You take a week off, and you return to an “in” box crammed with tunes.
These 10 are just a fraction of the backed-up and piled-up releases waiting to be auditioned. As you might expect, there are both studs and duds.
Heading the “studs” column is Kip Moore. He has the Disc of the Day. But he’s not without plenty of competition, namely from Blake Shelton, Jon Pardi, Vince Gill and, especially, Tenille Townes.
The DisCovery Award this week goes to Kendell Marvel. He might look like a veteran to you, but to me he sounds shiny and new.
JON PARDI/Tequila Little Time
Writers: Jon Pardi/Rhett Akins/Luke Laird; Publisher: none listed; Producer: Jon Pardi, Bart Butler & Ryan Gore; Capitol Nashville
—I like the mariachi coloring—horns, squeezebox, rhythm—as well as the overall romantic beach vibe. Charming and hit bound.
TENILLE TOWNES/Jersey on the Wall
Writer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Producer: Jay Joyce; Columbia Nashville
—I’m completely on board with this singer-songwriter. “Somebody’s Daughter,” “White Horse” and “I Kept the Roses” were just the beginning. This track’s scintillating tempo underlies an extraordinary lyric about a boy who died too young and a heartbroken girl who asks, “Why?” Tenille Townes is the future. Get on board now.
VINCE GILL/Forever Changed
Writer: Vince Gill; Publisher: none listed; Producer: none listed; MCA Nashville
—Powerful and poignant. It’s a ballad about the scars that are permanent in the wake of child sexual abuse. His trembling, emotional delivery will shake you to your core. This is one more reason why the man is one of the all-time country-music greats.
TEMECULA ROAD/Never Knew I Needed You
Writers: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Producer: none listed; Buena Vista
—Quite polished and professional. Perhaps a little on the slick side, but these kids can really sing, and the tune is catchy. Promising. Next time, inject a bit more warmth and grit, please.
KIP MOORE/She’s Mine
Writers: Kip Moore/Dan Couch/Scott Stepakoff; Publisher: none listed; Producer: Kip Moore; MCA Nashville
—The edgy energy grabs you from the opening notes. When he swings into the chorus, it’s katy-bar-the-door. By the time he got to the finale, I was on my feet with my fist in the air. A superb blue-collar rocker with just the right touch of angst and questing.
CANAAN SMITH/Beer Drinkin’ Weather
Writers: Canaan Smith/Brian Kelley/Tyler Hubbard/Corey Crowder; Publisher: none listed; Producers: Canaan Smith, Brian Kelley & Tyler Hubbard; Round Here
—I’m certainly glad that he’s staging a comeback. I just wish it was with a stronger song than this routine boozer.
BLAKE SHELTON & TRACE ADKINS/Hell Right
Writers: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Warner Music Nashville
The ”Hillbilly Bone” team reunites for an attitude stomper about raising a ruckus the right way. Don’t look for meaning or melody—it’s the macho vibe that counts here.
KENDELL MARVEL/Hard Time With the Truth
Writers: Kendell Marvel/Dan Auerbach/John Anderson; Publisher: none listed; Producers: Dan Auerbach & Dave Ferguson; Easy Eye Sound
—Very cool. Marvel has an admirable track record as a songwriter for others. This slab of “outlaw” country proves he has the vocal chops for stardom, himself. He has a baritone for the ages.
MAREN MORRIS/The Bones
Writers: Maren Morris/Jimmy Robbins/Laura Veltz; Publishers: International Dog/Downtown DMP/Jimmy Robbins/Round Hill/Extraordinary Alien/Oh Denise/Warner-Tamerlane/Big Music Machine; BMI/ASCAP; Greg Kurstin; Columbia Nashville
—Attractive pop music.
RILEY GREEN/I Wish Grandpas Never Died
Writers: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Producer: none listed; BMLG
—He sings wonderfully. The track is tasty. The lyric is dreadful: Even for a country music song, this is outstandingly emotionally manipulative.
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