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.
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.
Miranda Lambert does nostalgia as well as she does crazy. Her new single ‘Automatic’ is a yearning look back at a time before computers, cell phones and 800 channels on TV. With familiar and original references, the singer introduces a softer tone for her fifth studio album.
Country music shined at the 2014 Grammys, with nine of Nashville's top singers taking the stage to sing and play guitar. Collaborations and solo performances from artists like Keith Urban, Blake Shelton and Hunter Hayes were among the night's best, but what was the best moment?
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.
There’s a timeless quality to Rascal Flatts’ love songs, like their latest ‘Rewind.’ It’s a song that could appear on any of the group’s eight previous studio albums. Gary, Jay and Joe Don have a signature sound, and they’ve remained loyal to it for almost 15 years.
'Us Again,' Chuck Wicks' debut single on Blaster Records, is a patient, orchestral ballad about yearning to get back together with the one you loved and lost. Wicks has always been a talented interpreter of songs. His pain comes through early on this track from an upcoming studio album.
The live version of 'The Call' from Garth Brooks' 'Live at the Wynn' performance is his first single since 2008. It's a duet with his wife Trisha Yearwood, but their happy marriage doesn't stand in the way of a heartbreaking performance.
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