From Music Row’s revered songwriting community come Brett James and Waylon Payne with power-packed performances.
Our top stars are here, too: Kenny Chesney, Chris Young, The Chicks and Tanya Tucker, to sample just a few.
We have Black country artists Willie Jones and IMAJ. We have Hispanic contributors The Texicana Mamas. Women are well represented this week, contributing six of our entries, including Disc of the Day awardees Lauren Alaina & Trisha Yearwood.
Check out the YouTube video by Willie Jones and you’ll see why he’s this week’s DisCovery Award winner.
STONEY LARUE & TANYA TUCKER/Meet in the Middle
Writers: Gary Nicholson/Stoney LaRue; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Smith Music
-It’s a simply produced two-step with a bluesy tune and a crisp tempo. There’s a Texas thang going on here.
KENNY CHESNEY/Happy Does
Writers: Brad Clawson/Greylan Egan James/Jamie Paulin/Robert Brock Berryhill; Producer: none listed; Publisher: Warner Chappell/Universal; Warner Music Nashville/Blue Chair Records
-Like a summertime daydream in a swaying hammock. This is so gently relaxing and breezy that you cannot help feeling good. Classic Chesney.
IMAJ/8min 46sec (I Can’t Breathe)
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Thomas Triomph
-She’s the daughter of ’80s TV icon Philip Michael Thomas (Miami Vice). The track consists of her playing acoustic guitar and repeating the words “I can’t breathe” (occasionally augmented by “Don’t kill me” and “Mama”) for eight minutes and 46 seconds. It’s more like a piece of post-modern performance art than it is a country single. She also has a more conventionally structured country-political song called “Colorblind.”
Writers: Chrissy Metz/Nicolette Hayford/Matt McGuinn/Nathan Spicer; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; EMI
-Cool song. She pretends to be casual when her heart is breaking inside. The ballad begins with a stately simplicity and builds to pounding anthemic power. The single is still “Talking to God,” but this reveals that she has a lot more up her sleeve.
WAYLON PAYNE/Sins of the Father
Writers: Waylon Payne; Producer: none listed; Publisher: Carnival
-I’m a big fan of this man’s songwriting. His craftsmanship and vocal charisma are so strong that this needs nothing more than his acoustic guitar accompaniment to make it as compelling, dynamic and listenable as a fully-produced studio recording. It also weaves a helluva yarn about addiction and recovery. I absolutely cannot wait for his album.
BRETT JAMES/Tell The People
Writers: Brett James; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; BJ
-Speaking of contributions from our songwriting community. Brett James has a new album ready to go, and this soulful advance track leaves you hungry for more. Over a gospel-ish track, he urges us give each other love before it’s too late. Blue-eyed soul distilled to purity.
LAUREN ALAINA & TRISHA YEARWOOD/Getting Good
Writers: Emily Weisband; Producer: none listed; Publisher: Warner Chappell; Mercury
-Awesome. Two great voices. One great song. I hung on every line and bopped with every beat.
THE TEXICANA MAMAS/Cocina de Amor (Kitchen of Love)
Writers: Tish Hinojosa/Stephanie Urbina Jones/Patricia Vonne; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed
-Latina country divas Tish Hinojosa, Stephanie Urbina Jones and Patricia Vonne have joined their voices in this new trio. All three are accomplished singer-songwriters. It shows on this enchanting, feel-good, sing-along, happy and ridiculously catchy bi-lingual single. Hey, anything that rhymes “tequila,” “sangria” and “familia” is fine with me.
THE CHICKS/March March
Writers: Ross Golan/Natalie Maines/Martie Maguire/Jack Antonoff/Ian Kirkpatrick/Emily Strayer/Dan Wilson; Producer: Jack Antonoff/ The Chicks; Publisher: none listed; Columbia
-They continue to speak up and speak out. More power to them. I’m glad that they didn’t “shut up and sing.” This pop-leaning outing has very cool multi rhythms going on, as well as fiddle and banjo licks. Listenable in the extreme, with a message to boot. Definitely a song for our times. I’m a fan for life.
WILLIE JONES/Back Porch
Writers: none listed; Producer: Publisher: Audiam/Anthem Entertainment; 4 Sound/Empire
-He’s a handsome charmer with a ditty that should have Kenny Chesney looking over his shoulder. This is a summer, good-time sound if I’ve ever heard one. Play it.
CHRIS YOUNG/If That Ain’t God
Writers: Chris Young/Matt Roy/Mitchell Oglesby/Graylan James; Producer: Chris Young/Chris DeStefano; RCA
-He’s such a superstar. As usual, he sings his country fanny off. The pithy lyric will warm your spirit. Uplifting and hearty. A smash.