Phil Stacey

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It’s trickier than it seems to make a mainstream pop-country album with heart, but thus far the products of the American Idol starmaking machinery seem to have it down pat. Add to the list 2007 finalist Phil Stacey, whose self-titled debut is sleek but never slick, radio-ready but never insulting. The songs are uniformly likeable and—especially given the religious bent of several—seem very much a reflection of Phil’s own personality despite the fact that he wrote not one of them. Love it or hate it, when it comes to commercial country American Idol knows how to pick ’em.

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