DISClaimer Single Reviews: Luke Combs’ ‘Mighty Voice Is Unfurled In Majesty’
Is there a more country-music sounding first name than Luke? Discuss.
In the meantime, give a Disc of the Day award to Luke Combs and a DisCovery Award to Luke Grimes.
There’s a lot more to like in today’s country round-up. If you want to feel good about the genre again, I prescribe a listening session that includes Bailey Zimmerman, Carly Pearce, Tim Dugger and the two unrelated Evans folks, Morgan and Tony.
TIM DUGGER / “Buy a Bar”
Writers: Brandon Kinney/Josh Thompson; Producer: Brandon Hood; Label: Curb Records
Cleverly penned and a raucous ride. The video is wonderfully good humored and self deprecating. Recommended.
BAILEY ZIMMERMAN / “Religiously “
Writers: Alex Palmer/Austin Shawn/Bailey Zimmerman/Frank Romano/Marty James; Producers: Austin Shawn/Joel Bruyere; Label: Warner Music Nashville/Elektra
This heartache lament is the title tune of his forthcoming album. It’s his most expressive performance to date, full of the ache and woe of someone who has lost true love and won’t ever get it back.
CHARLES ESTEN / “One Good Move”
Writers: Charles Esten/Sam Backoff/Zarni DeVette/Elise Hayes; Producer: Marshall Altman; Label: none listed
The Nashville TV series alumnus is now on the hit Netflix series Outer Banks. But he continues to pursue his country-music dream in Music City. His latest begins as a soft piano ballad and builds to a super-melodic, oomphy, chesty anthem of loss and regret. Lend him your ears.
MARCUS MUMFORD & MAREN MORRIS / “Look at Us Now”
Writers: Marcus Mumford/Blake Mills; Producer: Blake Mills; Label: Atlantic
A sonic wonderland. It’s currently an Amazon exclusive that will hopefully get wider distribution.
ANN-MARGRET, T.G. SHEPPARD & PETE TOWNSEND / “Bye Bye Love”
Writers: Boudleaux Bryant/Felice Bryant: Producer: none listed; Label: Cleopatra Records
The vocals are compressed to the max, and the mix is muddy. But, hey, she’s a legend, so you know you want to hear it, right? T.G. holds up his end of the duet expertly. Townsend’s guitar gets in a few licks, especially in the finale. By the way, Ann-Margret began her recording career on Music Row.
DYLAN SCOTT & JASON CRABB / “Good Morning Mercy”
Writers: Jason Crabb/Jay DeMarcus/Caleb Ward/Jordan Ward; Producers: Jay DeMarcus; Label: Red Street Records
The song has already been a Christian-music hit for the electrifying Crabb. Teamed with Curb’s Scott, it gets a new lease on life. Crabb takes a high-harmony vocal while Scott holds down the melody, and both men take admirable solo spots.
LUKE COMBS / “5 Leaf Clover”
Writers: Luke Combs/Jessi Alexander/Chase McGill; Producers: Luke Combs/Chip Matthews/Jonathan Singleton; Label: River House/Columbia Nashville
His heart is in his throat on this beautiful song of gratitude and blessings. His mighty voice is unfurled in majesty as he soars professing love on the choruses. The production is wonderfully shaded and restrained. The new Combs album drops tomorrow, and that is where you’ll find this mini masterpiece.
THE HAMMOND BROTHERS / “Cap Guns and Skinny Horses”
Writers: Dale Hammond/Gale Hammonds; Producers: none listed; Label: Dynasty
Very enjoyable. Jangly and thumping with hearty heartland harmonies. A nostalgia-tinged reverie with warmth and spirit.”
CARLY PEARCE / “Should’ve Known Better – Live From Music City”
Writers: Carly Pearce/Jordan Reynolds/Emily Shackelton; Prodcuers: Carly Pearce/Dave Clauss; Label: Big Machine
I don’t usually review live tracks, but this is a special case — a superb country singer at the top of her game who sounds just as good in person as she does in the studio. It’s totally cool when the gals in the audience sing along.
MORGAN EVANS / “On My Own Again”
Writers: Chris DeStefano/Geoff Warburton/Morgan Evans/Zach Kale; Produced by: Chris DeStefano; Label: Warner Music Nashville
Breezy, flowing and wafting — he’s on the road in the wake of a breakup. The guitar plucking is pretty special, too. Marvelously listenable.
TONY EVANS JR. / “Kids We Never Had”
Writers: Fred Wilhelm/Tony Evans Jr.; Producer: Ron Fair; Label: BFD
He’s a smooth, intimate-sounding baritone with a voice to get lost in. It didn’t work out between them, but sometimes he muses about what might have been. This is Evans’ second stunning performance in this column in as many weeks. Surely stardom awaits.
LUKE GRIMES / “Oh Ohio”
Writers: Jessi Alexander/Jon Randall/ Luke Grimes; Producer: Dave Cobb; Label: UMG Nashville, Warner Chappell Music
His vocal rasp is completely gripping as he slowly makes his way through this ballad of sorrowful farewell.