BIG & RICH, “8th of November”
They continue to expand their music sonically and thematically. This is the best war-themed song since “Travelin’ Soldier.”
BLUE COUNTY, “Firecrackers and Ferris Wheels”
This lead vocalist is an acquired taste. I don’t have it yet, so it was just annoying to listen to.
BILLY RAY CYRUS, “Wanna Be Your Joe”
He’s was always better than he was given credit for. This is a good song, and a solid performance.
VINCE GILL, “The Reason Why”
Full disclosure: the idea of Vince making a comeback is always great in my mind, but each time he’s resurfaced over the past few years, I’ve been underwhelmed. Not this time. He’s back with a beautiful ballad, almost a waltz, contemplating why he and his lover continue to make the same mistakes. This is one of the best singles of his career.
BLAINE LARSEN, “I Don’t Know What She Said”
Cute, I guess. I’m tired of Spanish-flavored songs but this one is a bit more clever than usual. I liked the line “J Lo had nothing on her.”
BRIAN McCOMAS, “All Comes Floodin’ Down”
Inspired by the true story of a town flooded by a broken dam, it’s heartfelt and anything but manipulative.
GEORGE STRAIT, “Give It Away”
I wanted to like it but I didn’t. The spoken intro is great but the record loses steam quickly.
SUGARLAND, “Want To”
Great song, as should be expected. Jennifer Nettles is quickly becoming one of country music’s most distinctive vocalists. I hope the upcoming album lives up to this standard.
AARON TIPPIN, “I’m Ready to Rock (In a Country Kinda Way)”
I hate crowd noise on singles, even on great ones like “I Like It, I Love It” and “Redneck Woman.” Here, there’s no discernable reason for it to be there. His voice is still in great shape but his muse is down for the count.
CARRIE UNDERWOOD, “Before He Cheats”
She’s already nearing 3.5 million in record sales, and this song is going to be huge. It’s been getting unsolicited spins since the album came out, enough to get it has high as the 40’s on the charts. It’s the revenge of a woman scorned – she destroys her cheating man’s ride out in the parking lot while he’s inside “slow dancing with a bleach-blonde tramp and she’s probably getting frisky.” This is the best song on her album and a strong indication there’s more to her talent than her excellent, family-friendly first two singles and her Idol run ever suggested.
GRETCHEN WILSON, “California Girls”
This is weaker than most of the cuts on her debut album that weren’t sent to radio. Silly name-dropping and a flat delivery. She needs to take some more time preparing her third album than she did with this one.
LEE ANN WOMACK, “Finding My Way Back Home”
I love this record. It has an infectious melody, she sounds awesome and the production is refreshing. I can’t wait to hear the new album. She’s at the top of her game.