Turning a personal tragedy into a hit record is tricky, and not just for all the normal reasons that it's difficult to make a song into a hit. Artists who write a great personal song may be hesitant to record it for months or years. Taste of Country writer Billy Dukes considers three powerful songs and three artists who dealt with the personal tragedies that inspired them in very different ways.
Cole Swindell set out to make a well-rounded album that tells his story, and he succeeded. The 12 tracks on ‘Cole Swindell’ tread along familiar country themes, but don’t run ruts into any one in particular. It’s surprisingly easy to find yourself halfway through the album a second time without noticing.
Fans of Justin Moore will really dig JJ Lawhorn and his new song 'Good Ol' Boys Like Us.' The two singers share a producer (Jeremy Stover discovered Lawhorn on YouTube) and -- at least on this song -- share a talent for revealing a country boy's soft side.
Sincere love songs fit Kellie Pickler like a tailored red carpet gown. ‘Closer to Nowhere’ is a big, stirring ballad from the ‘The Woman I Am’ album. Her romantic story talks of getting lost with a lover at the edge of town.
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?
Odds were good Taylor Swift would take the 2014 Taste of Country Award for Most Heartwarming Moment of 2013. She had two of the five nominations, after all. The star won a record eighth ToC Award, including her second in this category.
A trio of country superstars was just too much for nine other nominees to overcome. Tim McGraw's 'Highway Don't Care,' a chart-topping collaboration with Taylor Swift and Keith Urban, was voted the best song of 2013 at the recent Taste of Country Awards.
Gary Allan and Blake Shelton battled for most of the one-month voting period, but in the end, fans of the California-raised country singer would not be denied. Allan's 'Set You Free' was named the Best Album of the Year at the 2014 Taste of Country Awards.
Three times as many people voted for New Artist of the Year than any other 2014 Taste of Country Awards category, and until the final days, the competition was very tight. Danielle Bradbery pulled away late however, giving her a New Artist of the Year win.
Miranda Lambert does nostalgia as well as she does crazy. Her new single ‘Automatic’ is a yearning look back at a time before computers, cell phones and 800 channels on TV. With familiar and original references, the singer introduces a softer tone for her fifth studio album.
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