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Taste of Country Staff

Dan and Shay
Michael Loccisano, Getty Images
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Dan + Shay Left St. Jude Inspired to Help Any Way They Can

Country newcomers Dan + Shay had their St. Jude baptism in January during the 25th annual Country Cares seminar. Hundreds of radio and country music industry personnel join a few dozen artists and label representatives each year to learn about the latest in care and research at the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Then, they get to meet some of the patients.

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Category: Music News
Rascal Flatts Guitar
Courtesty of Big Machine Records
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Bid on a Signed Rascal Flatts Guitar to Benefit St. Jude Children’s Hospital

Jay, Joe Don and Gary of Rascal Flatts have stepped up to help the kids at the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. During a two-day Taste of Country webathon, fans can bid on this autographed electric guitar, with all proceeds going to St. Jude. 

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Category: Music News Tags:
Tropical Nights
Adam Porter / Matt Talbot for Taste of Country
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Dierks Bentley, Brantley Gilbert + More Play First-Ever Boots in the Sand Event [Pictures]

The first-ever Taste of Country Tropical Nights concert in the Riviera Maya included four top-notch country singers, a lot of sunshine, ample amounts of food and drink and a ton of gorgeous photo opps. Dierks Bentley, Jana Kramer, Billy Currington and Brantley Gilbert each headlined one night of the Feb. 23-27 party at the new Hard Rock Hotel, and it's clear the experience is one that will have fans buying return trips to Mexico next winter. 

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Cole Swindell, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan
Michael Loccisano / Jason Davis / Jared C. Tilton, Getty Images
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ToC Encore: Turning Personal Tragedy Into Hit Records

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. 

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Hank Williams Jr
Terry Wyatt, Getty Images
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Hank Williams Jr., Eric Paslay + More Added to Taste of Country Music Festival Lineup

The superstar lineup at the 2014 Taste of Country Music Festival just got bigger with the addition of Hank Williams. Jr. Eric Paslay, Leah Turner, the Cadillac Three and Jamie Lynn Spears have also been added to the June 13-15 camping and country music festival at Hunter Mountain.

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Cole Swindell
Warner Music Nashville
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Album Spotlight: Cole Swindell, ‘Cole Swindell’

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.

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Category: Music News Tags:
Alan Jackson, Gretchen Wilson
Jason Merritt / Alan Poizner, Getty Images
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ToC Encore: A Defense for Artists Who Play SeaWorld

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?

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Category: News Tags: ,
Blake Shelton, Adam Levine
Noel Vasquez, Getty Images
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Valentine’s Day Kisses – Blake Shelton’s Top 5 Bromance Moments [Watch]

Blake Shelton is perhaps country music's most loving singer. The 'Hillbilly Bone' singer has proven he'll pucker up for just about anyone. His wife, his co-host, a random guy on a red carpet ... Shelton doesn't discriminate with the lip love! Taste of Country's Valentine's Day gift to you is these Top 5 Blake Shelton bromance moments ever.

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Category: Music News Tags:
Taylor Swift, Laney Brown
Jason Merritt, Getty Images / Facebook
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2014 ToC Awards: Taylor Swift’s Phone Call to Dying Girl Was Most Heartwarming Moment of 2013

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.

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Category: Awards, Music News Tags:
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Tim McGraw’s ‘Highway Don’t Care’ Named Song of the Year at 2014 ToC Awards

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. 

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