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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.
Canaan Smith
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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ToC Critic’s Pick: Canaan Smith, ‘Bronco’

Canaan Smith’s debut album may be the most surprising release of 2015. He shows more confidence and diversity on Bronco than he has on anything released to radio. It’s an album that takes a moment to find a lane, but when it does, he drives it hard.

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Canaan Smith
Mercury Nashville
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All In: Canaan Smith on Tragedy, Faith and the Great American Country Song

One little-discussed, but striking part about Dierks Bentley asking his tour openers to jump in a freezing cold lake with him last January was how quickly and enthusiastically Canaan Smith agreed. The "Love You Like That" singer was was fired up — excited even! There's a reason for that. As it turns out, there's a very personal reason for it.

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Jerrod Niemann
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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How Tyler Farr ‘Crashed’ Jerrod Niemann and Wife’s Hotel Room in Jamaica

It begins with "I was in bed with my wife ..." and ends with "I can't believe he didn't get hurt!" In between, Jerrod Niemann's story about Tyler Farr breaking into his hotel room in Jamaica takes all sorts of strange twists and turns, and ends with someone having to pay for damages.

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Sam Hunt
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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Sam Hunt Says ‘Hookup’ With ‘Bachelorette’ Andi Dorfman Was Fabricated

Sam Hunt insists he’s not dating former Bachelorette star Andi Dorfman, and he didn’t "hook up" with her, either. The “House Party” singer says he’s not sure how the rumor got started, but admits they did talk backstage during the CMA Music Festival in Nashville.

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Kacey Musgraves
Christopher Polk, Getty Images
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Album Spotlight: Kacey Musgraves, ‘Pageant Material’

Fans searching for sharp, stabbing statements from Kacey Musgraves on Pageant Material will miss the sweet, sweet tones and sentiments that are at the heart of her second studio album. With exceptions, gone is the small-town malaise, replaced by the kind of songs a girl in love writes and records.

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Chris Janson
Ciara Carver
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Chris Janson Grateful for Closed Doors

Chris Janson is finally getting his chance, and the only people happier about it are his friends and family. Make no mistake, the "Buy Me a Boat" singer is thrilled with the song's success and what it has led to. But there's an entire city that's been pulling for him for years. Those people — many of whom you know — are the ones standing and cheering, literally.

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Kacey Musgraves
CJ Berzin
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Kacey Musgraves Says ‘Pageant Material’ Is a Family Affair

Kacey Musgraves admits her new album Pageant Material serves as an autobiography in some ways, but that wasn't her intent when she began writing and recording her second studio album. Many are looking for the next "Follow Your Arrow," a song that stirred up controversy while helping her earn multiple Song and Album of the Year honors. Those songs are there, but they're not the heart of this project.

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