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Reviews

Chris Cagle
YouTube

Chris Cagle, ‘Dance Baby Dance’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

'Dance Baby Dance' is one of the finest songs of Chris Cagle's career -- perhaps his best ballad. A few fathers (and maybe a couple of mothers) will be wiping away tears before the end of the first verse. He hits that sweet spot between familiar and hokey. 

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Luke Bryan
Capitol Nashville

Luke Bryan, ‘Crash My Party’ – Song Review

Luke Bryan's new song 'Crash My Party' would fit well on his last album 'Tailgates and Tanlines.' The ballad is a continuation of themes introduced with 'I Don't Want This Night to End' and 'Drunk on You,' two No. 1 hits for the ACM Entertainer of the Year. At first listen, it's difficult to become excited about a song that's so familiar. 

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Hunter Hayes
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Hunter Hayes, ‘I Want Crazy’ – Song Review

In his new song 'I Want Crazy.' Hunter Hayes doesn't soar like Ronnie Dunn or croon like Chris Young. His vocal performance is an exercise in diction -- and memory. Simply put, he packs a ton of words into a tight space without straining or slurring one idea into another. It's not easy. 

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The Band Perry Pioneer
Republic Nashville

Album Spotlight: The Band Perry, ‘Pioneer’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

The Band Perry's new album 'Pioneer' is just as dramatic, yet dramatically more steady than their debut effort. The bar was raised and reached vocally, and songs like 'Done,' 'Forever Mine Nevermind' and 'Chainsaw' prove the family trio has lost nothing in terms of lyrical edge. 

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Blake-Shelton

Album Spotlight: Blake Shelton, ‘Based on a True Story …’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

Women who already think Blake Shelton singing is the sexiest thing since Johnny Castle pulled Baby from the corner may want to take the rest of the week off. The best moments on 'Based on a True Story ...' sizzle, and not in that ironic "bow-chicka-wow-wow" sort of way that's occasionally implied with this singer's sense of humor. Songs like 'Mine Would Be You' are safe to put on any red wine and candles soundtrack. Guys, you can thank Shelton via his Twitter account, if you'd like.

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Billy Currington
Kevin Kane, Getty Images

Billy Currington, ‘Hey Girl’ – Song Review

Billy Currington is a master of melody, always finding songs you can't get out of your head (and usually don't want to). 'Hey Girl,' the lead single from an upcoming album deviates little from his brand of country meets R&B. 

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Justin Moore
Gerardo Mora, Getty Images

Justin Moore, ‘Point at You’ – Song Review

Justin Moore's lead single from his third studio album is a familiar combination of all of his best songs. It's the well-meaning bad boy in 'How I Got to Be This Way' meeting the soft and sensitive lover in ''Til My Last Day.' Fans familiar with Moore's previous two studio albums can find a few more tracks 'Point at You' resembles.

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Sheryl Crow
Warner Music Nashville

Sheryl Crow, ‘Easy’ – Song Review

Sheryl Crow's new country single 'Easy' is as advertised. It's easy to be seduced by Crow's carefree warmth and laid-back style. It's easy to overlook the effective songwriting, and it's easy to fall into her story again and again.

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The Band Perry
Jason Kempin, Getty Images

The Band Perry, ‘Done’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

Not since their debut effort has the Band Perry released a song as fun as 'Done,' the second single from the trio's upcoming sophomore album 'Pioneer.' It's a track that makes the hair on your arms stand straight up as you pound along to the beat.

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Tim McGraw
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Tim McGraw (Feat. Taylor Swift and Keith Urban), ‘Highway Don’t Care’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

While Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift's vocals on 'Highway Don't Care' would be enough to make the song a hit and one of the best of 2013, it's Keith Urban's guitar that makes the track one of the best collaborations of the decade -- maybe even ever. Each artist brings his or her best effort to the song from McGraw's 'Two Lanes of Freedom' album. It's a sterling example of what can happen when artists are left to be artists, without the handcuffs of music business politics. 

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