Country Weekly's Scores

  • Music
For 157 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 75% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 24% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 7.3 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 80
Highest review score: 100 Bootleg, Vol. 3: Live Around the World
Lowest review score: 42 Spring Break... Checkin' Out
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 0 out of 157
157 music reviews
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Ultimately, there's enough in this big box to last a fan weeks, months and years. It's not all equal, but it certainly leaves no stone unturned.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Country gospel at its most fervent and rousing.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    If you’ve ever bemoaned the absence of traditional country sounds in an era of pop, rock and even hip-hop production, be still—Ashley Monroe is throwing you a country music lifeline.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A staggeringly great collection of original tunes that paint vivid, honest portraits of real life, from a uniquely feminine perspective.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    In every aspect, from production to instrumentation and Wynonna’s sensational performances, this ranks as her absolute best solo effort.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Each track evokes an emotion, a giggle, a tear or a memory, but always a hunger for what’s next.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is a masterful album, replete with wonderful stories and fully drawn characters.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It may not be all pretty, but Something More Than Free is as real as it gets.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    ZBB has never sounded as energized or as fierce.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    The River & The Thread will require multiple listens to truly appreciate, so set aside some time to soak in this one.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    On this album, she has found what works best for her on the contemporary side and front-loads the project with those songs.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The trio’s second album, Annie Up, (thankfully) picks up where their debut, Hell on Heels, left off, offering more engaging studies of real-life heartbreak, domestic inertia and the daily trials of womanhood.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Although the title is also an album track referring to hair color, the depth of this project goes further than Miranda’s roots.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The Blade further serves to position her as one of the premiere and rare female neo-traditionalists in the format.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Though he's capable of being playfully satisfied, Dwight is at his best when he's consumed by yearning.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    His best is pretty dang good.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is a nicely balanced album that you could listen to repeatedly and still discover fresh, exciting touches with each new listen.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This set proves that good storytelling never goes out of style.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Full Circle stands as a wonderful and welcome piece of work, 14 solid songs that shift easily from Appalachian mountain soul to pure country and even spiritual fare. Plus, Loretta has simply never sounded better.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    With a range of topics that cover bullying (“Kill a Word”) and women running afoul of the law (“Chattanooga Lucy”), there’s plenty to indulge in without coming away bored or feeling like you’ve heard it all before.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The album's bluesy country sound may not make waves at radio, but these ladies are on track to give country concertgoers a little hell of their own.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In honoring his friend and inspiration, the late writer Hank Cochran, Jamey Johnson recorded one of the most heartfelt albums of the year.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is no less than the story of a flawed man finding his own greatness--the primary factor behind the power and substance of these simple, no-frills performances, as well as the reason why any serious fan of Cash or country music history will want to walk the line it so compellingly traces.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    A collection that plays into the group’s rock sensibilities without any loss of identity.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    With due respect to her previous fine efforts, Four the Record is easily Miranda's best album yet.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Both the chestnuts and The Band selections here sound best in their original versions (partly due to the diminished power of Levon's voice after his bout with throat cancer). But his singing brims with spirit, and he and his cohorts deliver these mostly vintage tunes with gusto.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Brad Paisley, having been raised on traditional country music, is one of a handful of contemporary stars who could title an album This Is Country Music (with all that the title implies) without raising more than a few eyebrows.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    With The Woman I Am, Kellie has made a natural evolution while managing to stay true to those things that are important to her.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Fans of Matraca's songwriting, who have waited for more than a decade for a new album, will likely agree with another of that song's lyric lines: one more is never enough.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Lyrically and musically, the songs stream effortlessly from accessible to intricate, creating an estimable country album with a steady undercurrent of blues and rock.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    On his latest, Marty meshes country with Memphis rockabilly and bluegrass-inspired background vocals throughout the disc.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Like most projects released by Americana singer/songwriter or heritage acts, Tarpaper Sky is best enjoyed like a book, in its entirety as opposed to a chapter here and there.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    Lucky may prove a bit too laid-back for the diehards out there, who might prefer a rougher-edged collection, but this is a fresh take on Merle’s classics, as interpreted by the still-fabulous Suzy.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    On Blue Smoke, the country legend travels many different paths and sounds only like herself.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's all life, and Martina, with her unforced country-pop sensibility, gets it all to add up on Eleven.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    Bruce and Kelly let their plaintive, tight harmonies deliver the goods, a refreshing break from the bombast that often substitutes for real emotion in much of the current fare.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Alan’s album is the real thing, a “must” whether you’re a bluegrass buff or just a fan of fine music.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Their fourth album, The Muscle Shoals Recordings, is an outstanding 11-song offering that lives up to the lofty expectations of its namesake.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Down to My Last Bad Habit is simply Vince having loose-limbed fun with his cohorts, resulting in one of the most enjoyable listening experiences you’ll be privy to all year. You’ll want to play it over and over.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    While touching upon Led Zep's more pastoral moments and Raising Sand's rootsy variety, Robert avoids rehashing his former glories.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Mostly introspective, lower-key fare fills out the album's remainder, resulting in an occasional lag in momentum. This, however, is offset by inventiveness and instrumental wizardry, offering those who accept Follow Me Down's tempting invitation entry into a wonderland of musical riches.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Hunter Hayes has once again produced a collection of music that belies his tender age, not only in content, but in vocal confidence.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Open your ears, open your mind, press play and Free the Music.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    This disproves the popular belief that nothing good ever happens in the a.m. There’s plenty of good stuff here.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Producer T Bone Burnett had the foresight to infuse the album's recording with vintage microphones and techniques that would have been used on recording sessions half a century ago.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Reflections is a must-have for any Don fan, any traditional country fan and anyone who wants to know what Williams acolyte Keith Urban has been crowing about for years.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Even the least attractive and most un-country voices heard here (let's not name names) have a unique, soulful quality that makes them suited for the deeply felt sentiments that fill The Lost Notebooks, a package that finds the heart of real country music still beating and Hank's vital presence anything but lost.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    David could be country music's most soulful singer since Ronnie Dunn.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Kacey adroitly communicates who she is through her music, maturing in her artistry while staying true to herself. Pageant Material deserves to win some sort of title--and it just might.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Overall, this is one of Trace's best collections.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Chris Young's new 10-track project is tightly packed with solid songs, honoring both family and desires of the flesh.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Set You Free doesn't sound like every other album coming out of the Nashville factory these days-and that's definitely a good thing.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Vince's superb musicianship leaves the spotlight on these poignant songs.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The plucky "Bombshell," a nimble instrumental number, is just one example of the shimmering mandolin and fiddle solos that permeate the album.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 67 Critic Score
    The charm of these tracks, though, is in their now-less-common unselfconsciousness (with its close kin, indulgence, lurking nearby) and the largely likable blemishes reminding us that music, above all, should sound human. For better and occasionally worse, this music unquestionably does.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    While Taylor turns her wrath on a woman who steals her man on "Better Than Revenge," she turns that critical eye on herself in "Back to December," a thorough apology to a former lover she regrets having left behind. Other tunes, such as "Mean" and "Sparks Fly," suffer from generic and sometimes underdeveloped lyrics.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Red
    Red may not be a bona fide country album, but it could very well be a pop masterpiece, more in line with P!nk's latest, The Truth About Love, than even Red's predecessor, Speak Now.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    The musicianship on Wheelhouse is incredible and Brad just keeps on getting more flavorful as a guitarist. Serious music buffs are going to love Wheelhouse, while cursory fans may be left scratching their heads.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Guy wasn't kidding when he sang "it's got to come from the heart if you want it to work;" here, he and his talented crew prove it, playing and singing like nobody's watching.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    The project truly succeeds because of the various voices in The SteelDrivers, who consider their bluegrass to be one painted from a darker palette--which, at times, can feel a little too dark.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Only a real party-pooper would deny Guy's talented pals the chance to respectfully demonstrate how well this stuff still works.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The sugared tunes would be easy to dismiss except for the credible guitar riffs, foot-tapping rhythms and fiery passion with which Keith sings. Thankfully, it's not all sunshine.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    Love Is Everything further showcases George’s smooth voice and, perhaps more importantly, his uncanny knack for picking outstanding songs.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    His label home may have changed, but his everyman approach to songwriting holds steady.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Emmylou and Rodney seem at their best with the more up-tempo offerings like Kris Kristofferson’s “Chase the Feeling” and “Bluebird Wine,” which features Rodney’s playful vocals.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The turquoise-hued bluegrass offered here is anything but generic--it's specialty-shop stuff.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    There's plenty here for country fans of pretty much any ilk.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Sara's pop-country sound is rich Southern comfort, delivered organically and with authenticity.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This winning formula should keep you around for quite a while.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Ghost on the Canvas is a lovingly produced nod to the musician and his music that summarizes the multiple dimensions of Campbell's remarkable genre-crossing career and, best of all, allows the honoree to help do the honors.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    [Reba] singing, "I'll give my heart to a song, but I'll never sell my soul." That's exactly how Reba's approached her career thus far, and what she continues to do on this emotionally charged set of songs.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    While it lacks the emotional heft of Merle's acclaimed 2010 album, I Am What I Am, the cancer survivor's latest album boasts plenty of flinty independence.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Carrie’s never been in better voice, but a little more control in the production would have served her well.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This disc highlights a collection of substantial songs every bit as relevant as they were in Loretta's heyday.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The disc reveals a few hard edges but offers optimism even as it explores the thornier corners of human behavior.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The production team of Tim and Byron Gallimore have struck country music pay dirt with this incredible collection that balances contemporary and traditional styles with amazing subtlety, all without making Tim sound as if he’s trying to keep up with the younger stars--indeed, with Damn Country Music, he’s in the passing lane.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Hitting a sweet spot between honky-tonk and the more sophisticated Nashville Sound of yore, Long Line of Heartaches delivers unapologetically traditional fare without resorting to self-conscious nostalgia.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Quietly and artfully, if not especially dynamically, McKenna unearths striking truths about the fragility of life and relationships.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Wrapped in Red is a stylistic maverick, for sure, but the original tunes are worthy of sitting next to the standards, and when Kelly sings, it’s like Christmas all year round.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    As the potent observations on And So It Goes make clear, time is indeed ticking away, though Don's comforting, timeless-sounding presentation of these top-flight tunes can sometimes make it seem otherwise.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Collectively, they touch upon a complex range of emotions and interconnections, supported by sparse and countrified instrumentation that sets an appropriately Texan tone.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    It’s his sophomore studio album, See You Tonight, that is really showing some maturity and growth.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Overall the recording sounds great—warm and intimate without sacrificing polish.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    It’s an album that defines an artist, proving that the Williams name (the daughter of Bocephus, Holly comes from the Hank lineage) remains as trailblazing and unique as ever.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Country music as pure as the kind heard on Rare Bird Alert is rare indeed, and worthy of consideration--even if it does come from a pretty odd duck.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Despite the album's title, she plays it safe rather than wild.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Joe is at his best on the traditional romps like "This Ole Boy" and "No Truck, No Boat, No Girl."
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    If you've ever been worried that good old Southern-fried boogie is an endangered species, then Dixie Lullabies should help you rest a little easier.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Adventurous roots-music aficionados will want to book themselves a date for Traveler, a masterfully planned Dixieland journey that lets the good times roll easy.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The album’s overall spirit of adventure is summed up in the gorgeous title track, written by the Perrys with fellow family trio The Henningsens. Starting sweet and delicate, it offers a message of encouragement to be bold in the face of uncertainty and doubt as it builds to a thrilling crescendo.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Country music and old-time gospel music have borrowed from each other for decades, but rarely have the two styles blended as flawlessly as on a new offering from one of gospel music's most revered groups.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    With this, his fourth country album, Darius and his team have most definitely solidified his sound with expertly layered, but not overdone, musical arrangements that add some dimension to his already warmly textured vocals.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    The result feels a little something like those beloved ‘80s movies in spirit and aesthetic.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This Texas-bred singer knows how to convey heartfelt and complex emotions with one clever turn of a phrase.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    A couple of back-to-back tracks midway through the project bear a sonic similarity to each other, but their topics are so different, you’ll want to keep listening.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Uncaged, does nothing to tarnish their sterling image and even manages to expand it a bit.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The only real clunker is a lugubrious redo of “Lodi,” featuring John’s sons Tyler and Shane, but otherwise, this should be a must for Fogerty followers.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Bocephus-like clarinets, old-timey lyrics and Toby's smooth-as-whiskey delivery assure purists that there is still Hope for classic barroom singalongs.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    The resulting album is earthy, warm and spacious, not sounding too fussed over or suffocated with studio tricks.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    While he’s done nearly a dozen yesteryear-based solo albums, this one is distinguished by its smartly chosen representation of the Gershwins’ musical breadth and the handpicked, multi-stylistic band (with Mickey Raphael’s winsome yet penetrating harmonica again providing a crucial link to Willie’s larger body of work) fittingly snazzing up the affair while making the most of Willie’s no-dress-code musical fusion.