DISClaimer Single Reviews: Tenille Townes Shows Her Musical Brilliance With ‘The Last Time’
Today’s playlist is what country music would sound like in an ideal universe.
That is to say, male-female equality instead of the preposterous imbalance that exists today.
And do I need to add that the tracks by women are almost uniformly more interesting than those by men? The exceptions are Jake Owen, Willie Jones and Mitchell Tenpenny, all of whom are at the top of their game today.
But the listening session was ruled by the fairer sex with outstanding offerings by Madeline Edwards, Danielle Bradberry, Catie Offerman and our Disc of the Day winner, Tenille Townes.
GEORGIA WEBSTER / “I Hate Phone Calls”
Writers: Josh Kerr/Georgia Webster; Producers: Josh Kerr/Georgia Webster; Label: River House/Sony
–Processed teen-pop vocal with banjo plucking and electronic accompaniment. If she makes it in country music, she’ll be outta here to pop pastures in no time.
MITCHELL TENPENNY / “Good and Gone”
Writers: Mitchell Tenpenny/Zach Abend/Seth Ennis/Geoff Warburton; Producers: Mitchell Tenpenny/Jordan Schmidt; Label: Sony
–There’s not much of a melody here, but there’s something haunting about the performance. The hushed, almost whispered verses contrast with the loudly sung choruses while a nervous, stuttering rhythm track keeps double time. Intriguingly different.
TENILLE TOWNES / “The Last Time”
Writers: Ben Goldsmith/Gordie Sampson/Tenille Townes; Producers: Gordie Sampson/Pete Good; Label: Sony
–I’m very fond of this Canadian stylist. As great as her previous singles have been, this one goes all the way to brilliant. From the moment she swung into that first chorus, she had me by the throat. By the time she finished, I was completely choked up. She’s wonderfully philosophical and emotionally gripping as she unspools the message of cherishing every moment with every loved one. Perfection in each note.
DUSTIN LYNCH / “Wood on the Fire”
Writers: Dustin Lynch/Hunter Phelps/Jordan Minton/Jordan Reynolds; Producer: Zach Crowell; Label: Broken Bow
–The onrushing, guitar-crashing production effectively evokes a raging fire while he sings of a relationship that burns out of control.
MADELINE EDWARDS / “The Wolves”
Writers: Madeline Edwards/Emily Doty/Gavin Slate; Producers: Ryan Tyndell/Oscar Charles; Label: ME
–This barn-burner performance is fierce and fearless. Smoky-voiced Edwards recently introduced the stormy, bluesy number on the Grand Ole Opry. Since her debut EP release this summer, the hotshot singer-songwriter has been on a roll. She is an Apple Music Country Riser, a Spotify Hot Country Artist to Watch and a member of this year’s CMT Next Women of Country class. Plus, she just signed a pub deal with Sony.
JAKE OWEN / “Up There Down Here”
Writers: Travis Wood/Summer Ashtyn Overstreet/Zachary Robert Dyer; Producer: Joey Moi; Label: Big Loud
–Wildly clever. The lyric contrasting his bad-boy persona with her angelic goodness is packed with terrific imagery and wordplay. The twangin’ vocal performance is splendid, too. Absolutely play the heck outta this.
DANIELLE BRADBERY / “A Special Place”
Writers: Maren Morris/Shane McAnally/Jimmy Robbins/Sasha Sloan; Producers: Nathan Chapman/Derek Wells; Label: BMLG
–Feisty, frisky and fun. She’s reserved a special place for her ex, a zero-star hotel in hell. Her saucy delivery has just the right touch of snark for this witty ditty.
SHANE OWENS / “You Go Good”
Writers: Buddy Owens/Doug Johnson/Galen Griffin; Producer: none listed; Label: Amerimonte
–Charmingly southern, winningly country, innocently romantic.
CARRIE UNDERWOOD / “Pink Champagne”
Writers: Hillary Lindsey/Carrie Underwood/Ashley Gorley/David Garcia; Producers: David Garcia/Carrie Underwood; Label: Capitol
–His love gives her a bigger buzz than booze does. Bubbling, fizzy stuff that’s heavy on the thudding rhythm track.
SCOTTY McCREERY / “It Matters to Her”
Writers: Rhett Akins/Lee Thomas Miller/Scotty McCreery; Producers: Frank Rogers/Derek Wells/Aaron Eshuis/Scott Johnson; Label: Triple Tigers
–I know it is meant to sound considerate and loving, but there’s something slightly patronizing about it. As always, Scotty delivers as a country vocalist, and the production is forceful.
CATIE OFFERMAN / “Get a Dog”
Writers: Catie Offerman/Joe Clemmons/Aaron Eshuis; Producer: Dann Huff; Label: MCA Nashville
–Ultra cute. If you’re looking for unconditional love, try a canine companion instead of her. Offerman is a multi-instrumentalist who honed her craft at everything from pizza parlors to polka gigs, including a bazillion Texas honky tonks. She staged her dream-come-true Opry debut last weekend.
WILLIE JONES / “Get Low Get High”
Writers: Willie Jones/Cary Barlowe/Brandon Day; Producers: Brandon Day/Willie Jones; Label: Sony
–A definite feel-good outing. It has a sunny, sing-along quality that goes down smooth and easy. I especially liked the part where he asked the background guys to sing “Get low” and the ladies to sing “Get high.” Very enjoyable.
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