Forget the Miles

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Due West takes its cues from the vocal groups that once ruled country radio—Diamond Rio, Alabama and their multi-syllable-bearing ilk. But it isn’t just well-executed harmonizing that distinguishes this new trio, which revisits the pure, cleanshaven sound of country’s best-loved bands, favoring songs that salute the heartland values and simple joys of the small-town South. On its six-song debut, Due West offers unapologetically commercial fare that says “No, thanks” to the Southern-rock aggression and party-hearty attitudes heard in much of today’s young country. Sometimes the guys sound overearnest, as with “Bible & the Belt,” a good-humored number that nonetheless falls short of its tongue-in-cheek title’s vast potential. But they excel on upbeat tracks such as “Country Music Made a Man Out of Me,” a brilliantly woven tapestry of classic country references. Due West’s themes of moderation, morality and marital contentment are perhaps best-suited to the over-30 crowd, who will likely embrace these tuneful and likeable reminders that you don’t have to be bad to feel good.

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