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Reviews - Page 4

Will Hoge
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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Will Hoge, ‘Strong’ – Song Review

Will Hoge is a new name to most mainstream country fans, but the singer-songwriter has been at it as long as any star on the radio. There's gritty experience in his voice as he patiently gets through his new song 'Strong.' One quickly finds himself remembering a father, grandfather or uncle who spoke through his actions.

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Chuck Wicks
McGhee Entertainment
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Chuck Wicks, ‘Salt Life’ – Song Review

Chuck Wicks' new single 'Salt Life' buries the singer's uniquely talented voice in favor of a more spoken-word style that he introduced on 'Old School.' He's a decent storyteller, but not strong enough in that arena to not rely on his impressive high end and gift for pouring through a melody.

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Jake Owen
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Jake Owen, ‘Days of Gold’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

Be sure you're near a good, clean air source before you begin Jake Owen's new single 'Days of Gold.' Words like "uptempo" or "rockin'" don't even begin to describe the pace the singer keeps up for over three spellbinding minutes. 'Eight Second Ride' is a ballad comparatively.

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Cole Swindell
Warner Music Nashville
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Cole Swindell, ‘Chillin’ It’ – Song Review

Cole Swindell's debut single 'Chillin' It' isn't about the words or the musicianship. It's about the vibe and the sweet groove this Georgia-raised singer lays down patiently.

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Colt Ford Jason Aldean
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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Colt Ford (Feat. Jason Aldean), ‘Drivin’ Around Song’ – Song Review

'Drivin' Around Song' is Colt Ford's best chance for a radio hit, something the singer would likely be willing to shave his body hair for. Jason Aldean's chorus is smooth and memorable, and his presence on the track from 'Declaration of Independence' gives Ford superstar credibility.

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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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Frankie Ballard
Warner Music Nashville
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Frankie Ballard, ‘Helluva Life’ – Song Review

Frankie Ballard has chopped his hair, lost a few pounds (seemingly) and refined his sound to produce 'Helluva Life,' a new single from an upcoming album. Natural grit makes a wandering lyric a more emotional experience. It's a song that attempts to throw its arms around everyone -- that's always a dangerous endeavor.

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Josh Thompson
Show Dog Universal
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Josh Thompson, ‘Cold Beer With Your Name on It’ – Song Review

Josh Thompson's 'Cold Beer With Your Name on It' opens his sound up just enough to let in a few fans that didn't go crazy for his steak and potato brand of country music. The 'Beer on the Table' singer's blue collar sound was was refined and direct from the get-go, but his statement may have left some struggling to feel part of the party. 

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Blake Shelton
Warner Nashville
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Blake Shelton, ‘Mine Would Be You’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

Does anyone in country music sing heartbreak quite like Blake Shelton? 'Mine Would Be You,' the third single from 'Based on a True Story ...' adds to a strong collection of Shelton tracks that will rip your heart out if you don't try to protect yourself. The turn in the last verse is devastating.

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Bush Hawg
RCA Nashville
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Bush Hawg, ‘Crushin” – Song Review

On 'Crushin',' the debut single from newcomers Bush Hawg, one can't hear the "blend of backwoods, blue collars, bar fights and bibles" they describe themselves as in their artist bio. The mid-tempo love song is a generic first-timer effort that relies on a big hook instead on lyrical depth or distinctive attitude.

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