DISClaimer: The Highwomen, Hailey Whitters Top New Tracks

We have kids, veterans and everyone in between on today’s DISClaimer playlist.

The juveniles are Mason Ramsey and Gabby Barrett. The vets are Tanya Tucker, Billy Currington and the Randy Rogers Band.

In the catbird seat as the easy DISCovery Award winners are The Highwomen. I don’t know whether this is a one-off collaboration or something more permanent, but whatever it is, I’m in.

Two Big Loud artists go head to head for the Disc of the Day prize, Morgan Wallen and Hardy. But in another blow for country female empowerment, both are bested by Hailey Whitters.

Writers: Mark Trussell/Nicolle Galyon/Stephen Lee Olsen; Producer: Mark Trussell; Publishers: WB/Future Heartbeat/Mark Trussell/Warner-Tamerlane/A Boy Named Ford/Slo Circus/Roc Nation/Songs of Rhythm House Red, ASCAP/BMI; Mercury Nashville
– Pleasant and craftily worded, but in one ear and out the other.

Writers: Morgan Wallen/Craig Wiseman/Jamie Moore; Producer: Joey Moi; Publishers: none listed; Big Loud
– The “Whiskey Glasses” man confirms his stardom with this softly aching performance of a love memory that continues to haunt him. This guy is way cool.

Writers: Hailey Whitters/Hillary Lindsey/Ben West; Producer: Jake Gear; Publisher: Carnival Music; HW
– The slappin’ beats and echoey audio atmosphere are superb, and the song craftsmanship is even more so. “Instead of counting up the days/I just wanna make them count.” Amen, sister. This brilliant artist/writer is being criminally overlooked by the mainstream country industry. Can I get another amen?

Writers: Johnny McGuire/Jordan Walker/Rodney Clawson/Ben Hayslip; Producer: Mickey Jack Cones; Publishers: none listed; BBR
– Formerly of the duo Walker McGuire, Johnny has a terrific country-rock voice with an ear-catching “edge.” The blue-collar lyric is a dandy. And it sure doesn’t hurt his cause that he’s collaborating with America’s No. 1 artist.

Writers: Andy Albert/Jordan Schmidt/Michael Wilson Hardy; Producer: none listed; Publishers: Kobalt/Downtown/Warner Chappell, no performance rights listed; Big Loud
– Pretty dang funny. This pushes every bro-country trope over the edge of parody and into the realm of delightful wackiness. Also: The first country song with the masterpiece lyric, “I piss where I want.”

Writers: none listed; Producers: Brandi Carlile/Shooter Jennings; Publishers: none listed; Fantasy
– As spicy and saucy as tabasco, this takes a page or two from her bad-girl-image book. The track rumbles along like chugging steam engine and The Texas Tornado turns in a personality-packed vocal performance. Love this. Love her.

Writers: Brian Kelley/Jordan Schmidt/Hunter Phelps/Ernest K. Smith; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Big Loud/Atlantic
– From Walmart to the “Old Town Road,” this 12-year-old is on his way to …. someplace.

THE HIGHWOMEN/Redesigning Women
Writers: none listed; Producer: Dave Cobb; Publisher: none listed; Elektra/Low Country Sound
– There’s strength in numbers. Just ask Natalie Hemby, Amanda Shires, Maren Morris and Brandi Carlile, collectively recording under this billing. Their fun-loving, girl-power tune has a video featuring everyone from Wynonna to Tanya Tucker. The more the merrier. Proved it again with Dolly at the Newport Folk Festival last Saturday.

RANDY ROGERS BAND/I’ll Never Get Over You
Writers: none listed; Producer: Dave Cobb; Publishers: noen listed; Thirty Tigers
– A Texas two-stepper with a decided bounce in the beat. As always, tuneful and accomplished, but I’d shop around for a stronger song.

Writers: none listed; Producer: Ross Copperman; Publishers: none listed; Warner Music
– She’s a teenager, but sounds strikingly mature as a vocalist on this torrid, vengeful tale. Next time, try producing this former American Idol competitor with a lot less pop gloss and echoey audio compression.


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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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