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Miranda Lambert
Jason Merritt, Getty Images
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ToC Encore: Why Country Women Will Win Big at the Grammys

Sorry, Blake Shelton and Tim McGraw. The big winners at the 2014 Grammys are going to be women. This may not bother the 'Doin' What She Likes' singer, as his wife Miranda Lambert scored multiple nominations and is always a favorite to take home the hardware. Kacey Musgraves, Taylor Swift and Kelly Clarkson are other country female nominees for the Jan. 26 ceremony.

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Trace Adkins
Ethan Miller, Getty Images
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ToC Encore: Trace Adkins’ Rehab Trip Spotlights Country Music’s Drinking Problem

Earlier this week, Trace Adkins announced a second stint in an alcohol rehabilitation facility. He fell off the wagon during a cruise he was set to headline. It was his first taste of alcohol in over a decade -- since his last stay in rehab in 2002. While the singer seems to be taking full ownership of what happened on that boat, the incident shines a light on something not talked about very often. 

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Jennifer Nettles
Michael Loccisano, Getty Images
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Album Spotlight: Jennifer Nettles, ‘That Girl’

Jennifer Nettles' new solo album is a round peg too big for country music’s square hole. Actually, ‘That Girl’ is sort of a zig-zaggy shaped object that doesn’t fit neatly within any genre’s stingy requirements. Jazz, blues, country, big band, Broadway, classic rock … Nettles dabbles.

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Category: Music Tags: ,
Jake Owen
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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ToC Encore: What You Can Learn From Country Tour Announcements

Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley and Jake Owen have announced their summer tour plans, and many more will surely follow in the coming weeks. If you’re paying attention, you can learn a little more than just where an artist will be, and they'll be there. Taste of Country’s Billy Dukes explains how you can find out a lot about your favorite artist by looking at the schedule.

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Tim McGraw
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Tim McGraw, ‘Lookin’ for That Girl’ [Listen]

Tim McGraw marries traditional country stylings to contemporary innovations in his new single ‘Lookin’ for That Girl.’ The scream of a pedal steel keeps the track safely on the country side of the radio, while his use of auto-tune points forward toward what could be the genre’s future.

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Granger Smith
YouTube
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Granger Smith Samples Tour Life in Documentary Trailer – Exclusive Premiere

Long bus rides, sold out concerts, terrible homesickness and the brotherhood that comes with being part of a traveling band ... Granger Smith's new documentary will give an honest look at everything a touring country singer goes through in an effort to bring the music to the people. This three-minute-long trailer gives fans a taste of what's to come later in 2014. 

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Joe Nichols
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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Joe Nichols, ‘Yeah’ [Listen]

Joe Nichols’ new single ‘Yeah’ keeps the feel-good vibe of ‘Sunny and 75’ alive. On paper, the story comes across as a track that was all too popular in 2013, but the singer’s warm voice wraps the listener up like a good hug on chilly country night. His song is different because he’s not trying so hard.

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Rascal Flatts
Big Machine Records
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Rascal Flatts, ‘Rewind’ [Listen]

There’s a timeless quality to Rascal Flatts’ love songs, like their latest ‘Rewind.’ It’s a song that could appear on any of the group’s eight previous studio albums. Gary, Jay and Joe Don have a signature sound, and they’ve remained loyal to it for almost 15 years.

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Scotty McCreery
Maddie Meyer, Getty Images
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Scotty McCreery Aims for Ninth Straight ToC Top 10 Video Countdown Number 1

Fans of Gary Allan's and Ronnie Dunn's new videos will need to double down to top Scotty McCreery's 'See You Tonight.' The singer and former 'American Idol' winner topped 'It Ain' the Whiskey' by five percentage points for an eighth straight win. This week he'll aim for No. 9.

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ChucK Wicks
Blaster Records
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Chuck Wicks, ‘Us Again’ [Listen]

'Us Again,' Chuck Wicks' debut single on Blaster Records, is a patient, orchestral ballad about yearning to get back together with the one you loved and lost. Wicks has always been a talented interpreter of songs. His pain comes through early on this track from an upcoming studio album. 

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Swon Brothers
Arista Nashville
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The Swon Brothers, ‘Later On’ [Listen]

The Swon Brothers are the first male contestants from 'The Voice' to try their hand at country radio with the release of their debut single, ‘Later On.’ To date, Danielle Bradbery and Cassadee Pope have been the show’s biggest successes, both releasing fairly mainstream pop-country songs. These Oklahoma boys show their rock roots early and often in this cut.

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Brantley Gilbert
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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ToC Encore: Favorite Interviews of 2013

There's an art to giving a great interview, and not every country star has mastered it. In fact, most fall somewhere between guarded and nervous when they pick up the phone or agree to talk about their lives and music face-to-face. That holds a singer back, but it's an obstacle that can be overcome, as Brantley Gilbert has proven. 

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