DISClaimer: Frankie Ballard, Mo Pitney Tie In A Dead Heat

It’s Star Time in today’s country edition of DISClaimer.

Luke Bryan, Billy Currington, Reba McEntire and Jason Aldean are all here with new tunes. The rockers ruled the listening session, with Frankie Ballad and Mo Pitney finishing in a dead heat for the Disc of the Day prize.

The DisCovery Award goes to youthful-sounding Bailey Bryan.

Bailey Bryan

BAILEY BRYAN/Own It
Writers: Bailey Bryan/Dennis Matkowsky/Casey Brown; Producer: Dennis Matowsky; Publishers: Kompass Kopyrights/Bailey Bryan/Karles/Kobalt/So Essential/Not Just Another Song, BMI/ASCAP/SESAC; 300/VAR (CDX)
– Punchy and perky. The up-to-date lyric drops lots of contemporary, youthful references and the bouncy beats just don’t quit. Plus, it’s cool that it stops dead in its tracks.

BILLY CURRINGTON/Do I Make You Wanna
Writers: Ashley Gorley/Zach Crowell/Matt Jenkins/Jerry Flowers; Producer: Dann Huff; Publishers: External Combustion/Songs of Southside Ind./WB/Atlas/Who Wants to Buy My Pub, ASCAP; MERCURY (CDX)
– An attractive come-on with a breezy tempo, a softly pleading vocal and a wafting audio atmosphere. Let’s face it, this guy just has an unerring knack for finding hit songs.

LUKE BRYAN/Fast
Writers: Luke Bryan/Rodney Clawson/Luke Laird; Producers: Jeff Stevens/Jody Stevens; Publishers: Sony-ATV Tree/Peanut Mill/Round Hill Works/Big Loud Proud Crowd/Farm Town/Songs of Universal/Creative Nation, BMI; Capitol (CDX)
-I like the way his voice is so high up in the mix that it sounds like he’s sitting next to you. It gives the record a relaxed, intimate quality that’s quite lovely. It also helps that the song is so well written.

MO PITNEY/Everywhere
Writers: Mo Pitney/Dean Dillon/Paul Overstreet; Producers: Dean Dillon/Paul Overstreet; Publishers: Mike Curb/Sixteen Stars/Tenorado/Music From Philbily, BMI; Curb (CDX)
– Mo shows that he knows his way around a tempo tune. This is a roll-the-window-down driver with a relentless rush of energy. His strong singing in the verses is joined by celestial harmony vocal work on the choruses. Loved it.

LAUREN ALAINA/Road Less Traveled
Writers: Lauren Alaina/Jesse Frasure/Meghan Trainor; Producer: busbee; Publishers: Warner-Tamerlane/Lylas/Rio Bravo/Year of the Dog/MTrain/Words & Music, BMI/ASCAP; Mercury/19
– The message of this bopper is to be yourself and don’t follow the crowd. The “rebel heart” in the lyric is carried through in her bright, upbeat, soprano delivery. But it went on a little too long, and by the time it finally ended, I was kinda worn out.

JASON ALDEAN/Any Ol’ Barstool
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Broken Bow (ERG)
-You want to know how he feels since she left? Ask any ol’ barstool in this town. The lyric is nifty, and the track is very cool sounding.

MARK McKINNEY/Bridge
Writers: Mark McKinney/Cassie McKinney; Producers: Eric McKinney/Mark McKinney; Publishers: none listed; Texas Evolution
-Somewhat spare sounding. The sparsely instrumented production is matched by his stark vocal performance. Compared to what else is in today’s reviewing stack, it seems a little weak.

BRANTLEY GILBERT/The Weekend
Writers: Brantley Gilbert/Andrew DeRoberts; Producers: Dann Huff; Publishers: Warner-Tamerlane/Indiana Angel/BMG Gold/Lanercost, BMI/ASCAP; Valory Music
– It’s one of those spoke-sung things in the verses that then bursts into semi-melodic,shouted choruses. This is getting old.

FRANKIE BALLARD/You Accomp’ny Me
Writer: Bob Seger; Producer: Marshall Altman; Publisher: Gear, ASCAP; Warner Bros.
-Back in the day, Frankie used to open shows for fellow Michigan music maker Bob Seger. So an homage to his mentor seems entirely appropriate. His churning guitar work and earnest vocal give this golden goodie new luster. It’s totally cool how it builds in intensity as it goes along.

REBA McENTIRE/Back To God
Writers: Dallas Davidson/Randy Houser; Producer: Reba McEntire/Doug Sizemore; Publishers: ole Big Business/Songs of Windswept Pacific/Burn 1 Baby/BMG, BMI; Rockin/Nash
– Reba’s new double-disc gospel set Sing It Now consists of classic tunes on Disc One. Disc Two contains newly penned religious numbers. This one instructs us to return to praying and working on salvation.

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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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