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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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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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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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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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Pistol-Annies
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Pistol Annies, ‘Annie Up’ – Album Review

Strong production keeps 'Annie Up' -- the new album from Pistol Annies -- from being something their debut effort certainly was not: boring. The women thrive among thick, bluesy guitars that moan and wail throughout the 12 cuts. It's a throwback sound that fits the trio as well as the daring outfits they've become known for wearing.

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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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Joe Nichols
RedBow Records
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Joe Nichols, ‘Sunny and 75′ – Song Review

Joe Nichols' voice always has a way of putting one in a trance, and his performance on the new single 'Sunny and 75' is no less effective. He's pure country gold, and when he's paired with a great song, there are few surer things in Nashville.

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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
Jennifer Graylock, Getty Images
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Lady Antebellum, ‘Goodbye Town’ – Song Review

Charles Kelley's desperation turns to anger by the end of 'Goodbye Town,' the second single from Lady Antebellum's new 'Golden' album. The song finds the trio working their bread and butter: heartbreak and a yearning for love lost. Sonically, this song forges ahead with fresh production, but it's not quite as exciting as the lead single, 'Downtown.'

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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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Joanna Smith
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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Joanna Smith, ‘Girls Are Crazy’ – Song Review

In general, songs that paint an entire group of people with one broad brush stroke don't fare well on country radio, but Joanna Smith is hoping to prove 'em wrong with her new single 'Girls Are Crazy.' The peppy new track is fun and flirty, and a short hop backward for women in country music.

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Tate Stevens
RCA Nashville
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Tate Stevens, ‘Tate Stevens’ – Album Review

The debut effort from Tate Stevens is about as straight-forward of a country album as you'll find. 'Tate Stevens' is an end cap-at-Walmart sort of record that proves the 'X Factor' winner can compete with the big names in Nashville.

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