DISClaimer: Hailey Whitters’ “Ten Year Town” Offers Eloquence And Truth

Hailey Whitters

In a genre infamous for its treatment of female artists, country music’s women command center stage today in DISClaimer.

The top tempo tune belongs to that Irish lass, Mags. A quartet of distaff singer-songwriters pinned my ears back during the listening session. Among them, you’ll find our award winners.

The gifted four are Jenny Tolman, Lauren Jenkins, Rachel Wammack and Hailey Whitters. The DisCovery Award goes to Lauren Jenkins. And give a long overdue Disc of the Day honor to Hailey Whitters.

These are all women you need to get to know. NOW.

LAUREN JENKINS/Running Out Of Road
Writers: Lauren Jenkins/Ingrid Andress/Jessie Jo Dillon/Tina Parol; Producers: Julian Raymond/Lauren Jenkins; Publishers: Super Big/Elle Jae/Big Machine/Songs of Universal/Straight From the Art/New Writers of Sea Gayle/Clear Box Rights/Revelry/Jay Gatsby/Kobalt/Sony-ATV/Songs of Blue Bandana/Twentyfourtina, ASCAP/BMI; Big Machine (track)
– Languidly pleasing. The tempo drags somewhat, but that allows for clarity in her husky delivery of the lyric. The ringing, extended guitar solo at the fade is ultra cool (thank you, Tom Bukovac). Extremely promising.

Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Curb
– Lovely. Their voices are like twin pearls in an oyster shell. The production surrounding them is a velvet jewel case. The aching-for-love lyric is poignant and sweet. I’m in.

Writers: Brad Paisley/Gary Nicholson; Producers: Dann Huff/Luke Wooten; Arista
– Groove soaked, yet heartfelt. It’s an unabashed love song to his wife with finely polished lyrics. He had me from the opening lines, “This is the gospel, according to me/A tale of whiskey turned to wine.” The icing on the cake is his guitar work.

CORINNE COOK/One Box of Tissues
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; CCM
– It’s such a cool title. But the stumbling, oafish, lead-footed production does her no favors. And she has sharp, pitchy vocal problems of her own.

Writers: Hailey Whitters/Brandy Clark; Producer: Jake Gear/Hailey Whitters; Publisher: Carnival Music; HW
– Eloquence and truth in every perfectly crafted line. If there’s a better song about being an aspiring country female artist, I’ve never heard it. It’s obviously her own story, which makes her dry, ironic delivery all the more touching. The great Brandy Clark is here as her cowriter, but Hailey’s recording deserves its own shining spotlight and a standing ovation. You must hear this. As for me, I absolutely cannot wait for her next album. It’s going to be awesome.

Writers: Rachel Wammack/Laura Veltz/Sam Ellis; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; RCA
– She’s so talented. Her ballad “Damage” was a masterpiece. This upbeat follow-up finds her vocally taking wing in a churning, echoey, dense, electronic bed of sonic splendor. I remain a major fan.

CALE DODDS/I Like Where This Is Going
Writers: Cale Dodds/busbee/Nicolle Galyon; Producer: busbee: Publishers: 2019 A Boy Named Ford (BMI), Cale Dodds Publishing (ASCAP), Three Little Ladies Publishing (BMI), Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. (BMI) and WB Music Corp. (ASCAP). All rights on behalf of itself and Cale Dodds Publishing administered by WB Music Corp. All rights on behalf of itself and A Boy Named Ford and Three Little Ladies Publishing administered by Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.; Warner Bros.
– Young romance set to music. Warm sounding, with plenty of verve and enthusiasm. You can practically hear him smiling.

Writers: Jenny Tolman/Dave Brainard/John Goodwin; Producer: Dave Brainard; Publishers: Old Sol Publishing/Songs of deciBel; BMI/SESAC; JT
– This woman is a major talent. Her new ballad is effortlessly country, yet with a contemporary, conversational lyric about acceptance and inclusiveness. In these divisive times, she is a voice of gentility, grace and peace. Play this.

Writers: none listed; Producers: none listed; Publishers: noen listed; Emerald Field
– She’s rocking out, cautioning her heart to get outta Dodge fast, before it falls too hard for a charming ex. This got my heart pumping and my feet tapping from the opening downbeat.

COLT FORD/How To Lose A Woman
Writers: Noah Gordon/Lance Miller/Wade Kirby; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Average Joes
– His finest effort to date. The cautionary, instructional lyric is loaded with truth. The melody is delicious. His delivery sounds like your buddy on the next barstool telling you things you need to hear. A star-making performance.


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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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