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Rubberband by Charlie Worsham

In a world of thumping cadences, rhythmic recitations and not-another, yes-another party anthems, Charlie Worsham is breathing some incredibly fresh—and talented—air into country music that makes it sound a little like, surprise, country music. Honest acoustic, tinkling mandolin and, lo and behold, some banjo give Rubberband such a pure country sound that many would define it as “rootsy” in a New Grass Revival meets Diamond Rio kind of way. 

But don’t get so lost in this perfectly mixed arrangement (which balances traditional instrumentation with contemporary sensibilities) that you miss one of the purest male voices to hit country airwaves. Charlie is right up there with Vince Gill and Steve Wariner, all warm and smooth like a full-fat venti vanilla latte. Pair that voice with songs with lyrics that seem inspired by Faulkner rather than Facebook, and you have one of the most listenable albums of 2013.

Charlie has already caught the ears of discerning country fans with his debut single, “Could It Be,” a sweet and optimistic look at taking a chance on love, and “Young to See” is a page right out of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band songbook. The title track is an exercise in edginess for Charlie, while “Mississippi in July,” is one of those haunting songs that you have to hear again and again.

It seems unfair to isolate any one track over another since all stand on their own. They’re laudable as much for their unique nature as they are for their honest-to-goodness goodness. 

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