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Category Archive for 'Contemporary Country'

“Tim McGraw is an eccentric centrist who can dodge the headlock of country-radio culture….Per usual, the character studies shine brightest. Proof: ‘Sick of Me,’ a self-loathing take-me-back plea – a reminder that, like Bill Clinton, another great Southern centrist, McGraw is best when he’s feeling your pain.” –Rolling Stone Check Our Catalog Listen Now

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Lady Antebellum: 747

“Give Lady Antebellum credit: There’s a consistency to its songs that makes the group as much a manufacturing concern as it is a country act.” –Boston Globe Check Our Catalog

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“Moonshine in the Trunk is all gleaming steel, hard edges, sleek rhythms, and power ballads, state-of-the-art modern country that doesn’t dare make a big deal of any of Paisley’s eccentricities outside of his squealing guitar.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“Platinum is notable because Lambert tries to be everything to everyone here and damn near succeeds….[A]t its heart, this is a classic double-album where the misses enhance the home runs and, eventually, are endearing on their own terms.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“[I]t is neither a bluegrass nor pop record but rather splits the difference, touching upon each sound, along with threading in other signatures….[T]he remarkable thing is how satisfying an album this is: it sounds good and the songs are sturdy, proof that Parton is far from resting on her laurels.” –All Music Guide Check Our [...]

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“Intuitive cooperation is what makes Nickel Creek so special. It’s in the way Thile’s mandolin runs launch or follow Watkins’ fiddle parts in instrumentals like ‘Elsie,’ and in the band’s harmonies, which breathe in sync the way family harmonies so often do. It’s remarkable, showing how three distinct voices can come together in the service [...]

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“Everlasting is the second collection of covers Martina McBride has recorded, following 2005′s Timeless by nearly ten years. A decade isn’t the only thing separating the two records. Timeless was a collection of country covers but Everlasting has soul in its heart….There’s warmth in [Don] Was’ production and honey in McBride’s voice.” –All Music Guide [...]

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“A great legacy can be a blessing and a curse, and when your mother is June Carter and your stepdad is Johnny Cash, you’re going to have a lot to live up to in the minds of most folks….On Carter Girl, Carlene Carter has confronted the mighty legacy of the Carter Family’s songbook and allowed [...]

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“Evans elegantly matches the oversized arrangements, matching each crescendo and hushed moment, while the songs are cannily constructed pieces of pop, sounding stronger with each play….Slow Me Down is something that is rare in 2014: an unapologetic, big-scale adult pop album, constructed with grace and care.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“Nail’s gifts suggest he’s a blue-collar patriot, a working man happy to churn out anthems for the unsung, but he’s a bit more subtle than that, identifying exceptional songwriters and never succumbing to the good-time bro-country that is a golden ticket to the top of the charts….[I]t’s a grower, sounding better with repeated exposure, repeated [...]

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Dierks Bentley: Riser

“For a decade, every single Dierks Bentley release placed at least in Billboard’s Country Top 20, usually making it to the Top Ten….[I]t’s a sturdy, often absorbing record from a singer who is determined to be in it for the long haul.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“Tyler Farr may indeed be Redneck Crazy on his 2013 debut for Columbia Nashville, but his definition of redneck doesn’t quite belong to the backwoods. Farr may not be a grinning, unrepentant bro the way that Luke Bryan and his ilk are, but he’s not far removed, not with his arsenal of songs about beer, [...]

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“Just in case the title of The Outsiders doesn’t give away the game, Eric Church takes pains to strike a defiant stance throughout his fourth album, underscoring his status as a genuine Nashville Rebel….Church has made the conscious decision to try a little bit of everything in his quest to be a savior to both [...]

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“Nearly eight years after Rosanne Cash last released a set of original songs, 2014′s The River & the Thread finds her in a reflective mood….[S]he’s learned to make every word and every note count, and this album confirms once again that she’s matured into a singular artist with the talent and the vision to make [...]

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“Prior to the 2013 release of 12 Stories, Brandy Clark was known primarily as a songwriter, and a good one too….In her songs, Clark is tuneful and defiant, happily celebrating the virtues of weed and rebellion, but Clark never comes across as a redneck….Perhaps she’s too subtle to be a stadium-filling superstar, but the superb [...]

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“Parmalee is a tight-knit band consisting of brothers… and childhood friend… all of whom grew up together near Greenville, North Carolina, and what they play is rock, full of big drums and slashing, fuzzy electric guitar runs, overlaid with country vocals and themes, a hybrid that both contemporary country and rock/pop stations are undoubtedly happy [...]

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“Bryan sneakily incorporates all manners of modern sounds — not enough to distract but enough to make an impression, particularly in how the rhythms suggest pop and dance, how Bryan’s flow can mimic hip-hop without rapping, and those little Auto-Tune flourishes pop up throughout — which also doesn’t make the singer seem particularly country, but [...]

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“As a whole, this set is more diverse than either of its predecessors and at least as consistent….As evidenced by this first volume from season two, Nashville is a series that keeps on giving, both on and off the screen.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“Florida Georgia Line… broke onto the contemporary country scene in the spring of 2012 with the infectious summer single ‘Cruise,’ a song that blended cruising country back roads and farm towns with ragged drums and layers of rock guitar….The duo seems poised for stardom going into the second decade of the 21st century, a time [...]

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“As a duets album comprised entirely of female partners, To All the Girls is… driven by superstar guest power but the intimate, relaxed feel is reminiscent of Let’s Face the Music and Dance. Such a quiet, comfortable setting is welcoming to a wide variety of partners, ranging from living legends Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Mavis Staples, and Emmylou Harris to more [...]

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