DISClaimer: Chris Stapleton, Cale Dodds Offer Superb Vocals

Chris Stapleton, Cale Dodds

Veterans, shooting stars and newcomers are the ingredients in this week’s country-music recipe.

Toby Keith, Lee Ann Womack and Shania Twain all demonstrate that they have enduring appeal. Kip Moore, William Michael Morgan and Chris Stapleton are here to show us why they are all hot right now. Lindsay Ell and Cale Dodds are the promising newcomers.

It will come as no surprise that Chris Stapleton wins the Disc of the Day prize. The man can do no wrong.

This week’s DisCovery Award goes to social-media sensation Cale Dodds. He’s not only super handsome; he can also sing.

MCA (download)
-It’s an anthem-style rock power ballad delivered in his trademark, raspy, impassioned voice. I like the “shot” imagery of drinking and romantic chances.

SHANIA TWAIN/We Got Something They Don’t
Mercury (ERG)
– Kinda rumbling. Kinda thumpy. Kinda bluesy pop. Kinda groovy and catchy. I kinda like it.

LEE ANN WOMACK/All The Trouble
ATO (download)
– She could sing the phone book and make it sound soulful. Happily, this blues lament is much, much more than that. Her whole The Lonely, The Lonesome & The Gone album is essential.


KID ROCK/Tennessee Mountain Top
Red Bow (ERG)
– Suffering in L.A., he waxes nostalgic about home, where folks pack guns and sing karaoke in a double-wide thick with cigarette smoke. If that’s his idea of heaven, he’s welcome to it.

-Searing and seething with emotion. It’s a classic country message: Love is more precious than money. If you’ve got love, you’re rich. Amen, bro.

Writers: Lindsay Ell/Chris Stevens/Fred Wilhelm; Producer: Kristian Bush; Publishers: Magic Mustang/BMG Rights/Lindsay Ell/Moody Producer/Capitol CMG, BMI; Stoney Creek
– This multi-talented gal is still looking for the song that will put her over the top. This is a pleasant, percolating outing, but I don’t think it’s the one.

TOBY KEITH/Shitty Golfer
Writers: Toby Keith; Producers: Keith/Bobby Pinson; Publishers: Tokeco, BMI; Show Dog/Thirty Tigers
– This will make you grin, I guarantee it. By the way, Toby’s CD The Bus Songs also contains his immortal reefer ditties “Wacky Tobaccy” and “Weed With Willie.”

Writers: Wade Kirby/Ashley Gorley/Carson Chamberlain; Producers: Jimmy Ritchey & Scott Hendricks; Publishers: Round Hill Works/External Combustion/Songs of Southside Independent/WB/Atlas/Carson Chamerlain, BMI/ASCAP; Warner Bros.
-I remain a fan. This sweet, lilting love song compares old-fashioned romance with the warmth and comfort you feel from hearing classic music. Gently persuasive.

CALE DODDS/Out Of My System
Writers: Cale Dodds, Zach Abend, Corey Crowder; Producer: none listed; Publishers: Songs From The Rose Hotel (ASCAP)/WB Music Corp. (ASCAP)/Cale Dodds Publishing (ASCAP); Bendable Music (BMI)/Nashville International Music (BMI); Songs From The Rose Hotel (ASCAP)/WB Music Corp. (ASCAP); Warner Bros.
-He knows he’s addicted to her. But he’s not ready to de-tox just yet. The jumpy, nervous track has lots of stuttering electric guitar, but his pleading, urgent vocal remains the focus. An intriguing debut. The track is paired with a number called “People Watching.” What the two share is a certain monotonic quality that favors likable energy over any kind of distinctive melody.



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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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