Fall is in the air in Music City, and with the new season comes a flood of new country sounds.
Leading the charge today is Little Big Town with what is surely their umpteenth Disc of the Day winner, “Three Whiskeys and the Truth.”
Galloping right along are Breland, Randy Houser. Ashley McBryde and the new collab by Joy Oladokun and Chris Stapleton. Happy listening while the leaves tumble down.
DAILEY & VINCENT / “I’ll Leave My Heart in Tennessee”
Writer: Karen Staley; Producer: Paul Worley; Label: BMG
–The bluegrass superstars jog into the country idiom with their just released Let’s Sing Some Country collection. Its lead single has already been voted a state song by the legislature. It’s a lilting ballad with lotsa sentiment about the Volunteer State. And no matter what genre you call them, these guys are sensational vocalists.
SHANIA TWAIN / “Waking Up Dreaming”
Writers: David Stewart/Jessica Agombar/Shania Twain; Producer: David Stewart; Label: Republic
–Shania’s comeback single is pop, pop, pop all the way. It’s also an ultra cute and catchy dance bopper. And I dig her singing nowadays in a lower, huskier register.
DALTON DOVER / “Damn Good Life”
Writers: Dalton Dover/Alex Maxwell/Jaxson Free; Producer: Matthew McVaney; Label: Droptine
–This time around, the promising country youngster adopts some hip-hoppy rhythm touches. The bouncy song’s lyric is a classic country message: Money can’t buy happiness. It’s pleasant, but he has done better.
NATE SMITH / “I Found You”
Writers: Chris Gelbuda/Kyle Schlienger/Nate Smith; Producers: Lindsay Rimes; Label: Sony
–He sings with so much passion. This torrid power ballad is yet another showcase for his vocal gift. Get on board.
LITTLE BIG TOWN / “Three Whiskeys and the Truth”
Writers: Karen Fairchild/Kimberly Schlapman/Hillary Lindsey/Lori McKenna/Liz Rose; Producer: Little Big Town; Label: Capitol
–Are there any finer harmony vocalists in contemporary country music than these four? This is an exquisite performance, with their brilliant voices bathed by echo, heartbeat percussion and twanging guitar. I got lost in it. You will too.
JOY OLADOKUN & CHRIS STAPLETON / “Sweet Symphony”
Writers: Joy Oladdkun/Ian Fitchuk/Shae Jacobs; Producers: Joy Oladokun/Mike Elizondo/Ian Fitchuk; Label: Amigo/Verve Forecast/Republic
–Joy’s folkie, conversational singing style blends beautifully with Chris’s blue-eyed soul emoting on this deliciously romantic ballad. And the warm, enveloping production supports both vocalists at every turn. Essential listening.
ASHLEY McBRYDE / “Straight Tequila Night”
Writers: Debbie Hupp/Kent Robbins; Producers: Dan Auerbach/David Ferguson; Label: Easy Eye/Concord
–Something Borrowed, Something New: A Tribute to John Anderson is an album that should be on everybody’s playlist. Eric Church, Brothers Osborne, John Prine, Jamey Johnson, Sturgill Simpson, Luke Combs and more all take a swing at Anderson’s fabulous song catalog. Ashley McBryde is perfect for this iconic song, and her performance strongly suggests that it would be an excellent addition to the female-country repertoire.
BRELAND / “For What It’s Worth”
Writers: Daniel Breland/Greylan James/Jacob Durrett/Rocky Block; Producers: Sam Sumser/Sean Small/Jacob Durrett; Label: Bad Realm/Atlantic/Warner
–Enchanting. His tender-hearted tenor cracks and breaks sweetly as he looks over a failed relationship with regret and enduring love. Absolutely radio ready.
RANDY HOUSER / “Rub a Little Dirt on It”
Writers: Randy Houser/Jeff Hyde/Ryann Tyndell; Producers: Randy Houser/Blake Chancey; Label: Magnolia Music Group
–Steel guitar and dobro swirl and twirl while this master stylist unspools life lessons learned from daddy, football, fishing, beer and the natural environment. Country music as it was meant to be.
JULIE ROBERTS & JAMEY JOHNSON / “Music City’s Killing Me”
Writer: Ray LaMontagne; Producer: Shooter Jennings; Label: ONErpm
–Roberts is bluesy and drawling on this mid-tempo moaner while sighing strings drag slowly by. Johnson is resigned and weary on his verses. Singing together, they blend warmly in a dual ache.
TYLER HUBBARD / “Inside and Out”
Writers: Tyler Hubbard/Jordan Schmidt/Trevor Rosen/Brad Tursi; Producers: Tyler Hubbard/Jordan Schmidt; Label: EMI
–It’s a pretty simple message: You’re so beautiful. The end.
ALEXANDER LUDWIG / “Faded on Me”
Writers: Ross Copperman/Jon Nite/Josh Osborne; Producers: Kurt Allison/Tully Kennedy; Label: BBR/BMG
–Recommended. Rocking and stomping, it’s an ode to being a good ol’ boy. Canadian Ludwig is also a TV and movie actor of note.
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