Matt Kennon

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For many country newcomers, the spotlight may shine but a moment or two. With a unique, masculine vocal and a mostly solid set of songs, Georgia-born Matt Kennon seems ready to face the risk of extinction head-on with his album’s leadoff track, “Drive It Like You Stole It.” His rocker-with-a-cause image carries through the rest of the set, thanks to songs like his Top 30 single “The Call” or “If I Was Any Kind of Man.” His gravelly voice instantly sets him apart from the endless pack of country-pop wannabes. That distinctive voice and independent spirit also give strength to righteous barnburners like “Too Loud” and “Some People Piss Me Off,” but overwhelms the more tender moments on “Then There Was You.” Some of his best vocals come when he emulates his hero Travis Tritt and lets loose on the soulful, midtempo “Cry Like Memphis” and the album’s refreshing take on selfless devotion, “That’s Love.”

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