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Album Reviews

Album Reviews

Dolly Parton
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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
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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
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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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Hunter Hayes
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Album Spotlight: Hunter Hayes, ‘Storyline’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

The beauty of Hunter Hayes’ new ‘Storyline’ album is in what it’s lacking. There’s few if any lyrical hooks to find yourself tweezing out days later. The production is appropriate, and at times heavy. But the arrangements are never protecting a weak lyric or uninspired vocal performance.

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Ronnie Dunn
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Album Spotlight: Ronnie Dunn, ‘Peace Love and Country Music’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

Ronnie Dunn's first independent album, 'Peace Love and Country Music,' isn't a wild departure from his previous solo album. It's aggressive, but not angry as some may have expected. Perhaps these aren't the adjectives he's looking for, bu

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Charlie Daniels
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Album Spotlight: Charlie Daniels Band, ‘Off the Grid – Doin’ It Dylan’

Charlie Daniels shows a nuanced appreciation for Bob Dylan's catalog with the 10 songs on his recently released 'Off the Grid -- Doin' It Dylan' album. There are a few of the expected hits, but most are deep-cut surprises that the country singer is a better fit performing.

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Dan Shay
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Album Spotlight: Dan + Shay, ‘Where It All Began’

Sweet hooks, melodies more contagious than cooties and innocent young love … the debut album from ACM nominated duo Dan + Shay is what you expected. ’19 You + Me’ is an honest representative of the 12 t

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Josh Thompson
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Album Spotlight: Josh Thompson ‘Turn It Up’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

Almost every song on Josh Thompson’s ‘Turn It Up’ album has single potential, and those that don’t will be highlights of the ‘Cold Beer With Your Name On It’ singer’s live show.

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Jerrod Niemann
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Album Spotlight: Jerrod Niemann, ‘High Noon’

Fans will get to know Jerrod Niemann well by listening to his ‘High Noon’ album. While the project is covered in good time, groovy, party tracks, there are a few speckled in between that cast the 34-year-old as a romantic.

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Jo Dee Messina
Courtesy of Jo Dee Messina
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Album Spotlight: Jo Dee Messina ‘Me’

Country fans who like their women weak and their music vanilla will not care for what Jo Dee Messina offers on the 12 songs that make up ‘Me.’ The album — funded by a Kickstarter campaign — is full of attitude.

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