Single Review: Michael Ray, “Kiss You in the Morning”

Michael Ray Kiss You in the Morning

“Kiss You in the Morning”
Michael Ray

Written by Larry Michael White and Justin Tyler Wilson

Launching a new artist with this generic a single does a tremendous disservice to their budding career.

“Kiss You in the Morning” sounds exactly like everything else on the radio. It covers the most well-trodden lyrical ground in today’s country music. Ray’s a decent enough singer and the production is controlled, so it’s not memorable for being bad. Trouble is, it’s not really memorable at all.

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Discussion: Play the New Stuff, or Stick to the Hits?

Shania Twain Rock This Country TourShania Twain is returning to the road for the first time in more than a decade, and she’s calling it her farewell tour.

Well, technically, she’s calling it the Rock This Country tour, but it’s being marketed as both her return to and retirement from the road.

I should be all over this.  She’s one of my favorite all-time artists, and I loved her tour in support of Up!, which I still consider her best album.

But even though I enjoyed her Vegas television special last month, and even though any set list would be stacked with songs that I love, I’m honestly not that interested in seeing the show.

This is for a simple reason:  She’s not touring in support of new material.

I think I’m in the minority on this one, but I don’t like it when an artist only plays their hits from the past.   There’s something sterile about it, as if artistic vitality has been left in the rear view mirror and the artist is just attempting to recreate a time that has already passed.

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Single Review: Lady Antebellum, “Long Stretch of Love”

Lady Antebellum Long Stretch of Lonesome

“Long Stretch of Love”
Lady Antebellum

Written by David Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley, and Hillary Scott

A woefully anemic rocker.

Lady Antebellum have never exactly been known for over-the-top emoting, but this might be the most listless I’ve ever heard the band.

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Single Review: Florida Georgia Line, “Sippin’ on Fire”

Florida Georgia Line Sippin on Fire

“Sippin’ on Fire”
Florida Georgia Line

Written by Rodney Clawson, Matt Dragstrem, and Cole Taylor

There isn’t much logic in hoping for a successful act to abandon the formula that has gotten them where they are today.   Why fix what their fans don’t even care is broken?

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Single Review: Luke Bryan, “Games”

Luke Bryan Spring Break Checkin' Out

“Games”
Luke Bryan

Written by Luke Bryan and Ashley Gorley

Luke Bryan’s latest (and apparently final) Spring Break compilation is being promoted with the new single, “Games.”   Thematically, it doesn’t connect much to the Spring Break concept, unless you just assume the events in question are taking place at some beach-adjacent house party.

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Single Review: Kacey Musgraves, “Biscuits”

Kacey Musgraves Biscuits

“Biscuits”
Kacey Musgraves

Written by Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, and Kacey Musgraves

If you’re already a fan of Kacey Musgraves, you’ve heard most of this before.

“Biscuits” combines elements of “Follow Your Arrow” and “The Trailer Song”, advocating being yourself and minding your own business.   Even the arrangement is a souped-up take on “Arrow”, with more of a beat and quite a few more instrumental flourishes.

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Six Pack: Classic Country Songs for International Women’s Day

International Women's DayToday is International Women’s Day.   Historically speaking, country music has never enjoyed a reputation for being socially progressive.

For the general public, the definitive statement the genre made was “Stand By Your Man.”  That Tammy Wynette classic is often cited as country music’s counterpoint to the women’s liberation movement, although Wynette wrote the thing in fifteen minutes without any agenda in mind. She just needed a song to sing.

I generally consider the classic country era to have ended with the seventies,  preceding the Urban Cowboy and New Traditionalist movements. What follows are some of the best deliberate statements made by country artists during those years in support for women’s rights.  Some were big hits.  Some were not.  But they were all ahead of their time and are still interesting to listen to today.

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Single Review: Frankie Ballard, “Young & Crazy”

frankie ballard young & crazy

“Young & Crazy”
Frankie Ballard

Written by Rhett Akins, Ashley Gorley, and Shane McAnally

“Young & Crazy” is like a used car that’s been refurbished by a crack team of mechanics.   From a distance, it can look brand new, but get a little closer, and you can see it’s been constructed with spare parts.

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Single Review: RaeLynn, “For a Boy”

RaeLynn For a Boy

“For a Boy”
RaeLynn

Written by RaeLynn and Laura Veltz

More childlike than childish, there’s a sweetness to RaeLynn that reminds me of a young Taylor Swift.  The talent is there but the life experience is still trailing behind.

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Single Review: Lee Ann Womack, “Send it On Down”

Lee ann Womack the Way I'm Livin

“Send It On Down”
Lee Ann Womack

Written by Chris Knight and David Leone

The centerpiece of the excellent The Way I’m Livin’, Lee Ann Womack’s “Send It On Down” is an understated but brilliantly drawn character sketch that is a testament both to Chris Knight’s masterful songwriting and to Womack’s interpretive skill. It’s perhaps the finest single of Womack’s career.

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