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Original Features

Kacey Musgraves
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Country’s Grammy Girl: Where Was Kacey Musgraves Hiding?

It will surprise no one who has spent time listening to Kacey Musgraves’ major-label debut album ‘Same Trailer Different Park’ that creative writing was the Grammy nominee’s favorite class in high school. The East Texan turns a spotlight on small-town fatalism, bigotry and unhealthy pessimism with delicate, bubblegum melodies and a sly smile. The 12 songs scratch that itch just between the shoulder blades and lower abdominal muscles -- that one you just can't reach with most albums. It's a place an average songwriter is lucky to find once or twice in his or her lifetime.

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Luke Bryan Fish
Instagram
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Country Stars Show Off Their Big Fish

Camera phones may have killed the exaggerated fishing story, but they've made for some banner moments for a few of country music's top stars and fisherman.

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Miranda Lambert
Jason Merritt, Getty Images
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ToC Encore: Why Country Women Will Win Big at the Grammys

Sorry, Blake Shelton and Tim McGraw. The big winners at the 2014 Grammys are going to be women. This may not bother the 'Doin' What She Likes' singer, as his wife Miranda Lambert scored multiple nominations and is always a favorite to take home the hardware. Kacey Musgraves, Taylor Swift and Kelly Clarkson are other country female nominees for the Jan. 26 ceremony.

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Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw, Kacey Musgraves, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift
Jason Merritt / Michael Loccisano (2) / Dimitrios Kambouris / Joe Scarnici, Getty Images
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2014 Grammy Awards Predictions

Taylor Swift and Kacey Musgraves lead country music's nominees at the 2014 Grammy Awards.

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Trace Adkins
Ethan Miller, Getty Images
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ToC Encore: Trace Adkins’ Rehab Trip Spotlights Country Music’s Drinking Problem

Earlier this week, Trace Adkins announced a second stint in an alcohol rehabilitation facility. He fell off the wagon during a cruise he was set to headline. It was his first taste of alcohol in over a decade -- since his last stay in rehab in 2002. While the singer seems to be taking full ownership of what happened on that boat, the incident shines a light on something not talked about very often. 

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American Idol
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‘American Idol’ Season 13 Spoilers: Country Singers in the Top 31

Warning: 'American Idol' Season 13 spoilers ahead!

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Zac Brown, Natalie Maines, Kenny Chesney
Vince Bucci / Kevork Djansezian / Ethan Miller, Getty Images
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Why the Grammys Rarely Honor CMA/ACM Awards Winners

In the last 10 years, country fans have come away scratching their heads after the Grammys. Artists and albums that are ignored at the CMA and ACM Awards are honored at the all-genre ceremony that takes place each winter. Only twice in the last decade have the CMAs and Grammys agreed on Song of the Year. Only three times beyond that was the CMA Awards winner even nominated for a Grammy.

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Jake Owen
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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ToC Encore: What You Can Learn From Country Tour Announcements

Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley and Jake Owen have announced their summer tour plans, and many more will surely follow in the coming weeks. If you’re paying attention, you can learn a little more than just where an artist will be, and they'll be there. Taste of Country’s Billy Dukes explains how you can find out a lot about your favorite artist by looking at the schedule.

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Chase Rice, Striking Matches, Sam Hunt
Rick Diamond, Getty Images / StrikingMatches.com/ Brad Belanger
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Country Artists to Watch in 2014

There are at least 10 reasons to be excited about country music in 2014. Some of the best songs of the year may come from newcomers -- men, women and groups hungry for their very first taste of radio success. A few have found it on television, while others were popular in Canada before turning south to Nashville. The No. 1 artist on this list has two hits on the radio right now!

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Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Nettles, Miranda Lambert
Michael Loccisano / Mark Davis / Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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ToC Encore: Why It’s a Struggle for Females in Country Music

The struggles of female country stars during the last year have been well-documented, with artists like Luke Bryan and Carrie Underwood recognizing the problem. There is no shortage of theories circulating to explain the issue, but Taste of Country's Billy Dukes argues that fans and the media have to take partial responsibility.

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