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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.
Kenny Chesney, Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean
Alberto E. Rodriguez / Rick Diamond (2), Getty Images

Top 40 Country Songs – August 2014

The top country song of August 2014 has quietly become a huge hit for an artist who's becoming as dependable as your favorite pair of blue jeans. This song relied on a laugh-out-loud music video for a boost, but in-studio creative impulses proved to be the hook that snagged No. 1.

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Tyler Farr
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Tyler Farr, ‘A Guy Walks Into a Bar’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

Tyler Farr does heartbreak like Miranda Lambert does crazy. His new song ‘A Guy Walks Into a Bar’ is a dark story wrapped around a decades (centuries?) old joke. Spinning something familiar is the quickest way to build a hit, and Farr’s first single from his second album should be his biggest yet.

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Dierks Bentley
Larry Busacca, Getty Images

Dierks Bentley: CMA Music Fest Proves This Isn’t Your Grandfather’s Country Music Anymore

Dierks Bentley says the yearly CMA Music Festival in Nashville captures the essence of where country music is at, and where the genre is headed. Few are more excited about performing than the 'Drunk on a Plane' singer. Fans will get to see his enthusiasm spill over on Aug. 5, during ABC's 'CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock' performance.

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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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