Firefighter Wows Judges On The Voice With Morgan Wallen Cover

Ducote Talmage earned an impressive two-chair turn and had the coaches clamoring over him.


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

March 12, 2024

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Ducote Talmage; Photo by: Casey Durkin/NBC

Firefighter Ducote Talmage showcased his diverse talents beyond the firehouse by impressing both Dan + Shay and John Legend during his blind audition on NBC’s The Voice, where he performed a captivating cover of Morgan Wallen‘s “Sand In My Boots.”

His Performance Of “Sand In My Boots” Started Off A Bit Shaky

Stepping onto the stage in a plaid shirt, jeans, and boots, Talmage started off a bit shaky, but his confidence seemed to surge after earning a two-chair turn (Legend was the first to turn, with Dan + Shay following shortly after).

Although host Carson Daly shouted, “C’mon Reba!” from backstage, neither Reba McEntire nor Chance the Rapper turned their chairs for the 20-year-old Alabama native. 

Ducote Talmage; Photo by: Casey Durkin/NBC
Ducote Talmage; Photo by: Casey Durkin/NBC

The contestant concluded his performance with a stunning final note that earned a standing ovation from both Legend and Dan + Shay. 

Earned A Chair Turn From Dan + Shay and John Legend

The moment of truth came next. It was time for Ducote Talmage to select a coach. 

“What I love the most about your voice is that just little scratch in it. It’s such a cool tone. It’s breathy. It’s just a lovely voice to listen to,” Legend told him. “I know I can be a great coach for you.”

The 12-time GRAMMY winner emphasized that although Team Legend might not be the most apparent selection for someone hoping to sing country music, it is indeed the correct one.

Ducote Talmage; Photo by: Casey Durkin/NBC
Ducote Talmage; Photo by: Casey Durkin/NBC

“Even if I didn’t grow up listening to country music. I do know what a great song is and I do know how to help you plan a great performance. I’ve taken a country artist all the way to the lives because she trusted me. Team Legend,” he explained. “It’s not the traditional choice, it’s not the obvious choice, but it’s an excellent choice. Do you want to get lost in the sea of country artists on Dan + Shay’s team? Or do you want to do something renegade, revolutionary and join Team Legend?” 

Shay Mooney acknowledged that Legend had a “solid pitch,” but went on to deliver a solid pitch himself, telling Talmage, “That song is by a good friend of ours, Mr. Morgan Wallen and John, he mentioned a lot of things that I think he thought was helping his case, but I don’t know if it really did that.”

The Voice hopeful revealed that he has “thousands” of unfinished songs, which prompted Mooney and his cohort Dan Smyers to share  “We’ll help you finish those songs!” 

Watch Ducote Talmage’s Blind Audition

YouTube video

Legend and Dan + Shay proceed to bicker back and forth, attempting to win Talmage’s vote. 

“I have a CMT award. I got it with Carrie Underwood,” Legend stated in an attempt to brag. 

The country duo was quick to respond. “That’s pretty good,” they said, “We also did a song with Carrie Underwood, also a good friend of ours. We live in Nashville where they do country music all the time.”

“An Absolute Standout”

With a final attempt to convince Talmage to join Team Dan + Shay, they added, “Honestly, we have no one that is like you. You would be an absolute standout. I promise you that.”

Ducote Talmage; Photo by: Danny Ventrella/NBC
Ducote Talmage; Photo by: Danny Ventrella/NBC

Chance The Rapper And Reba McEntire Thought He Was “Pitchy”

Before the firefighter-turned-country singer had the chance to make his decision, Chance the Rapper and Reba McEntire weighed in on why they did not turn their chairs. For the two superstars, it came down to Talmage’s voice being too “pitchy.” 

“I couldn’t turn personally just because I felt like there were too many pitchy moments. I think you’re really, really funny, so I think you should lean on that throughout as much as you can for show,” Change told him. 

Reba added, “As Chance said, the little pitchy problems when you go for those notes, make sure you’ve got enough error in your diaphragm and that’ll help you on those pitchy parts.”

Dan + Shay; Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC
Dan + Shay; Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC

Team Dan + Shay

Ultimately, Ducote Talmage chose to join Team Dan + Shay. 

“That’s our guy,” they exclaimed. 

The Voice airs on NBC on Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.