Brett Eldredge

Bring You Back

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Brett Eldredge isn't necessarily Nashville royalty, but as a cousin of Grascal bassist Terry Eldredge, he has a passing familiarity with the Music City. More importantly, when he arrived in Nashville eager to pursue a professional career, he was ready to play the game, receptive to advice, and ready to take his time to assemble a winning debut album. He released his debut single "Raymond" in the fall of 2010, and while it wound up reaching 23 on the Billboard Country charts, it took him almost two full years to deliver Bring You Back, his full-length debut. Such a long delay suggests how seriously Atlantic Nashville took Eldredge's prospects as a star -- after the 2011 single "It Ain't Gotta Be Love" stiffed, the label certainly decided to rejigger the album, as they weren't going to waste this opportunity -- and the resulting Bring You Back is crisp, chipper, and eager to please, an album that cheerfully checks off every box on contemporary country radio. Many of those boxes reside somewhere within the Kenny Chesney universe -- "On and On" cops the breezy charm of "When the Sun Goes Down," while "Go On Without Me" favors Chesney's arena-country side, complete with an unabashed debt to U2 -- but Eldredge has an easy swagger that the perennially reserved Chesney consciously avoids. That doesn't mean Eldredge mimics Jason Aldean's exercises in indulgent machismo -- this is a guy who quite comfortably opened for Taylor Swift and never seemed out of place -- but he has an easy charm that recalls Blake Shelton before he became a television star. Apart from the slight bit of bluesy twang that drives "Tell Me Where to Park," everything on Bring You Back is shiny, happy country-pop -- even the ballads feel bright -- but that's the appeal of Eldredge and his debut: everybody involved worked hard to deliver a piece of gleaming modern country product, and it's hard to resist all that impeccable craft.

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