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Reviews

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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Gwen Sebastian
Flying Island Entertainment
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Gwen Sebastian, ‘Suitcase’ – Song Review

Gwen Sebastian has grown as an artist since she was a part of Team Blake on 'The Voice' in 2012. Her new single 'Suitcase' shows new confidence and vocal power, without sacrificing her unique punctuation and delivery. Her pain is palpable.

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Darius Rucker
Christopher Polk, Getty Images
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Darius Rucker, ‘Radio’ – Song Review

Darius Rucker's new single 'Radio' is a perfect song for summer. The uptempo tribute to young love, open roads and, of course, the radio is familiar and easy to fall for, especially when powered by Rucker's unequaled exuberance. 

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Danielle Bradbery
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images
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Danielle Bradbery, ‘The Heart of Dixie’ – Song Review

Danielle Bradbery's natural sweetness pours through on her debut single, but 'The Heart of Dixie' isn't a perfect match for the 16-year-old. It takes years of experience to be a great storyteller, especially when the main character is going through something the singer hasn't. Her performance is admirable, but not memorable. 

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Sarah Darling
Marquee PR
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Sarah Darling, ‘Little Umbrellas’ – Song Review

Sarah Darling's new single 'Little Umbrellas' is fun, flirty and a brand new way to describe drinking away the blues. The singer's airy, pop-fused delivery is a perfect match for the story she tells. It's a fun song and she has fun telling it. You can hear her smiling.

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Uncle Kracker
UncleKracker.com
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Uncle Kracker, ‘Blue Skies’ – Song Review

Uncle Kracker has been singing the virtues of life's simple pleasures since the mid-2000s, and his new single 'Blue Skies' falls obediently in line. It's a feel-good, mid-tempo, country-rock song that, despite its similarity to everything else he's released to country radio over the last half-decade, feels pretty dang good. 

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