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Hillbilly Bone EP by Blake Shelton

This six-song mini-album finds Blake Shelton coming into his own when it comes to song selection.

If “Hillbilly Bone,” a Trace Adkins duet chock-full of Southern pride, doesn’t cement Blake’s place as an authentic country boy, then the Montgomery Gentry-esque “Kiss My Country Ass” surely will.

Although Blake’s muscular voice can knock out a romantic song (think “Home”), even his most sentimental cut here has an edge; the understated “You’ll Always Be Beautiful,” finds Blake singing about taking care of a drunk girlfriend and then watching her wake up with a makeup-stained pillowcase after a wild night.

Meanwhile, “Can’t Afford to Love You” sounds like a modern take on Travis Tritt’s “Country Club.”

“Delilah” is Blake’s strongest lyric here, while the steel drums on “Almost Alright” help close the set with a nice island flourish.

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