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Brad Paisley
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Brad Paisley, ‘Beat This Summer’ – Song Review

Brad Paisley wasn't joking when he said he was working to push himself places never gone before on his upcoming album, 'Wheelhouse.' The second single, 'Beat This Summer,' is a double-take sort of record in that after it begins, you do a double-take toward your stereo or computer to try to make sense of what's going on. 

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Gary Allan
MCA Nashville
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Gary Allan, ‘Pieces’ – Song Review

If Gary Allan's chart-topper 'Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain)' was optimistic, his follow-up single 'Pieces' is downright plucky. The uptempo country-rocker may be the most contented single he's ever released.

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Tim McGraw, ‘Two Lanes of Freedom’ – Album Review

"Optimism" is the word Tim McGraw uses to describe his new album 'Two Lanes of Freedom,' and despite a garnish of somber ballads and hopeless love stories, the singer is dead on. The project's production creates the buoyant mood that carries each of the 15 songs on the accelerated deluxe version. In fact, one's opinion of 'Two Lanes of Freedom' may rest on production decisions made by McGraw and Byron Gallimore.

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Blackberry Smoke
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Blackberry Smoke, ‘Pretty Little Lie’ – Song Review

There's a genuine honky tonk feel to Blackberry Smoke's new single 'Pretty Little Lie.' The song is short on polish and long on lugubrious love. While honest and heartfelt, it's a story that's difficult to embrace.

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Greg Bates
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Greg Bates, ‘Fill in the Blank’ – Song Review

Greg Bates flashes a mischievous sense of humor in his new single 'Fill in the Blank.' The 'Did It for the Girl' hitmaker is proving to be from the George Strait school of music, but he must have taken a Master Class on Tracy Byrd somewhere along the way.

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Gary Allan
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Album Spotlight: Gary Allan, ‘Set You Free’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

Gary Allan delivers the emotionally rich album his fans expect while stretching his sound in multiple new directions on 'Set You Free,' the singer's ninth studio album and first in three years. The songwriting is strong from the first track to the last, with Allan mixing moments of joy and hope within his familiar anguish.

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Million Dollar Quartet
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Million Dollar Quartet – Musical History Comes To Life

I recently attended the Million Dollar Quartet at Proctor's Theater in Schenectady, New York. The show was everything I expected: great music, good stories, and a nostalgic journey to the early days of the music business.

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Lady Antebellum
Capitol Nashville
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Lady Antebellum, ‘Downtown’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

Lady Antebellum have never been funkier than on their new single 'Downtown' -- the first from the trio's upcoming fourth studio album. A guitar lick postmarked 1962 steers the song and pushes the band in an exciting new direction.

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Jodie Foster’s Golden Globes Lifetime Achievement Speech Spurs Rhyming Editorial [Song Parody]

Sorry - I just couldn't help myself. And let me preface this by saying that I LOVE Jodie's acting skills, but watching her on this awards show put me in my own "Panic Room".  She should have taken a hint from the "Lambs" and administered  a little bit of  "Silence" 

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MTV’s Buckwild Is The Lowest Of The Low In Reality TV – A Rhyming Editorial

West Virginia is all upset because there's a show on MTV that makes them look backwards and intellectually challenged (nsert wise-crack here)  The program is called Buckwild.  I've watched it, and I personally don't think it's worth a buck.  How low can TV go? 

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Blake Shelton
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Blake Shelton, ‘Sure Be Cool if You Did’ – Song Review

Between tour dates, a Christmas album, 'The Voice' and his bad Twitter habit, Blake Shelton found time to record a new single called 'Sure Be Cool if You Did' in 2012. He released the song minutes after the new year began, leaving many to wonder when a new album will follow (no plans have been announced). Sonically, his 23rd radio offering is a continuation those from 'Red River Blue' -- it'd fit nicely as the project's fifth single. 

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Florida Georgia Line
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Florida Georgia Line, ‘Get Your Shine On’ – Song Review

Florida Georgia Line wasted no time following their infectious debut single with one that cements the duo as the good-time country party band they introduced themselves as. 'Get Your Shine On' had already charted before 'Cruise' reached No. 1. Both rely on a big, fat hook and songwriting that's sharper than they'll get credit for.

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