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Reviews

Darius Rucker
Kevin Winter, Getty Images
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Darius Rucker, ‘True Believers’ – Album Review

Darius Rucker sings with more energy than a nuclear power plant, but his new album 'True Believers' is safer than solar power. He captures the spirit of his live show -- one of the best in the business -- on each of the 12 tracks, but one yearns for for something unique and unexpected. 

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Cassadee Pope
Republic Nashville
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Cassadee Pope, ‘Wasting All These Tears’ – Song Review

Cassadee Pope didn't rush to release her debut single 'Wasting All These Tears' as so many reality show winners do. It's been six months since she won Season 3 of 'The Voice,' and the singer seems to have made the most of the time, as the track is a polished and unique semi-country arrangement. 

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David Nail
MCA Nashville
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David Nail, ‘Whatever She’s Got’ – Song Review

'Whatever She's Got' represents a new sound -- and new look -- for David Nail. The 'Let It Rain' singer previously relied on a strong voice and bittersweet lyrics to work songs up the charts. The new track is pop-friendly and not nearly as deep.

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Kree Harrison
Kevin Winter, Getty Images
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Kree Harrison, ‘All Cried Out’ – Song Review

They say specificity is the soul of narrative, which would mean Kree Harrison's first post-'Idol' single 'All Cried Out' lacks soul, or narrative. The ballad is a showcase for her vocal range and power, but it's never made clear why the Texan is so bummed.

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Dakota Bradley
AristoPR
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Dakota Bradley, ‘Somethin’ Like Somethin” – Song Review

Dakota Bradley's debut single 'Somethin' Like Somethin'' is a mostly charming pop-country love song that showcases the 18-year-old's spunky personality. He doesn't run from his Bieber-ness. Instead, he adds just enough steel guitar to keep him on the right side of the radio. 

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George Strait
Ethan Miller, Getty Images
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George Strait, ‘Love Is Everything’ – Album Review

George Strait steps back in time for his newest release, 'Love Is Everything.' In the past, the singer always found a way to add a touch of contemporary to his traditional sound. There's nothing to separate this from albums he made throughout the '80s and '90s, but that's not necessarily a criticism.

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Kellie Pickler
Jason Merritt, Getty Images
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Kellie Pickler, ‘Someone Somewhere Tonight’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

Kellie Pickler delivers an inspired performance with a new single called 'Someone Somewhere Tonight.' The song -- originally recorded by Kenny Rogers -- is a soaring ballad that touches a range of emotions. Few will find nothing relatable on the singer's first release from an upcoming album.

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Trace-Akdins
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Album Spotlight: Trace Adkins, ‘Love Will …’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

The idea behind Trace Adkins' new album 'Love Will ...' makes so much sense you almost wonder why he hadn't done it sooner. This collection of love songs is as obvious as the tagless T-shirt, yet for years we went without both.

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Keith Urban
Larry Busacca, Getty Images
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Keith Urban, ‘Little Bit of Everything’ – Song Review

Perhaps it should be no surprise that after five months spent judging 'American Idol,' Keith Urban has delivered his most pop-friendly single to date in 'Little Bit of Everything.' The talented singer and guitarist uses tricks in production that a less established singer would be skewered for. The result is a delightful summer jam that's short on nutritional content.

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Craig Campbell
Bigger Picture Music Group
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Craig Campbell, ‘Never Regret’ – Album Review

Craig Campbell does a lot of things better than average. He's a better than average singer who has chosen better than average songs for his new album 'Never Regret,' yet somehow, the project ends up feeling rather ordinary.

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Lauren Alaina
Mercury Nashville
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Lauren Alaina, ‘Barefoot and Buckwild’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

Meet the new Lauren Alaina. With just a few weeks of her senior year of high school remaining, the singer introduces a grown-up new look, grown-up style and grown-up attitude with her latest single, 'Barefoot and Buckwild.' It's especially difficult to find songs that fit when you're short on life experience, so the one-time 'American Idol' runner-up wrote her own ...

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Lady Antebellum
Capitol Nashville
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Album Spotlight: Lady Antebellum, ‘Golden’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

The best moments on Lady Antebellum's fourth album 'Golden' find Charles Kelley or Hillary Scott singing solo, with minimal help from the other on harmonies. There is no shortage of songs that act as features for the two talented vocalists. The evolution of the trio finds them becoming a dual threat super power instead of a two-headed pop-rock-country group.

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