June 11, 2014 12:00 PM

Dustin Lynch


He may have been raised in a landlocked state, but the Tennessee native says he’s most at home on the water. “There are three lakes within 15 minutes of where I grew up in Tullahoma, and my family always vacationed on the east coast of Florida,” says the singer. “I love being out on the ocean. Talk about making you feel small and putting you in your place.”

In fact the singer imagines the perfect date would be oceanside, “Maybe dinner in a restaurant with an amazing view or a picnic on one of those cliffs overlooking the Pacific on the coast of Northern California.” Not that he has a lot of time for romance these days. “We’re on the road so much I’m never in one place long enough to meet anyone, much less date,” he laments. “I can’t remember the last time I went on a date. The last woman I sent flowers to was my mama.”

Tim McGraw


McGraw is, by his own admission, an all-or-nothing kind of guy. So when he gave up drinking six years ago and took on a cardio-heavy workout routine, he went all in: two to three hours daily, more when he’s gearing up for a tour. The singer went from what he calls “the worst shape of my life” (“My face looked like a big old pie dish!”) to the chiseled superstar he is today. His body is so toned, in fact, that when the star tweeted a shirtless photo of himself using a water jet pack March 17, some insisted his ripped abs must have been photoshopped. It’s the real McGraw, all right, but that’s not to say he won’t indulge in the occasional jalapeño cheeseburger or slice of Faith’s Coca-Cola cake. “I like to eat; I like food,” he says. “That’s one reason I might throw an extra hour of a workout in. Sometimes you watch it, sometimes you don’t.”

Dierks Bentley


From Bentley’s point of view, things only get better as they get older. He tours the country in a bus that has logged over a million miles, drives a 1994 pickup truck on his days off and rocks out onstage in a pair of paratrooper boots from WWII. “I just find one thing that’s good, and I don’t feel the need to upgrade,” says Bentley. “That’s just who I am.” Dierks can also add himself to the list of things that only improve with time. “My younger self would laugh pretty hard at some of the stuff I do now,” says Bentley. “Those early years touring, there was just so much Jaegermeister … now hangovers last a lot longer than they used to. You get wiser as you get older. I still party hard; I just party smarter. I drink light beer and pick my nights to go big. I work out twice a day and am in the best shape of my life. So I’ll leave the Jaegerbombs to the younger guys on my tour.”

Easton Corbin


Maybe it’s no surprise that a guy who grew up on a farm has an affection for dirt – even when it comes to romance. “Country girls are sexy,” says Corbin. “I want someone who’ll go fishing with me and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. I like a girl who is down-to-earth.”

Men don’t come much more down-to-earth than Corbin, who takes pride in his ability to fry up a venison steak (“It’s not so easy!”), can recount Duck Dynasty episodes by heart and unwinds by taking long motorcycle rides. He’s also tattoo- and piercing-free. “If I went home with a pierced anything, my grandma would kick my butt. Where I grew up, you don’t do that.”

Justin Moore


Even smooth and sexy stars can have a bad day. Just ask Justin Moore, who on the opening night of his current headlining tour experienced his Least. Sexy. Moment. Ever. “I fell off the stage – twice!” says Moore. “It was pretty ridiculous. The set was a little different that night, and I was just trucking along out there on the catwalk and fell. Three songs later I did the same thing. I fell on the same guy, spilled his beer twice and broke my rib.” Still, the singer earns points for making a smooth recovery – and having a sense of humor about it all. “The first time the crowd was like, ‘Oh no!’ But then eight minutes later, when I did it again, they probably thought I was drunk! I just got up and said, ‘I’m going to give it my best shot, but it’s going to be near impossible to look cool to you now. I can’t wait to see it on YouTube.’ ”

Blake Shelton


Don’t let his tweets fool you. From his micromissives, Shelton could be dismissed as a funny but foul-mouthed, flirtatious, cat-hating drunk. While there’s an element of truth to that cheeky image (of wife Miranda’s three cats, he says, “I don’t think they like me any more than I like them”), it belies the surprisingly sober, sensitive – and smitten – singer beneath the surface. A homebody who too rarely has time at the Oklahoma home he shares with Lambert, Shelton said his plans for celebrating their third wedding anniversary last month were surprisingly simple: “Our ideal day is actually nothing,” he says. “When we’re at home, she’s really gotten into English-style horseback riding, and I still love farming and gardening. I’m the worst when it comes to pulling out the romance, but we have fun when we’re together at home.” And, if all else fails, he jokes, “I know the way to her heart and that’s a bottle of vodka!”

Jake Owen


The Vero Beach, Fla., native might feel most comfortable with his feet planted firmly in the sand – “Some people grew up on a farm riding tractors; I grew up running barefoot on the beach,” he says – but there’s another place Owen feels right at home. “I’m in Home Depot at least twice a week,” says the self-confessed do-it-yourselfer. “I just feel, as a man, there’s a responsibility to know how to fix things and build things.” And no project is too big or too small. “I’ve built a fire pit in the front of my house, and the other day I was sitting down to dinner with my wife and I was like, ‘Hmm, that living room wall needs to be a different color!’ ” For a lot of women who spot him in the store, Owen’s handiness just adds to his appeal. “I’m checking out screw sizes, dimmers for light switches and paint colors and taking selfies with fans,” says the singer. “It’s all good. I like that it helps people realize that there’s a lot of smoke and mirrors behind what we do in this business. I’m just a normal person who changes lightbulbs and rolls paint on the wall.”

Kenny Chesney


The sexy superstar has been lying very low this year, taking some time off to clear his head, polish his surfing skills and work on a new album to be released this fall. The downtime is in itself an accomplishment for Chesney, who says his best habit and worst habit are one and the same. “I work really hard,” he says. “I think work ethic is important, and that was instilled in me by my family. But sometimes I want to do it all, and I just can’t stop.”

When he does hit the pause button, his requirements are simple. “On the water. With a book. Staring at the sky,” he says. A significant other with “a free-spiritedness and sense of self” is a plus. And he credits his mom with teaching him to find peace where he can. “She taught me to always find the joy in everything,” he says. “Life is gonna be what it is, but joy is the one thing you can find, no matter what’s happening.”

Brett Eldredge


Call Eldredge a throwback. He doesn’t mind – in fact, it runs in the family. “I learned from my father how to treat a gal,” he says. “I’m 6’5″, but if we’re driving somewhere, my dad is always like, ‘Your mom has to sit in the front.’ My legs might be crammed, but I get in the back. If my mom is comfortable, I don’t care.” In his own relationships, “it’s never too much to open a door for a girl or pull out a chair. Some girls get surprised by that, and it blows my mind – is that not normal? I don’t care though. A girl deserves that, and I think it’s awesome. I think we need to make old-fashioned the new thing.”

Tyler Hubbard & Brian Kelley


Since marrying last year, Florida Georgia Line’s Kelley has kept the romance alive. “I’ll write my wife little poems to make her feel special, and I’ll have fresh flowers when we walk in our house for her to see,” he says. Hubbard is taking notes: “He’s awesome at that stuff. He helps me out!” Hubbard, in turn, can school his partner on the dance floor. “He’s got that Georgia swag,” Kelley says. Hubbard admits his onstage swag takes practice: “Getting in front of a mirror helps. It’s like watching game film. Sometimes you don’t look as cool as you think you do!”

Josh Thompson


Thompson is a man who knows what he likes – especially when it comes to his blue jeans. “I get really self-conscious about my jeans. I live in cowboy boots, and I wear Wranglers, so they’ve got to be tighter up top, at least to the knee, and then they got to flare out so you can’t see the tops of your boots,” says the singer. “I’m so not a fashionista person at all, but I feel good when I look good, and if the jeans ain’t right, I mean, it just ain’t right!” In fact the singer has a long (slightly troubled!) history with denim. “I wore bib overalls for my high school senior pictures,” says Thompson. “My mom was like, ‘You’re not really wearing that!’ But I loved them at the time, so yeah, I did it. I went there. Looking back, I can say it was definitely my least sexy look ever.”

Joe Nichols


Nichols is a “one-woman man” – so much so that even shooting a video with a love interest who’s not his wife can be its own torture. “It was disturbing!” Nichols says. “Heather was standing 20 feet away off-camera and giving me the ‘I know it’s not your fault but you are in so much trouble anyway’ look. She was cool, but I felt guilty. ‘I’m sorry! I’m sorry she’s pretty!’ ” Fortunately Nichols is also good at keeping the romance alive. “Sometimes it feels good to get dressed up, go out and have a really nice dinner,” he says. “And wake up with breakfast in bed. It’s important to have couple time.”

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