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article imageOp-Ed: Digital Journal's Top 10 country music interviews of 2015

By Adrian Peel     Dec 25, 2015 in Music
This writer was fortunate enough to speak to many of country music's most famous names - and some not quite so famous - in 2015. Here is a selection of the most memorable.
Luke Bryan: My fourth country-related interview of the year was with Luke Bryan, arguably the biggest country star on the planet, back in February ahead of his headlining performance at the UK and Ireland's C2C Festival. I found him to be very open and friendly as we chatted about his US tour, his recent Mexican shows, his Hall of Fame exhibition, his new album and the thankfully short-lived feud with Zac Brown, among other things. The full article can be viewed here.
Gretchen Peters: Also in February, I spoke to the renowned Nashville-based singer/songwriter following her long overdue induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Like Luke Bryan she was also preparing to travel to London, though the purpose of her trip was to promote her new album, Blackbirds. The writer of Martina McBride's "Independence Day," plus many other familiar hits, spoke at great length about the album and also looked back on her induction into the above-mentioned Hall of Fame. The full story can be read here.
Blackberry Smoke: Towards the end of the month, I caught up with Charlie Starr, leader of the underhyped country/southern rock outfit from Georgia, on tour in Lincoln, Nebraska. He and his buddies were sitting proudly at the top of the country album charts at the time with their fourth LP, Holding all the Roses. Although the chart placing took many people by surprise, it had been a long time in coming (the band formed in 2000) and was very well deserved. The full article is here.
Reba McEntire: As far as female country stars go, they don't get much bigger than Reba, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the only lady to have had a number one hit in each of the last four decades. In May she opened up about her brother, Pake, who at the time was in hospital recovering from a stroke, her chart-topping new album Love Somebody (the follow-up to 2010's All the Women I Am) and what she'd been doing since its release. Surprisingly, three months after our interview took place Reba announced that she and her husband Narvel were to divorce after 26 years of marriage. The full article can be read here.
Tanya Tucker: One of the most revealing interviews I did this year was with former teen sensation Tanya Tucker. Her battle with drugs and alcohol in the 1980s, feelings of loneliness that can surround people in the entertainment business, the importance of having a solid grounding and good parents and whether she could have ended up like Mindy McCready were just four of the topics we touched upon. The full piece can be read here.
Hank Williams Jr.: What can I say about the occasionally controversial, though always entertaining Hank Jr., one of the most successful artists - in any genre - of the last 40 years? In August I asked him about his new album, his well-attended concerts and his thoughts on the casting of English actor Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams in the much talked about biopic I Saw the Light. The full interview can be viewed here.
Johnny Lee: In September, the "Looking for Love" singer filled me in on his present activities, which include performing live and working on his first studio album in nine years. He also reflected on 35 years since the release of Urban Cowboy, a classic western that "made his career." We discussed his show in Chihuahua, Mexico, that took place about 15 years ago and I also got his views on the modern country scene. The full article can be read here.
Kenny Rogers: The 77-year-old music legend chatted to me about his new Christmas album, Once Again It's Christmas, his sixth seasonal offering and his first since 1998's Christmas from the Heart. The full interview can be viewed here.
Eduardo Gameros: In November, the oldest member of popular Mexican country band Caballo Dorado, famed for their Spanish language cover of Billy Ray Cyrus's "Achy Breaky Heart," was kind enough to let me know what he and his bandmates had been up to. The answer was promoting their latest album, Somos Heroes, touring and preparing for their 30th anniversary in 2016. He also talked about the state of country music in Mexico and what songs fans can expect to hear at one of their gigs. The full piece can be accessed here.
John Anderson: My final country-related interview of 2015 was with golden voiced superstar John Anderson. He told me all about his latest album, the critically acclaimed Goldmine, his new-found sense of freedom now that he records on his own label and his favourite brand of tequila. My article on the 61-year-old vocalist from Apopka, Florida can be read here.
Thanks also to the wonderful country artists I interviewed who didn't quite make the cut. They include Meghan Linsey, Mo Pitney, Phil Vassar, Charlie Daniels, Kyle Park, Christian Lopez, James Blundell and Gaspar Madrigal.
To everyone who perused my articles over the past 12 months, thank you all for reading and here's to more of the same in 2016!
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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