DISClaimer: Chuck Wicks, Maren Morris Offer Exceptional New Singles

Chuck Wicks

Chuck Wicks

We have an even blend of familiar names and newcomers this week, and that’s just how I like it.

Among the “name” attractions are Eric Church, Loretta Lynn, The Randy Rogers Band and Trick Pony. The tenor singing of hit maker Chuck Wicks has never sounded more pure and clear. His “Always” is the Disc of the Day.

The newcomers include our DisCovery Award winner, naturally. That would be Maren Morris. I’m all ears. Send more.

POOR J BROWN/Southern Fried
Writer: Leon Waddy; Producer: Omar Vallejo and Poor J Brown; Publisher: none listed; PJB (track)
– Pleasant enough. They play and sing well. But, as before, the weakness is in the songwriting.

A THOUSAND HORSES/Southernality
Writers: Michael Hobby/Corey Crowder/Neil Mason; Producer: Dave Cobb; Publishers: Warner Tamerlane/Carolina June/Greashakin/Universal/Crowder Taylor/Nettwerk One B/Revelry/Nevada House, BMI, Republic Nashville
– Shouting and rocking and loud and in your face. Subtlety is in short supply.

THE RIFTERS/A Hundred Miles
Writers: D.L. Richmond/D.E. Clemmer/A. Biggs; Producers: The Rifters and Don Richmond; Publishers: none listed, BMI; Howlin’ Dog (track)
– Folky, with a gentle ‘60s vibe. Very acoustic, with lovely band harmonies. Welcome to the party.

ERIC CHURCH/Record Year
Writers: Eric Church/Jeff Hyde; Producer: Jay Joyce; Publishers: Sony/ATV Tree Publishing/Longer and Louder Music; Sony/ATV Tree Publishing/Little Louder Songs/Mammaw’s Friend Okra Music (BMI); EMI (track)
– Extremely well written. I love the way he incorporates song titles and stars’ names as he runs down his lonely playlist since she’s left him. Solid.

Maren Morris

Maren Morris

MAREN MORRIS/My Church
Writers: Maren Morris/busbee; Producer: Maren Morris/busbee; Publishers: Big Yellow Dog, BMG; Columbia (ERG)
– Earthy and refreshingly rootsy. She sings with raw honesty, and the production is spare and clever. Love the down-home gospel vibe.

LORETTA LYNN/Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven
Writers: Loretta Lynn; Producer: Patsy Russell/John Carter Cash; Publishers: Surefire Music Group (BMI); Legacy (track)
– This rouser first appeared on Loretta’s 1965 LP Hymns. It still sounds feisty and lively. And her singing remains a force of nature.

CHUCK WICKS/Always
Writers: Chuck Wicks/Emily Shackleton; Producer: Chuck Wicks/Andy Dodd; Publishers: none listed; Blaster (track)
– Chuck Wicks created one of the enduring wedding anthems with 2007’s “Stealing Cinderella.” His new Turning Point collection contains a second. This gorgeous waltz is sung with heart-in-throat intensity and is guaranteed to melt hearts.

TRICK PONY/Everybody Wanna Be Us
Writers: Victoria Banks/Kyle Sackley/Blake Bollinger; Producer: James Stroud; Publishers: Little Extra/Spark Ark/Petrelli Tunes, BMI/ASCAP; Permian (track)
– Keith takes a turn as lead vocalist with Heidi offering a mirror harmony vocal. The track simmers with energy and the song trips along splendidly. A winner.

TUCKER BEATHARD/Rock On
Writers: Tlucker Beathard/Casey Beathard/Marla Cannon; Producer: Angelo Petraglia; Publishers: Big Music Machine/Fayde 49/Sony-ATV Acuff-Rose/Six Ring Circus/Scrambler/My My My/Carnival, BMI/ASCAP; Big Machine
– The shuddering wah-wah guitar effect is cool, as is the processed vocal sound. The song is well constructed, with nice wordplay in the hook. A promising debut.

RANDY ROGERS BAND/Neon Blues
Writers: Derek George/Geoffrey Hill/Randy Rogers; Producer: Buddy Cannon; Publishers:WB Music Corp./Funky Friar Music (ASCAP)/ Bull Noon Muisc (BMI)/Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp./Trouble Songs (BMI); Tommy
– She comes into the bar every night looking heartbroken. And she’s not looking for companionship, buddy. As usual, Randy sings with regular-guy conviction. The straightforward, mid-tempo track doesn’t throw you any curve balls, but maybe it should, to perk up your ears a little.

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About the Author

Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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