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Reviews

Chris Janson
Bigger Picture Music Group
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Chris Janson, ‘Better I Don’t’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

Chris Janson's new single comes at you like a Mack Truck with a wild-eyed driver -- and it never lets up. 'Better I Don't' delivers in every way imaginable. It's a pure country original that promises to break the Missouri native's career like 'All My Friends Say' did for Luke Bryan in 2007.

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Parker review
FilmDistrict
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‘Parker’ Review

'Parker' is not Jason Statham's best movie, but it may have his defining onscreen moment, a perfect, succinct summation of everything pleasurable about his onscreen persona. His character, a thief and con man named Parker, has returned to his hotel room in Palm Beach. He's surprised by an assassin; since this is a Jason Statham movie, an elaborately choreographed fight scene ensues.

The assassin's weapon of choice is a knife and after he gets Parker in a headlock, he tries really hard to get Statham's face acquainted with the finer points of his blade. The knife keeps inching closer and closer to his eyeball -- so to save himself, Parker sticks up his hand and willingly lets the assassin stab him through his palm. The sacrifice gives him just enough of breather to gain the upper hand. That is The Cinema of Jason Statham in a nutshell: action and indomitable determination. His characters are all men who'll stop at nothing to win; an echo of Statham's onscreen work ethic -- he'll stop at nothing to entertain you. Even in a vehicle as average as "Parker," Statham still delivers an intensely committed performance.

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Category: Movies, Reviews
Fill-in-the-Blank
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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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Category: Music News, Reviews
Gary Allan
Facebook
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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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Category: Music News, Reviews
Parmalee
Stoney Creek Records
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Parmalee, ‘Carolina’ – Song Review

"Polished" is not a word one would have used to describe Parmalee after the North Carolina foursome shared their debut single 'Musta Had a Good Time' in 2012, but the rowdy country rockers' follow-up single 'Carolina' is as radio-friendly of a track as you'll find. It's not clear that either style is a perfect fit for the Thomas brothers and their bandmates.

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Category: Abilene News, Reviews
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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indy
YouTube
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‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’ Gets the ‘Honest Trailer’ Treatment

It might seem like this video is a bit overdue. As the narrator of the video says, though, "five years later and I still want a refund." The movie so bad 'South Park' likened watching it to being sexually abused, 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull' is getting the Honest Trailer treatm

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Randy Houser
Stoney Creek Records
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Randy Houser, ‘How Country Feels’ – Album Review

Randy Houser comes in from the edges of country music with his third album 'How Country Feels' -- his first on new label Stoney Creek Records. The singer wrote just seven of the project's 15 cuts, but employed many of Nashville's top songwriters to help with the others.

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Category: Abilene News, Reviews Tags:
Jake Owen
RCA Nashville
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Jake Owen, ‘Anywhere With You’ – Song Review

Jake Owen found his niche with songs from the 'Barefoot Blue Jean Night' album, but the unidirectional theme is wearing thin with the arrival of his new single 'Anywhere With You.' There's a thread of spontaneity and nostalgia throughout all of Owen's most recent hits. He is the essence of carefree, which is refreshing... but no longer surprising. 

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Category: Abilene News, Reviews Tags:
Katie Armiger
Cold River Records
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Katie Armiger, ‘Fall Into Me’ – Album Review

Katie Armiger's new album, 'Fall Into Me,' features 14 songs that describe love's highs and lows. It's a rollercoaster ride that at times feels like that line from Taylor Swift's 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,' i.e., "I say 'I hate you,' we break up, you call me, 'I love you.'" Fortunately, Armiger's way with words is more debonair.

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Eric Church
EMI Nashville
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Eric Church, ‘Like Jesus Does’ – Song Review

Eric Church has released his most devoted love song from 'Chief' as the album's fifth single. 'Like Jesus Does' reveals the singer's vulnerabilities in a way none of his previous ballads have done. Like 'Springsteen,' reference is made to famous classic rock standards, giving the song some familiarity even before a first listen is finished. 

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Category: Abilene News, Reviews Tags:
Billy Ray Cyrus
Slaven Vlasic, Getty Images
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Billy Ray Cyrus, ‘Hillbilly Heart’ – Song Review

Billy Ray Cyrus evokes sounds of the Mississippi Delta with his new single 'Hillbilly Heart.' The song leans against a big, bad, foot-stompin' guitar lick before the singer reveals his best blues voice. The result is ugly ... in a good way. 

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Category: Reviews Tags:

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