Mar 28, 2011

Snap Judgments: Promo Only Country Radio April

Click the song titles to listen.

Bridgette Tatum - Hillbilly Rockstar
Huh? I was expecting a chick. Holy sh*t, according to the Google, it is a chick! She sounds more manly than Bryan White or Gary LeVox could ever hope to. This sounds like the Lost Trailers under a new name or something. Hillbilly Rockstar is in the vein of "Holler Back" and "She's Country" with the modern rock production and some nods to something more urban. It's kinda catchy and I'm guessing by the placement at the head of this comp, that somebody's putting a lot of promotional cash behind this band. That doesn't make it a good song. Seriously though, I'm gonna have to see some nude pics or medical documentation regarding this person's sex before I believe they are female. (kidding, but still...)

Chris Young - Tomorrow
Chris strikes while the iron is hot with another winning single. It's early to say so, but he's something of a modern Keith Whitley, albeit with less of the stone country sound. It's a song you'll swear you've heard a million times before, but Chris invigorates it with his killer vocals and confidence. I love it. If you're wondering who's going to fill the shoes of Alan Jackson or George Strait, look no further. I don't have "man crushes" but if I did...

Toby Keith - Somewhere Else
Toby has been on a steady slide to Nashville's B-list… not that he cares. He hasn't hit the top of the charts in who knows when, but this song might change that. This is an earworm of a loser anthem. Toby actually sounds like he's having fun for a change (though I thought he sounded enthused on Trailerhood, which underperformed). Good stuff.

Colt Ford - Country Thang
Already reviewed this. Won't listen again.

Keith Urban - Without You
Downtempo and earnest. Not exciting me though. Good enough for background music and selling ads though.

Jody Booth - Gold Digger
Perversely, I was hoping this was a cover of Kanye West's "Gold Digger." I wanted to see how he tackled the troublesome "-igger" rhyme. It's not. It's not bad though. Jody's got a rich, 90's country sounding voice and a lot of potential. I don't think the lackluster chorus does the verses or his voice much justice, but overall…decent.

Gretchen Wilson - I'd Love to Be Your Last
Simple, heartfelt and beautiful. If this isn't Gretchen's comeback hit, she won't have one.

The Doobie Brothers - World Gone Crazy
For a supposed foray into country, this sounds way too much like what used to be called soft rock. Oh, right…. still, this is cheesy as hell. Too much so even for country radio. Some 50-something guy on P90X dating a girl his daughter's age and driving a Miata somewhere will love this… but not me.

She's got a nice voice and it's a sexy song, but the chorus seems half-hearted and the production is too pop for my preferences. Not all that memorable.

Eli Young Band - Crazy Girl
Texas country dolled up for Nashville. Sounds like a hit to me. Also sounds like something that doesn't excite me in the least, but I guess I won't change the station if it comes on.

Ronnie Dunn - Bleed Red
Meh. Nice sentiment and Ronnie's voice is always great, but aside from the cool plunking piano notes, the tune is a bore. (*follow up - it's growing on me)

Eric Church - Homeboy
I'm at a loss on this one. This should be the moment for Eric to capitalize on his recent successes with something that knocks it out of the park and vaults him onto the A-list. Instead, it's an awkwardly conceived take on a brother who's slipped into rebellion and hip-hop culture. It is catchy though, and the theme will resonate with a lot of listeners.

This may be a tired theme, reflecting on those who have passed on, but it's a genuinely affecting song much in the way Jamey Johnson's "In Color" was. Snapshots and details, rather than rote Hallmark card prose, give this real emotion and Moore's performance is pretty strong. I love to pick on Justin, but I can't do it this time out.

This begins our portion of the Promo album in which I've never heard of any of these people. There's an obvious political pecking order to these things, with the superstars and handpicked up-and-comers leading the way. The B, C and D-listers always round out the collections. Tonja has a good enough vocal performance here, but the song is dull and won't be getting much Clearchannel airplay.

Levi Hart - Borderline Crazy
No. Clever title, but that's all this has to offer. They don't even use that cute wordplay to craft a memorable hook. Bad 90's country come to town.

River Road - Something I Can Wrap My Arms Around
This is catchy and pretty well written. Sounds like a cross between Restless Heart and some 90's hat act. Not bad, but the band sounds canned and flat.

D.J. Miller - Whatever it Takes
This begins the portion of the review where I get slackjawed and sleepy because of the general mediocrity of the songs. DJ sounds good, but this is nothing new by any stretch of the imagination. A middling "proclaiming my love" ballad that drew my first yawn.

Brice Beaird - Old Rock Church
James Tayloresque. "esque" might be an understatement. Is this James using a fake name? Good lyrics, nice change of pace, but I'm not a huge JT fan. Still, bonus points for not sounding like 1997 rehashed. Very nicely shot video too!

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