One of the goals of the just concluded Country Radio Seminar is to introduce new country talents, so it’s appropriate that today’s edition of DisClaimer has a flurry of ‘em.
Making their debuts in the column are Meghan Patrick, Avery Anna, Teddy Robb Tony Evans Jr. and Tucker Beathard, with Chase Matthew marking his sophomore appearance. Tony Evans Jr. emerges with the DisCovery Award.
”Queen of Me,” indeed. Give feisty, creative Shania Twain her due with the Disc of the Day prize.
AVERY ANNA / “Just Cause I Love You”
Writers: Farrago/Justin Wilson/Kyle Fishman/Seth Ennis; Producer: David Fanning; Label: Warner
– There is a deliciously throaty quality in her voice that’s hard to resist. The song of being hopelessly enthralled with someone who’s left you behind is heartache on the hoof. For further demonstrations of this youngster’s abilities, check out “I Love You More,” “Narcissist” and “Critic.”
TRAVIS DENNING / “Strawberry Wine and a Cheap Six Pack”
Writers: Travis Denning/Thomas Archer/Jerry Flowers/Paul DiGiovanni; Producers: Jeremy Stover/Paul DiGiovanni; Label: Mercury
– Sunny, summer-y, propulsive and hooky. As always, his cool, furry, country boy vocal is a pure pleasure.
TONY EVANS JR. / “Need Somebody”
Writers: Fred Wilhelm/Tony Evans Jr.; Producers: Ron Fair; Label: TEJ
– He’s a baritone balladeer with a smooth intimacy in his delivery that grabs your ears and won’t let go. The little slides into his falsetto range are magical. I’m in. Please send more.
SHANIA TWAIN / “Queen of Me”
Writers: Shania Twain/Adam Messinger; Producer: Adam Messinger; Label: Republic
– More hooks than a tuna boat. It’s all here: A totally cool vocal performance, an ear-worm melody, fabulous production thump and a self-affirming lyric. She makes records like no one else. This is the title tune of her latest.
TUCKER BEATHARD / “Who I Am With You”
Writers: Tucker Beathard/Nathan Chapman/Jeffrey Steele; Producer: Oscar Charles/Ryan Tyndell; Label: Warner
– It’s heartfelt and thoughtful, yet with an undertow of energy. The production is ear tickling, but his troubadour persona remains in the spotlight. The lyric unspools his desire to live the better-angel side of himself. I think I’m a new fan.
BARBARA FAIRCHILD / “And I Love You So”
Writers: Don McLean; Producer: Aaron Dethrage; Label: Country Rewind/Hindsight
– Fairchild created a string of brilliant discs in the 1970s. This romantic chestnut is one of her previously unreleased performances. It has been given a production update and now serves as the title tune of a new album by her. This is a master class in country singing.
CHASE MATTHEW / “The Way I Am”
Writers: Chase Matthew/Hunter Phelps/Brock Berryhill/Andy Albert; Producers: Austin Shawn/Brock Berryhill; Label: Warner
– It’s a country heartache downer, but it rocks. He reaches into his upper vocal range when he hits the choruses. Radio ready.
MEGHAN PATRICK / “Ours”
Writers: Meghan Patrick/Joey Hyde/Matt McGinn/Lydia Vaughn; Producers: Joey Hyde/Aaron Eshuis; Label: Riser House
– This chugs along handsomely as she sings of running into her ex at “their” bar with another gal on his arm. Patrick is a big star North of the Border, with two CCMA Female Vocalist of the Year honors. I can certainly hear why. That said, the shifts in tempo between verse and chorus kinda interrupted my enjoyment.
TIM McGRAW / “Standing Room Only”
Writers: Craig Wiseman/Tommy Cecil/Patrick Murphy; Producers: Bryon Gallimore/Tim McGraw; Label: Big Machine
– This superstar’s career has been built on his ability to attract great songs. Chalk up another one. On this anthem, he wishes to live a life so worthy that when he dies, it will be standing room only at his wake. McGraw rules eternally.
TEDDY ROBB / “Stay Single”
Writers: Teddy Robb/Pete Good/James McNair/Brandon Ratcliff; Producer: Pete Good; Label: TR
– Nicely done. The tune rolls along with a loping gate while he falls in love, despite the vow in the song’s title. Gently persuasive.
TY HERNDON & TERRI CLARK / “Dents on a Chevy”
Writers: Starner Jones/Leslie Satcher/Will Robinson; Producer: Jimmy Thow; Label: Pivotal Records
– They are both such splendid country singers, so there’s no way this bopper couldn’t come up a winner. There’s a pause in the production that gives him a vocal spotlight, and her harmony work throughout is flawless. Irresistibly catchy.
RESTLESS ROAD / “I Don’t Wanna Be That Guy”
Writers: Colton Pack/Garrett Nichols/Jared Keim/Travis Wood/Zach Beeken; Producer: Lindsay Rimes; Label: RCA
– They swap lead vocals admirably. As always, the trio harmonies are seamless. The single is a bit too slick and overproduced.
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