MusicRow Magazine

Exert taken from MusicRow Magazine
August 27, 2014
Written By: Robert K. Oermann

DISClaimer: Country Music Stages a Comeback

Country music stages a comeback this week. Apparently, there are still a few record makers out there who cherish our honky-tonk traditions. One of them is our DisCovery Award winner, James Carothers. His CD is titled, of course, Honky Tonk Land.

There’s also an Ernest Tubb tribute album in this stack of platters. How could it be anything but country, country, country?

The trio of big stars on tap today are solidly country, too, albeit in modern ways. My applause goes to all three, Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley and Lee Brice. Deciding among them for a Disc of the Day award was simply impossible. So I am giving it to a guy who marries tradition to electronics with striking results, Sturgill Simpson.

STURGILL SIMPSON/The Promise
Writers: Farrington/Mann/Floreale; Producer: Dave Cobb; Publishers: Songs of Kobalt, BMI; High Top Mountain
-Many in the media are hailing this Nashvillian as a “savior” of country music. His resonant baritone has echoes of Waylon, but his extraordinary style is all his own. If you know this song from its days as a 1988 pop hit for the British dance act When In Rome, you’ll be stunned at how he transforms it into an earthy, yearning country love ballad. Esquire, Rolling Stone, The Washington Post and other elite commentators are calling Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music CD the country album of the year. You’ll get no argument from me. The singer-songwriter is nominated as Emerging Artist of the Year at next month’s Americana Music Awards.

JAMES CAROTHERS/New Country Singers
Writers: James Carothers; Producer: Larry Beaird/James Carothers; Publisher: James Carothers; BMI; JC (track)
-If this doesn’t make you smile, you must not be listening. It seems that the depressing drinking in his hang-dog life doesn’t quite match up to the beer-and-babes lyrics he hears today’s country singers warbling. This boy is a stone-country singer, and his song is as catchy as can be. Play it.