Look who has new music for the thousands of fans who are attending the CMA Music Festival this week.
Step right up, Little Big Town, Thomas Rhett, Luke Combs, Brett Eldredge and Kacey Musgraves. The DisClaimer spotlight is on you.
Despite the presence of these big-time artists, it’s underdog Craig Campbell who has the Disc of the Day. Running close behind him are Combs and Eldredge, both of whom also have dandy offerings.
We have no newcomers this week, so the DisCovery Award goes unclaimed.
GRANGER SMITH/You’re In It
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Wheelhouse (ERG)
– Small-town good times blah blah blah.
BRETT ELDREDGE/Love Someone
Writers: Brett Eldredge/Ross Copperman/Heather Morgan; Producers: Ross Copperman & Brett Eldredge; Atlantic (track)
– Joyous. I love the way this guy delivers a lyric. And you can’t beat a track this bouncy and delightful.
JASON BOLAND & THE STRAGGLERS/Hard Times Are Relative
Writers: none listed; Producers: The Stragglers, David Percefull, Adam Odor; Publishers: none listed; Thirty Tigers
– The title tune to the band’s new CD is a story song about tough times on the frontier. It has a vintage, folkie quality that is quite evocative and appealing. Be patient with it, because the rhythm track doesn’t kick in until it’s almost halfway through.
LITTLE BIG TOWN/Summer Fever
Writers: Jesse Frasure/Cary Barlowe/Sam Romans/Karen Fairchild; Producers: Jesse Frasure/Shane McAnally; Publishers: none listed; Capitol
– If you had any doubt that the sunshine season has arrived, this will erase it. This sways and simmers with an irresistible groove. Breezy and then some.
THE BURRITO BROTHERS/Between Your Hands and Mind
Writers: Gram Parsons/Chris P. James; Producer: John Sturdivant, Jr.; Publishers: GPJ/Blue Meteor, ASCAP/BMI; Junction (track)
– Still Going Strong, this ensemble’s latest CD, kicks off with a wafting, airy song originated by its founder, Parsons. Alas, it lacks a strong lead vocal, as does the rest of the album. The venerable group is now populated entirely by Nashvillians. Chris P. James is the Burrito veteran, having first worked with the group in 1986. Steel guitarist Tony Paoletta is a disciple of the late Burrito Sneaky Pete Kleinow. Bob Hatter is a Music City session man, and Larry Marrs is well known as a country bass player. Producer, guitarist and drummer John Sturdivant Jr. is the grandson of Kitty Wells & Johnny Wright and the son of the late Record World/Music City News media maven whose name he bears.
THOMAS RHETT/Leave Right Now
Writers: Thomas Rhett/Julian Bunetta/Edward Drewett/John Henry Ryan; Producers: Julian Bunetta/Thomas Rhett; Valory (track)
– I don’t care for all the tempo-shifting electronic phasing and wooshing in the production. Nor the compressed vocal.
LUKE COMBS/Beautiful Crazy
Writers: Luke Combs/Wyatt B. Durrette III/Robert Williford; Producer: Scott Moffatt; Publishers: Big Music Machine/50 Egg/Straight Dimes/Island South/Rosest/Works of RHA, BMI/SESAC; Columbia/River House
– A very nice change of pace. Combs unveils a gentler side here, softly crooning about an offbeat, unpredictable lover he’s just head-over-heels about. Ernest and endearing.
Writers: Nicolle Galyon/Elizabeth Huett; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Sophie Dog
– No longer with Warner, Jana has her own imprint now. This stunning ballad is righteous evidence that she’s still got the goods. The torrid tale finds her ruminating about a ruined relationship in the house they used to share. Painful and real and powerful.
CRAIG CAMPBELL/See You Try
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Red Bow
– Very catchy, very sexy and very country. This thumper boasts a terrific lead vocal and a dandy, rumbling, barroom production. Addictive.
Writers: Luke Laird/Natalie Hemby/Kacey Musgraves; Producers: Ian Fitchuk, Daniel Tashian & Kacey Musgraves; Publisher: none listed; MCA (track)
– Very pretty pop music. Her voice has never sounded better. But you will seek in vain for the grit and wit of the country artist who previously created “Merry Go ’Round,” “Follow Your Arrow,” “Dime Store Cowgirl” and “Blowin’ Smoke.”
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