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Original Features

Alan Jackson, Gretchen Wilson
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ToC Encore: A Defense for Artists Who Play SeaWorld

Nearly a dozen others refused, but Alan Jackson, Gretchen Wilson and Kid Rock have taken the stage to play SeaWorld's Bands, Brews & BBQ concert series, despite heavy protest from a controversy started after a documentary called 'Blackfish' aired. Should those who play be demonized?

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Blake Shelton, Adam Levine
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Valentine’s Day Kisses – Blake Shelton’s Top 5 Bromance Moments [Watch]

Blake Shelton is perhaps country music's most loving singer. The 'Hillbilly Bone' singer has proven he'll pucker up for just about anyone. His wife, his co-host, a random guy on a red carpet ... Shelton doesn't discriminate with the lip love! Taste of Country's Valentine's Day gift to you is these Top 5 Blake Shelton bromance moments ever.

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Jake Owen, Dierks Bentley
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ToC Encore: Why Writing Your Own Songs Is Overrated

In Nashville, the songwriter is king. This title is deserved, as the stories they provide are the heart that makes the country music industry beat. Artists that only record songs they write or co-write are making a big mistake, however. Taste of Country writer Billy Dukes explains how one artist learned that when it comes to album space, it's best to share. 

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George Strait, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill Kenny Chesney
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Top Songs of 2014 (So Far)

The soundtrack for 2014 took a dramatic turn in April when the man with the top song on this list of country hits walked onto the ACM Awards stage in Las Vegas. His duet — amongst the finest of his career — checks in at No. 1, while songs from legends like George Strait and Kenny Chesney trail close behind.

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Eric Church, Blake Shelton, Cole Swindell
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Top 40 Country Songs – February 2014

January was new music month, so the Top 40 Country Songs of February list is heavily speckled with new tracks from artists like Rascal Flatts, Eric Church, Hunter Hayes and Blake Shelton. The No. 1 song is one that took the slow road to the top, however. It's a well-deserved honor for a man who a short time ago was Luke Bryan's merchandise guy. 

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Jason Aldean, Charles Kelley, Luke Bryan
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Cowboy Butts Drive Us Nuts: See Country Stars in Their Jeans

Country men and denim go together like sweet and tea. It's a not-so-secret secret that the best part of a front row ticket to one see one of country's top male performers sing is the view from close up. And recently, stars like Luke Bryan have begun to oblige with tight-fitting blue jeans.

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Football game
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5 Best Football Songs

Country music and football are more closely tied than country music and NASCAR. More than a few stars have used the gridiron as the backdrop for love stories or tales of inspiration, and dozens of others have begun a song between the hash marks. These top football songs all feature the sport prominently, not just as a passing detail.

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Super Bowl
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ToC Encore: Country Music Can’t Win at the Super Bowl

Why isn't a country superstar performing during halftime of the Super Bowl? It's a fair question, and one country fans have asked every year since Shania Twain took the stage in 2003. Surely there are stars big enough to draw the nation's interest, right? Taste of Country writer Billy Dukes argues that fans of Nashville's biggest names should actually be grateful for this missed opportunity. 

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Gary Allan, Carrie Underwood
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2014 ACM Awards Nominations – Surprises and Snubs

Nominations for the 2014 ACM Awards in Las Vegas cast a refreshing spotlight on a new generation of country stars, plus one veteran seemingly forgotten by voters.

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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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