This week, we’re focusing on ten recently released singles, some which may or may not ever be heard on country radio dials. We hope y’all take a chance to listen or if you like what you seen here, you’ll go request them on your local country radio stations (or SiriusXM’s The Highway) to get the songs up the charts. After all, no matter what I or other writers say about songs, it is you, the fans, who have the biggest impact in helping radio and record companies break new artists and new songs.
Broseph E. Lee “Fill ‘Em On Up” (Broseph Music)*
This single isn’t bad but it’s not great either. It’s just kind of there. Lead singer and songwriter Brock Jones has a nice voice the band has a jovial attitude but everything about this song has been done before and better. There is potential in the band (including a clever name) and other, better songs on their new EP titled after this tune.
Southern Halo “Little White Dress” (Southern Halo Records)*
There’s nothing bland about this teenaged trio’s debut single. In fact, they have a sound that suggest that big labels are soon going to be wanting to sign them to a record deal. They’re that strong and so is this single (Listen to “Little White Dress” here).
Michael Ray - “Real Men Love Jesus” (Atlantic Nashville)*
The talented vocalist showcases why he’s become one of the new favorites at country radio. He blends a traditionalist vocal with lyrics about a kind of guy Ray inspires to be in his life. The song may offend some who don’t think they need to have any kind of deep faith to be a ‘real man’ but that’s missing the point of the song. The song’s about a guy who isn’t afraid to work hard, having fun and raising a family and loving his mama as much as they do the man upstairs and his son. Should easily become the singer’s second hit.
Scotty McCreery - “Southern Belle” (19/Interscope/Mercury)*
The talented vocalist continues to grow into his voice and with Frank Rogers strong production here, McCreery finds a song that blends his unique voice with a modern melody that keeps him fresh. It’s one of his most-likable singles to date and that should be enough to suggest that we’ll hear Scotty’s third studio album sooner rather than later. (Listen to "Southern Belle" here)
James Robert Webb - “Makin’ Love Tonight” (Bison Creek Records)**
This talented vocalist (who is also a doctor with an active practice in Oklahoma) is two for two in singles. The production of “Makin’ Love Tonight” is tight with strong piano and B3 organ fills backing the lead guitars and backline for a tight passionate mid-tempo love ballad that wouldn’t be out of place on a Ronnie Milsap or Blake Shelton album.
William Michael Morgan - “I Met A Girl” (Warner Bros. Nashville)**
There’s a vocal segment of the country music community (both fans and industry) that is clamoring for something that is more identifiably country than most of the current hits and there’s hope that there’ll be a guy who comes along like George Strait and Randy Travis did in the early 1980s to help ‘right’ country music’s ship. If there’s a new guy currently working to country radio in 2015 with such a chance, it’s gotta be William Michael Morgan. His voice is a country as a pan of cornbread and recalls the rich textured voice of Mark Chesnutt and when looking at the credits for “I Met A Girl,”I see a connection to the iconic vocalist with this song’s coproducer Jimmy Ritchey. This one — which is co-written by hit writer/artists Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally and Old Dominion’s Trevor Rosen — screams hit to me, but I also grew up when country music sounded like this. Those who love the country/pop of today may think differently. (Listen to "I Met A Girl" here)
Ashley Gearing - “Train Track” (Curb Records)*
The talented vocalist has been around for a while yet hasn’t quite had the breakout she’s seemingly been destined to have. Here we find Gearing singing a well-written song from songwriters Jon Nite, Jimmy Robbins and Maren Morris which has production handled by Kenny Greenberg and Chad Cromwell (well-known studio and touring musicians). The vocal stands out over a pulsating musical bed as Ashley sings about not wanting to just be another woman in a long line of women for the guy she’s talking to. She’s taking a stand and she won’t be another penny flattened on his train track of love. It’s an interesting metaphor and quite possibly Gearing’s best single to date.
Jake Clayton - “What Not To Do” (Rebel Engine Records)*
A talented musician and songwriter who has often been backing other stars (including Sunny Sweeney) in addition to his own Jake Clayton Band. Now finally getting a chance to be the frontman with an official radio single of his own in “What Not To Do.” The song features clayton’s expert instrumentals (including his fiddle) and this rollicking story song features a story that rivals “Devil Went Down To Georgia” with an equally engaging melody and instrumentals. Big market radio may not play this but those that do will find fans extremely eager to hear this and more.
Homegrown Band - “She Loves To Ride” (Homegrown Entertainment)**
This is the second song I’ve heard from the talented new band. The song starts off with a progressive back line of percussion blended with Keith Urban like guitars and banjos and by the time the chorus hits, the band sets their sights on the listeners with a chorus which is an absolute home run of a hook. The lyrics may not say anything that’s really new but it does say a theme we’ve heard a bunch of times in a new, engaging kind of way. Like Southern halo, Homegrown Band is an act to keep an eye on as they keep releasing material with the potential to hit big.
Mo Pitney - “Boy And A Girl Thing” (Curb Records)
With his follow-up to the Top 40 charting debut single “Country,” Mo Pitney showcases why he’s also an artist with the talent to help chart mainstream country music’s sound to something that sounds like it’s at least a little bit connected to the past. “Boy And A Girl Thing” has a airy groove and a laid-back vocal from Mo that recalls the ease from which Keith Whitley sang. Mo Pitney’s definitely a country singer of note and someone to keep your eye on with this one.
Radio Programmer Note: Songs marked with asterisks can be found on the following CDX Compilations:
- *CDX Volume 621 (August 24, 2015)
- **CDX Volume 620 (August 3, 2015)