The emphasis was on female country artists on this year’s CMA Awards show.
So I am happy to report that the women didn’t let us down in this week’s edition of DisClaimer. Kelsea Ballerini, Farewell Angelina, Henriette, Honey County and JaeLee Roberts all turned up with stellar performances.
Best of ‘em all is witty Hannah Dasher, who wins the Disc of the Day award. Right behind her is an equally deserving DisCovery Award winner, Kelsey Lamb. Listen to these ladies. Now.
FAREWELL ANGELINA/More Problems
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Farewell A
– Feisty and frisky, with a touch of sass and a lotta class. These ladies have it all going on with this uptempo, devil-may-care romp. Not a care in the world, because you know what they say, “more money, more problems.”
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Black River
– Catchy and clever. The pop track is super rhythm happy, even though the lyric is downbeat. She’s particularly effective in her lower register here, as well as in the double-tracked choruses.
HONEY COUNTY & SPENCER CRANDALL/Under Your Influence
Writers: Dani Rose/JP Williams/Maks Gabriel; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; 117Group
– They sing well, but the song meanders aimlessly. Tenor vocalist Spencer sounds especially promising here.
CHRIS STAPLETON/Second One To Know
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Mercury
-His Southern-rock influences are front and center on this rousing, bluesy, roaring outing. The video features Chris and the band as Lego figures battling evil ninjas and a dragon.
JAELEE ROBERTS/One’s Real Life
Writers: Jaelee Roberts; Producer: Deanie Richardson & Brandon Bostic; Publisher: none listed; Euphony
– This newcomer has a harmony-soaked approach to bluegrass. Liquid vocals and fiery picking. What’s not to like?
Writers: Morgan Evans/Chris DeStefano/Evans Bogart; Producers: Evans/DeStefano; Publisher: none listed; Warner Music
– The plinkety plunk rhythms and looped guitar notes tip you off that this is another gem from the one-man band. It ain’t very country, but it definitely gets your attention.
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Dr. Music
– She is from Germany, but her recent sojourn in Music City has evidently paid off in songwriting chops. This lilting, charming tune comes wafting through the speakers like a summer breeze. An audio vacation trip to a lovely land.
MATT STELL/Everywhere But On
Writers: Lance Miller/Matt Stell/Paul Sikes; Producer: none listed; Publishers: W.B.M./Sony-ATV Accent/Pedal Down/Presley Jake, no performance rights listed; Arista
– Very cool. She’s left him, but he can’t stop thinking about her. “I’ve moved everywhere but on,” he sings. This “Prayed for You” fellow shows here he’s got more where that came from. There’s a soaring guitar solo in it that I really liked, too.
KELSEY LAMB/Girl at the Bar
Writers: Kelsey Lamb/Taylor Goyette/Jean Nolan; Producers: Matt McVaney/Josh Hoge; Publisher: none listed; Marco
– Best song of the listening session, hands down. The lyric is full of terrific details and emotional truths and poignant passages. Her performance is an arrow to the heart, and the production is a wonder of dynamics and power. A total winner.
HANNAH DASHER/Stoned Age
Writers: none listed; Producer: Jaren Johnston/Oscar Charles; Publisher: none listed; ASCAP; Sony
– Ya gotta love this lyric, with its echoes of ‘60s icons, references to Southern rockers and comments on getting high. Janis Joplin, Keith Richards, The Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker and Burt Reynolds are all name dropped as she drawls with abundant personality and the beats lay funky on top of funky. Wildly imaginative, addictive listening.