Country artists are celebrating summertime this week.
Jeff Bates, Adam Doleac, Kylie Trout, Walker Hayes, Sam Williams and, especially Tebey with Una Healy all have open-air, sunshiney tunes. So does our DisCovery Award winner, MaRynn Taylor.
For that matter, toss in the dynamite, life-affirming Trace Adkins performance. It’s not about summer, but it will sure make you feel warm inside. It earns this edition’s Disc of the Day prize.
JUSTIN FABUS & CHAPEL HART / “Run”
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Label: JF
— His somewhat light tenor voice is bolstered considerably by the female trio’s harmonies. The song’s lyric is wordy and awkward. But there is promise here, so keep trying.
TRACE ADKINS / “The Way I Wanna Go”
Writers: Barry Dean/Troy Verges/T.J. Osborne/John Osborne; Producer: Jon Coleman; Label: Verge
— Nicely produced. A deliriously rhythmic swirl of keyboads & guitars envelope an epic expressive performance. The song looks at a life well lived by a proud man who has loved and fought, worked and danced, soared and sung. Hang on for the gusto coda. This mini masterpiece is the title tune of Trace’s album, which drops next month.
SAM WILLIAMS / “Kids”
Writers: Boots Ottestad/Eric Arjes/Hank Compton; Producer: Jaren Johnston; Label: Mercury Nashville
— Wafting, airy and youthful. Lovely listening. Keith Urban provides the guitar work. Sam is the grandson of the legendary Hank Williams and his upcoming album also features a collaboration with Dolly (”Happy All the Time”) and co-writes with Dan Auerbach and Jaren Johnston. Look for it on Aug. 20.
TEBEY & UNA HEALY / “Song of the Summer”
Writers: Danick Dupelle/Jimmy Thow/Tebey Ottoh; Producer: Tebey/Danick Dupelle; Label: Tebey
— Singer-songwriter Tebey has enjoyed a string of Gold and Platinum hits in his Canadian homeland. He has also been building a solid European following. Una is an Irish country-pop star. She harmonizes splendidly with his hearty, handsome lead vocal on this fresh sounding country rocker. The catchy, joyous, beautifully layered production deserves to become an anthem of this warm season.
KYLIE TROUT / “American Summer”
Writers: Kylie Trout/Dalton Baird/Jason Hamor; Producer: Bill McDermott; Label: KT
— Speaking of summer, this Radio Disney starlet and TikTok fave offers this entry as her tune for the season. Her thin, wispy voice can barely carry it.
ADAM DOLEAC / “Key to the City”
Writers: Adam Doleac/Casey Brown/Jesse Lee Levin; Producer: Casey Brown; Label: Arista Nashville
— We got life by the tail, so let’s take off and rock this town. We’re out for a good time, so look out world. Infectious.
WALKER HAYES / “Fancy Like”
Writers: Shane Stevens/Walker Hayes/Cameron Bartolini/Joshua Cole Jenkins; Producer: Shane McAnally; Label: Monument
— Country rap with the theme of poor-folks’ pleasures. This breezy little outing looks like it has a strong start on pop radio.
BRANDON LAY / “Broke”
Writers: Brandon Lay/Dean Dillon; Producer: Jonathan Singleton; Label: EMI Nashville
— It’s a cool song about a busted relationship, using a kaput car as a metaphor. He sings it well, but the choruses are over produced.
ERIN ENDERLIN / “Somebody’s Shot of Whiskey”
Writers: Erin Enderlin/Ben Chapman; Producer: Erin Enderlin; Label: Black Crow
— She’s an old-school traditionalist who sings of swimming upstream here. “I’d rather be somebody’s shot of whiskey/Than everybody’s cup of tea,” she avers, while a fiddle saws and a steel cries. A splash of clear, clean mountain water on the pancake makeup face of Music Row.
TYLER FARR / “Cover Girl”
Writers: Tyler Farr/Blake Bollinger/Ben Stennis; Producer: Jason Aldean/Kurt Allison/Tully Kennedy; Label: BBR/Night Train
— This is about escaping a domestic-violence situation. Farr performs the troubling, empowering lyric with lots of emotion, and the video ends with help-line information. Recommended listening.
MaRYNN TAYLOR / “I Know a Girl”
Writers: Nicolle Galyon/Jimmy Robbins/Shelley Skidmore; Producer: Doug Johnson & Jimmy Robbins; Label: Black River
— Roll down the windows, turn it up and head out on a country road. This soaring offering of love and fun has everything it takes. Wonderfully well written, sung with moxie and produced to perfection.
JEFF BATES / “Friends With Boats”
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Label: JB
— A beachy, good-time page from the Buffett playbook.