DISClaimer: Florida Georgia Line, Anna Vaus, Brantley Gilbert, Lindsay Ell Offer Sparkling New Tracks

Wait a minute: You mean the winter break won’t go on forever, and I have deadlines again? That’s right, bub. It’s 2019, and we’re back on the job.

In the debut listening session of the year, duos ruled the roost. The new single by Florida Georgia Line and the first collaboration by Brantley Gilbert and Lindsay Ell are today’s winning tunes. In a tight race, FGL claims Disc of the Day.

We have Dave Pacula at Black River to thank for bringing Anna Vaus to our attention. She wins today’s DisCovery Award.

LYNN EASTERLY/I Listen To My Bad Girl
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Summit (CDX)
– Loud rock guitars. Compressed audio. Somehow, this sounds woefully dated, like maybe it was recorded 10 years ago when rocked-up country was the thing.

KANE BROWN/Good As You
Writers: Kane Brown/Brock Berryhill/Shy Carter/Taylor Phillips/Will Weatherly; Producer: Dann Huff; Publisher: none listed; RCA
– Soaked in an r&b groove, this languid ode to undying love goes down smooth and easy. Intensely romantic.

ROB BAIRD/Burning Blue
Writers: Rob Baird/Burleson Smith; Producer: Rick Brantley; Publisher: Boots Baird/Ticonderoga, BMI; Hard Luck
– With an able harmony vocal by the talented Lucie Silvas, this is a stately ballad that reflects on a relationship’s rise and fall. The electric guitar solo at the coda is pure poetry, and Baird’s plaintive, aching delivery is wonderfully gripping. The album, After All, chronicles the seven stage of grief in the wake of a breakup. Lend this man your ears.

FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE/People Are Different
Writers: Mark Molman/Hillary Lindsey/Michael Hardy; Producer: Joey Moi; Publisher: 2019 Relative Music Group (BMI), administered by Songs Of Kobalt Music Publishing./ Songs of Universal, Inc. / Art in the Fodder Music. All rights o/b/o Art in the Fodder Music controlled and administered by Songs of Universal, Inc./ BMG Platinum Songs (BMI) / BIRB Music (ASCAP); Big Machine
– Terrific in every way. The track rings and chimes. The layered vocals swirl in your head. Best of all is the “love-thy-neighbor” lyric urging acceptance and tolerance. These boys have it all going on here.

E

 

QUEEVA/Live Like A Song
Writers: none listed; Producer: Jamie O’Neal; Publisher: none listed; Queeva (track)
– She’s a teen, and her pert, youthful and somewhat thin vocal shows it. The spare, choppy production creates a lively groove for her to emote in. She needs to put some years on her talent, but this is promising.

JOHN SCHNEIDER/Walk A Mile In My Shoes
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Odyssey
– He still sings splendidly, and the song is a total country winner. The demo-sounding production does nothing for me.

ANNA VAUS/Day Job
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Espola Road
– The track burns rubber from the opening notes. A smokin’-hot country rocker with a saucy, personable vocal. Hang on for a wild ride.

 

WILLIAM MICHAEL MORGAN/Workin’
Writers: Bart Butler/Aaron Goodvin/Driver Williams/Brett Tyler; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Warner Bros.
– It’s about time we had a new blue-collar, working-man’s anthem. This kinda thing should always be country music’s bread and butter. The track is rather “busy” sounding, but his voice and the lyric overcome that.

WHEELER WALKER JR./Save Some Titty Milk For Me
Writer: Wheeler Walker Jr.; Producer: Dave Cobb; Publisher: none listed; Pepperhill/Thirty Tigers
– Okay, let’s face it: This guy is never going to make mainstream radio with a title like this. It bops along attractively, but the lyric is way beyond outlaw country. Tracks like “I Sucked Another D*** Last Night,” “F**k You With the Lights On,” “All the P**** You Will Slay” and “I Like Smoking Pot” are not for the faint of heart. He glories in obscenity, but is also undeniably funny. The CD is titled WW III. Let the buyer beware.

BRANTLEY GILBERT & LINDSAY ELL/What Happens In A Small Town
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Valory
– I am a huge fan of Brantley’s brushed-velvet singing. Lindsay has never sounded better, trading verses and soaring above him in harmony. The beautifully intricate production revels in froth and foam as it crests and ebbs. The whole thing is sprinkled with stardust.

 

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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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