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Sterling Whitaker

Sterling Whitaker is a Nashville-based musician and music journalist. He is the author of two books: 'Unsung Heroes of Rock Guitar' and 'The Grand Delusion: The Unauthorized True Story of Styx.' He has appeared as a guest on VH1, BBC Radio and radio all over North America. Whitaker is also very involved in animal rescue.
Tim-Kenny
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Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw Top 2012 Country Tours

Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw were the top country touring attraction of the year with their Brothers of the Sun Tour, according to Billboard magazine, which has just published its 2012 Year in Music roundup. The massive road trek sold out nine of 23 shows and played to 1,085,382 total fans, raking in $96,458,890 to place seventh in all genres behind such huge mainstream artists as Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and Lady Gaga.

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Connie Britton
Jemal Countess, Getty Images
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Whiskey Helped Connie Britton Prepare for Singing on ‘Nashville’

'Nashville' star Connie Britton is no stranger to singing in public, but the roles that made her famous on shows like 'Spin City' and 'Friday Night Lights' didn't focus on her voice. The actress admits that preparing for her role as country superstar Rayna Jaymes meant getting some special help from an old country music standby -- in this case, whiskey.

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Jennifer Nettles, John Legend
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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Jennifer Nettles and John Legend Duet ‘O Holy Night’ on ‘CMA Country Christmas’

Wow. Just when you think it's impossible to bring any kind of new life to an age-old Christmas classic, Jennifer Nettles and John Legend go and prove you wrong. The pair teamed up for an absolutely stellar version of 'O Holy Night' on Thursday night's 'CMA Country Christmas' special, proving that a great song and strong singers still win out over all the marketing in the world.

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Carrie Underwood
Jason Merritt, Getty Images
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Westboro Baptist Church Blames Carrie Underwood for Tragedy in Connecticut

In one of the unlikeliest scenarios imaginable, the rabidly anti-gay rights group Westboro Baptist Church is blaming country superstar Carrie Underwood for the shootings at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut. The group's spokesperson claimed via Twitter that Underwood's support of equal rights for same-sex marriage helped bring down God's wrath upon the innocent victims.

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Cassadee Pope Blake Shelton The Voice
NBC
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‘The Voice’ Winner Cassadee Pope Says Her Album Will Have a ‘Hint of Country’

Now that Cassadee Pope has been crowned the winner of Season 3 of 'The Voice,' it's time for her to turn her attention toward recording an album. The newly-minted star says her sound will lean toward pop and rock, but will also feature some country elements.

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Kellie Pickler USO
US Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr., American Forces Press Service
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Kellie Pickler Spreads Holiday Cheer to American Soldiers Overseas

Country girl Kellie Pickler spends so much of her life working on behalf of others, we wonder how she finds time to record her albums and perform concerts for a living. The good-hearted singer is apt to turn up at food banks, and her soft spot for animals is well-known. She's also active in the fight against breast cancer, even shaving her head recently to support a close friend struggling with the disease. So it should come as no surprise that the '100 Proof' singer is spending part of her Christmas season in Afghanistan, where she is helping to spread holiday cheer to our men and women in uniform.

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Brantley Gilbert Jana Kramer
Jason Kempin (2), Getty Images
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Brantley Gilbert Plans Romantic Post-Birthday Surprise for Jana Kramer

Rising country star Jana Kramer might not have had the greatest birthday, but her boyfriend -- fellow country star Brantley Gilbert -- sure knew how to make it up to her. After the singer fell ill, her man surprised her by planning a romantic ice skating date for two.

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Jewel
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Jewel’s Upcoming ‘Greatest Hits’ Album to Include Kelly Clarkson, Pistol Annies

It's hard to believe it's been 17 years since Jewel first shot to fame with her multi-platinum album 'Pieces of You.' She's recorded and toured consistently since then, and the singer-songwriter is getting ready to release a career-spanning retrospective that will also contain new duets with Kelly Clarkson and Pistol Annies.

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Sheryl Crow 2012 Stagecoach Country Music Festival
Kevin Winter, Getty Images for Stagecoach
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Sheryl Crow Says Her Upcoming Album Is Real Country Music

Sheryl Crow is undoubtedly best known for her pop and rock hits like 'All I Wanna Do,' 'If It Makes You Happy' and 'My Favorite Mistake,' but the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter has recently finished up recording her first country album, which she says is closer to true country music than much of what's being marketed as country these days.

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Hailie Mathers, Taylor Swift
Twitter / Christopher Polk, Getty Images
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Eminem’s Daughter Slams Taylor Swift on Twitter, Faces Backlash

In yet another golden example of why (semi) prominent people should probably take a minute or two to think about it before they vent their frustrations on social media, Eminem's daughter, Hailie Scott Mathers, lashed out at country-pop superstar Taylor Swift via Twitter earlier this week.

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