DISClaimer: Blake Shelton Tops New Tracks With “Tequila Sheila” Remake

This is evidently a week for song craftsmanship.

There are a number of releases here that go way beyond wallpaper music. Joy Williams’ “Canary,” Tim McGraw’s “Gravity,” Devin Dawson’s “Dark Horse” and Ty Herndon’s revival of “Walking in Memphis” are all songs that command respect.

Topping them all is Blake Shelton, reminding us how many clever rhymes there are for the word “Sheila,” thanks to Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame members Shel Silverstein and Mac Davis. This audio tickler is our Disc of the Day.

Blake is closely trailed by labelmates Dawson and Cale Dodds, the latter of whom brings a bucket load of happy in his bopping tune.

JOY WILLIAMS/Canary
Writers: Joy Williams/Caitlyn Smith/Angelo Petraglia; Producer: none listed; Publishers: Eleven Eleven, no performance rights listed; JW
– Formerly a CCM artist and half of the acclaimed Americana duo The Civil Wars, Williams has a haunting new track. Over rippling guitars, she soars into her upper soprano while delivering a lyric of singing strongly, even when you’re shadowed with the cold chill of being the canary in the mine.

CARLY PEARCE/Closer To You
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Big Machine
-Sweetly romantic. Sunny and bright.

CHUCK WICKS/Better Than Flowers
Writers: Chuck Wicks/Jeffrey East/Michael Lotten; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; CW
– Sexy pop country. He’s promising love for hours and something that’s more than an overnight fling while guitars ring in an echo chamber.

BLAKE SHELTON/Tequila Sheila
Writers: Shel Silverstein/Mac Davis; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; BS
– We all hail the greatness that is Bobby Bare. Penultimate country vocalist Blake Shelton has the ideal pipes to show his love on this toe-tapping remake of Bare’s rowdy 1980 classic. A delightful song, delightfully delivered. Love the Latin guitar licks, too.

 

TY HERNDON/Walking In Memphis
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; TH
– The Marc Cohn pop classic from 1991 gets a revved-up, dance-floor remake. Ty’s still a country singer, and his vocal is mixed front and center. Although the track is rhythm happy, it’s not so electronic that you couldn’t spin it alongside most other pop-country outings. Catchy, to say the least.

TIM MCGRAW/Gravity
Writers: McGraw/Lori McKenna; Producers: McGraw/Byron Gallimore; Publisher: none listed; Columbia/Tim McGraw
– Created for the soundtrack of the film Free Solo, this ballad is an uplifting orchestral ode to perseverance and belief. Luxuriously produced. I remain an enormous fan, all these years later.

CALE DODDS/Where I Get It From
Writers: Cale Dodds/Sarah Buxton/Corey Crowder/Jared Mullins; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Warner Bros.
– A down-home, Southern frolic with a stuttering beat and rapid-fire lyrics. Fun with a capital “F.” This fellow has charm to spare.

COLE SWINDELL/Love You Too Late
Writers: Brandon Lynn Kinney/Michael Carter/Cole Swindell; Producer: none listed; Publishers: Peermusic/Sony-ATV, no performance rights listed; Warner Bros.
– She’s out having a blast while he’s wallowing in misery. Nevertheless, the track rocks ridiculously.

 

DEVIN DAWSON/Dark Horse
Writers: Dawson/Andy Albert/Andrew DeRoberts; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Atlantic
– A song for outsiders everywhere. The echoey atmosphere and his affecting voice are both superb vehicles for the message of alienation. Poignant and potent. Give this your undivided attention.

DOLLY PARTON/Girl In The Movies
Writers: Dolly Parton/Linda Perry; Producer: Perry; Publisher: none listed; RCA
– This is from the soundtrack to the forthcoming film Dumplin.’ It’s a wistful, soft ballad about dreaming big, shiny dreams. The woman is an American Treasure. She’s been nominated for a best-song Oscar twice before (for “9 To 5” and “Travelin’ Through”). Could the third time be the charm?

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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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