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Billy Dukes

Billy Dukes' music background includes jobs as Music Director and night DJ at WQDR 94.7 in Raleigh, N.C., writer for Recoil Magazine, a monthly out of Grand Rapids, Mich., and writer for the Kalamazoo Gazette, in Kalamazoo, Mich. The Western Michigan University graduate followed a girl to Raleigh in 2006, and wisely married her one year later. They live in northeast Wake County with their two dogs Daisy and Clementine and their son. In his free time Billy enjoys playing and watching baseball, cycling, and exploring nature.
Gary Allan
Courtesy of Guitar Center
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Gary Allan Reveals Full Story of How He Came to Nashville During Guitar Center Sessions – Exclusive Video Premiere

The micro-version of how Gary Allan got to Nashville is well-known, especially among his loyal fans. The 'It Ain't the Whiskey' singer recently sat down to record his episode of Guitar Center Sessions, where he shared all of the details, including the song his benefactor heard before writing him a check for $12,000. Watch him tell the story in this video, premiering on Taste of Country. 

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Category: Celebrity News Tags: ,
LeAnn Rimes, Jake Owen, Danica Patrick
Ethan Miller, Getty Images
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Five Things the American Country Awards Did Right in 2013

It's a mistake to compare the American Country Awards to the CMA Awards, or even the ACM Awards, country music's other Las Vegas-based awards show. The CMT Awards or CMA Country Christmas specials are more fair comparisons. Expectations for Fox's awards show have been too high since the beginning -- it airs in December, after television's sweeps month, against network reruns and Christmas movies. No one is breaking the bank, or even hoping to top 'The Voice.'

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Willie Nelson
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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Willie Nelson, ‘Family Bible’ for ‘Angels Sing’ – Exclusive Premiere [Listen]

Willie Nelson is part of an all-star cast in 'Angels Sing,' a holiday movie now available on demand and in select theaters. He's also part of a pretty great soundtrack! Hear the legend sing 'Family Bible' via this ToC exclusive premiere. 

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Category: Music Tags: ,
Luke Bryan
Ethan Miller, Getty Images
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2013 American Country Awards Winners – Full List

With 20 honors to announce in just two hours, the 2013 American Country Awards wasted little time in getting to the winners on Tuesday night (Dec. 10). Luke Bryan accepted the first blue Fender guitar of the night for Male Artist of the Year. He also won Touring Artist of the Year before taking home the night's biggest prize, Artist of the Year. Along with Florida Georgia Line, the 'Drink a Beer' singer was the big winner in Las Vegas.

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Krystal Keith
Jackson Lazuire, Getty Images
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Album Spotlight: Krystal Keith, ‘Whiskey and Lace’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

A strong voice, proclivity for leaning into life's edges and good decision-making make Krystal Keith's debut album a unique experience in 2013. She's a multi-dimensional female artist, and on 'Whiskey and Lace,' she's able to show all she can do while keeping cohesion.

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Category: Music Tags: ,
Parmalee
Ed Rode / Stoney Creek Records
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Album Spotlight: Parmalee, ‘Feels Like Carolina’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

Parmalee do what they do best on more than half the songs on 'Feel Like Carolina.' This group of reformed rockers compel you to buy a ticket to their live show with songs like 'I'll Bring the Music,' Dance' and especially 'Move.'

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Sara Evans
Robert Ascroft
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Sara Evans Reveals Details of ‘Sexy’ New ‘Slow Me Down’ Album

Sara Evans has revealed the finer details of her upcoming seventh studio album. The singer says 'Slow Me Down' will be available on March 4, 2014, featuring three big-name collaborations and production by an old friend. During an interview to discuss songs from the album, Evans tells Taste of Country "sexy" is the best one-word description for her first release since 'Stronger.'

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Category: Music Tags: ,
Carrie Underwood, Sound of Music
NBC, Getty Images
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5 Best Carrie Underwood Songs From ‘The Sound of Music Live!’ [Watch]

Carrie Underwood wasn't involved in every performance during Thursday night's (Dec. 5) live theatrical broadcast of 'The Sound of Music Live!' on NBC, but she definitely carried the bulk of the singing. While some were critical of her acting, few can complain about her vocal performances. Each one was a brilliant interpretation that stayed true to the original score but avoiding sounding like Broadway karaoke. Her Top 5 songs include solo moments, and collaborations with others in the show's cast.

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Clay Cook
Southern Reel
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John Mayer and Zac Brown Helped Clay Cook Find His ‘North Star’

Writing for Clay Cook's new album 'North Star' began over a decade ago. Actually, it was exactly 15 years ago at the Berklee College of Music. The Atlanta native wasn't used to Boston's cold winters, the fast-paced life or everything else a college freshman goes through 1,000 miles away from home. He started to pen the title track, but wouldn't finish it for a few years, until a friend named John moved with him from Berklee to Atlanta.

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