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Pistol-Annies
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Pistol Annies, ‘Annie Up’ – Album Review

Strong production keeps 'Annie Up' -- the new album from Pistol Annies -- from being something their debut effort certainly was not: boring. The women thrive among thick, bluesy guitars that moan and wail throughout the 12 cuts. It's a throwback sound that fits the trio as well as the daring outfits they've become known for wearing.

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Jana Kramer
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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Jana Kramer, ‘I Hope It Rains’ – Song Review

'I Hope It Rains' makes three heartbreaks in three singles for Jana Kramer. The new track from her self-titled debut album is more fun than the bittersweet 'Why Ya Wanna' and catchier than her Top 30 hit 'Whiskey.' The singer finds that sweet spot between revenge and psycho and works the vocals into a potential hit.

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Thomas Rhett
Valory Music Co.
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Thomas Rhett, ‘It Goes Like This’ – Song Review

'It Goes Like This' is the safest of the three singles Thomas Rhett has released, but he sacrifices nothing in sharp songwriting in his effort to land a hit on country radio. The charismatic songwriter is a natural storyteller, and his lyrics bounce to life with each verse and chorus. 

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Kenny-Chesney
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Kenny Chesney, ‘Life on a Rock’ – Album Review

Kenny Chesney's 'Life on a Rock' album is as revealing of a record as 'Be as You Are' -- more so in some ways. The songwriting isn't as sharp as the 2005 project (the most closely comparable to 'Life on a Rock' in style and substance), but the experiences are as mixed and honest.

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Iron Man 3 review
Marvel
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‘Iron Man 3′ Review

From the earliest days of his appearances in Marvel Comics' 'Tales of Suspense,' Tony Stark has always been modeled after aviator/inventor/industrialist Howard Hughes. With 'Iron Man 3,' Stark assumes a new dimension of Hughes' persona: that of the paranoid shut-in who, in his later years, became notorious for roaming his private floor of the Desert Inn Hotel in Las Vegas, freaking out about invisible germs and collecting jars of his own urine. 'Iron Man 3's' Tony Stark, played once again by the inimitable Robert Downey Jr.isn't quite that bad, but he's getting there.

After the events chronicled in 'The Avengers,' where Manhattan was nearly leveled by invading aliens and Tony himself was almost killed, he's become obsessed with upgrading his armor -- leaping all the way from the Mark VII to the Mark 42 in a matter of months. When anyone mentions New York or aliens, Tony gets panic attacks. There's a reason Daredevil, not Iron Man, is the Marvel hero known as "The Man Without Fear." Poor Tony is terrified.

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Granger Smith
Granger Smith
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Granger Smith, ‘Dirt Road Driveway’ – Album Review

If you look back over Granger Smith's early album covers, you'll find that he presented himself as a hat act. Sonically he's come a long way since those efforts, with his latest album 'Dirt Road Driveway' falling squarely in the singer-songwriter sub-genre of country music. It's an album that would sound best at a coffee house, not a honky tonk. 

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Willie Nelson
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Willie Nelson, ‘Let’s Face the Music and Dance’ – Album Review

'Let's Face the Music and Dance' is a great place for a young country music fan to meet Willie Nelson. It won't be his most famous, and it won't create any hit singles. This wonderfully consistent effort proves what longtime fans of the legend already know: At 79 years old (80 on April 30), Nelson is still as important and skilled a vocalist as there is in country music. 

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Chris Cagle
YouTube
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Chris Cagle, ‘Dance Baby Dance’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

'Dance Baby Dance' is one of the finest songs of Chris Cagle's career -- perhaps his best ballad. A few fathers (and maybe a couple of mothers) will be wiping away tears before the end of the first verse. He hits that sweet spot between familiar and hokey. 

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Facebook
Facebook
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List Shows Calorie Count of Popular Beers, But How Do They Taste?

I saw this list on yahoo today that shows the calorie counts of your favorite beers.  Naturally, my favorite beers aren't really on the list, but they do have some popular ones that I've tried.  Here's what you can expect from these beers.

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Luke Bryan
Capitol Nashville
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Luke Bryan, ‘Crash My Party’ – Song Review

Luke Bryan's new song 'Crash My Party' would fit well on his last album 'Tailgates and Tanlines.' The ballad is a continuation of themes introduced with 'I Don't Want This Night to End' and 'Drunk on You,' two No. 1 hits for the ACM Entertainer of the Year. At first listen, it's difficult to become excited about a song that's so familiar. 

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Scotty McCreery, ‘See You Tonight’ – Song Review

Scotty McCreery makes his songwriting debut on 'See You Tonight,' a mid-tempo love song that finds the 19-year-old not settling for a phone call or some distant "I love you" from the girl who holds his heart. It's the start of a new chapter for McCreery -- one that's much more important than his last. 

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Brad Paisley
Ethan Miller, Getty Images
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Brad Paisley, ‘Wheelhouse’ – Album Review

Brad Paisley's 'Wheelhouse' delivers a familiar mix of humor, life lessons and scorching guitar solos, but it does it in a way different from any of the other eight albums the 'Beat This Summer' singer has released. He took his old formula, balled it up, lit it on fire and tossed the ashes in the garbage. The result is a meaty and ambitious project that doesn't always click, but clears new ground when it does.

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