Country youngsters rule the day here at DISClaimer.
Our lineup of baby acts includes such talents as Griffen Palmer, Alana Springsteen, Corey Kent, Rusty Truck and Bryan Ruby, all of whom are worth your spins.
The DISCovery Award goes to Megan Moroney, who is also a member of this class of 2023.
The Disc of the Day also goes to a newcomer to the column, Lukas Graham. What a singer. Pair him with Mickey Guyton and you have a duet to die for.
Mind you, the team was not without worthy challengers. The Gibson Brothers, Rusty Truck with Sheryl Crow, Elle King and Chase Rice were the other contenders for top honors this week.
Play on, country-music lovers.
COREY KENT / “Man of the House”
Writers: Corey Kent/Austin Goodloe/Joybeth Taylor/Lydia Vaughan; Producer: Jay Joyce; Label: RCA
–Up-and-comer Kent stages his Grand Ole Opry debut on Saturday (Jan. 14). The Gold-certified “Wild As Her” continues to climb, and while it does he has released this marvelous acoustic track. As before, his sandpapery vocal rasp is extraordinarily emotive. Accompanied by just his guitar, he communicates better than he does with rocked-up production. It also allows the lyric of this song to shine. It’s the touching story of a boy trying to fill shoes that are too big.
CHRIS YOUNG / “All Dogs Go to Heaven”
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Label: RCA
–Amen to this sentiment. With the built-in sincerity of his singing, Chris is the perfect artist for this message. A mid-tempo track rolls along gently while he promises us that the dogs we have loved will be waiting for us at the Pearly Gates.
GRIFFEN PALMER / “Second Guessing”
Writers: Griffen Palmer/Corey Crowder/Ester Dean/Andrew DeRoberts/Tyler Hubbard/Brian Kelley/Shane McAnally/Ben Simonetti/Ryan Tedder/Geoff Warburton; Producer: Joey Moi; Label: Big Loud
–The song was previously released by FGL, but as we have learned to expect, the songwriter’s version is usually superior. His tenor vocal is stacked with harmonies as the track proceeds at a steady, deliberate, plodding pace. I think it could use a tempo goose.
THE GIBSON BROTHERS / “One Minute of You”
Writer: Leigh Gibson; Producer: Jerry Douglas; Label: GB
–These talented siblings are well-known to bluegrass lovers. Their new Darkest Hour CD takes aim at the mainstream country market, and this single just might do the trick. The lovely, echoey ballad is about watching your daughter grow and cherishing every moment. Their twin lead acoustic guitars are enchanting, too.
MEGAN MORONEY / “Tennessee Orange”
Writers: Ben Williams/David Fanning/Megan Moroney/Paul Jenkins; Producer: Kristian Bush; Label: Sony
–She confides to her mama that she’s fallen in love. “He’s got me doing things I’ve never done….I’m wearing Tennessee orange for him.” Even though she was raised on red for the Dawgs. She begs not to let her dad know, because “he’d blow a fuse.” Can you blame him? She’s learning the lyrics to “Rocky Top,” for crying out loud. A sweet, charming, waltz-time outing.
ELLE KING / “Tulsa”
Writers: Elle King/Ella Langley/Bobby Hamrick/Matt McKinney; Producers: Elle King/Ross Copperman; Label: Columbia
–Bodaciously rocking, yet undeniably hillbilly. Her feisty attitude is at the top of the flagpole on this sass fest. Here’s the deal: He didn’t leave her for a city in Oklahoma. “If you spell it back to front, you’ll know what I mean.” I guess she doesn’t like his new chick too much.
LAYNG MARTINE JR. / “Music Man”
Writer: Layng Martine Jr.; Producer: Tucker Martine; Label: Bloodshot
–Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member Layng Martine Jr. teams up with his alt-rock producer son Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, Sufjan Stevens, Niko Case, The Decemberists, etc.). The combination of the 81-year-old troubadour and the shaggy haired hipster members of the steel-soaked band is intriguing listening and ultimately kinda groovy.
RUSTY TRUCK & SHERYL CROW / “Find My Way”
Writers: Mark Seliger/Michael Duff; Producer: Larry Campbell; Label: RT
–The frontman of the band is noted celebrity photographer Mark Seliger. He’s also a first-rate singer-songwriter, as is clear on this warm, languid ode about a quest for love. Crow’s ethereal harmonies and “answered” passages add to the audio excellence. Thoroughly pleasurable from opening note to closing.
CHASE RICE / “I Hate Cowboys”
–Writers: Chase Rice/Michael Hardy/Ross Copperman /Brad Tursi; Producer: Oscar Charles; Label: BBR
–As you might expect, he hates them because they steal your gal away. Hit bound.
BRYAN RUBY / “Hell of a Year”
Writer: Parker McCollum; Producer: Adam Sickler; Label: BR
–Ruby’s burnished baritone is the ideal deliverer of this heartache honky-tonker. He totally has the vocal chops for a classic country weeper. Play it.
LUKAS GRAHAM & MICKEY GUYTON / “Home Movies”
Writers: David LaBrel/Jaramye Daniels/Nicolle Galyon/Rory Andrew; Producers: Rory Andrew/Markus Artved; Label: Warner
–Graham’s strong, penetrating delivery is powerful enough. In fact, he’s downright hair raising in his upper register. Add Guyton’s sensational soprano and you’ve got total audio magic. The superb production is the icing on this scrumptious cake. He is a Danish pop artist with billions of international streams, and this stunning duet stakes his claim for country stardom. In a word, awesome.
ALANA SPRINGSTEEN / “You Don’t Deserve a Country Song”
Writers: Alana Springsteen/Geoff Warburton/Michael Whitworth/Mitchell Tenpenny/Will Weatherly; Producers: Chris LaCorte/ Will Weatherly ; Label: Columbia Records NY/Sony Music Nashville
–Is this the greatest country song title or what? The youngster bops along as she fires off snarky lines to an ex. Smart and sassy.
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