Diversity is the name of the game in this edition of DisClaimer.
In a preposterously male-dominated genre, we have gender parity today—fully half of our contestants are female. With Tiera, Darius Rucker and Chapel Hart in the mix, country music made by Black artists is well represented. South American native Flo Olavarria adds a touch of Latin. Canadian country is along for the ride, too.
Because the sounds are so difficult to compare to one another, the Disc of the Day award is divided. The Male winner is Ronnie Milsap. The essential Female disc belongs to Cam. The Group award goes to The Cadillac Three.
The afore mentioned Flo Olavarria takes home the DisCovery Award.
JOEY HENDRICKS / “Yours Or Mine”
Writers: Joey Hendricks/Daniel Ross/Michael Whitworth; Producer: Daniel Ross; Label: Sony Music Nashville
— Producer Ross surrounds this earnest-sounding troubadour with an echoey swirl of yummy pop flavors. Hendricks sings with sweet sincerity.
DARIUS RUCKER / “My Masterpiece”
Writers: Darius Rucker/Ross Copperman/JT Harding/Josh Osborne; Producer: Ross Copperman; Label: Capitol Records Nashville
— Positive, sunny, upbeat and engaging, as usual. The happy-in-love theme is common, but its delivery in this finely crafted lyric is exceptional. Supremely playable. In case you missed it: earlier this week, producer and four-time BMI Country Songwriter of the Year Copperman signed a pop recording contract in New York.
CAM / “Till There’s Nothing Left”
Writers: Hillary Lindsey/Jeff Bhasker/Cameron Ochs/Tyler Johnson; Producer: Jeff Bhasker/Tyler Johnson; Label: RCA Records/Triple Tigers
— It goes beyond steamy and sensual, all the way to hot sex. I have always been captivated by this woman’s talent. This gorgeous, tempest-tossed ode to youthful passion renews my fandom. Cam rules.
LADY A / “Like a Lady”
Writers: Brandon Paddock/Dave Barnes/Hillary Scott/Martin Johnson/Michelle Buzz; Producer: Dann Huff/Martin Johnson/Brandon Paddock; Label: BMLG Records
— Hillary takes the lead in this zesty, female-proud ditty. The mood is sprightly.
CHAPEL HART / “You Can Have Him Jolene”
Writers: Chapel Hart; Producer: Chapel Hart; Label: none listed
— The trio rocks out on this feisty whiplash ride, with their flawless vocal harmonies intact. This CMT Next Women of Country act is outstandingly talented, and so far has been batting a thousand with its releases. The video is a hoot, too.
DUSTIN LYNCH & MACKENZIE PORTER / “Thinking ‘Bout You”
Writers: Dustin Lynch/Andy Albert/Hunter Phelps/Will Weatherly; Producer: none listed; Label: Broken Bow Records
— The small-town details in the lyric are groovy, and the tune bops along with verve. It originally appeared as a collaboration with Lauren Alaina. Top Canadian country star Porter is an able substitute.
JULIA COLE / “My Home Too (My Voice Too)”
Writers: Josh Berkowitz/Matt Wynn; Producer: Josh Ronen; Label: none listed
— The rhythm-happy song’s message of inclusion, empowerment and equality spans relationships, households and nations. It’s also as catchy as the dickens. Sing along.
RONNIE MILSAP / “Wild Honey”
Writers: Jim Weatherly/Nigel Wright; Producer: Ronnie Milsap/Rob Galbraith; Label: Black River
— A little bit hillbilly, a little bit soul, a little bit rock n roll, this toe tapper is pretty hard to resist. The legendary Country Music Hall of Famer still has plenty of kick in his delivery. We recently lost songwriter Weatherly, and this dandy concoction illustrates what a shame that is.
TIERA / “Not Your Girl”
Writers: Tiera/Cameron Bedell/Jack Newsome; Producer: Cameron Bedell; Label: Tiera
— Signed to Nicolle Galyon’s Songs & Daughters female-driven publishing company, this singer-songwriter is staking her claim to country authenticity with a new, five-song EP that showcases her heart warming, sweet/tart vocals and her flair for relatable lyrics. Wildly promising.
THE CADILLAC THREE / “Long After Last Call”
Writers: Jaren Johnston; Producer: The Cadillac Three; Label: Big Machine Records
— Easily their finest single to date, this has a restless rhythmic energy, a brilliantly understated lead vocal and a marvelously crafted lyric about a late-night hookup. I could definitely get used to this on country radio. Absolutely play this ACM nominated Group of the Year.
DREW GREEN / “Hooch”
Writers: Drew Green, Jordan Minton, Mark Trussell; Producer: none listed; Label: none listed
— The production is over-stuffed with busy audio effects. His rapped lyric is a repetitive loop that quickly wears out its welcome.
FLO OLAVARRIA / “Talking to Myself”
Writers: Flo Olavarria/Noah Henson; Producer: Flo Olavarria/Noah Henson; Label: none listed
— Now here’s a country biography you don’t read every day. Flo is a native of Chile who migrated to Canada, went back to Chile, began performing in Singapore, moved to Miami and now resides part time in Music City. She brings a Latina flair, a sharp pop sensibility and country verve to this peppy, female-positive bopper. I dig her pert attitude.