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Album Reviews

Album Reviews

Tim McGraw
Big Machine Records
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Album Spotlight: Tim McGraw, ‘Sundown Heaven Town’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

In looking forward, Tim McGraw turned backward during the building and recording of 'Sundown Heaven Town.' Many of the 13 tracks recall some of his biggest hits of the last 20 years and do so without feeling dusty.

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Dustin Lynch
Broken Bow Nashville
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Album Spotlight: Dustin Lynch, ‘Where It’s At’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

Dustin Lynch’s ‘Where It’s At’ album establishes a Dustin Lynch sound. Where his debut was satisfying but a little scattershot, this project finds a sexy groove to lean into from start to finish.

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Brad Paisley
Larry Busacca, Getty Images
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Album Spotlight: Brad Paisley, ‘Moonshine in the Trunk’

Brad Paisley’s ‘Moonshine in the Trunk’ album is a particularly, purposefully inspiring album with no less than four songs meant to remind the listener that he or she can achieve anything. There’s not a drop of pain or bittersweet to be found on Paisley's 10th studio release, which follows 2013's ‘Wheelhouse.'

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Chase Rice
Jon-Paul Bruno
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Album Spotlight: Chase Rice, ‘Ignite the Night’

Chase Rice’s ‘Ignite the Night’ album serves up more of what fans love from the hit single ‘Ready Set Roll’ before offering some very satisfying, pensive ballads. The singer shows emotional depth, but not so much to distract fans from the unapologetic rock and R&B influenced showstoppers that make his live show an event to catch in 2014.

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Miranda Lambert
Vivien Killilea, Getty Images
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Album Spotlight: Miranda Lambert, ‘Platinum’

Miranda Lambert’s fifth studio album ‘Platinum’ presents a more emotionally centered 30-year-old. Few songs cut deep lyrically, but the singer hardly plays it safe.

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Jamie Lynn Spears
Jason Merritt, Getty Images
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Album Spotlight: Jamie Lynn Spears, ‘The Journey’

Jamie Lynn Spears' debut EP 'The Journey' includes some happy, some playful, a little sad and one big "Oh no she didn't!" It's tough to argue these five songs aren't as personal as anything pressed in country music this year.

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Brantley Gilbert
Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images
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Album Spotlight: Brantley Gilbert, ‘Just As I Am’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

On ‘Just As I Am’ Brantley Gilbert has matched the raw adrenaline found on earlier records with some of the best songwriting you’ll hear this year. The result is 11 deeply satisfying tracks, each ripped from his personal life.

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Dolly Parton
Dimitrios Kambouris, Getty Images
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Album Spotlight: Dolly Parton, ‘Blue Smoke’

Dolly Parton’s ‘Blue Smoke’ is a lyricist’s album. Parton’s 42nd studio album rarely relies on silly or corn pone metaphors or jokes, instead offering tracks that stick to the soul.

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Rascal Flatts
Christopher Polk, Getty Images
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Album Spotlight: Rascal Flatts, ‘Rewind’

The song 'Rewind' is a good measuring stick for Rascal Flatts' new album of the same name as it truly does -- as Jay DeMarcus said -- tie the old to the new. It's the mean of 13 songs that range from syrupy and organic to razor sharp and vengeful.

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Leah Turner
Jason Merritt, Getty Images
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Album Spotlight: Leah Turner, ‘Leah Turner’ EP

Leah Turner has managed to reveal a new side of her personality with each of the first two singles on her debut EP. The other three also step out of line with what fans have already learned.

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