Music Spotlight: Church of Roswell

I was intrigued when Candi Carpenter, who has one of the strongest voices in country music, announced that she, along with British rocker, Josh Doyle, were forming a new conceptual collective duet called the Church of Roswell.

I interviewed Carpenter last year right before she performed for Dolly’s 50 Year Opry Celebration. Doyle and his pop/punk band, the Dum Dums, were a recognizable force in the early 2000s when they toured England extensively. They sat down with me recently and helped me connect the dots concerning their newest endeavor.

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‘Brian’s Song,’ ‘Roots,’ ‘Purple Rain’ Screenwriter William Blinn Dies

William Blinn, a screenwriter for the landmark TV projects “Brian’s Song” and “Roots” and the Prince film “Purple Rain,” has died. He was 83.

Blinn died Thursday of natural causes at an assisted living community in Burbank, California, his daughter, Anneliese Johnson, said Saturday.

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No. 18 Michigan Tops No. 21 Minnesota 49-24 in Milton Debut

After playing sparingly for Michigan as a backup his first two years and waiting for this virus-shortened season to start seven weeks late, Joe Milton’s time at quarterback had finally come.

The enormity of the moment hit him in the locker room, just before taking the field at Minnesota.

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Tanya Tucker Releases ‘Live From The Troubadour’

In 2019, Tanya Tucker released her first full-length record with new songs in twenty years. Produced by Brandi Carlile and Shooter Jennings, the album While I’m Livin’, would go on to win a Grammy for Country Album of the Year, and the song, “Bring My Flowers Now,” would win Country Song of the Year in January 2020.

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Shenandoah to Release New Music November 13

 When I heard that Shenandoah was releasing a collaboration album, I thought it would be a greatest hits album. What I didn’t expect was a record with all new songs paired perfectly with a plethora of current country artists.

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Study of Late-Night Comics Finds Few Joe Biden Jokes, But Plenty for President Trump

From the perspective of late-night joke writers, there’s really only one person running for president.

A staggering 97% of the jokes Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon told about the candidates in September targeted President Donald Trump, a study released Monday found.

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Music Spotlight: Drew Parker

One of my favorite type of artists to interview are “Highway Finds” from SiriusXM The Highway. The Highway plays new mostly unheard artists on their weekend show, On the Horizon and if they get enough response from their subscribers, they move the song over to their weekly rotation.

Even though Drew Parker has had a #1 song as a songwriter, Jake Owen’s “Homemade”, he has never been on the radio as a performer until recently when Sirius radio introduced him to the world with his title track to his up and coming EP, While You’re Gone.

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Music Spotlight: Jordan Tice

What happens when you take a person who was raised in a bluegrass family and give him a degree in jazz/classical guitar? Jordan Tice, a musician’s musician, is what you get.

Tice grew up in Annapolis, Maryland where both of his parents played bluegrass. His mother played fiddle and his dad played banjo and they were involved with the local bluegrass scene.

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‘Dune’ Ditches 2020, While AMC Commits to Staying Open

The 2020 theatrical release calendar is getting even slimmer in the wake of the announcement that Regal cinemas are temporarily closing, although AMC, North America’s largest theater chain, says it will remain open.

Warner Bros. said late Monday that its sci-fi pic “Dune” will now open in October 2021, instead of this December. The studio also pushed back “The Batman” to March 2022 and moved up its “Matrix” sequel to Dec. 2021.

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Music Legend Eddie Van Halen Dies of Cancer at 65

Eddie Van Halen, the guitar virtuoso whose blinding speed, control and innovation propelled his band Van Halen into one of hard rock’s biggest groups, fueled the unmistakable fiery solo in Michael Jackson’s hit “Beat It” and became elevated to the status of rock god, has died. He was 65.

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REVIEW: ‘Riding the Dragon’ Exposes Biden Family Connections with Corrupt Chinese Communists

A damning new documentary, “Riding the Dragon: The Bidens’ Chinese Secrets,” directed by M.A. Taylor and narrated by bestselling author Peter Schweizer, is shining sunlight on the close ties between Joe Biden’s family and the Chinese elite. Peter Schweizer, head of the Florida-based Government Accountability Institute and narrator of the film said the documentary is based on corporate records, financial documents, legal briefings and court papers.

The film features investigative journalist and author Peter Schweizer and Schweizer’s revelations of Chinese influence over the Biden family found in the 2018 book “Secret Empires” and the more recent “Profiles in Corruption” (both #1 New York Times bestsellers).

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Country Star and Hit Elvis Songwriter Mac Davis Dies at 78

Country star Mac Davis, who launched his career crafting the Elvis hits “A Little Less Conversation” and “In the Ghetto,” and whose own hits include “Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me,” has died. He was 78.

His longtime manager Jim Morey said in a press release that Davis died in Nashville on Tuesday after heart surgery and was surrounded by family and friends.

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Music Spotlight: Reyna Roberts

I’m not sure how Reyna Roberts showed up on my Instagram feed. It was probably because Mickey Guyton reviewed a clip of her singing a cover of Carrie Underwood’s “Drinking Alone, Together.” After I picked my jaw off the ground, I immediately put Roberts on my radar because I knew her career was getting ready to take off.

Roberts was born prematurely in 1997 to U.S. military parents in Anchorage, Alaska. She was told that she could have cognitive, physical, visual, and vocal developmental delays. Because of the bleak prognosis, her family kept music as a main influence to help her improve and become successful.

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Music Spotlight: The Wild Feathers

One of my favorite songs in 2018 was “Big Sky” by the Wild Feathers that I first heard on Sirius XM The Highway. This wide-open, simplistic song was an unforgettable anthem that made you want to embrace being alive.

After hearing that song, I didn’t hear from the band again until it came up in my newsfeed that it was releasing a new record called Mediocre Rarities. I knew then I wanted to find out more about the band.

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Music Spotlight: Trannie Anderson

I first saw Trannie Anderson at the Listening Room when I went to see Levi Hummon and his dad, Marcus Hummon. I immediately liked her that night. When I went to see the Song Suffragettes a few weeks later and she sang a song she had written with/for Gabby Barrett, I knew I wanted to learn more about her.

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Pandemic Chases ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ to Christmas

Following the less-than-stellar theatrical debut of Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” Warner Bros. is delaying its next big release, “Wonder Woman 1984,” to Christmas.

The postponement Friday of the “Wonder Woman” sequel, which had been scheduled to hit theaters Oct. 2, comes on the heels of Hollywood’s boldest attempt to lure moviegoers back to theaters during the pandemic.

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Music Spotlight: Highway Women

The Highway Women is an all-female country blend (country, rock, pop) music band like no other bringing a musical movement to support other women in country music and beyond. They are comprised of singers Kristen Kae, Drew Haley, Bailey James, and Heather Harper.

The group started in 2016 and has had various members since then, but the current group has been together for about a year. They don’t have a lead singer as they try to equally share the singing responsibilities.

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After a Long Slumber, U.S. Cinemas Awaken on Pivotal Weekend

With the previews about to start, a trickle of masked moviegoers made their way into one of the first U.S. screenings of “Tenet” at the Bow Tie Majestic 6 in downtown Stamford, Connecticut. They took their seats Tuesday night, eyeing the empty seats between each other and a little giddy at being back at the movies for the first time in many months.

Philip Scarante and Andy Flores, both 25, went every Tuesday religiously before theaters closed in March. “It’s just our thing,” Scarante said. Seeing Nolan’s latest mind-bending spectacle later on a smaller screen held no appeal. They sat down in center seats, up close.

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Music Spotlight: Calvin Lee

Regardless of how famous a person may or may not be if the music can’t stand alone, there is no point in an interview. Accompanied by Trick Pony’s Heidi Newfield and Keith Burns, with his debut single, Calvin Lee sings a timeless anthem, My America, that paints a nostalgic story about pulling together through hard times, which is sure to resonate with the listeners.

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Music Spotlight: Cory Marks

As a kid from Canada who played hockey and wanted to become a pilot, Cory Marks might be the last person who you would expect to explode on the Southern Rock/Country Music scene. But after listening to his unapologetic, raw, yet real song, Outlaws and Outsiders, I wanted to find out what he was about.

Marks grew up in North Bay Ontario, Canada, about three hours north of Toronto. North Bay was a big hockey town and also a prominent military city hosting an important Air Force base in North America. Every summer Marks and his family attended the air shows in August which provided the young boy driven desire to become a pilot. Not only that, but he was also on hockey skates at age three. (His brother plays professional hockey.)

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Heidi Newfield Releases the Highly Anticipated Barfly Sessions, Vol. 1

When I interviewed Heidi Newfield in April 2020, I provided the “where she came from” story of this Northern California horsewoman and how she learned the harmonica, became part of the group Trick Pony and wrote the timeless lyrics to Johnny and June.

Now, on August 28, after releasing multiple singles, she has finally released her sophomore solo album and it is well worth the wait.

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Boycott: NBA Playoff Games Called Off Amid Player Protest

All three NBA playoff games scheduled for Wednesday have been postponed, with players around the league choosing to boycott in their strongest statement yet against racial injustice.

Called off: Games between Milwaukee and Orlando, Houston and Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland. The NBA said all three games would be rescheduled, yet did not say when.

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Song Suffragettes Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment

Because August 2020 is the time we celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote, the Listening Room’s Song Suffragettes hosted a month-long special live-stream event with their talented singer/songwriters along with some very special female guests.

The women-led singer-songwriter collective enlisted special guests in August for weekly shows sponsored by the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission (WSCC), a federal organization tasked with curating digital programming to commemorate August as National Women’s Suffrage Month.

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BOOK REVIEW: Author Jerry Kammer Exposes the Left-Right Coalition to Undermine Immigration Reform

The Democrats’ 2020 choice for vice-president of the United States is Kamala Harris, a U.S. senator from California who has compared our courageous, underpaid, overworked, and often Latino, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to the Ku Klux Klan. How did we get here exactly?

Let us look back and examine how immigration enforcement has been undermined for decades and then discuss what it means for the 2020 presidential election.

The Sunlight Foundation reports that between 2007 and 2012, 678 lobbying groups – including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Nursery and Landscape Association, the dairy industry, agribusiness, high-tech companies, major universities, the ACLU, the Service Employees International Union, the National Council of La Raza (now UnidosUS), and many other lobbyists – spent $1.5 billion to influence immigration policy. 

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Television Viewership Down for Democrats’ Unconventional Convention

Preliminary estimates show that viewership for the first night of the Democrats’ virtual convention was down compared with the opening of Hillary Clinton’s nominating party four years ago.

An estimated 18.7 million people watched coverage between 10 and 11 p.m. on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC, the Nielsen company said. Four years ago, opening night drew just under 26 million viewers.

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Music Spotlight: Jamie O’Neal

Those who have been following country music their whole lives know already who Jamie O’Neal is as an artist. Off her first album, Shiver, released in 2000, she had two number one hits, “There Is No Arizona,” and “When I Think About Angels.” Her next top ten hit came in 2005, “Somebody’s Hero.”

I wanted to find out more about this country star who was born in Australia. Having no Australian accent, O’Neal said, “I was born in Sydney, Australia, where my parents (Jimmy and Julie Murphy) were performers who moved to America when I was two. I always say that I am the opposite of Nicole Kidman who was born in Hawaii and was raised in Australia. It was the opposite for me, I was born there but raised in the U.S.”

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REVIEW: ‘Apocalypse Never’ Takes Direct Aim at ‘Consensus’ of Climate Alarmism

An important new book by Michael Shellenberger, Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All, attempts to counter the common belief that climate change poses an imminent and existential threat to humanity and the planet. At 285 pages, this is a relatively short and very readable book, but it covers a lot of ground. And with an additional 125 pages containing over 1,000 footnotes, Shellenberger’s arguments are well documented.

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Players Unite in Push to Save College Season, Create Union

Michigan defensive back Hunter Reynolds saw the tweets from Trevor Lawrence and other college football players pushing for the opportunity to play this season despite the pandemic.

Reynolds, one of the organizers behind a players’ rights movement in the Big Ten, didn’t like the way some on social media seemed to be pitting Lawrence’s message against the efforts of #BigTenUnited and #WeAreUnited.

“There was a lot of division,” Reynolds told AP early Monday morning.

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Music Spotlight: We the Kingdom

We The Kingdom is a multigenerational family of musicians, including esteemed producers and songwriters Ed Cash (Chris Tomlin, NeedToBreathe, Bethel Music, Crowder), and Scott Cash, who are brothers. Ed’s daughter Franni, his son Martin and close friend Andrew Bergthold are also part of the group. Ed and Scott’s dad played guitar while their mom played piano resulting in a home filled with music. Despite there being an eleven year age gap between them, as both Ed and Scott entered their teens and early 20s, they embarked on similar individual journeys as touring artists.

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Kanye West Files to Appear on Ohio Ballot for 2020 Presidential Election

Kanye West, the popular rapper and social icon, has officially filed to appear on Ohio ballots for the 2020 presidential election, according to Fox 5.

West, who announced he would run for the presidency on July 4, submitted paperwork to the state on August 5.

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After Talk of Collaboration, College Football Conferences Go Their Own Way

Plans for the 2020 college football season — if it is played — should start coming into focus this week.

They will trickle down from the top of major college football, with Power Five conferences putting in place revised schedules they hope will make it easier to manage potential disruptions brought on by COVID-19.

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Oscar Winning Actress Olivia de Havilland Dies at 104

Olivia de Havilland, the doe-eyed actress beloved to millions as the sainted Melanie Wilkes of “Gone With the Wind,” but also a two-time Oscar winner and an off-screen fighter who challenged and unchained Hollywood’s contract system, died Sunday at her home in Paris. She was 104.

Havilland, the sister of fellow Oscar winner Joan Fontaine, died peacefully of natural causes, said New York-based publicist Lisa Goldberg.

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A&E Network’s Viewership Decimated After Police Show Canceled

A&E Network’s cancellation of its popular police show “Live PD” has backfired, big time.

Average prime-time viewership for the channel has declined by 49 percent year over year since the show’s cancellation, according to the Wall Street Journal. Prior to the show’s cancellation June 10, viewership for the channel in 2020 had been up 4 percent over 2019.

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Actress Spencer Grammer Slashed Outside Manhattan Restaurant

Actress Spencer Grammer says she was trying to calm an agitated man when he slashed her in the arm and stabbed her friend in the back Friday outside a New York City restaurant.

Grammer, 36, told US Weekly that she and her friend “did what anyone else would do in the same situation” and were “attempting to prevent the altercation from escalating” when they were attacked.

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Actor John Saxon Dies

Actor John Saxon, a versatile actor with a lengthy and prolific career who starred with Bruce Lee in “Enter the Dragon” and appeared in several “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies, has died at his home in Tennessee, according to the Hollywood Reporter. He was 83.

The entertainment news outlet quotes Saxon’s wife, Gloria, as confirming that the actor died of pneumonia on Saturday in Murfreesboro.

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Regis Philbin, Television Personality and Host, Dies at 88

Regis Philbin, the genial host who shared his life with television viewers over morning coffee for decades and helped himself and some fans strike it rich with the game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” has died at 88.

Philbin died of natural causes Friday night, just over a month before his 89th birthday, according to a statement from his family provided by manager Lewis Kay.

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Movie Theater Owners to Studios: Release the Blockbusters!

by Jack Coyle   NEW YORK, New York (AP) — A long time ago in a pre-COVID universe far, far away, blockbusters opened around the globe simultaneously or nearly so. In 1975, “Jaws” set the blueprint. Concentrate marketing. Open wide. Pack them in. Since then, Hollywood has turned opening weekends into…

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The Woodshed Guitar Experience Brings World Renown Artists to Crossville, Tennessee

The Woodshed Guitar Experience (WGE) will be held in Crossville, Tennessee from August 27-30. 

The event will be hosted by master guitarist Andy Wood (rock, bluegrass) and facilitated by renowned guitarists Joe Bonamassa (blues), Brent Mason (country), Andy Timmons (rock), Mark Lettieri (Gospel, R & B), and Greg Koch (blues, funk, jazz).

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Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ Delayed Indefinitely by Virus

Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” which had hoped to herald Hollywood’s return to big theatrical releases, has yet again postponed its release due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Warner Bros. said Monday that “Tenet” will not make its August 12 release date. Unlike previous delays, the studio this time didn’t announce a new target for the release of Nolan’s much-anticipated $200 million thriller.

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Alex Trebek Expects to Mark Two-Year Cancer Survival in 2021

Alex Trebek says he’s responding exceptionally well to treatment for pancreatic cancer and expects to mark his two-year survival next February.

His doctor has said he’s counting on that milestone, the “Jeopardy!” host said, “so I expect to be around ‘cause he said I will be around. And I expect to be hosting the show if I am around.”

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Guest Lineups for the Sunday News Shows

Guest lineups for the Sunday news shows:

ABC’s “This Week” — Govs. Asa Hutchinson, R-Ark., and Jared Polis, D-Colo.; Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla.; Grenita Lathan, interim superintendent of the Houston Independent School District.
NBC’s “Meet the Press” — Polis; Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C.; Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health; Gov. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio; Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
CBS’ “Face the Nation” — Gov. Larry Hogan, R-Md.; Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta; Dr. Michael Drake, incoming president of the University of California.
CNN’s “State of the Union” — Clyburn; Mayors Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles and Ted Wheeler of Portland, Oregon; Gov. Tate Reeves, R-Miss.; Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.
“Fox News Sunday” — President Donald Trump.

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Music Spotlight: Lucas Hoge

Lucas Hoge hails from Hubbell, Nebraska, a tiny town with two churches. He grew up singing in a little Methodist church his family attended. While his parents were rehearsing in the choir, the pastor gave Hoge a little electric drum pad to keep him occupied. He started playing along and the pastor cultivated his love for music at a very young age.

In high school, he was introduced to a music teacher who helped him craft his love of music.  “My music teacher was great, Mrs. Riggs. She was amazing,” he said. “She just wanted everyone to explore the love of music that they had in them.”

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Guest Lineups for the Sunday News Shows

Guest lineups for the Sunday news shows:

ABC’s “This Week” — Adm. Brett Giroir, the Health and Human Services Department official overseeing the nation’s coronavirus testing efforts; Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.
NBC’s “Meet the Press” — Giroir; Gov. Larry Hogan, R-Md.; Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of Florida’s Miami-Dade County Public Schools district.
CBS’ “Face the Nation” — Dr. Jerome Adams, U.S. surgeon general; Mayor Kate Gallego of Phoenix; Terry Shaw, president and CEO, AdventHealth; Tom Wyatt, CEO of KinderCare.
CNN’s “State of the Union” — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Education Secretary Betsy DeVos; Mayor Carlos Gimenez of Miami-Dade County, Florida.
“Fox News Sunday” — DeVos; Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins University.

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Music Spotlight: Derek Jones

Even though Derek Jones’ dad was a drummer and his grandmother played piano, he never played music until later in life.

“We always had music going on at the house at our supper table. If Dad was in charge of the music, we listened to Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker, Grand Funk Railroad but if Mom was in control [of the music], we listened to Lionel Richie, Jim Croce, stuff like that,” he said.

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Carl Reiner, Beloved Creator of ‘Dick Van Dyke Show,’ Dies

Carl Reiner, the ingenious and versatile writer, actor and director who broke through as a “second banana” to Sid Caesar and rose to comedy’s front ranks as creator of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and straight man to Mel Brooks’ “2000 Year Old Man,” has died. He was 98.

Reiner’s assistant Judy Nagy said he died Monday night of natural causes at his home in Beverly Hills, California.

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