Love songs and ballads are the order of the day.
Among those basking in a post-Valentine glow are LANCO, Brett Young, Nick Tyrrel and Kip Moore. The first named has a possible wedding classic on its hands. Young has the romantic-balladeer role sewn up.
Trace Adkins rises to the top with a moving ballad about growing older, gaining wisdom and slowing down. He wins the Disc of the Day award.
The DISCovery Award goes to the Houston-based Charlie & The Regrets. In a world of synth productions and chick-fantasy, bro-country lyrics, they sing and write about what’s going on in the real world.
CHARLIE AND THE REGRETS/Time Moves Slow
Writers: Harrison/Golden; Producer: Derek Hames; Publishers: none listed; Edgewater (track)
– This dark, doomy country rocker has a swampy undertow that is inescapable. Its portrait of folks living on the wrong side of the tracks has both hopelessness and power.
BRETT YOUNG/In Case You Didn’t Know
Writers: Brett Young/Tyler Reeve/Kyle Schlienger/Trent Tomlinson; Producer: Dann Huff; Publishers: Super Big/Caliville/Big Machine/Brown Hound/Kyle Schlienger/Big Spaces/BootHeel/Big Mosquito/Amplified, ASCAP/BMI; Big Machine (track)
-We need one of these right now, a tender and expressive ballad that tugs the heartstrings. He’s a guy who has trouble expressing himself, but aches out his emotions with a plaintive plea for her love.
KIM McABEE/Journey On
Writers: Ty Herndon/Caleb Collins; Producer: Ty Herndon; Publishers: none listed; Soigne (track)
– Be brave. Hold your head high. Weather the storm. A better day is coming. This is a beautifully written expression of hope and inspiration. Play it.
SAM HUNT/Body Like A Back Road
Writers: Sam Hunt/Zach Crowell/Shane McAnally/Josh Osborne; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; MCA Nashville (download)
– The electro backing track stays out of the way as he drawls his praise of his baby’s anatomy (”I know every curve like the back of my hand”). The song is minimal, but the groove is insistent.
NICK TYRREL/Breathe The Air Tonight
Writers: Nick Tyrrel/Clark Abbott; Producers: Dustin Smith/Clark Abbott; Publishers: none listed, ASCAP; NT (CDX)
– He sings with authority. The track bops lightly as he spins a wish for romance. The production veers between simple clarity and fuzzy, too-dense electric guitar noodling.
LANCO/Greatest Love Story
Writer: Brandon Lancaster; Producer: Jay Joyce; Publishers: none listed; Arista (download)
– This love story burbles along at a jaunty pace. A belated Valentine for your country listeners, and quite possibly a wedding-dance evergreen.
BRIAN PHAROAH/Fighting Another War
Writers: Bill DiLuigi/Brian Pharaoh/Randy Barber; Producer: Kent Wells; Publisher: 888 Red/Spunkem, SESAC/BMI; Spunkem (CDX)
– He’s trying to get through PTSD with her love as his weapon. It’s a great story. I just wish he was a better singer.
KIP MOORE/More Girls Like You
Writers: Kip Moore/Steven Olsen/Josh Miller/David Garcia; Producers: Kip Moore/David Garcia; Publishers:© 2017 WB Music Corp./Point Break Publishing/Music of the Corn, admin. by WB Music Corp.; WB Music Corp./Music of the Corn, admin. by WB Music Corp.; Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing/D Soul Music, admin. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com (ASCAP); Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp./Jack 10 Publishing/Songs of the Corn, Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. (BMI).; MCA Nashville (download)
– Urgent. Stomping. Upbeat and positive. I remain a fan.
RION PAIGE & CORENASHVILLE/Rise
Writers: Ali Payami/Katy Perry/Max Martin/Savan Kotecha; Producer: CoreNashville; Publishers: When I’m Rich You’ll Be My Bitch/WB/MXM/Kobalt/Wolf Cousins/Warner Chappell/Scand/Ma-Jay, ASCAP/STIM; CoreNashville
– This “country” take on Katy Perry actually isn’t all that far from the original. Tuneful and catchy.
TRACE ADKINS/Watered Down
Writers: Matt Jenkins/Trevor Rosen/Shane McAnally; Producer: Mickey Jack Cones; Publishers: none listed; BBR/Wheelhouse/BMG (download)
– I love it when he really sings. This ballad is a vocal showcase that gives him space to be truly expressive. More than that, it is a superb meditation on aging and finding grace. Honest and profound.
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