DISClaimer: The Stars Come Out For CRS

Backstreet Boys with Florida Georgia Line on the set of their new video. Photo: Justin Mrusek

The stars are out for CRS week.

Among those stepping up to the plate with new sounds are Cole Swindell, Lady Antebellum, Rodney Crowell, Rascal Flatts and Kristian Bush. They all swing for the fences, but the home run hitters turn out to be Florida Georgia Line and Backstreet Boys. They earn the Disc of the Day award.

Interestingly, their closest competitors are not from the roster of any major-label team. Challenging the big boys on the field today are Presley & Taylor, the young female duo with a winning ballad performance.

The DisCovery Award goes to Philip Dain Powell, about whom I know nothing except that Fred Vail produces him.

PHILIP DAIN POWELL/I Died Today At 3
Writer: none listed; Produce: Fred Vail; Publisher: none listed; PDP (track)
– She left him this afternoon, and he is way beyond blue. The song is country cool, and his performance is super strong, range-y and emotional. This guy has the goods.

LADY ANTEBELLUM/You Look Good
Writers: none listed; Producer: busbee; Publishers: none listed; Capitol (ERG)
– Bright brass bursts and thumping beats characterize this party ditty. I fail to hear anything “country” about it.

BROOKE EDEN/Act Like You Don’t
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Red Bow (ERG)
– Well sung, if rather forgettable, song-wise.

PRESLEY & TAYLOR/This Phone
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; SMG (ERG)
– The female duo’s vocal harmony work is splendid on this lovelorn ballad. Everything about this is perfection, from the swirling, fiddle-embellished production to the beautiful song craftsmanship. Play and believe.

RASCAL FLATTS/Yours If You Want It
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Big Machine (ERG)
-This has a certain nervous energy that is quite captivating. The boys sing above a driving, propulsive track, delivering a rapid-fire lyric about winning a girl’s heart. Turn it up and sing along.

E

COLE SWINDELL/Flatliner
Writers: none listed; Producer: None listed; Publishers: none listed; Warner (ERG)
– She’s so gorgeous she stops his heart, hence the title of this generic country rocker.

THE SCOTT BROTHERS & ERIC PASLAY/My House
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Star Farm (ERG)
– The phrase “my house” is repeated six times in each chorus, just so you don’t forget the title. Except at the end, when “my house” is chanted endlessly. Okay, okay, okay: We get it.

KRISTIAN BUSH/Sing Along
Writers: none listed; Producer: None listed; Publishers: none listed; Wheelhouse (ERG)
-Tuneful and sunny. Very pleasant, with the blush of true romance.

 

BLACKIE & THE RODEO KINGS & RODNEY CROWELL
Writers: Fearing/Linden/Wilson; Producer: Colin Linden; Publishers: Fearing and Loathing/Colin Linden, SOCAN; File Under Music (Canada)
-Blackie & The Rodeo Kings are a Juno-winning big deal north of the border. Their new Kings and Kings collection features collaborations with Eric Church, Vince Gill, Jason Isbell, Raul Malo, Buddy Miller and more. It kicks off with this lively bopper featuring a plaintive guest vocal by Rodney Crowell. It’s a toe tapper with a biting  edge.

FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE & THE BACKSTREET BOYS/God, Your Mama, and Me
Writers: Josh Kear/Hillary Lindsey/Gordie Sampson; Producer: Joey Moi; Publishers: Year of the Dog/Champagne Whiskey/Words & Music/Hillarody Rathbone/BMG Firefly/Dash8, ASCAP (Big Machine)
– Eternal, unconditional love, expressed in luscious, layered harmonies. An audio landscape to get lost in.

 

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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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