What is past is present. This week, The Judds and Ken Mellons are returning with records that reinvent their respective sounds. Loretta Lynn, Sheryl Crow & Miranda Lambert revisit a country classic and earn a Disc of the Day honor in the bargain.
It’s high time we checked up on Nashville’s ever-expanding pop/rock community. There’s a little big of everything to sample, from the hard rock of November to the singer-songwriter vibe of Alyssa Bonagura, from the over-the-top personality of Joanna Cotten to the introspective-and-hooky Dave Barnes, from the soul sisters of Kentucky Thunder to the new-wavey Jeff the Brotherhood.
This is apparently Country Ballads Week. Almost all of the class acts in this stack of platters are making their marks with slower tempi fare. James Otto, Lorrie Morgan, John Mellencamp, Charlie Louvin, the LoCash Cowboys, Jerrod Niemann and Teea Goans ain’t about rockin’ the house. They have generally thoughtful things to say.
The competition is at a really high level this week. I can’t remember when there were so many really fine songs going head to head during one listening session. “I Make a Difference,” “Bad Angel,” “Raymond” and “Who Are You When I’m Not Around” all tugged at my emotions in different ways. It’s also a really good sign when there are so many worthy newcomers making noise.
You say you want some tempo tunes? Well, step right up. This week’s stack of platters contains a bevy of boppers. Marty Stuart, The McClymonts, Blaine Larsen, Mason Douglas and Eric Heatherly are all tapping their toes. Margaret Durante and Jewel are both breezy, too.
The stars are blindingly bright this week. Here for your listening enjoyment are top-tier new sounds from Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts, Sugarland and Jamey Johnson. That’s what I call an embarrassment of riches. Up-and-comers like Jaron & The Long Road to Love and Crossin’ Dixon have fresh offerings, too.
These may be the Dog Days of summer, but some of the puppies in this stack of new tunes are as cute as the dickens. Ashley Gearing, Taylor Swift, The Roys and Amber Hayes are all bopping brightly. Joey + Rory have teamed with The Zac Brown Band to record an excellent ode to country’s core fans. Jesse Lee wins the DisCovery Award. She not only has a richly evocative country vocal style, but also the listening session’s best written song.
It’s Independents’ Day. As regular readers know, I occasionally like to stray off the major-label path and devote a column entirely to indies. Just to survey the scene and see what’s going on.
Can I get a witness for Lloyd Maines? The steel-guitar wonder is behind two of the finest country performances in this stack of platters. And in the case of James Hand, I mean Country with a capital “C.”
Among the new super sounds are efforts by Mark Chesnutt, Train, Kenny Chesney and Matt Kennon. Newcomers Kathe Knight, Manning-Dickson and The Ketucky Linemen are also welcome additions to our audio environment.
- BBR Music Group/BMG Nashville Promotes Two, Hires One February 26, 2024
- LeAnn Rimes Expands ‘The Voice’ Coaching Role February 26, 2024
- Jason Aldean & Songwriters Celebrate ‘Try That In A Small Town’ February 26, 2024
- Warren Zeiders Notches First No. 1 With ‘Pretty Little Poison’ February 26, 2024
- Chayce Beckham Cracks Top Two On MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart February 26, 2024
- JUST IN: Kelly Rich Exits Red Street Records February 26, 2024
- Hill Entertainment Group Grows Team With Two New Members February 26, 2024
- Ian Munsick Slates ‘White Buffalo: Introduce You To God’ For April February 26, 2024
- BREAKING: Warner Music Nashville Promotes Kristen Williams February 26, 2024
- Tune In: MusicRow 2024 CountryBreakout Award Winners Revealed Tomorrow February 26, 2024