DisClaimer: Eli Young Band Heads To Never Land, Heidi Raye Lands DisCovery Award

Photo Credit: Joseph Llanes

Summer officially started on Wednesday, and country music is ready.

Unleashing sounds tailored to the season this week are Kenny Chesney, Josh Turner, Miranda Lambert and Granger Smith.

Another summer-sounding song earns our Disc of the Day award. It’s the gorgeous, top-down celebration “Never Land” by the Eli Young Band.

The DisCovery Award this week goes to a personable singer named Heidi Raye. I’m confident that we’ll be hearing much more from her.

JOSH TURNER/All About You
Writer: None listed; Producer: None listed; Publisher: None listed
– This has a nice, funky sound that’s a really attractive change of pace for this artist. The bright, lively tempo is just right for summer listening.

LITTLE BIG TOWN/when Someone Stops Loving You
Writers: Hillary Lindsey/Chase McGill/Lori McKenna; Producer: Jay Joyce; Publisher: None listed
– Jimi’s torrid tenor is one of the most underrated vocal instruments in contemporary country music. He blazes brilliantly throughout this bonfire heartache ballad performance.

KENNY CHESNEY/All The Pretty Girls
Writers: Nicole Galyon/Tommy Lee James/Josh Osborne; Producer: Publisher: Warner-Tamerlane/A Girl Named Charlie/BMG Platinum/SWMBMGBMI/Once in a Blue Tune/Anderson Fork in the Road/Smackville/Kobalt, BMI/ASCAP
– Toss beach balls on the sand while this bouncer blasts from a boombox.

LINDSAY ELL/Waiting On You
Writers: None listed; Producer: None listed; Publishers: None listed
– Well sung and produced with clarity and exquisite taste. Eminently programmable. She’s been in the news this week because a radio station punished her for dating a perceived competitor, Bobby Bones. Just listen to the music, folks.

MIRANDA LAMBERT/Pink Sunglasses
Writers: Rodney Clawson/Luke Dick/Natalie Hemby; Producer: Frank Liddell, Glenn Worf & Eric Masse; Publishers: Round Hill Works/Big Loud Proud Crowd/Farm Town/Sony-ATV Tree/Little Loudere/Emileon/HappyGoWrucke/Creative Pulse/These Are Pulse, BMI
Embarrassing piffle.

HEIDI RAYE/Worth a Shot
Writers: Heidi Raye/Justin Ebach; Producer: None listed; Publisher: None listed
– Quite promising. This nifty little “attitude” ditty is sung with chuckling, winking, pert personality. The “shot,” you see, is whiskey.

TYLER FARR/I Should Go to Church Sometime
Writers: None listed; Producer: None listed; Publisher: None listed
– It’s certainly an interesting premise for a song. But since it never really resolves itself after he works himself into a lather, it is ultimately rather unsatisfying.

ELI YOUNG BAND/Never Land
Writers: Mike Eli/James Young/Ross Copperman/Jon Nite; Producer: Ross Copperman & Jeremy Stover; Publisher: Small Town Kid/Young James Young/NYAC/EMI Blackwood/Rezolant/EMI April/Sony-ATV, BMI
– The group returns strongly to form with this wooshing rush of a performance. The production is stunning. The melody is addictive. The mood is inspiring. Turn it up and play it again.

CHARLEY PRIDE/Music in My Heart
Writers: Country Johnny Mathis; Producer: Billy Yates; Publisher: Avid Group, BMI
– The title tune of Pride’s first new album in more than six years is a toe tapper that is as country as grits. Twang that steel.

GRANGER SMITH/Happens Like That
Writers: None listed; Producer: None listed; Publisher: None listed
– This master showman stages another bid for chart success with this mid-tempo reflection on sudden romance. The echoey atmosphere in the arrangement gives his vocal extra impact.

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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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