And Craig’s “We’ll Come Back Around” and Brett’s “Mean to Me” are both produced perfectly.

I love these two singles so much that they are going to have to share this week’s Disc of the Day award.

We have two feisty female acts this week — Erica Nicole and The Pfeiffer Twins. But the DisCovery Award goes to a tender-hearted male outing by the Johnny Orr Band.

THE PFEIFFER TWINS/Nobody’s Puppet
Writers: C. & L. Pfeiffer/A. Krizan; Producer: Anthony Krizan; Publishers: Pfeiffer Twins/Krizan, ASCAP; Pfeiffer Twins
-Bluesy, with a Southern-rock edge and definite lady-sass attitude. Caution: strong language occurs.

BRETT ELDREDGE/Mean To Me
Writers: Brett Eldredge/Scooter Carusoe; Producer: Luke Laird; Publishers: Sony-ATV/Countryside/Paris Not France/Scrambler/Abbotts Creek/Carnival, BMI/ASCAP; Atlantic
-Completely enchanting. If the essence of songwriting is coming up with new ways to say, “I love you,” then this is at the beating heart of our art. A lovely song deserves a soul-saturated vocal performance and a beautiful confection of a production, and this one has them both. An out-of-the-park home run.

JOHNNY ORR BAND/We’ll Get By
Writers: J. Orr; Producer: Johnny Orr; Publisher: none listed, BMI; JOB
-Subtitled “The Autism Song,” this moving ballad is sung from the point of view of a child affected by that condition. If it doesn’t bring a tear to your eye and a lump in your throat, you’re made of stone.

Craig Morgan

Craig Morgan

SAMMY KERSHAW/Do You Know Me
Writers: Johnny Holland/Billy Lawson; Publisher: Sammy Kershaw; Producer: House of Fame/Cal IV, ASCAP; Bit Hit
-Throughout his career, Sammy has made no secret of his emulation for George Jones, and he can sound eerily exactly like his idol. This is the title ballad to Sammy’s tribute album to George. It offers effective, vivid vignettes from the life and career of the late Hall of Fame member. Elsewhere on this collection of 12 revivals of the legend’s greatest hits, check out Sammy’s version of “Near You” with Georgette Jones singing the part of her late mother, Tammy Wynette.

ERICA NICOLE/I Listen To My Bad Girl
Writers: Debbie Pascarella/Dani Jamerson; Producer: Kent Wells; Publisher: Wrapped in Songs, ASCAP; EN/PCL
-Despite her better judgment, she gets tangled up with the nothing-but-trouble guy. Drums slam and guitars scream.

JERROD NIEMANN/Buzz Back Girl
Writers: Lee Brice/Kyle Jacobs/Phillip Lammonds; Producers: Jimmie Lee Sloas & Jerrod Niemann; Publishers: Mike Curb/Curb Songs/Jacobsong/BrainTwang, BMI/ASCAP; Arista (track)
-As usual, the backing track is ultra cool, with ear-catching percussive effects, electro voices and quirky guitars. His bopping vocal carries a song about a fellow falling hard. Groovy.

DEBBIE COCHRAN/Everything Changes
Writers: Debbie Cochran; Producer: Kent Wells; Publisher: DMC Anniston, BMI; GTR
-Her singing voice has resonance, but the song’s lyrics are riddled with cliches.

COLT FORD/Workin’ On
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Average Joes
-It begins as a fairly routine hick-hop outing, name checking various blue-collar thangs. But the choruses find Ford actually kinda singing. In his own way, mind you. Hooky and listenable.

johnny orr band11

Johnny Orr

CHANDLER MARIE/Breaking Down
Writers: Chandler Marie Picerne/Kris Bergsnes/Angie Broberg/Grant Austin Taylor; Producer: Sorted Noise; Publishers: CMP/SB21/Bluewater/Splendiferous/DHM /Grant Austin Taylor, BMI/ASCAP; CMP 
-You’d think one of those four writers could have come up with a melody.

CRAIG MORGAN/We’ll Come Back Around
Writers: Trevor Rosen/Brandy Clark/Jessi Jo Dillon; Producer: Craig Morgan & Phil O’Donnell; Publishers: ReHits/Smacktown/Smack Blue/Wrensong/Nettwerk One B/Revelry/Jay Gatsby/Limited Songs of Parallel/Amplified/Vista Loma, ASCAP/BMI; Black River
-They scrap and fight, but in the end they really love one another and will wind up back together again. This fiery vocalist is the just the guy to sell this well-written throbber. I got so into it, I played it twice in a row. You will too.

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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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