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Civil Wars
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Album Spotlight: The Civil Wars, ‘The Civil Wars’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

The great mystery that sews intrigue at the root of 'The Civil Wars' is how two people who clearly don't get along can pretend with such conviction. The second album from this duo isn't tainted by disdain, contempt or ambivalence that hardens one's heart. In fact, it's more emotional than their Grammy-winning debut album. So clearly they're either brilliant actors, or they're in love.

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Brett Eldredge
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Brett Eldredge, ‘Bring You Back’ – Album Review

Buying a full album from a new artist is something like a trust fall. Typically you've heard one or two songs, leaving nine or 10 question marks. Breathe easy putting down cash for 'Bring You Back,' the debut from Brett Eldredge. The Paris, Ill.-born singer will catch you.

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Jennifer Nettles
Universal Music Group
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Jennifer Nettles, ‘That Girl’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

It would have been foolish to expect anything less than an original from Jennifer Nettles' debut solo effort. 'That Girl' rides in that funky furrow Sugarland cut deep for so many years without sounding like the duo at all.

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Granger Smith
grangersmith.com
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Granger Smith, ‘Silverado Bench Seat’ – Song Review

They don't come much easier to enjoy than Granger Smith. The Texas country singer's understated delivery is something of a trademark, and his latest single 'Silverado Bench Seat' doesn't stray from what fans know and love.

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Kellie Pickler
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Kellie Pickler, ‘Little Bit Gypsy’ – Song Review

Kellie Pickler's new single 'Little Bit Gypsy' is a step back vocally, but not a step backward. There's no flaws in her performance, but her power is stifled when compared to her previous single. 

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Randy Travis
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Randy Travis, ‘Tonight I’m Playin’ Possum’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

It's possible the context in which Randy Travis releases his new single 'Tonight I'm Playin' Possum' could cause fans and critics to overstate its impact. Then again, maybe not. There are, after all, only so many words available to heap effusive praise on this brilliantly composed and performed traditional ballad.

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Luke Bryan
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Luke Bryan, ‘That’s My Kind of Night’ – Song Review

Luke Bryan's new single 'That's My Kind of Night' promises to be his most controversial release to date. The singer goes all-in on the country-rap style that -- despite loud objections from traditionalists -- is covering the radio like kudzu. He sounds both horribly out of place and right at home.

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Category: Music News, Reviews Tags:
Jake Owen
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Jake Owen, ‘Days of Gold’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

Be sure you're near a good, clean air source before you begin Jake Owen's new single 'Days of Gold.' Words like "uptempo" or "rockin'" don't even begin to describe the pace the singer keeps up for over three spellbinding minutes. 'Eight Second Ride' is a ballad comparatively.

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Cole Swindell
Warner Music Nashville
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Cole Swindell, ‘Chillin’ It’ – Song Review

Cole Swindell's debut single 'Chillin' It' isn't about the words or the musicianship. It's about the vibe and the sweet groove this Georgia-raised singer lays down patiently.

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Two Tons of Steel
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Two Tons of Steel, ‘Unraveled’ is a Music-Lover’s Album – CD Review

I have to admit, I wasn't familiar with Two Tons of Steel until the band released 'Not That Lucky' a few years back. But from first listen, I was hooked. I loved the fact that there was a band that could be far off the beaten path, yet sound so cool and polished and professional. Their new CD, 'Unraveled', features more of that quirky coolness that we've come to expect from Two Tons, and more.

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Blake Shelton
Warner Nashville
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Blake Shelton, ‘Mine Would Be You’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

Does anyone in country music sing heartbreak quite like Blake Shelton? 'Mine Would Be You,' the third single from 'Based on a True Story ...' adds to a strong collection of Shelton tracks that will rip your heart out if you don't try to protect yourself. The turn in the last verse is devastating.

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Category: Music News, Reviews Tags:
Bush Hawg
RCA Nashville
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Bush Hawg, ‘Crushin” – Song Review

On 'Crushin',' the debut single from newcomers Bush Hawg, one can't hear the "blend of backwoods, blue collars, bar fights and bibles" they describe themselves as in their artist bio. The mid-tempo love song is a generic first-timer effort that relies on a big hook instead on lyrical depth or distinctive attitude.

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Category: Music News, Reviews

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