DISClaimer: A Return of Female Voices

Striking Matches album 2015Well, whaddaya know: There are seven female voices in this week’s column.

That’s big news for the week after they revealed that the LP Field headliners for this week’s CMA Music Festival will include only ONE solo female act, Wynonna. Even taking into account Hillary Scott of Lady A, Kimberly Perry of The Band Perry and Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman of LBT, that’s five women versus 33 men in group and solo spots. Thank you, country radio.

All of which makes me especially proud of the work being done by Trisha Yearwood, Jana Kramer and Cam on this week’s singles. Also of that by Sarah Zimmermann. Her lead voice in Striking Matches helps bring that duo a DisCovery Award.

But the Disc of the Day goes to a couple of guys. That would be the undeniable Brothers Osborne.

CLAIRE PETRIE/(C’est La Vie) You Never Can Tell
Writers: Chuck Berry; Producer: Jack Gale; Publisher: Arc, BMI; Playback (track)
-Newcomer Petrie attacks this Chuck Berry/Emmylou Harris chestnut with gusto. Whoever that is working out on the squeeze box and the fiddle also do an outstanding job.

Writers: Tim Nichols/Connie Harrington/Jamie Lynn Spears; Producer: Scott Hendricks; Publishers: Warner-Tamerlane/Nichols Boys/Made for This/All for This/Sweet Jamie, BMI; Elektra (CDX)
-This gal has shown consistently excellent taste in songs. This time around, she’s chosen a superbly written ballad about a lady on the losing side of love. “I got the boy/She got the man,” is the hooky refrain. Sounds like a hit to me.

ERIC CHURCH/Like A Wrecking Ball
Writers: Eric Church/Casey Beathard; Producer: Jay Joyce: Publishers: Sony-ATV Tree/Longer and Louder/Sony-ATV Acuff Rose/Six Ring Circus, BMI; EMI (track)
-He’s coming off the road planning to make love so fierce that the whole house will shake and quake. The slow-burn arrangement and the dark echo on his voice keep you hanging on every line. Simmering.

CAM/My Mistake
Writers: Camaron Ochs/Tyler Johnson; Producers: Jeff Bhasker/Tyler Johnson; Publishers: none listed, BMI/ASCAP; Arista (CDX)
-The big pop production can’t bury the personality in her voice, nor the craftsmanship in this song. Extremely listenable and extremely promising, to boot.

Writers: Kelly Archer/Ben Caver/Brad Rempel; Producer: Mark Miller; Publishers: Internal Combustion/Southside Independent/Year9/Universal/Centricity/Music Services, BMI/ASCAP; Gwendolyn/RCA
-My heart stood still. With understated force, Yearwood draws you slowly and inexorably into this masterful ballad of death and nostalgia. A simple strummed guitar and a sighing string quartet accompany her. And that’s all she needs.

Writers: Justin Davis/Sarah Zimmermann; Producer: T Bone Burnett: Publishers: Justin Davis/Sarahzimm/Universal, ASCAP; I.R.S. (CDX)
-Zimmermann’s tart lead vocal is like a slap across the cheek. Davis chimes in with flawless harmony. The track has snap, crackle and backbeat in spades. Kiss-off attitude has seldom sounded so spunky and catchy. A winner.

JOHN KING/On Your Lips
Writers: John King/Justin Wilson/Michael White; Producers: Doug Johnson/John King; Publishers: Songs of Black River/Songs of Razor & Tie/Music of Parallel/Downtown DMP/Legends of Magic Mustang/Loud Bucks, ASCAP/BMI/SESAC; Black River
-King introduced this during the CRS convention. I was impressed with how cool and sexy it sounded live. The recorded version is almost as groovy, even if it does rock a bit too loudly and busily. Let the song speak for itself, boys.

Writers: Hank Williams; Producer: Curt Gibbs; Publishers: Sony ATV Acuff Rose, BMI; Sidewalk/Curb
-The electronic effects and goosed tempo in the arrangement take this miles away from the Hank original. Her pert, perky soprano does too. None of this is in sympathy with the lyric. Pass.

Brothers Osborne

Brothers Osborne

Writers: John Osborne/TJ Osborne/Shane McAnally; Producer: Brothers Osborne/Brad Hill; Publishers: WB/All the Kings Pens/Universal/Smack Ink, ASCAP; EMI (CDX)
– Here’s another tune that had a CRS debut. I have seen these guys live in both band and duo situations and have been blown away each and every time. This relentless, driving, rapid-fire track is a star maker, for sure. Hang on for the brain-melting instrumental coda. Play on, brothers.

AMBER HAYES/Running Out of Memories
Writers: Amber Hayes/Bill DiLuigi/JP Williams; Producer: Bobby Terry; Publishers: Okie Girl/888/Rio Bravo/Blonde Leading Blind, ASCAP/BMI; A-OK (track)
-I like the lustrous quality and the confidence in her singing. Terry’s production is just right on this bopper, and the tune has lots of commercial potential. Worth your spins.


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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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