DISClaimer: Dierks Bentley, Sammy Arriaga Bring Rhythm, Energy On New Singles

dierks-elle-sammy_570“T for Texas, T for Tennessee.”

That’s what the great Jimmie Rodgers wrote and sang. And it’s as true today as it was back in 1928. Just look at the match-ups in today’s column.

Representing the Lone Star State, we have Brad Cunningham, Mark McKinney and Sarabeth. On the other hand, we have Volunteer State recording artists Dierks Bentley, Old Dominion and Josh Goodlett.

Toss in California’s Corinne Cook and Lasers Lasers Birmingham, Georgia boy Tyler Hammond and South Florida’s Sammy Arriaga and you’ve got quite a geographic mix.

Dierks Bentley earns Disc of the Day. Sammy Arriaga is our DisCovery Award winner.

 

SAMMY ARRIAGA/Banjos N’ Bongos
Writers: Sammy Arriaga/James Slater/Bobby Hamrick; Producer: Lalo Guzman; Publishers: Sony/ATV, Disney, BMG; Latium (track)
– Very summer-y. The percolating bongo beats and light banjo plucks give it loads of burbling, bopping energy. His rapid-fire vocal delivery has lots of heart as he describes romance between a Kentucky girl and a Cuban-American boy. Endearing.

 

BRAD CUNNINGHAM BAND/Goin’ To Texas
Writers: Brad Cunningham; Producer: Wes Sharon; Publishers: none listed; Brad/Sony RED (track)
– It’s a cool little “road” song, with a jaunty beat, sawing fiddle, twangin’ guitar and a countryboy vocal that’s winning. Makes you want to go for a ride.

 

OLD DOMINION/Song For Another Time
Writers: Matthew Ramsey/Trevor Rosen/Brad Tursi/Matt Jenkins; Producer: Shane McAnally; Publishers: Smack/Big Deal Music/Combustion Music, ASCAP; RCA (track)
– As before, enormously tuneful. The lyric paints a picture of optimism in the face of uncertainty. The spare, percussive arrangement underscores how well written this is.

 

LASERS LASERS BIRMINGHAM/Royal Blue
Writer: Alex Owen; Producer: Jake Gideon; Publishers: Lasers Lasers Birmingham, BMI; LLB (track)
– Airy, California country with a way, way mellow vibe. Fluid organ and steel notes drift through the arrangement while a piano plinky-plunks in between the sleepy baritone’s vocal phrases. This is the title tune of the unusually named act’s second EP.

 

DIERKS BENTLEY/ELLE KING
Writers: Shane McAnally/J.T. Harding; Producer: Ross Copperman; Publishers: Smack Hits/Smack Songs/Kobalt/Songs Music/Mighty Seven/Heavy Metal Disco/Songs of SMP, GMR/ASCAP; Capitol Nashville
– Very atmospheric. An echoey track backs Dierks and pop chirper Elle as they duet on a lyric that explains how heartbreak affects different sexes. He can have meaningless sex, drown his blues in booze and switch his emotions off. She can’t. Love that thumping rhythm undertow.

 

TYLER HAMMOND/Drunk Over A Girl
Writers: none listed; Producer: Ira Dean; Publishers: none listed; TH
– Dean shows real ability as a producer. The crunchy beats and perfectly placed electric guitar phrases both work extremely well here. Hammond has a forceful country delivery with plenty of personality. Play this.

 

JOSH GOODLETT/I Don’t Usually Do This
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Good Entertainment (track)
– His tenor could use a little echo assistance to sound fuller. But everything else works perfectly. The song is extremely well written and the instrumental arrangement supports his expressive delivery at every turn. Very promising. Credits, please.

 

MARK McKINNEY & BRI BAGWELL/Why Haven’t You Left Yet?
Writers: Mark McKinney/Cassie Turano; Producers: Eric McKinney/Mark McKinney; Publisher: none listed; MMBB
-Very hillbilly cute. They’re thoroughly sick of each other. He offers her the used car that isn’t paid for, if she’ll just split. She says he can have all their unpaid debts. He says she always has her face planted in Facebook. She says he always has a belly full of beer and is planted in front of the TV or down at the bar. She’s taken over their bed; he’s sleeping in the LazyBoy.

 

CORINNE COOK/Little Miss Understanding
Writers: Lee Young/Julie Burton/Denny Martin; Producer: Denny Martin; Publishers: Boots in Nashville/Pileadough/Purple Daisy, SESAC/BMI; CCM (CDX)
– It’s a kiss-off song. A little more vocal firepower would make it more effective. As it is, she delivers it with a whine instead of a snarl.

 

SARABETH/You Rock My Rodeo
Writers: Sarabeth Swagertky/Glen Mitchell/Sandy Ramos; Producer: Glen Mitchell; Publishers: AmeriBrit/Delta Pearl/Lawyer’s Wife, ASCAP/BMI; Circle S (CDX)
– A feisty cowgirl ditty that, despite its title, never really rocks.

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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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