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Album Reviews

Album Reviews

Keith Urban
EMI Nashville
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Album Spotlight: Keith Urban, ‘Fuse’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

'Fuse' is a fine title for Keith Urban's seventh studio album, but 'Short Fuse' might be even better. There's very little to burn before one gets to the heart of this explosion of energy set to a modern country beat. The collection of 13 songs is the singer's least traditional offering to date, but few will complain about that.

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Sheryl Crow
Larry Busacca, Getty Images
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Album Spotlight: Sheryl Crow, ‘Feels Like Home’

Sheryl Crow didn't need to change much to fit in with Nashville's top female vocalists, and on the best songs from her 'Feels Like Home' album, she didn't. An easy (no pun intended), direct delivery serves the "newcomer" well.

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Charlie Worsham
Warner Music Nashville
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Album Spotlight: Charlie Worsham, ‘Rubberband’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

Charlie Worsham's debut album is about as splashy as a summer drought -- but that's not his style. The Mississippi-born instrumentalist puts his schooling to work on 'Rubberband,' an album that will compete for the best debut effort of 2013.

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Luke Bryan
Capitol Nashville
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Luke Bryan, ‘Crash My Party’ – Album Review

Luke Bryan plays it safe on 'Crash My Party,' his new album and the follow-up to the tremendously successful 'Tailgates and Tanlines.' With the exception of the infusion of hip-hop on two songs, there is little to differentiate the two projects.

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Vince Gill Paul Franklin
MCA Nashville
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Vince Gill and Paul Franklin, ‘Bakersfield’ – Album Review

It's almost unfair to call 'Bakersfield' a Vince Gill and Paul Franklin album, because there are so many other skilled musicians who add an important solo, fill or backbeat to the 10-song project. Often when so much talent fills a room, egos bump like elephants at feeding time. But there's space for everyone on this project.

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Civil Wars
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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Album Spotlight: The Civil Wars, ‘The Civil Wars’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

The great mystery that sews intrigue at the root of 'The Civil Wars' is how two people who clearly don't get along can pretend with such conviction. The second album from this duo isn't tainted by disdain, contempt or ambivalence that hardens one's heart. In fact, it's more emotional than their Grammy-winning debut album. So clearly they're either brilliant actors, or they're in love.

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Brett Eldredge
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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Brett Eldredge, ‘Bring You Back’ – Album Review

Buying a full album from a new artist is something like a trust fall. Typically you've heard one or two songs, leaving nine or 10 question marks. Breathe easy putting down cash for 'Bring You Back,' the debut from Brett Eldredge. The Paris, Ill.-born singer will catch you.

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Court Yard Hounds
Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images
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Court Yard Hounds, ‘Amelita’ – Album Review

The Court Yard Hounds' second album, 'Amelita,' is a peek at the diary pages of Martie Maguire and Emily Robison. The 11 songs are tremendously personal, and while they're laden with tragically beautiful lyrics, many are difficult to access.

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LoCash Cowboys
Paul Brasil for Taste of Country
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LoCash Cowboys, ‘LoCash Cowboys’ – Album Review

The LoCash Cowboys' career has been a series of stops and starts -- until now. With the release of their self-titled debut album, Chris Lucas and Preston Brust finally get to show fans all sides of their personality. Ballads like 'Best Seat in the House' and the previously released 'Keep in Mind' soften the image that songs like 'C-O-U-N-T-R-Y' and 'Here Comes Summer' helped build.

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Hunter Hayes
Atlantic Records
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Hunter Hayes, ‘(Encore)’ – Album Review

Hunter Hayes' '(Encore)' is his debut album in its entirety plus two additional vocalists, one additional pass through the studio and five new tracks. With 17 songs, it's a monster for those who don't already own 'Hunter Hayes.' The additions and changes make it worth the effort.

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