I can’t remember a recent listening session with so many well-done platters. Jake Owen has the audio production to beat. Mark Willis has the week’s most striking song. Gloriana is glorious. Kenny Chesney’s bringing the star power. David Bradley has humor and good times on his side.
And then there’s the Disc of the Day. The new trio Pistol Annies is comprised of three deluxe singer-songwriters—Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley.
Their record will take your breath away.
Since those ladies are the only ones with a debut CD today, they also win the DisCovery Award.
DAVID BRADLEY/If You Can’t Make Money
Writer: Jon Randall/Brad Paisley/Bill Anderson; Producer: Brady Seals; Publisher: Reynsong/Wha Ya Say/House of Sea Gayle/Sony-ATV Tree/Mr. Bubba, BMI/ASCAP; Gecko (track)
—Get a load of those songwriter credits. Too bad they couldn’t find anybody talented to pen this thing. It’s a chugging bopper with plenty of humor in the lyric and a party crowd shouting in the background. A good time was had by all.
JAKE OWEN/Alone With You
Writer: Catt Gravitt/J.T. Harding/Shane McAnally; Producer: Joey Moi & Rodney Clawson; Publisher: Songs of Maxx/Tunes of R and T Direct/Razor & Tie/Songs Music/A Mighty Seven/Songs for Beans/JTX/Little Blue Egg/Crazy Water/Kobalt, SESAC/BMI/ASCAP; RCA (track)
—Wonderfully atmospheric, with a deep-twang sonic bed, a sexy mood and a swirling melody. This fevered dream of pent-up desire is nothing short of a minor masterpiece. Do you hear that noise? It’s superstardom knocking on Jake’s door.
AMY DALLEY/Coming Out Of The Pain
Writer: Dalley/Sizemore; Producer: New Voice Entertainment; Publisher: Bro N Sis/Madjacksongs, BMI; AmyDalley (track) (www.amydalley.com)
—The title tune to Dalley’s new CD comes on like gangbusters with its gunshot percussion and grinding guitars. It’s a driving, female-empowerment song of survival.
SCOTTY McCREERY/The Trouble With Girls
Writer: Phillip White/Chris Tompkins; Producer: Mark Bright; Publisher: Songs of Universal/Jorjax/Big Loud Songs/Angel River/Big Loud Bucks, BMI/ASCAP; Mercury/19 (track)
—Scotty’s sophomore single is a softly drawled ballad of romantic confusion. His vocal performance sounds like the teen he is, but Bright’s production is a model of sophistication.
MATT GARY/Beautiful Life
Writer: Frank J. Myers/Gary Baker/Nicky Chinn; Producer: Frank Myers; Publisher: Sixteen Stars/Frank Myers/HoriPro/WB/On the Bluff/Ten Ten/Nicky Chinn, BMI/ASCAP; 17/Quarterback (www.mattgarymusic.com)
—There’s hard times all around, but when you have love, nothing else matters. This soaring, propulsive rocker practically begs you to turn it up.
Writer: Kenny Chesney/Brett James; Producer: Buddy Cannon & Kenny Chesney; Publisher: none listed, ASCAP; BNA (track)
—The track behind him is boiling hot, perhaps a little too much so. The song and his vocal performance are both totally classy.
Writer: Barry Dean/Luke Laird/Brett Eldredge; Producer: Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton & Brent Rowan; Publisher: none listed; Blaster (www.nealmccoy.com)
—The whistling and finger-snap opening correctly predict that you’re in for a breezy, good-times tune. Lightweight, but harmless.
GLORIANA/(Kissed You) Good Night
Writer: Tom Gossin/Josh Kear; Producer: Matt Serletic; Publisher: Gossin/Global Dog/Lunalight, ASCAP; Emblem/Warner Bros.
—I remain a fan. Young love has seldom sounded so tuneful, harmonious and downright delicious. Everything about this audio confection pleases me. Play it again.
PISTOL ANNIES/Hell On Heels
Writer: Miranda Lambert/Ashley Monroe/Angaleena Presley; Producer: Frank Liddell & Mike Wrucke; Publisher: Sony-ATV Tree/Pink Dog/Reynsong/Ayden/Ten Ten, BMI/ASCAP; Columbia (track)
—The Pistol Annies CD leads off with this bluesy, moody title tune that grabs you by the ears and doesn’t let go. This thing hisses like a rattlesnake ready to strike. All three of these gals have smokey, sensuous vocal chops with attitude to spare.
MARK WILLS/Crazy Being Home
Writer: Chris Lindsey/Brad Warren/Brett Warren/Robin Lindsey; Producer: Chris Lindsey; Publisher: none listed; Gracie/Starlight (track)
—This is what is so great about country music. No other genre tells stories this powerfully. And what other style would even think to write a song about a soldier’s post traumatic stress disorder? Strong stuff. Wills walks it like he talks it: He has gone to Afghanistan seven times to sing for the troops.