The McClymonts, Keenie Word, Justin Haigh, J.T. Hodges and Jesse Keith Whitley are the names in the first category. In photo finish, Justin Haigh edges out Hodges for the DisCovery Award.
Billy Currington, Thompson Square, Jerrod Niemann and The LoCash Cowboys comprise the second category. My money is on the always entertaining Jerrod Niemann. He has the Disc of the Day.
The Hall of Famer is Charley Pride, who deserves a better song.
JUSTIN HAIGH/All My Best Friends Are Behind Bars
Writer: J. Haigh; Producer: Lew Curatolo; Publisher: Apache, ASCAP; Apache Ranch (track) (www.justinhaigh.com)
—He has a really cool voice, full of drawled resonance and honky-tonk authority. The drinking song is as cool as its title implies, and the band is country, country, country. An absolute winner.
JERROD NIEMANN/One More Drinkin’ Song
Writer: Jerrod Niemann/Richie Brown; Producer: Jerrod Niemann & Dave Brainard; Publisher: New Songs of Sea Gayle/Ozworth/Words & Music, BMI; Arista/Sea Gayle (track)
—The boy is on a roll. This time out, he’s rolling through a swaying, lilting, beach-vibe tune that has its tongue firmly in cheek. Care to sing along? I think so.
J.T. HODGES/Hunt You Down
Writer: J.T. Hodges/Mark Collie/Rivers Rutherford; Producer: Mark Wright, Don Cook & Mark Collie; Publisher: Songs of Universal/Adeline 29/Sing Station/Boomer Sooie/Collie Dawg/Alex Bridge/Memphianna, BMI/ASCAP; Show Dog Universal
—I love the bubbling, bobbing production. This fizzy little outing is about a casual sexual hook up that has a dozen built-in smiles. Jaunty and irresistible.
BILLY CURRINGTON/Love Done Gone
Writer: Shawn Camp/Marv Green; Producer: Carson Chamberlain & Billy Currington; Publisher: International Dog/Big Yellow Dog/Scamporee/Warner-Tamerlane, BMI; Mercury (CDX)
—I’m not crazy about brass in country music, but this single’s melody is so incredibly catchy that you could arrange it with any instrumentation in the world and still have a winner. Billy, as usual, sings with warmth and sincerity.
LOCASH COWBOYS/You Got Me
Writer: Chris Lucas/Preston Brust/Eric Halbig; Producer: Jeffrey Steele; Publisher: Sony-ATV Cross Keys/Sony-ATV Tree/Vibrating String/Cherry Heart, ASCAP/BMI; Stroudavarious (www.locashcowboys.com)
—Sunshiny bright, with a totally positive, happy lyric and a breezily rocking tempo. Very summertimey. These guys seem to go from strength to strength with each release.
THOMPSON SQUARE/I Got You
Writer: Shawna Thompson/Keifer Thompson/Jason Sellers/Paul Jenkins; Producer: New Voice Entertainment; Publisher: This Is Hit/Fibber & Molly/Big Loud Bucks/Magic Mustang/Mack 2/Sony-ATV Cross Keys/Becky’s Boy/Sony-ATV Tree, ASCAP/BMI; Stoney Creek (CDX) (615-320-1372)
—The LoCash Cowboys are rocking to “You Got Me.” Thompson Square is rocking to “I Got You.” Equally well, I might add. Take your pick.
JESSE KEITH WHITLEY/Kentucky Thunder
Writer: Sonny Lemaire/Sam Tate/Annie Tate; Producer: James Stroud; Publisher: none listed, BMI/SESAC; Octabrook (CDX) (615-426-1786)
—The title refers to moonshine whiskey, as well as to fire-and-brimstone preaching and wild country singing. Appropriately, the performance is laced with snarling guitar work and minor-key “outlaw” menace. This well-written song is the debut single from the son of Lorrie Morgan and the late Keith Whitley.
THE McCLYMONTS/Wrapped Up Good
Writer: Brooke McClymont/Samantha McClymont/Mollie McClymont/Nathan Chapman; Producer: Nathan Chapman; Publisher: EMI/Sony-ATV, no performance rights listed; UMA/Fontana (CDX) (615-269-7071)
—Creamy harmonies and a slick production are the calling cards here. A smooth-tasting audio beverage.
CHARLEY PRIDE/America The Great
Writer: Larry Mercey/Edward Allen Gowens; Producer: Charley Pride; Publisher: Larry Mercey, SOCAN/BMI; Music City (CDX) (www.charleypride.com)
—“Are we losing family values/Did we push God aside?” this asks. The big concerns are that the 10 Commandments aren’t in the courthouses and “The Lord’s Prayer” isn’t in the classrooms. In other words, Buddhists need not apply.
KEENIE WORD/The New Girl
Writer: Billy Aerts/Caroline Deloache; Producer: Billy Aerts; Publisher: Stormey, BMI; KW (track) (www.keenieword.com)
—The title tune to this youngster’s five-song EP is plaintive and youthful sounding. Well written. It’s kind of surprising that no songwriter before now has addressed this universally felt experience of a kid moving to a new place.
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About the AuthorRobert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.
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