Few musical acts receive universal praise for any aspect of their work, but Shinedown -- generally not hailed as anything other than "good enough" -- is rarely rivaled when it comes to its live shows, impassioned affairs that leave audiences chanting and swaying like drunken monks. The Florida-based crew is one of the most recent additions to the post-grunge hangover that spawned such names as Nickelback and Alter Bridge. And like those groups, Shinedown is fronted by a powerful vocalist: Brent Smith's gravelly voice is loud, emotive and moving in that irksome way that leaves you feeling awkward for singing along -- but backed by the rest of the band's solid musicianship, it's a force not to be ignored. Take Shinedown's cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man," for instance: On the one hand, it's a stirring tribute to Pantera's Dimebag Darrell, but on the other, it's another reason for thousands of people to wave lighters and cell phones in the air.


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