DISClaimer: Praise For Craig Morgan, Mo Pitney, Home Free


Photo: Joseph Llanes

Leaves are falling and the fall releases are beginning to drop, too. One thing we do not have this week is a first-timer to the column. So I have no DisCovery Award recipient.

That being the case, let’s spread the love around with our Disc of the Day award. Absolutely, for certain, that belongs to mighty voiced Craig Morgan.

But if we want to salute a baby act, save some applause for Mo Pitney, whose sophomore single is a thing of perfect wonder. And for a left-field pleasure, give a listen to the imaginative vocal arranging skills of Home Free.

Writers: Rachele Lynae/Danick Dupelle/Patricia Conroy; Producers: Jamie O’Neal/Rachele Lynae; Publishers: Rachele Lynae/Bend That Note/Emerson Drive/Patricia Conroy, ASCAP/SOCAN; Momentum
-She’s warning her girlfriend about a guy who is big trouble while the band rumbles around her in a ruckus. After such a rocking ride, the abrupt ending might give you whiplash.

Home Free

Home Free

Writers: Dallas Frazier; Producers: Darren Rust/Home Free; Publishers: Sony-ATV Acuff Rose, BMI; Columbia (track)
-Home Free is the a cappella quintet that won on TV’s The Sing Off. They warble like perfectly harmonizing birds and have enormous talent for creatively re-arranging country classics like this one. If you think you’ve heard this song enough times already, trust me, you haven’t. This gives it a completely fresh sound. Elsewhere on the new Country Evolution CD are equally inventive re-workings of “9 to 5,” “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” “Friends in Low Places,” “Fishin’ in the Dark” and more.

REBA McENTIRE/Until They Don’t Love You
Writers: Shane McAnally/Lori McKenna/Josh Osborne; Producers: Tony Brown/Reba; Publishers: Universal/Smack Ink/Hoodie Songs/One Little Indian Creek/Songs of Black River, ASCAP/BMI; Starstruck/Nash Icon (track)
-Lots of rhythm. Not much melody.

Writers: Justin Ebach/Steven Dale Jones; Publishers: Byron Gallimore/Craig Morgan; Publishers:Whispering/Word/Son of Austin, SESAC/ASCAP; Black River
– He remains one of the greatest vocalists in this city, and this powerhouse performance of a pile-driving song proves it. It’s a ferociously soaring rocker about living life to the fullest. Sing it, brother.

ABBI WALKER/Well Behaved Too Long
Writers: Abbi Walker/P. Ryan Petkoff/Rich Alvarez; Producer: none listed; Publisher: Abbi Walker, BMI; Indie
-She gives this sassy number her best, but the production is rinky-dink cheesy.

GLEN CAMPBELL/Streets of London
Writer: McTell; Producer: none listed; Publisher: Westminster, no performance rights listed; Rainman (track)
-The “new” CD by this legend is a live album recorded in England in 1990. It includes full-band rendition of his big hits, plus Paul McCartney’s “Mull of Kintyre” (featuring his stunning bagpipe playing) and this lovely, heartfelt performance of Ralph McTell’s folk song accompanying himself on simple acoustic guitar. Pure talent.

STEPHANIE URBINA JONES/Bring It Back to the Heartland
Writers: Stephanie Urbina Jones/Mark Marchetti; Producer: none listed; Publishers: Casa Del Rio/Mark Marchetti, SESAC/BMI; Casa Del Rio
-I have long been a fan of this lady’s work. Her voice is as throaty and emotive as ever on this topical single. The lyric yearns to bring the nation back to its better years when we had mom-and-pop stores, products made in the U.S.A., family farms, good jobs and the American Dream.

JOHN ANDERSON/Don’t Forget To Thank The Lord
Writers: John D. Anderson/John Rich; Producers: John Anderson/Joe Spivey; Publisher: none listed; Bayou Boys (track)
-John says not to take things for granted. Remember to thank teachers, preachers, policemen, firemen, mothers, soldiers and at the end of the day, the man upstairs. The loping rhythm, fiddle work, steel backing and guitar chops are all first rate. As is his singing, of course.

JON PARDI/Head Over Boots
Writers: Jon Pardi/Luke Laird; Producers: Bart Butler/Jon Pardi; Publishers: Golden Vault/Bill Butler/Song Factory/Songs of Universal/Creative Nation, BMI; Capitol (CDX)
-This goes down smooth and easy with its lulling, gentle rhythm and simple, smiling lyric of romance. Sweet and youthful.

Mo Pitney photo Joseph LLanes

Mo Pitney. Photo: Joseph Llanes

MO PITNEY/Boy and a Girl Thing
Writers: Mo Pitney/Don Sampson; Producer: Tony Brown; Publishers: Mike Curb/She’s My Darlin/House of Sea Gayle, BMI/ASCAP; Curb (CDX)
-This is ultra cool, a soft, dreamy groove that’s as comfy as a hammock on a summer afternoon. You’ll think it is understated at first, but this will definitely get under your skin and into your memory bank. The kid just might be our next big star. I wanna hear Mo.


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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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