DISClaimer: Abby Anderson, Devin Dawson, Travis Denning, Muscadine Bloodline Top New Releases

Today belongs to the “young country” crowd.

Veterans Montgomery Gentry and Sugarland take a back seat to an outstanding parade of up-and-comers in this edition of DisClaimer. Jordan Davis, Ashley Monroe, Tyler Farr and Maddie & Tae all have listenable new tunes.

The Disc of the Day award goes to another rising young artist, Devin Dawson.

There’s so much fine new talent here that I am splitting the DisCovery Award into three salutes. The Duo/Group winner is Muscadine Bloodline. The Female winner is Abby Anderson. The Male honoree is Travis Denning. Live long and prosper, all of you.

TRAVIS DENNING/David Ashley Parker From Powder Springs
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Mercury (CDX)
– Pretty dang cool. He sings like a country pro, and the song has hooks in all the right places. Big bonus points for compositional creativity, since it’s undoubtedly the first song ever written exclusively about a fake I.D.

TYLER FARR/Love By The Moon
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Columbia
– Punchy. His tightly-wound, slightly strangulated vocal style is ear catching. And you can’t beat a lyric hook like, “Live by the sun/Love by the moon,” even if the rest of the lyric is standard-issue bro-country.

Writers: Anderson/Josh Kerr/Tom Douglas; Producer: Josh Kerr; Publishers: Tunes of Black River/Purple Keystone/Songs of Black River/Whistlepig Winners/Sony-ATV Tree/Tomdouglasmusic, BMI/ASCAP; Black River
– Luminous. Melting with warmth. Its message to young girls about holding onto your innocence is worthy. To have your ears really pinned back, experience this artist live. She is a Fourth-of-July sparkler of a personality.

Writers: Swift/Patrick Monahan; Producers: Kristian Bush/Jennifer Nettles/Brandon Bush/Julian Raymond/Zoe Rosen/Brianna Steinitz; Publishers: none listed; Big Machine
– It’s a sugary pop confection that tastes delicious. A production recipe with more nutritious ingredients might have served its lyric of disappointment and rejection better.

Writers: Gary Stanton/Charlie Muncaster/Cary Barlowe; Producer: Luke Laird; Publishers: none listed; Creative Nation
– Excitement from the get-go. The pulse-quickening rhythm, the churning guitars and the twin male harmonies grab you by the collar. Then the excellently crafted lyric about getting over a heartbreak delights your brain. Lend this Alabama duo your ears. Right now.

Writers: John Wiggins/Bob Moffat/Clint Moffat/Troy Johnson; Producers: Shannon Houchins/Noah Gordon; Publisher: none listed; Average Joes
– Rowdy, Dixie-fried party music.

Writers: Jordan Davis/Jacob Davis/Jason Gantt; Producers: Paul DiGiovanni; Publishers: ole Red Cape/Jordan Davis/ReHits/Me GustaSony-ATV Tree, Songs of Red Bandana, ASCAP/BMI; MCA Nashville
– Tuneful and cheerful. The processed vocal is a little off-putting, but the overall upbeat attitude is infectious.

Writers: Ashley Monroe/Waylon Payne/Brendan Benson; Producer: Dave Cobb; Publishers: Monroe Suede/Songs of Kobalt/Tiltawhirl/Carnival/BMG Gold/Gladsad/BMG Rights Mngmnt, BMI/ASCAP; Warner Bros.
– Misty and mysterious. Her dreamy vocal performance floats in a minor-key arrangement featuring sighing organ notes, strummy guitars, echoey background voices and complimentary string phrases. Beautifully haunting.

DEVIN DAWSON/Asking For A Friend
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Atlantic
– The conversational lyric is just terrific. His super-warm vocal performance is sprinkled with stardust. The wafting production is pristine and perfect. This romantic come-on should absolutely dissolve female listeners.

MADDIE & TAE/Friends Don’t
Writers: Maddie Marlow/Taylor Dye/Jon Nite/Justin Ebach; Producers: Jimmy Robbins/Derek Wells; Publisher: none listed; Mercury
– The song is there and, as always, their voices are beyond dandy. The production seems a little dense and busy on first listen, but I think I could definitely get used to this.


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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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