September 19, 2020

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill – The Rest of Our Life – Sony Nashville

By Kristi Kates | Dec. 2, 2017

Not that it’s anything new for McGraw and Hill to get personal in their tunes, but this album pretty much presents their entire relationship in music for everyone to hear. It’s their first fully realized duet album, although on some tracks, one or the other takes more of the lead, most notably on “Cowboy Lullaby” (McGraw)  and “Love Me to Lie” (Hill). Elsewhere, this pop-country collection features standouts like “Roll the Dice” and the title track, which was co-written by pop troubadour Ed Sheeran. ***

Blake Shelton – Texoma Shore – Warner Nashville
Is anyone in country music more popular right now than Blake Shelton? People Magazine’s 2017 Sexiest Man Alive has more than just that up his sleeve though. Shelton sticks to his roots, and he is what he is: a proud Oklahoman and a straightforward guy. On this set he taps into his own experiences and shares them in story form. Most of the tracks are about relationships (“I’ll Name the Dogs,” “The Wave”), but several are more pensive musings about graciousness (“Money”) and childhood memories (“I Lived It”), all presented with Shelton’s smooth, calm vocals. ***

Various Artists – A Tribute to Dan Fogelberg – BMG
The late, great Dan Fogelberg is paid homage by this top-tier roster of performers who cover his songs in a diverse range of performance styles. A few don’t really capture the original tone of Fogelberg’s work, but for the most part they’re respectful interpretations of the originals, most notably The Eagles and Joe Walsh’s take on “Part of the Plan,” Garth Brooks’ version of “Phoenix,” ’90s radio hitmakers Train’s version of “Same Old Lang Syne,” and Zac Brown’s cover of what is perhaps Fogelberg’s best known tune, “The Leader of the Band.” ** ½

Lee Brice – Lee Brice – Curb
Calling this a “snapshot” of who he is and where he’s at right now, Brice’s latest follows many of the usual country-western subject matter for songs, from American themes of hard work and tradition to thoughts about relationships. Brice pays careful attention to the lyrics, although he still falls into cliches at times. “Little Things” brings a party beat to celebrating the simple things, while “Dixie Highway” veers a little into more of a soulful Southern sound, and “I Don’t Smoke” leans heavily on the vocals he shares with Warren Haynes. **


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