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James Wesley
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James Wesley, ‘Thank a Farmer’ – Song Review

James Wesley has a real feel for the life and struggles of the blue-collar American. His new song 'Thank a Farmer' is similar to his previous Top 30 hit 'Real' in its honest, no-nonsense approach. The worst thing a singer can do with a song like either of these is come off as contrived. Wesley is a long way away from being accused of that. 

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Kacey Musgraves
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Kacey Musgraves, ‘Blowin’ Smoke’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

The magic of many of the songs on Kacey Musgraves' debut album -- including her new single 'Blowin' Smoke' -- is in the little details. 'Merry Go 'Round' thrived in efficient specificity. The follow-up is equally effective in its portrayal of a life waiting tables.

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Wynonna
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Wynonna, ‘Something You Can’t Live Without’ – Song Review

It takes a few listens to absorb the new sound Wynonna reveals on her new single 'Something You Can't Live Without.' The singer and 'Dancing With the Stars' competitor hasn't had a hit song in a decade, but comparing this to music from the 'What the World Needs Now Is Love' album would be like comparing Kelly Clarkson now to her 2003 self, but flip-flopped.

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Kacey Musgraves
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Album Spotlight: Kacey Musgraves, ‘Same Trailer Different Park’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

Kacey Musgraves' Mercury Records debut album is everything a new artist dreams her first record will be. 'Same Trailer Different Park' is well-written, edgy (yet familiar) and coated in "cool." Musgraves is an original who at age 24 is surprisingly wise and adept at using her voice to share her experiences. 

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Billy Currington
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Billy Currington, ‘Hey Girl’ – Song Review

Billy Currington is a master of melody, always finding songs you can't get out of your head (and usually don't want to). 'Hey Girl,' the lead single from an upcoming album deviates little from his brand of country meets R&B. 

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Katie Armiger
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Katie Armiger, ‘Playin’ With Fire’ – Song Review

Katie Armiger continues to show off her feisty side on her new single 'Playin With Fire,' a bluesy, rebellious cut from the 'Fall Into Me' album. Her message should hit the sweet spot for teens or young 20-somethings full of angst and with little patience for the sage advice of an elder. 

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Drake White
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Drake White, ‘The Simple Life’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

Songs like Drake White's 'The Simple Life' end up inspiring scores of new singer-songwriters to bring their talents to Nashville. White makes it look so easy, singing about familiar pleasures we all know and usually under-appreciate. 

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Justin Moore
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Justin Moore, ‘Point at You’ – Song Review

Justin Moore's lead single from his third studio album is a familiar combination of all of his best songs. It's the well-meaning bad boy in 'How I Got to Be This Way' meeting the soft and sensitive lover in ''Til My Last Day.' Fans familiar with Moore's previous two studio albums can find a few more tracks 'Point at You' resembles.

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Ashley Monroe
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Album Spotlight: Ashley Monroe, ‘Like a Rose’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

No one does anguish quite like Ashley Monroe. On her new album, 'Like a Rose,' the singer redefines bittersweet for a country music audience that is still very much learning her name. Her sorrow comes sprinkled with just a teaspoon of sugar when she's at her best. One finds hope in the face of tragedy and bad circumstance, which is at times inspiring.

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The Band Perry
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The Band Perry, ‘Done’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

Not since their debut effort has the Band Perry released a song as fun as 'Done,' the second single from the trio's upcoming sophomore album 'Pioneer.' It's a track that makes the hair on your arms stand straight up as you pound along to the beat.

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Tim McGraw
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Tim McGraw (Feat. Taylor Swift and Keith Urban), ‘Highway Don’t Care’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

While Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift's vocals on 'Highway Don't Care' would be enough to make the song a hit and one of the best of 2013, it's Keith Urban's guitar that makes the track one of the best collaborations of the decade -- maybe even ever. Each artist brings his or her best effort to the song from McGraw's 'Two Lanes of Freedom' album. It's a sterling example of what can happen when artists are left to be artists, without the handcuffs of music business politics. 

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Brad Paisley
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Brad Paisley, ‘Beat This Summer’ – Song Review

Brad Paisley wasn't joking when he said he was working to push himself places never gone before on his upcoming album, 'Wheelhouse.' The second single, 'Beat This Summer,' is a double-take sort of record in that after it begins, you do a double-take toward your stereo or computer to try to make sense of what's going on.

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