This is a day for new beginnings.
Today, DISClaimer presents a flurry of deserving newcomers. Mason Ramsey, Sarah Ross, Riley Green and Tenille Arts are all staging worthy disc debuts. In a very, very tough competition, I’m giving a DISCovery Award to Riley Green.
Considering that it’s July, it is somewhat surprising to find that two of the three contestants for Disc of the Day are ballads. Morgan Evans has the day’s top uptempo tune, which leaves two blue-eyed soulmen seething in downbeat misery—Ryan Kinder and our winner, Randy Houser.
TENILLE ARTS/I Hate This
Writer: Tenille Arts/Adam Wheeler; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Reviver
—The shuffled-brush drumming and dobro embellishments are way cool. She harmonizes with herself throughout the performance, and since she’s such a strong singer, that’s double the pleasure. The lyric is about taking a break in a relationship and not enjoying that one little bit. A terrific debut disc.
CLEDUS T. JUDD/Weight’s Goin’ Up Down Up Down
—He always makes me smile. This comeback single humorously addresses his eternal battle of the bulge. Just so you know: At his heaviest, he weighed 291, and he has dieted down to as low as 168. He’s somewhere in between, nowadays. Whatever the pounds, he’s out to have some goofy fun, this time at the expense of Morgan Wallen and FGL.
Writer: RaeLynn/Canaan Smith/Corey Crowder/Tyler Hubbard; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Warner Bros.
—Sprightly, youthful and endearing. Teen fun, country style.
SARAH ROSS/Nervous Breakdown
Writer: Shane McAnally/Kacey Musgraves/Trevor Rosen/Brandy Clark; Producer: Jim Kaufman; Publisher: Little Blue Egg/Kobalt/Smack Songs/351/Warner-Tamerlane/Rehits/Smacktown, GMR/BMI/ASCAP; Average Joe’s
—Swirling and dizzy-sounding, featuring a production packed with dark rhythmic power, unexpected melodic twists and catch-’em-quick lyrics. Brilliantly written, frenetic and fascinating.
RANDY HOUSER/What Whiskey Does
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; BBR/Stony Creek
—This is a searing barroom weeper from a man whose voice can turn a lyric inside out. Country music hallelujah amen.
Writer: Ryan Kinder/Fred Wilhelm/Luke Sheets; Producer: Ryan Kinder & Luke Sheets; Publisher: none listed; Crimson Garden
—Ferociously soulful. He tears into this torrid ballad like his very life depends on it. The gal he is pleading to will surely succumb.
Writer: Corey Crowder/Canaan Smith/Sarah Buxton/Tyler Hubbard; Producer: none listed; Publisher: Warner-Chappell/BMG Rights; Atlantic/Big Loud
—In general, I hate kiddie acts. Unless they are/were Stevie Wonder or Brenda Lee or Judy Garland. Well, it turns out that the yodeling Walmart kid can really, really sing. So not only is this a wonderful Cinderfella story, it is accompanied by music with legs. His debut single is delivered in a solid, winning fashion and an uncomplicated directness that is marvelously refreshing.
Writer: Morgan Evans/Chris DeStefano/Josh Osborne; Warner Bros.
—Stirring and anthemic. You’ll shake your butt, bob your head, tap your toes, pump your fist and want to sing along. This man has the goods.
WILLIAM SHATNER & JEFF COOK/Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink Alone
Writer: Corey Lee Barker/Gary Hannan; Producer: Brian Curl, Jeff Cook & William Shatner; Publisher: Heartland/Never Forgotten; Heartland
—A throw-back honky tonker with barrelhouse piano, bouncing fiddle bow, woozy steel and thumped drums. Shatner recites the verses while Cook tries to salvage things by singing the choruses. An amusing diversion.
RILEY GREEN/There Was This Girl
—Bubbling, boiling and shooting off steam. The rollicking rhythm, country-boy vocal delivery and unstoppable energy are a dynamite combination. Stardom awaits.
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