Country

What Makes You Country (CD)

Don’t say Luke Bryan ain’t country enough. Yeah, there’s a legitimate hip-hop beat on the R&B-inspired hit single “Light Up.” Yes, his subject matter may venture beyond the topic of drinking and women every now and again. But whatever you do, don’t say Luke Bryan ain’t country enough, because he’s got words for you, buster, courtesy of the title track. “I got my dirt road cred when I was twelve, on a no cab trailer hauling them bales.” Darn right. Now here’s a thought we can all get behind: “It might not have been you, but I can’t judge, just be proud of what makes you country.” There’s room for everyone on What Makes You Country. Even you city slickers can dig that.

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From A Room: Volume 2 (CD)

A songwriter in the outlaw country tradition, Chris Stapleton’s From A Room: Volume 2 serves up rootsy, atmospheric Americana that stands in stark contrast to the over-polished country pop dominating the airwaves. The album is a fine showcase for Stapleton’s many gifts; alternating between laid-back, down-home jams and slightly ominous forays into the Southern Gothic, each track is a world unto itself. Stapleton clearly knows what he’s doing: his ability to weave country soul and Appalachian folk into his work adds an extra level of sonic intrigue and an infusion of heart. This smart, authentic, and evocative album is one of the year’s best.

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