Today’s field of airplay contenders is a crowded one.
Old Dominion, Drake White, Chris Stapleton, Carrie Underwood and Luke Bryan are all on hand, jostling for position. Leading the pack is Keith Urban, who has the Disc of the Day.
The DisCovery Award goes to a band that has evidently been on the road for 15 years, hence the title of its forthcoming January album, Fifteen. The advance single features the characteristic harmony singing of Green River Ordinance.
Writers: Sarah Buxton/Jesse Frasure/Abe Stoklasa; Producer: Joey Moi; Publishers: Round Hill Works/Big Loud Proud Crowd/Bux Tone Music/Rio Bravo Music, Inc./Telemitry Productions/Year of the Dog; BMI/ASCAP; Big Loud (CDX)
-It ain’t all that “country.” It is quite catchy and bouncy.
KEITH URBAN/Break On Me
Writers: Jon Nite/Ross Copperman; Producers: Nathan Chapman/Keith Urban; Publishers: EMI April/Jon Mark Nite/EMI Blackwood/Songs By Red Room, ASCAP/BMI; Capitol/Hit Red
-Echoey droplets of sound fall around his aching ballad vocal. A simply beautiful record, one that explains why this guy is a superstar.
LUKE BRYAN/KAREN FAIRCHILD/Home Alone Tonight
Writers: Jody Stevens/Cole Taylor/Jaida Dreyer/Tommy Cecil; Producers: Jeff Stevens/Jody Stevens; Publishers: Sony ATV Tree/Universal/Red Vinyl/Words & Music/Sixteen Stars, BMI/ASCAP; Capitol
-Cool contemporary lyrics. Hooky melody. Admirably crunchy production.
GREEN RIVER ORDINANCE/Red Fire Night
Writers: Green River Ordinance; Producer: Rick Beatto; Publishers: Green River Ordinance 2015, admin Kobalt Music Publishing; GRO (track)
-The lead vocal is rather ordinary, but when they sing together, the harmonies are outstanding. This band works constantly, opens for loads of country stars and has had music placements on more than 60 TV shows.
Writers: Carrie Underwood/Zach Crowell/Ashley Gorley; Producer: Zach Crowell; Publishers: Carrie-Okie/External Combustion/Songs of Southside Independent/Who Wants to Buy My Publishing/Atlas/Combustion Engine/Sadie’s Favorite Songs/WB, BMI/ASCAP; Arista/19 (track)
-Disappointingly dull. Considering what a superb singer she is, it doesn’t have much of a tune. Sam Hunt sings harmony.
TOWN MOUNTAIN/Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo
Writers: Garcia/Hunter; Producer: Town Mountain; Publisher: none listed; TM
-This band covers Grateful Dead songs, country-style. The result is delightfully refreshing and utterly charming.
Writers: Matthew Ramsey/Trevor Rosen/Brad Tursi; Producer: Shane McAnally; Publisher: Carrot Seed Songs/Smackville Music/Smack Songs LLC; adm by Kobalt Songs Music Publishing. ReHits Music, Inc./Smacktown Music, a division of Smack Blue, LLC/Smack Songs LLC/Unfair Entertainment; adm by ReHits Music, Inc.; Songs of Big Deal/Wooden Ships Publishing; adm by BMG Rights Management (US) LLC; ASCAP; RCA (track)
-Very exciting. The jittery backbeat and rapid-fire lyric delivery carry you irresistibly forward. The whoa-whoa shouts are made for singing along. The finale electric guitar solo is sensational. The newcomers go two for two.
ROBBY JOHNSON/Hate Me Tonight
Writers: Jason Massey/Ryan Griffin/Mark Carson; Producer: James Stroud; Publisher: none listed; Contrast Music
-Nicely done. He sings with clear, direct force, and the production supports him at every turn. Worth your spins.
DRAKE WHITE/Livin’ The Dream
Writers: Tom Douglas/Jaren Johnston/Luke Laird; Producers: Ross Copperman/Jeremy Stover; Publishers: Sony ATV Tree/Tomdouglasmusic/Sony ATV Harmony/Texa Rae/Luke Laird Songs of Universal/Creative Nation, BMI/ASCAP; Dot
-The fact that this excellent performer isn’t a major star is a complete mystery to me. Here is yet another fine single from him, full of heart and energy and warmth. He sings of the joys of a simple life where having love is better than having material wealth. The track is rhythm happy. I remain a huge fan.
CHRIS STAPLETON/Nobody To Blame
Writers: Chris Stapleton/Barry Bales/Ronnie Bowman; Producers: Dave Cobb/Chris Stapleton; Publishers: WB Music Corp./House of Sea Gayle Music, admin. by ClearBox Rights; Quackhead Music; Sony/ATV Tree Publishing; ASCAP/BMI; Mercury (track)
-His relationship is busted, and he’s wailing the blues about it. And wail, he can. This man is a singin’ HOSS.
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