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Drew Hallowell / Adam Bettcher, Getty Images
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Rodney Atkins Looks to Garth Brooks for Career Inspiration

Rodney Atkins‘ fans know he’s one of the most approachable stars in country music — the type of guy who’ll happily stick around after a show to sign autographs, pose for pictures and spend time with his fans.

Even though he’s currently enjoying the most successful single of his career, don’t expect Atkins to change. As he revealed during a recent interview, he learned the importance of those personal connections early — thanks to none other than Garth Brooks.

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Astrid Stawiarz, Getty Images
Astrid Stawiarz, Getty Images
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Trace Adkins Isn’t the Least Bit Excited About His Upcoming 50th Birthday

Half a century of anything is usually a milestone people take pride in — unless you’re Trace Adkins and you’re about to reach your 50th birthday, in which case it’s an occasion worth snarling at.

Yes, the ‘Just Fishin” singer will become eligible for full membership in the AARP on January 13. And while he isn’t normally much of a birthday person, he knows he can’t completely ignore the upcoming big day.

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Category: Celebrity News Tags:
Ethan Miller, Getty Images
Ethan Miller, Getty Images
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Toby Keith Talks Gay Marriage, ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ and Female Soldiers

Toby Keith has released some of the most proudly patriotic songs in modern country music, making him an easy target for those who prefer to think of country artists (and perhaps country fans) as belligerent or intolerant. The reality, of course, is more nuanced.

The fact is that Keith is simply not shy about speaking his mind, as readers discovered when Keith was asked to share his thoughts on gay rights during a recent interview with CMT Insider.

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Courtesy of BareTrack Records
Courtesy of BareTrack Records
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Terri Clark Gets ‘Personal’ with Her New Album, ‘Roots and Wings’

Her recording career spans 15 years and eight albums, but Terri Clark might just now be hitting her stride.

Clark’s latest album ‘Roots and Wings’ finds her tapping into her own experiences for a largely self-written batch of original tunes — and earning some of the best reviews of her career along the way. According to Clark, who enjoyed a string of platinum success in the 90s, recent turmoil in her personal life required a new, more honest approach to her music.

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Category: Music News Tags:
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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David Nail Releases ‘The Sound of a Million Dreams’ in November

David Nail’s career took plenty of twists and turns before he finally found his audience — including a busted deal at Mercury Nashville and a stint as a baseball coach. But when he finally released his debut album in 2009, its title ‘I’m About to Come Alive,’ proved prophetic.

Now, Nail is one of country’s hottest freshman acts, and he’s looking to build on that success with the release of his second album ‘The Sound of a Million Dreams,’ in November.

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Category: Music News Tags:
Courtesy of Valory Music Co.
Courtesy of Valory Music Co.
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‘Bait a Hook’ Video Has Justin Moore Living the Good Life

We like to think of the recording artist’s life as a glamorous one, but the truth is, it’s often full of monotonous travel, industry politics and the like.

Sometimes, though, a country star’s life really is everything it’s cracked up to be. Just ask Justin Moore, who recently spent a beautiful fall day lounging on a lake … for work. It was all in the name of filming a fishing-themed video for his new single ‘Bait a Hook.’

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Courtesy of ID Public Relations
Courtesy of ID Public Relations
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LeAnn Rimes Discusses New Covers Album, ‘Lady & Gentlemen’ [VIDEO]

LeAnn Rimes ends a four-year hiatus this week and returns to record store shelves with her 13th studio album, ‘Lady & Gentlemen.’ As with her platinum-selling self-titled release from 1999, ‘Gentlemen’ is a collection of covers — but this time around, she decided to give things a new twist.

The idea, as Rimes explained during a recent Taste of Country interview, was to put a feminine spin on songs written and/or made famous by men, including George Jones, John Anderson, John Conlee and Merle Haggard.

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Category: Music News Tags: ,
Image courtesy of Show Dog/Universal Records
Image courtesy of Show Dog/Universal Records
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JT Hodges Promises ‘Very, Very Diverse’ Debut Album

With his first single closing in on the country top 40 and a prime opening slot on his label boss’ latest tour, JT Hodges could hardly ask for a better start to his recording career.

Hodges won’t be satisfied with an auspicious beginning, however. He’s in this for the long haul, and to prove it, he’s getting ready to release a debut album that he promises will be “very, very diverse.”

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Category: Music News Tags: ,
David Redferns, Getty Images
David Redferns, Getty Images
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Country Singer Johnny Wright Dies at 97

Johnnie Wright, the singer best known for his 1965 hit ‘Hello Vietnam’ and his lengthy marriage to fellow country star Kitty Wells, passed away Tuesday morning in his Tennessee home. He was 97.

Wright rose to prominence in the ’50s as half of the duo Johnnie & Jack, which helped introduce Latin rhythms to the country charts with a string of hits that included ‘Ashes of Love,’ ‘Poison Love,’ and ‘(Oh Baby Mine) I Get So Lonely.’

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Rick Diamond, Getty Images
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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Kenny Rogers Announces Dates for 30th Annual Christmas and Hits Tour

When you’ve been doing something as long as Kenny Rogers has been making music, the milestones are bound to pile up — and sure enough, this holiday season will mark an auspicious anniversary for the country legend.

When Rogers embarks on his annual Christmas and Hits tour this November 25, it’ll mark his 30th straight year of heading out on the road to bring holiday cheer to fans. Billy Dean will join Rogers for the 17-date run, which concludes December 23.

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Category: Music News Tags:
Mike Coppola, Getty Images
Mike Coppola, Getty Images
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Kenny Chesney Earns Platinum Record for ‘Hemingway’s Whiskey’

For one of country’s biggest stars, Kenny Chesney is building quite an impressive heavy metal collection.

Chesney’s latest album, ‘Hemingway’s Whiskey,’ was recently certified platinum for sales of one million copies by the RIAA, becoming the 10th of his 14 releases to reach one of the industry’s most esteemed sales milestones.

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Category: Music News Tags:
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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Steel Magnolia Explains Why Their New Single, ‘Bulletproof,’ Is So ‘Different’

Joshua Scott Jones and Meghan Linsey have come a long way since their fateful meeting at a Nashville karaoke bar. They’re now engaged to be married, while also making up the rising country duo Steel Magnolia, with three top 40 singles and a pair of CMA Awards nominations on their growing list of achievements.

As their self-titled debut CD launches its fourth single, ‘Bulletproof,’ Jones and Linsey are preparing to join Reba McEntire, Edens Edge, and the Band Perry on the road this fall. But even as they look forward to entertaining those crowds, they’re also looking ahead to their next album.

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