DISClaimer Single Reviews: Luke Combs, Cole Swindell, Trace Adkins, And More

Luke Combs. Photo: David Bergman

The opposing forces of pop and country are lined up in this week’s playlist.

On one side are Adam Hambrick and Cole Swindell, polishing their pop sides. On the other side are Trace Adkins and Canaan Smith, proudly parading their country bona fides.

The Disc of the Day contest boils down to Trace, Brantley Gilbert and the winner, Luke Combs.

Shy Carter has penned hits for the likes of Rob Thomas, Sugarland, Charlie Puth, Tim & Faith, Kane Brown and more. He sounds an awful lot like a bright, shiny, new pop star on his “Good Love.” He also wins this week’s DisCovery Award.

ADAM HAMBRICK/Between Me and the End of the World
Writer: Adam Hambrick; Producer: Andrew DeRoberts; Publisher: Capitol/Buena Vista
– His wife is a physician’s assistant working on the front lines of the pandemic. This heart-tugging pop ballad is an ode to her courage.

BRANTLEY GILBERT/Hard Days
Writers: Brantley Gilbert/Brock Berryhill/Jay Brunswick/Logan Wall; Producer: Dann Huff; Publisher: none listed; Big Machine
– I have always said this guy has one of the most underrated singing voices in country music. He is super expressive on this power ballad of survival and perseverance. The gist of it is that experiencing bad times can strengthen your character. Highly relatable.

CANAAN SMITH/Colder Than You
Writers: Canaan Smith/Corey Crowder/Jared Mullins; Producers: Canaan Smith/Tyler Hubbard/Brian Kelley; Publisher: Georgia Song Vibez Administered by Warner Chappell; Georgia Song Vibez/ Big Crowd Publishing Administered by Warner Chappell; Tree Vibez Music/ Mullins It Over Music Administered by Warner Chappell; Round Here Records
– Solidly country, with a wry wink in the lyric and some deep twang in the production. Round Here Records is FGL’s label.

LUKE COMBS/Lovin’ On You
Writers: James McNair/Luke Combs/Ray Fulcher/Thomas Archer; Producer: Scott Moffatt; Publishers: Sony-ATV/Warner Chappell/Words & Music/Big Deal, no performance rights listed; River House Artists/Columbia Nashville
– Thank goodness. At least one star is still rocking out. This upbeat rump shaker hollers “Good times!” loudly, and it’s a welcome sound. Bellow on, bro.

SHY CARTER/Good Love
Writers: Shy Carter, James Slater, Carlo Colasacco, & Micah Carter; Producer: David Garcia; Publisher: none listed; Warner Music Nashville
– He’s achieved massive success as a Nashville songwriter. This sounds like a strong bid for recognition as a pop prince. Yummy ear candy.

COLE SWINDELL/Single Saturday Night
Writers: Ashley Gorley/Mark Holman/Michael Hardy; Producer: Michael Carter; Publisher: none listed; Warner Music Nashville
– Disposable, tuneless pop-country. The florid production works overtime to dress it up into something presentable.

ERIN ENDERLIN/Fishin’ in the Dark (to be released June 19)
Writers: Jim Photoglo and Wendy Waldman; Producers: Alex Kline & Erin Enderlin; Publisher: none listed; Blaster
– Enderlin slows down the 1987 Dirt Band oldie, transforming it into a sultry, smiling, swooning, simmering outing with an emphasis on the dreamy lyric. The languid groove is irresistible.

ERIC PASLAY/On This Side of Heaven
Writers: Eric Paslay/Jordan Minton/Jordan Reynolds; Producers: Eric Paslay/F. Reid Shippen; Publisher: none listed
– Absolutely lovely and immensely heart tugging. Loss and devastation have seldom sounded more beautiful. This guy is so gifted.

TRACE ADKINS/Mind on Fishin’
Writers: Aaron Raitiere/Wynn Varble; Producer: Bart Butler; Publisher: none listed; Verge
– Beyond cute. The swampy groove and Trace’s always-cool singing voice are reasons enough to tune in. Here’s a reason that’s just as good: The song has wonderful hillbilly lyric: I’d rather be on the lake with my mind on God/Than in church with my mind on fishin’. Can I get an “Amen?”

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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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