Mindy Smith gets “Snowed In” with latest Holiday EP

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       I’ve been a fan of Mindy Smith since I first heard her cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”. I Loved her take on it! So I naturally looked up her music. I became a fast fan after hearing her song “Come To Jesus”, which is off of her 2004 album “One Moment More”.

       Mindy Smith’s latest is the five-song Holiday EP, “Snowed In”. It contains three traditional songs, plus two self-penned originals. The production is laid-back and stripped back, allowing the songs themselves and Mindy’s voice to shine. Mindy is once again joined by producer Steve Buckingham, who produced her first three albums.

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Phoenix Stone “When The Whiskey Doesn’t Work” Review

 
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Founding member of The Backstreet Boys is back in action with his new song When The Whiskey Doesn't Work. Phoenix Stone is anything but ordinary. He is in his own lane, unique. His previous single, "100 Proof Moonshine" which was written and produced by Stone, peaked at the #1 spot on the New & Active Charts and Billboard Top 50. Currently, his YouTube channel has over 3 million hits. Phoenix played two sell out shows this summer at the well known CMA Music Fest, which is a huge deal. 

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Keith Urban (feat. Miranda Lambert) ‘We Were Us’ – Single Review

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Disclaimer: All posts written by guest writers on this website are solely that writer's opinion and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the other writers and/or site owner. I respect their opinions and so should you, even if you don't agree with it.

I am not Keith Urban’s biggest fan by any means, but I don’t
think I’m alone in noticing the significant difference in his new material.
More pop-orientated than his previous records, ‘We Were Us’ is perhaps one of
the stronger lyrical efforts on an album that overall lacks substance. That
doesn’t mean that it’s worthy of a big thumbs up from me, however.

The song begins with a really nice banjo melody that upon
first listening holds promise for what’s to come. Miranda also has the first
verse all to herself, which is rare for an artist who is the featured one,
although this delight is muted by the fact they have edited her voice to a
robotic pulp. This leads me to my overriding issue with the entire track, and
that is the production. The chorus is completely over-done, with instruments
going full-pelt, a stupid pop drum beat and “too much atmosphere” (yes, there
is such a thing). It’s followed by a few vocal hooks from Keith, shrouded in
reverb and effects, before his own verse.

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Guest post: Keith Urban “Fuse” album review

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My radio friend Cricket Moss (Twitter:@cricketmoss) wrote a great review for Keith Urban's new album "Fuse," which hit stores today (iTunes/Amazon)
. She gave me permission to share so here you go. You can read more from Cricket on her own blog at Cricket's Frog Blog.

Guest review: 

“Fuse” is Keith Urban’s first studio album in three years, and expectations were running high. So was curiosity, as it was revealed that Keith not only enlisted the assistance of producers he’d worked with before, like Dann Huff, but also some surprising choices, like Mike Elizondo (best known for working with Eminem) and Butch Walker (Pink, Avril Lavigne). He brought in EIGHT producers in all for this record! Coulda been a “cluster,” but, for the most part, it all “fuses” together quite nicely.

Somewhere in My Car Keith certainly has a lot of songs with references to cars and driving (Put You in a Song, Days Go By, etc.). The latest is a deceptively uptempo, bright-sounding song that’s actually about a breakup. He  is bummed out about coming home to an empty apartment, wishing he could bring himself to take the pictures off the walls that only remind him of this girl that is gone. “I know you’re never coming back, But in my mind, we’re somewhere in my car…” A good song, but I’m not convinced that Keith is really the type of guy who’d live in the past and mope over some a broken relationship. Nor do I believe that any gal would be crazy enough to leave Keith Urban! 

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Sara Evans ‘Slow Me Down’ – Single Review

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As someone who is only familiar with bits of Sara’s music, I
went into ‘Slow Me Down’ fairly blind. Despite my lack of knowledge, however, upon
first listening I think most would be surprised what the sound that hits you.
Once the song gets going, of course, it takes the shape of what you would expect
from a Sara Evans song: a country-tinged pop/soft rock belter focused around
love and relationships.

However, it’s the riff that, while the most memorable, is
also the most interesting part of the song. Played on piano across higher keys
than a lot of other songs, a huge heaping of delay has been added, and I think
they’re a little synthed, because they don’t quite sound real. In fact, I had
to watch an acoustic video of the song just to figure out it did actually seem
to be a piano they were using, as opposed to a computer program. Maybe I’m crazy,
but the piano just sounds slightly inhuman to me. It’s very much at the
forefront of the mix, and leaves a lasting impression on the listener. 

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Cassadee Pope, ’11’ — Song Review

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Cassadee Pope, why must you rip my heart from my chest? With her latest release, a song called "11," the 23-year-old musician showcases her remarkable songwriting talent. Co-written with producer Nathan Chapman, the plucky mid-tempo is an emotional glance into her parents' divorce when she was a tender pre-teen. As a "buzz" single, this definitely serves its purpose as an offering from her forthcoming Big Machine debut record "Frame by Frame," out Oct. 8. With criticisms over her sudden interest in country music, this song could finally put to rest those often unfounded claims.

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Brad Paisley ‘I Can’t Change The World’ – Single Review

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Disclaimer: All posts written by guest writers on this website are solely that writer's opinion and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the other writers and/or site owner. I respect their opinions and so should you, even if you don't agree with it.

After ‘Southern Comfort Zone’ and ‘Beat This Summer’, both
big hits both in the charts and with fans, and an album full of amazing songs,
I was really excited to hear the new single. I expected ‘Outstanding In Our
Field’, with Dierks Bentley and Hunter Hayes, and I’m still convinced that will
be a single at some point, but the announcement of ‘I Can’t Change The World’.
It’s a good song, don’t get me wrong, and plenty of people have picked it out
as their favorite on the record, but despite the subject matter it just doesn’t
resonate with me the way it should. 

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Miranda Lambert ‘All Kinds of Kinds’ – Video Review

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Disclaimer: All posts written by guest writers on this website are solely that writer's opinion and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the other writers and/or site owner. I respect their opinions and so should you, even if you don't agree with it.

With the release of Miranda Lambert’s new video for ‘All
Kinds of Kinds’, this presumably marks the end of the ‘Four The Record’ era.
While Miranda is busy getting started on her fifth album, ‘All Kinds of Kinds’
does that age-old thing of using concert footage, both to advertise the final
few tour dates and because they don’t have the time or the funding to film a
proper music video.

I usually see this as a major cop-out as do most other fans
I notice (makes it really obvious that that single is just designed to milk the
final few valuable remains of that album), but this particular video doesn’t
actually get that criticism from me. They
have
made an effort here at least. 

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Dierks Bentley ‘I Hold On’ – Single Review

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What’s interesting about the circumstances of ‘I Hold On’ as
a single is that it is second in command to ‘Bourbon In Kentucky’, originally
the lead single from Dierks’ ‘Riser’ project. I say originally because after a
lack of success from ‘Bourbon’ (not enough trucks or cut-off jeans in it), the
label pulled it, and now his website states that ‘I Hold On’ is the lead
single. Bit embarrassed about the flop, are we?

‘Bourbon In Kentucky’ was much loved by fans and critics,
and there was plenty of disappointment on social media when it was announced
the single had been pulled. However, that’s not to say that ‘I Hold On’ is
lacking, at all. It dances around a
similar key and plenty of similar notes to its predecessor but it’s faster,
though it still fits into the emotional country rock ballad mould. Despite the
rock influence, however, they make sure to cover the whole spectrum of pitch,
with deep electric guitar strumming and driving adrenaline-inducing drums, juxtaposed
against bright acoustic guitar, pedal steel and dobro. This song has touches of
brilliance musically not in its technicality, but rather in its faithful
loyalty to country music yet the rock aspect that is perfect for stadiums, gets
your heart racing, and gives the track an ‘epic’ feel.

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