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Reviews

Parmalee
Stoney Creek Records
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Parmalee, ‘Carolina’ – Song Review

"Polished" is not a word one would have used to describe Parmalee after the North Carolina foursome shared their debut single 'Musta Had a Good Time' in 2012, but the rowdy country rockers' follow-up single 'Carolina' is as radio-friendly of a track as you'll find. It's not clear that either style is a perfect fit for the Thomas brothers and their bandmates.

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Lady Antebellum
Capitol Nashville
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Lady Antebellum, ‘Downtown’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

Lady Antebellum have never been funkier than on their new single 'Downtown' -- the first from the trio's upcoming fourth studio album. A guitar lick postmarked 1962 steers the song and pushes the band in an exciting new direction.

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Randy Houser
Stoney Creek Records
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Randy Houser, ‘How Country Feels’ – Album Review

Randy Houser comes in from the edges of country music with his third album 'How Country Feels' -- his first on new label Stoney Creek Records. The singer wrote just seven of the project's 15 cuts, but employed many of Nashville's top songwriters to help with the others.

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Jake Owen
RCA Nashville
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Jake Owen, ‘Anywhere With You’ – Song Review

Jake Owen found his niche with songs from the 'Barefoot Blue Jean Night' album, but the unidirectional theme is wearing thin with the arrival of his new single 'Anywhere With You.' There's a thread of spontaneity and nostalgia throughout all of Owen's most recent hits. He is the essence of carefree, which is refreshing... but no longer surprising. 

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Katie Armiger
Cold River Records
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Katie Armiger, ‘Fall Into Me’ – Album Review

Katie Armiger's new album, 'Fall Into Me,' features 14 songs that describe love's highs and lows. It's a rollercoaster ride that at times feels like that line from Taylor Swift's 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,' i.e., "I say 'I hate you,' we break up, you call me, 'I love you.'" Fortunately, Armiger's way with words is more debonair.

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Eric Church
EMI Nashville
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Eric Church, ‘Like Jesus Does’ – Song Review

Eric Church has released his most devoted love song from 'Chief' as the album's fifth single. 'Like Jesus Does' reveals the singer's vulnerabilities in a way none of his previous ballads have done. Like 'Springsteen,' reference is made to famous classic rock standards, giving the song some familiarity even before a first listen is finished. 

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Category: Billings News, Reviews Tags:
Billy Ray Cyrus
Slaven Vlasic, Getty Images
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Billy Ray Cyrus, ‘Hillbilly Heart’ – Song Review

Billy Ray Cyrus evokes sounds of the Mississippi Delta with his new single 'Hillbilly Heart.' The song leans against a big, bad, foot-stompin' guitar lick before the singer reveals his best blues voice. The result is ugly ... in a good way. 

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Category: Reviews Tags:
Kip Moore
MCA Nasvhille
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Kip Moore, ‘Hey Pretty Girl’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

'Hey Pretty Girl' is the signature track from Kip Moore's remarkable 'Up All Night' album. The singer slows down the tempo and proves himself to be one of the most emotionally complete artists in the genre.

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Charlie Worsham
Warner Brothers
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Charlie Worsham, ‘Could It Be’ – Song Review

Charlie Worsham has released his first single, 'Could It Be,' but he's far from a country newcomer. The singer and songwriter has been working up and down Broadway for years, and practically has an entire industry cheering for him. His debut effort takes no chances -- the Mississippi-born, Boston-educated Nashvillian delivers a steady, dependable effort that reminds one of a young Keith Urban.

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Category: Reviews
Kristen Kelly
Arista Nashville
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Kristen Kelly, ‘He Loves to Make Me Cry’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

After listening to Kristen Kelly's new single 'He Loves to Make Me Cry,' one can be forgiven for trolling the internet to find out who first recorded it. The soulful ballad has a classic feel, meaning it surely must have come from another era... right? 

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Florida Georgia Line
Mark Davis, Getty Images
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Florida Georgia Line, ‘Get Your Shine On’ – Song Review

Florida Georgia Line wasted no time following their infectious debut single with one that cements the duo as the good-time country party band they introduced themselves as. 'Get Your Shine On' had already charted before 'Cruise' reached No. 1. Both rely on a big, fat hook and songwriting that's sharper than they'll get credit for.

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Category: Reviews Tags:
Blake Shelton
Charley Gallay, Getty Images
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Blake Shelton, ‘Sure Be Cool if You Did’ – Song Review

Between tour dates, a Christmas album, 'The Voice' and his bad Twitter habit, Blake Shelton found time to record a new single called 'Sure Be Cool if You Did' in 2012. He released the song minutes after the new year began, leaving many to wonder when a new album will follow (no plans have been announced). Sonically, his 23rd radio offering is a continuation those from 'Red River Blue' -- it'd fit nicely as the project's fifth single. 

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Category: Reviews Tags:

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