The country stars are preaching beer, romance, church and collaborations this week.
The four collabs are Chase Rise & FGL, Kacey Musgraves & Troye Sivan, Jameson Rodgers & Luke Combs and Nick Norman & Jamey Johnson. The romance purveyors are Chuck Wicks, William Michael Morgan and Mr. Dependable Tim McGraw, who rides off with the Disc of the Day.
Three songs have the same theme this week: “Church Pew Barstool,” “Drinkin’ Beer Talkin’ God Amen,” and the excellent “Right Church Wrong Pew,” which wins Dusty Black a DisCovery Award.
HOUSE WHISKEY / “Tomorrow We Ride”
Writers: Jesse Murphy/Wally Montgomery/Michael Wilkes; Publishers: none listed; Producer: Brett Beavers; Label: HW
– The sound is clear, crisp and punchy, with solid vocal harmonies and a twin-guitar attack flanking a Southern-accented lead. The songwriting is first rate, with hooks a-plenty. This country-rock trio shows enormous promise with this debut single. Lead singer Jesse Murphy is the son of hit maker David Lee Murphy.
CARLY PEARCE / “Show Me Around”
Writers: Carly Pearce/Emily Shackleton/Ben West; Publishers: none listed; Producer: Shane McAnally/Josh Osborne; Label: Big Machine
– This sweet, touching ballad was written in the wake of the sudden, unexpected death of her producer busbee (Michael James Ryan Busbee). It’s a lovely wish for a reunion in Heaven that reaches in and touches you deeply. Say “amen.”
KAMERON MARLOWE / “Sober as a Drunk”
Writers: J.T. Harding/Justin Wilson/Marv Green; Publishers: none listed; Producer: Brad Hill; Label: Columbia
– He bawls this bar room heartbroken stomper like a man possessed. This kind of vocal conviction is what makes a star. This is his second appearance in DISClaimer and I am more convinced than ever that this boy has what it takes. Play it.
CHUCK WICKS / “Old with You”
Writers: Chuck Wicks/Seth Ennis/Joe Fox; Publishers: none listed; Producer: Jimmy Ritchey; Label: Verge
– For lovers everywhere, this ultra romantic ballad swoons with images of lasting love, tempered by tenderness, gratitude and joy. The “Stealing Cinderella” man returns as a new dad with a hit for the heart.
TROYE SIVAN & KACEY MUSGRAVES feat. MARK RONSON / “Easy”
Writers: Kacey Musgraves/Oscar Görres/Troye Sivan; Publishers: none listed; Producer: Oscar Görres/Picard Brothers; Label: Capitol
– Young pop star Sivan already has a dance-music smash with this tune. Musgraves co-wrote the new duet version and both of them star in its Nashville-filmed video. It remains a moody, crying-on-the-dancefloor performance, rather than a country outing.
JAMESON RODGERS & LUKE COMBS / “Cold Beer Calling My Name”
Writers: Brett Tyler/Hunter Phelps/Jameson Rodgers/Alysa Vanderheym; Publishers: none listed; Producer: Chris Farren/Jake Mitchell; Label: River House/Columbia
– I originally reviewed this blue-collar duet stomper last April. Now it’s a single. Charismatic vocalist Luke Combs still takes it over every time he sings.
DUSTY BLACK / “Right Church Wrong Pew”
Writers: Michael Heeney/Kenton Bryant/Jordan Walker; Publishers: none listed; Producer: Colt Ford/Noah Gordon; Label: Black Label Country/Average Joes
– This might be the best debut single I’ve heard all year. Black sings with a sandpapery charm, the song is spectacularly well written and the production rocks with a fabulous drummed backbeat. I didn’t want it to end, and certainly not as abruptly as it does.
CHASE RICE & FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE / “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.”
Writers: Chase Rice/Hunter Phelps/Corey Crowder/Cale Dodds; Publishers: none listed; Producer: Brian Kelley/Chase Rice/Corey Crowder/Tyler Hubbard; Label: BBR
– You’d think that with four writers, somebody would have come up with more than two notes for a melody.
NICK NORMAN & JAMEY JOHNSON / “The Cock Crows”
Writers: Marla Cannon/Rob Hatch; Publishers: none listed; Producer: Elisha Hoffman/Lee Brice/Rob Hatch; Label: Pump House
– Exceedingly cute. The rooster might make with the “cockadoodle doo,” but the hen rules the roost. The lively tempo, clever wordplay and personality-packed vocals are all just right. Light-hearted and listenable. Pump House is Lee Brice’s label.
WILLIAM MICHAEL MORGAN / “Girl Like Mine”
Writers: William Michael Morgan/Doug Johnson/Adam Wood; Publishers: none listed; Producer: Adam Wood/Doug Johnson; Label: Phoenix
– Dreamy. The production of the ballad swirls around his gentle, rosy-glow delivery. This guy sure knows how to convey lost-in-love romance, and I can’t imagine any woman listening to this could resist it.
TIM McGRAW / “Nashville Without You”
Writers: Joe Leathers/Kyle Jacobs/Ruston Samuel Kelly; Publishers: Warner-Chappell/BMG Rights Management/Mike Curb, no performance rights listed; Producer: none listed; Label: Big Machine/Tim McGraw
– Wonderfully written, which is no surprise because this man is a magnet for great songs. The lilting vibe and gently shuffling beat roll along as he name-checks “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” “Ring of Fire,” “Crazy,” “Stand By Your Man,” “The Gambler,” “Hey Good Lookin,” “A Country Boy Can Survive,” “Mama Tried” “Smoky Mountain Rain,” “Galveston,” “Fancy,” “Jolene,” “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and icons from Cash to Patsy to Charlie Daniels. Absolutely essential listening.
J.D. SHELBURNE / “Church Pew Barstool”
Writers: Mark Nesler/Marty Dodson/Jennifer Hanson; Publishers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Label: JDS
– It’s a nicely done word portrait of the sinners and saints who surround a drinkin’ man. Written by pros and sung with heart. The ultimate message is salvation for even the lowliest.
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