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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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Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan
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Florida Georgia Line (Feat. Luke Bryan), ‘This Is How We Roll’ [Listen]

Florida Georgia Line stick to familiar themes, but deliver their most original lyric yet on ‘This Is How We Roll,’ a collaboration with Luke Bryan. The rhymes that flow from Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley’s lips are like sugar from a shaker. An especially clever second verse will be what everyone is talking about.

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Jennifer Nettles
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Jennifer Nettles, ‘Me Without You’ [Listen]

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.

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ToC Awards 2014
Taste of Country
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Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift + Blake Shelton Lead 2014 Taste of Country Awards

Time is running out to decide the 2014 Taste of Country Awards winners. With less than three weeks to go, none of the eight, fan-voted categories is turning into a blowout win for Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift or Blake Shelton. Luke Bryan and Tim McGraw are also making strong showings, but it's the newcomers that are really battling. Hundreds of thousands of votes have been cast, but this contest promises to go all the way to the February 11 deadline. 

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Wild Feathers
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The Wild Feathers, ‘Got It Wrong’ [Listen]

Like loose change when you’re desperate for money for a pack of cigarettes, the Wild Feathers are a pleasant surprise found between the folds of the country and rock genres. Their new song ‘Got It Wrong’ is dirtier than music produced by the slick Nashville machine, but still familiar for those looking for just a little respite from the same old, same old.

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Miranda Lambert
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ToC Encore: Why Country Women Will Win Big at the Grammys

Sorry, Blake Shelton and Tim McGraw. The big winners at the 2014 Grammys are going to be women. This may not bother the 'Doin' What She Likes' singer, as his wife Miranda Lambert scored multiple nominations and is always a favorite to take home the hardware. Kacey Musgraves, Taylor Swift and Kelly Clarkson are other country female nominees for the Jan. 26 ceremony.

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Trace Adkins
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ToC Encore: Trace Adkins’ Rehab Trip Spotlights Country Music’s Drinking Problem

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. 

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Jennifer Nettles
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Album Spotlight: Jennifer Nettles, ‘That Girl’

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.

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Tim McGraw
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Tim McGraw, ‘Lookin’ for That Girl’ [Listen]

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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