DISClaimer: Randy Travis Is “Country Greatness” On Previously Unreleased Ballad

Randy Travis. Photo: Robert Tractenberg

Politics and comebacks are in the DisClaimer mix today.

Both John Rich and J.D. & The Straight Shot are commenting on the state of our political discourse. J.D.’s song is better.

As for comebacks, can it get any better than our Disc of the Day winner, Randy Travis? Also: It’s a good day to be Buddy Jewell. He not only cowrote Randy’s single, but has a new comeback CD of his own.

Both of today’s female entries are super efforts. Clare Bowen has the stronger song, and newcomer Emily Rose goes home with a DisCovery Award.

Writers: none listed; Producer: Josh Kaufman; Publishers: none listed; BMG
– The deep-twang production is uber cool, and the rhythmic drive is irresistible. Bowen rides atop it all with an uplifting, empowering ode for all survivors. Loved it. Can’t wait for the album.

Writers: Brett Young/Ross Copperman/Ashley Gorley; Producer: Dann Huff; Publishers: Super Big/Caliville/Big Machine/EMI Blackwood/Plain Jane/Rezolant/Sony-ATV/Round Hill Songs II/Combustion Engine/WB, ASCAP; BMLG (track)
– Very much in his breathy, dizzy-in-love personna that we’ve liked before.

Writers: Ryan Hurd/Laura Veltz/Nathan Spicer; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; RCA
– Choppy and poppy, with a warmly sincere vocal presence. It ain’t very “country,” but it goes down smooth and easy. That’s wife Maren Morris on the harmony vocal.

Writers: none listed; Producer: Donnie Skaggs; Publishers: none listed; The Growing Rose
– Very promising. The sonic bed sighs with steel guitar, and her winsome delivery of the lost-my-way lyric has loads of heart. Send more.

Writers: Thomas Rhett/Julian Bunetta/Zach Skelton/Ryan Tedder; Producers: Dann Huff/Julian Bunetta/Thomas Rhett; Publishers: EMI Blackwood/Crickets on the Line/Sony-ATV/Music of Big Family/Dragon Bunny/Words & Music/Patriot Games/Write Me a Song/Downtown, BMI/ASCAP; Valory (track)
– Pleasantly disposable, breezy and jaunty, with a “beach” vibe. Your problems will all evaporate when you down a cold one, they say. “Turn your frown into a smile real quick/Ain’t nothin’ that a beer can’t fix.”

J.D. & THE STRAIGHT SHOT/The Great Divide
Writers: none listed; Producers: Marc Copley; Publishers: none listed; JD
– An acoustic, bluesy meditation on our troubled political times, embellished with hearty group harmonies on the refrains. Intriguing and atmospheric.

Writers: Buddy Jewell/Thom McHugh; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Warner
– From the first note from his throat, you know you’re in the presence of country greatness. This previously unreleased ballad drips with honky-tonk pathos and drawls with authenticity as this magnificent singer is joined by poetic fiddle, steel and piano comments. An awesome listening experience.

CALE DODDS/I Like Where This Is Going
Writers: none listed; Producers: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Warner
– Young love, complete with dancing, hugging, kissing and shacking up. Wafting and warmly winning.

BUDDY JEWELL/Taylor Went Pop
Writers: none listed; Producers: none listed; Publishers: none listed; BAM
-This is a riot. It name drops Minnie, Roy, Hank, Elvis, Cash and Roger Miller, all in the first 45 seconds. “The one thing you can count on/Is things are gonna change/Taylor went pop/Pop went country/And we’re still feeling the twang.” You’ll find it on Jewell’s long overdue new CD, Shine On.

JOHN RICH & THE FIVE/Shut Up About Politics
Writers: John Rich/Greg Gutfeld; Producers: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Redneck Riviera
– The rocking song has basically two lines, so it wears out its welcome pretty quickly. Instead of talking, he wants you to take a shot of his Redneck Riviera whiskey.


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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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