It’s Boys Town here at DISClaimer today.
Caitlyn Smith and Chapel Hart are trying their best, but this listening session belonged to the likes of Tyler Hubbard, Chris Janson, Mitchell Tenpenny, Hardy, Thomas Rhett and their musical brothers.
Riding at the front of the herd is Chris Young, who has the Disc of the Day.
RESTLESS ROAD / “On My Way”
Writers: Colton Pack/Garrett Nichols/Kyle Clark/Lindsay Rimes/Zach Beeken; Producer: Dann Huff; Label: RCA/1021 Entertainment
–Their best effort yet. It’s a sweet waltz about striving to become a better person, loaded with insight and philosophical musings. The lyric might be about being a work in progress, but this single is definitely a finished project. Play this.
THOMAS RHETT / “Angels (Don’t Always Have Wings)”
Writers: Thomas Rhett/Julian Bunetta/Jaten Dimsdale/Josh Thompson; Producers: Dann Huff/Julian Bunetta; Label: Valory
–This deliberately paced ballad expresses gratitude with a terrific falsetto leap in the chorus. Gently listenable.
CAITLYN SMITH / “Lately”
Writers: Caitlyn Smith/Gordie Sampson/Troy Verges; Producer: Caitlyn Smith; Label: Monument
–The melody of this power ballad is vocally challenging, but she meets every low dip and high soprano passage with aplomb. A country performance that name checks Beethoven and Dostoevsky? Believe it.
CHRIS YOUNG / “Looking for You”
Writers: Chris Young/Chris DeStefano/James McNair/Emily Weisband; Producers: Chris Young/Chris DeStefano; Label: RCA
–One of my favorite male country voices returns with a pile driver that begs to be cranked up to “10.” The quest for love has seldom rocked so splendidly.
DREW PARKER / “At the End of the Dirt Road”
Writers: Ben Hayslip/Brock Berryhill/Jameson Rodgers; Producers: Phil O’Donnel/Scott Hendricks; Label: Warner
–Parker is up for a Grammy this year for co-writing the Luke Combs mega hit “Doin’ This.” He’s no slouch as a record maker, himself, as this title tune to his forthcoming EP illustrates. It’s an ode to rural bliss with some echoey guitar sonics added for atmosphere.
TYLER HUBBARD / “Dancin’ in the Country”
Writers: Jon Nite/Keith Urban/Ross Copperman/Tyler Hubbard; Producers: Jordan Schmidt/Tyler Hubbard; Label: EMI
–Lotsa fun. The bopper invites her out for a dance floor spin or three. The beats don’t stop for one moment. By the way, the video is hilarious.
MICHAEL WARREN / “Another Round”
Writers: Ben Stennis/Erik Dylan/Joey Hyde; Producer: Aaron Eshuis; Label: MW
–Breezy and utterly delightful. This wafting, airy, swirling outing captures young romance perfectly. Warren’s easy-going delivery is flawlessly matched by a dreamy production.
TOM WOPAT / “County Line”
Writer: Tom Wopat; Producers: Tom Wopat/David Finck; Label: TW
–Since his days on The Dukes of Hazzard and as a country hit maker of the 1980s, Wopat has carved out an enviable career as a Broadway-musicals star. His return to country record-making has a bluesy edge in this minor-key cautionary tale. It’s about a boy headed for trouble in a place where bad things happen. The recording with his road band sounds like it was recorded live in the studio.
CHAPEL HART / “Glory Days”
Writers: Danica Hart/Devynn Hart/Trea Swindle/Jim Beavers; Producer: none listed; Label: CH
–This bopper describes their life and adventures on the road and at home. It’s tuneful and enjoyable, but they need more polish in the production.
MITCHELL TENPENNY / “We Got History”
Writers: Mitchell Tenpenny/Andy Albert/Devin Dawson/Jordan Schmidt; Producers: Mitchell Tenpenny/Jordan Schmidt; Label: Riser House/Columbia
–The enveloping warmth of his voice is the magnetic attraction here. A throbbing production and the lyric of romantic regret add to the single’s magic. I’m into this sound all the way. Previously reviewed in November, the tune is getting a new boost this month with the release of its video.
HARDY / “The Mockingbird & The Crow”
Writers: Michael Hardy/Brett Tyler/Jordan Schmidt; Producers: Joey Moi/Derek Wells/Michael Hardy/Jordan Schmidt; Label: Big Loud
–This gifted fellow describes his journey as a tunesmith, accompanied by a beautifully twangy production, in the “Mockingbird” portion of the performance. Then he abruptly becomes a yelling, in-your-face hip-hopper in the rock-track “Crow” segment. You figure it out.
CHRIS JANSON / “All I Need Is You”
Writers: Ashley Gorley/Brad Clawson/Chris Janson/Mitch Oglesby; Producers: Julian Raymond/Chris Janson/Scott Borchetta; Label: BMLG
–A straight-ahead love song, delivered with his usual earnestness.
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