DISClaimer: The Week In Americana

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• September 14, 2017

It’s Americana Music week here in Music City, and this edition of DisClaimer celebrates that fact.

There is a lot to like here. So much that we’re giving Disc of the Day prizes in Male, Female and Group categories. All three of them are going to Nashvillians. The Male disc du jour belongs to Derek Hoke. The always reliable Lee Ann Womack nails the Female division. The Group award goes to The McCrary Sisters.

The DisCovery Award goes to Travis Linville. He’s showcasing tonight.

RUSTY YOUNG/Gonna Let It Rain
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Blue Elan (track)
– This longtime mainstay of Poco has recorded his first solo CD, Waitin’ for the Sun. This track from it is on a Blue Elan compilation disc that was in the Americana convention’s goodie bag. It has an inspirational/gospel vibe with organ/guitar backing, loads of vocal harmonies and a deep, pounding rhythm track. Righteous.

CHRIS HILLMAN/Here She Comes Again
Writers: Chris Hillman/Roger McGuinn; Producer: Tom Petty; Publisher: none listed; Rounder (track)
– He’s a Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame member with a musical journey that includes The Hillmen, The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Desert Rose Band and more. This “lost” Byrds tune features chiming guitar, hearty vocal harmonies and a solid, country-rock groove. You’ll find it on Bidin’ My Time, which drops next Friday. Chris Hillman, Herb Pedersen and John Jorgenson will hit Music City to promote it via an Opry appearance on the 30th and a City Winery performance the next night. Be there.

JEFFREY HALFORD & THE HEALERS/Door #3
Writers: Jeffrey Halford; Producer: Adam Rossi/Jeffrey Halford; Publishers: none listed; Shoeless (track)
– This Californian has stripped down his sound to just evocative twang guitar, thumpy drum and bass on his appropriately titled lo-fi dreams CD. This moody, lonely track finds him moaning for love in a dry, dusty, drawling voice. The lyrics are super cool throughout the set. Join this songwriter fan club at once.

LOWLAND HUM/Folded Flowers
Writers: Daniel Goans/Lauren Goans; producers: Daniel/Lauren Goans; Publisher: Daniel Levi Goans/ASCAP; LH (track)
– This folky duo has a current album called Thin that features this laconic, drowsy, lulling ditty. Do not operate heavy machinery while listening.

MICHAEL JOHNATHON/The Dream
Writers: Johnathon; Producer: Johnathon; Publishers: Rachelaubreymusicinc, BMI; Poet Man (track)
– Johnathon is perhaps best-known as the NPR/PBS host of Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour. The title tune of this folk singer’s latest outing features a full orchestra and multi-lingual children’s choirs. With over-the-top sincerity, it yearns for world peace. Thus, the record is being released on the International Day of Peace, which is next Thursday. Not my cup of tea, but whatever floats your boat.

LEE ANN WOMACK/Hollywood
Writers: Lee Ann Womack/Adam Wright/Waylon Payne; Producer: Frank Liddell; Publishers: none listed; ATO (download)
– Sad and ethereal. She sings of a fading relationship while a steel guitar sighs forlornly and a soprano wafts above. Echoey and haunting. Lee Ann’s Americana Week events include her YeeHaw Tent whoop-di-do tonight (Thursday, the 14th) and a Q&A appearance at the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Ford Theater at 2 p.m. on Saturday (the 16th). The party for her CD The Lonely, The Lonesome & The Gone was Wednesday at The Crying Wolf. The collection drops on the 27th.

DEREK HOKE/Bring The Flood
Writers: Derek Hoke/Dexter Green; Producer: Dex Green; Publishers: Slow Hoke/Made With Blank Ink, BMI/ASCAP; Little Hollywood
– This East Nashvillian has a downbeat collection of overcast, shadowy, gloomy and utterly compelling tunes. This is its title track, an unsettling slab of doom with a demonic figure threatening spiritual destruction and soul annihilation. The crunch guitars and shuddering rhythms underscore his swampy vocal. Fascinating and essential.

THE MCCRARY SISTERS/Let It Go
Writers: Deborah Person/Kevin McKendree; Producer: Tommy Sims; Publishers: Person Mac/East Fork, BMI; MCC (track)
The McCrary Sisters Live CD and DVD is a showcase for how thrillingly accomplished Alfreda, Regina, Deborah and Ann have become as songwriters. There is one cover, of The Staple Singers’ “I’ll Take You There,” but otherwise the set’s tunes are all originals. Deborah’s shoulder-shaking rhythm rocker is about shedding yourself of trials and tribulations. It will make you want to clap your hands, shout and maybe even pick up a tambourine like Regina does during the percussion-solo breakdown. You need the music of these soul-gospel women in your life.

Travis Linville

TRAVIS LINVILLE/Wishes
WRiters: Travis Linville; Producer: Travis Linville; Publishers: none listed; TL (track)
– This Oklahoman is best known as a sideman for Hayes Carll. But with his CD, Up Ahead, he has stepped into his own spotlight this year. Its current single has a buoyant, hopeful lyric delivered in a youthful tenor. Percussion rumbles in the background while his own guitar twangs along. Highly listenable. Catch him this evening, the 14th, at The Country as an Americana showcaser.

SARA PETITE/It Was Just A Kiss
Writer: Sara Petite; Producer: none listed; Publishers: Sweet P, BMI; Sweet P (track)
– This San Diego troubadour recorded her last two CDs in Nashville but for her current Road Less Traveled collection, she relied on her road band back home in California. This country-rock track illustrates how catchy a song crafter she can be, but also reveals her vocal tendency to slide into flat notes.

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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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