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Album Reviews

Album Reviews

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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Leann Rimes
Frazer Harrison, Getty Images
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Album Spotlight: LeAnn Rimes, ‘Spitfire’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

During 'I Do Now,' a song from LeAnn Rimes' new 'Spitfire' album, the singer name-checks the Dixie Chicks. The track is a feel-good, take-my-life-back kinda song nestled between much more moody and emotional fare. The similarities between the two acts were never so apparent until she says it.

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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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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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Trace-Akdins
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Album Spotlight: Trace Adkins, ‘Love Will …’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

The idea behind Trace Adkins' new album 'Love Will ...' makes so much sense you almost wonder why he hadn't done it sooner. This collection of love songs is as obvious as the tagless T-shirt, yet for years we went without both.

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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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