Album Review: Dierks Bentley’s ‘Black’ is Grown-Up Sexy Country Music

I read somewhere recently that no critic should review an album until they’ve been able to listen to the album several times, over the course of a week. Then, the critic should return to the review after a couple of months and re-review it. I’ve had my hands (and ears) on Dierks Bentley’s Black for … Read more

Album Review: Blake Shelton’s ‘If I’m Honest’ Packs a Few Punches and Is Full of Likely Hits

Blake Shelton‘s never had a problem with being himself or being honest. He’s also never had a problem producing hit after hit after hit. His newest release, If I’m Honest, brings a realness and a rawness his previous albums have been lacking and yes, there’s more than one hit tucked away in these 15 brand … Read more

Album Review: Jennifer Nettles Doesn’t Play Around On ‘Playing With Fire’

Jennifer Nettles doesn’t just raise the bar higher, she completely breaks it. Her sophomore solo studio album, Playing with Fire, is appropriately theatrical and emotional and a jigsaw puzzle of hefty moodiness. While 2014’s Rick Rubin-produced That Girl (her first set post-Sugarland) was an essential statement piece, utilizing Nettles’ curiosity for earth tones and lilting … Read more

Album Review: Keith Urban Stretches His Pop Wings On ‘Ripcord’

Make no mistake: Keith Urban’s new album Ripcord rips the country nob off the radio panel and tosses it to the floorboard. The Aussie then puts the pedal to the metal and screeches across the blacktop, leaving his country past (mostly) in the dust. He has arguably always been a stylistic maven, often fusing together … Read more

Album Review: Martina McBride Returns To Form With ‘Reckless’

Martina McBride, one of the defining voices of ’90s country, breaks all the rules she set forth in her legacy career with a splashy return on her 13th studio album, Reckless. Issued on Big Machine’s NashIcon imprint, the veteran act goes for an organic sound on the meager 10 tracks. There is a soothing, cinematic … Read more

8 Fans Kind of Confused by Florida Georgia Line’s “H.O.L.Y.”

Florida Georgia Line’s new single, “H.O.L.Y.” is the duo’s first release off their upcoming album, Dig Your Roots. Months before the release of the song, the duo was promising more depth to their music, with Tyler Hubbard stating upon release, “As we continue to grow and mature in our lives, we really wanted our music … Read more

Album Review: Brothers Osborne Pack A Soulful Punch With ‘Pawn Shop’ Debut

The beauty of Brothers Osborne‘s debut LP lies in its dynamic musical ferocity and character-driven forcefulness. Pawn Shop is certainly a mainstream record, by all accounts, but it’s a boldly-raw, Americana-shaded set which reframes modern country with a predilection for thoughtful storytelling and bluesy arrangements (“Rum” and “Down Home” are downright groovy). T.J.’s whiskey-soaked baritone is … Read more

8 Somewhat Helpful Customer Reviews for Country Music Albums

Sometimes, country music gets a bad rap. And because of that, sometimes country music fans have trouble convincing others just how great country music really is. To help country music fans tell their friends about the greatest music genre ever, why not check out some helpful album reviews? 8 Somewhat Helpful Customer Reviews for Country … Read more

Album Review: Track-by-Track Cam’s ‘Untamed’ is Wildly Good

Very few women (or men) can pull the one-name moniker. Reba. Beyonce. Madonna. Go ahead and pencil in Cam to that list. If country music critics and radio consultants want women to make “better” music, here it is. Cam‘s debut album, Untamed, featuring the GRAMMY-nominated, “Burning House” is full of classic country music storytelling; bold, burn-it-all-down … Read more

Album Review: Chris Young Charms On ‘I’m Comin’ Over’

There are few male vocalists today as potent as Chris Young. Even when the material is sub-par (such as “Aw Naw” from 2013’s otherwise compelling A.M.), the singer’s deep, gut-punching voice elevates the work in ways only he could accomplish. On his fifth studio album I’m Comin’ Over, Young masterfully constructs believable narratives centered around romance and regret. … Read more

Album Review: Old Dominion Dish Up ‘Meat & Candy’

Old Dominion, the band built on Matthew Ramsey’s often urban-powdered vocals and polished Southern Rock musicianship of Brad Tursi on guitar with loads of help from Trevor Rosen (guitar/vocals), Geoff Sprung (bass) and Whit Sellers (drums) have fixed their eyes on the prize. The group’s debut album, Meat and Candy, is tantalizingly sweet but offers up plenty of meat, too. … Read more

Album Review: Eric Church Pulls Back On ‘Mr. Misunderstood’

Eric Church holds the (country) world on his shoulders. Always under-appreciated, often misunderstood, the outsider surprised his fan club last week with the release of his fifth studio album, Mr. Misunderstood, 10 songs of stripped-back, organic-laced narratives framed around adulthood. It is far less experimentally bold (i.e. heavy metal, hard-hitting southern rock, etc.) than 2014’s outrageous … Read more