DISClaimer Single Reviews: Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Kane Brown, Mickey Guyton

When times are hard, you can always count on Nashville’s music makers to get you through them.

Dolly Parton, Steven Curtis Chapman and Chase Rice are addressing the ongoing pandemic this week. No matter how much they try to “open” the economy, be aware that the number of diagnosed cases continues to rise.

Meanwhile, Kane Brown and Mickey Guyton are two of several artists who are addressing the Black Lives Matter issue that is in the forefront of our national discussion this week. No matter how you slice it, injustice is intolerable.

Lonestar and Vince Gill have taken on the issue of grief in our military families. The media doesn’t dwell on it, but we are still losing lives among our armed forces overseas.

In recognition of his worthy effort, Kane Brown earns the Disc of the Day award.

I am happy to report that we have a very promising new artist-writer in our midst today. She’s Brit Taylor, our DisCovery Award winner.

SEAFORTH/Everything Falls for You
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; RCA
– Very pretty. It’s a plaintive, pop-ish ballad with a lovelorn lyric and a boy-band vocal delivery. This Aussie duo seems to specialize in this kind of thing.

DOLLY PARTON/When Life Is Good Again
Writers: Dolly Parton/Kent Wells; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Dolly
– Dolly’s song for the pandemic leans on her spirituality and indomitably optimistic outlook. A gospel choir adds emotional weight. It’s a lump-in-throat performance from a legendary lady who always seems to shine the light of love.

BRIT TAYLOR/Wakin’ Up Ain’t Easy
Writers: Brit Taylor/Dave Brainard; Producer: Dave Brainard; Publisher: none listed; BT
– She has a liquid alto singing voice, with bright, “teardrop” accents. The heartache ballad has a languid, echoey atmosphere that is enchanting. I’m smitten. Send more.

STEVEN CURTIS CHAPMAN, BRAD PAISLEY, LAUREN ALAINA, TASHA COBBS LEONARD/Together (We’ll Get Through This)
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; SCC
-Gospel great Chapman expresses strength, solidarity, perseverance and optimism in his all-star coronavirus song. Proceeds benefit the thousands of unemployed musicians that this disease has created. Chin up, folks, this too shall pass away.

TUCKER BEATHARD/Can’t Stay Here
Writers: Tucker Beathard/Ryan Tyndell/Will Lamb/Joe Whelan; Producer: Tucker Beathard/Ryan Tyndell/Jordan Rager; Publisher: none listed; Warner Music Nashville
– It’s a painful breakup, but he’s owning it by kicking her out because of all the anguish she has caused. The rolling tempo is cool and his vocal manages to combine power and vulnerability really well. I’ve been in this guy’s corner all along, and he never disappoints.

CHASE RICE/Belong
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; BBR
– “We don’t know where we’re going/But we’re going there together.” It’s a Big Statement Anthem with homemade pandemic footage in its video. Hooky and uplifting.

CAM/Redwood Tree
Writers: Cam/Tyler Johnson/Anders Mouridsen; Producer: Tyler Johnson; Publisher: none listed; RCA
– Thumpy and catchy. The rhythm track is a toe-tapping joy, and as usual her vocal performance is a pristine paradise. The lyric about aging and time is terrific, too. A superb single.

LONESTAR, VINCE GILL & FRIENDS/Love Lives On
Writers: Bonnie Carroll/Richie McDonald/Frank J. Myers/Jimmy Nichols; Producer: Frank Myers/Jimmy Nichols; Publisher: none listed; Roots & American Music Society (track)
– Co-writer Carroll is the widow of a fallen soldier, and this stirring song is therapy for survivors everywhere. In addition to the signature voices of Richie and Vince, the background singers include a bluezillion Nashville names. Among them are Lee Roy Parnell, Deborah Allen, Rob Crosby, T.G. Sheppard, Kelly Lang, Ashley Cleveland and Wood Newton.

KANE BROWN/Worldwide Beautiful
Writers: Kane Brown/Shy Carter/Ryan Hurd/Jordan Schmidt; Producer: Dann Huff; Publishers: Songs of Universal/Kane Brown/BMG Platinum/Worldwide EMG/You Want How Much of What/hurdjamz/Sony-ATV Accent, BMI; RCA
– It has a lot of audio textures, from hip-hop to chorale. The anti-racist message is a simple one, we are all One. Well spoken, son. We need this song right now.

MICKEY GUYTON/Black Like Me
Writers: Mickey Guyton/Nathan Chapman/Emma Davidson-Dillon/Fraser Churchill; Producers: Nathan Chapman/Forest Whitehead; Publisher: none listed; Universal
– This heartbreaking piano ballad is a powerfully sung anthem about racial inequality. “If you think we live in the Land of the Free/You should try to be black like me.” Mickey issued this at midnight on BlackOutTuesday (June 2). She concludes the impactful lyric with a stanza of black pride. My hat is off to her. Imagine being terrified of taking a walk outside because you might get shot, simply because of the color of your skin. Then accept the fact that this happens in our country, over and over and over again.

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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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