As we head into Labor Day Weekend, the big country stars have our holiday soundtrack all planned.
Rascal Flatts, Luke Bryan, Alabama and Carrie Underwood all have new singles readymade for airplay. One of them is, appropriately, about working people. That would be Carrie Underwood’s Disc of the Day, “Smoke Break.”
The DisCovery Award goes to a Knoxville native who has the ears for a great song. Scott Stevens and “Around a Bonfire” have holiday spirit and a sensational new sound.
DARWIN MACON/Getting Over You
Writers: Darwin Macon; Producer: none listed; Publisher: Tunecore Digital, BMI, DM
-In this dandy hillbilly rocker, a honky-tonk baritone boozes away her memory, but winds up with a monster hangover. This kicks butt. If you’re looking for tempo, look no further.
RASCAL FLATTS/I Like The Sound of That
Writers: Meghan Trainor/Jesse Frasure/Shay Mooney; Producers: Jay DeMarcus/Rascal Flatts; Publishers: Year of the Dog/Rio Bravo/Warner-Tamerlane/Shay Mooney, ASCAP/BMI; Big Machine (track)
-Upbeat romance, complete with sunny vocal harmonies, rhythmic propulsion and plenty of melody. Joyous.
SCOTT STEVENS/Around a Bonfire
Writers: Erin Enderlin/Ryan Beaver; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Cotton Gin
-He has a relaxed, conversational, effortlessly soulful delivery that draws you into this lovely, tuneful story of young people being young. The hooky chorus is irresistible. If he doesn’t have a hit with this, somebody sure should.
MICHAEL RAY/Real Men Love Jesus
Writers: Brad Warren/Brett Warren/Lance Miller/Adam Sanders; Producer: Scott Hendricks; Publishers: EMI Blackwood/Sagequinnjude/Famlove, BMI; Atlantic
-The swirling, catchy melody and the memorable, well constructed lyric are both first rate. Very, very listenable.
Writers: none listed; Producer: Jude Dyllan; Publishers: none listed; EK
-She’s trying too hard, and the incomprehensible song isn’t worth the effort.
ALABAMA/Wasn’t Through Lovin’ You Yet
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; BMG (track)
-Randy is singing in an attractive lower register. The production has modern, echoey mix with a stirring bottomless rhythm. The moody song is quite “different” for this veteran band. A welcome reinvention.
MACY MARTIN/Baby What Ya Doing
Writers: Macy Martin/Kent Wells; Producer: Kent Wells; Publishers: none listed; MMM (track)
-Bright and bopping, but little more. It seems to have a two-note range.
SCOTTY McCREERY/Southern Belle
Writers: Jason Saenz/Sean McConnell; Producer: Frank Rogers: Publishers: BMG Platinum/Gravity Gone/Warner-Tamerlane/Little Beluga, BMI; Mercury/19 (CDX)
-Oh goody. Another tuneless rocking song about a down-home country girl in blue jeans. In other words, a yawn.
LUKE BRYAN/Strip It Down
Writers: Luke Bryan/Jon Nite/Ross Copperman; Producers: Jeff Stevens/Jody Stevens; Publishers: Sony-ATV Tree/Peanut Mill/EMI April/Jon Mark Nite/EMI Blackwood/Songs By Red Room, BMI/ASCAP; Capitol (track)
-A nice change of pace. Bryan tries out a softer crooning style for this seductive romance ballad. The sultry, atmospheric arrangement and production are just dreamy. Swoon worthy.
CARRIE UNDERWOOD/Smoke Break
Writers: Carrie Underwood/Chris DeStefano/Hillary Lindsey; Producer: Jay Joyce; Publishers: Carrie-Okie/EMI April/HillarodyRathbone/BMG Rights Management, BMI/ASCAP; 19/Arista
-Lotsa stomp, power and energy in this celebratory belter about hard-working folks who are just looking for a little respite. As usual, she sings her face off, especially during the wailing, rocking faded finale.
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