Our regular ‘wheat from the chaff’ round up of the new releases that we think you just might enjoy returns with a few suggestions…..
CHELSEY DANFIELD – ‘COWBOY’
A couple of weeks ago we came across a single release from a new artist from Ontario, Canada, Chelsey Danfield.
‘All We Ever Do’ was intriguing because it sounded like something that Taylor Swift would have recorded about 3 years ago. A good pop country song with fiddles and a slight ‘attitude’ about the vocals.
She has now released her debut album ‘Cowboy’ which doesn’t include her single or the B side ‘Headlights’, but does include hugely enjoyable traditional country dancehall tunes that deserve our attention.
It seems that the Taylor connection barely extends beyond the single. Chelsey imposes her own style and personality on the album and it’s as good a debut as we have heard for some time. Crank up the speakers and cue ‘Die Alone’ which opens the album. I defy you to sit perfectly still throughout this one! A mix of classic country and rockabilly that combines to produce an authentic dancehall favourite. ‘Drank The Town Dry’ takes the pace down a notch to begin with but soon explodes into another swinger that retains the infectious toe tapper that won’t disappoint.
She seems to be rubbing shoulders with the Nashville players having shared a stage with Little Big Town, Kenny Chesney and Dwight Yoakum, so let’s hope that this album is the start of something special. There is certainly room at a higher table for Chelsey and I certainly recommend checking this one out on the usual streaming platforms.
MICHAEL TYLER – ‘317’
We included the debut track from Michael Tyler’s album a couple of weeks ago. ‘They Can’t See’ is hanging on at the rear of the country breakout charts but such is the nature of country radio it might be premature to write this one off just yet.
Tyler’s main claim to fame to date relates to a song that was recorded by Dierks Bentley, ’Somewhere On A Beach’. Tyler co-wrote this song and is no doubt delighted that it was recently named iHeart’s Country Song Of The Year.
He signed with Reviver Records in February 2016, a label that is affiliated with Sony Music, and his debut album ‘317’ has now been released. The name relates to the mileage between his former home in Missouri to Nashville which he has called home for the last 5 years.
His musical heroes include Jason Aldean and Tyler’s brand of country music incorporates plenty of pop/rock hooks. ‘Long Drive Home’ is made for the live stadium shows that we guess he aspires to and ‘Secret’ with its pounding drums and heavy guitar backing is straight from the Aldean stable.
He is competing in a crowded market and the single ‘They Can’t See’ is slightly unrepresentative of Michael Tyler’s overall style. It’s a mid-tempo affair that incorporates some tasty Hammond organ giving it a bluesy feel. There isn’t too much else like that on the album.
There are however some tasty mellow moments to be found. ‘Songs About Missouri’ is a nostalgic reflection of his home state and the relationships that he formed there. It’s an opportunity to showcase his obvious song writing prowess and the album works better when the songs escape from the incessant overly heavy guitar accompaniments.
Overall, however, a promising debut for a guy who has his whole career ahead of him and needs a hit single to act as the spring board.
DYLAN SCHNEIDER – ‘SPOTLIGHTS ON YOU’ EP
I don’t suppose that it’s too shabby to be named Billboard Magazine’s ‘Country Music’s Next Rising Star’. This was the accolade pinned on Dylan Schneider in February, and when you add in the 600,000 Facebook Instagram and Twitter followers and the number one position on the iTunes country album charts when this EP was released, you might need to remember this guy’s name. He certainly seems to be going places.
It’s his third EP release and it seems that the steady drip of new material is satisfying demand and raising his profile gradually but significantly.
He has mastered the social media side of the business. Kane Brown’s career was self-promoted on YouTube and Schneider has also made significant progress by covering country classics. 32 million views certainly helps raise a profile. He won’t be too appealing to the country traditionalists. His country music is hugely geared towards the pop end of the spectrum.
There are some heavy hitters contributing to song writing duties. Chris DeStefano, Ross Copperman and Thomas Rhett are credited and there are some instantly radio-friendly tunes amongst the 5 tracks on offer.
‘Rockstar’ with its Band Perry-like guitar hooks might be the ideal choice for a chart push but my personal favourite of the 5 has to be ‘Grew Up Slower’, which tells the eternal tale of youngsters wishing they were older until they are actually ‘older’.
He’s a guy who will appeal to the market that embraces Rhett and Brett Eldredge in such huge numbers and I suspect that they might just have to make a little room for him before too long.
DERYL DODD – ‘LONG HARD RIDE’
It wouldn’t be right to highlight some of the premier releases in recent weeks without including something that is hugely ‘country’.
Deryl Dodd might not be too familiar to many people in the UK. His career hasn’t ever hit the heights but his profile in his home state of Texas is such that this album features a who’s who of the Texas music scene.
He is now in his mid fifties and hasn’t released a studio album for 6 years. His career has certainly had its ups and downs. In the mid nineties he moved to Nashville and was on the brink of breaking into the mainstream when he contracted Viral Encephalitis which derailed him for 2 years. The slow recovery and his relocation back to Texas thwarted his hopes of stardom but he rediscovered his love for home and has remained a part of the local music scene.
He resumed his career as an independent artist and the songs on this album are the fruits of his labours over the last two decades. It’s a greatest hits album with a difference. The songs have been recorded with a bunch of fellow musicians who make up the best of the Texas Music scene.
Only one of the 14 songs is solo recorded. ‘The Ride’ which opens the collection is a cover of the David Allan Coe song and has spent 10 months on the Texas Regional Charts.
He said that he asked a few friends on the circuit if they would help out on the album and the response was overwhelming. You might not know too much about ‘Double D’ Deryl Dodd but you might be aware of his co-singers. They include Cody Jinks, Wade Bowen, William Clark Green, Randy Rogers, Stoney La Rue and Cody Johnson.
Dodd has said that this album is the culmination of his life. “All of these stories I’ve been writing to you, about the music and my life have all led to right now”
He was on the brink of touring with Tim McGraw and the Dixie Chicks in the 90’s before being struck down with illness that prevented him from controlling his voice and holding his guitar. He spent 8 months in bed recovering before reassessing his life and career. This guy has some serious stories to tell and has amassed a roster of talented performers to help him to tell those stories.
It’s a top-drawer country album which celebrates 20 years since Dodd signed with Sony/Columbia in Nashville. Recorded over 8 months in a variety of studios, it draws upon a wealth of talent both in front of and behind the desk. Deryl Dodd describes it as a Country record with “heart, soul and a whole lotta Honky Tonk”. It’s an apt description.