Album Review: Bruce Springsteen – ‘Western Stars’

The short version: Most of the songs on ‘Western Stars’ are better together than they are individually, but Bruce Springsteen’s first proper studio album in several years is a vast journey through the western United States. Favorite tracks: “Western Stars,” “Sundown,” “Moonlight Motel,” “Hello Sunshine,” “Chasin’ Wild Horses” Least favorite track: “Sleepy Joe’s Cafe” Rating:… Read More Album Review: Bruce Springsteen – ‘Western Stars’

EP Review: Charlie Marie – Self-Titled

The short version: EPs generally fail to offer much of anything substantial, but this is a great exception to that rule.  Favorite tracks: “Rhinestones,” “Countryside,” “Rodeo” Least favorite track: “Shot In The Dark” Rating: 8/10 The long version: In 2019, it’s harder than ever for artists to cut through the clutter. Yes, the Internet has… Read More EP Review: Charlie Marie – Self-Titled

Album Review: Taylor Alexander – ‘Good Old Fashioned Pain’

The short version: ‘Good Old Fashioned Pain’ is the kind of straightforward, no-frills country album that’s both enjoyable and full of substance. Favorite tracks: “Sorry For Growing Up,” “It Don’t Matter To The Rain,” “I Never Ask For Nothin’,” “Real Good At Saying Goodbye,” “I Guess I Moved On” Least favorite track: “Good Old Fashioned… Read More Album Review: Taylor Alexander – ‘Good Old Fashioned Pain’

Album Review: Ben Jarrell – ‘Troubled Times’

The short version: Ben Jarrell’s ‘Troubled Times’ opens a door for a new generation of blistering, good-timing, outlaw and honky tonk country music. Favorite tracks: “Daddy’s Prison Radio,” “Big Iron Train,” “Black Helicopter,” “Colorado Bound,” “Troubled Times In A Tribal Town” Least favorite track: “Marissa” Rating: 8/10 The long version: There’s times where the formation… Read More Album Review: Ben Jarrell – ‘Troubled Times’

Song Review: Maddie and Tae – “Die From A Broken Heart”

The short version: “Die From A Broken Heart” is just one of those well-written, heartfelt songs that represents what country music is all about.  Writers: Deric Ruttan, Jonathan Singleton, Taylor Elizabeth Dye, Maddie Marlow, Taylor Dye Rating: 8/10 The long version: I should have reviewed this around six months ago, but this also should have… Read More Song Review: Maddie and Tae – “Die From A Broken Heart”

Song Review: Little Big Town – “The Daughters”

The short version: It would have been better had it operated on a narrative rather than a list-like style of writing, but the sentiment of “The Daughters” resonates nonetheless. Writers: Karen Fairchild, Ashley Ray, Sean McConnell Rating: 8/10 The long version: Little Big Town easily have some of the zaniest chart runs in country music… Read More Song Review: Little Big Town – “The Daughters”

Album Review: Reba McEntire – ‘Stronger Than The Truth’

The short version: Thirty-five years ago, Reba McEntire firmly grounded her artistic identity on ‘My Kind Of Country.’ Now, in 2019, she does the very same thing again on ‘Stronger Than The Truth.’ Favorite tracks: “The Clown,” “Cactus In A Coffee Can,” “The Bar’s Getting Lower,” “In His Mind,” “Stronger Than The Truth” Least favorite… Read More Album Review: Reba McEntire – ‘Stronger Than The Truth’

Album Review: Lauren Jenkins – ‘No Saint’

The short version: While there’s still the mystery of who Lauren Jenkins is, ‘No Saint’ is a compelling listen in all regards. More than that though, I’d say this album’s importance to the genre equally matches my enjoyment of it. Favorite tracks: “No Saint,” “Give Up The Ghost,” “Blood,” “Maker’s Mark And You,” “Running Out… Read More Album Review: Lauren Jenkins – ‘No Saint’

Album Review: Austin Meade – ‘Waves’

The short version: ‘Waves’ often finds itself on the edges of burnout in ways that feel depressing, angry, and most of all, cathartic. It also finds Austin Meade truly coming into his own as an artist to craft his own individual, artistic statement.  Favorite tracks: “Waves,” “Pay Phone,” “Mountain Past,” “Colorblind,” “Brooklyn,” “Bad Habits,” “Savannah”… Read More Album Review: Austin Meade – ‘Waves’

Album Review: Vandoliers – ‘Forever’

The short version: Vandoliers’ ‘Forever’ is the kind of tight, fun album that’s easy to enjoy, has more depth to it than one would expect, and features a unique sonic palette.  Favorite tracks: “Tumbleweed,” “Cigarettes In The Rain,” “Shoshone Rose,” “Sixteen Years,” “Troublemaker” Least favorite track: “Nowhere Fast” Rating: 8/10 Author’s preface: I hate having… Read More Album Review: Vandoliers – ‘Forever’

Song Review: Reba McEntire – “Stronger Than The Truth”

The short version: “Stronger Than The Truth” just may be Reba McEntire’s strongest single in years. Writers: Autumn McEntire, Hannah Blaylock Rating: 8/10 The long version: With the return of legends like George Strait, Brooks & Dunn and Reba McEntire to the country music format this year, these artists are blatantly telling us fans they… Read More Song Review: Reba McEntire – “Stronger Than The Truth”

Album Review: Yola – ‘Walk Through Fire’

The short version: Through compelling performances and stellar songs, Yola’s ‘Walk Through Fire’ is incredibly easy to like. Favorite tracks: “Lonely The Night,” “Ride Out In The Country,” “Faraway Look,” “Rock Me Gently,” “Still Gone” Least favorite track: “Walk Through Fire” Rating: 8/10 The long version: While it’s not uncommon to hear artists adopt retro… Read More Album Review: Yola – ‘Walk Through Fire’