DISClaimer: Jennifer Nettles, Eric Chesser Shine

Jennifer Nettles, Unlove You

The fallout from Dolly’s triumphant Coat of Many Colors holiday TV movie continues into this first DisClaimer column of 2016.

The film hit an emotional home run and was such a ratings blockbuster that they aired it twice. By the time they add up all the streamed and TiVo’d views, it could wind up as the most successful TV movie in history.

Here’s why it relates to today’s reviews. You see, the two best singles in this stack come from people who were in that film. Jennifer Nettles played Dolly’s mom. Stella Parton had a role as one of her aunts. Both of these women shine like beacons on their new outings this week. Jennifer Nettles earns the Disc of the Day.

Our first DisCovery Award of the year goes to Eric Chesser. He’s a 27-year-old fellow from a town outside of Chicago who sounds to me like he’s launching a promising career as a country singer-songwriter. We wish him the best.

Writers: Jennifer Nettles/Brandy Clark; Producer: Dann Huff; Publishers: Jennifer Nettles/House of Sea Gayle/Highway 508/Clearbox, ASCAP; Big Machine
-Stunning. This burning ballad builds to a crescendo of anguish. The relationship is going nowhere, but she can’t deny her smoldering feelings. Power and passion in every note.

COLE SWINDELL/You Should Be Here
Writers: Cole Swindell/Ashley Gorley; Publishers: Sony-ATV Tree/Combustion Engine/Jodie’s Favorite/WB, BMI/ASCAP; Warner Bros.
-It’s a perfect day. Perfect in every way but one. A loved one who has passed on isn’t here to share it with him. Aching and moving.

Eric Chesser

ERIC CHESSER/I Can’t Read Your Mind
Writer: Eric Chesser; Producers: Larry Beard/Eric Chesser; Publishers: Eric James/BIG BIG, ASCAP; BIG BIG (CDX)
-He has a sturdy, resonant baritone, and he puts it to good use on this self-penned, well-crafted ballad. She’s in a mood, and he can’t figure out why or how. A strong debut.

STELLA PARTON/Mountain Songbird
Writers: Stella Parton/Tom T. Hall/Dixie Hall; Producer: Stella Parton; Publisher: Good Home Grown, BMI; Raptor (CDX)
-Sweet. This is a lovely, acoustic, Appalachian tune, rippling with delicate picking and floating on female vocal harmonies. Clear and pure as a woodland brook.

Writers: none listed; Producers: none listed; Publishers: none listed; RCA (ERG)
-I’m a big fan of this guy. This is a real cool single, but I don’t hear it as all that “country.”

VIOLET DELANCEY/When The Clock Strikes Midnight
Writer: Violet Delancey; Producer: Brent Truitt; Publisher: Honky Tonk Fairytale, ASCAP; VD (track)
– The title tune to this gal’s CD is a toe-tapper with a nifty twang guitar (Bryan Sutton) and a steel (Paul Franklin) that “answers” her vocal phrases. Her voice is light, but she’s surrounded by such hot picking, harmony singing (Randy Kohrs and Brent Truitt) and production finesse that it’s easy to overlook. The piano solo by Jeff Taylor is cool too.

ALLIE LOUISE/It’s Gettin’ Old
Writers: Allie Louise/Doug Kahan; Producer: John Jaszcz; Publisher: none listed; Sixth Beat (track)
-Bopping and full of personality. It is also a very well-written girl-to-girl slice of advice.

JUSTIN MOORE/You Look Like I Need a Drink
Writers: Rodney Clawson/Matt Dragstrem/Natalie Hemby; Producer: Jeremy Stover; Publishers: Round Hill Works/Farm Town Songs/Big Loud Proud Crowd, BMI/ASCAP; Valory (ERG)
– Crunchy and thumping. His drawling, Dixie-fried delivery is just right to tell this tale of a good ol’ boy who’s knows he’s getting dumped.

LAURA McCORMICK/Just Around The Corner
Writers: Rick Rowell; Producers: Laura McCormick/Rick Rowell; Publisher: Kit, ASCAP; LMM (track)
-A lively country rocker, full of upbeat optimism, positivity and hope. The chorus voices and handclaps at the finale lift the already-inspiring tune even higher. A winner.

Writers: Jimmy Clay Frizzell/Jimmy Parker; Producers: Jimmy Clay Frizzell/David Frizzell; Publishers: Feat of Clay/Eastern Seaboard, BMI; Nashville America
-He’s the nephew of the illustrious Lefty, David and Allen Frizzell. Like them, he’s a hard country stylist. Alas, he’s not nearly as good a vocalist. In fact, he barely stays on melody.


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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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