Firefighter Lives a Country Music Dream

'Old Friends' CD cover

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After working as a small town firefighter for several years, Anthony Michael James made a momentous decision. He moved to Nashville to pursue his life long dream: becoming a country music singer. With the release of his well-received debut CD Old Friends, it looks like his dream is about to come true.

Anthony Michael James

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James tells NPR's Liane Hansen that he started to feel the effects of his stressful work experience after almost a decade on the job.

"I realized that I was getting too emotionally drawn in," he says, describing a defining moment when he was first on the scene of an accident where a young girl had been hit by a car. "I got to the point where I had to turn it off."

While James is proud of his time as a firefighter, he's much happier measuring his progress on the country music charts. "To be able to make a living in the music business doing what I love — that would be success for me."

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