We’re all about gender parity today at DISClaimer.
Note that half of the tracks reviewed in this edition of the column feature female voices. Which is the way things ought to be, since that’s half of the listening audience.
Note also that the two best written songs here come from female artists. I refer to Ingrid Andress’ lovely “Blue” and to Ashley McBryde’s inspiring “Bonfire at Tina’s.” On the other hand, Travis Denning’s fine composition gives the gals a run for their money, and Restless Road is a total rush.
Finally, note that the Disc of the Day award belongs to a mighty country woman, Ashley McBryde.
DARIUS RUCKER & CHAPEL HART / “Ol’ Church Hymn”
Writers: Darius Rucker/Ben Hayslip/Josh Miller/Greylan James; Producer: Ross Copperman; Label: Capitol
–Warm, loving and kind sounding. He sings of the soothing power of love while the Chapel Hart trio harmonizes softly in the background. I’d have mixed them up louder in the mix and given them a verse of their own.
TRAVIS DENNING / “Buy a Girl a Drink”
Writers: Travis Denning/Jeremy Stover/Paul DiGiovanni/Chase McGill; Producers: Jeremy Stover/Paul DiGiovanni; Label: Mercury
–Very, very sweet. Sung with boyish charm, yet laced with aged wisdom, it’s an encapsulation of life and love that’s impossible to resist. The churning production is a big plus, too.
CARRIE UNDERWOOD / “Hate My Heart”
Writers: Carrie Underwood/Hillary Lindsey/David Garcia/Michael Hardy; Producers: Carrie Underwood/David Garcia; Label: Capitol
–It’s a rollicking banger that contrasts her desire to party with a heartbreak that’s holding her back. The stacked female harmonies are cool, but the guitar-dominated track could have been more creative.
HARDY / “Jack”
Writers: Michael Hardy/David Garcia/Hillary Lindsey; Producers: Joey Moi/Michael Hardy/David Garcia/Derek Wells; Label: Big Loud Rock
–Don’t misled by the soft, quiet intro. This turns into a slammin’ rock track with ferociously pounding rhythm. “Jack,” as you might expect, is a certain Tennessee whiskey who may or may not become your pal.
MADELINE EDWARDS / “Too Much of a Good Thing”
Writers: Madeline Edwards/Ian Christian/Trannie Anderson; Producer: none listed; Label: Warner
–I have long loved the smokey quality in her voice. A string of excellent indie releases has led to this major-label debut. Her gospel-y piano provides understated power and pulse to the enveloping ballad. I’m in. Make her a star.
JAMESON RODGERS / “Things That Matter”
Writers: Lynne Hutton/Jameson Rodgers/Elwyn Ahnquist Smith/Will Bundy; Producers: Chris Farren/Jake Mitchell; Label: Sony
–Forget about politics, the economy and material possessions and concentrate on the simple pleasures of life, advises Mr. Rodgers on this gently swaying outing. It’s a breezy and totally country sound that’s as refreshing as a soft spring rain.
ASHLEY McBRYDE / “Bonfire at Tina’s”
Writers: Ashley McBryde/Brandy Clark/Benjy Davis/Connie Harrington/Nicolette Hayford/Aaron Raitiere; Producer: John Osborne; Label: Warner
–This woman is tower of talent. On this slow-burn blazer she’s feisty and fierce. It’s a sisterhood anthem with lots and lots of heart. The gals get together to drink, smoke and bitch around a bonfire, and the result builds to an inspiring crescendo.
ADAM DOLEAC / “Whiskey Barstool Wonderland”
Writers: Adam Doleac/Lindsay Rimes/Jonathan Singleton; Producer: Jordan Schmidt; Label: Arista
–The power ballad yearns for lost love while deep percussion pounds and electric guitars soar. I think what I like best about it is how his singing ranges from feathery whisper to shouted tenor anguish. Definitely hooky. It’s the title track to his debut album, an 18-track serving.
INGRID ANDRESS / “Blue”
Writers: Ingrid Andress/Sam Ellis/Derrick Southerland/Shane McAnally; Producers: Sam Ellis/Ingrid Andress; Label: Warner/Atlantic
–Languid and dreamy, this is a mini-masterpiece of a romantic ballad. The lines are exquisite as she describes a shade that she is seeing for the first time, the blue of his eyes. You’ll find it on her new sophomore album, Good Person.
RESTLESS ROAD / “Sundown Somewhere”
Writers: Ben Hayslip/Cole Swindell/Cole Taylor/Jacob Rice; Producer: Lindsay Rimes; Label: RCA
–A wafting country rocker loaded to the gills with the trio’s stunning harmony voices. These guys are so radio ready it’s ridiculous. In a word, irresistible.
ROBYN OTTOLINI / “Busy”
Writers: Robyn Ottolini/Seth Mosley/Jessica Cayne; Producers: Erik Fintelman/Mark Schroor/Michael O’Connor/Seth Mosley; Label: Warner
–There’s not a lot of singing going on here. More like shouting with hints of melody. However, it does have plenty of attitude.
TYLER BOOTH / “Feeling Whitney”
Writers: Andrew Wotman/Austin Post; Producers: Tyler Booth/John Johnson; Label: Sony/Villa 40
–Covering a Post Malone tune as a country single might sound nutty. Melodically, it actually works pretty well, and Tyler’s baritone voice is fine, as usual. The lyrics are still oblique.
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