DisClaimer: Eric Paslay Tops New Releases

Eric Paslay. Photo: Joseph Llanes

Today’s stack of discs features returning vets, current superstars and shiny new faces.

The blasts from the past are Ronnie McDowell and John Schneider. The hottest hitmakers are Keith Urban, Chris Stapleton and Miranda Lambert. And our baby acts include Lonny Ray, Risa Binder and our DisCovery Award winner, Tenille Arts.

Despite their many merits, none of the above takes home this week’s championship ring. The Disc of the Day honor goes to Eric Paslay.

TENILLE ARTS/Moment of Weakness
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; 19th & Grand
– Nicely done. The ringing piano, thumping percussion and echoey atmosphere on this melodic power ballad underscore a penetrating soprano performance. Lend this your ears.

CHRIS STAPLETON/Midnight Train To Memphis
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Mercury (ERG)
– The grinding guitar and relentless percussion announce a ferocious Southern-rock outing. Yet another hair-raising vocal performance from this powerhouse.

MIRANDA LAMBERT/Keeper of the Flame
Writers: Lambert/Hemby/Rose; Producers: Frank Liddell, Glenn Worf & Eric Masse; Publishers: Pink Dog/Sony-ATV/Happygowrucke/Creative Pulse/These Are Pulse Songs/Warner-Tamerlane/Songs of Crazy Girl, BMI; RCA (track)
– Miranda’s double CD The Weight of These Wings is full of awesome tunes. This irresistible toe tapper is a deliciously listenable song of strength and survival. She’s such a pistol.

JOHN SCHNEIDER/Fish
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Maven Music (ERG)
– An attempt at good-humored funkiness. The production is appropriately jaunty/goofy, but there’s a certain built-in seriousness in his voice that doesn’t do “cute” well.

KEITH URBAN & JULIA MICHAELS/Coming Home
Writers: Keith Urban/J.R. Rotem/Nicole Galyon/Merle Haggard/Julia Michaels; Producers: Urban, Rotem; Publishers: none listed; Capitol
– Haggard’s guitar licks kick it off, but after that it is tongue-tripping, burbling electro-pop all the way. Cleverly produced and crisply performed.

MIDLAND/Burn Out
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Big Machine (track)
– Is it just me, or does this sound like a clone of “Drinkin’ Problem?”

ERIC PASLAY/Young Forever
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; EMI (ERG)
– I love the way it starts out simply and then builds into such a joyous anthem. This is a bona fide hit, amen.

LONNY RAY/I’m Right Here
Writers: none listed; Producers: none listed; Publishers: none listed; BMI, LR (track)
– It’s a baritone ballad with a mellow, r&b vibe and some cool guitar filigrees. Well written and sung with warmth.

RONNIE MCDOWELL/Crazy Crush
Writers: McDowell; Producer: none listed; Publishers: Richland Station, no performance rights listed; RM (track)
– This has a retro-country feel. The falsetto yodel each time he gets to the chorus word “crazy” is particularly ear catching.

RISA BINDER/You Came Along
Writers: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Warehouse (CDX)
– The day’s strongest rocker boasts a “nervous” guitar run, a rumbling rhythm track and a sunny, soaring soprano chorus. Bright sounding.

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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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