Cole Swindell

Down Home Sessions III

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It's called Down Home Sessions, but this 2016 EP is as bright and bold as either of Cole Swindell's albums. Indeed, "Does It Hurt" rides along on a hip-hop loop, the opposite of anything that could be called down-home, but Swindell still sings about six packs and Chevrolets, which is enough to signify that this is country. If the songs feel a little straitlaced -- they're so tight, they almost seem like publishing demos -- Swindell survives through his sense of craft. He knows the sounds, the hooks, and the themes that will rouse an audience, so these five songs all feel like hits in waiting.

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