I was going to take a break from mainstream country and review some other genre this week, but the stars had other plans. In the wake of the CMA Music Festival, a large crop of hillbilly headliners released new music. So I was compelled to scrap my agenda.
Swatting away all competitors, Blake Shelton rules the roost with the Disc of the Day. This fella really is the bomb. Since everyone here is a proven quantity, there is no DisCovery Award winner. Let me just say that the two records that came closest to matching Blake’s in song quality were the new singles by Darius Rucker and Pat Green.
BLAKE SHELTON/She’s Got A Way With Words
Writers: Wyatt Earp/Andy Albert/Marc Beeson; Producer: Scott Hendricks; Publishers: Western Legend/Downtown DL/Son of Ron, BMI/ASCAP; Warner Bros.
– Very cleverly written. And in case you haven’t noticed by now, this guy is one of the greatest country singers of our time. This is going straight to the top.
MAREN MORRIS/80s Mercedes
Writers: Maren Morris/busbee; Producers: Maren Morris/busbee; Publisher: none listed; Columbia (track)
– It ain’t all that “country,” but it sure is cool. Synth lines throb beneath her exuberant, youthful vocal about a babe out on the town.
JACK INGRAM/I’m Drinking Through It
Writers: Jack Ingram/Lori McKenna/Liz Rose; Producer: Jon Randall; Publishers: Beat Up Ford/Songs of Universal/Hoodie/Crazy Girl/Warner-Tamerlane, BMI; Rounder (track)
– His drawling performance is charming, and the song is a dandy. The only thing I didn’t like was the continuous bass rumble that assaulted me in one speaker. Somebody remix this.
JERROD NIEMANN & LEE BRICE/A Little More Love
Writers: Shane McAnally/Ross Copperman/Natalie Hemby/Kristi Neumann; Producers: Jimmie Lee Sloas, Jerrod Niemann & Lee Brice; Publishers: Smack Hits/Smack Songs/Kobalt/EMI Blackwood/Songs By Red Room/Happygownucke/Creative Pulse/These Are My Pulse/Hello Jerry, GMR/BMI/SESAC; Curb (CDX)
– I could put up with the country-rap verses if the song was more interesting. As it is, it’s just an endless loop of the same repeated phrases.
PAT GREEN/Day One
Writers: Shane McAnally/John Osborne/Matt Ramsey; Producers: Jon Randall Stewart, Justin Pollard & Gary Paczosa; Publishers: Universal/Smack Ink/Songs of Black River/One Little Indian Creek/RPM/Sonic Geo/HoriPro/Calhoun, ASCAP; Greenhouse (CDX)
– Nicely done. He counts down the days as he survives a breakup. His pleading delivery is accompanied by a sweet, spare, guitar-chiming track. Whoever is singing the tenor harmony part is flawless.
Writers: Darryl Worley/Jay Brunswick/Brock Berryhill; Producers: Jim “Moose” Brown, Billy Lawson & Brock Berryhill; Publishers: Myers/Worleybird/Spirit, ASCAP/BMI; Worleybird (CDX)
– Thunderstorm audio effects underscore his delivery of this sexy lyric.
BRAD PAISLEY & DEMI LOVATO/Without a Fight
Writers: Brad Paisley, Kelley Lovelace and Lee Thomas Miller; Producer: Brad Paisley and Luke Wooted; Publisher: none listed; Arista (ERG)
-They fuss and scrap, then make up. The big, pounding track tries to stir up excitement, but the song just isn’t that compelling.
DARIUS RUCKER/So I Sang
Writers: Darius Rucker/Rivers Rutherford/Tim James; Producer: Frank Rogers; Publishers:Universal Music Corp./Cadaja Publishing/ Universal Music Corp./Memphianna/Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp./T-Bird’s Music, ASCAP/BMI; Capitol Nashville
-I love this. He is just an ordinary guy, who excels at nothing much. Except for one thing: At every twist and turn in life, he sings his heart out. Resonant and moving.
Writers: Cassadee Pope, Kelly Archer, Emily Shackelton; Producer: Corey Crowder; Publisher: Universal Music Corp./It’s the Coolest Publishing/Canal Music Publishing BV/Stars and Stripes and Maple Leaf Music/Downtown DMP Songs/Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp./Better Boat Music; ASCAP/BMI; Republic Nashville (ERG)
– His love burns like the sunshiny weather. Her bright vocal matches the lyric. The drummer is working overtime, but the rest of the instrumental track is pretty ordinary.
GARY ALLAN/Do You Wish It Was Me
Writers: Gary Allan/Jonathan Singleton/Andrew Dorff; Producers: Gary Allan/Greg Droman; Publishers: Crystal Beach/Super Big/Jett/Big Machine/Songs of Universal/Morendorffin, BMI/ASCAP; EMI (CDX)
– The steady driving track is just right for Gary’s impassioned delivery. A guy misses his gal fiercely and hopes desperately that she feels the same.
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