DISClaimer: Willie’s ‘True Love’ Wins The Day

To reverse a common expression: Out with the new, in with the old.

At 83 years young, Willie Nelson has the masterpiece du jour with his “True Love.” Written and sung by a master, it is head and shoulders above every other disc in this week’s stack. It is easily the Disc of the Day.

Mind you, there is plenty of “new” here to like, as well. In fact, there is so much talent among today’s first timers that the DisCovery Award is split three ways.

The male winner is a fellow named Blane Howard, who has an instant wedding classic for your listening pleasure. Blane moved to Nashville from Arkansas to attend Belmont, and now it sounds like he’s on his way.

The female honor goes to Brooke Woods, who has a dandy, sunny bopper. I know nothing about her, since her website refuses to open.

The group award goes to The Buffalo Ruckus, who have the freshest and most innovative country-rock sound I’ve heard in ages. These Texas boys sound like they carry their stompin’ party with them wherever they go.

NOE PALMA/I’ll Be Your Whiskey
Writers: Ryan Griffin/Jason Matthews/Emily Shackelton; Producer: Bart Busch & Jason Matthews; Publisher: none listed
– It says here that he’s a firefighter in Kansas City. Based on this full-throated, super melodic performance, I’d say its time he lit a fire under a country-music career. Well done, son.

Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed
– Rumbling thunder rolls through this rocking track. The bass-heavy production, dramatic guitar slashes, driving percussion and howling, passionate, edge-of-the-seat vocal performance are all fantastically gripping. A wild ride that’s packed with energy, energy, energy.

Writers: Willie Nelson/Buddy Cannon; Producer: Buddy Cannon; Publisher: Sony-ATV Countryside/Run Slow, BMI/ASCAP
– Heart tugging and utterly gorgeous. Nelson’s tender reading of this ballad is nothing short of brilliant, and Cannon’s production swirls around him like smoke. Play this and believe. The exquisite new album that contains this is titled God’s Problem Child. Buy it now.

Writers: none listed; Producer: Sonia Leigh & Anthony Olympia; Publisher: none listed
Her performance is quite startling and edgy. The production is even more eyebrow raising, what with its processed vocal effects and pop/rock attack. Fascinating, if not exactly straight-down-the-middle country.

BRAD PAISLEY/Last Time For Everything
Writers: Brad Paisley/Smith Ahnquist/Brent Anderson/Chris DuBois/Mike Ryan; Producer: Luke Wooten & Brad Paisley; Publisher: none listed, ASCAP
– Nostalgia has never sounded better. He looks back at his youth and realizes that so many of those experiences will never be repeated. Meanwhile, guitars stutter around him and the arrangement roars. Brad wins yet again.

JOE LASHER JR./Tap A Tall Light
Writers: Jeremy Stover/Jaren Johnston; Producer: Jeremy Stover; Publisher: none listed, ASCAP
– Very sincere sounding. He sings like he’s sitting right next to you, which is the mark of a real communicator. It doesn’t hurt that the song is splendidly written.

BLANE HOWARD/Promise To Love Her
Writers: Blane Howard/Jordan Kyle Reynolds; Producer: Brad Hill & Blane Howard; Publisher: none listed, ASCAP
– It’s a power ballad sung by a resonant baritone who’s pledging true romance. A ready-made wedding anthem. What’s not to love?

BROOKE WOODS/God Bless The World
Writers: Alex Call/Robby Calvo; Producer: Mark Coleman & Brooke Woods; Publisher: none listed
– The production pumps mightily, defying you to stay in your chair. If the lyric is a little on the goody-two-shoes side, the soaring melody makes up for it.

SARABETH/I Want It That Way
Writers: Andreas Michael Carlsson/Max Martin; Producer: Glen Mitchell; Publisher: none listed
– I never understood this lyric when The Backstreet Boys sang it. I still don’t.

JOHN HORD/More Than I’m Used To
Writers: John Hord; Producer: Rosewood Studios; Publisher: none listed, BMI
– There’s nothing really wrong with it, except that it is average. And compared to the rest of what we’re hearing this week, that just won’t cut it.



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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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