DISClaimer: Montgomery Gentry Wins Disc of the Day

Click to read Eddie’s note about the song.

The pattern today seems to be downloads from established stars and physical product from newcomers. Of those downloads, the outstanding submission comes from Montgomery Gentry. “Better Me” wins the Disc of the Day prize. R.I.P. Troy.

Newcomer Russell Dickerson seems to have it all going on. His “Yours” is not only a winning love song, he sings it with enormous power and passion. Give that man a DisCovery Award.

MONTGOMERY GENTRY/Better Me
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Average Joes (download) 
—Very, very stirring. He’s trying to turn a page on his wilder days and live right. The track cooks with gas, and Troy sings his butt off. How sad and aching that one of the finest recorded performances of the duo’s career comes as a swansong. Play this, and then play it some more.

SARAH ANNE/Tammy Wynette
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; SA 
—It has the tempo of a dying mammoth, but her languid, heartsick performance is on the money. She seeks comfort and solace from a singer who has cried as hard as she does. Who better than the Heroine of Heartbreak, herself?

CHRIS YOUNG/Losing Sleep
Writers: Chris Young, Josh Hoge, Chris DeStefano; Producers: Corey Crowder, Chris Young; Publishers: EMI Blackwood Music Inc., Goodbye Pants Music, EMI Foray Music, Write 2 Be Free Music, EMI April Music Inc., CDS Words and Music, BMI, SESAC, ASCAP, Adm by Sony/ATV; RCA (download) 
—Golly, this guy can sing. This power ballad exudes sensuous desire, whispered secrets and midnight intimacies. I remain an enormous fan.

CALICO THE BAND/The 405
Writer: K. Proffit; Producer: Steve Burns & Kristen Proffit; Publisher: none listed; California Country (track) (CALICOTHEBAND.com)
—The group is led by a female duo, Manda Mosher and Kristen Proffit. This breezy outing from its Under Blue Skies CD boasts wafting harmonies, sunny steel licks and a gently shuffling tempo. Who knew that traveling on an L.A. freeway could sound so pleasant?

BLAKE SHELTON/I’ll Name the Dogs
Writer: Matt Dragstrem, Ben Hayslip, Josh Thompson; Producer: Scott Hendricks; Publisher: Round Hill Songs/Big Loud Proud Songs/WB Music/Thankful For This Music/Big Music Machine, BMI, ASCAP; Warner Bros. (download) 
—Totally cute and totally country. A hillbilly proposal that comes with a wink and a smile. Love it. He remains one of the finest honky-tonk singers on today’s scene.

SMITH & WESLEY/Superman for a Day
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Dream Walkin’ (CDX) 
—The vocals lack oomph. The song is kinda sappy.

COLE SWINDELL/Stay Downtown
Writer: Cole Taylor, Matt Dragstrem; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Warner Bros. (CDX) 
—Extremely well written, slice-of-life lyrics. Minimal melodic qualities.

HOME FREE/In the Blood
Writer: John Mayer; Producer: Darren Rust; Publisher: John Maye/Milky Boy, GMR; Columbia (track) 
—The quintet has always been billed as country’s a cappella ensemble, yet the lead single from its new Timeless collection is a John Mayer tune. But stripping it down to its lyric reveals just how poetic and “country” the song really is. And there’s no getting around the fact that these guys are mighty, mighty singers. Well done.

KELSEA BALLERINI/High School
Writer: Kelsea Ballerini; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Black River (download) 
—He refuses to grow up beyond a teen mentality. Her superb performance of this wooshy ballad is extraordinarily expressive, subtle and shaded. The sonic background effects are well placed and the soft, shimmering overall audio pallet is just lovely.

RUSSELL DICKERSON/Yours
Writer: Russell Dickerson/Casey Brown/Parker Welling; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Triple Tigers (track) ()
—The album with this title tune isn’t due until next month, but the song is already a streamed and video hit. It soars on the winds of new love and promise. The ballad is evidently becoming a wedding favorite, and I can hear why.

DISCovery winner Russell Dickerson.

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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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