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Amanda Hensel

If a passion for music and a knack for writing make a career, then color Amanda Hensel lucky. She is the product of writers -- apparently when you add two news journalists together, you get one music journalist. She currently resides in 'the live music capital of the world,' where she snagged a journalism degree from the University of Texas. Although she's grounded in Austin, Hensel's name travels -- in her short career, she has cited her passion writing for AOL Music Blog, Fringe Magazine, the Houston Press and various other publications.
Blake Shelton 'Boys Round Here' Clip
YouTube
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Blake Shelton’s ‘Boys ‘Round Here’ Makes Big Debut in ToC Top 10 Video Countdown

His video has hardly been out a week, but already Blake Shelton's 'Boys 'Round Here' clip is at the top of the Taste of Country Top 10 Video Countdown. That's not surprising, give the song's success and the fact that it co-stars wife Miranda Lambert and her Pistol Annies gang. But Shelton's new video is not No. 1.

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The Band Perry, The Henningsens
Rick Diamond, Getty Images / Facebook
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The Band Perry and the Henningsens Return to the ToC Top 10 Video Countdown

Two country family trios found their way back into the Taste of Country Top 10 Video Countdown this week! The Band Perry's 'Better Dig Two' video and the Henningsens' fan-favorite 'American Beautiful' both waltzed back in, giving Jason Aldean and Kip Moore's latest clips the boot.

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Carrie Underwood
Arista Nashville
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Carrie Underwood Strips Down for Intimate Songwriters Session at CRS

Carrie Underwood was in rare form on Wednesday night (Feb. 27), stripped down for a bare bones and relaxed version of not only her hit songs, but herself -- just Carrie. The superstar traded designer gowns for a more casual black pants, light jacket look to join top country songwriters Luke Laird, Hillary Lindsey and Josh Kear for a swap of songs, performed acoustically on a small Nashville stage in front of an intimate Country Radio Seminar (CRS) audience.

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Josh Kear, Chris Tompkins
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images
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Carrie Underwood’s ‘Blown Away’ Snags Best Country Song at 2013 Grammy Awards

Carrie Underwood's 'Blown Away' picked up an early 2013 Grammy Award for Best Country Song during Sunday's pre-telecast ceremony, where 70 Grammys were handed out and songwriters Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins were on hand to accept for their country smash.

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Taylor Swift
Mike Coppola, Getty Images
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Taylor Swift Unfazed by Being Criticized, Dubbed ‘Not Country Enough’

Much like Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift isn't one to go around slapping labels like "pop" or "country" on her music. No, that's too confining -- she'd rather just do her own thing in the way she sees fit.

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Taylor Swift
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Taylor Swift Opens Up About Bleeding ‘Red,’ Living Under a Magnifying Glass + Still Growing Up One Year at a Time

Taylor Swift is tired and a little glassy-eyed from a full day of interviews by the time we sit down to chat, but still she's warm, kind and, well, genuine. Just like she seems. We're like two girls in a coffee shop, even though we're surrounded by bright lights, cameramen, assistants, label reps -- you name it. She looks me in the eye, smiles, laughs and even compliments my dress, because despite being one of the biggest superstars on the planet, at 22 years old, Swift is still just a girl. A humble and surprisingly normal girl, who has crushes, falls in love, gets her heart broken... and writes No. 1 songs about it.

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