Today, we’re holding on to fading summertime as hard as we can, and as usual country music has the soundtrack.
There’s so much warmth to like here that the Disc of the Day award is being divided into categories. Our Male Vocalist winner is, hands down, Lee Brice. The best Female disc belongs to a reigning queen, Miranda Lambert. The group performance is “Pink,” which combines the talents of five women from multiple genres.
The DISCovery Award goes to Sony newcomer Jaden Hamilton.
WALKER COUNTY / “Drag It Out”
Writers: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Warner
– Vocally smooth and languid, but produced with punch. The sisters’ harmony is ultra warm and close as they essay this lyric about getting the “goodbye” over with. The relationship is toast, so let’s make the going as painless as possible. Nicely done.
JORDAN DAVIS / “Lose You”
Writers: Jordan Davis/Josh Kerr/Josh Dorr/Paul DiGiovanni; Publishers: none listed; Producer: Paul DiGiovanni; MCA Nashville
– While his single “Almost Maybes” continues to rise on the charts, Davis issues this tuneful, tasteful meditation on keeping love alive. Rhythmic and pleasant.
RYAN KINDER & SYKAMORE / “Doing Fine”
Writers: Ryan Kinder/Jordan Ostrom/Justin Morgan; Publisher: none listed; Producer: none listed; Warner
– This is a fiery male-female duet performance that builds in intensity as it unspools. One person can’t move on if the other person doesn’t hurt as badly. I have always liked this guy’s singing, and he’s just as potent with a harmony partner. Sykamore was discovered and brought to Nashville by Rhett Akins. She’s a winner, and this is definitely worth your spins.
MIRANDA LAMBERT / “Settling Down”
Writers: Miranda Lambert/Luke Dick/Natalie Hemby; Publishers: Sony-ATV Tree/Pink Dog/Emileon/Little Louder/Songs of Kobalt/Songs of Universal/Wrucke For You, BMIl Producer: Jay Joyce; RCA/Vanner
– An awesome, swirling production surrounds this lovely contemplation of a life lived as both a gypsy and a homebody. This lady always rocks my world.
ADAM DOLEAC / “Whiskey’s Fine”
Writers: Adam Doleac/Monty Criswell; Publishers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Arista
– I reviewed this song three years ago when he had it out as an independent artist. With a push by Arista, it’s now getting another shot. “Come on in, the whiskey’s fine,” he says to the old flame who knocks on his door in the dead of night. The lyric is sexy and his vocal delivery has passion.
DOLLY PARTON, MONICA, JORDIN SPARKS, RITA WILSON & SARA EVANS / “Pink”
Writers: Erin Kinsey/Jodi Marr/Victoria Shaw; Publishers: none listed; Producer: Victoria Shaw; Brighter Day
– Wilson is a breast-cancer survivor. This stirring, uplifting, all-star anthem looks to a better day when there is a cure, “when pink is just another color.” This disease will affect one in eight women in America. The 12th annual “Opry Goes Pink” show is this Saturday in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It will star Wilson, co-writers Kinsey and Shaw, Lauren Alaina and Little Big Town.
ROBYN OTTOLINI / “F-150″
Writers: Robyn Ottolini/Erik Fintelman/Mark Schroor; Publisher: none listed; Producer: none listed; Warner
– She’s doing fine, getting over him and moving on with her life. Then she sees the kind of truck he drives and is flooded with memories and regret. The production rushes and crashes around her, then becomes suddenly still. Very effective.
CLARE DUNN / “We Are”
Writers: Clare Dunn/Mark Holman/Connie Harrington; Publishers: none listed; Producer: Clare Dunn; Big Yellow Dog
– She’s one of our finest current singers, and her throaty style is on full display here. The track rocks with plenty of frothing pop energy. It’s awfully hard not to get caught up in the excitement of this celebratory track.
JADEN HAMILTON / “Ain’t That Something”
Writers: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Producer: Matthew McVaney; Sony
– There’s something kinda warm and intimate in his singing. The overall vibe is a gently rolling Texas/Strait sound with sympathetic fiddle-and-steel-guitar backing. Very promising.
LEE BRICE / “Memory I Don’t Mess With”
Writers: Lee Brice/Brian Davis/Billy Montana; Publishers: none listed; Producers: Kyle Jacobs & Ben Glover; Curb
– What a powerful performance. He’s a mighty, mighty man. Brice depicts the anguish of seeing The One and being overcome with longing and regret that she slipped away from him. He piles ache on ache in this power ballad. It’s yet another master work by this artist.
RUSSELL DICKERSON / “Never Get Old”
Writers: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Producers: Russell Dickerson, Casey Brown & Dann Huff; Triple Tigers
– It’s a clap-stomp, shout-along party anthem. Rousing and catchy as can be.