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 Country

THE STRINGER ERA BEGINS
Rob picks up his keys to the kingdom on 4/3. (3/28a)
FISHER KING
ACM boss talks Nashville (3/27a)
UNDERWOOD MOVES TO CAPITOL NASHVILLE
Grainge and Dungan lure the superstar (3/28a)
STREAMING SONGS: UNIVERSALLY DOMINANT
75% marketshare ... that's good, right? (3/24a)
SPOTIFY DEALS
If they don't come soon, what happens to the IPO?
LORDE'S NEXT LEVEL
How Melodrama took shape.
LABEL BIGWIGS SPILL THE BEANS
We go deep with a couple of top execs.
THE STRINGER ASCENDENCY
This adventure coming soon to a trade website near you.
Critics' Choice
A NEW OBSESSION: MIDLAND
11/4/16

by Simon Glickman

Big Machine’s Midland finds a remarkably sweet spot where classic country, southern rock and “yacht rock” converge—authentic, richly melodic and breezy. The Texas band’s freshly released EP is among the most promising new releases in some time, thanks to smart, soulful songwriting, gorgeous harmonies and terrific musicianship. “Check-Cashin’ Country” is a declaration of purpose from a working band—“if you don’t two-step, we don’t eat”—though they may have to adjust that lyric about not having a song on the radio pretty soon.

The tune, like all five tracks on the set, just feels good, like bourbon-on-the-rocks good.  The Midland boys (who are co-managed by Jason Owen's Sandbox and Matt Graham of  L.A.-based BRND Management) have distilled a hybrid of Merle and Waylon, Glen Campbell, Jimmy Buffett, the Eagles and .38 Special that twangs, rocks and glides with assurance. Other standouts include the weary, winsome “This Old Heart” (“this old heart needs a break”), sweet 'n' sad "Burn Out" and the gorgeous AM throwback “Drinkin’ Problem.” I’ve had it on repeat since it came out, and I want more. For an intro to the band, check out the clip below.