DISClaimer: Ashley McBryde, Little Big Town, Alex Hall Lead New Releases

Is it just me or is the country industry in the midst of a huge, new-talent drive?

There are a number of stars-in-waiting on tap today, including Parker McCollum, Adam Hambrick, new hitmaker Morgan Wallen and our DisCovery Award winner, Alex Hall.

There is only one female solo record in this week’s column. It’s by Ashley McBryde, and it wins the Disc of the Day award.

ADAM HAMBRICK/Forever Ain’t Long Enough
Writers: Adam Hambrick/Joe Ginsberg/Kelly Archer; Producer: none listed; Publishers: Capitol/Buena Vista
– It ain’t all that “country.” But it has a teeny-bopper, cutesy-poo charm.

 

OLD DOMINION/Young
Writers: Katelyn Tarver/Shane McAnally/Old Dominion; Producers: none listed; Publishers: none listed; RCA
– Love the throbbing rhythm track and the celebratory, joyous melody. Matthew’s lead vocal soars with sincerity and heart. Song was a product of the TV songwriting-contest show Songland and is now featured in a national Jeep commercial.

THOMAS WESLEY/DIPLO & MORGAN WALLEN/Heartless
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Columbia
– The song is completely disposable, but Morgan’s excellent country voice is in fine form. He is one groovy dude.

LITTLE BIG TOWN/Over Drinking
Writers: Cary Barlowe/Jesse Frasure/Ashley Gorley/Steph Jones/Hillary Lindsey; Producer: Little Big Town; Publishers: W.C.M./Songs of Rhythm House Black/Bennett’s Dad’s/Roc Nation US Music/Warner-Tamerlane/Telemitry/Round Hill/Caleb’s College Fund/Vistaville/Steph Jones Who/Big Deal Hits/410/BMG Rights Management, SESAC/BMI/ASCAP; Capitol Nashville
-This solid, stompin’ honky tonker is a super change of pace for these folks. As heartache country as it gets. Turn it up. Make it a smash.

ALEX HALL/Half Past You
Writers: Alex Hall/Shane McAnally/Pete Good/AJ Babcock; Producers: Alex Hall/Shane McAnally/Pete Good/AJ Babcock; Publishers: none listed; Monument
– The bopping. processed track has a slight ‘80s vibe. But his confident, clear performance is right up to date. Super tuneful, irresistibly rhythmic and highly listenable. Sign me up. Send more soon.

 

RANDY TRAVIS/Lead Me Home
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Warner Music Nashville
– The Warner archives continue to unearth previously unreleased performances by this Hall of Famer. The dobro-fiddle-steel-mandolin acoustic track creates a magical mood, and then his awesome voice sweeps your heart away. A love song — and a performance — for the ages.

PARKER McCOLLUM/Pretty Heart
Writers: Parker McCollum/Randy Montana; Producer: Jon Randall; Publishers: none listed; MCA Nashville
– The crisp, dynamic production draws you in. Parker’s cry-at-midnight vocal is a pristine piece of brilliance. The accusatory song is superbly written. Everything about this works for me. I loved him when he was an indie Texas act, and I love him even more now.

 

THE MAVERICKS/Swingin’
Writers: none listed; Producers: Niko Bolas/Raul Malo; Publishers: none listed; Mondo Mundo/Thirty Tigers
-The Mavericks take this 1983 John Anderson classic out for a spin, applying their trademark, churnin’-burnin’ rhythm might to the tune. A groove-soaked delight.

WATERLOO REVIVAL/Like I Miss You
Writers: George Birge/Cody Cooper/Scotty Emerick/Casey Beathard; Producer: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Show Dog
– The duo switches gears here, adopting a softly wistful tone on this lovelorn ballad. Lulling and lovely.

ASHLEY MCBRYDE/One Night Standards
Writers: Nicollette Hayford/Ashley McBryde/Shane McAnally; Producer: Jay Joyce; Publishers: none listed; Warner Music Nashville
-She is such a special artist. This stunning song accepts the reality of a one-night stand with a shrug and a willing heart. The track drives forward relentlessly while her penetrating delivery delivers the superbly written lyric with effortless finesse.

 

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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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