Thursday, December 31, 2009

Today's Country Tidbits

How are your favorite stars ringing in the new year and decade? Many of them are working:

Gary Allan is at the House of Blues in Las Vegas.
Jamey Johnson is playing the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville, Kentucky.
Randy Houser is playing a show just outside of Atlanta, Georgia.
Rodney Atkins is in Nashville as the headliner for their Bash on Broadway street party.
Gloriana rings in the new year at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Washington.

Jack Ingram will ring in the new year at Cowboys Dancehall in San Antonio, while Chris Young is at the Cowboy's Dancehall in Dallas, Texas.
Justin Moore is at the Village in Little Rock, Arkansas, his home state.
Montgomery Gentry is at the Agua Caliente Resort and Spa in Rancho Mirage, California.
Lady Antebellum will be singing the National Anthem in New Orleans just before the Sugar Bowl kicks off on January first.

Tomorrow is a big day for Shania Twain. She gets to carry the Olympic torch through her hometown of Timmins, Ontario, Canada as it makes its way to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Hit your favorite news outlet at about 7pm eastern time to see her part of the relay live.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Today's Country Tidbits

Carrie Underwood will be at the Peoples Choice awards on January 6th in Los Angeles. She's nominated for favorite female artist and favorite country artist.

In more Carrie news, she's looking back on this decade and sees her own personal growth. In 2005, when her debut single, "Jesus Take the Wheel" went number one, she didn't understand what a big deal that was. She just figured that songs go up the charts, hit number one and then fall. In the years since, she's had 11 number ones and now fully understands how much work goes into getting a song to the top spot. Now she cherishes each of her hits as the true team efforts that they are, and is hoping that "Temporary Home" will be her 12th number one.

Ever wonder where hit songs come from? Songwriters Steve McEwan and John Reid talked to The Boot about the process of writing Keith Urban's hit, "Only You Can Love Me This Way." They had just met each other, were having a "getting to know you" chat, and John was showing Steve photos of a lady he'd just met and was bowled over by. Steve got his guitar and played the simple guitar riff that is so prominent in the song, and John started singing, just letting the words come to him. According to them both, they wrote it in about 15 minutes, and when they went back to polish the lyrics, they decided not to - they liked the simplicity of it. They played it all the way through, with a cassette tape rolling, and that's what Keith heard. He snapped up the song right away, ensuring those two songwriters a very nice paycheck for their 15 or 20 minutes of work.

Jimmy Wayne is packed up and nearly ready to start his walk to promote awareness of homeless teens - kids who age out of the foster care system and have no place to go. He will take off on his walk from Nashville to Phoenix, Arizona at 10am central from Monroe Harding, the Nashville facility for foster children. He'll be tweeting about his experiences along the way, so if you're on twitter and not already following Jimmy Wayne, become a follower now.

Ok, how cool would it be to be Kellie Pickler in this situation: she was eating at a Cheesecake Factory yesterday, and the lady at the next table had one of Kellie's songs as a ringtone!

Justin Moore went deer hunting yesterday and went home empty-handed. He was pestered by about a bazillion squirrels while sitting in the blind, so will be squirrel hunting today. He's promising squirrel dumplings...think I'll pass, thank you!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Today's Country Tidbits

Charlie Daniels has worn a lot of hats in his career, and now he can ad a "tv commercial star" hat to that collection. Geico is now introducing the "Rhetorical Question" campaign, a new line of commercials illustrating the "best of the best" concept, and Charlie Daniels is the star of one of them.

Meanwhile, Taylor Swift wraps up 2009 as People Magazine's most Intriguing Person of the Year. She'll have to buy another condo to house all of the awards she earned this year!

Word is out that Carrie Underwood's diamond is a 5-carat stone, but she's not satisfied in the sparkle category. She's shopping for the costumes she'll wear onstage during her "Play On" tour, and wants to be like Reba and Loretta Lynn...sparkly, looking great and sounding great. She hints that there'll be more costume changes on this tour than on the last one, and that's saying something!

Phil Vassar is working on a Broadway play. Actually, the play is written, and he's in charge of writing the songs for it. He says it's a lot different than writing a 10 or 12 song album. He said, "I’m 10 or 12 songs into this thing. I never realized how many songs are in a Broadway show.” Might have to ask for a raise, there, Phil!

Josh Gracin is writing, writing, writing songs in preparation for being in the recording studio next week.

Justin Moore got up at 4 this morning, bundled up for the 20-degree weather and is hunting today. He says there's nothing better than watching the sun come up while sitting in a blind.

Big fan of the late Johnny Cash? Then you'll be delighted to learn that there's a new cd coming out by him in February. It's disc number 6 from recordings he made in 2003 while working with Rick Rubin. No word on a track list yet, but the title is "American VI: Ain't No Grave."

Tonight on CBS, catch the Kennedy Center Honors concert. Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland is part of the tribute to Bruce Springsteen, singing a medley of his songs.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Today's country tidbits...

Congrats to Reba McEntire. "Consider Me Gone" is her 34th #1 song, topping the chart this week at Billboard Magazine. She has more #1 songs than any other female country act, with Dolly Parton three songs behind.

Last night, the Zac Brown Band played a show at the Ryman. Zac was so excited about it he started tweeting about it on Saturday. Then early this morning, he tweeted about how much fun it was to play the Ryman, and he's excited to play another show there tonight.

In the St. Louis area, or a Dierks Bentley/David Nail fan willing to travel? Then January 17th is the day and Chaifetz Arena is the place - Dierks and David are playing a benefit "Stars to the Rescue" show for Tony LaRussa's Animal Rescue Foundation. Tickets are $20 to $52 and can be purchased through Metro Tix. He's not touring at all for the first three months of 2010, spending time instead
in the studio, working on two cds he'll release in 2010. He had to deal with a busted water pipe for Christmas - bet that plumbing bill was steep!

For her birthday, Taylor Swift gave a quarter of a million dollars to the teachers and schools that helped shape her life. Just before Christmas, she decided to spread some more good cheer, arriving at the offices of her record label in Nashville. The Big Machine staffers noticed a U-Haul truck outside, with big gifts being unloaded and carried into their building. Taylor presented every single person who works for her label with a 50-inch plasma television. On Christmas Eve, she loaded up her guitar and headed to the Children's Hospital in Nashville and gave the kids a special performance. has a slideshow of shots from the hospital.

Keith Urban, wife Nicole Kidman and daughter Sunday Rose attended the Christmas Eve childrens mass. Keith took Sunday up to the front of the church to sit with the other children, and one congregant reported that it was good to see him taking care of his daughter, with no nanny, no bodyguards and no other staff around. Just a sweet daddy/daughter moment.

Martina McBride, John and their girls loaded up the bus on Sunday and headed to Kansas to see Martina's Mom and Dad for an after-Christmas visit. Her Dad and brother cooked Sunday dinner - she was delighted to have someone cook for her for a change.

Miranda Lambert tweeted Sunday afternoon: "I think I just made my last trip to WalMart alone. Sad." Engaged? Shopping in a closed store? What??

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas! Today's country tidbits...

What were your favorite stars up to on Christmas Eve?

James Otto got a new Benneli shotgun for Christmas. He tweeted, "All ducks beware-be fast or you will be dinner."

Justin Moore drove home to Arkansas for Christmas, and was happy to see all the mud from the storms. He drove his crew cab pickup and toted two four-wheelers. Can you say "muddin' on Christmas?"

Martina McBride's youngest, Ava, made Santa a cookie in her Easy Bake oven. I'm sure Santa loved it and probably left her some pretty good presents in exchange.

Randy Houser spent Christmas Eve trying to get on a flight to Hawaii. He got stuck in Chicago with three flights scrubbed before he was finally able to board last night. He's lost a day in paradise, and is threatening to write a song about the very bad customer service and post it on YouTube.

Why did Sugarland do a Christmas cd this year? Kristian Bush loves Christmas and Christmas music, and they felt this was the year to do it. Jennifer Bush says they picked out their favorite Christmas songs and then added a few originals, and hope that the cd is one that families will put on and just let play while they're opening presents or enjoying an after-dinner drink.

And what are your favorite stars' favorite Christmas memories?

Jennifer Nettles' favorite Christmas memory were the years when Santa came early to her house. Her family would go to a neighbor's house that was all lit up and festive. The neighborhood would gather there on Christmas eve for a party, and when she got home, miraculously, Santa had come. The explanation was that he was very busy and his night was very long, so some kids got early Santa visits. She was also told
that if she looked for Santa and found him, he would throw pepper in her eyes.

Kristian Bush's favorite Christmas memory was the year he got his own guitar. He had been borrowing his Uncle's guitar to learn to play, and his parents decided it was time he had one of his own. Jennifer is very grateful for that gift! He also
remembers the year he thought he figured out that Santa wasn't real, so used his home fingerprinting kit to try to capture Santa's fingerprints on the milk glass. He even left instructions for Santa to remove his gloves before drinking the milk. Santa left a note, saying he didn't want to lose those gloves so had to leave them on. Curses - Kristian's diabolical scheme was foiled!

Joe Nichols remembers a Christmas when his Mom had just become divorced and how poor they were. They went to a new church and that church family embraced them. His Mom had told him that there wasn't going to be much in the way of gifts so to just be thankful for what he had. The church delivered a big bag of presents and food for the family on Christmas eve. Joe says it wasn't about the gifts they brought, it was that someone remembered they were in need and took care of them. That was his greatest gift that year.

Taylor Swift grew up on a Christmas tree farm, and remembers her cat climbing the tree, making the tree fall over...two years in a row. She also remembers the year that an owl took up residence in their living room on Christmas Eve, and it watched them open presents because they couldn't convince it to leave.

Blake Shelton remembers the year he got a Gilley suit, which is the ultimate camouflage. He says it's got stuff hanging off of it, and if you have it on and stand up in the woods, you blend right in. His uncle gave it to him, and he says he likes to put it on, wait by the highway for a car to come by, and then he runs across the road in front of the car. Then he watches local media for a few days to see if there's a Sasquatch report in his area. Now, this is Blake Shelton telling this story - no way to know if he's telling the truth or pulling our leg!

Darius Rucker remembers being about 12 and he asked for an electric guitar. His Mom struggled to make ends meet, but somehow managed to get a little guitar and amp for him. He still has the guitar to this day.

Kid Rock's favorite Christmas memory is a pretty recent one - the year he learned to deep-fry a turkey, took it to his family holiday dinner, and made his Mom cry. She had slaved all night cooking her turkey, he had spent 45 minutes cooking his, and everyone thought his was better. He consoled his Mom, telling her she was still the best cook - he was just a faster one.

Did Santa bring you Rock Band to play? Well, then, you'll want to know this - Rock Band Going Country Pack 02 will be available starting Tuesday, and it includes Alan Jackson's "Good Time," Jason Aldean's "She's Country," Keith Urban's "I Told You So," Martina McBride's "This One's for the Girls," Shania Twain's "Any Man of Mine," Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler" and Cross Canadian Ragweed's "Cry Lonely." The track pack will hit the XBox Live Marketplace and the Nintendo Wii stores on December 29th. They won't be available at the Playstation Store until January 7th.

Shania Twain fans, mark your calendars for January 19th. That's the night her episode of American Idol airs. She was a guest judge for the Chicago auditions.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Today's country tidbits...

The most played song of the decade goes to...Tim McGraw, for "Something Like That." It was played on the radio nearly half a million times between Jan. 1, 2000 and December 17, 2009. All the rappers and rockers had to settle for the lower rungs on the ladder - Tim's country song took top honors.

Tis the season for stars to share just a little bit more of themselves than normal. Martina McBride and her road crew made a YouTube Christmas card.

Here's a picture of Kellie Pickler and her new Chinese Crested puppy, Pixie. She's in Minnesota and spent yesterday shopping at the Mall of America. She tweeted that this is her first white Christmas ever, and she's excited.

And Brad Paisley shared a picture of someone's outdoor Christmas display...could it be his? He's not saying. He tweeted, “On Dasher&Dancer&Prancer&Vixen,Comet&Cupid and...hey where's Donner at Blitzen? Seen him? Anybody?"

Gary Allan's cd release has been pushed back a few weeks. "Get Off on the Pain" will be released on March 9th of next year.

American Idol finalist Danny Gokey will release his first album, "My Best Days" in early March of next year. He'll bundle up and sing the National Anthem in Green Bay, Wisconsin this Sunday before the Packers/Seattle Seahawks game.

Catch Darius Rucker on Good Morning America tomorrow, singing "Candy Cane Christmas."

Country star Christmas traditions:

Carrie Underwood's family always opens gifts on Christmas Eve, and has a big family dinner. On Christmas Day, Santa comes, then everyone watches football.

Brad Paisley is shopping today. He's a self-confessed very-last-minute shopper.

Alan Jackson describes his family Christmas as fairly traditional. The presents get opened on Christmas morning, after everyone sees what Santa brought.

Keith Urban's childhood traditions included going to the beach on Christmas, since the day occurs when it's summer in Australia. The kids would jump on their parents' bed to wake them, then they'd tear into the presents, grab breakfast and head for the beach to swim and surf.

Jason Aldean's family gathers at his house now, and Christmas Eve is a cook-a-thon. Jason says as long as someone makes sausage balls, he's a happy camper.

Trisha Yearwood enjoys a tradition that Garth and his girls started: a Christmas tree overloaded with ornaments. At first she thought it was a bit much, but now leads the shopping trips to buy more each year.

Dierks Bentley grew up in Arizona, where Christmas is never white and is often very warm. He remembers family outings in the desert with adults drinking beer and everyone riding four-wheelers.

Craig Morgan's family celebrates the entire 12 days of Christmas. Starting 12 days out, the kids get to open a present a night leading up to Christmas Eve, when they get to open everything that's left under the tree. Then Christmas morning, Santa comes, so there's even more to play with.

Josh Turner's Christmas traditions involve fishing, as he comes by that love honestly. Fishing, camping, frying turkeys and shooting off fireworks on Christmas Eve are some of his family's favorite things.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Today's country tidbits...

In this season of giving, Jimmy Wayne is giving up. Giving up his home for a while, giving up his bed, giving up his normal life as he walks 1700 miles to bring attention to the plight of foster kids and homeless teens. He and his sister had a very rough upbringing, and he never has forgotten what it feels like to be homeless and hopeless. When in a restaurant, he boxes half of the meal as soon as it arrives, in case he meets a hungry person on the street. He carries clothes, shoes and blankets in his trunk in case he sees someone who needs them. And he's walking from Nashville to Phoenix, starting on New Year's Day, using the Meet Me Halfway event to raise awareness in the general population, and to raise hope in the hearts of homeless teens.

The top 10 country songs of 2009, based on radio airplay, are:

1. Jason Aldean "She's Country"
2. Zac Brown Band "Whatever It Is"
3. Darius Rucker "It Won't Be Like This for Long"
4. Keith Urban "Sweet Thing"
5. Toby Keith "God Love Her"
6. Dierks Bentley "Sideways"
7. Lady Antebellum "I Run to You"
8. Rodney Atkins "It's America"
9. Dierks Bentley "Feel That Fire"
10. Zac Brown Band "Chicken Fried"

Taylor Swift is up for a boatload of Grammys, and will probably be pretty busy collecting them all. But she's just picked up two more assignments that night...she'll be performing on the show, and she'll also be a presenter. Lady Antebellum will also be performing at the Grammys, which air on January 31st.

Tonight's the night for Faith Hill's Christmas special, "A Home for the Holidays" on CBS. On PBS, join Trisha Yearwood for "Christmas at Belmont." And if you missed it the first time, catch it today - Oprah's Holiday Music Extravaganza show, featuring Sugarland and Tim McGraw is on again today.

Check out the video for Zac Brown Band's "Highway 20 Ride."

And at you can see a collection of music stars' holiday-themed Twitter photos.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Today's country tidbits...

Keith Urban played Secret Santa down under. He and the band were in a music store, testing out some electric guitars. Nearby, a young boy wa
s playing with a fuzz-effects guitar pedal, oblivious to the star in the store. Keith settled on his guitar, and also quietly bought the pedal for the boy. On the way out of the store, he shook the little boy's hand and wished him Merry Christmas. The kid asked, "Was that just Keith Urban? He said Merry Christmas to me!" Then the store manager told him, "Yeah, he just bought you that pedal." The little boy was so blown away that he was shaking. A new guitar hero was probably just born!

Congrats to Toby Keith, who has been named Billboard Magazine's Top Country Artist of the Decade and also Songwriter of the Decade. He was third on their all-genre list, behind Eminem and Britney Spears. Billboard awarded Top Country Single of the Decade props to Keith Urban's "Somebody Like You."

There's another award for Taylor to find a spot for - Associated Press Entertainer of the Year. The votes are cast by newspaper editors and broadcast producers worldwide, and she won by a wide margin. has a photo review of Taylor's amazing year.

Not only did word that Carrie Underwood is engaged become official yesterday, she was also awarded Billboard's Top Country Album of the Decade for "Some Hearts." Speaking of Carrie's engagement, check out her ring. AP photographer Sean Kilpatrick got the shot.

And tonight's the repeat of Carrie's "All-American Holiday Special" on Fox, featuring Carrie, Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton.

Today's the day you can buy Blake Shelton's "Hillbilly Bone" on iTunes. For a month, you can also buy a special electronic album of hits from Blake there, too.

Josh Gracin spent yesterday making Christmas cookies with his family. Peanut butter, rice crispy treats, sugar cookies, fudge and no-bake cookies - you name it, Josh and friends made it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Today's country tidbits...

Rumor alert - it sounds like Carrie Underwood and boyfriend Mike Fisher have gotten engaged. The rumor came from the Twittermill, apparently started by a friend of Mike's cousin. Hmmmm...

Keith Urban's Escape Together World Tour down under leg is all wrapped up, and he and Nichole will stay in Oz for Christmas and New Years. Nichole Kidman was direct with reporters, telling them that Nashville was now their home, not Australia, because they could have a much more normal life in Nashville. At least one of her Australia homes is on the market.

As if Taylor Swift isn't busy enough, dusting all of her awards and writing the follow-up to the biggest album of this year, word is she's being considered for a movie role. "Supergirl" came out in 1984, and Hollywood has deemed it time for a remake. Taylor's a strong contender for the lead role because she's already a positive role model for girls.

And the word is trickling out about why Brooks & Dunn split up - apparently they were having a very hard time agreeing on which songs to cut. Ronnie Dunn wasn't willing to compromise anymore on the songs he wanted to do, and it looks like we won't have to wait very long to find out what those songs are, as he's already over halfway way through recording his first solo album.

As is the case in our own lives, the children of stars grow up fast. Martina McBride's daughter Delaney turns 15 this week, and she can't believe her daughter is about to get her learner's permit. Wasn't it just yesterday that Martina was bringing her home from the hospital on Christmas Eve?

Kellie Pickler has a new traveling companion - a Chinese Crested dog. That's the small dog with hair only on it's head, tail and legs, so it sort of looks like My Little Pony. No word on a name yet.

Country Weekly's 15th anniversary issue is out today. Inside, the magazine chronicles the top headlines since its April 12, 1994 debut, features a hilarious hairstyle flashback and a rundown of the 15 most influential artists.

Brad Paisley posted a link on Twitter for the Christmas-impaired. If you need help getting into the holiday spirit, check out St. Jude Children's Research Hospital's Christmas card. Bet it'll put some holiday in your heart, too.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Today's country tidbits...

Congrats to Toby Keith, who has the #1 jukebox song of 2009. Appropriately, it's "I Love This Bar." Zac Brown's "Chicken Fried comes in at #3, and Kid Rock's "All Summer Long" is at number 4.

Lady Antebellum has collected some new wall bling - "Need You Now" has been certified platinum for sales of over a million worldwide. And with 5 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Country single chart, it is the song that spent the most time at number one all year.

Taylor Swift has done what no artist has ever done before. "Fearless" was just released as a single, and had already earned gold certification, due to massive download purchases before the song was released.

There's more than one precocious child in the Swift family. Her younger brother, Austin, applied early to Notre Dame and his acceptance letter arrived yesterday.

Dierks Bentley has partnered with UNICEF, allowing the use of his Grammy-nominated song "Beautiful World" for their public service announcements. Yes, that's Patty Griffin singing with him, though their faces don't show in the PSA.

Brad Paisley's video for "American Saturday Night" taps into his love of animation. A very flat Brad and his band land inside what looks like a video game, and the song unfolds on the screen. Caution - if you get motion sick easily, you might not want to watch this one!

What did Martina McBride do yesterday? Baked 3 dozen brownies for her daughter's Christmas party at school, then braved the stores for more shopping.

And what did Justin Moore do yesterday? He was struggling to put a crib together. He and wife Kate expect their first child - a girl - in February, but with Justin's touring and recording schedule, he said he had about 3 hours to get the crib put together. On a shopping run to get everything a brand-new baby needs, Justin felt lost in the aisles of foreign things. Kate explained items like the infant bath tub, bouncy chair and socks with faces on them, but he laughed and said that there should be a "Babies for Dummies" book for first-time Dads.

If you missed it the first go-round, Joe Nichols' "My Military Diary" re-airs tonight on GAC.

And just for grins, here's Jason Michael Carrol, his wife and four kids sitting on Santa's lap this year. Merry One Week Until Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Taylor Swift is on the cover of People magazine's Best of 2009 issue, and she's named People's Golden Girl of 2009. She spoke about her sudden, huge fame and she's quoted as saying, "You can stay the same person, even if everything around you changes. People know I'm not a party girl. I'm not hiding some dying urge to be out clubbing right now."

And Taylor has made Uncle Kracker famous with his own kids. She recently selected his song, "Smile" as her favorite song, saying that it can turn a cloudy day sunny for her because it's just that happy. Kracker's kids are huge Taylor Swift fans, and are now suitably impressed with what their Dad does for a living.

There's a Christmas gift waiting for you from Rascal Flatts. They recorded "Away in a Manger" and you can download it free here.

Blake Shelton spends much of his Christmas break from the road hunting. He takes his phone into the deer stand with him and has some colorful conversations on Twitter. Someone asked him what he was hunting with, and his reply was a Ford F250. Follow him at blakeshelton to join the fun. And speaking of Blake, his new song, "Hillbilly Bone," will be released on iTunes next Tuesday, along with a digital hits package called "Blake Shelton: Essentials." That package is only available for download for a month, so hop on it, Blake fans!

Garth Brooks is suing his hometown hospital to recover a half-million dollar donation he gave in 2005. His suit claims that the Yukon, Oklahoma facility promised to use the donation for a new building, which would be named for Garth's Mom, Colleen, who passed away in 1999 after a battle with cancer. A hospital spokesperson says they are optimistic that it will come to a swift and amicable end. Meanwhile, Yukon's mayor isn't too happy, saying the town has done a lot to promote Garth Brooks and maybe they should take his name off of street signs and the water tower. that the town promoting GB, or could it be the town riding on the famous guy's coat-tails?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Today's country tidbits...

Carrie Underwood is on the cover of the January issue of Self magazine, and in the article, she talks about her future family. "Not that I have a husband to have one with yet, but someday I'd like a family – not a big one, but not a small one either. Two kids is good; three is fine. Four? Somebody's getting something done, because we ain't having five!" She's currently dating Ottawa Senator hockey player Mike Fisher, who undoubtedly will be taking notes when he reads the article.

He's #3 and loving it. Kenny Chesney was the third-highest grossing concert tour of 2009, landing in third place behind the Dave Matthews Band and Celine Dion. His tour raked in 434.4 million bucks.

And congrats to Faith Hill, who has two songs in this decade's most played song list and the only artist in the top 10 to have two songs. Her hit "Breathe" is the fourth-most-played song since 2000 and "The Way You Love Me" is at number 6 on the list. Faith says, “When I heard this I didn’t even know what to say. I was absolutely floored. The idea that these songs have connected the way that they have, with so many people, is just magical to me – it’s a tremendous honor. It’s what inspires me to continue to make music.” She is in the studio now working on her 7th album. Oh, and who had the most-played song of the decade? Nickelback, with "How You Remind Me." Train's "Drops of Jupiter" and Lifehouse's "Hanging By a Moment" took the second and third slots on the top 10 list.

Nielsen BDS composed another list, too - this one the top 10 most-played artists of the decade. Country stars dominated that list, with Tim McGraw first, Toby Keith second, George Strait third, Alan Jackson in fourth place and Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Brooks and Dunn and Garth Brooks also on the list. That leaves two slots for non-country acts - in the 5th spot was Nickelback and in the 10th spot was Green Day.

Road trip alert...Darius Rucker will perform at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in April. He'll be part of the first weekend, which also includes the Levon Helm Band, The Allman Brothers Band, The Black Crowes and lots more. Tickets are on sale through the website. has a photo gallery of what they call wow moments in Nashville Music. It's mostly country, with great shots. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Today's country tidbits...

Carrie Underwood is performing at the Grammy Awards on February 11th, and while the rest of us are caught up in Christmas shopping for the perfect gift, she and her assistant have been caught up in finding the perfect dresses and outfits to wear. They've narrowed it down to 8 great looks, for the four or five she'll wear on Grammy night. They still have to shop for diamonds to accessorize the dresses. Tough duty for both of them!

It's not what Taylor Swift GOT for her birthday, it's what she gave. Quoting Taylor: "Something I wanted to do at the end of this amazing year and especially on my birthday was give back to something I really believe in, which is education. The schools that I went to and the amazing people I got to learn from really turned me into who I am." What she gave was a quarter of a million dollars to schools she either attended or worked with for teachers' salaries, books and educational programs.

Meanwhile, Taylor Swift's walls keep getting shinier..."Fearless" was just awarded quintuple-platinum status.

If you're anywhere near Franklin, TN this Friday, stop by George and Nancy Jones' house. They are hosting an open house and collecting toys for needy families. Word is, the light display is amazing and Santa Claus will be there, too. Here's the address, for your map-questing pleasure: 4025 Nestledown Drive in Franklin, TN.

Tim McGraw is talking, just a little bit, about his next movie role, playing opposite Gwyneth Paltrow. He says, "I can say that she plays a country music singer, and I don't. She can sing, and it's a pretty heavy story. I play her husband and her manager." Production begins in January for a release later in 2010.

Josh Turner will release two versions of his new cd, "Haywire," on February 9. The regular version will consist of 11 original songs, and the deluxe version will include the same songs along with two more new songs, live recordings of “Your Man” and “Long Black Train,” a video for his current hit “Why Don’t We Just Dance” and footage of Turner in the recording studio.

Each year, the Grammy Foundation puts on a party in honor of a musical legend, and the proceeds go to MusiCares to provide for musicians in need. The honoree for 2010 is Neil Young, and Lady Antebellum will be performing at the show on January 29th. Also on stage, Jackson Browne, Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones, Dave Matthews, James Taylor and host Jack Black.

And speaking of Lady A, they're number 2 and celebrating. "Need You Now" has been the #1 country song on the Billboard chart for five weeks, but it's been kicked down a notch by "Do I." Luke Bryan gets his first #1 and Lady A celebrates? Yep, because Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood wrote it, and Hillary Scott sings the harmony vocals.

Congrats to Justin Moore, named Billboard Magaine's Top New Country Artist of 2009.

If you missed it the first time, you get another chance tonight: "Larry the Cable Guy's Hula-Palooza Christmas Luau" airs again tonight on CMT. Billy Currington and the Zac Brown Band are part of the party.

Darius Rucker will be on Good Morning America tomorrow morning, singing "History in the Making." He'll be back again on Christmas morning, singing "Candy Cane Christmas."

Big & Rich will be in a Chevrolet ad to air during the Super Bowl.

The marriage between Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock has officially been dissolved, and the divorce will be final on May 28.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Today's country tidbits...

What did your favorite country stars do over the weekend?

Garth Brooks ended his retirement this past weekend with some shows in Vegas. He told the audience, "I can promise you none of you are as excited as me." The shows were laid-back and intimate, just Garth and his guitar, taking requests and answering audience questions. Trisha Yearwood joined him onstage at times, adding to the family feeling of the show. Check out this article from USA Today for more details about the weekend. One detail Garth fans are excited about - he says this is his warm-up for a planned 2014 world tour.

James Otto sang the National Anthem at the Minnesota Vikings game and celebrated as his home team went on to win.

On Saturday, Martina McBride and her family went and got their Christmas tree and decorated it, then yesterday Martina did some internet Christmas shopping. She declared it "boring" so today she's hitting the streets for some REAL shopping.

Sugarland did a show for the President and First Lady last night. "Christmas In Washington" was taped and will air Sunday night on TNT.

Chris Young played Vegas last night, but getting to the show turned out to be problematic. First his bus blew a radiator hose, then they got caught in bad traffic trying to get to the venue. Mother Nature threw an ice storm on top, so the show was pushed back an hour in order to let people get there safely. From all reports, he rocked the house, so at least the show went well.

Billy Ray Cyrus left for the middle east yesterday on a tour for the troops.

Also yesterday, Taylor Swift turned 20, sharing a birthday with Randy Owen and John Anderson.

Billboard Magazine dubbed Taylor Swift the Artist of the Year for 2009, giving her a very nice birthday present.

Catch Reba on the Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson tonight.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Today's country tidbits...

Garth's five year run in Vegas starts tonight at the Wynn Hotel. He and Trisha Yearwood celebrated their 4th wedding anniversary yesterday.

Craig Morgan will be touring with Carrie Underwood next year. The Play On tour kicks off on March 11th and they'll play 45 shows by the time it ends on May 30th.

We'll have to wait until next March to see the CMT Crossroads that taped this week in Nashville. Jimmy Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band joined up with the Zac Brown Band for a magical night for those in attendance. Word is that they sang each others hits as well as new songs, and covered a Van Morrison song, too. Mark your calendar for Friday, March 19, 2010...that's when the show will air for the first time.

Rascal Flatts have been avid fund-raisers for the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, and yesterday were on hand for the holiday tree lighting. has a slide show of the festivities.

Remember Lilith Fair? It's being reborn in 2010, and will include Miranda Lambert, Emmylou Harris, Sugarland and Sheryl Crow. The tour is mainly a showcase of women who make all kinds of music, and includes a mix of established artists along with up-and-coming stars in the worlds of pop, rock, urban, country and more. About the show, Miranda Lambert said, “I am excited to be part of a tour that celebrates and acknowledges talented women from all genres of music, and am so proud to have the opportunity to join the prestigious line up of past female artists who have performed on Lilith Fair.”

Little Big Town is going retro. Their next cd will also be available on vinyl. When was the last time you used a turntable? Urban Outfitters is selling one, just in case you have a vinyl fan to shop for.

Luke Bryan is looking forward to Christmas in Georgia with his family, which includes his 16 month old son, Bo. Luke says he's got to stop by the John Deere dealership and pick up some combines and a Caterpillar bulldozer for Bo to open on Christmas morning. I'm sure he means the toy kind...

If you're keeping score, Kellie Pickler is a blonde again. After going red before the CMA's, Kellie's Dad told her she looked like her Mom, so she changed her hair back to blonde. That's the look most of America loves best, so heave a big sigh of relief now...

Billboard Magazine has named its top male and female artists of the year, based on sales, and in a puddle of irony, it turns out to be Taylor Swift and Kanye West. Congrats, Taylor!

And Taylor Swift may have sold a bazillion cds and concert tickets and may have won a bazillion awards, but she's still human. In her hotel room, she broke the curtains trying to open them. She didn't know that she just needed to push a button to make them open. Oops!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Today's country tidbits...

Time Magazine's Best of Everything of 2009 is out, and two country albums made their list of Top 10 Albums of 2009. Miranda Lambert's "Revolution" landed at #4, with their writer calling her Nashville's best tough chick. Brad Paisley's "American Saturday Night" didn't just make the list, it dominated it, landing at the #1 spot. Time calls him country's most underrated star.

Craig Morgan and Chris Young headed to the middle east on a tour of military bases and hospitals a couple of months ago, taking along Nan Kelly of GAC. Tonight on GAC, watch some of the highlights of that tour, as Craig and Chris show up to say thanks to our military men and women who are in harms' way.

Speaking of Chris Young, he recently got his first royalty check as co-writer of "Gettin' You Home." Since it went to #1, the check was a lot bigger than any royalty check he'd ever gotten before, so he decided to splurge. What did he get...a new Porsche? A new tour bus? Nope...he bought a new washing machine. He's catching some grief from his friends, that's for sure!

Jason Aldean had such a good time with his "Wide Open" tour that he's tacking on 30 more dates. He'll start January 22nd in Greenville, SC with Eric Church opening for him there, and the rest of the tour dates will showcase Luke Bryan as the opening act.

Tomorrow night's Nobel Peace Prize concert, featuring Toby Keith, will be streamed live on

After years of trying, Jeff Bates and his wife are expecting a baby girl. Jeff says that he's never seen anyone as pretty as his wife Kelly is right now, pregnant. Their daughter is due on April 30th.

Billy Ray Cyrus is on Live! With Regis and Kelly today.

And at you can see a photo show of their favorite Twitpics, most featuring your favorite country stars. Their line: "We digitally stalk so you don't have to."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Today's country tidbits...

Just how popular is Taylor Swift? She's playing her first stadium show next June in Massachussetts, and the tickets went on sale last Saturday. The show sold out in 20 minutes. That's about 70,000 people who bought tickets that fast. Kellie Pickler and Gloriana will again share the stage with Taylor.

Lady Antebellum is performing the National Anthem this Sunday at the Titans/Rams game. Then they'll do it again at the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day in New Orleans, when the University of Florida and the University of Cincinnati slug it out.

The Country Thunder lineup has been announced, and it stars Kenny Chesney. Tickets are available now for the July event in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin. Also on the bill: Sugarland, Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean, Billy Currington, Craig Morgan, Jo Dee Messina, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Randy Houser, David Nail, Gloriana and loads more great country artists.

Rascal Flatts is playing the Grand Ole Opry this Friday night. Since it's winter weather, the Opry is originating from the Ryman Auditorium, making the shows extra-special. And they're going on tour in 2010 with Darius Rucker. If you have an AT&T Universal Card, you can buy tickets today, before they go on sale to the public.

Remember I told you that Kellie Pickler was going to be part of a large donation to Nashville-area schools at the show she hosted last night? Well, the check was, indeed, quite large: over a million dollars was donated by the Country Music Association so that kids could continue to have music education in their schools. All proceeds from the CMA Music Festival go to this cause, so it was a very good year at the CMA Fest in June!

The Carrie Underwood special on Monday night boosted Fox to #2 on the night, behind CBS. Catch her latest song, "Temporary Home" as it was sung live on the show. She also performed her tribute to her Mom, "Mama Don't Worry," and sang with Dolly Parton.

Jason Michael Carroll loves to perform so much that he told The Tennessean, "They pay us to bring our gear into town and set it up and tear it down. We play for free." He's got a few more stops to make before heading home for Christmas. With four kids, you know there's a lot of shopping and wrapping to do!

Phil Vassar wants to wish you Merry Christmas with music. He's offering a free download of five acoustic Christmas songs, one which features his daughter, Haley. By the way, his new cd, "Traveling Circus," is available next Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Today's country tidbits...

Keith Urban's 2010 benefit calendar for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital is available, and Keith thanks his fans for doing so much for the hospital over the last seven years. In addition, Keith Urban is a nominee for Tennessean of the Year, as he's recognized for the benefit he put together for the Country Music Hall of fame. Past winners include Dolly Parton and Al Gore, and you can weigh in on who should win. The recipient will be announced on December 27th.

Did you watch the Carrie Underwood Christmas special last night? How bout Dolly Parton and Carrie sitting together and singing? Wow...

Rascal Flatts has announced the last leg of their Unstoppable'll fire back up on January 15th in Connecticut and they'll pack in 23 shows before March 13th, where the fun stops in Oklahoma City.

Miranda Lambert, her Dad and Blake Shelton are in Kansas, hunting and apparently very very cold. Somebody get Blake some good Carharts for Christmas, would you? He's whining on Twitter. Miranda says she has on 20 layers, which makes it tough to pull her bow back. If she spots the right deer, bet she'll have no problems.

Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland was part of the Kennedy Center Honors concert on Sunday night. She was on hand to help with the tribute to Bruce Springsteen, and sang "Glory Days" and "I'm On Fire." The ceremony was taped and will air on December 29th on CBS.

The 2010 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner was announced yesterday. Loretta Lynn is delighted with the honor, and plans to attend the awards ceremony on January 31st. She's celebrating her 50th year in country music.

On tv, catch Dierks Bentley and Patty Griffin on Lopez Tonight on TBS. They'll sing their Grammy-nominated song, "Beautiful World."

And musical superstar (??) Evan Taubenfeld has a new holiday song called "Merry Swiftmas." Taylor Swift was totally charmed by it, and you might be, too.

Danica Patrick is part of JR Motorsports...she'll race open-wheel and NASCAR events in 2010.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Today's country tidbits...

What were your favorite stars up to this past weekend? Friday night, Kenny Chesney was on hand for the opening of Sammy Hagar's new Vegas joint, Cabo Wabo. Carrie Underwood had tough duty. She had to do a show in the Bahamas, poor the Atlantis, no less! James Otto did a great job on the National Anthem before the ACC Championship game in Tampa Bay on Saturday.

Trace Adkins takes a turn at tv stardom again. He's part of the cast of the Nashville-set "Tough Trade." It's about a fictitious but legendary Nashville music dynasty whose personal struggles put them at risk of bankruptcy. Trace will play a family friend and bodyguard on the show, which will air on the new EPIX network. The show is filming now, in and around Nashville.

Rascal Flatts will appear in an upcoming episode of CSI. They'll tape the show in January and it should air in late January or February. Gary, Jay and Joe Don will all be in the show, playing themselves, and one of them finds himself in harms' way.

Carrie Underwood's Christmas special is on Fox tonight. The two-hour show features Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton and even Carrie's Mom, who, as Carrie says, "is showing everybody where I get it from."

Brooks & Dunn's Last Rodeo Tour launches in California on April 23rd and winds up in Chicago on August 8th. A complete list of tour stops is here.

Jason Aldean's "Wide Open," which came out nine months ago, has been certified platinum. Jason's going to be hitting the road with Brooks & Dunn on their Last Rodeo tour next year.

And since someone said "nine months," one of those supermarket check-out magazines has Nichole Kidman on the cover, claiming she's got a baby-bump. Time will tell if she and Keith Urban are about to be parents again, won't it?

How good is The Blind Side? 110 million bucks in 10 days - if you haven't seen it yet, what are you waiting for?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Today's country tidbits...

Brooks & Dunn have tough duty today - performing at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series awards ceremony tonight in Las Vegas. They'll open the show with "Only in America" to set the perfect tone for the night.

David Nail and Billy Ray Cyrus have a command performance on Wall Street, as part of the official tree-lighting party for the New York Stock Exchange. The performances will happen next Thursday afternoon, and can be seen here.

One of the perks of owning your own label is you can record any song you want, any way you want. Gretchen Wilson grabbed her daughter and all of her friends and hit the studio for a country version of the '50s classic, "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas." She originally worked the song up for Charlie Daniels' Christmas for Kids concert in November.

PBS's "Soundstage" series will feature a lot of great country music in season 8, which begins on January 21st with Tim McGraw. Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin and Buddy Miller perform on February 4th, Faith Hill on February 18th and Willie Nelson on February 25th.

On tv tonight, catch Brad Paisley on the David Letterman show and Taylor Swift on the Jay Leno show.

And tomorrow is the double-duty-day for Jo Dee Messina, as she performs two free concerts in Nashville. The shows at Brentwood United Methodist Church benefit Harvest Hands Community Development, so if you'll be there, be generous when the plate gets passed.

Faith Hill is your charming hostess for the 11th annual "A Home for the Holidays" special December 23rd on CBS. Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood are two of the guest performers. It's Faith's second time hosting the show, which shares people's personal stories about foster care and adoption. Faith herself was adopted shortly after her birth.

When the Shine All Night tour comes to your town, be sure to pay close attention to Twitter - Martina McBride is hiding tickets to the shows in each city and tweeting clues to their location. First person to find them gets to go to see her and Trace Adkins in concert for free. Some of the tickets are front-row, so watch this video and start following Martina!

Congrats to Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum, who sit atop the Billboard country album and single charts, respectively.

On yesterday's list of country artists nominated for Grammys, I missed a couple of stellar ones:

Tracy Lawrence is nominated for Best Southern, Country, Or Bluegrass Gospel Album for his inspirational album, "The Rock." And Dolly Parton, who has won 7 Grammy's, is nominated for another one. Her "Original Cast Recording of 9 to 5: The Musical" picked a nomination for Best Musical Show Album.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Today's country tidbits...

The Grammy nominations are out, and it's not a surprise that Taylor Swift is up for a bunch. Eight, actually, second only to Beyonce, who's up for 10. The full list of country nominees is at the end of today's post, and the awards will be handed out January 31st, 2010. Security has already been alerted to keep Kanye West in his seat at all times.

And speaking of the glittery blond one, Taylor Swift's name doesn't appear on Barbara Walters' annual most fascinating people list. Don't dismay, though, since she never releases the most fascinating person in advance, everyone is betting that it will be Taylor Swift. Who else makes the list? Adam Lambert, Sarah Palin, Kate Gosselin, Glenn Beck, Lady Gaga, Brett Favre, Tyler Perry and Michael Jackson's kids. The special will air December 9th on ABC.

That free concert that Billy Currington is doing at Sloppy Joe's in Key West this Saturday has an ulterior motive: it's the launching pad for his new organization, Global South Relief. Billy's been going to South America on trips to help poverty-stricken people there, and has decided to formalize the arrangement. He'll do the show, along with Brett Jones, Scotty Emerick and Dallas Davidson and then head to Guatemala and Costa Rica to deliver the first round of necessities.

Also in the holiday giving mood, Craig Morgan has thrown down the Twitter follower gauntlet for a good cause, tweeting: "We are going to donate a dollar to the wounded warrior foundation for every follower added between now and Christmas Here we go" If you don't follow him already, he's at cmorganmusic on Twitter.

While basking in the success of "The Blind Side," Tim McGraw is looking forward to his next film role, playing opposite Gwyneth Paltrow in "Love Don't Let Me Down." Filming begins in January in Nashville. Tim will shoot his parts before heading out on tour in February.

What did Sara Evans eat on Thanksgiving? Turkey. Only turkey. She skipped all the fattening appetizers, side dishes and deserts, saying that she gets much more joy from looking good on stage than from eating too much, even on America's eatingest holiday. Her tour kicked off the next night in Idaho, giving her some serious incentive not to go face-down in the dressing. The show features her hits, plus Christmas songs, and she's working on a new album, so will probably work a new song or two into the shows.

Keith Urban's concert tour to Australia next week does double duty for his family: he, wife Nicole Kidman and daughter Sunday Rose will spend Christmas down under with all of their combined families. Keith says that Sunday is in her "raccoon phase," meaning into everything, and that he and Nicole are really looking forward to Christmas with their families. There are six other children, so there'll be lots of wide-eyed Christmas excitement.

Got Comcast? Then you've got Taylor Swift on-demand, in HD. The channel features all of Taylor's videos, plus her Saturday Night Live episode and other special, Swift-centric programming.

The 113th Cheyenne Frontier Days festival tickets go on sale Saturday for next summer’s fun. The line-up for the Frontier Nights shows is:
July 24th - Brooks & Dunn
July 25th - Aaron Tippin and Neal McCoy
July 26th & 27th - Professional Bull Riders
July 28th - Clay Walker
July 30th - Sugarland
July 31st - Alan Jackson

Josh Gracin is in Alabama, writing songs with Ruben Studdard.

Here are the country nominees for Grammy awards:

Best Female Country Vocal Performance
(For a solo vocal performance. Singles or tracks only.)

"Dead Flowers"
Miranda Lambert

"I Just Call You Mine"
Martina McBride
Track from: Shine

"White Horse"
Taylor Swift
Track from: Fearless

"Just a Dream"
Carrie Underwood
Track from: Carnival Ride

"Solitary Thinkin'"
Lee Ann Womack
Track from: Call Me Crazy

Best Male Country Vocal Performance
(For a solo vocal performance. Singles or tracks only.)

"All I Ask For Anymore"
Trace Adkins
Track from: X (Ten)

"People Are Crazy"
Billy Currington
Track from: Little Bit of Everything

"High Cost of Living"
Jamey Johnson
Track from: That Lonesome Song

"Living for the Night"
George Strait
Track from: Twang

"Sweet Thing"
Keith Urban
Track from: Defying Gravity

Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals
(For established duos or groups with vocals. Singles or tracks only.)

"Cowgirls Don't Cry"
Brooks & Dunn
Track from: Cowboy Town

"Chicken Fried"
Zac Brown Band
Track from: The Foundation

"I Run to You"
Lady Antebellum
Track from: Lady Antebellum

"Here Comes Goodbye"
Rascal Flatts
Track from: Unstoppable

"It Happens"
Track from: Love on the Inside

Best Country Collaboration With Vocals
(For a collaborative performance, with vocals, by artists who do not normally perform together. Singles or tracks only.)

"Beautiful World"
Dierks Bentley and Patty Griffin
Track from: Feel That Fire

"Down the Road"
Kenny Chesney and Mac McAnally
Track from: Lucky Old Sun

"Start a Band"
Brad Paisley and Keith Urban
Track from: Play

"I Told You So"
Carrie Underwood and Randy Travis

"Everything but Quits"
Lee Ann Womack and George Strait
Track from: Call Me Crazy

Best Country Instrumental Performance

"Under the (Five) Wire"
Alison Brown
Track from: The Company You Keep

"The Crystal Merchant"
The Greencards
Track from: Fascination

Sarah Jarosz
Track from: Song Up in Her Head

"Producer's Medley"
Steve Wariner
Track from: Steve Wariner c.g.p. My Tribute to Chet Atkins

Best Country Song
(Awarded to songwriters. Singles or tracks only.)

"All I Ask For Anymore"
Casey Beathard and Tim James, songwriters
Track from: X (Ten), Trace Adkins

"High Cost of Living"
Jamey Johnson and James Slater, songwriters
Track from: That Lonesome Song, Jamey Johnson

"I Run to You"
Tom Douglas, Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott, songwriters
Track from: Lady Antebellum, Lady Antebellum

"People Are Crazy"
Bobby Braddock and Troy Jones, songwriters
Track from: Little Bit of Everything, Billy Currington

"White Horse"
Liz Rose and Taylor Swift, songwriters
Track from: Fearless, Taylor Swift

Best Country Album

The Foundation
Zac Brown Band

George Strait

Taylor Swift

Defying Gravity
Keith Urban

Call Me Crazy
Lee Ann Womack

Record of the Year


"I Gotta Feeling"
The Black Eyed Peas

"Use Somebody"
Kings of Leon

"Poker Face"
Lady Gaga

"You Belong With Me"
Taylor Swift

Album of the Year

I Am ... Sasha Fierce

The E.N.D.
The Black Eyed Peas

The Fame
Lady Gaga

Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King
Dave Matthews Band

Taylor Swift

Song of the Year
(Awarded to songwriters. Singles or tracks only.)

"Poker Face"
Lady Gaga and RedOne, songwriters
Track from: The Fame, Lady Gaga

"Pretty Wings"
Hod David and Musze, songwriters
Track from: Blacksummers' Night, Maxwell

"Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)"
Thaddis Harrell, Beyoncé Knowles, Terius Nash and Christopher Stewart, songwriters
Track from: I Am ... Sasha Fierce, Beyoncé

"Use Somebody"
Caleb Followill, Jared Followill, Matthew Followill and Nathan Followill, songwriters (Kings of Leon)

"You Belong With Me"
Liz Rose and Taylor Swift
Track from: Fearless, Taylor Swift

Best New Artist

Zac Brown Band

Keri Hilson


Silversun Pickups

The Ting Tings

Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
(For a solo vocal performance. Singles or tracks only.)

"Hometown Glory"
Track from: 19

Track from: I Am ... Sasha Fierce

"Hot N Cold"
Katy Perry

Track from: Funhouse

"You Belong With Me"
Taylor Swift
Track from: Fearless

Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals
(For a collaborative performance, with vocals, by artists who do not normally perform together. Singles or tracks only.)

"Sea of Heartbreak"
Rosanne Cash and Bruce Springsteen

"Love Sex Magic"
Ciara and Justin Timberlake
Track from: Fantasy Ride

Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat
Track from: We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.

"Baby, It's Cold Outside"
Willie Nelson and Norah Jones
Track from: American Classic

Taylor Swift and Colbie Caillat
Track from: Fearless

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album

A Swingin' Christmas
Tony Bennett

Michael Bublé Meets Madison Square Garden
Michael Bublé

Your Songs
Harry Connick Jr.

Liza's at the Palace
Liza Minnelli

American Classic
Willie Nelson

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Today's country tidbits...

Yesterday in Nashville, Keith Urban was the center of the songwriters' #1 party for "Only You Can Love Me This Way." He did an acoustic version of the song as part of the festivities. It was one of three songs on "Defying Gravity" that he didn't write or co-write, but he thought it was important to be at the #1 celebration to thank the writers. He flew in from LA before the party, then flew back out after the party.

What happens to the tour buses when artists are home for the holidays? They line up to help kids, that's what. On December 14th in Hendersonville, TN, the Wal-Mart parking lot will be filled with tour buses, some with their stars on board, and for a small donation, you can tour the bus and get autographs. The proceeds benefit Christmas 4 Kids, which gives special kids their own holiday shopping sprees.

Got a Guitar Hero playing Taylor Swift fan on your Christmas list? Here's the perfect gift - "Our Song" will be released by Neversoft as a download for Guitar Hero on December 22nd. It's also on Band Hero, in case your Guitar Hero wants a new game to play.

The end of the year lists are starting to come out, and AOL's country presence, The Boot, has declared that Brad Paisley has the #1 song of the year with "Then" and the #1 album of the year with "American Saturday Night."

Miranda Lambert, on how she's making it in the tough music business: "You really have to go into this business knowing exactly what you want to do and what you have to say and surround yourself with people that uplift that. Otherwise, you'll get lost. I think it's hard to stay true when somebody else may be more successful than you because they compromise a little bit, but you just have to decide if it's worth it."

Yesterday, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton were out hunting, sitting in a tent blind. Miranda tweeted, "It's rainin like crazy. Oh wait, it's sleeting. Brrrrrr"

Kellie Pickler is taking some time to write songs, and eat her favorite food: Velveeta Shells and Cheese. Now, why isn't that a surprise?

James Otto on twitter: "I'm in the studio all week cuttin some new music. I truly love hearing a new song come to life. It's still one of the best parts of my job."

Sugarland will perform and Dwight Yoakam will be a presenter as the Grammy nominations are announced tonight. "Grammy Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music's Biggest Night" is on CBS tonight.

Catch Jo Dee Messina on tv tonight, as part of Christmas in Rockefeller Square. She'll be part of the Christmas tree lighting ceremony on NBC.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Today's country tidbits...

If you missed the Oprah show yesterday, you missed some great Christmas music sung by amazing singers. Tim McGraw and Alicia Keys did a version of "Happy Christmas" and tore it up. Sugarland and Jennifer Hudson took on "Silent Night," giving it an acoustic treatment with a twangy and soulful twist. Then the stars talked about their holiday traditions: Tim makes pasta each Christmas eve and gives gifts of money so he doesn't have to go shopping. Jennifer Nettles throws soup parties with her girlfriends, and Kristian Bush records Christmas songs for his Mom. Back when Sugarland was a baby act and hadn't had a hit song yet, Kristian remembers being so broke that the only gift he could give family and friends was cds of Christmas music he had recorded. It's still his Mom's favorite gift.

Well, it is called the Escape Together WORLD Tour, and Keith Urban's adding another continent - the entire show has been transported to Australia, where the Oz part of the tour launches on December 11th. Wonder how many boats it took to get all the staging, lighting and video screens across the Pacific Ocean?

Kenny Chesney has added another date to his itinerary as he headlines the HullabaLOU Music Fest at Louisville's Churchill Downs racetrack next July. He joins Bon Jovi and Dave Matthews Band as a headliner, and other performers include Gloriana, Jason Aldean, Zac Brown Band, Loretta Lynn and Dwight Yoakam.

It's now three weeks for Lady Antebellum, as "Need You Now" is still at the top of the country chart, and it still has a bullet. Could it go 4 weeks, or will "Do I" take over the top spot?

Little Big Town is in the studio working on a new cd.

Catch Carrie Underwood on the Late Show with David Letterman tonight, and set your dvrs...Taylor Swift will be a guest on the Jay Leno show this Friday night.

There's a new product line on the horizon for Taylor Swift - so far, she's got LEI Jeans, sundresses sold only at WalMart, greeting cards and coming soon, perfume. Taylor says that when she commits to something, she wants it to be 100%, so it may be a while before you can drape yourself in eau de Taylor.

It's a bad time of the year for a kid to be hospitalized, so the guys from Love and Theft, Sawyer Brown, along with Bucky Covington, did an impromptu guitar pull for the kids at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. The songs were a mix of hits and Christmas carols. The kids sang and played along on toy drums, tambourines and maracas.

Condolences to Justin Moore, who lost his grandfather Tom "Grandpa" Moore last Wednesday and his aunt Glenda Sunday. He worshiped his Grandpa and his Aunt Glenda was like a second Mom to him. He has cancelled tour dates for at least a week in order to be home with the family.

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