DISClaimer: Miranda Lambert, Nora Collins Make Top Contenders

Miranda Lambert. Photo: Becky Fluke

It’s Ladies’ Day here at DisClaimer.

All of DisCovery Award contenders are members of the fairer sex — Chandler Stephens, Kayla Calabrese and our winner, singer-songwriter Nora Collins.

The Disc of the Day prize also goes to a female artist, the peerless and justly much awarded Miranda Lambert.

Writers: none listed; Producer: Keith Thomas; Publisher: none listed; Patchwork Heart
– Newcomer Stephens has assembled quite a team, ranging from ace producer Keith Thomas to attorney Jim Zumwalt and marketer Paul Williams. This video/single from her This Is My Life EP soars with sincerity. Her phrasing has loads of finesse, her sense of vocal dynamics is spot-on, and her range is admirable. Extremely promising.

Writers: Felice & Boudleaux Bryant; Producer: Ben Isaacs; Publishers: House of Bryant/Sony-ATV Acuff-Rose, BMI; Gaither (track)
– Statler Brothers alumnus Fortune has a new collection titled Sings the Classics that finds this able tenor tackling everything from Nashville Sound ballads to country-rock chestnuts, from pop oldies to Louisiana odes. He and guest Ricky Skaggs sound like they’re having a ball with this rollicking 1957 Everly Brothers rockabilly gem. A guaranteed smile.

Writers: Julia Capogrossi; Producer: Denny Martin; Publisher: none listed; JC
– Perky and pert, this gal has a saucy lilt in her delivery. The song is about falling for a charming, Southern-fried beau.

Writers: Lambert/Jack Ingram/Jon Randall; Producers: Frank Liddell/Glenn Worf/Eric Masse; Publishers: Sony-ATV Tree/Pink Dog/Beat Up Ford/BMG Platinum/SWMBGMBMI/Lonesome Vinyl/BMG Rights, BMI; RCA (track)
– Have I mentioned that I think Miranda’s double CD The Weight of These Wings is a stone masterpiece? Its third single is an airy, aching ballad with lots of open space in its simple, spare arrangement. Oh, and it is breathtakingly gorgeous. A performance to get lost in.

Writers: Rory Feek/Keith Hunley; Producers: Rory Feek/Bill McDermott; Publisher: ole Black in the Saddle/ole Giantslayer/Hunley, ASCAP; Gaither (track)
– She recorded the new If Not For You CD when she was still billed as “Joey Martin” in 2005. Following her tragic passing last year, widower Rory Feek dusted off these tracks and has now issued them as a memorial to her. This track even has a vintage video that keeps this stellar singer’s memory and image alive. I always thought she had one of the coolest country voices, and it shines on this feisty, lickety-split, hillbilly rocker about being a redneck.

Writers: Steve Dorff/Frank Myers; Producer: Jimmy Nichols; Publisher: none listed, BMI; Monarch
-It’s a stomper with attitude, and she delivers it with plenty of moxie. The production is big, but her vocal is even bigger. Go, girl.

Writers: Jared Sciullo/Charlie Farley/Austin Jenckes; Producer: Noah Gordon/Shannon Houchins; Publisher: Riley Payton/Farley/Nettwerk One A Music US/Songs of Revelry/Lake Gloria,SESAC/BMI/ASCAP; Average Joes
– Thanks to Holbrook’s strong singing, this has more musicality than most of Ford’s hick-hop tracks. I can’t say that I’m crazy about the lyric’s mucho macho threat of violence.

NORA COLLINS/Guess I Woulda Known By Now
Writers: Collins/Kennedy; Producer: Tony Harrell; Publisher: none listed; MV2 (track)
– Love her country drawl, as well as the fact that she applies it to such a contemporary song and production. Her personality pulls you into this power ballad like a magnet. An unmistakable winner. Also check out her dynamite previous single/video “Recover.” Sign me up for the fan club.


Writers: Tony McKee/Rob Crosby; Producer: Eric Lee Beddingfield; Publisher: none listed; BarFrog
– He’s sick and tired of, well, just about everything. It has some muddled jive about values, economic injustice, political correctness, religion expression, wounded warriors, wasting money overseas and “being true to what I am and what I ain’t.” Whatever that is.

ROYAL WADE KIMES/Cowboy On The Loose
Writer: Royal Wade Kimes; Producers: George Bradfute, Mike Noble, Royal Wade Kimes: Publishers: Blue Whistler, ASCAP; Wonderment
– This former Asylum Records artist is now billed as “The Gentleman Outlaw.” His new CD Love of a Cowboy kicks off with this toe-tapping country rocker. The band cooks, and his vocal rolls along with confidence. Very listenable.


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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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