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Singer/songwriter Dusty Black likes to consider himself a pretty tough guy. But even he admits he can't get through his new song "Somebody's Mama" without shedding some tears.


"It's hard to perform that sucker on stage," the father of two little girls admits during a recent interview with PEOPLE of the song that was first introduced to him by country artist Colt Ford. "Every time I play it, I have to warn the crowd that I might get 'choked up a little bit up here.'"

Black laughs, but he isn't kidding. Premiering exclusively on PEOPLE, "Somebody's Mama" featuring Gary LeVox serves up a heartfelt cup of sentimentality, telling the story from a father's point of view of watching daughters turn into grown women who turn into the loves of someone else's life. And it's a song that hit Black smack dab in the heart since the moment he first heard it.

© Chase Lauer Dusty Black

"It's always been one of those that just made the hair on my arms stand up," says Black, 38, of the song written by Monty Criswell, Derek George and Houston Phillips. "I dang near cry almost every time I hear it."

It's not only a tearjerker of a song, but it's a tearjerker of a story that got Black to this precious moment. It's a story of undeniable talent and strange coincidences, a story that further establishes that one step in a different direction can change the trajectory of one's entire life, a story that proves that a moving guy can turn into a country music star.

© Provided by People Chase Lauer Dusty Black

This particular story started in Memphis, as Black grew up in a musical family, with his grandfather Floyd Black "Junior," playing banjo for the legendary Johnny Cash on the Louisiana Hayride. Black's father Allen Black also inherited a steadfast love of music.

"My dad had to give up his love of music to focus on making money and providing for his family rather than following his passion," Black says quietly. "Music was my grandfather's dream and my dad's dream… but it was also my dream."

But dreams have a way of fading as life moves on and reality sets in, and Black soon found himself making the decision to not follow any sort of musical footsteps. Instead, he decided to begin working for the family's rapidly growing moving company — and in 2012, Black would go on to open one of his own. Now, as founder and CEO of Black Tie Moving Company, he has worked to make it the fastest-growing moving company in history.

But then, in 2019, his father died.

"I just realized how short life is and how precious it is and how important it is to follow your dreams and your passions as much as it is to follow money," says Black, who first moved from Memphis to Nashville at the age of 31 years old and began pursuing music at the age of 36. "Success and money became far less important to me after he passed, because you realize you can't take it with you and that at the end of the day, it's not really what defines you."

Black then grows quiet.

"A lot of my best friends are some of the biggest artists and songwriters in town," says Black, whose first single "Right Church, Wrong Pew" came out on the first anniversary of his father's death. "I've sat side stage and watched them follow my dream for a long time."

© Provided by People courtesy Gary LeVox, Dusty Black and Shay Mooney

RELATED: Gary LeVox Reflects on Next Chapter of His Career: 'Whatever Door Opens, I'm Going to Run Through It'

One of those artists is Rascal Flatts' Gary LeVox, whom Black first met when his moving company was hired to move LeVox's family from one home to another just about six years ago. But as the two became fast friends at the time, Black was reluctant to share his dream of becoming a country artist himself.

But once he did, LeVox was blown away.

"He was just like, 'Man, I can't believe you've been holding out on me for all this time,'" remembers Black, who is now business partners with LeVox within the Ohio-based portion of the Black Tie Moving Company. "And when I heard 'Somebody's Mama,' Gary was the first person that I sent it to. And I said, 'Man, you've got to do this with me.' He too is a girl dad. We both have two daughters and that was one of the first things we connected on. I knew he could bring this song to life in a way that nobody else in this world can."

And now, this song has found its way into the world, and into people's hearts. But for Black, this song means so much more than he ever could have envisioned before.

"How in the world can I look at my daughters and tell them that all of their dreams — no matter how crazy they might be — are within reach and they can do anything they want to if I'm not following those same words and following my biggest dreams?" says Black, whose new EP Who Are You is set for release Friday. "It's never too late to chase those childhood dreams."

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The Voice Champion to Headline Festival

NBC Jake Hoot & Kelly Clarkson

Jake Hoot, season 17 champion for Team Kelly on NBC’s “The Voice,” is set to headline an upcoming music festival.

Hoot will be the headlining act at the Trigg County Country Ham Festival, which is an annual festival that takes place in Cadiz, Kentucky.

According to the website for the festival, 2021 marks the 45th year of the event. The festival offers places to eat and tourist attractions for out-of-town guests, the website states. This year, the event takes place on Friday, October 8 and Saturday, October 9.

Hoot will be performing on the main stage on Saturday, October 9, according to WKDZ Radio. More details will be made available as the date gets closer.

Hoot Released a New Single

What a good time! @jakehootmusic's new single is country-rock gold! #nightleft

— Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) July 27, 2021

Hoot released a single called “Night Left” in July 2019, and his former coach Kelly Clarkson had nothing but praise for the song.

“What a good time!” she tweeted. “@jakehootmusic’s new single is country-rock gold! #nightleft”

Clarkson and Hoot released a new song and music video together in January 2021.

“The BIG news is finally here!” Hoot wrote in the announcement. “I am so excited to announce that the special guest on my upcoming EP release is the one and only [Kelly Clarkson]! I can’t wait for you to hear and see the finished product on January 27.”

For the music video for their song, Clarkson and Hoot teamed up for the emotional video.

The music video features the Los Angeles Wiltern Theatre’s elegance from the back of house to the front of the house.

“More than forever, always, madly / the deepest, unforgettable / With all that I am / with my heart wide open / for the rest of my life I promise you / I’m gonna hate you as long and as much as I would’ve loved you / and I would’ve loved you,” the pair sing at one point in the song.

Hoot Got Married in 2021 View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Jake Hoot (

Hoot married to Brittney Nicole Hoot in March 2021, sharing a ten-minute video of his wedding day on Instagram in May.

He talked about how busy he is being a husband, dad, and musician in an interview with Entertainment Focus.

“I got married in March so I’m trying to be a great husband and a great dad, and being very present in family life is something that’s very high on my priority list,” he told the outlet. “We’re just excited about what’s to come.”

He also told the outlet he’s hoping that things keep getting bigger and better.

“We’re just excited about what to come,” he shared. “We’re playing a lot of big stages coming up here in the next couple months. Hopefully we’ll get ‘Night Left’ on the radio and hopefully it’ll start making things happen, bigger and better for us. Regardless, we’re just excited that people want to hear our music. As long as there’s a stage to play on we’ll be on it, so we’re excited.”

“The Voice” returns on September 20, 2021 on NBC with coaches Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton, Ariana Grande and John Legend.

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