Friday, February 26, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

The last stop on Brooks & Dunn's Last Rodeo tour, their last concert together ever, they're saying, will be Aug. 10 at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena. The show will be a benefit concert for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, with all tickets selling for $25. They go on sale a week from tomorrow through Live Nation, Ticketmaster and Brooks & Dunn's website.

All the stars are in Nashville, and last night found some interesting duets being performed on the Sony Music boat ride on the General Jackson. Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert sang the old Creedence Clearwater Revival song, "Travelin' Man," then Miranda and Josh Thompson duetted on his song, "Sinners." Brad Paisley and Brian Adams hit the stage for "Cuts Like a Knife" and then Carrie joined Bryan to close out the show with "It's Only Love." Brad also announced plans for his summer tour, the H2O Tour, kicking off in May and including Darius Rucker, Josh Thompson, Miranda Lambert, Steel Magnolia, Easton Corbin and Justin Moore as the opening acts.

Blake Shelton has chimed in on the pranking that's going on during Brad Paisley's tour, and as Miranda Lambert's boyfriend, he's in a position to know what her reaction might be. “You know Miranda, she’s not a big prankster. She truly does not like that stuff because she’s all about her show going smoothly and looking like a rock star. And I told Paisley’s booking agent, I saw him on the airplane the next day, and he told me about it and I said, ‘Man, the thing about her is she won’t try to get even with him. She’ll just walk up and kick him in the nuts, ya know.”

Congrats to Luke Bryan and his wife Caroline - they're expecting baby #2. Their first child, Bo, turns 2 in March and is already excited about his new baby brother or sister.

Josh Turner wants to meet you at the Grand Ole Opry. Make a video of yourself dancing to "Why Don't We Just Dance" and submit it. On March 12, six finalists will be chosen, and then there'll be fan voting for two weeks to decide the winner. So get creative to get a trip to Nashville to meet Josh Turner at the Opry.

You can help decide who wins the ACM awards in the three newcomer categories, Solo, Vocal Duo and Group. Online voting starts tomorrow and ends on March 12. The awards will be handed out on April 18th.

One of the events leading up to the CMA Fest in June is the Nashville Celebrity Softball Challenge. Two players have been announced: Carrie Underwood and Luke Bryan. The game is on June 7 and is a benefit for the City of Hope. Tickets for the 20th anniversary game are on sale now.

Big Kenny has a new song and video in memory of his friend, lost in the rubble after the earthquake in Haiti. It is a very beautiful song and the video is a moving tribute, as well as a strong reminder that Haiti still needs us all. Tomorrow night in Nashville, the Ryman Auditorium is the site of a benefit concert for Compassion International's Haiti disaster relief fund. Performers include Big Kenny, Alison Kraus and Union Station and more. The concert will be streamed live online.

Steel Magnolia will be on the CBS Early Show tomorrow.

Monday night is a big one for country stars on tv. The episode of How I Met Your Mother guest-starring Carrie Underwood will air on CBS, Brad Paisley will be on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Josh Turner will be on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show.

The late Johnny Cash would have been 78 today, and birthday wishes to Jason Aldean, who turns 33 on Sunday.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Trace Adkins was given the CRB Artist Humanitarian award yesterday in Nashville. Last year's winner, Randy Owen, was the presenter, and Trace joked, "The first concert I ever went to was Whitesnake," Trace said as he took the podium. "The second was Alabama. They were very different shows." He continued his stand-up routine, saying "I do truly deserve this because I've never killed anybody. And I've wanted to." Trace won the award for quietly giving of his time and talents to the Wounded Warrior Project and also to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network.

The final installment in the Luke McBain comic book series was released yesterday. The character, based on Trace Adkins, reveals a dark secret that sent him to jail 14 years ago. Pick up the whole series at Trace Adkins website.

Blake Shelton's first six-pack of songs comes out Tuesday, and he's already working on the next one. He's recorded a song written by Miranda Lambert and Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum. The two women wrote it while on tour with Kenny Chesney, and asked Blake to cut the demo since the song is from a man's perspective. He liked the song so much he asked if he could record it. Look for it as part of his summer six-pack.

Speaking of Blake, the star removed the Twitter app from his iPhone because he felt it was becoming too consuming. He's still tweeting now and then, but not the 100 or so per day he was doing.

Congrats to Lady Antebellum, who's "Need You Now" album is officially platinum, only a month after it's release. Not coincidentally, it's spent that entire month at the top of the Billboard Country Album chart.

Billy Currington is set to hit the road soon, going out on tour and taking a big crew with him. It's the first time he's had a lot of production in his stage show, so he's looking forward to a different kind of show.

Carrie Underwood is engaged to Canadian hockey player Mike Fisher. When the American and Canadian hockey teams faced off at the Olympics last week, they had a little bet going - winner gets a back rub. At the end of the game, USA won and Carrie turned her back to Mike and said, "pay up!" It's looking like there could be a repeat of the USA/Canada match up, as both teams won their games yesterday.

And if you're a fan of old-school country, wear black tomorrow in honor of the late Johnny Cash. The word is spreading through a special Facebook page, Twitter and the more traditional "you tell all your friends and I'll tell all of mine." So...consider yourself told - wear black tomorrow in a celebration of what would have been The Man in Black's 78th birthday.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Congrats to James Otto and his wife, Amy. After 5 years of marriage, they're expecting their first child in August. James is over the moon, saying, "I am overwhelmed with joy at the idea of becoming a father! This is truly going to be an amazing, life-altering experience." The baby should come out singing - James Otto's brother-in-law is Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts, and Amy and Jay's wife are sisters.

Josh Turner's wife, Jennifer, is his back-up vocalist and keyboard player. But does he take care of her? He says she's in the union and is an unofficial employee of Josh Turner Enterprises, and says she gets paid but doesn't get a paycheck. Hmmmm, sounds like she needs a better agent!

Monday night in Nashville, a bunch of stars aligned to help kids get affordable music lessons. Rascal Flatts, Kellie Pickler, Jason Michael Carroll, Keith Anderson and Little Big Town all performed at the Wildhorse Saloon, with all proceeds going to the W.O. Smith School of Music, which offers 50 cent music lessons to underprivileged kids. Every single artist on stage knows how life-changing learning music can be, and were delighted to be part of the evening.

If you were watching the crowd closely, you might have noticed Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman in the audience at the Olympic Ice Dancing competition Monday night. Yes, that's him behind those moose binoculars!

Darius Rucker is in the hospital today, but it's ok - he's performing for th
e patients of the Tennessee Valley VA Hospital as part of the Musicians on Call program. Next Tuesday, he'll play a benefit show at the Hard Rock Cafe in Nashville to raise funds for the group.

Much of the country music industry is concentrated in Nashville for the next few days, as a major country radio confab is going on. Last night, Taylor Swift made a surprise appearance to help induct a new member into the Country DJ Hall of Fame, and Dierks Bentley paid tribute to Brooks & Dunn by performing an acoustic, slightly bluegrassy rendition of "Red Dirt Road" at the same event.

And Brooks & Dunn are teasing something big- check out their website tomorrow at 2:10pm eastern for "a big announcement."

Joe Nichols had a rough patch yesterday. He tweeted, "Just got a speeding ticket in Arkansas. Tried to show some cleavage to get out of it, but I don't think I was his type."

Darryl Worley's dream of opening a cancer treatment center in his hometown is coming true. On Wednesday, March 3rd the groundbreaking ceremony for The Darryl Worley Cancer Treatment Center will take place in Savannah, Tennessee. The goal is to have the grand opening in early 2011. Donations to the Darryl Worley Cancer Treatment Center can be sent to Hardin Medical Center, 935 Wayne Road, Savannah, Tenn. 38372.

Congratulations to country music pioneers Jimmy Dean, Ferlin Husky, Don Williams and Billy Sherrill - their this year's inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Happy birthday to Sammy Kershaw, who is 52 today.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Alan Jackson is taking his Freight Train on the road. The cd comes out on March 30, and his tour in support of it hits the road on April 8th in Florida. Josh Turner and Chris Young are his opening acts - that's a lot of testosterone in one tour! No testosterone needed where the video of "It's Just That Way" is concerned - his daughter Mattie is the person who came up with the concept and wrote the script for it. She did it as a lark, but AJ and his record label loved her ideas. Alan will also do a lot of tv appearances in support of his new album - catch him on The Late Show with David Letterman, the Today Show, the Ellen Degeneres Show and probably a few others. You'll get the exact dates here as we get closer.

What's Reba doing today? Shooting the video for "I Keep On Loving You."

You've seen Rascal Flatts' Olympic version of "Unstoppable." Now see the CSI mix, "Unshockable." No lyrical change, but a great preview to their featured roles on CSI Las Vegas March 4th.

To commemorate her third USO trip, Kellie Pickler added a star tattoo to the other two she already had. Word is she took her Grandpa along and he might be sporting some new ink, too.

More tales of tour hijinks on the "American Saturday Night" stage. While 5'7" Justin Moore was singing "I Could Kick Your Ass," two of Brad Paisley's biggest crew members stared him down and menaced him, as if a bar brawl was about to break out. Then, while Miranda Lambert was performing "White Liar," the projection screen behind her showed huge photos of boyfriend Blake Shelton with hoards of female fans. Both Justin and Miranda took the pranks in stride, but watch out, Brad...when those two put their heads together, no telling what they'll cook up to dish out!

Speaking of Brad Paisley, when the Tonight Show with Jay Leno returns on March 1st, he'll be one of the guests, along with Jamie Fox and Olympic medalist Lindsey Vonn.

Congrats to Josh Turner, who's at #1 on the Billboard Country Chart again this week with "Why Don't We Just Dance."

In stores today, Sarah Buxton's "Sarah Buxton - The Pajama Sessions" and Josh Thompson's "Way Out Here."

Happy 38th birthday to Steve Holy today.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman have attended a lot of award shows on the left coast in the past month, and Keith has been putting his down time to good use. He says that he's a better songwriter when there's blue skies and sunshine, which has been plentiful in southern California, but not so much in Nashville.

More help for Haiti coming from Nashville, as Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Wynonna, Restless Heart, Lee Greenwood and more get together to record "Come Together Now" as part of the Healing4Haiti cd, due out March 2nd.

What did Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts do over the weekend? Sit around and watch his tour bus get fixed. Headed to a show in Moline, his bus broke down - again! - in Des Moines. What's a big star to do while waiting and hoping to be able to get to the show? He picks out a new tour bus. That was the last time that one will leave him on the side of the road.

What did Jimmy Wayne do over the weekend? Ask for the return of his missing suitcase, with all of his clothes in it. Not hard to spot - it's orange with a green tag on it. Jimmy's Meet Me Halfway mission is not quite at the halfway point, and the generosity of people has blown him away. Families are taking him in for the night, giving him a place to sleep and food, and on Saturday, a family gave him new clothes to wear until his suitcase is recovered/returned. It was taken off of the support bus that travels with him as he walks to Phoenix, Arizona.

What do up-and-coming country stars do on the weekend? Well, on Saturday, Chris Young played a show at the Bassmaster Classic in Alabama. He brought his Dad along, and the two of them had a blast.

Randy Houser was an official judge at the Big Green Egg Cowboy Cook-Off in Dallas. Word is, he loved everything he tasted.

Justin Moore was the first artist on Brad Paisley's tour to be messed with - he was pranked over the weekend, in true Brad style. One of the guys on Brad's crew appeared onstage wearing only a large diaper while Justin was performing, and strutted around the stage. This was in honor of Justin's new baby girl, Ella Kole.

Meanwhile, Brad Paisley tweeted, just before their show in Vegas, "Announcement: due to excess gambling on the part of my crew &band, we now can't afford a PA system. So everyone has to be real quiet 2nite."

Lady Antebellum was on the Oprah show on Friday, and have debuted their video for "American Honey" on

Heard Luke Bryan's song, "Rain is a Good Thing?" Now you can see his vision for the video.

Country and bull riding gets raw tonight as Jewel and her hubby Ty Murray host WWE Raw on the USA Network.

Steel Magnolia will release a 5-song ep tomorrow, featuring their hit song, "Keep On Lovin' You" as well as "Ooh La La," a fan favorite from the "Can You Duet" show they won.

Josh Thompson's debut album, "Way Out Here," will hit stores tomorrow. It includes his first hit song, "Beer on the Table."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Carrie Underwood was the first performer announced for the CMA Music Festival. Today, more stars' names were revealed: attendees at the CMA Music Festival June 10-13 in Nashville will be treated to performances by Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, Reba McEntire, Brad Paisley, Martina McBride, Darius Rucker, Lady Antebellum and the Zac Brown Band. All of the performers donate their time at the CMA Festival, with half the net proceeds from the event going to support music in schools. Tickets are on sale now, with four-day prices ranging from $110 to $185. Call 800-CMA-FEST (262-3378) or get them through Ticketmaster.

Nominees for the 45th annual ACM Awards are set to be announced on the CBS Early Show Tuesday, March 2nd. Reba and Blake Shelton are both scheduled to be in New York that day...hmmmm, do you sense a plan? The ACMs will be handed out on April 18th in Las Vegas.

Faith Hill got to spend some of Fashion Week in New York, helping Project Runway judges Kors and Nina Garcia pick the next Project Runway winner. As the guest judge, she cast the deciding vote for this season's winner. No word on who that could be - there are still six finalists vying for the top spot. Faith gushed over her experience with the show, saying, “What I saw was truly extraordinary and it made judging very difficult. All of the designers were creative and imaginative. But there were some whose craftsmanship was impeccable.” Project Runway airs Thursday nights on Lifetime, but there's not an air date set for Faith's episode yet.

Keith Urban has missed out on all of the cold weather and snow in Nashville. He's spending time in LA, writing songs for a new album and hanging out with his two best girls. Coming up on their 4th wedding anniversary, Nicole Kidman and Keith seem as love-dovey as ever.

Toby and Trace...cover boys? Yep, the new issue of Country Weekly has them on the cover, one in a white hat, one in a black one, and inside they dish about their tour, their favorite songs and what they like about each other.

Taylor Swift's video for Fearless is available for your viewing pleasure at GAC TV's website. It's a concert-footage, backstage-glimpsing hugfest - very Taylor.

Lady Antebellum tops the Billboard country album chart again this week with "Need You Now." Number two is Josh Turner with "Haywire," number 3 is Taylor Swift's "Fearless," number 4 is Zac Brown Band's "The Foundation," and in 5th place is Carrie Underwood's "Play On."

Jewel was supposed to be on Live with Regis and Kelly today, but snow kept her from being able to get there. She'll be rescheduled - will let you know when.

Lady Antebellum is on the Oprah show tomorrow, performing "I Run to You" and "Need You Now" for the audience.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman are taking some of their folding money and putting it to good use. They're among a bunch of stars who've pledged $50,000 a year for the next 5 years to go to re-building Haiti. Keith and Nicole's contribution will help to build a school near Port au Prince, where the school kids will get one hot meal a day, clothing, and all of their medical needs taken care of.

How do you make Keith Urban blush? One young fan did it by asking him what he got Nicole for Valentine's Day. The truth was lingerie, but apparently Keith didn't want to share that detail.

Perhaps taking a page out of the Garth Brooks playbook, Tim McGraw is working his concerts around his daughters' school schedule. Most of the shows up until summer are on the weekends, and on days when his daughters are in school, he doesn't leave the house until 4 or 5 in the afternoon, flies to the venue, performs and then flies back home to see them off to school the next morning. And quietly, he's donating to charities in each of the towns he plays. In Omaha, that charity was Ted E. Bear Hollow, which helps counsel children and families in the wake of a tragedy.

A Scottish Terrier won it all at Westminster Kennel Club's dog show last night, but in the country star competition, Vince Gill beat Garth Brooks. Vince's dog also failed to win Best of Breed but did take an Award of Merit in the Welsh Springer Spaniel competition, meaning that he did better than Garth's Greyhound, who won no ribbons. Wonder if there was a friendly wag
er involved, and if so, what Vince won?

Blake Shelton hosted a live chat and performance on Facebook last night, and is very excited about releasing six packs of songs instead of full albums. That way, he says, he can get more new music out to his fans sooner. The acoustic performance was amazing.

Jake Owen is spending some time with his twin brother, and though no one's talking about how it happened, Jake somehow managed to get a nasty gash right between the eyes yesterday. He
says he just put some superglue on it and walked the pain off, but my guess is that there were stitches, and maybe even a plastic surgeon called in.

Easton Corbin's "A Little More Country Than That" is the single of the week on iTunes, meaning you can go and download it this week for free. While you're there, you can also pre-order his debut cd, which releases on March 2nd, for only $7.99 and get a bonus acoustic track. Great deals...grab em!

Told you about a month ago that Willie Nelson had signed with Rounder Records and had new music on the way. Details of the launch for "Country Music" are coming out, and it's a big plus for Willie. The cd will release on April 20th, and in addition to all of the regular music outlets, Starbucks will stock it in all of their kiosks for a month. Nice exposure for a nice guy!

A little birdie has tweeted that Kenny Chesney will team up with Steve Miller for an upcoming episode of CMT crossroads. The session will tape in March and premier later this year.

Rumors are flying that Darius Rucker will be the new musical director on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno when it resumes in March. There's a bit of truth, but not the Darius part. The current musical director, Kevin Eubanks, is leaving the show after 18 years, saying he's ready for something different, so the part about a new musical director is true. What's not true, according to Darius' publicist, is that it will be Darius. Nope...not true. Darius apparently hasn't even been approached by Leno's people about the position. Where do these rumors get started?

Josh Thompson is on the charts now with his first hit song, "Beer on the Table," and he compares being a music star to working in his family's concrete business: "I haven't slept in my bed since October. It's just that constant travel and like constant meetings and you've got to be here and you've got to do this. It's just a different world."

In spite of taking a wrong turn and having to back-track 70 miles, Jimmy Wayne made it to Oklahoma yesterday on his Meet Me Halfway walk.

In case you missed the total giggle-fest that was Kellie Pickler visiting the Ellen Degeneres show yesterday, catch it now, if you have about six and a half minutes and a desire to laugh.

Brad Paisley is on Jimmy Kimme Live tonight, Jewel is on Live with Regis and Kelly tomorrow, and Lady Antebellum will be on the Oprah show this Friday.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Artists on tour spend a lot of time at truck stops. Yesterday, Miranda Lambert found a dog wandering around and no one knew who he belonged to. She made a new friend and is semi-threatening to give him to Blake Shelton as a touring partner. Doubt that'll happen - Miranda has a very soft spot in her heart for stray dogs.

Taylor Swift, who's in Japan for a concert there Wednesday, has picked up a couple of nominations in the Kids Choice Awards. She's up for Favorite Female Singer and Favorite Song for "You Belong With Me." The award show will air live on Nickelodeon March 27th.

Valentine’s Day – Taylor Swift’s first big-screen appearance – had an opening weekend box office of 67 million…did you go see it?

Carrie Underwood is in Hawaii, filming her role in the movie "Soul Surfer." Poor thing, she's missing out on all the cold and snow in the southeast!

It just wasn't Emmett's day at the dog show yesterday. Garth Brooks' Greyhound, Emmett, showed at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, but didn't win a single ribbon. Today, we'll see if Vince Gill's Welsh Springer Spaniel, Manny, can do better.

Kellie Pickler is on the Ellen Degeneres show today as part of Ellen's Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras celebration. No, that doesn't mean Kellie is fat!

Brad Paisley will be on Jimmy Kimmel Live tomorrow night.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

A tragedy happened as Trace Adkins' band bus was rolling to their concert in Louisiana on Saturday. A pickup truck with two men inside crossed the center line and crashed into the bus,
killing the two men and injuring five people on the bus. Trace, who was already at the concert venue, hopped in a van and went to the scene of the accident, helping the non-injured guys transfer luggage and gear to the van, and then they went to the hospital to check on the five who had been
transported. None of their injuries are serious. Trace performed the show Saturday night in
Louisiana as an acoustic performance, but didn't travel to Pensacola for last night's show. Martina McBride and Sarah Buxton did the show as scheduled. When asked for comment, Trace replied, "Two people have been killed and I don't even know their names. So out of respect for their families, I prefer not to comment too much at this time."

Didja watch the Daytona 500 yesterday? Did you see Tim McGraw performing before the race, with his beard? He does look odd with a full beard, and he and all of his women can't wait until the movie filming is done so he can shave it off! He's with them - he doesn't like the full-facial-hair look or feel.

Congrats to Lady Antebellum for landing the on the cover of Billboard Magazine. Their interview covers their songwriting sessions, who they've toured with and what they've learned, plus where they hope to go from here. When asked if they'll do a headlining tour this year, Dave Haywood
replies, "We need to get some more songs out there and more shows under our belt. I don't think we're nearly at the level to be out there headlining, but the Ryman is a great test run for us." They'll
play the Ryman on March 11 as the headliner. They're on 60 dates with Tim McGraw this year, and
have been performing about 200 shows a year.

Justin Moore has already made it clear he's not going to be "that dad" that travels a lot and then
comes home and disiplines his child. He's told his wife Kate that Ella will have a Corvette at 3 if she wants one.

Hollywood is knocking on Nashville's door again, this time with a remake of "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas." The 1982 original starred Dolly Parton, and while there's no word on who
will star, producers hope to keep the movie as close to the original as possible.

After six weeks of walking to raise awareness of homeless teens who age out of the foster care system, Jimmy Wayne is in Arkansas. He started in Nashville and is nearly at the Oklahoma border, having walked about a third of the way to his Phoenix, Arizona destination. He's weathered some of the coldest, snowiest conditions that the southeast has seen in years, and is grateful for the wonderful support he's getting along the way from fans and those touched by his mission. To donate, follow his trek or learn more about the charities he's spotlighting, check out the Meet Me Halfway website.

Trisha Yearwood is back with some good eats. Her second cookbook Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood: Stories and Recipes to Share With Family and Friends, will hit stores April 6th.

Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood have a dog in today's fight. Westminster Kennel Club competition, that is. Their Greyhound, CH Gaia Woodland Waltz, aka Emmett, is entered, and will compete against nine other greyhounds at 2:45 this afternoon. No word on whether Garth and Trisha are in New York with their dog.

Not to be outdone, Vince Gill and Amy Grant's dog, CH Statesman's Winner's Circle, aka Manny, is also at Westminster again this year. He won Best of Breed and was the Welsh Springer Spaniel in the televised Sporting Group competition last year. He will compete against eight other Welsh Springer Spaniels tomorrow afternoon at 1:30.

She hasn't tweeted about it, so not sure if this rumor is true, but Kellie Pickler supposedly bought a home in Nashville. Four bedrooms, a swimming pool and plenty of space for her dogs. Price tag - $1.4 million. Go, Kellie!

Carrie Underwood is on the cover of the March issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. They have a
slide show of her evolving style.

Jewel is on Live! With Regis and Kelly today, and Lady Antebellum will be on the Today show tomorrow morning.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

The Winter Olympic Games start tonight, and there's a great way for you to support Team USA. The AT&T Team USA Soundtrack features music from three country artists: Rascal Flatts, Sugarland and Gloriana. The digital download is available today at iTunes. Yesterday's blog post has a link to the Rascal Flatts' video - here's the Sugarland one. And here's Gloriana's song, "The World is Ours Tonight."

In a recent online poll, People magazine asked readers which Canadian artist would they like to perform at the winter Olympics opening ceremony. Shania Twain was up against Celine Dion, Avril Lavigne, Nelly Furtado and Alanis Morissette. Shania had 62% of the votes, Lavigne followed with 28%, Dion received seven-percent of the votes, and Furtado and Morissette got 2% each.

Shania Twain and her cousin, Kenny, had a little guitar pull over the holidays, playing and singing songs they remembered from their childhood.

Congrats to Justin Moore - his daughter Ella Cole Moore was born yesterday afternoon. Mom and baby are both doing well, and Dad has no buttons on his shirt anymore!

Very sad news for Big Kenny of Big and Rich. After the
earthquake in Haiti, he went there with a search and rescue team, helping to excavate the Hotel Montana in the hopes of saving the life of a friend. That friend, Walt Ratterman, was found this week, and unfortunately he was not one of the
miracles that has happened in this tragedy. Condolences to Big Kenny and the friends and family of
Mr. Ratterman.

Valentine memories from a few stars:

It was a short-lived Valentine's Day moment for Billy Currington's first girlfriend. He bailed on her right after handing her a gift. "I was in first or second grade," Currington says. "I'll never forget I got her a box of chocolates. I remember going down to her classroom, getting her to come to the door, and I remember handing it to her, then I took off running!"

Valentine's Day is a family affair for Jason Aldean as it's his oldest daughter Keeley's 6th birthday. "It's a whole different thing," Jason says. "It's not so much a romantic day for my wife and me. We usually spend it doing birthday stuff and hanging out at Chucky Cheese's."

Darius Rucker knows how to keep his wife of 12 years happy, if it’s Valentine’s Day or not. One year, he sent her flowers every week. He believes they’ve kept a strong relationship because of the love they built early on. “I’m sure she could tell you some stuff that I’ve done that’s really cool, but for me I just want her to be happy.”

Dierks Bentley says about previous Valentine’s Days: “I use to hate it when I was a single guy. If I was playing a gig around Valentine’s day we would wear all black. It was kind of like the ‘Valentine’s Day Haters Club,’ but now I enjoy it.”

Today, catch Josh Turner on the Martha Stewart show, a Valentine's Day special show. He gushed about the great hot chocolate on Twitter.

For more pictures of your favorite stars, check out the's latest photo gallery, which includes Carrie Underwood at the Superbowl, Toby Keith playing with the late Wayman Tisdale's band, and more.

David Nail is on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson tonight.

On Sunday, Gretchen Wilson sings the National Anthem at the NBA All-Star Game on TNT, just before the 8:30 tip-off.

Starting Monday, you might see Carrie Underwood on a tv commercial. She and her dog, Ace, are spokespeople for Pedigree's pet adoption push. Say that three times fast!

And happy birthday tomorrow to Randy Owen of Alabama.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

We think that stars lead charmed lives, but Carrie Underwood can clearly remember her worst date ever. She was 16, he was 18, and her Dad decided to clean his shotguns just before the boy arrived to pick Carrie up. The date was a bust...they couldn't get in to the R rated movie because of Carrie's age, so they saw a movie that she remembers as "horrible." They left halfway through and her date took her home. No word on if they ever went out again.

Tim McGraw's tour kicks off tonight, and opening act Lady Antebellum couldn't be more excited or honored by the opportunity to be part of it. They'll do 60 shows this year, and are huge fans of Tim.
And it's official..."Need You Now" is the number 1 cd in America for the second week in a row. Not just the number 1 country cd...number one over everyone!

Reba's already pulling together her wardrobe for the ACM Awards, which aren't until April 18th. She says reading a teleprompter is a piece of cake compared to deciding what she'll wear to the event. The nominations will be announced on February 22nd.

Miranda Lambert has a soft spot in her heart for animals, especially unwanted ones. Her 3rd annual Cause for Paws benefit concert will be Saturday, May 15th in Tyler Texas, and is a fund-raiser for the Humane Society of East Texas. Last year, she raised over a quarter of a million dollars for her favorite charity.

And speaking of Miranda, she'll be kicking off a tour in March, headlining. Along for the ride on the "Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars" tour are David Nail, James Otto, Randy Houser and Wade Bowen.

Toby Keith and Trace Adkins had such fun on America's Toughest Tour last year that they'll do it again this summer. The American Ride Tour kicks off in June and runs through September.

Elsewhere on the tour circuit, Rascal Flatts' Jay Demarcus is saying that their American Living Unstoppable tour which kicks off in a couple of weeks is going to be more like a Broadway show this year, as it works through the group's 10 year musical history. Darius Rucker is on the bill, and it's rumored that Kellie Pickler will be, too.

Told you yesterday about Rascal Flatts' song "Unstoppable" being used as an Olympic song, and today you can see the video and hear the new lyrics, courtesy of

Josh Turner is celebrating Valentine's Day and the release of "Haywire" with a big box of chocolates for you. Guaranteed non-fattening, and every one of them is great!

Gretchen Wilson is singing the National Anthem before the NBA All Star Game on Sunday, live from Cowboy's Stadium in Texas. It'll air on TNT.

Trisha Yearwood's new cookbook, "Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood," is in bookstores now, just in time to fix a country-style romantic dinner for Valentine's Day.

Taylor Swift has donated an autographed 12-string Taylor acoustic guitar to the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the auction to own it begins Saturday. It's the guitar she played during the All for the Hall benefit concert in October. Check it out and bid online.

The new Kenny Chesney song, "Ain't Back Yet," along with the re-issued Greatest Hits II, will be available on iTunes March 5th. He's working on a new cd, which will be released some time this fall.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Luke Bryan had his first number one party yesterday in Nashville. He hoped the song would go #1, but knew there'd be a party for it, no matter what. It got stalled at #2 for a couple of weeks, behind "Need You Now" and Luke feared it wouldn't hit the top spot. So, he planned a #2 party, just in case. He was going to require everyone to bring newspapers, magazines, toilet paper...everything you'd need for a #2 party. Nice...

When the Winter Olympics kick off on Friday night, you'll hear a familiar song as part of the games. Rascal Flatts' "Unstoppable" has had a few lyrical changes and was re-recorded just for the Winter Games.

In the post-Grammy Taylor Swift dust-up, a new voice has weighed in. Naomi Judd wrote, in a letter to the Tennessean newspaper, "Having sung many times at the Grammys, I can tell you that the stress and anxiety of performing in front of the world's top artists in every genre of music is tortuous for even the most seasoned singer." She attributed Taylor's off-key performance to having a bad night, and said that Taylor is the best role model for her generation.

Nicole Kidman is dishing the romantic secret she and Keith share, just in time for Valentine's Day. In the current issue of "She" magazine, Nicole says that when they're apart, they don't communicate through text or email, they write love letters to each other, sometimes hiding them in suitcases. Sweet...

Blake Shelton is offering three different pre-order packages for his upcoming Hillbilly Bone CD. Starting next Tuesday and running until March 1, the day before the CD's release date, you can order the Premiere Pak, the regular Pak and the Tee Pak. All come with a shirt and prices start at under $20.

Zac Brown Band is the target of PETA's latest attempt to make people stop eating meat. They've asked the band to stop glorifying the eating of meat with their "eat and greets" at concerts, and to stop singing "Chicken Fried." Taking a page from Blake Shelton, Zac has taken to Twitter to reply: "Dear, PETA: Plants are living creatures, too … Bacon had a mother, but so did Pickle. It takes life to support life – welcome to the planet." And then later, Zac tweeted, "Chicken is the new tofu."

Wanna see the movie poster for Kenny Chesney's "Summer in 3D?"

If you're ever in Nashville on a Monday night, stop by The Station Inn. The band, The Time Jumpers, plays there every Monday, and last year, Vince Gill would pop in now and then to sit in with them. This year, he's a full-time Time Jumper. If he's not on tour, he'll be at the Station Inn every Monday night, and the cover charge is only $10.

More interested in a festival atmosphere? Zac Brown Band, Kris Kristofferson, John Fogerty and about a bazillion rock, hip-hop and pop acts will be at Bonaroo 2010 June 10 through 13th in Manchester, TN.

Josh Turner is now scheduled to be on The Late Show with David Letterman tonight. His Monday appearance was postponed.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Tonight on American Idol, Ellen Degeneres takes over for Paula Abdul on the judging panel, and an Idol alum thinks it's a good thing. Carrie Underwood says that Ellen has been in the entertainment business for a long time, knows what it's like to be on stage in front of people and bomb, and will be helpful and root for the contestants.

Carrie Underwood is a Muppet-worm! She's provided the voice for Carrie Underworm for an episode of Semame Street. You can watch it as it airs on PBS on February 11, March 17, April 3 and April 26, or you could just watch it now.

Kellie Pickler had a bad Monday. Not sure exactly how she did it, but she dropped another iPhone into the toilet. That's the second time it's happened, and we all know those phones don't work after a good dousing. She spent the afternoon getting a new phone, and hopes she'll have better luck with this one!

Not impressed with Super Bowl halftime shows over the past few years? Like to see country music represented there? Join a new FaceBook group, "Kenny Chesney for Superbowl 2011"

Josh Turner's appearance on the David Letterman show last night was rescheduled at the last minute. He was backstage, ready to go...and then, no go. No word on when the new date is.

New music out today - Josh Turner's "Haywire," Kenny Chesney's "Greatest Hits II," re-issued with bonus tracks, a digital-only release from Rascal Flatts, "14 Love Songs for the 14th," and the "Valentine's Day" soundtrack, featuring songs from Jewel, Steel Magnolia and Taylor Swift.

Congrats to Jason Aldean, who is #1 for the 3rd week in a row with "The Truth," and to Lady Antebellum, who are on top of the album chart again this week with "Need You Now.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Congrats to the Saints, and to Kenny Chesney, who decided on Friday that he would root for his friend Coach Sean Payton instead of his friend Payton Manning. The tipping point? The fact that not only have the Saints never won the Super Bowl, they've never been in it, so a win would help the Katrina-ravaged region pull together again. Yeah, that's what it looked like they were doing on Bourbon Street last night...pulling together...sure, that's what it's called...! After the Saints won last night, there was an after-party for the team. Guess who the star performer was? If you're guessing Kenny, you're guessing right!

Did you miss the big announcement that Wynonna made on Saturday morning? She said it's "Take Your Mom to Work" year. A Judds Reunion Tour is set for this year. No tour dates have been set yet, but the rumored tour is now an official one.

The CMA Festival isn't until June, but the first performer has been announced...and it's...Carrie Underwood, who knocked it out of the park last night at the Super Bowl, and looked better than ever. More artists names will be trickling out soon...

Speaking of Carrie, she's on the cover of the March Cosmopolitan magazine, where she reveals her very un-diva-like lifestyle: she loves to be home, rarely goes to clubs and always wears underwear. Thanks for clearing that up, Carrie!

Recording studio tricks of Lady Antebellum? Potato chips. Hillary's Mom heard Celine Dion say in an interview that salty potato chips help loosen up the throat. That stuck with Hillary, and now she and Charles keep the studio stocked with chips when they're recording.

In the special Country music edition of People Magazine, Keith Urban thanks Nicole Kidman for changing his life. He's spending the next few months writing for the follow-up to "Defying Gravity" and says he's not sure how being a Dad will impact his songwriting, but it's definitely impacted his heart and life.

Josh Turner is on the Late Show with David Letterman tonight. He's so excited about how "Haywire" turned out. It hits stores tomorrow.

Happy birthday to Travis Tritt, who is 47 today.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

It's Superbowl weekend, and country artists are as excited about it as the rest of America. No word on which jersey - if any - Kenny Chesney will wear when he shows up on ESPN's NFL Sunday Countdown. He's great friends with the coach of the New Orleans Saints, as well as with the quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts. Trace Adkins feels that it's the Saints' season, and that their win is destined. He says he's been thinking a lot about destiny in the past year. Rascal Faltts are also rooting for the Saints. Meanwhile, Darius Rucker will be watching, but will feel like a kid at Christmas after all the gifts have been opened. He points out that after the Super Bowl, the football season ends. And Carrie Underwood is already in Miami, where she and Queen Latifah have been rehearsing together. Carrie will sing the National Anthem and Queen Latifah will sing "America the Beautiful," but apparently they both got together for a rousing rendition of "Pants on the Ground!" A video hasn't hit YouTube as of this writing, but I'm looking for it for you!

George Strait and Reba are on tour together, and they're using George's stage set-up, which is in the center of the arena, so fans are on all sides. Reba says it took some getting used to, since she has always used the standard stage-in-front-of-audience set-up. Turns out she likes it, so it could be a feature of future Reba tours, too.

If you are a fan of good writing, cheese and/or Sugarland, you have GOT to read Jennifer Nettle's blog post, "Stalking the Cheese Monger."

And speaking of Sugarland, they've just announced details of The Incredible Machine tour, kicking off April 23. Not all of the dates are there yet, but the city list is available. And Jennifer says not to go to the show if you expect to sit on your a double curly letters all night, because you won't be able to. She's promising a very high-energy show.

Martina McBride spent yesterday shooting the video for her latest song, "Wrong Baby Wrong." The last scene takes place in a bar, and Martina tweeted, "That's my kind of video!"

A tv special is going to tape in April, and will feature Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Alison Krauss, Lionel Richie and Wynonna. It's called "Kenny Rogers: The First 50 Years" and will tape at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods. Tickets to the taping go on sale next Thursday.

Keith Urban is on the cover of the People Magazine country music special edition. Check out some behind-the-scene shots and info.

A tweet from Gloriana, on tour with Taylor Swift in Australia: "Australian coffee shop lingo lesson of the day: a "coffee" is actually a latte, a "tall black" is actually a coffee." Good information, in case we ever go to Australia, huh?

If you missed Tayor Swift's Grammy-cam footage on the Ellen show yesterday, see it here.

Tomorrow morning on CBS's "The Early Show," Wynonna will be performing live. She'll sing her hits from near where the Superbowl will be played on Sunday, and there's supposed to be a very special announcement during the show. Look for it to include Wyclef Jean and be about Haitian relief efforts.

Happy birthday today to Sara Evans, and to Garth Brooks, who celebrates on Sunday.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

A huge congrats to Lady Antebellum on first-week sales of their sophomore album. "Need You Now" sold nearly half a million units, giving them the biggest first-week sales of any country album since Taylor Swift first released "Fearless" in November of 2008. It also puts them firmly atop not just the Billboard Country Album chart, but also atop the all-genre Billboard 200.

Newly married Charles Kelly of Lady A has a running joke with his wife. She pretends not to watch the end of the "Need You Now" video, where he kisses another woman. It's tough to be a big star's spouse!

Lee Ann Womack has been on the road with George Strait and Reba. They play Friday night and Saturday night, and are home on Sunday for the Superbowl. Is she planning to celebrate football with America? Lee Ann says she doesn't even know who's playing, but they'll probably have some people over, have too much food, and if she gets her way, about halftime, the guitars will come out, the volume will be muted on the tv, and the Superbowl party will turn into a guitar pull. That wouldn't fly at my house!

Carrie Underwood makes her Hollywood Bowl debut on October 2nd. She'll do the Los Angeles show with the Hollywood Bowl orchestra. Tickets go on sale on Valentine's Day.

Trisha Yearwood and Paula Deen spent yesterday together, filming an upcoming episode of Paula's show on the Food Network. They made jalepeno hush puppies, undoubtedly a recipe from Trisha's upcoming cookbook. No word on an air date for the episode yet.

Who will be the new Simon Cowell on American Idol? Well, if current judge Kara Dioguardi has her way, Garth Brooks or Vince Gill. She'd like to see someone from country music with a big personality and big opinions take Simon's place. One artists are too nice to be like Simon!

The music sounds like there could be a dangerous shark on the prowl. The visuals look like a huge party is going on. Is it a disaster about to happen? Nah, it's just Luke Bryan's way of promoting his "Spring Break 2: Hangover Edition" release on iTunes. If the party looks fun, head over to Luke's Facebook page and enter to win a spring break crash pad.

The Ellen Degeneres show will feature Taylor Swift's "Grammy-Cam" video on today's show. It was supposed to air yesterday, but they pushed it out a day.

Happy birthday to Clint Black, who turns 48 today.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Yikes…the stadium where the Super Bowl will be held on Sunday had a mishap yesterday. Workers were setting up a halftime-show rehearsal and part of the stage collapsed. 4 people are hospitalized, and are expected to recover. Hope whatever Carrie Underwood will be standing on to sing the National Anthem is nice and steady!

Oscar nominations were announced Tuesday morning and Tim McGraw's movie, "The Blind Side," is nominated for Best Picture, and Sandra Bullock is nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

Jason Aldean is #1 again this week with "The Truth." He knew he wanted to record the song the first time he heard it, and was delighted when it was chosen to be released as a single.

And how does Billy Currington go from recording a love song like "Don't" to one like "People Are Crazy?" He says he and the musicians have to "get their head in a different space." He loves being in the studio making the magic happen for the record, and then taking that magic out on the road.

Martina McBride and her girls were in Virginia when snow hit Nashville, but it was still on the ground when they got home Monday. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Martina's newest "daughter" Daisy and "son" Zack.

Is Dierks Bentley the Susan Lucci of country music? This is the 7th time he's been nominated for a Grammy, and he hasn't won yet.

The Grammy after-parties go on all night, and tales of the goings-on are beginning to trickle out. Jamie Foxx, rapper, producer and big fan of country music, hosted a party, and when Miranda Lambert walked in, he grabbed the mic and started rapping some of the lines in "White Liar," much to Miranda's delight. He also told her he'd love to get together to write songs...wonder what those might sound like?

After the Grammys, there's a media room where all the winners go to pose with their awards. During Taylor Swift's photo shoot, one of the awards fell and broke. Don't worry...they have lots of them, and she looked beautiful for her close-up.

And catch Taylor Swift's Grammy-cam footage on the Ellen Degeneres show today.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Last night in Los Angeles, dozens of stars teamed up to re-record We Are the World, this time as a benefit for Haitian relief and rebuilding. The finished product will be world-premiered as part of the Olympic opening ceremonies on the 22nd of this month. Taylor Swift was invited to be part of it, but couldn’t – she left the Grammy awards, went to a celebratory dinner with her family, friends and record label staff, then boarded a plane to Australia for her tour. Carrie Underwood, Zac Brown and Sugarland represented country music, and apparently represented very well.

When the fashionistas picked apart the outfits worn on the Grammys, they had nothing bad to say about Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood. Matter of fact, the E! Fashion Police called them the best-dressed ladies there. TV Guide's nod for best-dressed woman went to Carrie Underwood, They weren't very nice to Miranda and her ruffly blue dress, but then again, what did THEY wear onstage at the Grammy's? Yeah...not invited, were they? So sad...!

You know awards season never ends, right? When one's done, another's on the horizon. The Academy of Country Music Awards nominees will be announced February 22nd, and the show will air live from Las Vegas on April 18th.

Friday night's MusiCares benefit concert featured some of the world's best musicians covering Neil Young's music. Parts of the show are captured in a video collage, which features Sheryl Crow, John Mellencamp, Keith Urban and more.

It's Superbowl week, and in Indianapolis, a country radio station helped the city get into the spirit. One of the morning hosts re-wrote "Small Town USA" by Justin Moore, making it "Colts Town USA." Then they got Justin Moore to show up and sing at a Colts rally.

Tim McGraw hits the stage on Saturday, taking his Dancehall Doctors to the San Antonio Rodeo. It's his first full-fledged tour in several years, and his fans are snapping up the tickets.

How hot is Brad Paisley? Tickets for his Boston show, being held at Gillette Stadium, sold out the day they went on sale. 50,000 people will see Brad, Jason Aldean, Sara Evans, Darius Rucker and Easton Corbin on August 21st.

Alabama's BamaJam just got bigger, with the announcement of a few more of the people who'll play. In addition to Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Jake Owen and Hank Williams Jr, Dierks Bentley, Randy Houser, Jamey Johnson, Matt Kennon and Houston County will also perform. Tickets for the June festival are on sale now, with Premium Preferred seating being offered for the first time in the fest's three-year history.

Josh Turner is the featured artist on SoundCheck, a Wal Mart production.

The very moment that Lady Antebellum found out that they'd won a Grammy has been captured on video. Catch Lady Antebellum on Jimmy Kimmel Live today.

Happy 24th birthday to Blaine Larsen today.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Last night belonged to Nashville and to Taylor Swift as the Grammys noticed some cool things happening in country music. Taylor won four of the 8 Grammy Awards she was nominated for, including the top honor, Album of the Year for "Fearless." She's now the youngest person to win that award. She also won Country Album of the Year, Best Country Song for "White Horse" and Best Female Country Vocal Performance, also for "White Horse." There was one person who won more Grammys than Taylor: Beyonce won 6 of the 10 for which she was nominated. The reaction of the other artists on Twitter was really sweet - Martina McBride gave a concert in Virginia last night, but before she went to bed, she tweeted her congrats to Taylor on her big night. And in the wee hours of the morning, Taylor tweeted, "I will remember this night, this celebration, the screaming and hugging of people I love. The words on cards of hotel room good luck roses.." Today, Taylor, Kellie Pickler and Gloriana are on their way to Australia for shows there.

Zac Brown Band took home the award for Best New Artist...of all genres. To make it even sweeter, it was Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert who announced their win.

Keith Urban was truly proud and humbled just to be nominated, and when he won Best Male Country Vocal Performance, he was blown away. Wife Nicole was in the audience - it's only the second award ceremony where she's been there to see him win.

Carrie Underwood won her Grammy before the show started, but won a lot of hearts for her part in the Michael Jackson tribute. It didn't take 3D glasses to see she was the best-dressed on that stage, and her voice gave that song wings. Carrie and Randy Travis shared a Grammy win for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for their remake of Randy's "I Told You So."

The country performances last night were star-studded. Taylor Swift performed with Stevie Nicks, Zac Brown Band was joined by Leonn Russell, and Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland blew it out of the park. And when the curtain landed on Hillary's head while Lady A was performing "Need You Now," she didn't miss a beat, sweeping it off and fixing her hair and singing like an angel.

Here's how the country awards ended up:
Best Country Song & Best Female Country Vocal Performance - Taylor Swift, "White Horse"
Best Country Album - Taylor Swift, "Fearless"
Best Male Country Vocal Performance - Keith Urban, "Sweet Thing"
Best Performance by Country Duo or Group With Vocals - Lady Antebellum, "I Run to You"
Best Country Collaboration With Vocals - Carrie Underwood and Randy Travis, "I Told You So"

"All Genre" categories rewarded country music like this:
Album of the Year - Taylor Swift, "Fearless"
Best New Artist - Zac Brown Band

If you want to relive some of the Grammy moments, here's some video links:
Carrie Underwood on the red carpet...Taylor Swift's first Grammy...and her second Grammy...and Taylor on the red carpet after winning two Grammys, on her way to the other two...and here's a link to the's great slide show of last night's festivities.

Friday night was the MusiCares Person of the Year concert, where one artist is given the Person of the Year award and is serenaded by fellow artists. Lady Antebellum was part of the show, celebrating the music of Neil Young.

Today, just like 25 years ago, dozens of artists of all genres are getting together to sing "We Are the World." This time, it's for Haitian relief efforts, and though it's supposed to be a secret who the artists are, Sugarland is part of it.

And in non-Grammy-related news,
Jimmy Wayne learned something valuable on Saturday while walking through Arkansas. He tweeted that he's learned not to put hand warmers in the same pocket as Chap Stick...what a mess!