Billboard CD reviews: Rascal Flatts, Norah Jones
Anyone who wondered what affect a label change might have on Rascal Flatts’ particular blend of country and pop: Rest assured, the impact was practically nil.
The genre-straddling virtues that have delivered five No. 1 albums and two dozen top 10 singles on the country charts are still intact throughout the [...]
Review: Rascal Flatts newly inspired on new disc
Rascal Flatts, “Nothing Like This” (Big Machine)
Rascal Flatts remain country music’s most consistently successful band of the last decade, but the trio’s new album, “Nothing Like This,” finds them at a crossroads.
Their longtime record label, Disney’s Lyric Street Records, closed in April 2010; even before that, band members Gary [...]
Review: Keith Urban sticks to script on new CD
Keith Urban, “Get Closer” (Capitol)
Keith Urban boils his sixth studio album down to the essentials of what fans expect from him. Of the eight songs, six explore relationships in relentlessly upbeat, guitar-driven arrangements; the two ballads address commitment and the joys of a strong, ongoing bond, as his [...]
Review: Reba McEntire expresses her many facets on new CD
Reba McEntire, “All The Women I Am” (Starstruck/Valory)
Amid yet another country radio comeback, Reba McEntire flaunts her many strengths â€” and occasional weaknesses â€” on her aptly named new album, “All The Women I Am.”
When the Oklahoma-born redhead transforms Beyonce’s pop hit “If I Were A Boy” [...]
Review: Sugarland grows creatively on new CD
Sugarland, “The Incredible Machine” (Mercury)
Sugarland stake their ground as country music’s most creatively ambitious million-selling act by opening their album, “The Incredible Machine,” with a U2-like overture leading into the first song, “All We Are,” which manages to be both catchy and progressive. Then when guitarist Kristian Bush mimics U2 [...]
Darius Rucker a little too radio friendly on new CD
Darius Rucker, “Charleston, SC 1966″ (Capitol Nashville)
Darius Rucker’s second country music album ditches the traditional songs included on his previous album, “Learn to Live.” Instead, on his new “Charleston, SC 1966,” he focuses solely on contemporary, radio-directed songs â€” a clear sign that he knows the country [...]
Siblings off to promising start on self-titled CD
The Band Perry, “The Band Perry” (Republic Nashville)
A trio of siblings from Alabama, The Band Perry aims to combine Taylor Swift’s romantic confessionals with Lady Antebellum’s female-male harmonies, sunny melodies and cheerful group camaraderie. They even bring together the producers of those acts, with Nathan Chapman (Swift) and Paul [...]
Toby Keith gets playful on new CD
Toby Keith, “Bullets In The Gun” (Show Dog-Universal)
Over the years, Toby Keith has offset his macho country swagger with splashes of tongue-in-cheek fun. The Oklahoman’s new album, “Bullets In The Gun,” focuses more than ever on his lighter side, despite its menacing-sounding title.
If the album has a theme, it’s about [...]
Gary Allan ‘Get Off on the Pain’ Review
Country musician Gary Allanâ€™s new studio album â€˜Get Off on the Painâ€™ is another solid release from singer.
His sound may be a bit more Southern Rock than traditional country, but it is a pleasant change in this day of over-produce studio musicians who belong more in pop than the [...]
Easton Corbin Debut Album Review
Taking a page from the George Strait playbook, country music newcomer Easton Corbin displays excellent song sense while offering an easygoing vocal style on his finely crafted self-titled debut album. The track “I Can’t Love You Back” is a steel guitar-drenched ballad about the pain of lost love, while “Don’t Ask Me [...]