Aware Entertainment Inc/Universal Republic Records
You know how it is when a good friend falls in love and suddenly it's all they can talk about, obsessing about the new relationship in a gooey way that makes you want to hurl? This isn't like that. It's true that since the release of 2009's City of Black & White, Mat Kearney fell in love and got married, but this album manages to be hopeful, upbeat and fun without the cavity-inducing sweetness. Lead single "Hey Mama," written about the day he met his future wife, captures the butterflies without the schmaltz. The album is heavy on handclaps and lo-fi touches that lend a charming quality.