It’s not that I’m getting soft in the head; it’s just that everyone made interesting music this week.
So in this edition of DISClaimer there are no pans. Trace Adkins, Loretta Lynn, FrazierBand and Charles Esten were particularly fine listening experiences.
And then there was the awesome, angelic sound of The Cactus Blossoms. Their names are Jack Torrey and Page Burkum. They are from Minneapolis. Stop whatever you are doing and listen to them right now. Need I add that they win the DisCovery Award?
The Disc of the Day prize goes to the enduringly great Tim McGraw. He can always be counted on for quality work, but “Humble and Kind” is above and beyond anything else currently headed for our airwaves. Applause, applause.
LORETTA LYNN & ELVIS COSTELLO/Everything It Takes
Writers: Loretta Lynn, Todd Snider; Producer: Patsy Lynn Russell and John Carter Cash; Publishers: Surefire Music Group (BMI), SHAD N FROYD A Music (BMI); Legacy
-Loretta’s voice is still a glowing trumpet. The steel guitar shadows her every phrase as she describes a conniving female rival. “She’s got everything it takes to take everything you’ve got.” Costello provides vocal harmony on the choruses. Country and proud of it.
CHARLES ESTEN/Like New
Writers: Sarah Zimmerman/Justin Davis/Jonathan Singleton; Producer: Jay DeMarcus; Publisher: Universal Music Corp./Sarahzimm Music (ASCAP)/Justin Davis Music (ASCAP). All rights for Sarahzimm Music and Justin Davis Music controlled and administered by Universal Music Corp./BMG Gold Songs/We Jam Writers Group/Glassbean (ASCAP). All rights administered by BMG Rights Management; Big Machine
-Of all the cast members of the Nashville TV show, none has made a stronger commitment to this community than Esten (”Deacon”). The latest edition of the series soundtrack albums kicks off with his performance of this splendidly melodic song. The drummer and electric guitarist give it a real workout as the singer rocks out trying to get over a failed romance. Nicely done.
TIM McGRAW/Humble and Kind
Writer: Lori McKenna; Producers: Byron Gallimore & Tim McGraw; Publisher: Songs of Universal/Hoodie, BMI; Big Machine
-Gorgeous. The cathedral production on this shimmering ballad has crystal droplets of sound and echoing orchestral canyons. The lyric is loaded with poetic truth. McGraw’s performance aches with tenderness. If this doesn’t touch your heart, you haven’t got one.
THE CACTUS BLOSSOMS/You’re Dreaming
Writer: J. Torrey; Producers: J.D. McPherson & The Cactus Blossoms; Publishers: Jumping Gemini/Hello Central, ASCAP; Red House Records
-Somewhere, the late Phil Everly is smiling. This duo’s sweet, twin harmonies are practically a reincarnation of The Everly Brothers’ iconic sound. The walking bass and echoey electric guitar are as perfect as these heavenly voices. Stunning is the only word that will do. Listen and believe.
TEBEY/Jealous of the Sun
Writer: Tebey, Danick Dupelle and Emily Weisband; Producer: Tebey and Danick Dupelle; Publisher: Songs For Elle/ BMG Platinum Songs (BMI), Danick Dupelle (SOCAN), WB Music Corp./Thankful for THiS Music (ASCAP); Road Angel
-Formerly on BNA, this Canadian-born artist reboots his recording career as an indie artist with this slab of audio energy. Youthful and rocking.
JANE KRAMER/Carnival of Hopes
Writer: Jane Kramer; Producer: Adam Johnson; Publisher: Famous Brown Boots, ASCAP; JK
-She sings with a soprano-to-falsetto lilt. The acoustic accompaniment stays in the background to keep her delivery and her lyrics in the spotlight on this title tune of her CD. Her writing is a little “arty” for country, but might find a home in the Americana format. All the tunes are originals with the exception of a cover of Tom Petty’s “Down South.”
TRACE ADKINS/Jesus and Jones
Writers: Jim McCormick, Casey Beathard and Tyler Farr; Producer: Mickey Jack Cones; Publishers: ole Purple Cape Music (BMI) admin by OLE, Rack City Publishing (BMI) admin by OLE, BMG Blue (BMI) admin by BMG Rights Management (US), LLC, Songs of Jim McCormick (BMI) admin by BMG Rights Management, (US), LLC, Sony/ATV Acuff Rose Music (BMI), Six Ring Circus Songs (BMI) admin by Sony/ATV Acuff Rose Music; Wheelhouse
-He’s a sinner on Saturday night and a saint on Sunday morning. He wants to find some middle ground between being “stone cold sober and just plain stoned.” The track rocks splendidly, and Trace is on fire as a vocalist on this super single. Add it at once.
LANEY JONES/Allston (Dance Around)
Writers: Laney Jones/Matthew Tenner; Producer: David Plakon; Publisher: none listed, BMI; LJ
-Folk-pop energy with bouncy innocence, boppy delirium and kooky charm.
FRAZIERBAND/The Rod & the Cane
Writer: none listed; Producer: John E. Frazier III; Publisher: none listed; FB
-On its website, the group is offering this track as a preview of its upcoming album, Some People Change. With its airy pop sound and soft harmonies, it puts me in mind of Poco or Pure Prairie League or Crosby, Stills & Nash.
PHILLIP SANDIFER/Find Your Own Way
Writers: Phillip Sandifer; Producer: Phillip Sandifer; Publisher: Wider Sky, BMI; Wider Sky
-Rousing, upbeat and almost hippie-like in its sunny positivism.