This is not a thrilling week for country consumers, since the new sounds are all fairly ordinary.
The bright spots in today’s DISClaimer are Boy Named Banjo, Runaway June, Niko Moon and our Disc of the Day winner, Jameson Rodgers.
The DISCovery Award goes to a promising southern singer-songwriter named Ella Langley. I look forward to hearing much more from her.
RUNAWAY JUNE / “Broken Hearts (Do Broken Things)”
Writers: Mandi Sagal/Sarah Lake/Steve Fee; Producers: Mitch Furr/Justin Weaver; Label: RJ
–The lady is out on the town, doing questionable things with strangers, dancing on tables, knocking back shots, letting her emotions get the best of her and being kinda nutty. It’s okay. She’s acting out a busted heart. The jangly production is a boatload of romping fun, and the “gang” vocals and harmonies of the trio keep the whole thing frothing. Super listening.
NIKO MOON / “I Can’t Wait to Love You”
Writers: Niko Moon/Anna Moon/Joshua Murty; Producers: Niko Moon/Joshua Murty; Label: RCA
–Very sweet. Mr. and Mrs. Moon croon with joy, wonder and anticipation as they get ready to be parents. Anna provides the soft harmony behind Niko’s charmingly rumpled lead vocal while guitars strum gently.
CATIE OFFERMAN / “‘Til I See You Again”
Writers: Catie Offerman/Ryan Beaver/Jessi Alexander; Producer: Dann Huff; Label: MCA
–Everything I’ve heard so far from this lady has been praiseworthy. This pop-country confection puts the “fun” in dysfunctional, since the effervescent track contrasts sharply with a lyric about falling for the same bum repeatedly.
TEMECULA ROAD / “Wrong Ones Do”
Writers: Dawson Anderson/Emma Salute/Kelly Archer/Brandon Hood; Producers: Brandon Hood/Dann Huff; Label: Warner/Buena Vista
–She’s ignoring Mama’s caution and falling for the tattooed “bad boy.” As you wade deeper into the rampaging country rocker, you find out that Mama was married three times, so she can’t be too judgmental. This one’s a jolt of energy.
RAELYNN / “Raisin’ Me a Country Girl”
Writers: RaeLynn/Rhett Akins/Will Bundy; Producer: Corey Crowder; Label: RL
–Twangin,’ electrified country. The lyric is inspired by the singer bringing up a feisty little mini-her (”sweet” but “hard as nails”).
JESSIE JAMES DECKER & BILLY CURRINGTON / “I Still Love You”
Writers: Matt Dragstrem/Josh Kear/Chris Tompkins; Producer: Matt Dragstrem; Label: Warner/Atlantic
–They harmonize beautifully together. The deliberate, monotonous tempo plods a mite too much.
JAMESON RODGERS / “I’m on a Dirt Road”
Writers: Brent Anderson/Hunter Phelps/Jake Mitchell/Jameson Rodgers; Producers: Jake Mitchell/Chris Farren; Label: Sony
–Jameson has a new collection titled Highways and Dirt Roads. This dynamic track from it traces a country boy’s heartache, triggered by a Strait song on the radio. As always, this artist is a pure-country solid citizen. Turn him up.
MICHELLE WRIGHT / “Small Town”
Writers: Danielle Bourjeaurd/Michelle Wright/Rick Ferrell; Producer: Bob Funk; Label: Audium/BFD
–This Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame member has returned with a new collection titled Milestone. This bopping single from it is a melodic autobiography of her musical journey. She still sounds frisky and fine.
ELLA LANGLEY / “Country Boy’s Dream Girl”
Writers: Ella Langley/Will Bundy/Aaron Raitere/Smith Anquist; Producer: Will Bundy; Label: Columbia
–You’ll fall in love with her Alabama accent. The chiming, echoey production and the song’s down-home lyric don’t hurt a bit. This one’s a winner.
BOY NAMED BANJO / “Heart Attack”
Writers: William Reames/Barton Davies/Ryan Tyndell/Jeff Hyde; Producer: Oscar Charles; Label: Mercury
–The sheer musicality of these native Nashvillians just floors me. The playing is so accomplished, the singing is hearty and the songwriting is hooky as heck. They sound ultra contemporary, with a bluegrassy vibe beneath a fiery country-rock track. This deserves lotsa spins.
TYLER THOMPSON / “Won’t Take Long”
Writers: Tyler Thompson/Will Hoge/Gordon Sampson; Producer: Steve Jordan; Label: Sony
–Workmanlike country, with a steady beat, an extremely simple melody and a decent, double-tracked vocal. The production is better than the song deserves. He’s a former top movie producer turned country artist.
RANDY HOUSER / “Country Round Here Tonight”
Writers: Randy Houser/Brice Long/Jeff Hyde; Producers: Randy Houser/Blake Chancey; Label: Magnolia Music Group
–I’m passing on this one. The song’s lyric of honky-tonk life almost rings with truth. The ambiance is described, the bar is depicted, the sounds are right. There is one major problem, and that’s the description of the patrons. The men are all working on the farm all day. The women are all lying in the sun, working on their tans. What century is he living in that women aren’t working as hard as men do?