There is very little in this edition of DisClaimer that is earth shattering—This week’s hallmarks are craftsmanship and competence.
Rising above the routine are Josh Turner, High Valley, the exquisite Gone West and our Disc of the Day winner, Kane Brown.
The DisCovery Award goes to the new duo Southerland, comprised of Matt Chase and Chris Rogers.
Writers: Matt Chase/Chris Rogers/Greg Bates; Publisher: none listed; Producer: Trent Willmon; River House/Sony
– Rollicking, good-natured and relentlessly upbeat. A single with a smile.
HIGH VALLEY/”Grew Up on That”
Writers: Brad Rempel, Ben Stennis, Jaron Boyer; Publisher: WMG/Sony-ATV/Peermusic/Kobalt, no performance rights listed; Producer: Seth Mosley; Warner
– Well written and highly engaging. The word portrait of simple values is dazzlingly detailed, and the melodic bed surrounding it twinkles like a holiday sparkler. I’m in.
JOSH TURNER/”I Can Tell By the Way You Dance”
Writers: Sandy Pinkard/Robert Strandlund; Publisher: none listed; Producer: Kenny Greenberg; MCA Nashville
– This is smokin’ hot. Turner’s arrangement ups the tempo and intensity of this 1984 Vern Gosdin classic, giving it a zesty, refreshing spin. It’s a risky business covering one of country music’s greatest vocal stylists, but Turner shows that he’s up to the task with his artfully phrased delivery. And anyone who shines a light on Gosdin’s greatness gets an A+ in my book.
ALECIA NUGENT/”Way Too Young for Wings”
Writers: Alecia Nugent/James Leblanc/Jen Stegall/Brian Maher; Publisher: none listed; Producer: Keith Stegall; Hillbilly Goddess
– Nugent is taking the unusual step of releasing two singles simultaneously. This gentle, poignant ballad about dealing with the death of a young person is for the country market. The two stepper “Tell Fort Worth I Said Hello” is aimed at Texas-music programmers. Makes sense to me, since Texas is its own planet. And since both songs are stunners.
LUKE BRYAN/”Down to One”
Writers: Dallas Davidson/Justin Ebach/Kyle Fishman; Publisher: Play It Again Entertainment, BMI/ Kyle Fishman Music, BMI/Round Hill Compositions, BMI/ Natalia’s Music Money, BMI/Memory Days, SESAC/Curb Wordspring Music, SESAC/W.C.M. Music Corp., SESAC; Producer: Jeff Stevens & Jody Steven; Capitol
– Beautifully produced. At its most basic, this is yet another uptempo, not-too-country love song. But the swirling sonic mix makes it sound like a real romance.
Writers: Kinky Friedman; Publisher: none listed; Producer: Larry Campbell; Echo Hill
– The soulful title tune of Friedman’s current CD serves notice that he’s not the snarky comic presence that he used to be. It’s a toe tapping meditation on death and the passage of time, sung with a soft, folky rasp that exudes sincerity. Willie Nelson drops by to harmonize.
JUSTIN MOORE/”We Didn’t Have Much”
Writers: Jeremy Stover/Randy Montana/Paul DiGiovanni; Publisher: none listed; Producer: Jeremy Stover & Scott Borchetta; Valory
– The restless shuffling tempo propels this toe-tapper-with-a-heart. It gives it a certain edge and helps lift the song above mere nostalgia and a familiar poor-but-happy message. It’s a glimpse into Moore’s album to come next year.
MARGIE SINGLETON/”Never Mind”
Writers: M. Singleton/S.S. Singleton; Publisher: aintquittin, BMI; Producer: Stephen Shelby Singleton & Derrick Dexter Mathis; aintquittin music
– Singer-songwriter Margie Singleton celebrated her 85th birthday on Monday by releasing a new EP. Its title tune is a bass-heavy rumbler with an autobiographical lyric that she delivers with moxie. Active for seven decades, Singleton has sung hit duets with George Jones and Faron Young. She has written “Lie to Me” (an R&B hit for Brook Benton), “She Understands Me” (a pop hit for Johnny Tillotson) and “Laura What’s He Got That I Ain’t Got” (a country hit by her late husband Leon Ashley). And she’s still at it.
KANE BROWN/”Worship You”
Writers: Eskeerdo/Kane Brown/Matthew McGinn/Ryan Vojtesak; Publisher: Songs Of Universal, Inc., BMI/ Kane Brown Music, BMI/BMG Gold Songs, ASCAP/AIX Publishing, ASCAP/Kobalt Group Music Publishing, SESAC/McGinntellectual Property, SESAC/True Blue Works, SESAC/Krispy Pork Gang, BMI ; Producer: Dann Huff; RCA Nashville/Zone 4
– A repeated acoustic guitar figure sends a rippling wave through this super-romantic ballad that’s shot through with religious metaphors. His performance is a slow-burn dandy. This guy’s stardom seems to burn brighter with every release.
GONE WEST/”I’m Never Getting Over You”
Writers: Colbie Caillat/Danielle Leverett Reeves/Jason Bradford Reeves/Justin Young/Liz Rose; Publisher: Warner-Chappell/Sony-ATV, no performance rights listed; Producer: Jamie Kenney; Triple Tigers
– This packs a punch. The anguish and ache in the farewell tune are made all the more piquant by the facts that this is the group’s swan song and that Colbie Caillat and Justin Young are breaking up as a couple. Caillat is noted as a Grammy winning pop artist, but it is Hawaiian music star Young’s soul-searing performance here that sent chills up my spine. Intensely moving. I am going to miss this always-flawless foursome.
KASSI ASHTON/”Black Motorcycle”
Writers: Kassi Ashton/Luke Laird; Publisher: Creative Nation; Producer: Kassi Ashton & Luke Laird; MCA Nashville/Interscope
– The track is a muffled mess. The lyric consists of the same inane phrase repeated over the over. There is nothing “country” about it. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?
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