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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.
Garth Brooks Kid
YouTube

Cute Kids Singing Country Songs – Garth Brooks, ‘Friends in Low Places’

Five-year-old Emma grabs a wooden spoon and finds a room with good lighting to begin this performance of 'Friends in Low Places' by Garth Brooks. Sure, the superstar preferred a hands-free microphone, but a girls gotta make do with what's around the house before being able to afford the latest in technology. 

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Scotty McCreery
Mercury Records

Album Spotlight: Scotty McCreery, ‘See You Tonight’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

"Dynamic" could be a one-word review of Scotty McCreery's sophomore album, 'See You Tonight.' The 20-year-old's follow-up to his post-'American Idol' debut leans into life's exciting edges. The songwriting and production -- especially the production -- are sharp, but most exciting is the new sides of this singer fans see for the very first time.

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Sheryl Crow
Warner Music Nashville

Sheryl Crow, ‘Callin’ Me When I’m Lonely’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

Sheryl Crow's new single 'Callin' Me When I'm Lonely' is the anti-'Easy,' as it's a big vocal showcase that leans toward sharp, jabbing emotions. The country newcomer opens up to show off a voice that's bathed in retro cool. This is a no-tricks ballad that finds a woman struggling to stay away from a guy she aches for.

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Katie Armiger
Jason Merritt, Getty Images

Katie Armiger, ‘Playin’ With Fire’ – Song Review

Katie Armiger continues to show off her feisty side on her new single 'Playin With Fire,' a bluesy, rebellious cut from the 'Fall Into Me' album. Her message should hit the sweet spot for teens or young 20-somethings full of angst and with little patience for the sage advice of an elder. 

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Jon Pardi
UMG Nashville

Album Spotlight: Jon Pardi, ‘Write You a Song’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

Jon Pardi’s debut album ‘Write You a Song’ employs no tricks, gimmicks or novelties to sell a straight-forward brand of country music. The best songs are rowdy, Bakersfield-influenced jams that introduce the California-raised singer as someone whose tour you'll want to follow closely in 2014. Even the love songs come with a sharp edge, something that defines him as an artist.

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Roseanne Cash
Taste of Country

Exclusive: Rosanne Cash Says Unplanned Road Trips Inspired Her Best Album Ever [Watch]

On one of the early trips that inspired Rosanne Cash's new 'The River & the Thread' album, the singer watched as Marshall Grant, Johnny Cash's longtime bass player, rehearsed for a charity show.

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Chris Young
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Chris Young Interview: ‘Who I Am With You’ Singer Learns to Never Say ‘Never’

Chris Young is hesitant to call his dates with George Strait the highlight of his 2014. He's not dismissing the King, he just doesn't want to write off everything else he has going on this winter, spring and summer.

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Brandy Clark
Slate Creek Records

Brandy Clark, ‘Stripes’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

Brandy Clark’s ‘Stripes’ is country music’s formal introduction to the woman behind many of the edgiest songs of the last two years. Those who like their country women to sound rooted in tradition and a little (OK, a lot) unpredictable will love this woman’s anthem.

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Jennifer Nettles
David Becker, Getty Images

Remember Jennifer Nettles’ Other Singing Duo? [Listen]

Sugarland was hardly Jennifer Nettles' first successful musical enterprise. She fronted the Jennifer Nettles Band prior to becoming part of the now-famous group. But before that, she was one-half of a duo that MTV called "the next big band from Athens, Ga." There are some stunning similarities and differences between her current sound and the music she created as part of Soul Miner's Daughter.

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