Hard 2 Love
Label: Curb Records
Lee Brice is an affable, well-rounded Nashville upstart who combines Toby Keith-style playful-rapscallion tunes with Bon Iver's ear for pretty sonic detail -- both the wordplay and the slightly arty studio flourishes are sharply tuned on Hard 2 Love. Aw-shucks hit "A Woman Like You" sets the tone; he drunkenly revels on "Parking Lot Party," convincingly mourns on "I Drive Your Truck" and sings the hell out of the strings-laden ballad "That Way Again." By track 11 it's probably redundant to be touting his love for "Beer," but ah, forget it, he's enjoying himself, and so are you.