“Run Away With You”
Big & Rich
Written by Michael Ray and John Rich
One thing’s for sure about Big & Rich: They’re pros at what they do.
They’ve correctly assessed the general sound and lyrical themes that brought them their biggest radio success, and “Run Away With You” is a competent attempt to recreate what worked.
“Love You Like That”
Written by Brett Beavers, Jim Beavers, and Canaan Smith
Do you want to write a love song or do you want to write a lust song?
“Save Your Breath”
Written by Josh Dorr and Jason Mizelle
An fairly egregious example of subject-verb disagreement in the start of the chorus distract from the overly bold lyrics being sung by an overly meek vocalist.
“Break Up With Him”
Written by Matthew Ramsey, Trevor Rosen, Whit Sellers, Geoff Sprung and Brad Tursi
Any song that starts with, “Hey, girl! What’s up?” gets off to a bad start right away.
What follows is three minutes of a guy pressuring a girl to dump her boyfriend because he knows that she’d rather be with him, instead.
“35 MPH Town”
Written by Toby Keith and Bobby Pinson
Toby Keith revisits one of his most successful ongoing themes – life in a dying small town.
In this case, he lays the blames the pending death on a lack of religion and strict discipline in the lives of today’s youth.
It’s a different approach for him, as usually he talks about the collapse of economic opportunity leading to the downfall of small town America. That’s lingering under the surface, of course, but not his primary focus here.
Written by Nathan Chapman, Blair Daly, Kiefer Thompson, and Shawna Thompson
Dude really loves his car. Like, the way Sam Winchester loves his car.
“Trans Am” has a lot of energy and it’s a credit to Thompson Square that they don’t get lost in the shuffle of a very busy production.
“Let it Go”
Written by Keith Gattis, Bubba Strait, and George Strait
George Strait is country music’s Frank Sinatra.
What he does looks effortless and spawns countless imitators, but none of them can actually replicate what makes him special.
“Crash and Burn”
Written by Jesse Frasure and Chris Stapleton
Thomas Rhett’s new single has backup vocals blatantly ripped off from the Sam Cooke classic, “Chain Gang.”
I repeat: Thomas Rhett’s new single has backup vocals blatantly ripped off from the Sam Cooke classic, “Chain Gang.”
Sunny Sweeney with Will Hoge
Written By Ashley Monroe, Angaleena Presley, and Sunny Sweeney
Both Sunny Sweeney and Will Hoge have flirted briefly with mainstream success: Sweeney cracked the top 10 at radio with “From a Table Away,” while Eli Young Band scored a major hit with their cover of Hoge’s “Even If It Breaks Your Heart.” A slow-burning ballad that chronicles the dissolution of a relationship between actual adults, “My Bed” is, unfortunately, too far out-of-step with the culture at country radio for the pair of singer-songwriters to make any new inroads there. But it’s a measured, mature single that deserves a wider audience.
“Hot Corn, Cold Corn”
Robert Earl Keen
Written By Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs
Robert Earl Keen has spent the past three decades as one of the most venerated singer-songwriters in country music, particularly within the Texas Country community. His latest album, Happy Prisoner, is a departure from Keen not because of his decision to dabble in Bluegrass music— his material has always skewed in a folk-leaning, acoustic direction— but because it’s an entire album of cover songs, and he’s known for his sharply-observed originals. Fortunately, there’s no faulting Keen’s taste in material, and the album’s first single is a cover of “Hot Corn, Cold Corn,” a Flatt & Scruggs tune that has become a Bluegrass standard.