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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.
Jake Owen Real Life Single
Sony Music Nashville
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ToC Critic’s Pick: Jake Owen, ‘Real Life’ [Listen]

With “Real Life,” Jake Owen again proves that he’s not willing to rest on what’s working or what has worked. The song borrows from his beach anthem spice rack, but doesn’t totally fit in that sub-genre of country music. If anything, it’s inspired by early-to-mid ’90s California rock.

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Kelsea Ballerini
Jason Merritt, Getty Images
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Kelsea Ballerini Talks About Her First Times

Kelsea Ballerini has released her First Time album, featuring the hit single "Love Me Like You Mean It." The breakthrough country female is known for her sweet voice and sharp songwriting, for being friends with Taylor Swift and for her quirky — and very willing — storytelling. So Taste of Country asked about some of her other first times.

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trace-adkins-wounded-warrior
Ethan Miller, Getty Images
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Remember When Trace Adkins Paid Tribute to Wounded Warriors With ‘Til the Last Shot’s Fired’?

At the 2009 ACM Awards, Trace Adkins left the audience and viewers at home in tears after his performance. It's perhaps one of the all-time top country award show moments -- one that began with a standing ovation before the singer even walked onto the stage.

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Brad Paisley
Kevin Winter, Getty Images
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Brad Paisley Calls Rolling Stones One of the Greatest Country Bands Ever

It took Brad Paisley about two seconds to decide he'd accept the invitation to open for the Rolling Stones, and that time was spent in a state of mild shock. "I still think they mis-dialed," he jokes. However, he also appreciates what the famous English rock band have done for country music.

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Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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Carrie Underwood Wants Tickets to the Rolling Stones, And Brad Paisley Says …

Within minutes of Brad Paisley being announced as the opening act for the Rolling Stones on June 17 in Nashville, his team and family started fielding phone calls from other family, friends and strangers hoping they could score free tickets.

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Tyler Farr
Joseph Llannes
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ToC Critic’s Pick: Tyler Farr, ‘Withdrawals’ [Listen]

Tyler Farr won’t be offended if you double-check the name on the car stereo when “Withdrawals” gets to the chorus. This massive vocal performance sounds nothing like the more mid-register songs Farr has released from his first two albums. All that stuff about classical training … yeah, here it is.

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