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Aaron Lewis
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Aaron Lewis, ‘Granddaddy’s Gun’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

Aaron Lewis's new single 'Granddaddy's Gun' should easily become the biggest country hit of his career. The third release from 'The Road' album speaks to an audience that's increasingly being told to quiet down. While the song has appeared on more than one album in recent years, it's Lewis who truly does it justice. 

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Tim McGraw
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Tim McGraw, ‘Southern Girl’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

Tim McGraw's latest album 'Two Lanes of Freedom' is full of songs that should live long after their run up the charts. The latest is 'Southern Girl,' a too-easy-to-fall-for tribute to American women born where the weather's hot nine months a year.

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LoCash Cowboys
Paul Brasil for Taste of Country
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LoCash Cowboys, ‘LoCash Cowboys’ – Album Review

The LoCash Cowboys' career has been a series of stops and starts -- until now. With the release of their self-titled debut album, Chris Lucas and Preston Brust finally get to show fans all sides of their personality. Ballads like 'Best Seat in the House' and the previously released 'Keep in Mind' soften the image that songs like 'C-O-U-N-T-R-Y' and 'Here Comes Summer' helped build.

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Trace Adkins
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Trace Adkins (Feat. Colbie Caillat), ‘Watch the World End’ – Song Review

There's an intentional darkness that lingers over Trace Adkins' new single 'Watch the World End,' a duet with pop singer Colbie Caillat. It's an effective love song that also succeeds in painting a vivid picture of the apocalypse.

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Toby Keith
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Toby Keith, ‘Drinks After Work’ – Song Review

Some believe the R&B-influenced country sound of the '70s and '80s is poised to make a big comeback, and recent releases from Trace Adkins and Joe Nichols are evidence of that. Toby Keith's new song 'Drinks After Work' jumps the flashback needle, however. He's a bit ahead of his time in being behind the times.

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Thomspon Square
Stoney Creek Records
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Thompson Square, ‘Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About’ – Song Review

It's back to basics for Thompson Square. The duo's new single 'Everything I Shouldn't Be Thinking About' is a no-tricks, easy-to-embrace love song that finds the married couple having a conversation as comfortable as, "What's for dinner?"

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Taylor Swift
Big Machine Records
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Taylor Swift, ‘Red’ – Song Review

Taylor Swift has released three singles to pop radio since releasing her last country single, but her country fans can rest easy knowing that they get all the best songs from the 'Red' album. The title track marks the superstar's first country offering since 'Begin Again,' a track released before the album was even available.  

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Love and Theft
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Love and Theft, ‘If You Ever Get Lonely’ – Song Review

'If You Ever Get Lonely,' the new single from Love and Theft, makes vanilla taste like chili powder. The song was previously recorded by former Bad English singer John Waite, and Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson do little to put their individual marks on the story or production. 

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Jason Aldean
Broken Bow Records
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Jason Aldean, ‘Night Train’ – Song Review

Back country roads are becoming crowded this summer, with Jason Aldean's 'Night Train' the latest to take a girl and a fifth of something to a secret spot. The title track from this singer's most recent album stands out above many of the rest, however. It's a rare Aldean vocal showcase that uses a train to put a slightly different spin on this story.

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Leann Rimes
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Album Spotlight: LeAnn Rimes, ‘Spitfire’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

During 'I Do Now,' a song from LeAnn Rimes' new 'Spitfire' album, the singer name-checks the Dixie Chicks. The track is a feel-good, take-my-life-back kinda song nestled between much more moody and emotional fare. The similarities between the two acts were never so apparent until she says it.

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Dierks Bentley
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Dierks Bentley (Feat. Kacey Musgraves), ‘Bourbon in Kentucky’ – Song Review

Dierks Bentley breaks from his longtime producer Brett Beavers to record his new single 'Bourbon in Kentucky.' Sonically, the song is more experimental than anything the Batman and Robin duo put together. Beavers and Bentley's best work shook like a rattlesnake or pierced deep into the veins with a heartbreaking poison capable of inducing painful flashbacks of past relationships. Few have been as successful over the past decade.

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Darius Rucker
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Darius Rucker, ‘True Believers’ – Album Review

Darius Rucker sings with more energy than a nuclear power plant, but his new album 'True Believers' is safer than solar power. He captures the spirit of his live show -- one of the best in the business -- on each of the 12 tracks, but one yearns for for something unique and unexpected. 

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