Nostalgia seems to be the order of the day.
The new tracks by Wade Bowen, Mary Chapin Carpenter and The Swon Brothers all have this theme in their lyrics. And if you’re feeling nostalgic about the ‘90s, Carpenter, Michael Peterson and John Berry are all here to refresh your memory about what great talents country produced in that decade.
Dynamic vocalist Trent Harmon has this week’s Disc of the Day.
The DisCovery Award goes to Adrian Johnston’s duet partner Jordan Isaac, who is making his debut in the column today.
THE SWON BROTHERS/What Ever Happened
Writers: Zach Swon/Colton Swon; Producers: The Swon Brothers & Brad Hill; Publishers: none listed; SB (download)
-Breezy, wafting nostalgia for “the good old days.” It sounds like ‘70s pop.
Writers: Bowen/Gattis/Freed; Producer: Keith Gattis; Publishers: They Call Me Paul/Gattis/In Stereo, ASCAP/BMI; Bowen
– The good times have faded away and ain’t comin’ back in this rolling, dusty, inescapably “Texas” performance. I have always enjoyed this artist’s work. His new Solid Ground collection includes collaborations with Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall and Jack Ingram.
MICHAEL PETERSON/Lookin’ For Love
Writers: Mallette/Ryan/Morrison; Producers: Steven McClintock, Billy Yates & Michael Peterson; Publishers: EMI/Music City/Bluewater/Southern Days, No performance rights listed; 37 (track)
-Peterson has such extraordinary warmth in his voice that he makes this 1980 classic sound utterly fresh. A glowing performance that’s worth your spins.
CHRIS YOUNG/Hangin’ On
Writers: Chris Young/Corey Crowder/Josh Hoge; Producers: Chris Young/Corey Crowder/Josh Hoge; RCA (track)
– She has him dizzy in love. The track is appropriately swirling and spinning. His vocal is, of course, as super expressive as always.
ADRIAN JOHNSTON & JORDAN ISAAC/Damn I Want A Love Like That
Writers: Maloy/Ottestad; Producer: Zac Maloy; Publishers: none listed; AJ (track)
– Both vocalists are strong, penetrating vocalists. This is as potent a duet performance as I’ve heard so far this year. Highly recommended.
MAGGIE ROSE/Pull You Through
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; MR
– I dig this. It has a bluesy, doo-wop, retro feel that is robo cool. She makes the most of its r&b groove with some minor-key swoops and phrasing embellishments.
MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER/This Shirt
Writers: none listed; Producer: Ethan Johns; Publishers: none listed; Lambent
– A performance to get lost in. A gentle, echoey, acoustic production backs her intimate, resonant, alto delivery. Complete audio magic. Those of you with long memories might recall the song as being a promotional Sony video back in 1990. Its nostalgic warmth still casts a dreamy spell.
TRENT HARMON/You Got ‘Em All
Writers: Trent Harmon/Justin Ebach/Jordan Minton; Producers: Jimmy Robbins/Scott Borchetta; Publishers: none listed; Big Machine
– Trent pinned everyone’s ears back at CRS when he debuted this powerful, urgent, passionate and super melodic slab of sound. He was the champ on the 2016 American Idol season. Based on this torrid heartache ballad, he just might be that rare AI singer who actually becomes a star.
JOHN BERRY/Beautifully Broken
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; JB (download)
– Chesty, soaring and anthemic. Which seems apt, since it is an upcoming inspirational-movie theme song.
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