Photographer-writer Melanie Dunea's magic number is 50 in what appears to be the beginnings of a successful editorial franchise. Her new book, My Country: 50 Musicians on God, America & the Songs They Love (Rodale Books), includes segments on artists ranging from Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood to Country Music Hall of Fame members George Jones and Charley Pride. It follows her previous collection, My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals/Portraits, Interviews and Recipes. The latest one is a coffee table book you can quickly browse through or set aside for closer study. While Dunea doesn't attempt to provide biographies, her selection of questions posed often sheds a light on the inner soul of the artists. That inner soul is probably best revealed in the music-related questions, as opposed to the ones about God and spiritual matters. Except for David Allan Coe when he was asked, "If you could thank God in person for one thing, what would it be." He responded, "I'm not sure that I believe in the God that you're wanting me to think of." Dunea's photos are stunning, especially one of Miranda Lambert standing with her guitar in front of what looks like an old oak tree. In the background, though, is the old Tennessee State Prison, an ominous structure that closed in 1992. ... BTW, CMT.com is giving away five signed copies of the book in a sweepstakes running through Sunday (Nov. 28) on Twitter. Go to http://www.twitter.com/FollowCMT for more information.
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