DISClaimer: Indies, Newcomers Top The List

Caroline Jones

The major labels are all missing in action this week, but that doesn’t mean that we have no reviewing work to do.

There are a host of indies out there just dying to fill any vacated playlist holes. And I always think it is a healthy sign when a listening session is filled with newcomers.

In fact, all of our best entries this week come from first timers. Marty Rhone, Ty Williams, Lisa Bouchelle, National Park Radio and Caroline Jones have the finest listening experiences this week.

Lisa Bouchelle is teamed with established star John Popper, so that kind of makes her ineligible for a DisCovery Award. Instead, her duet gets the Disc of the Day prize.

Among the other four, Caroline Jones has the most innovative sound, while Marty Rhone has the most ear-catching song. They share the DisCovery Award honor.

Writers: Danny Worsnop/Terri Jo Box/Randall Clay; Producer: Jim Kaufman; Publishers: none listed, ASCAP; Earache (CDX)
– His tenor hurts in all the right places, but the production is pedestrian.

Writers: Aaron Copeland/Jamie Richards/Steve Helms; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; AC
– It’s a rocker that’s all revved up with nowhere to go. Both the song and his performance are simply ordinary.

Writers: Jaida Dreyer/Fred Wilhelm/Jay Knowles; Producers: Larry Beaird, Camille Rae, Amber Nicole Smith, Shawn Gough/Mikei Gray & Hunter Leith; CRM (track)
– Feisty and fierce. She’s trapped by a love she doesn’t want. The choppy, stomping track helps deliver the attitude.

BOBBY G. RICE/You Lay So Easy On My Mind
Writers: Rice/Rils/Fields; Producer: none listed; Publishers: Sony Cross Keys, ASCAP; Century II (track)
– This country veteran is back with a CD titled Then and Now that mixes new tunes with some of his oldies, such as “Freda Comes and Freda Goes,” “You Are My Special Angel” and “Woman Stealer.” Also among the latter is his biggest hit, 1973’s top-10 success “You Lay So Easy on My Mind.”

Writers: Stefan Szabo; Producer: Derek Hames; Publishers: none listed; NPR (track)
– This Texas four-piece bursts out of the chute with this flashy tempo title tune of its new CD. Refreshing, bracing and breezy.

MARTY RHONE/Graceland On The Line
Writers: John St. Peeters/John Young; Producers: John St. Peeters/Michael Yule; Publishers: none listed; MRM (CDX)
– It’s a waltz that sung perfectly straight faced. He’s broken hearted and comforting himself by playing Elvis records when the phone rings. The King is calling to offer comforting words by using titles of some of his hits. I kept waiting for a punch line, but as goofy as it is, he means every word. Weirdly lovable.

TY WILLIAMS/Make America Great Again
Writers: Ty Williams/Stephen E. Grauberger; Producers: Paul Scholten, Stephen E. Grauberger & Michael Purcell; Publishers: none listed; Core Nashville
– It’s a deep-thunder rocker that urges us to, “do what’s right for the U.S.A.” I’m sorry, but I think that America has always been great. During the past eight years, the auto industry was saved, Bin Laden was killed and the economy was lifted out of a recession.

Writers: Lisa Bouchelle/John Eddie; Producer: Mike Rogers/Jeff Trott/Hal B. Selzer/Lisa Bouchelle; Publishers: none listed, ASCAP; InGrooves (CDX)
– She sings in a sunny, bright soprano and the tune is a bopping ditty about two boozers falling for each other. Duet partner Popper is best known as the frontman for Blues Traveler. He adds some much needed soul and grit to the proceedings. Highly listenable.

Writer: CAroline Jones; Producers: Caroline Jones/Ric Wake; Publishers: none listed, BMI; FACTION/INTUNE
-The track has a sizzling sidewinder backbeat with hop-hop overtones. She wails and snarls quite effectively. The handclaps and whining electric guitar licks are also pluses. A very creative sound.


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Category: Artist, Featured, Reviews

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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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