DisClaimer: Josh Abbott Band, Ryan Follese Top New Releases

Josh Abbott Band

Josh Abbott Band

Duos and groups rule in today’s “DisClaimer.”

Collaborations like Cyndi Lauper with Alison Krauss, Drew Baldridge with Emily Weisband and Jo-El Sonnier with his singing buddies were all winners. Sonnier’s pals, by the way, include Wayne Toups, Chubby Carrier, Steve Riley, Roddie Romero, Buckwheat Zydeco, Yvette Landry, Sonny Landreth, Kyle Hebert, Michael Doucet, Joel Savoy, Tony Daigle and Eric Adcock, all of whom are Grammy nominees and/or winners who hail from Louisiana.

Two of our most dependable duos are also here — Dan + Shay and Love and Theft. And it’s a group, The Josh Abbott Band, that walks away with the Disc of the Day award.

I was an avid fan of the Music City pop group Hot Chelle Rae (remember their super catchy 2011 hit “Tonight, Tonight?”). Well, that band’s Ryan Follese is making the transition to solo country record maker. And I’m here to tell you, he is still as catchy as all get out. Give that man a DisCovery Award.

He’s also part of a current country trend. Along with Tucker Beathard, Thomas Rhett, Aubrey Sellers, Levi Hummon, Ashley Campbell and Hillary Scott, Ryan Follese is the child of a country songwriter.

JO-EL SONNIER & FRIENDS/The Healin’ Song
Writers: Jo-El Sonnier/Billy Henderson/A.J. Masters; Producer: Jo-El Sonnier; Publishers: Musique de Jo-El/Way With Words/Craft Out West/Crazy Old Words, ASCAP/BMI/SESAC; Takau (CDX)
– It rolls along with a gentle groove as the lyric name-checks some of our fondest golden-oldie song memories (”Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” “Let It Be,” “Try a Little Tenderness,” “Lean On Me,” “Amazing Grace” and “Oh Happy Day,” to be specific). Quite appealing. Proceeds from this project will go to South Louisiana communities in need.

TIM McDONALD/Night Like That
Writer: Tim McDonald; Producers: Tim McDonald/Brent Mason; Publisher: none listed; TM (track)
– He’s certainly no world beater as a singer. But in his ordinary-guy, amateur-hour way, he gets the job done. The song is sturdily constructed, with a lyric that seeks to recapture a perfect-romance drinking eve.

CYNDI LAUPER & ALISON KRAUSS/Hard Candy Christmas
Writer: Carol Hall: Producers: Tony Brown/Cyndi Lauper; Publishers: Daniel/Otay/Universal, ASCAP; Sire (track)
– This enchanting melody from the musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is set in a minimalist production that puts the spotlight on the two vocalists. Wistful, sad and hopeful.

SHANTELL OGDEN/Truth About Trains
Writers: S. Ogden/B. DiLuigi/M. Stewart; Producer: Shantell Ogden; Publishers: Hip Farm Chic/888/Dixie Stars/True Bearing, ASCAP; Hip Farm Chic
– She has an attractively throaty alto that delivers the song in plain-spoken fashion. The rootsy production is clear and simple. This is the lead-off track of a self-penned collection titled The Road That Drives Me.

LOVE AND THEFT/Candyland
Writers: Jon Nite/Stephen Barker Liles/Jimmy Robbins; Producers: Josh Leo & Jim Ed Norman; Publishers: EMI April/Jon Mark Nite/It’s a Birthday Party/Rockapop/Round Hill/Jimmy Robbins/Extraordinary Alien, ASCAP; Curb (CDX)
– Dizzy, swirly, romantic. Highly listenable.

TONY JACKSON/Nashville Cats
Writer: John Sebastian; Producers: Donna Dean-Stevens & Jim Della Croce; Publisher: BMG, BMI; DDS (CDX)
– More jaunty, bopping and uptempo than The Lovin’ Spoonful’s 1966 original. Sung with a smile. Recommended.

JOSH ABBOTT BAND/Amnesia
Writers: Josh Abbott/Shane McAnally/Josh Osborne; Producers: Dwight A. Baker & Josh Abbott; Producer: none listed; BMI/ASCAP; Reviver (CDX)
– It’s been awhile since we heard from these guys. At least in the case of this perfect performance, absence has definitely made the heart grow fonder. The tenor lead vocal aches beautifully, and the band’s chiming, churning accompaniment adds to the fever. Absolutely a winner.

Ryan Follese

Ryan Follese

RYAN FOLLESE/Put A Label On It
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Big Machine (ERG)
– Well written, with loads and loads of hooks. The boyish vocal performance is just right for the yearning-for-love lyric. Decidedly radio ready.

DAN+SHAY/How Not To
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Warner Bros. (ERG)
– Their hot streak continues with this lost-love heartbreaker. She’s gone, but he can’t let go. I’d have put the harmony vocal a little higher in the mix, but that’s a minor complaint about an otherwise shiny disc.

DREW BALDRIDGE & EMILY WEISBAND/Rebound
Writers: none listed; Producer: Josh Leo; Publishers: none listed; Cold River (track)
– His slightly raspy baritone rubs up against her breathy soprano, and the contrast is an audio delight. Her boyfriend has dumped her, so she comes around trying to seduce an old flame. The fire flickers enticingly throughout the whole production.

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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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