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Billy Yates

Though this Missourian has been drawing attention with his maudlin MOR single, ”Flowers,” the rest of his debut, Billy Yates, is mostly a soft-core honky-tonk outing that emulates Merle Haggard. On those tunes, he proves that he has Haggard’s vocal tricks down pat. However, since Billy Yates is a lot less poetic and ornery, the effect is more like Merle lite. C+

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