Today’s contenders in DisClaimer are equally divided between males and females.
Despite strong efforts by Scotty McCreery, Tim McGraw, Travis Tritt and the all-star team of Dierks Bentley, Breland and HARDY, the gals have the edge. Lauren Alaina, Lily Rose and the team of Carly Pearce and Patty Loveless have must-hear performances this week. So does Mickey Guyton, who takes home the Disc of the Day prize.
It’s a listening session that was packed with headliners, so we have no DisCovery Award to give.
DAN + SHAY / “Lying”
Writers: Andrew Paul Albert/Bill Withers/Dan Smyers/Jordan Kyle Reynolds/Shay Mooney; Producer: Dan Smyers; Label: Warner Music Nashville
— This has a seductive, old-school, r&b groove that is delicious. It ain’t all that country, but it is as polished as brass buttons.
LAUREN ALAINA / “It Was Me”
Writers: Lauren Alaina/Hillary Lindsay; Producer: Paul DiGiovanni; Label: Mercury Nashville
— This languid waltz lays the blame on herself for their breakup. Alaina takes it slowly and deliberately, giving her voice lots of space for phrasing, range and nuance. A refreshing change of pace, produced with taste, finesse and restraint.
DIERKS BENTLEY, BRELAND & HARDY / “Beers on Me”
Writers: Dierks Bentley/Ross Copperman/Luke Dick/Ashley Gorley/Michael Hardy; Producer: Ross Copperman/Dierks Bentley; Label: Capitol Records Nashville
— Charming. It’s a lightly bopping drinking ditty with all three vocalists exuding personality, friendliness and warmth. Set ‘em up, boys, I’m in.
LILY ROSE / “Know My Way Around”
Writers: Lily Rose/Julian Bunetta/Savana Santos; Producer: Joey Moi/Julian Bunetta; Label: Big Loud/Back Blocks/Republic
— The droning, echoey guitar hook and percussive backup take up a lot of space, but they sure are hooky. There is just enough room for her folksy vocal to squeeze into the mix. She’s drawling a pick-up line, and it’s mighty inviting.
TIM McGRAW / “7500 OBO”
Writers: Jennifer Schott/Matthew McGuinn/Nathan Kyle Spicer; Producer: Byron Gallimore/Tim McGraw; Label: Big Machine Records
— The truck is in great condition with leather seats, a sunroof and a new transmission. But it reminds him of her, so he’s letting it go for just $7,500. The track is wafting and airy. McGraw’s vocal is smooth and easy. The song is a nice piece of craftsmanship.
MICKEY GUYTON / “Remember Her Name”
Writers: Mickey Guyton/Parker Welling/Black Hubbard/Jarrod Ingram; Producer: Karen Kosowski; Label: Capitol Records Nashville
— She’s soaring and flying on wings of eagles on this empowering title tune of her new album. It’s about having strength and perseverance to endure difficulty, and it contains the finest vocal performance of Guyton’s career to date. Turn it up.
THOMAS RHETT / “Redneck Be Like”
Writers: Jordan Reynolds/Josh Miller/Parker Welling/Rhett Akins/Thomas Rhett; Producer: Dann Huff/Jesse Frasure; Label: The Valory Music Co.
— Small town, muddy river, beer, bonfire, fishing, pickup truck, back road, summer fun, proud to be country. Did we miss any cliches? Well, there’s no skinny dipping or hot babe in cutoff jeans, but other than that, we’re good to go. Wake me when it’s over.
INGRID ANDRESS & SAM HUNT / “Wishful Drinking”
Writers: Ingrid Andress/Jonny Price/JP Saxe/Lucky Daye/Rykeyz; Producer: Ingrid Andress/Jordan M. Schmidt; Label: Atlantic/Warner Music Nashville
— Andress gives it an oomphy, piercing delivery. But Hunt’s hushed, furry-soft phrasing steals the show on this wistful, lovelorn barroom outing.
TRAVIS TRITT / “They Don’t Make ‘Em Like That No More”
Writers: Travis Tritt/Dillon Carmichael; Producer: Dave Cobb; Label: Big Noise
— This stuttering, twanging country-rocker has a classic whiplash hillbilly sound that begs for a “Yeee-Haw!” Whether it’s a hot ‘67 Chevy, a vintage jukebox, a rodeo queen or a Haggard song, “newer ain’t better.” Tritt spits and sasses. Cobb’s production rocks. Toss that cowboy hat in the air.
CARLY PEARCE & PATTY LOVELESS / “Dear Miss Loretta”
Writers: Shane McAnally/Brandy Clark/Carly Pearce; Producer: Shane McAnally/Josh Osborne/Tony Brown; Label: Big Machine Records
— This wailing heartache honky tonker pushes all my buttons. Both singers are phrasing like classic country queens here. They’re calling on Loretta for words of wisdom to get through their miseries, and the harmonies are delicious. Country, country, country all the way.
SCOTTY McCREERY / “Same Truck”
Writers: Scotty McCreery/Ashley Gorley/Zack Crowell/Taylor Phillips; Producer: Frank Rogers/Derek Wells/Aaron Eshuis; Label: Triple Tigers
— Celebratory. The ringing guitars back an anthemic lyric of unity and brotherhood. No matter what path we’re on or what our backgrounds, we’re all in this thing together. Well written and performed with elan.
DANIELLE BRADBERY / “Stop Draggin’ Your Boots”
Writers: Josh Kear/Hillary Lindsey/Gordie Sampson; Producer: Nathan Chapman; Label: Big Machine
— “One day you’re whiskey hot and then you’re beer cold.” Get it together, brother. You’re either in or you’re not. It’s feisty in a Shania kinda way.
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