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.
Kix Brooks made his acting debut earlier this year, and now fans have a chance to bring him home. Enter here to win one of 10 signed copies of both the DVD and CD soundtrack to ‘Ambush at Dark Canyon.’
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.
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.
Lee Brice’s new single ‘I Don’t Dance’ feels like a natural progression of this singer-songwriter’s career. It’s personal, like almost every song on the ‘Hard 2 Love’ album, but also powerful and experimental like Brice's early recordings. The power is provided in production, however -- a key difference between this ballad and others that relied solely on his vocal abilities.
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.
Jennifer Nettles delivers her purest vocal spotlight since ‘Stay’ on her new single ‘Me Without You.’ A few instruments loiter in the background, but for the most part, the ballad is just her over an acoustic guitar. Fans of her duo’s biggest hit will appreciate this performance.
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.
Jennifer Nettles' new solo album is a round peg too big for country music’s square hole. Actually, ‘That Girl’ is sort of a zig-zaggy shaped object that doesn’t fit neatly within any genre’s stingy requirements. Jazz, blues, country, big band, Broadway, classic rock … Nettles dabbles.
Tim McGraw marries traditional country stylings to contemporary innovations in his new single ‘Lookin’ for That Girl.’ The scream of a pedal steel keeps the track safely on the country side of the radio, while his use of auto-tune points forward toward what could be the genre’s future.
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