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Frankie Ballard
Warner Music Nashville
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Frankie Ballard, ‘Helluva Life’ – Song Review

Frankie Ballard has chopped his hair, lost a few pounds (seemingly) and refined his sound to produce 'Helluva Life,' a new single from an upcoming album. Natural grit makes a wandering lyric a more emotional experience. It's a song that attempts to throw its arms around everyone -- that's always a dangerous endeavor.

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Category: Reviews
Two Tons of Steel
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Two Tons of Steel, ‘Unraveled’ is a Music-Lover’s Album – CD Review

I have to admit, I wasn't familiar with Two Tons of Steel until the band released 'Not That Lucky' a few years back. But from first listen, I was hooked. I loved the fact that there was a band that could be far off the beaten path, yet sound so cool and polished and professional. Their new CD, 'Unraveled', features more of that quirky coolness that we've come to expect from Two Tons, and more.

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Category: Music News, Reviews
Blake Shelton
Warner Nashville
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Blake Shelton, ‘Mine Would Be You’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

Does anyone in country music sing heartbreak quite like Blake Shelton? 'Mine Would Be You,' the third single from 'Based on a True Story ...' adds to a strong collection of Shelton tracks that will rip your heart out if you don't try to protect yourself. The turn in the last verse is devastating.

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Bush Hawg
RCA Nashville
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Bush Hawg, ‘Crushin” – Song Review

On 'Crushin',' the debut single from newcomers Bush Hawg, one can't hear the "blend of backwoods, blue collars, bar fights and bibles" they describe themselves as in their artist bio. The mid-tempo love song is a generic first-timer effort that relies on a big hook instead on lyrical depth or distinctive attitude.

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Category: Reviews
Gwen Sebastian
Flying Island Entertainment
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Gwen Sebastian, ‘Suitcase’ – Song Review

Gwen Sebastian has grown as an artist since she was a part of Team Blake on 'The Voice' in 2012. Her new single 'Suitcase' shows new confidence and vocal power, without sacrificing her unique punctuation and delivery. Her pain is palpable.

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Category: Reviews
Darius Rucker
Christopher Polk, Getty Images
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Darius Rucker, ‘Radio’ – Song Review

Darius Rucker's new single 'Radio' is a perfect song for summer. The uptempo tribute to young love, open roads and, of course, the radio is familiar and easy to fall for, especially when powered by Rucker's unequaled exuberance. 

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Danielle Bradbery
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images
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Danielle Bradbery, ‘The Heart of Dixie’ – Song Review

Danielle Bradbery's natural sweetness pours through on her debut single, but 'The Heart of Dixie' isn't a perfect match for the 16-year-old. It takes years of experience to be a great storyteller, especially when the main character is going through something the singer hasn't. Her performance is admirable, but not memorable. 

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Category: Reviews
Sarah Darling
Marquee PR
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Sarah Darling, ‘Little Umbrellas’ – Song Review

Sarah Darling's new single 'Little Umbrellas' is fun, flirty and a brand new way to describe drinking away the blues. The singer's airy, pop-fused delivery is a perfect match for the story she tells. It's a fun song and she has fun telling it. You can hear her smiling.

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Category: Reviews
Reckless Kelly
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Reckless Kelly ‘She Likes Money, He Likes Love’ – Song Review

Reckless Kelly have been one of the highlights of the Texas music scene for over 15 years, and it seems like every song that RK releases to Texas radio can be penciled in to the Top 5 of the charts. And with good reason; this is one of the coolest, most talented bands you're going to come across. Their latest single, 'She Likes Money, He Likes Love' from the album 'Good Luck & True Love' shows off both of these attributes.

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Uncle Kracker
UncleKracker.com
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Uncle Kracker, ‘Blue Skies’ – Song Review

Uncle Kracker has been singing the virtues of life's simple pleasures since the mid-2000s, and his new single 'Blue Skies' falls obediently in line. It's a feel-good, mid-tempo, country-rock song that, despite its similarity to everything else he's released to country radio over the last half-decade, feels pretty dang good. 

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Jason Boland and the Stragglers
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Jason Boland and the Stragglers ‘Dark & Dirty Mile’ – CD Review

We've come to expect certain things when you listen to a new Jason Boland and the Stragglers CD over the past 15-plus years. Expect new music to stay true to the dancehall country music that made them Texas/Red Dirt music icons. Expect great lyrics, and fantastic musical arrangements that are incredibly easy to listen to. And, of course, you can expect to enjoy one of the best vocalists in country music. With the release of their seventh studio album, 'Dark & Dirty Mile', it's good to know that some things never change.

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Category: Music News, Reviews
Despicable Me 2 Review
Universal
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‘Despicable Me 2′ Review

I am not a monster. I want to be very clear and upfront about this. Yes, those little squibbling yellow marshmallows called “minions” in 'Despicable Me' and 'Despicable Me 2' are adorable. I don't care how much of a tough guy you think you are, when these little buggers are vrooming about the screen and warbling and wobbling and making exaggerated facial expressions; it is biologically impossible for a human being not to smile. They're wonderful and the design team that creates them (and the scientists who code the array of imaging rendering computers) should all continue to take a bow. With this qualifier out of the way, allow me to warn anyone over the age of 10 or 11 that 'Despicable Me 2' stinks.

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