DISClaimer: What’s In A Name?

Chris Young

Chris Young

I think I’ll make a record and bill myself as Garth Brooks.

That’s kind of what our DisCovery Award winner is up to. Here’s the story. Nashville’s Brian Collins is an established country singer who has recorded for Mega, ABC/Dot, RCA, Primero and other labels. He made the charts 15 times between 1971 and 1984. He had a top-10 hit in 1974 with his version of “Statue of a Fool,” and his top-25 hit version of “That’s the Way Love Should Be” became an even bigger hit song for Dave & Sugar in 1977.

He also wrote and originated “Hello Texas,” which Jimmy Buffett sang on the multi-million selling soundtrack of Urban Cowboy. This Brian Collins is a previous ACM nominee for New Male Vocalist of the Year, is known as a Texas “Ambassador of Good Will” and recorded a CD as recently as 2013.

I imagine he’ll be quite surprised to learn that there is a man from Georgia who is launching his country career as, that’s right, Brian Collins. THAT Brian Collins can keep his DisCovery Award, as long as he agrees to alter his billing. You see, his name is already spoken for in the world of Country music.

There is no controversy about my choice for the Disc of the Day prize. Chris Young RULES.

J. MICHAEL HARTER/Holy Cowgirl
Writers: J. Michael Harter/Scott Harter/Earl Bud Lee/Scott Laurent/Bruce Wallace; Producer: none listed; Publishers: Anozira/Caroline Lane/We’re Working/2121/Ole, ASCAP/BMI; GMV/Anozira
-This rocks. The track has a serious bass undertow and a snarling guitar line. This super propulsive single also has a dance remix, which I totally understand. I only wish his white-boy vocal had more grit or passion.

THE SECRET SISTERS/Rattle My Bones
Writers: Brandi Carlile/Tim Hanserorth/Phil Hanserorth; Producer: T Bone Burnett; Publishers: Southern Oracle/WB, ASCAP; Cracker
-The album’s title is Put Your Needle Down, and it grabs you from the first notes of this opening track. It’s a rockabilly romp with “Everly Sisters” harmonies and a chugging, joyous bed of rhythm. Normally consigned to the backwaters of Americana, this duo takes a major step forward by getting Cracker Barrel distribution. So kudos to the Sisters, as well as to the retailer for gaining instant hip cred. As cool a sound as you’ll hear this year.

EILEEN CAREY/Bottle Your Crazy Up
Writers: Eleen Carey; Producer: none listed; Publisher: RolleyCstr, BMI; RoleyCstr
-It’s feisty-female ditty with a bopping arrangement. She isn’t an earth-shattering vocalist by any means, but gets points for energy, effort and good intentions.

CHRIS YOUNG/Lonely Eyes
Writers: Johnny Bulford/Jason Matthews/Laura Veltz; Producer: James Stroud; Publishers: Warner-Tamerlane/3JB/Fresh Baked Cookies, BMI; RCA (track)
-What a dreamboat. He watches her walk into the bar, sit down next to him, give him a look and he’s off and flirting. Chris turns the charm meter up to 10 on this throbbing roadhouse romance. He also sings his fanny off.

JAKE WARD & MELISSA BROOKE/Hit The Road
Writers: Jake Ward; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; JW
-He sings well, in a pleading Texas tenor. She shadows him in flawless harmony, then takes a soulful verse on her own. The breezy arrangement and gentle pace contrast nicely with the heartache-to-hope lyric. You waft along with it, but alas it ends too abruptly.

MARTINA McBRIDE/All My Friends
Writers: Charles Scott Boyer, Jr.; Producer: Don Was; Publisher: Chappell, ASCAP; Rounder (track)
-Rounder’s resident rock legend Gregg Allman is the subject of a multi-artist tribute CD and DVD. The lone country female in the cast is Martina. Maybe that’s why they gave her the title tune, this soulful, bluesy ballad. Recorded live in Atlanta earlier this year, the discs also feature country’s Trace Adkins, Vince Gill, Zac Brown, Brantley Gilbert and Eric Church, plus Nashvillians John Hiatt, Jimmy Hall, Keb Mo and Warren Haynes. The whole package sounds like warmth and love.

KELSEA BALLERINI/Love Me Like You Mean It
Writers: Kelsea Ballerini/Josh Kerr/Lance Carpenter/Forest Glen Whitehead; Producer: Forest Glen Whitehead; Producer: none listed; Black River (track)
-She has a sweet, pert vocal delivery that’s endearing. Her song bops in all the right places, and the lyric rattles rapidly. Catchy and promising.

JOHN COWAN/Things I Haven’t Done
Writers: none listed; Producer: John McFee; Publishers: none listed; Compass (track)
-His seering, soulful tenor voice defined an era with Newgrass Revival. Then he embarked on a series of always-gripping solo efforts. Cowan sings lead for The Doobie Brothers now, and the band’s John McFee is behind the board for the singer’s Sixty CD. It leads off with this rhythmic slab of nostalgia and contemplation that rolls along smartly. The album includes guest spots by Leon Russell, Rodney Crowell, Chris Hillman, Bernie Leadon, Alison Krauss, Sam Bush, Huey Lewis, Bonnie Bramlett, Ray Benson, Jim Messina and more. Plus, Cowan interprets such fantastic classics as “Devil Woman,” “Run for Your Life” and “Miss the Mississippi.” Get in line pronto for its Aug. 26 street date.

healing highway11BRIAN COLLINS/Never Really Left
Writers: B. Collins/T. Buppert; Producers: Mills Logan/Brian Collins; Publishers: Blue Light, SESAC; Blue Light (track)
-Not to be confused with the Texan Brian Collins who charted 15 times in the 1970s and 1980s, this Georgia boy has a confident, ultra-youthful, splendidly airy, superbly listenable country-rock approach that is just about irresistible. Dynamic and driving. Welcome to the party. Change your name.

OLD DOMINION/Shut Me Up
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; OD
-Members of this band are noted for writing tunes for Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, The Band Perry (”Chainsaw,” “Better Dig Two”), Keith Urban, Scotty McCreery, Craig Morgan (”Wake Up Lovin’ You”), Jake Owen, Steve Holy, Chris Young (”Neon”) and others. But they have the goods to become stars, themselves. This fizzy, guitar-driven, relentless sizzler deserves to become a massive radio favorite. Sign this band. Now.

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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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