Country-music veterans mix attractively with newcomers this week.
On the established-stars side, we have Vince Gill, Toby Keith and Sammy Kershaw on hand. Among the baby acts, we find Waterloo Revival, Logan Mize and DisCovery Award winner Cherie Oakley.
The Disc of the Day honor gets divided like an awards show. The Female winner is Cam. The Male prize goes to Logan Mize. The Group du jour is Old Dominion.
LOGAN MIZE/Thinking About You
Writers: Daniel Tashian/Troy Verges; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Big Yellow Dog
– This sounds like a summer hit to me. The infectious tempo is gripping, the melody is delightful, the production is layered complexity and the performance is loaded with warmth. Pop-country nirvana.
TOBY KEITH/That’s Country Bro
Writers: Toby Keith/Bobby Pinson; Producers: Toby Keith/Bobby Pinson/Reid Shippen; Publisher: none listed; Show Dog
– As always, he sings with macho authority. This time around, he’s giving you kiddies a lesson in what’s country. The rhythm is as relentless as the litany of classic stars’ names and song titles. If you ask me, this tragically diluted format could use a lecture like this. Pay attention, people.
CAM & DIPLO/So Long
Writers: Diplo/Cam/Sam Hunt; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; RCA
– Charming. She provides the sweetly sexy vocal, and he provides the beats. Ebullient and joyful ear candy.
KEITH URBAN/We Were
Writers: Ryan Tindell/Jeff Hyde/Eric Church; Producers: Dann Huff/Keith Urban; Publishers: none listed; Capitol Nashville
– Lilting nostalgia, set in a swirly melody and produced with pop panache. Notch up another mega hit on the belt of the reigning Entertainer of the Year.
OLD DOMINION/Some People Do
Writers: noen listed; Producers: none listed; Publishers: none listed; RCA;
– The band executes an excellent change of pace with this ballad of regret, remorse and self recrimination. A plea for forgiveness and reconciliation that hits the heart hard.
CHERIE OAKLEY/Work It
Writers: Cherie Oakley/Mark Oakley/David Fanning; Producer: Dann Huff; Publishers: Cherie Oakley/MV2 Entertainment, ASCAP/BMI; CO
– It’s a peppy, female-empowerment banger with crunchy beats and a slight soul-sister vocal vibe. Shake your groove thang.
VINCE GILL/A Letter To My Mama
Writer: Vince Gill; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; MCA
– He still gets me every time. This heart-in-throat ballad is a love letter from a son to his mother that’s packed with truth and emotion. A master at work.
LADY ANTEBELLUM/What If I Never Get Over You
Writers: Sam Ellis/Jon Green/Ryan Hurd/Laura Veltz; Producer: Dann Huff; Publishers: Universal/Happy Rock/Dalmatian/Songs of Universal/hurdjamz/Big Music Machine/Never Veltz So Good, BMI; BMLG
– Very densely produced with vocal layer programmed upon vocal layer in a synth wash. The song can take it, because it’s solidly constructed with a memorable tune and spot-on lyrics. A promising re-invention of this hit-making trio.
SAMMY KERSHAW/Grillin’ and Chillin’
Writers: Casey Beathard/Scooter Carusoe; Producer: Sammy Kershaw; Publishers: none listed; Cleopatra
– It’s an Applebee’s commercial jingle that’s also a country, country, country ditty. Smiley, if disposable.
DEE JAY SILVER & WATERLOO REVIVAL/Getaway Driver
Writers: George Birge/Jason Massey/Corey Crowder; Publishers: none listed; Producers: none listed; Reven8te Nashville
– Country’s favorite mix master teams up with this up-and-coming group for a sunny outing. Lightweight but enjoyably harmless.
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