Country music fans will be delighted with these featured albums from Luke Bryan and The Civil Wars. While Luke Bryan garnered Male Vocalist of the Year and Best Album of the Year in 2012 from the Country Music Association, The Civil Wars won Musical Event of the Year and Vocal Duo of the Year. You can bet on seeing these two acts on the ballot for the upcoming CMA Awards on November 6, hosted by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood.
Crash My Party, Luke Bryan (Capital/Nashville)
Crash My Party is the fourth studio album from Bryan, ACM Entertainer of the Year. This album continues Bryan’s easygoing county style with likable, risk-free songs that fans have come to expect from him. His addictive vocals and natural charm mixed with memorable country lyrics are the perfect recipe for success. His sound is effortless, with acoustics and harmonies that tend to stay with you long after the song is over. Some critics feel he needs to branch out of his comfort zone, but when he does on the two tracks “I See You,” and That’s My Kind of Night,” he seems to be missing something. I say stick with what works and continue to do it well. Check out “Crash My Party,” “Roller Coaster,” “Blood Brothers,” and “Out Like That.”—Uma N., grade 11, Floral Park (NY) Memorial High School
The Civil Wars, The Civil Wars (Sensibility Music/Columbia)
When The Civil Wars made their debut in 2011, the alt-country duo of rocker John Paul White and Christian music artist Joy Williams received lots of praise and support. Their recently released self-titled second album, while consolidating their strengths, comes at a difficult time for the duo. After splitting during their European tour last winter, no one knows if they will work together again. This seems even more of a tragedy as many of the tracks on this album speak of heartache, loss, and the sense for the need to move on. White and Williams pump power into their acoustic base and varied tempos. The album exudes confidence and focus with strong vocals, but is darker and lacks the passion and intimacy we have seen before. Hopefully, The Civil Wars can reunite and overcome their adversity and continue to make great music. Check out “D’Arline,” “Disarm,” “The One That Got Away,” and “Same Old, Same Old.”—Nick M., grade 10, Floral Park (NY) Memorial High School
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