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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.
Doug Dillard, Donna Summer
DougDillard.net / Ethan Miller, Getty Images
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Daily Roundup: Country Stars Mourn the Death of Two Music Icons + More

Today was a sad day for the music world. One country music inspiration and legendary banjo player passed at the age of 75. Fans also learned of the death of the Queen of Disco, Donna Summer. And while Summer's death was less directly related to the country music world, it was no less a reason to mourn -- especially for Dolly Parton. Get those stories and more in today's Taste of Country Daily Roundup.

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Category: Country Music News
Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood
Christopher Polk / Ethan Miller / Michael Kovac, Getty Images
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Most Anticipated Summer Tour – Readers Poll

Summer means grilling out, staying cool in the pool and rocking hard at the hottest summer concerts. This year will be no exception. Several of country music's biggest names are heading out on the road for 2012 summer tours, but which road show are you most looking forward to?

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Category: Readers Poll
Blake Shelton, Jermaine Paul, Erin Willett
Christopher Polk, Getty Images
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Blake Shelton’s ‘The Voice’ Team Shines With Lady Gaga’s ‘Edge of Glory’

Just minutes after Blake Shelton got a minute in 'The Voice' spotlight as a solo performer, bringing the debut of his new single 'Over' to our television screens, it was his team's turn to shine. Jermaine Paul and Erin Willett -- along with Team Christina Aguilera's remaining two -- took the stage to declare that they're on the 'Edge of Glory,' each hoping to find ultra fame as a result of winning the competition.

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Carrie Underwood / Brad Paisley
Slaven Vlasic / Frazer Harrison, Getty Images
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Daily Roundup: Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley + More

Carrie Underwood visited an elementary school to sing with the chorus this week, but in the end, it was the fifth-graders at PS22 that ended up leaving her 'Blown Away' (pun very much intended). Also in Taste of Country's Daily Roundup is Brad Paisley's appearance on 'South Park' -- and even if you're not a fan of the often crude cartoon, this is one episode you will want to watch.

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Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton
Ethan Miller (2) / Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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Best Weekend Jam – Readers Poll

TGIF! Now that it's nearly May and cold weather is becoming a memory we want to soon forget, it's time to crank up our favorite country hits and just... relax. What do you think is the best weekend jam -- the country song most suited to help you take a load off on Friday and Saturday nights?

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Julianne Hough, Jay DeMarcus
Imeh Akpanudosen / Charley Gallay, Getty Images
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Daily Roundup: Julianne Hough, Rascal Flatts + More

Julianne Hough found herself red with embarrassment this week at the mercy of her boyfriend, 'American Idol' host Ryan Seacrest. Find out why she was caught off guard, plus wish an extra special happy birthday to Rascal Flatts' Jay DeMarcus, who is celebrating his 41st birthday today (April 26). These are the top stories in our Taste of Country Daily Roundup.

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Rick Diamond, Getty Images
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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Favorite Rascal Flatts Song – Readers Poll

Happy Birthday, Jay DeMarcus! The Rascal Flatts superstar celebrates 41 years today (April 26), and we know it's bound to be a good day for him. After all, the Flatts just released their chart-topping new album, 'Changed,' at the beginning of his birthday month, 'Banjo' is a huge hit with fans and radio alike, and DeMarcus and his wife are expecting their second child -- a boy -- this summer. Could life get any better?

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Brad Paisley, Josh Kelley and Katherine Heigl
Ethan Miller/ John Shearer, Getty Images
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Daily Roundup: Brad Paisley, New Country Babies + More

Are country artists trying to produce the next generation of music stars? It sure seems like it, what with all of the new babies arriving -- and new babies on the way -- in 2012. Find out who is expecting baby No. 3, as well as who adopted a second little one, in today's Taste of Country Roundup. Oh, and don't forget to catch Brad Paisley as a cartoon on 'South Park'!

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Songs About Trucks
YouTube
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Best Song About Trucks – Readers Poll

If there's one thing that just screams country music, it's a song about a big ol' truck. Clearly, that's why so many of the biggest names in the biz have laid their vocal stamp on tunes that describe oversized spinning wheels and extreme horsepower, women with a thing for large bumpers, and generally, rides that put others on the road to shame.

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