DISClaimer: Miranda Lambert Lights Up Radio With “Vice”

Miranda Lambert. Photo: Becky Fluke

Miranda Lambert. Photo: Becky Fluke

Some days, the decisions are as clear as a bright blue sky.

There is no question, for instance, that the Disc of the Day award belongs to Miranda Lambert. In a sea of songs about beer drinking, hot honeys, pickup trucks and being proud to be redneck, she has a lyric about real life. She has always had an edge that other artists lack. No more so than she does today.

We have a number of newcomers in today’s column. But, again, the choice is easy. Cody Johnson triumphs over the competition to win the DisCovery Award.

MAGNOLIA BELLE/Lucky Number
Writers: none listed; Producer: Kimo Forrest; Publisher: none listed; Heartland (track)
– It’s kinda synth-y and pop, but very sunny, upbeat and bright sounding. Enjoyable.

FRANKIE BALLARD/Cigarette
Writers: Kip Moore/Chris Stapleton/Jaren Johnston; Producer: Marshall Altman; Publishers: WB/Cool Change/Music of the Corn/Spirit Catalog Holdings/Spirit Two/Sony-ATV Harmony/Texa Rae, ASCAP; Warner Bros.
– Get a load of those writer credits. Too bad he couldn’t get anybody talented involved. This is the song of a man in lust, loaded with steamy vocal phrasing and intensely atmospheric production. A hit.

 

ZACH SEABAUGH/Nothing Good Happens After Midnight
Writers: Bruce Burch/Wally Montgomery; Producers: Zach Seabaugh, Jason Pendley & Bruce Burch; Publisher: none listed; Open Roads
– This Georgia teenager competed on The Voice last year. His solid baritone carries this uptempo romantic number with confidence and aplomb. The thumping rhythm track is especially cool. A contender, for sure.

VINCE GILL/Me and My Girl
Writer: Vince Gill; Producers: Vince Gill/Justin Niebank; Publishers: Vinne Mae/Songs of Kobalt, BMI; MCA Nashville
– A gentle rhythm carries this along like a summer breeze. It’s a lovely “road” song about traveling side-by-side with the one you adore, heading for nowhere under a yellow moon. In a word, enchanting.

MIKE SMITH/Green Eyed Girl
Writer: Mike Smith; producer: Nioshi Jackson; Publisher: Color Blind, ASCAP; EMS (track)
– The track rumbles along nicely. He’s not the strongest singer I’ve ever heard, but he gets the job done without drifting off pitch or meter.

CODY JOHNSON/With You I Am
Writers: David Lee/Cody Johnson/Trent Willmon; Producer: Trent Willmon; Publisher: Mood Merchant Music/4 Cow Ranch Songs/Cojo Country Publishing/Ascamp/Barnes and No Bull Music, ASCAP/BMI; Cojo (track)
– I dig this guy. He has a smooth-as-silk delivery, a relaxing warmth and an instantly likable vocal personality. The lyric of this mid-tempo charmer is about a man who changes his ways because of love.

 

AARON LEWIS/That Ain’t Country
Writers: Aaron Lewis; Producer: Buddy Cannon; Publisher: WB/Greenfund, BMI; Dot
– Country, country, country, complete with stuttering electric guitar, whining steel and a classic shuffle rhythm. Waylon, Jones, David Allan Coe, Johnny & June, Hank Jr., Haggard, Willie and Charlie Daniels all get name-checked along the way. What he wants, you see, is a return to heartache and gritty real life that he used to hear in country music.

BOO RAY/Sea of Lights
Writers: none listed; Producer: Noah Shain; Publisher: none listed; BR (track)
– The mix is kinda muddy. But the song about a country boy with shattered dreams in Hollywood is right on the money.

BAILEY JAMES/Kiss Me
Writers: Koehler/Norris/Haws; Producer: David Norris; Publisher: Bailey James/Norrisong/Harry Haws, ASCAP/BMI; BJ (track)
– I have admired this neo-traditionalist in the past. Her new entry is a straightforward invitation to romance. As before, she’s a forceful vocalist.
 
MIRANDA LAMBERT/Vice
Writers: Miranda Lambert/Shane McAnally/Josh Osborne; Producers: Frank Liddell, Glenn Worf & Eric Masse; Publisher: none listed; RCA (download)
– Dark, sordid, simmering with sin…..and thoroughly fabulous. She’s trapped in a soul-killing vortex of drinking and promiscuity, and there is no escape. A Record of the Year contestant, and certainly one of the greatest performances of her career. 

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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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