My Kind of Music

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A lot of young artists name-check classic country influences, but you usually have to take their word for it—you can't hear it in the music. Not so with North Carolina's Ray Scott. He cites a few favorites of his own in his hit "My Kind of Music," but backs that up with a debut album that resonates with echoes of Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams Jr. His oak-tree voice is more reminiscent of Johnny Cash, and Ray marshals it wisely to deliver songs that emphasize the satisfactions and challenges of small-town, working-class America.

—Chris Neal