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Amanda Hensel

If a passion for music and a knack for writing make a career, then color Amanda Hensel lucky. She is the product of writers -- apparently, when you add two news journalists together you get one music journalist. She currently resides in 'the live music capital of the world,' where she snagged a Journalism degree from the University of Texas. Although she's grounded in Austin, Hensel's name travels -- in her short career she has cited her passion writing for AOL Music Blog, Fringe Magazine, the Houston Press and various other publications.

Carrie Underwood
Arista Nashville
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Carrie Underwood Strips Down for Intimate Songwriters Session at CRS

Carrie Underwood was in rare form on Wednesday night (Feb. 27), stripped down for a bare bones and relaxed version of not only her hit songs, but herself -- just Carrie. The superstar traded designer gowns for a more casual black pants, light jacket look to join top country songwriters Luke Laird, Hillary Lindsey and Josh Kear for a swap of songs, performed acoustically on a small Nashville stage in front of an intimate Country Radio Seminar (CRS) audience.

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Josh Kear, Chris Tompkins
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images
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Carrie Underwood’s ‘Blown Away’ Snags Best Country Song at 2013 Grammy Awards

Carrie Underwood's 'Blown Away' picked up an early 2013 Grammy Award for Best Country Song during Sunday's pre-telecast ceremony, where 70 Grammys were handed out and songwriters Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins were on hand to accept for their country smash.

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Rascal Flatts, Aaron Lewis
Valerie Macon / Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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Rascal Flatts vs. Aaron Lewis – The Showdown

Rascal Flatts are on a roll. The group cracked a third-straight win yesterday and last night on Taste of Country Nights radio, leaving Mumford & Sons in a trail of country dust. Today, they'll face a new challenger in Staind frontman Aaron Lewis.

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Eric Church
Christopher Polk, Getty Images
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Eric Church Insists That Manual Labor Is His Idea of a Relaxing Day Off

Eric Church is notoriously busy. When the 2012 CMAs Album of the Year winner isn't cramming awards into his duffel bag, he's on his tour bus, wheels rolling on the ground while those in his head spin with ideas for new No. 1 singles. Church is obviously a hard worker, so it should be no surprise to anyone that when he gets a 'day off' from being a star, he spends it the best way he knows how... doing manual labor.

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Reba McEntire
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images
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Reba McEntire Shares Her Ideal ‘Malibu Country’ Cameos – And Why the Show’s Worth Watching

Country's favorite redhead Reba McEntire says she's "really excited" for the premiere of 'Malibu Country,' her new sitcom on ABC. The show kicks off tonight, and promises to be full of laughs and 'aww' moments, according to the singer.

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Taylor Swift
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Taylor Swift Opens Up About Bleeding ‘Red,’ Living Under a Magnifying Glass + Still Growing Up One Year at a Time

Taylor Swift is tired and a little glassy-eyed from a full day of interviews by the time we sit down to chat, but still she's warm, kind and, well, genuine. Just like she seems. We're like two girls in a coffee shop, even though we're surrounded by bright lights, cameramen, assistants, label reps -- you name it. She looks me in the eye, smiles, laughs and even compliments my dress, because despite being one of the biggest superstars on the planet, at 22 years old, Swift is still just a girl. A humble and surprisingly normal girl, who has crushes, falls in love, gets her heart broken... and writes No. 1 songs about it.

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