The new Rodney Crowell single is by far the best of the bunch this week. It might be the best single of the year so far.
AARON LINES “It Takes A Man” (BNA)
Once again, he surprises me. This record about a surprise pregnancy is thankfully subtle and restrained; bonus points for not saying definitively whether or not he sticks around.
AARON TIPPIN “Come Friday” (Lyric Street)
He’s always been one of my favorite male vocalists – instantly recognizable from the first line he sings. These working-man anthems are what he does best.
ALISON KRAUSS & UNION STATION “Goodbye Is All We Have” (Rounder)
Not the best of the potential singles off of Lonely Runs Both Ways, but still a good listen. Her voice soars on this one.
CARRIE UNDERWOOD “Inside Your Heaven” (Arista)
I believe Simon was right, and that she will be the biggest-selling American Idol winner ever. Her voice is unbelievable, and perfectly suited for country music. She can sell even a trite love song like this; once she gets great material for her voice, she’ll be unstoppable.
COWBOY TROY & SARAH BUXTON “If You Don’t Wanna Love Me” (Warner Bros.)
I can’t believe what a great record this is. Buxton’s voice interacts perfectly with the lyric and Troy’s rap, if that’s what you can call it. He’s calling this hick-hop, but the roots of those old spoken country records are surfacing more prominently than any hip-hop roots here.
JESSICA ANDREWS “Summer Girl” (DreamWorks)
She’s developing into a fine artist. This is very well-written, and captures being in your early twenties pretty well. Any record where a girls says “boys, don’t get more than your hopes up” is worth a listen.
JO DEE MESSINA “Delicious Surprise (I Believe It)” (Curb)
I’m a bit disappointed that Curb went with this as the second single instead of the stellar “Where Were You”, but on its own merits, this is a catchy and motivating little record.
KEVIN FOWLER “Don’t Touch My Willie” (Equity)
I think even Willie Nelson himself would have to be very, very high to find this funny; I’m assuming the crowd that’s laughing along already was.
LEANN RIMES “Probably Wouldn’t Be This Way” (Curb)
What a heartbreaking song; possibly the best thing she’s ever recorded.
LISA BROKOP “Big Picture” (Asylum/Curb)
Soccer moms rejoice – you have an anthem.
RODNEY CROWELL “Dancin’ Circles ‘Round The Sun (Epictetus Speaks)” (DMZ)
Mind-blowingly good – a good fifteen or twenty life lessons in under five minutes. A genius walks among us.