DISClaimer: Carrie Underwood Returns With “Powerful” New Track

Spring is in the air, and country comes alive with some fresh sounds for the season.

Good things come in “threes” this week. We have three promising newcomers that deserve your attention — Mason Lively, Szlachetka and our DisCovery Award winner, Vince Moreno.

We also have three contenders for the week’s top prize — Chris Stapleton, RaeLynn and our Disc of the Day winner, Carrie Underwood.

Happy listening.

VINCE MORENO/You Live In This House
Writers: Vince Morena/Mary Welch Francis; Producers: none listed; Publishers: Bluwaboo, ASCAP; VM
– It has a dark, bluesy groove. His macho baritone drawls and spits and moans as he delivers the goods in this lyric of a haunted, lonely heartache. Promising in the extreme.

CHRIS STAPLETON/Millionaire
Writer: Kevin Welch; Producers: Dave Cobb/Chris Stapleton; Publisher: none listed; Mercury (track)
– Searing and soulful. Wife Morgane shadows him on high harmony throughout this ballad’s ode to enriching romance. A home run.

MASON LIVELY/Lonely Comes Back Around
Writer: Mason Lively; Producer: Pat Manske; Publishers: none listed; ML (track)
– This is a lively country rocker about escaping from a broken heart by running, running, running. For a young newcomer (Lively is just 20 years old), he displays great vocal confidence and quite adept songwriting skills. You’re on the right path, son.

RAELYNN/Queens Don’t
Writers: RaeLynn/Corey Crowder/James Abrahart; Producer: Josh Kerr; Publishers: none listed; Warner Bros.
-Delightful. It’s a terrific female empowerment anthem that builds from gently produced verses to layered, cool, echoey choruses. This sounds decidedly like a big breakthrough record.

 

ANTHONY POWER/The Photographer
Writer: Anthony Power; Producers: Power/Agostino; Publishers: none listed; AP (track)
– He’s an Australian singer-songwriter who accompanies himself on ukulele. This title track from his current CD has a simple, sing-songy melody. It’s more folk ditty than country.

THOMAS RHETT/Life Changes
Writers: Thomas Rhett/Rhett Akins/Jesse Frasure/Ashley Gorley; Producers: Dann Huff, Jesse Frasure & Thomas Rhett; Publishers: EMI Blackwood/Cricket on the Line/Sony-ATV/Warner-Tamerlane/Ritten By Rhettro/Telemitry Rhythm House/Songs of Roc Nation/WB/Sadie’s Favorite/Combustion Engine, BMI/ASCAP; Valory (track)
– I love how he’s used the facts of his own life story to craft this. And it sure doesn’t hurt that it is ridiculously catchy.

SZLACHETKA/Heart Of My Hometown
Writers: Matthew Szlachetka/Jamie Kent; Producer: David Blanco; Publishers: Francis Marie/Lama TuMama, SESAC/ASCAP; MS (track)
– He used to be in a Los Angeles band called The Northstar Session that made some noise in Americana music with five albums. His solo outing takes a turn toward mainstream country. This title tune rolls along with admirable country-rock energy and a highly engaging melody. Think Jackson Browne meets Nashville.

CARRIE UNDERWOOD/Cry Pretty
Writers: Carrie Underwood/Hillary Lindsey/Lori McKenna/Liz Rose; Producers: David Garcia/Underwood; Publishers: Carrie-Okie/BIRB/BMG Rights/Maps An Records/Creative Pulse/These Are Pulse/Warner-Tamerlane/Songs of Crazy Girl, BMI/ASCAP; Capitol (download)
– Powerful stuff. Her vocal goes from a quiet, delicately phrased intro into a soprano-shout crescendo. It’s a power ballad with a pounding heart. Listen and believe.

 

JEFF CLAYBORN/Good Bar Attender
Writers: Jeff Clayborn/Doug Wright/Chuck Ebert; Producer: Chuck Ebert; Publishers: none listed, BMI/ASCAP; Axon
– A honky tonker that should have been better, but is dragged down by a muffled production and a thin-sounding vocalist.

SCOTTY McCREERY/This Is It
Writers: Scotty McCreery/Aaron Eshuis/Frank Rogers; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Triple Tigers
– Cool, sparkly production touches. The song is an extremely well written invitation to romance that could easily become an enduring wedding favorite. The ex American Idol winner grows up, and how.

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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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