DISClaimer: Raves For Parmalee, Wayne Toups, Jacey, Rob Baird



The stars got trumped by the indies this week.

The male performance of the day belongs to the super-soulful Wayne Toups on an old-school country slow dance. My favorite female was the wispy-voiced Jacey, whose CD is entirely self-penned. The group winner this week is Parmalee.

In an unusual twist of fate, all three of these Discs of the Day are ballads.

And so we leave it to our DisCovery Award winner to give us a kick in the pants. That would be Rob Baird, with his soul-man song “Ain’t Nobody Got a Hold on Me.” This is actually Baird’s second DisCovery Award. He won back in June 2013 with a more mainstream country sound. Now he’s reinvented himself as a blue-eyed soul stylist. I like him in both modes.

Writers: Jared Mullins/Ben Stennis/Blake Bollinger; Producer: NV; Publisher: Music of Big Deal/The Stennis Mightier Music/Dead Aim Music/Young Guns Publishing/Parallel Music Publishing, ASCAP/BMI; Stoney Creek
– They scored three Top 10 hits from their debut CD — “Carolina,” “Close Your Eyes” and “Already Callin’ You Mine.” Now comes this aching nostalgia ballad about respecting where ya come from. Plaintively performed, this has the ring of truth and honesty. Another winner.

Rob Baird

ROB BAIRD/Ain’t Nobody Got A Hold On Me
Writers: Rob Baird/Brian Douglas Phillips; Producer: Brian Douglas Phillips; Publisher: Boots Baird/Western Night, BMI/ASCAP; Hard Luck (track)
– I like this guy. The accompaniment is spare, which allows his soulful singing to shine and his instantly memorable melody to penetrate. The moody, r&b tinged vibe is ultra listenable. Play it, as well as the rest of his excellent new CD Wrong Side of the River.

Writers: Brian Kelley/Tyler Hubbard/Jordan Schmidt/Jimmy Robbins/Brad Warren/Brett Warren; Producer: Michael Knox; Publisher:Big Loud Mountain/Pranch Ringle Music/T Hubb Publishing/Tree Vibez Music/dba Freshy Music/Major Bob Music/We-volve Music/Round Hill Songs Jimmy Robbins/Jammy Rabbins Music/Extraordinary Alien/Round Hill Works/Big Loud Brad Music/Big Loud Proud Crowd/Big Loud Brett Songs, ASCAP/BMI; Broken Bow (ERG)
– Rock ‘n’ roll guitar. Country-as-grits lyric about cutting loose with music. Party time.

MARGO PRICE/Hurtin’ (On The Bottle)
Writers: Margo Price/Mark Fredson/Jeremy Ivey/Caitlin Rose; Producer: Matt Ross-Spang/Alex Munoz; Publisher: Margo Price; Nine North (ERG)
– The band isn’t the tightest thing I’ve ever heard. But the beat is steady, her vocal is potent and the overall feeling is country, country, country.

Writers: Zac Brown/Niko Moon/Wyatt Durrette/Coy Bowles/John Driskell Hopkins; Producer: In The Arena Productions; Publisher: Day For The Dead Publishing/Southern Ground/Life On Fire Music/Poppsolotamus Music/Brighter Shade, BMI/SESAC; EMI Nashville
– Bopping and beach-y. It makes you feel warm all over. Yes, please pour me another one.



Writer: Jacey Gutknecht; Producer: William Gawley; Publisher: none listed; Lighthouse (track)
– Dreamy with fluttering eyelashes. Soft strings surround her breathy, sighing delivery of this pretty love ballad. Heart melting.

Writers: Heather Morgan/Matt Dragstrem/Ryan Hurd; Producer: Ross Copperman; Publishers: Sony-ATV Tree/Heather Feather/Round Hill BLS JV/BIg Loud Proud/Universal/Lake Allegan, BMI/ASCAP; Capitol (track)
– As soon as I got my hands on Bentley’s new Black CD, I couldn’t wait to hear what this collaboration would sound like. The answer is “pretty dang cool.” Dierks applies his rasp, and Maren provides the sass. The backing shuffle drumming (by Aaron Sterling) is fantastic. Essential listening.

TROY JOHNSON/Need Me Some Country
Writer: Greg Udik; Producer: Greg Hudik; Publisher: Double Dose Platinum, BMI; Platinum (CDX)
– This thumper rocks out on the theme of huntin,’ fishin,’ front-porch swingin,’ moonshine swillin,’ barbecuin’ and all things backwoodsy. Tempo, tempo, tempo.

Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Lighthouse (track)
– Languid and slow, with a slightly bluesy edge. She’s a strong singer, if a not an especially distinctive one.

Wayne Toups

Wayne Toups

Writers: S. Monroe/S.P. Davis; Producers: James Stroud/Wayne Toups; Publishers: Ooska Riiver/Shoot Straight, ASCAP; Malaco (CDX)
– My favorite ragin’ Cajun is back with a change of pace. This outing finds him drawling a wistful tune about a lost love. It sways in all the right places. Hold your sweetie tight and take a slow spin around the dance floor while the steel sighs in your ear and Wayne pleads his soul. This is one gorgeous little record.


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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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