Sometimes, it’s the smaller stars that shine the brightest.
We have no shortage of shiny celestial phenomena in today’s DisClaimer. Darius Rucker, Luke Bryan, Eric Paslay and the legendary Moe Bandy are all here. But none of them took home our prizes.
Instead, the minorities win. And speaking of minorities, this is the first week in forever when we have an equal number of male and female voices in a country column. And as it happens, the distaff performers are our winners.
The Disc of the Day goes to RaeLynn, for having both a cool sound and a well-written lyric.
The DisCovery Award goes to The Springs, an enchanting duo with a female lead singer.
ERIC PASLAY/Angels In This Town
Writers: Eric Paslay/Corey Crowder/Erik Dylan; Producer: Marshall Altman; Publishers: Spirit Catalog Holdings/Five Stone/Spirit Two Nashville/WB/Songs From the Rose Hotel/Warner-Tamerlane/Songs of the Corn, ASCAP/BMI; EMI (track)
– A choppy, crunchy, multi-layered track (complete with strings) underscores a soaring, anthemic vocal performance about unlikely survival. Skimpy on the verses, strong on the repeated and repeated choruses.
CHELY WRIGHT/What About Your Heart
Writers: none listed; Producer: Joe Henry; Publishers: none listed; Megaforce (track)
– The advance single from Wright’s forthcoming I Am the Rain CD is a strummy, melodic and beautifully-produced outing with a steady rhythm and a thoughtful lyric. Vocal harmonies, chiming guitars and an echoey ambiance are all simply perfect. An excellent performance all around. Guests on the CD will include Rodney Crowell, The Milk Carton Kids and Emmylou Harris.
Writers: Luke Bryan/Michael Carter/Jay Clementi; Producers: Jeff Stevens & Jody Stevens; Publishers: Sony-ATV Tree/Peanut Mill/Sony-ATV Cross Keys/234 Music, BMI/ASCAP; Capitol (track)
– Unashamedly rocking, this celebrates a Yankee gal who “goes country” and learns to move her “rockin’ little body” “sexy and smooth.” Whatever…
Writers: Nicolle Galyon/Jimmy Robbins/RaeLynn; Producers: Nicole Galyon & Jimmy Robbins; Publishers: Warner-Tamerlane/A Girl Named Charlie/Round Hill/Jimmy Robbins/Extraordinary Alien/Super Big/Prescription/Take the Bull By the Horns, BMI/ASCAP; Warner Bros.
– Very, very cool sounding. The atmospheric vibe of shuddering guitars and chugging percussion is fantastic enough. Add a broken-hearted girl’s lyric of watching her parents head for divorce and you’ve got something extra special. Take this to the top.
Writers: Jeremy Stover/Randy Montana/Derek George; Producer: Derek George; Publishers: ole Red Cape/OLE Real Big Red Tunes/Sony-ATV Tree/WB/Funky Friars, ASCAP/BMI; Stoney Creek/BBR
-I dig his Southern-accented singing as well as his yearning, wounded interpretation of this lonely-boy song. The track shifts tempo and tone several times, but the whole thing holds together admirably, thanks to a highly accomplished production. Well worth your spins.
MOE BANDY/Lucky Me
Writers: Ernie Rowell/Dave Lindsey; Producer: Jimmy Capps; Publishers: none listed; MBP (track)
– The title tune of Moe’s new CD is a merry little Western swinger with built-in sunshine. Fiddle, steel and guitar “answer” his vocal phrases with jazzy phrases that are just dandy.
LAUREN ALAINA/Road Less Traveled
Writers: Lauren Alaina/Jesse Frasure/Meghan Trainor; Producer: busbee; Publishers: Warner-Tamerlane/Lyles/Rio Bravo/Year of the Dog/M Train/Words & Music, BMI/ASCAP; Mercury/19/Interscope (CDX)
– Will a co-write with pop star Meghan Trainor be Lauren’s ticket to stardom at last? Maybe so, when it is something this hooky, catchy and poppy. Not to mention positive-thinking, upbeat and empowering.
DARIUS RUCKER/If I Told You
Writers: Ross Copperman/Jon Nite/Shane McAnally; Producer: Ross Copperman; Publishers: EMI Blackwood/Songs By the Red Room/EMI April/Jon Nite/Smack Hits/Smack Songs/Kobalt, BMI/ASCAP/GMR; Capitol (CDX)
– A suitor doubts the authenticity of his lover, so he’s afraid to tell her about his darkest and dumbest and dreamiest thoughts and actions. I love the stately pace of this, as well as Rucker’s hushed, urgent performance. A winner.
LESLIE COURS MATHER/We Are America
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publishers: Cours Mather, BMI; Lion Eyes
– She’s a solid singer. The song is one tired patriotic cliche after another.
THE SPRINGS/Dance With Me
Writers: Stewart Halcomb/Holly Halcomb/Emily Rose; Producer: Shayne Hill; Publishers: Stewart E. Halcomb/CMFH, BMI/SESAC; CFC (CDX)
– Lilting, innocent and charming. It’s a simple invitation to romance that wafts through your speakers like a spring breeze. These native Alabamans met at The Bluebird Café, and two years later he proposed to her there. Holly sings lead. Stewart backs her with soft harmonies and cool, sung, interwoven vocal passages. This is the title tune of their debut EP.
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