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Country - Released December 8, 2017 | Capitol Records Nashville

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Country - Released August 7, 2015 | Capitol Records Nashville

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Country - Released August 7, 2015 | Capitol Records Nashville

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Country - Released January 1, 2013 | EMI

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Country - Released January 1, 2011 | Capitol Nashville

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Country - Released August 12, 2014 | Capitol Records Nashville

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Country - Released October 26, 2018 | Capitol Records Nashville

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Country - Released January 1, 2011 | Capitol Nashville

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Country - Released January 1, 2007 | Capitol Nashville

Luke Bryan's debut album for Capitol Nashville is about as country as the music gets these days. Rather than borrow form Tim McGraw or Big & Rich, he takes his inspiration from more timeless and perhaps timeworn carriers of the Nash Vegas tradition like Randy Travis and Alan Jackson. Bryan's also a songwriter in the best sense of the word, especially when it comes to sticking close and true to the topical side of country music, from mama and praying to food and love (and its loss) to individuality and trucks. The set contains 11 tracks, ten of which were written or co-written by Bryan. While structurally and topically Bryan is in the mainline of honky tonk tradition, the sound of the album, thanks to producer Jeff Stevens, is pure contemporary country circa the early 21st century. It borrows heavily from rock & roll technique, in the chorus vocals and the Hammond B-3 organ to the big, compressed drum sounds. Fiddles, pedal steels and honky tonk upright pianos are everywhere, but they are layered underneath big guitar sounds, reverbed vocals, and sometimes cavernous drums. It's the stress between the expertly composed material and the sonic ground that gives the album its enormous potential. Whether it's an up-tempo love song like "Baby's on the Way," with its double entendre and ringing 12-string electric guitars, the novelty jealous hillbilly rocker of "All of My Friends Say," the line dance swagger of "Country Man," the anthemic nostalgia song "We Rode in Trucks," or most any cut here, this disc is deep in singles -- and potential videos. Despite the calculating, swing for the fences nature of Bryan's debut, he is genuinely gifted, and executes nearly flawlessly. This record will sound just fine five or ten years from now (if a little cheesy for the production nuances), which is a lot more than one can say for some of his contemporaries. Bryan is a singer and songwriter to watch as a recording artist. ~ Thom Jurek
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Ambient/New Age - Released November 10, 2017 | Capitol Nashville

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Country - Released December 8, 2017 | Capitol Records Nashville

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Country - Released September 23, 2016 | Capitol Nashville

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Country - Released August 7, 2015 | Capitol Records Nashville

When Luke Bryan subtitled his final collection of Spring Break EPs "Checkin' Out," he made no bones about his maturation: now that he's a man, he's giving up his childish ways. Kill the Lights -- Bryan's fifth album, delivered just five months after that farewell to Spring Break debauchery -- is unabashedly the work of a man who is beginning to feel the weight of encroaching middle age, but Bryan isn't running away from the good times he celebrated as a younger man. Sure, there are suggestions that he's feeling the weight of his years -- he notices how "60 seconds now feel more like 30," then compares his beating heart to the skips on a CD -- but Bryan isn't living for yesterday, he's duetting with Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild about texting pictures to their exes to stoke jealousy while singing the title song to a neo-new wave disco beat that could also pass as EDM. In other words, Bryan is happy to be a modern man and Kill the Lights excels by being modern, as comfortable in the contours that lie between contemporary country and crossover as it is in the workingmans' sports bars that dot these United States. Bryan never abandons his blue-collar roots but he also suggests he sees a world outside of red states (after all, he obliquely references Coldplay on the arena ballad "Just Over") and that is the key to the record's success: Bryan is everything to everybody, a genial host who hopes everybody is having a grand time. He's crowd pleasing without pandering, delivering slow-burning ballads and tempered party tunes that never descend to bacchanalia. Bryan is a guy that wants everybody to have fun, then come back tomorrow for another round and that's why Kill the Lights works so well. He's a genial, generous host, going out of his way to ensure everybody has a good time, and Kill the Lights winds up feeling happy and generous, an inclusive record that plays to teenage desires as effectively as memories of an adolescence left behind. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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