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Cole Swindell

Down Home Sessions III – 2016 (Warner Nashville)

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

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CDs by Cole Swindell

Cole Swindell's third installment of the "Down Home Sessions" EP series is a relatable five-track thread that feels like bro country light; There's plenty of beer and bars, but only one truck song ("Chevrolet DJ"), and the narrative thread including failed pickup lines, first date jitters and jealousy can be interpreted as applicable to one girl and the early stages of a relationship rather than the gaggle. That being said, the overall texture is pop laden, sometimes lyrically lazy and has no tracks with any of the chart topping horsepower like the three from his debut album.

Electric guitar is prevalent, but not with the twang of a Telecaster. The pop-laced solos performed and produced by Michael Carter are powered by echo and reverb and feel synthetic. If you're looking for any sign of banjo or fiddle or anything else traditional, you will not find it here. There is slick production and a few notable co-writers including Ashley Gorley, Brandon Kinney and Cory Crowder.

In places, it feels like he dropped the lyrical creativity ball, especially on "Does It Hurt," where he doesn't understand all the attention a pretty girl is getting because, "I, I, don't know/what it's like to be that hot."

The compilation clocks in at just over 17 minutes, which may satiate hardcore fans, for whom Swindell admits these releases are directed to, but the 33-year old is certainly not bucking any trends and is clearly comfortable with where he is career wise.