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She has one of those voices you hear on the radio that makes you think of those honky-tonk days of the '80s and '90s. Paulette Carlson, though, isn't limited to just fronting the band Highway 101 as she did for years. She's a talent who's true value is seen through not only her singing but also through her writing. She was born October 11, 1952 in Northfield, Minnesota. As most other country acts do she began testing and developing her skills singing with local bar bands in her hometown. After getting that valuable foundation she made the move to Music City where she found work as a songwriter with Silverline Publishing Company, owned by the Oak Ridge Boys. She's written songs recorded by artists like Tammy Wynette and Gail Davies. Paulette also sang backup vocals for Davies. In 1983 Paulette signed a recording contract with RCA Records. In 1983 and 1984 she released three singles: "You Gotta Get To My Heart (Before You Lay A Hand On Me)", "Can You Fool" and "I'd Say Yes".

In 1986 her manager Chuck Morris and her constructed the group Highway 101. The next year they signed a deal with Warner Bros. Records and released a self-titled album. Three top ten hits came from this album, "The Bed You Made For Me", "Whiskey, If You Were A Woman" and "Somewhere Tonight", which became their first #1 single. "Cry, Cry, Cry"(#1) came on strong in early 1988 and was also their first music video.

In 1988, Highway 101 won their first CMA and ACM awards for Vocal Group of the Year. They also released their second album, Highway 1012 and charted their third #1 single, "Just Say Yes". Follow up singles "All the Reasons Why", "Setting Me Up" (a Dire Straits song) and "Honky Tonk Heart" all charted in 1988 and 1989 in the Top 10. Paulette also contributed a track to Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's Will The Circle Be Unbroken, Vol. 2.

The following year, 1989, saw Highway 101 win the second ACM and CMA Awards for Vocal Group of the Year. That fall their third album, "Paint The Town" was released. The single, "Who's Lonely Now" , went to #1 as he first single off the album. It was also their third music video. The songs, "This Side of Goodbye" and "Walkin', Talkin', Cryin' Barely Beatin' Broken Heart" followed. The album Greatest Hits was released along with their 12th single "Someone Else's Trouble Now" in 1990. That winter Paulette announced her plans to go it solo. She married Randy Smith in 1989. They gave birth to their daughter, Cali, in 1991.

Paulette signed a deal with Capitol Nashville and released "Love Goes On" in November, 1991. Her first single "I'll Start With You" charted in the top 20s. "Not With My Heart You Don't" and "The Chain Just Broke" were released as singles in 1992. She was also nominated for New Female Vocalist at the 1992 ACM Awards.

To commemorate Highway 101's 10 year anniversary Paulette got back together with two of the original members of Highway 101. They called themselves Paulette Carlson & Highway 101 and released two albums "Reunited" and "Latest & Greatest" on Intersound/Willow Tree Records. After leaving this edition of Highway 101 she wrote "Thank You Vets" , a song whose roots were planted by her brother who is a Vietnam Veteran. Her latest release, "It"s About Time" will be hitting stores soon.

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