The most noteworthy country music tracks in this edition of DISClaimer are collaborations.
They’re all pretty unusual. Hip-hopper Flo Rida is with Russell Dickerson, Will Hoge is joined by his fellow country “outsiders” of the Black Opry. Billy Ray Cyrus is singing along with pop singer Firerose. Old Dominion has forged an audio partnership with Megan Moroney. Old Crow Medicine show is making merry with Sierra Ferrell, and Morgan Wade is steaming things up with her hot girlfriend.
Carly Pearce is known as a willing collaborator (Lee Brice, Ashley McBryde, Matthew West, Patty Loveless, Chris Stapleton), but she’s flying solo on the Disc of the Day, “Country Music Made Me Do It.” Kasey Tyndall, also a solo, wins the DISCovery Award.
KYLIE MORGAN / “A Few Hearts Ago”
Writers: Kylie Morgan/Casey Brown/James McNair; Producer: Casey Brown; Label: EMI Nashville
– Pop-ish, pretty and lively. There’s a lot of audio compression and electronics going on here, but her vocal still cuts through. Despite missteps and past failures, she finds romance with a hopeful heart.
CHASE RICE / “Bench Seat”
Writer: Chase Rice; Producer: Oscar Charles; Label: Broken Bow Records
– This is a touching ballad about a man and his dog. Its video is a cautionary tale about suicide that is becoming a film-festival favorite. As usual, Rice sings with conviction.
KASEY TYNDALL / “Dirt Road to Hell”
Writers: Kasey Tyndall/Faren Rachels/Gary Garris/Josh Mirenda/Nick Columbia/Reid Haughton; Producer: Derek Wells; Label: River House Artists
– He’s been fooling around, and boy is she pissed off. The country rocker blazes with fiery attitude. The track is thunderous and overwhelming.
CARLY PEARCE / “Country Music Made Me Do It”
Writers: Carly Pearce/Josh Osborne/Shane McAnally; Producers: Carly Pearce/Josh Osborne/Shane McAnally; Label: Big Machine Records
– Charming. This lilting, endearing performance is an ode to the soundtrack of her life, and Pearce sings every note with truth and authenticity. She was born to wear a country crown.
RHIANNON GIDDENS / “Too Little, Too Late, Too Bad”
Writers: Rhiannon Giddens/Dirk Powell; Producer: Jack Splash; Label: Nonesuch
– Giddens takes a left turn and attempts Aretha-style soul music. She doesn’t really have the voice for it. Pass.
OLD DOMINION & MEGAN MORONEY / “Can’t Break Up Now”
Writers: none listed; Producers: none listed; Label: Sony Music Nashville
– Nicely done. The voices blend well on this well-crafted power ballad about how two souls are too intertwined to separate. It might not be hit material, but it’s smooth listening all the way.
HEARTLAND / “No Tomorrow”
Writers: Brett Beavers/Adam Sanders/Jordan Schmidt; Producer: Jimmy Ritchie; Label: Yellowhammer
– Since the heyday of “I Loved Her First,” the group has acquired a new lead singer. This live-for-today anthem is their first new single in more than 10 years. On it, the band’s harmonies are still potent, and the production is just as polished as ever. Well worth your spins.
JESSI COLTER / “Standing on the Edge of Forever”
Writer: Jessi Colter; Producer: Margo Price; Label: Appalachia Record Co.
– This is a snappy, gospel-ish country rocker with cool wah-wah guitar, soul-sister backing vocals, organ-piano underpinning and an echoey lead vocal. A welcome return for the legendary, outlaw-country queen.
MORGAN WADE / “Fall In Love With Me”
Writer: Morgan Wade; Producer: Sadler Vaden; Label: Ladylike Records/RCA Nashville
– Bopping and cheerful. It makes falling in love sound like the easiest, most pleasant thing in the world. The video is a smiling, erotic outing featuring Wade as a seductress.
RUSSELL DICKERSON & FLO RIDA / “Beauty and the Beach”
Writers: Russell Dickerson/Ashley Gorley/Jon Nite/Ben Johnson; Producers: Ben Johnson/Johnny Reno; Label: Triple Tigers
– Dickerson’s current single is the ultra-country romance tune “God Gave Me A Girl.” This new tempo track has a hip-hop collaborator, but you can’t take the country outta this guy. A summertime good time.
BILLY RAY CYRUS & FIREROSE / “Plans”
Writer: Diane Warren; Producer: Justin Morgan; Label: Kind Music Group
– This wooshy, romantic pop ballad is pretty much a female solo performance with barely-there vocal backing by the Nashville star.
WILL HOGE & BLACK OPRY / “Can I Be Country Too?”
Writer: Will Hoge; Producer: Will Hoge; Label: EDLO Records
– Hoge’s chorus collaborators here are The Kentucky Gentlemen, Michael Allen, Cheryl Deseree, Carmen Dianne and the Any Way Collective. Everyone takes a turn on the lyric, which asks for inclusion and tolerance. If you read literature, don’t drive a pickup truck, can’t watch college football, aren’t a practicing Christian, vote Democratic, believe that Black Lives Matter, don’t drink beer on a tailgate, eat sushi rather than steak and are okay with gay marriage, can you still be “country?” Very catchy and very jolly. Proceeds benefit MusiCares.
OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW & SIERRA FERRELL / “Belle Meade Cockfight”
Writers: Ketch Secor/Mason Via/Matt Ross-Spang; Producers: Old Crow Medicine Show/Matt Ross-Spang/Sally Williams; Label: ATO Records
– Old Crow had a blow-out album-release party at the new Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery this week. The collection is titled Jubilee. This fabulously hillbilly track from it features dynamic show-woman Ferrell kicking up her heels on a winking, hilarious hoedown with the Opry’s star string band. A bluegrassy, old-timey delight.
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