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Reviews

Rascal Flatts
Big Machine Records
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Rascal Flatts, ‘Changed’ – Song Review

'Changed,' the new single from Rascal Flatts, feels more personal than anything the trio has released up to this point in their decade-plus long career. The song, the title track from their 2012 album, was co-written by Gary LeVox, who talks about his relationship with God instead of just using his name conversationally as he's done in songs before.

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Tim McGraw
Jason Kempin, Getty Images
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Tim McGraw, ‘Mary and Joseph’ – Song Review

Tim McGraw could make a pretty strong Christmas album if he chose to do so. His new release 'Mary and Joseph' is a creative -- but not too creative -- interpretation of the story of Jesus' birth. McGraw tells it like he's told the best stories of his two decade-long career, with a sweet reverence for the struggles his characters are living through.

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Category: Christmas, Reviews Tags:
Big and Rich
Warner Music Nashville
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Big and Rich, ‘Party Like Cowboyz’ – Song Review

In 'Party Like Cowboyz,' Big and Rich once again become the wild-eyed, brash, cowboy rockers that originally attracted so many fans to their diesel-powered style when they debuted in 2003.  No one is going to accuse John Rich and Big Kenny of excessive versatility, but they do what they do with genuine conviction and passion.

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Ashley Monroe
Crush Management
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Ashley Monroe, ‘Like a Rose’ – Song Review

The sanguine melody of Ashley Monroe's new bluegrass-tinged song 'Like a Rose' runs counter to the sad (at first) story the singer tells. This conflict makes her new recording one you may find on repeat for reasons you can't quite explain. It's beautiful in a tragic way.

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Toby Keith
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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Toby Keith, ‘Hope on the Rocks’ – Song Review

The title track to Toby Keith's 'Hope on the Rocks' album shows the singer's genuine understanding of the nuanced relationships between bartenders and their regulars. But it's not just barkeeps that will relate to the ballad. Servers, liquor store clerks, the dry cleaner, radio DJs... anyone who provides a service and a set of open ears will appreciate his story.

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Jana Kramer
Jason Kempin, Getty Images
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Jana Kramer, ‘Whiskey’ – Song Review

With her second single, 'Whiskey,' Jana Kramer proves the vulnerability she showed on 'Why Ya Wanna' was no fluke. It's tough to turn away from her hurt, which on this song is aided by a tight lyric and sensible mix of pop and traditional country styling.

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Toby Keith
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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Toby Keith, ‘Hope on the Rocks’ – Album Review

Toby Keith's new album 'Hope on the Rocks' is a loud and sudsy collection of songs about beer, barrooms, heartbreak... and beer. Much like a Saturday night out at your favorite watering hole, it's rowdy and fun, but difficult to remember the next morning.

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Aldean
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Jason Aldean (Featuring Luke Bryan and Eric Church), ‘The Only Way I Know’ – Song Review

Jason Aldean's new single 'The Only Way I Know' weaves from the same spool as his biggest hits. Themes of hard work, loyalty and small town values have been at the core of hits like 'Fly Over States,' 'Tattoos on This Town,' and most recently, 'Take a Little Ride,' even if you need to look beyond the cutie in the passenger seat to find them. On the new single from 'Night Train,' Aldean's message is more direct. but no less effective. 

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Kelly Clarkson
Michael Loccisano, Getty Images
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Kelly Clarkson (Feat. Vince Gill), ‘Don’t Rush’ – Song Review

How do you convince a skeptical country audience that you're country? You get Vince Gill to sing and play guitar on your first true country single. That's what Kelly Clarkson did with 'Don't Rush,' a song she'll perform at the CMA Awards on Nov. 1. The pairing is magic. 

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Carrie Underwood
Arista Nashville
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Carrie Underwood, ‘Two Black Cadillacs’ – Song Review

Carrie Underwood used Twitter to announce that her new single would be 'Two Black Cadillacs,' the darkest song on a delightfully stormy new album called 'Blown Away.' The lyric pushes the normally plucky country superstar to the edge of evil. It's as far as she can go without falling off the cliff of believability. 

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The Band Perry
Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images
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The Band Perry, ‘Better Dig Two’ – Song Review

Two notes and two hand claps into the Band Perry's new single 'Better Dig Two' and one finds assurance that the sense of drama and danger the sibling trio infused into the best songs from their self-titled debut album will be back on album No. 2. Some ambient knocking combined with thin, haunting plucking make this song an instant soundtrack for Halloween. But it will likely have legs long after Oct. 31.

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Geroge Strait
MCA Nashville
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George Strait, ‘Give It All We Got Tonight’ – Song Review

With George Strait announcing a retirement from the road after his next tour, it's tempting to gush all over his new single 'Give It All We Got Tonight' like a school girl going on about a cute new teacher. A wave of nostalgia threatens objectivity, even though Strait will still be recording after 2014. The first song from his upcoming new album can be summed up in three words...

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