DISClaimer: Sylvia, Morgan Wallen, Paulina Jayne Offer Sterling New Tracks

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I love listening sessions like this, where new sounds pop up moment after moment.

Therefore, we have a wealth of contenders for this week’s DisCovery Award. Tami Neilson, Morgan Wallen and Whiskey Myers are all worth your spins. And so is our winner. In fact, Paulina Jayne is an essential listening experience.

The Disc of the Day award goes to an old country favorite. It turns out that not only is Sylvia singing better than ever, she has also blossomed into a formidable lyricist. Her It’s All in the Family collection drops on Friday. Get it.

PAULINA JAYNE/Love’s Gonna Always Win
Writers: Paulina Jayne/Trey Bruce/Haley Steel; Producer: Trey Bruce; Publishers: none listed; Girl King (track)
– The atmosphere in this production is heavenly. Her vocal is a piercing arrow of truth. From the lyric to the searing lead guitar, from the pulsing tempo to her soprano swoops, this record has an audio delight around every corner. The layered, multi-voiced finale crescendo will set you free. It’s way more pop than country, but with a disc this well made, who cares what genre it fits into?

WILL CARTER/With You
Writers: Will Carter/Jude Dyllan/Kelly Logan; Producer: Judy Dyllan; Publishers: none listed; WC (track)
– The track is a twang stomper. His lightweight, generic voice doesn’t match it.

BILLY RAY CYRUS & SHELBY LYNNE/Thin Line
Writers: none listed; Producer: Brandon Friesen; Publisher: Brandon Friesen; Blue Cadillac
-Both vocals are almost buried in the mix. He’s singing at the muffled bottom of his range, and she’s seems to be wafting around aimlessly.

WHISKEY MYERS/Lightning Bugs and Rain
Writers: Cody Cannon/Aaron Raitiere/Mark Stephen Jones; Producer: Dave Cobb; Publishers: rougarou/One Tooth/Mark Stephen Jones, BMI; Wiggy Thump
-This is a band of Texas-bred Southern rockers. The drawl in the lead vocal and the crunchy track are both ear-catching. Don’t let the punctuating horns scare you off; this is still in the pocket, country-wise.

MORGAN WALLEN/The Way I Talk
Writers: Jessi Alexander, Ben Hayslip, Chase McGill; Producer: Joey Moi; Publishers: Warner Chappell/Universal; Big Loud (track)
– As you might expect from the title, you can cut his accent with a knife. It’s a cool little record, with a churning backing track that drives it relentlessly forward. Recommended listening.

 

SYLVIA/All In The Family
Writers: John Mock/Thom Schuyler/Sylvia Hutton; Producers: John Mock and Sylvia Hutton; Publishers: none listed; Red Pony (track)
– The 1980s country hit maker Sylvia has spent the past few seasons woodshedding as a songwriter. She co-wrote all but two of the songs on her new CD. On this title tune, she paints a vivid word portrait of a family’s personalities and issues told from the point of view of a matriarch who remembers all. A string section whispers behind her as the ballad unfolds. You’ll hang on every line.

MARK COLLIE & HIS RECKLESS COMPANIONS/Folsom Prison Blues
Writers: John R. Cash; Producer: Tony Brown Mark Collie & David Z; Publishers: House of Cash, BMI; 101 Ranch (track)
-Back in 2001, Collie and his pals staged a show for the inmates of Tennessee’s notorious (and now closed) Brushy Mountain Prison. Now released on CD, Alive at Brushy Mountain includes contributions from bluesman Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Texas thrush Kelly Willis and super tenor vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Shawn Camp, plus an all-star band. Collie, who has portrayed Cash on film (and is now acting on the TV series Nashville), tries on this classic like a comfy suit of (black) clothes. Gripping.

TAMI NEILSON/Holy Moses
Writers: T. Neilson/J. Neilson; Producers: Delaney Davidson and Ben Edwards; Publishers: none listed; Outside Music
– Soulful and steamy, prowling the back alleys with burning menace. Her rocking, throaty delivery has more than a little bluesy edge, and band is cooking with gas. This gal has the goods, for sure.

THE KENTUCKY HEADHUNTERS/Beaver Creek Mansion
Writers: Mark S. Orr; Producer: The Kentucky Headhunters; Publishers: Orr House, BMI; Plowboy (track)
– The band’s new one is called On Safari. It kicks off with this Southern-rock gem. Richard Young’s singing has terrific phrasing finesse here. Greg Martin’s lead guitar work is deliciously greasy. Fred Young’s drumming and Doug Phelps’s bass work are beyond solid. They are still one dynamite band.

ALYSSA BONAGURA/Rebel
Writers: Alyssa Bonagura; Producers: Alyssa Bonagura and Mark Petaccia; Publishers: This Is Gold/Scribblin’ Dixie, ASCAP; AB (track)
– I have always thought of her as a pop artist, but on this tender ballad, she aches with country heart. As usual, her young voice is simply lustrous. The track shimmers with piano and strings. I remain an enormous fan. By the way, get this track’s Road Less Traveled parent CD and check out its fabulous, deluxe packaging.

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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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