The wait is over.
Week after week, country music’s indie-label artists wait in a long line behind releases by major-label artists in the DisClaimer column. This week, 10 of those indies get noticed.
Highlights include the releases by Sister Hazel and column newcomers Tyler Resch and Josh Pruno.
But the day belongs to two guitar aces named Eddie. Our DisCovery Award goes to Eddie Heinzelman. And my longtime fave Eddie Bush wins the Disc of the Day prize.
JOSH PRUNO/Just A Minute Ago
Writers: Josh Pruno/Lew Garrison/Jack Williams; Producers: Pruno/John Willis/Jack Williams; Publishers: moboymusic, ASCAP; JP (track)
– Sweet nostalgia, delivered in an aching tenor. The twang-guitar, tinkling piano and sighing steel interludes are dandy, too. Well worth your attention. Josh’s record-release party takes place at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16 at B.B. King’s.
RICK MONROE/Smoke Out The Window
Writers: Adam Craig, Rick Monroe, Isacc Rich; Producer: JD Shuff; Publisher: none listed; Thermal
– The bass-heavy production nicely underscores his snarly “outlaw” vocal vibe on this title tune to his latest collection. The galloping electric guitar is also on the money.
SISTER HAZEL/Life and Love
Writers: Ken Block/Trent Summar; Producers: Sister Hazel & Ben Jackson; Publishers: Crooked Chimney/Songs of Universal/Songs of NTN, BMI
– This five-piece band is one of country’s indie success stories. With more than a million followers on social media, a guest appearance on the Opry and a Platinum album already to its credit, Sister Hazel returns with a seven-song EP titled Fire. This uplifting track features the group’s characteristic close-harmony vocal work and Block’s forceful lead. I got so hooked that I played the whole collection twice through.
EDDIE BUSH/Love That Remains The Same
Writers: Eddie Bush; Producer: Dave Matthews; Publisher: none listed; EB
– This guitar slinger has backed many Music City greats while also releasing a long string of solo CDs. The title tune of his latest features his hearty, warm vocal delivery as well as his sizzling, fleet-fingered guitar flash. Exciting is the only word that will do. Catch Eddie next Wednesday with Marcus Hummon at the Country Music Hall of Fame’s “Greatest Show Ever” event.
EDDIE HEINZELMAN/Wherever You Go
Writers: Eddie Heinzelman/Radney Foster; Producers: Heinzelman/Casey Wood; One Louder
-Heinzelman plays guitar and mandolin for Radney Foster on the road, and Radney is his collaborator on this title tune of the sideman’s sophomore solo CD. The rolling, rollicking number showcases a jaunty, engaging vocalist and some splendid slide guitar as well as a terrific, multi-layered production. Foster and American Idol alumnus Kendra Chantelle provide splendid backup singing. I guarantee you’ll fall for this. Eddie appears with Radney on Feb. 15 at City Winery, then has a show with his Band of Brothers at the Fillin’ Station in Kingston Springs on Feb. 22.
DEARLING/Silver and Gold
Writers: Rachel Jones; Producer: Dave Preston/Rachel James; Publisher: none listed; Dearling
– Fronted by the husband-wife duo of Dave Preston and Rachel James, this Denver band stirs up an echoey, polished sound on its EP. The title tune is lilting and lovely. The only drawback with this and Rachel’s other songs here is that they seem rather wordy and take a long time to get to their hooks.
MARTY BROWN/Umbrella Lovers
Writers: Jon Tiven/Marty Brown; Producers: Jon Tiven/Marty Brown; Publishers: Lead Pencil Publishing (BMI) admin by Sony/ATV / Uncontrolled Compositions (BMI), admin by Kobalt; Plowboy
– This fellow made some noise on MCA in the 1990s. His comeback single combines country romance with beach imagery. The relaxed atmosphere in the track contrasts with his urgent, in-your-face vocal delivery. It’s a little jarring, but you get used to it.
TYLER RESCH/Honkytonk Overtime
Writers: Tyler Resch/Byron Hill; Producer: Byron Hill; Publisher: Triage/Ramber American/DHM, ASCAP; BHP
– The latest discovery by Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member Byron Hill steps out with a collection titled Highways and Honkytonks. This toe-tapping standout tune from it boasts frothing guitar accompaniment, a blue-collar lyric and a sincere vocal delivery. So wonderfully catchy that you want to dance around the room while it spins. Get to know this guy’s music.
TIFFANY WILLIAMS/When You Go
Writers: Tiffany Williams; Producer: Britton Patrick Morgan; Publisher: none listed; Blue Redbird
– Her languid contralto delivers this acoustic ode to coal country with sad grace. It’s the title tune of a five-song EP that introduces a singular songwriting talent. Mournful yet lovely. Tiffany performs at Alley Taps on Monday, Feb. 18.
JEFF CLAYBORN/Caddy In The Campground
Writers: Clayborn/Betsy Walter/Chuck Ebert; Producer: Ebert; Publisher: none listed; Cabin
– Rockin’ country with a decided attitude. It’s about a slumming daddy’s girl checking out the macho Texas music man.