The country music scene is rocking this week.
Blasting into the dog days of summer with tempo tunes are Dan + Shay, Robyn Ottolini, Justin Moore, Reyna Roberts, Breland and our Disc of the Day winner, Walker Hayes.
DISClaimer also has a Latin tinge this week thanks to contributions from Stephanie Urbina Jones and Andrea Vasquez, the latter of whom takes home the DISCovery Award.
CARRIE CUNNINGHAM / “Just Like”
Writers: Carrie Cunningham/Riley Roth; Producers: Carrie Cunningham/Scott Gerow; Label: Music City Melodies
– She calls it “disco country.” I don’t know about that, but along with the insistent R&B groove you get a cool, throaty alto vocalist with total confidence and a solid piece of songwriting. Nicely done.
WALKER HAYES / “Good With Me”
Writers: Walker Hayes/Shane McAnally/Scott Stepakoff; Producers: Walker Hayes/Joe Thibodeau; Label: Monument Records/RCA
– Just when you were wondering what happened to the “Fancy Like” guy, he’s back with a hillbilly earworm that is just as delightful. This ditty is one big grin from start to finish. I love that the verses touch on hot-button topics and the choruses toss ‘em all out the window to warble merrily about good times at the lake. A complete delight.
ANDREA VASQUEZ / “The Bed You Made”
Writers: Andrea Vasquez/Hayley Cardona/Emily Davis; Producer: Chris Condon; Label: AV
– Vasquez is a Song Suffragette who has built a local reputation for her showy club performances. The title tune of her album is a cautionary saga about the consequences of his cheating, delivered in a penetrating, powerful vocal. Promising.
DAN + SHAY / “We Should Get Married”
Writers: Dan Smyers/Jimmy Robbins/Ernest Keith Smith; Producers: Dan Smyers/Scott Hendricks; Label: Warner Music Nashville
– The single remains the red-hot radio fave “Save Me the Trouble.” But in this new video and track, the duo steps out of their balladeer typecasting to show that they can lay down a zippy, dancefloor banger with the best of ‘em. A rampaging blast.
STEPHANIE URBINA JONES & WENDY MOTEN / “Rhinestone Cowgirl”
Writer: Larry Weiss; Producers: Stephanie Urbina Jones/Preston Sullivan; Label: Global Eyes Entertainment, LP /Casa Del Rio Records
– Jones and her Honky-Tonk Mariachi band give this Latina flavor. Time Jumpers member and The Voice runner-up Moten brings the vocal firepower. A female duet in country is rare, and this dandy update of the 1975 Glen Campbell classic makes you eager to hear more. Loved every minute.
BRELAND / “Cowboy Don’t”
Writers: Breland/Zachary Manno/Haleey Mae Campbell; Producers: Sam Sumser/Sean Small/Zachary Manno; Label: Bad Realm/Atlantic Records
– Buckle up. This one’s a thrilling ride. Cowboys will break your heart and treat you like a one-night stand, but Breland promises he won’t on this breakneck country rocker. I think I hear a hit.
BRYAN MARTIN / “We Ride”
Writers: Bryan Martin/Vernon Brown; Producer: Nick Gibbens; Label: Average Joes Entertainment
– This moody, midtempo track wears its southern-rock influence and blue-collar attitude with pride. Martin has a big social media following, and I’ll bet a whole lot of those followers are White, working-class men. This week, his career took a step forward with his debut performance at the Grand Ole Opry on Tuesday evening.
BRIAN KELLEY / “Dirt Cheap”
Writers: Seth Ennis/Wyatt McCubbin/Andy Sheridan; Producer: Dann Huff; Label: Big Machine Records
– Mellow, swaying and gently bopping. It’s an ode to country living, complete with green grass, tin-roof rain, fishing, praying, front-porch swinging, fresh air and a slower-paced lifestyle. Laid-back twang that’s smooth sailing all the way.
GHOST PARTY / “Yankee Reaper”
Writer: McCullough Ferguson; Producer: Steve Christensen; Label: Ghost Party
– It says here that they’re a “Texas psychedelic country band.” It sounds more like garage-country with guitar twang and steel playing in a deep well, plus a whispery lead singer buried in a muddy mix. A thrashing drummer keeps uptempo time. Perhaps “bizarre” is the word I’m looking for.
JUSTIN MOORE / “She’s Got Lovin’ On Her Mind”
Writers: Justin Moore/Brandon Kinney/Jeremy Stover; Producer: Jeremy Stover; Label: The Valory Music Co.
– It’s a country rocker with a naked hottie on its brain.
ROBYN OTTOLINI / “All My Friends Are Hot”
Writers: Robyn Ottolini/Emily Reid; Producer: Cameron Jaymes; Label: Warner Music Nashville/Aleu Records
– A boatload of fun. These gals are out for a par-tay, fellas. They are all babes who turn heads, tie tongues and get free drinks. The lyrics are clever as heck and the track rocks with gusto.
PAT BOONE & CRYSTAL GAYLE / “You and I”
Writer: Frank J. Myers; Producers: Jimmy Nichols/Frank J. Myers; Label: The Gold Label
– Boone was a 1950s pop star and teen heartthrob who is now releasing his first country album. He’s a Nashville native who married Red Foley’s daughter Shirley. She passed away in 2019, and this tune is dedicated to her. It’s a remake of the 1982 duet by Crystal Gayle and Eddie Rabbitt, and she recreates her harmony part here. The ballad’s languid production is awash in strings and steel.
REYNA ROBERTS / “Louisiana”
Writers: none listed; Producers: none listed; Label: Empire Nashville
– Her debut country album drops a week from Friday. Titled Bad Girl Bible, it includes this rousing, strutting new single. Roberts is a take-charge lady who can deliver a tempo tune like nobody’s business.
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