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Before They Were Famous

Before They Were Famous

Big Kenny Alphin
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Before They Were Famous: Big Kenny Alphin

Big Kenny Alphin of Big and Rich might have the country record for most careers held before achieving success on Nashville's biggest stages. According to a 2005 article at Co-Opliving.com, the blond half of the duo held several jobs and ran several businesses before finishing high school. There was the T-shirt company, then he ran a logging crew...  

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Kix Brooks
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Before They Were Famous: Kix Brooks

Kix Brooks enjoyed a colorful childhood that eventually included four years at military school before heading to Louisiana Tech University as a theater arts major. He was closer to 30 years old before he arrived in Nashville and scored a songwriting gig for Tree Publishing.

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Jason Aldean
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Before They Were Famous: Jason Aldean

Jason Aldean's country music dreams rode on the back of a Pepsi truck for years before he officially moved to Nashville. The singer began working at a Georgia Pepsi plant at age 17, and soon drove the delivery truck. "I was the guy that rode around in a truck and delivered drinks to all the convenience stores, so this was kind of my back-up plan," Aldean says. "The truck didn't have any air conditioning in it in the summer time," he added during another interview.

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Zac Brown
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Before They Were Famous: Zac Brown

Before singing 'Chicken Fried,' Zac Brown was making fried chicken. The Zac Brown Band singer owned his own restaurant (Zac's Place) near Lake Oconee in Georgia and did much of the cooking. He had experience on the stove from serving up catfish at a place called Wagon Wheel and Big Macs at McDonald's. Yep, at some point in his life, Brown likely asked someone: "Do you want fries with that?"

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Gretchen Wilson
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Before They Were Famous: Gretchen Wilson

Before taking her talents to Nashville, Gretchen Wilson paid her dues in bars and clubs around rural Illinois. Mostly it was just one bar, a dive called Big O's. By age 15 she had dropped out of school to tend bar and cook for the rowdy customers. She worked her way up to manager pretty quickly, and always kept a loaded 12-gauge shotgun near her for protection.

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Toby Keith
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Before They Were Famous: Toby Keith

Toby Keith began focusing on country music in the mid-80s, when he formed the Easy Money Band and toured Oklahoma and Texas relentlessly. Prior to that, he worked in the oil fields, even getting a job as an operation manager. A dip in the industry left him unemployed, so he played football with a semi-pro team called the Oklahoma Drillers and aimed toward a career in Nashville.

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James Otto
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Before They Were Famous: James Otto

Before chasing his country music dreams, James Otto served two years in the U.S. Navy. In 1998, he decided he could get a dirty job in his home state of Washington or one in Nashville, where he could begin a career as a musician. With encouragement from his father, he moved and took any job he could. That meant driving a bus for Opryland.

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Lee Brice
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Before They Were Famous: Lee Brice

Before, and perhaps during, college at Clemson University, Lee Brice helped out at his father's commercial electric business in his hometown of Sumter, S.C. It's likely he didn't spend too much time 100 feet in the air in a tiny bucket during his tenure with dad, however. "I honestly am pretty terrified by heights," he admits during a recent episode of GAC-TV's 'Day Jobs.'

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Carrie Underwood
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Before They Were Famous: Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood was 21 years old when she auditioned for 'American Idol,' and she was no slacker prior to doing so. She took jobs as early as her freshman year of high school, which is when she worked as an attendant at a Checotah, Okla. gas station. Later, she put in time at a hotel, a pizza place

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Willie Nelson
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Before They Were Famous: Willie Nelson

Prior to moving to Nashville, Willie Nelson served in the Air Force and took odd jobs while sharpening his songwriting pen. One of those gigs was at KVAN, a radio station in Vancouver, Washington.

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