DISCLAIMER: Big Stars and Fresh Newcomers Abound

Little Big Town

Little Big Town

Big stars and talented newcomers mix well in today’s DisClaimer.

In the latter category are such fresh finds as Josh Fuller, Justin Pecina and proven hit writer Joe Doyle. It might seem a little odd, but I’m giving the DisCovery Award to a white-bearded, 60-year-old music vet named Frank Martin Gilligan. His debut solo CD is captivating.

It will come as no surprise to many of you that the Disc of the Day honor is going to Little Big Town. Again. The title tune of the group’s current CD is as masterful as the rest of it. Ain’t it great when fantastic music is so commercially successful, too?

JUSTIN PECINA/Cooler Radio
Writer: Justin Pecina; Producer: Greg White; Publisher: none listed; JP
-It’s very, very country, has a dandy beat, sports a catchy tune and certainly has a subject that hasn’t been written about before. But is a cooler with a built-in radio really worth a song?

JEWEL & DOLLY PARTON/My Father’s Daughter
Writers: Jewel Murray/Lisa Carver; Producer: Jewel; Publishers: none listed; Sugar Hill (track)
-Jewel’s Picking Up the Pieces CD doesn’t come out until next month, but you can find this teaser tune on her Facebook page now. It’s a folk-flavored story song sung with heart-tugging sincerity by both of these lovely sopranos. Highly recommended listening.

MIKE RYAN/Girls I Date
Writers: Ryan/Anderson/DuBois; Producers: Brent Anderson/Ben Phillips; Publishers: none listed; Rock & Soul (track)
-Last week’s DisCovery Award winner is already back with a new single. His drawling, everyday-guy delivery is backed by a chugging beat, some rocking guitar work and a bouncing banjo. A winner.

LITTLE BIG TOWN/Pain Killer
Writers: Karen Fairchild/Jimi Westbrook/Blair Daly/Hillary Lindsey; Producer: Jay Joyce; Publishers: Warner-Tamerlane/Little Big Town/Southside Independent/Internal Combustion/Kickin’ Grids/HillarodyRathbone/BMG Rights, BMI/ASCAP; Capitol (track)
-Reggae country with irresistible rhythm and their usual flawless vocal harmonies. Crazy-good hooks that deserve massive airplay.

JOSH FULLER/On The Radio
Writers: none listed; Producer: Jason Rooks; Publishers: none listed; IndieExtreme
-Breakfast got ruined. The truck has a flat. Rush hour was awful. Work is a drag. But they’re playing his favorite song, so he’s tossing his troubles aside. Very groovy.

BRAD PAISLEY/Country Nation
Writers: Brad Paisley/Chris DuBois/Kelley Lovelace; Producers: Luke Wooten/Brad Paisley; Publishers: House of Sea Gayle/Words & Music/Making the Turn/Do Write, ASCAP; Arista (track)
-This is a shout-out to working-class America that comes armed with pride and goodwill, not to mention the names of your sports-team favorites. A celebration for all of us.

Frank Martin Gulligan

Frank Martin Gilligan

FRANK MARTIN GILLIGAN/Silver Dollar
Writers: Frank Martin Gilligan; Producer: Joe Gavito; Publishers: none listed; FMG (track)
– An 1890 coin tells of the people and places it has seen during its journeys. Terrific songwriting, delivered with a hearty, folksy voice that glows with warmth. This one’s a charmer. Gilligan was formerly in the 1980s country band Mason Dixon. His solo comeback has earned him a Best Newcomer accolade at the Kerrville Folk Festival. I can certainly hear why.

CHRIS STAPLETON/Might As Well Get Stoned
Writers: Chris Stapleton/Jimmy Stewart; Producers: Dave Cobb/Chris Stapleton; Publisher: none listed; Mercury (track)
-Stapleton showcased this on Late Night with Seth Meyers this week on NBC. It is on his widely and deservedly acclaimed album Traveller. His fierce, impassioned delivery of this blues growler will raise the hair on the back of your head. If you don’t already own this collection, drop what you are doing and go buy a copy NOW.

JOE DOYLE/Tackle Box
Writers: J. Doyle/L. Bryan; Producer: Joe Doyle/Lisa Bradley; Publishers: Joe Doyle Songs, BMI; Poplar Creek
-Doyle is the songwriter behind Alabama’s “In Pictures” and Rhett Akins’ “She Said Yes,” among many other cuts. His new Songs For Sammie CD collects compositions recorded by such stars as Jason Aldean and Tim McGraw. This one was on Luke Bryan’s debut album. The songwriter’s version is in a tender tenor voice backed by twinkling mandolin and guitar notes. This brings out every nuance of its nostalgic lines. I love songwriter albums.

DALLAS SMITH/Kids With Cars
Writers: Jesse Frasure/Brad Tursi/Ryan Hurd; Producer: Joey Moi; Publishers: Rio Bravo/Telemitry/Songs of Big Deal/BMG Rights/Universal/Lake Allegan, BMI/ASCAP; Blaster
-The track rocks loudly but cleanly. The performance has a hip-hop vibe. The party-hearty chorus is relentless. It’s sure not your daddy’s country music, but will doubtless play well with today’s audience.

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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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