DISClaimer: Chris Young, Cassadee Pope Shine On New Collaboration

CY CP 570

It’s a day for vocal collaborations.

Our two top discs today are both harmony-vocal workouts. Big & Rich sound splendid with Tim McGraw on board. And Chris Young has never sounded more forceful than he does in tandem with Cassadee Pope. In a tight race, the youngsters win the Disc of the Day.

The DisCovery Award goes to The Jason Lee McKinney Band.

The Jason Lee McKinney Band

The Jason Lee McKinney Band

THE JASON LEE McKINNEY BAND/Lisha’s Leaving
Writers: Jason Lee McKinney/Scott Faircloff; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; BMI/ASCAP; JLM
-The vocals sound somewhat muddy. The instruments sound like they are tuning up. But there is ability and promise here, particularly in the lead-vocal department.

STEVEN TYLER/Red White & You
Writers: Steven Tyler/Nathan Barlowe/Levi Hummon/Jon Vella; Producer: Dann Huff; Publishers: BMG Gold/20 Summers/Hot Rod 98/HitsSoGood/Big Machine/Levi Hummon/Deston Song Slayer/Kobalt/Sons of Deston/Universal, ASCAP/SESAC/BMI; Dot
– It’s tightly written, catchy and well produced. He still sounds like a rock singer to me.

MARK McKINNEY/Sunshine
Writer: Mark McKinney; Producers: Eric McKinney/Mark McKinney; Publisher: none listed; Texas Evolution
– It’s about making your own sunshine when times are darkest. The verses are at a ballad tempo. The choruses pick up the pace. It kinda meanders and takes its time getting to its hooks, but the wait is worth it.

LORI YATES/Sweetheart of the Valley
Writer: Lori Yates; Producers: Lori Yates/David Gavan Baxter; Publishers: none listed, SOCAN; LY (Canada)
– This Canadian singer-songwriter saw some chart action on Columbia back in the late ‘80s. The title tune of her current CD is a languid, picturesque, romantic stroll through the countryside, with some dandy steel and twang accompaniment. Very, very listenable.

RAY SCOTT/Live Forever
Writers: Billy Joe Shaver/Eddy Shaver; Producer: Dave Brainard; Publisher: none listed; deciBel (track)
– Ray’s new project is Roots Sessions Vol. 1, a six-song sampler of some of the songs that shaped him as an artist. His mighty baritone is center stage throughout, starting with this solid remake of a Billy Joe Shaver classic. Others saluted include Willie, Waylon, Cash, Tompall Glaser and Don Williams. I remain a big fan of this artist.

BIG & RICH FT. TIM McGRAW/Lovin’ Lately
Writers: Big Kenny/John Rich/Tim McGraw; Producer: Big & Rich; Publishers: Big Love/Songs of Kobalt/J Money/Stylesonic, BMI/ASCAP; New Revolution (track)
– Beautifully produced, with a deep-well atmosphere, swirling instrumental work and crystal-clear vocals. The song is dreamy melodic, and the harmonies are flawless. Play the heck outta this.

BRENNEN LEIGH/I Love You A Thousand Ways
Writers: Lefty Frizzell/Jimmy Beck; Producers: Brennen Leigh, Noel McKay, Cris Burns; Publishers: APRS/Sure Fire, BMI; Line in the Sand
– I am completely smitten with this artist. She plays guitar like the devil and sings like an angel. Her new CD is a salute to Country Music Hall of Famer Lefty Frizzell and has a brilliant neo-retro style, complete with bounced fiddle bows, barrelhouse piano and sighing steel. I was in heaven.

CHRIS YOUNG & CASSADEE POPE/Think of You
Writers: Chris Young/Corey Crowder/Josh Hoge; Producers: Chris Young/Corey Crowder; Publishers: EMI Blackwood/Goodbye Pants/Sony-ATV/WB/Songs From the Rose Hotel/EMI Foray/Write 2 Be Free, BMI/ASCAP/SESAC; RCA (track)
– This second single from his new CD is penned by the same team that gave us the chart-topping “I’m Comin’ Over.” But this one rocks splendidly and quickens your pulse. He sings his face off and Pope keeps up on harmonies. Excitement pours out of the speakers. Excellent work all around.

WARD DAVIS/15 Years in a 10 Year Town
Writer: Pat Alger; Producer: Jim “Moose” Brown; Publisher: none listed; WDM (track)
– Ward rounded up quite a crew for his new CD–Jamey Johnson, Melonie Cannon, Willie Nelson, Mickey Raphael and Buddy Cannon all put in appearances. The title tune is a solo meditation on broken dreams and cold loneliness. A terrific song.

BILLY DEE/For Sale Sign
Writer: B. Donahue; Producers: Billy Dee/George Schinier; Publishers: Cris Dee, BMI; BD (track)
-He’s hardcore country. His well-weathered singing voice is answered on every phrase by a whipped-dog pedal steel guitar.

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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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