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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'NOW That's What I Call Country Vol. 2' (Legacy)
Artist - Various Artists

The popular ‘Now…’ franchise has built its reputation on good quality music that appeals to the music fan who might just not want to buy a whole album of one artist but only the hit single they heard and loved on the radio. ‘Country Vol. 2’ does not disappoint, featuring as it does, a generous smattering of major stars, such as George Strait and Alan Jackson, alongside some newer artists, like Jake Owen and Josh Turner.

Just released, the album contains many country number ones and a few that dented the top 20. Not everything is a classic, but it is an absorbing and valuable sampler of the sound of contemporary country during the previous twelve months. The twenty-track set focuses on hits from the last half of 2008 and first half of 2009, extending all the way to recent hits by Dierks Bentley’s ‘Sideways’ and Lady Antebellum’s ‘I Run to You’, which topped the charts in July 2009.

Stand out tracks are from the ever-reliable Alan Jackson (‘Country Boy’), the timeless George Strait (‘Troubadour’) and Sugarland (‘All I Want To Do’). The collection also includes ex-Hootie & the Blowfish lead singer, Darius Rucker, with his country No.1 ‘It Won’t Be Like This For Long’, and new kid on the block, Taylor Swift, with ‘Love Story’, which has become the country song with most paid downloads in history and the first country song to top the mainstream Top 40 chart. So far, Taylor Swift has made over $18 million in earnings this year. Not bad for a 19 year old.

Country may well be one of the most traditional forms of music in America, but the CD has a modern innovation that will appeal to those that want to explore some new music. Buying the CD unlocks bonus downloads from David Nail, Easton Corbin and three other new artists.

Overall, this is an excellent album, possibly better than Volume 1. There is not a bad track on it and it can be argued that there is something here for everyone, whether you are new to country music or a hardened country fan. Recommended.

Peter ‘taB’ Walker