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A LOOK BACK: As 2020 comes to a close, and people look back on their year … did you have a productive quarantine? While Luke Combs would have rather had a “normal” year, he did make good use of his time. “I think it’s just been a lot of writing songs, done a lot of that.” You’d kind of expect that from him in any year, but was there time in quarantine for doing things he usually wouldn’t be able to do? Luke says, “Doing little projects in and around the house has been really nice, just really kind of having the time and the freedom to do some of the things that normally I wouldn’t have gotten to do this year.” But Luke shares what time off the road gave him most importantly, “Obviously I had the opportunity to get married this year, which was really amazing, I am very thankful for the extra time that me and Nicole have had together.”

LESSONS FROM 2020: Everyone is ready for 2020 to be over, right? By most accounts this was one of the roughest years we’ve had as a country and for many of us personally. Well, Carly Pearce is ready to move on, but she will be taking a little bit of this year into her 2021, “I think 2020 for me was the biggest learning lesson of my life.” Carly explains what lessons she wants to hold onto going forward, “I think that you have to remember the stillness and remember what you learned, implement what you discovered about yourself, and don’t forget that. I think it’s so easy for us to kind of just be robots and do day in and day out and not check in with ourselves, and not just kinda make sure we’re OK.” What’s next for Carly in 2021? Her next single … which is “Next Girl.”

A RISING STAR: At the end of her “American Idol” audition when Katy Perry said, “Be your own hero,” Gabby Barrett took it to heart and did exactly that. Since then, Gabby has been a rising star in country music, and 2020 has been her best year yet. During the course of a normal year, she would have been busy crisscrossing the nation performing and making appearances … to the point where she probably couldn’t have fully appreciated the success that her song “I Hope” was having. But like almost everyone else, Gabby was at home throughout quarantine, and had time to take it all in. Gabby says, “You know, I’ve been able to sit more in the back seat, rather than performing and moving at a thousand miles per hour constantly, which is the normal artist life. So, I’ve been able to let kind of everything that’s going on soak in, which has been really really nice.”

Julie Reeves is the evening host on Big Buck Country 101.5. Also contributing is Bill Cornwell.

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