DISClaimer: Tony Stampley’s “Daily Bread” Takes Disc Of The Day Honors

Yeesh. What a lackluster listening session.

No wonder I haven’t been listening to much new country music lately. If this week’s stack of platters is any indication, the genre is awash in mediocrity.

The trend of the day seemed to be unusual stage names. Folks named Mondo, Anthony K and Mighty Orq are vying for your attention. Take my advice and don’t give it to them.

There are really only three discs here that are worth your spins. Tony Stampley’s “Daily Bread” is the Disc of the Day. Big Joe Schmidt’s equally well written “Over Time” wins him a DisCovery Award.

And Nashville singer-songwriter Mike Younger has a collection of literate lyrics that touch on environmental and social justice as well as romantic issues. He has been linked with the likes of Rodney Crowell, Levon Helm and Nanci Griffith, which should give some suggestion of his abilities.

MARK MACKAY/Road To Mustang
Writer: None listed; Producer: None listed; Publisher: Phil Dixon
– He’s a West Coat, country-rocking guitar slinger. This track from his eight-song CD Trials & Tribulations is strong on rhythm and attitude, but could have used a lyric editor. He takes forever to get to the hook.

 JOE SCHMIDT/Over Time
Writer: Bill Filson; Publisher: None listed, BMI; Producer: Joe Schmidt
– First class all the way. The rolling, relentless tempo is irresistible. The production throbs. His muscular, confident singing voice is just splendid. The lyric message about learning the good things in your life from your dad is potent and heart tugging. This one is definitely a keeper.

JON PARDI/Heartache on the Dance Floor
Writers: Jon Pardi/Bart Butler/Brice Long; Publisher: None listed; Producers: Bart Butler, Jon Pardi
– Listenable, if kinda lightweight. For a frothy ditty, it has a somewhat cluttered production.

CHRISTIAN DAVIS/An American Soldier’s Story
Writers: Terry R. Bell/Bruce Marshall Conyers; Publisher: None listed, ASCAP; Producer: Terry Bell & Dave Demay
– Soldiers become brothers and sisters on the battlefield and have one another’s backs, whether they are black, white, Hispanic or native American. An uplifting anthem.

TONY STAMPLEY/Daily Bread
Writers: Tony Stampley/Kelly Roland; Publishers: none listed, BMI/ASCAP; Producer: Tony Stampley
– It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from Joe Stampley’s talented offspring. He still has that cool, soulful singing voice. This slowly paced hymn of thanks gives him plenty of space to exercise his phrasing.

MALLORY JOHNSON/Good Mistake to Make
Writers: Troy Verges/Gordie Sampson/Hillary Lindsey; Publisher: none listed, BMI/SOCAN/ASCAP; Producer: Sammy Kershaw
– Considering the producer, it’s no surprise that the production has twang and bounce. Considering the writing credits, it’s no surprise that the song is catchy, hooky and radio friendly. Her upbeat vocal delivery is pert and perky.

MIKE YOUNGER/Poisoned Rivers
Writer: Mike Younger; Publisher: Divinerum, ASCAP; Producer: Bob Britt
– Nashville guitar great Bob Britt produced this troubadour’s self-composed CD Little Folks Like You and Me. The simple, harmonica-laced arrangement of this track gives it a bit of a Dylan-like sound. It also throws its folkie-topical lyrics into high relief as it calls for solidarity and strength in a time of cultural divisions.

MONDO/Time To Wine
Writer: Charles Armando Mariscal; Publisher: None listed, ASCAP; Producer: Mondo Mariscal
– The track rocks. His vocal doesn’t.

MIGHTY ORQ/Love in a Hurricane
Writer: J. Davidson; Publisher: none listed, BMI; Producer: None listed
– Thin sounding. I’ve heard demos with more production than this. You could drive a dune buggy through his vibrato.

 ANTHONY K/Marry Me
Writer: Anthony K. Culver; Publisher: Boozyjones 1, ASCAP; Producer: Jamie Tate
– Redneck romance, packed with cliche lyrics.

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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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