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Times Like These

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A segment of country music has drifted away from what could be viewed as traditional elements such as drinking, smoking and hard living, so it’s no surprise that the gates would open for country-leaning Christian acts to cross over. Rascal Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus serves as a producer and vocal arranger on vocal duo Austins Bridge’s second album, which features slick production and tight tenor harmonies that are reminiscent of Flatts’ clean crossover sound. This album boasts several solid tracks, including “Love Is on the Way,” “Mercy Never Leaves” and the Southern rock-tinged “Good Time,” in addition to songs by hit songwriters Monty Powell, Neil Thrasher and Don Poythress. The duo puts a contemporary spin on Lee Ann Womack’s “There Is a God.” and delivers the otherwise predictable “Big Sky” from sonic purgatory with a conclusion that pairs soulful vocals with a banjo-and-handclap breakdown. With considerable vocal prowess on its side, the only adjustment needed from this young duo—which like many younger acts, tends to “oversing”—is some restraint.

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