It must be that time of the year.
The fourth-quarter releases are dropping regularly, and country’s big stars are vying for our attention. This week, alone, we have Toby Keith, George Strait, Kip Moore, Lee Ann Womack and Dustin Lynch, plus Eric Paslay and Chris Janson on hand to solidify their newly minted successes.
Kip, Lee Ann and Chris all have superb singles, but the Disc of the Day goes to the once and future king, George Strait.
Moonlight Social is back and sounding even better than ever. Another new duo, Dave & Whitney take home the DisCovery Award.
DUSTIN LYNCH/Mind Reader
Writers: Rhett Akins/Ben Hayslip; Producer: Brett Beavers/Luke Wooten/Mickey Jack Cones; Publishers:EMI Blackwood Music, Inc. (BMI), Rhettro Music (BMI) admin by EMI Blackwood Music, Inc., WB Music Corp., Tar Cam Knox Music (ASCAP) admin by WB Music Corp., Thankful for This Music (ASCAP) admin by WB Music Corp.; Broken Bow (track)
-The track seems needlessly “busy,” with a little too much going on. But the song and performance are solid.
GEORGE STRAIT/Cold Beer Conversation
Writers: Al Anderson/Ben Hayslip/Jimmy Yeary; Producers: Chuck Ainlay/George Strait; Publishers:International Dog/Bucked Up/WB/Tar Can Knox/Thankful For This/EMI Blackwood/Great Day At This/Beatyville, BMI/ASCAP; MCA (track)
-Totally classy, mellow and full of gentle grace. The groove is magical. His voice is so relaxed and warm, leaning toward you like an old friend. This is a country-music masterpiece.
DAVE & WHITNEY/Alibi
Writers: Rodney Clawson/Sarah Buxton/Jamie Moore; Producer: Dan Frizsell; Publisher: none listed; 45 (track)
-This is a feisty, frolicsome new duo hailing from rural Indiana. She has a saucy, foxy vocal delivery. He harmonizes and provides the lead electric guitar. Elsewhere on the EP, he handles some of the lead singing.
LEE ANN WOMACK/Chance Are
Writers: Hayes Carll; Producers: Frank Liddell/Chuck Ainlay/Glenn Worf; Publishers: Highway 87/BMG Chrysalis, SESAC; Sugar Hill (track)
-She pours soul all over this yearning ballad. Paul Franklin’s steel guitar sighs in poetic sympathy. Awesome listening.
MOONLIGHT SOCIAL/Rub A Little Dirt On It
Writers: Jeremy Burchard/Jennica Scott/Jo-Leah Tibury; Producers: Kelly Schoenfeld/Jeremy Burchard; Publishers: none listed; MS
-These two Texans can sure-nuff sing. This funky little thang is produced to provide plenty of space for their flawless harmonizing. I have liked this Jeremy-and-Jennica team in the past. This new single makes me positive that they deserve stardom. Somebody sign these folks up for the Big Time.
TOBY KEITH/Rum Is The Reason
Writers: Toby Keith/Scotty Emerick; Producers: Toby Keith/Mac McAnally; Publishers: Tokeco Tunes/Florida Room/BPJ, BMI; Show Dog (track)
-The mighty Toby takes a page from the Buffett Caribbean playbook and adds steel drums to this rollicking, feel-good track. “Take it home, Coral Reefers,” chuckles the singer.
Writers: Ashley Campbell/Kai Welch; Producer: Julian Raymond; Publishers: WB/Chateau Banjo/Nettles and Bones, ASCAP; Dot
-Glen Campbell’s daughter marries a sad, wistful lyric to a strikingly lilting, uplifting melody. The breezy production overlays her refrain, “Daddy don’t you worry, I’ll do the remembering.” Recommended.
KIP MOORE/Running For You
Writers: Kip Moore/Troy Verges/Blair Daly; Producer: Brett James/Kip Moore; Publishers: Music of Stage Three/Songs of Cornman/Roll Through/BMG/Songs of Universal/Songs From the Engine Room/Southside Independent/Internal Combustion/Kickin’ Grids, BMI; MCA (track)
-Loaded with raspy fire and urgency. She’s leaving, but he loves her so much that he’ll be there in a heartbeat if she ever needs help. Blue-collar heartache with pounding passion. I dig this guy the most.
ERIC PASLAY/High Class
Writers: Eric Paslay/Corey Crowder/Jesse Frasure; Producer: Jesse Frasure/Marshall Altman; Publisher: WB/Five Foot Sixteen/Songs From the Rose Hotel/Rio Bravo/Telemitry, ASCAP/BMI; EMI (CDX)
-They might be a couple of rednecks, but just for tonight they’re living the upper-crust life. The track stutters relentlessly and he stays at the top of his vocal range all the way through. It kinda wears you out.
CHRIS JANSON/Power of Positive Drinkin’
Writers: Chris Janson/Mark Irwin/Chris DuBois; Producers: Brent Anderson/Chris DuBois/Chris Janson; Publishers: Red Vinyl/Buckkilla/Words & Music/House of Sea Gayle/Clearbox Rights/Green Vinyl, BMI/ASCAP; WB (CDX)
– Everything’s going wrong, so he’s headed for the neon lights to chug a bunch of beers in a row, until life looks a little more rosy. Joyously rhythmic and a merry lyric delight. Chalk up Big Hit #2 for this boy.
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