Teamwork makes the dream work.
A flurry of collaborations mark this edition of DISClaimer. Putting their voices together to create fine listening are Miranda Lambert & Leon Bridges, Bryan Ruby & Ty Herndon, Brothers Osborne and Kenny & Dolly, who are best harmony singers in the bunch.
But the Disc of the Day goes to a solo performer, Parker McCollum. He sounds more and more like a headliner every day.
The DISCovery Award belongs to singer-songwriter Julie Williams, a captivating new talent, for sure.
DYLAN SCOTT / “This Town’s Been Good to Us”
Writers: Dylan Scott/Ashley Gorley/Ryan Vojtesak/John Byron/Taylor Phillips; Producers: Charlie Handsome/Jacob Durrett; Label: Curb
– Memories of a time and place. Nostalgia and reflection for a well-spent youth. Engaging and hearty.
BOY NAMED BANJO / “What Keeps Me Going”
Writers: Barton Davies/Pat McLaughlin/William Reames; Producer: Oscar Charles; Label: Mercury Nashville
– Excellent vocal harmonies, a gentle vibe, soaring instrumental work and a feel-good message are the hallmarks of this uplifting ballad. The members of this band have been playing together since they were teens, and it shows.
JASON ALDEAN / “Try That in a Small Town”
Writers: Kurt Allison/Tully Kennedy/Kelley Lovelace/Neil Thrasher; Producer: Michael Knox; Label: BBR
– Tuneless, bellicose bellowing about how evil big cities are.
KENNY ROGERS & DOLLY PARTON / “Tell Me That You Love Me”
Writers: Todd Cerney/Buffy Lawson/Eric Pittarelli; Producer: Tony Brown; Label: UMG
– The late Kenny Rogers has a new album titled Life Is Like A Song. It contains previously unreleased performances and rarities, including this long-lost duet with Dolly. The jaunty rhythm and buoyant mood burble along while these two superb harmony vocalists bounce their voices merrily against each other. A total smile.
BECKY HOBBS / “About the Children”
Writer: Rebecca Ann Hobbs; Producer: none listed; Label: Beckaroo Records
– “It’s just another shooting in the U.S.A.” is the opening line of this heartfelt ballad about our society’s epidemic of gun violence. Our children are being murdered. “Thoughts and prayers are not enough,” she sings, adding, “When are we gonna say we’ve had enough?” and chanting a middle passage that demands reforming our gun laws.
BROTHERS OSBORNE / “Goodbye’s Kickin’ In”
Writers: John Osbornes/Lee Miller/Mike Elizondo/TJ Osborne; Producer: Mike Elizondo; Label: EMI Nashville
– This change-of-pace number is a bluesy, moody stomper with hot guitar licks that don’t quit. Highly listenable.
PARKER McCOLLUM / “Burn It Down”
Writers: Parker McCollum/Hillary Lindsay/Lori McKenna/Liz Rose; Producer: Jon Randall; Label: MCA Nashville
– The smoldering heartache song bursts into flame on its bridge and keeps on burning to its smoking-ashes finale. McCollum’s delivery is appropriately edgy and pained. The man is a star.
JULIE WILLIAMS / “Sugarcoat”
Writers: Julie Williams/Alex Slay; Producers: Michael Beckhart/Gabriel Klein/Gideon Klein; Label: Julie Williams Music
– Every time I have seen her at a Black Opry show, Williams has impressed me with her talent. Now she’s been chosen for the 2023 CMT Next Women of Country class. Last week, she celebrated the release of her debut EP with a show at Analog. On its title tune and first video, she’s showing her sweet self so he will never see her hurting. It’s a lilting, bright, pop-ish ditty that showcases her songwriting talent as well as her winsome vocal style.
MIRANDA LAMBERT & LEON BRIDGES / “If You Were Mine”
Writers: Miranda Lambert/Ashley Monroe/Jesse Frasure; Producer: Jon Randall; Label: Columbia
– These two Texans melt their voices together like an ice-cream sundae on a summer day in this deliciously dreamy duet. The band provides tasty licks between their vocal phrases to complete the sweet dish.
KIDD G / “Daylight Savings”
Writers: Alex Maxwell/Gabe Foust/Jonathan Gabriel Horne/Joybeth Taylor; Producer: Dann Huff; Label: Rebel/Geffen Records
– Rocking country that sounds vaguely like an Aldean outtake. Youthful and rousing.
LAUREN ALAINA / “A Walk in the Bar”
Writers: Lauren Alaina/Casey Brown/Lydia Vaughan/Parker Welling; Producer: Joey Moi; Label: Big Loud
– Getting over him is as easy as a barroom pick-up. A melody would have been nice.
BRYAN RUBY & TY HERNDON / “The Standouts”
Writers: Bryan Ruby/Chad Sellers/Anthony Fiddler; Producer: Smith Curry; Label: Pivotal Records
– This is a power-packed anthem celebrating heroes who display courage in their lives. Although it’s not specific in the lyric, they intend for it to be a song for Pride Month. Because among the several heroes depicted in the song are LGBTQ+ folks.
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