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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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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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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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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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Colt Ford
YouTube
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Ronnie Dunn Next to Join Colt Ford in ‘Ride Through the Country Revisited’ BTS Clip – Exclusive Video

Colt Ford made a fan of Ronnie Dunn during a live show a few years ago. The country legend admits in this behind-the-scenes video that he quickly judged Ford, but after hearing his show, he understood. In fact, he joined him to sing the chorus of 'Mr. Goodtime' on the 'Ride Through the Country Revisited' album. 

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Jamie Lynn Spears
Courtesy of Crowd Surf Marketing
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Jamie Lynn Spears, ‘How Could I Want More’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

Jamie Lynn Spears' country debut is as honest and authentic as many (OK, most) figured it probably wouldn't be. 'How Could I Want More' is a sharp, vulnerable lyric that the 22-year-old little sister to Britney Spears takes full ownership of. There's not a whiff of that pretension that so often follows a pop star as he or she crosses into country music.

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Randy Travis
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images
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Fans Create ‘Human Chain of Love’ for Randy Travis During George Jones Tribute Concert

Friday night's (Nov. 22) Playing Possum: The Final No Show concert was all about George Jones, except for a few minutes in the middle that were dedicated to beleaguered singer Randy Travis. Actor Jon Voight took the stage to ask fans to create a human chain of love for the 'Tonight I'm Playing Possum' singer, who was a longtime friend to Jones.

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