Is it hot enough for ya?
Country music has summer sounds to either cool you down or heat you up. Your choice.
In the “cool” department is our Disc of the Day winner, Florida Georgia Line. These boys have never sounded better than they do on “Simple.”
The DisCovery Award honoree is the coolest dude in today’s listening session, a retro man named Joshua Hedley.
As for turning up the heat, I suggest Kane Brown, Garth Brooks and/or newcomer Rachel Wammack.
RACHEL WAMMACK/Hard to Believe
Writers: Rachel Wammack/Jason Reeves/Jimmy Robbins; Producer: Dann Huff; Publisher: none listed; RCA
– The stuttering, double-time rhythm creates an undertow of excitement as the track commences. Her personable, conversational delivery of the verses shifts into a shimmering soprano pay-off on the choruses. Astonishingly accomplished. Play it.
FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE/Simple
Writers: Mark L. Holman/Michael Wilson Hardy/Tyler Reed Hubbard; Producer: none listed; Publishers: Universal/Kobalt, no performance rights listed; Big Machine
– Wow. Utterly charming and utterly country, this is a perfectly delightful, toe-tapping summer song. The clear, uncluttered production and innocent, catchy-as-can-be song are both fabulously refreshing. All it takes is one listen, and you fall in love with it. Banjo. Whistling. Spelling. Yippee!
JOSHUA HEDLEY/I Never Shed A Tear
Writer: Joshua Hedley; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Third Man Records
– This man is our latest retro, back-to-basics country hero. His resonant baritone recalls Ray Price, and so does his steel-bedecked honky-tonk shuffle. The album is called Mr. Jukebox. If you love real country music, complete with twin fiddles, buy it now.
GARTH BROOKS/All Day Long
Writers: Brooks/Mitch Rossell/Bryan Kennedy; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Pearl
– It’s deliberately crafted to sound like rowdy, old-school, honky-tonk Garth. And it succeeds admirably. Summer fun.
DANIELLE BRADBERY/Worth It
Writers: Danielle Bradbery/Jeff Pardo/Molly Reed; Producer: Josh Kerr; Publishers: Songs of Universal/One Voice Global/Canal/Meaux Jeaux/Da Bears Da Bears Da Bears/Capitol CMG/Dayspring/Goes Something Like This/Warner-Tamerlane, SESAC/BMI; Big Machine (track)
– I remain a fan. This soaring ballad winningly asserts her self-worth in the most simple, direct fashion. She sings her face off on it.
LeANN RIMES & STEVIE NICKS/Borrowed
Writers: LeAnn Rimes/Darrell Brown/Dan Wilson; Producers: Darrell Brown, Waddy Wachtel, LeAnn Rimes & Stevie Nicks; Publishers: none listed; Thirty Tigers
– The Rimes project is an EP titled Re-Imagined that reinterprets some of her classics in mostly stripped-down arrangements. None is more stunning than this awesome duet. Stevie’s low-alto vocal harmony shadows LeAnn at every turn. These are two, for-real, sensational singing ladies.
KANE BROWN/Lose It
Writers: Chase McGill/Kane Brown/William Bradfore Jr. Weatherly; Producer: none listed; Publishers: Warner-Chappell/Universal, no performance rights listed; RCA (download)
– Rocked-up young country that’s light on melody and heavy on rhythm. Lyrically, it’s a come-on that’s meant to sound sexy and exciting.
ELI YOUNG BAND/Love Ain’t
Writers: Ross Copperman/Ashley Gorley/Shane McAnally; Producer: Dann Huff; Publishers: none listed; Valory Music Co.
– Zippy and meaningful at the same time. You can bop along in oblivion or dig the message. It works either way. The song’s video about a vet’s rehab and his steadfast lover is stunning.
Writers: Ashley Gorley/Kyle Jacobs/Lee Brice; Producer: none listed; Publishers: Warner-Chappell/Mike Curb, no performance rights listed; Curb
– I’m a big fan of this guy. This time around, he’s adopted a slightly gospel-y, blue-eyed soul vibe that sounds really cool. The small-town romance in the lyric is so warm and attractive.
KELLY WILLIS/Back Being Blue
Writers: none listed; Producer: Bruce Robison; Publishers: none listed; Premium/Thirty Tigers
– I’ve always loved her singing, and it has been way too long since she had a solo album. Its title tune is a languid lament about being cheated on in a familiar, sad, resigned kinda way. Hubby/producer Robison keeps the track uncluttered and soulful. The electric guitar work is particularly groovy.
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