Friday, April 30, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Taylor Swift has been named one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people. They asked Stevie Nicks to write something about Taylor for the issue, and Stevie captured in words what Taylor's fans feel when they hear her music. She wrote, "All of us girls want that boy to pick us up and think that we look beautiful even though we're in jeans and clogs. We want it at 14, and we want it at 60. Taylor is writing for the universal woman and for the man who wants to know her."

People Magazine has included Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift on their list of Most Beautiful People. Look for Julia Roberts on the cover of that issue.

Trace Adkins' final night on the "Shine All Night" tour with Martina McBride featured Martina pranking Trace, and cracking him up onstage.

Toby Keith stopped off in Korea yesterday, visiting troops at Camp Walker. While a lot of performers play a few songs, wave and leave, not Toby. He and Scotty Emerick did a full set, then he shook hands and took photos with every person in the packed gym that wanted to meet him. He's headed to Afghanistan and Iraq at some point in the next two weeks. Details of these trips are kept quiet for security reasons.

Alan Jackson is dedicating his May 22nd show in Charleston, WV to the families of the miners killed in the Upper Big Branch mining disaster. Proceeds from the show will be donated to the Montcoal Mining Disaster Fund.

Keith Urban and John Mayer had such a good time playing together when they taped CMT Crossroads in January that they'll team up again on August 28th for a live performance at The Gorge in Washington. Tickets for the event go on sale on each artist's website tomorrow at 10am Pacific time.

Sarah Buxton lost her record deal when Disney shut down their Lyric Street label. So she quickly teamed up with longtime friend Jedd Hughes. The two formed Buxton Hughes, and have their first video on YouTube. You heard Jedd singing harmonies and duets on Sarah's debut cd.

It's been in the works for over two years, but a Broadway version of the movie, "Pure Country," may never see the limelight. The economy put the show on the back burner, and it now appears that Joe Nichols may never get his chance to reprise the role George Strait made famous in the movie. Production has now been pushed back indefinitely.

The Grand Ole Opry turns 85 this year, and Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, Steve Wariner and Ricky Skaggs will team up for an all-star guitar jam on May 25th.

Kid Rock has been tapped to host the 2010 CMT Music Awards, and he promises to be awesome. Check out the show on June 9th.

Those two Auburn University students who campaigned to get a hug from Taylor Swift have found themselves much in demand this week, after she showed up at their school and gave them hugs, kisses and front row seats to an upcoming concert. Mike and Ryan will be on Fox & Friends tomorrow morning, and will be on the CBS Early Show on Monday.

Rascal Flatts will be performing just before the 136th annual running of the Kentucky Derby tomorrow on NBC.

Happy birthday to Willie Nelson who turns 77 today and to Tim McGraw, who turns 43 tomorrow.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Proof positive that performing on awards shows helps an artist's career: Miranda Lambert's album sales were up 105%, Brooks & Dunn's were up 84%, Carrie Underwood's rose 54%, Luke Bryan's spiked 49%, Lady Antebellum's increased about 35%, and Zac Brown Band's sales were up 26%.

While in Vegas, Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum tried his luck at roulette. “One time I put 25 dollars on zero and it hit. Then I turned around and lost it the next hour, but that was the greatest moment in my life in Vegas.” Wow...wonder if he means even greater than winning those ACM awards?

Luke Bryan is still celebrating his ACM award for Top New Artist, apparently. “Coming back from Vegas, and I went to Talladega and all this. Its like, at some point me and the old liver are going to have to get together and chill out for a second so we have been having a good time. You know, you never want to come down from the clouds after something like last weekend. So were still having a good time.”

George Strait breaks records all the time, and this time, he's broken his own. The old record for seats sold at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio dates back to 1997 - it was 47,000 seats. The new record is 51,000 tickets sold for this Saturday night's concert, featuring George Strait, Reba McEntire and Lee Ann Womack. A limited number of tickets will be released for sale today, so the record will be pushed even higher.

Toby Keith is about to head overseas for the 8th time to entertain the troops in the Persian Gulf, Korea and Germany for two weeks. Does he give the same shows there as he does here? “My songs for the troops are a little different, they are a little humorous. I’ve got my own little group of songs. She didn’t say no, she said hell no, I try to entertain the troops with a smile.”

Do you like to see how things are made? Have a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me."

Joe Nichols has a number one song with "Gimme That Girl" and a new endorsement contract with Roper Apparel and Footwear. Starting Saturday, watch for him in commercials and on posters at Roper retailers nationwide.

Josh Turner is in Country Weekly, where he's giving guys marital advice. He says, “If you don’t want to do the weekly chores just buy your wife really nice appliances.” Josh's wife Jennifer likes her new washer and drier so much that she won't let him touch them. Score...he's gotten out of having to do laundry!!

Speaking of Country Weekly, here's the list of country music's hottest bachelors, according to the magazine's readers:
1.Gary Allan
2.Chris Young
3.Josh Thompson
4.Chuck Wicks
5.Keith Anderson
6.Danny Gokey
7.Jake Owen
8.Bucky Covington
9.Phil Vassar
10.Stephen Barker Liles

Laura Bell Bundy will be on the Tonight show with Jay Leno, and Trisha Yearwood is on the Bonnie Hunt show tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Joe Nichols' "Gimme That Girl" is his fourth career #1 song and eighth top ten hit. So what's a guy gotta do when that happens? “I’m touring heavy. Fairs and festivals, you know. Summertime and country music. Later on in the year I think we have a big tour we’re going to hook up with. I can’t say who, because I don’t know if it’s a final deal yet.”

Garth Brooks will perform a benefit concert with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony in Idaho on August first. It's the symphony's only fund-raiser of the year (no pressure, Garth!!) and ticket info will be available at the symphony's web site.

Wynonna's teaming up with Cracker Barrel to support the Wounded Warrior Project. Pick up "Love Heals" at Cracker Barrel starting on May 24, or pre-order it now.

Martina McBride was planning to take her "Shine All Night" tour to the UK and Norway this summer, but those plans have fallen through, due to logistical issues. Fans will have the money they've paid for tickets refunded, and Martina hopes to reschedule the tour "sooner rather than later."

Meanwhile, Lady Antebellum took a night off the road and took in a Taylor Swift concert. They couldn't believe how loud the screams were for Taylor, and took notes on great ideas to incorporate in their first headlining tour, which they hope will be this fall.

Lady Antebellum is part of Good Morning America's summer concert series, performing on the show August 17th. They're not the only country artists, though - Sugarland will perform on May 28th, and the show's producer says to expect more artists to be announced.

Darryl Worley is in the middle east, entertaining the troops on a "Stars for Stripes" tour, while Chris Young is starting a one-year term on the Board of Directors of "Stars for Stripes." Darryl and his band will perform several full shows while in Iraq, and there'll be smaller, acoustic shows for the men and women at forward operating bases.

Wanna help the troops, and love Zac Brown Band? They've teamed up with Ram trucks to give free music to fans who write a letter to a US soldier. Starting Saturday, write a letter to a deployed military member, drop it by a Dodge Ram truck dealer, and while supplies last, get a free copy of Zac Brown Band's "Breaking Southern Ground" CD, with three new songs on it. The goal is to send a million letters overseas via the "Letters for Lyrics" campaign.

It's the tweet of the week, and it's only Wednesday! Miranda Lambert tweeted: "Cleaning Blakes house thoughts... by Miranda Lambert....what do vegans decorate their houses with?"

Keith Urban and John Mayer taped a CMT Crossroads way back in January, and it will finally make it to air on June 18th. Expect to see them do duets on "Til Summer Comes Around," "Sweet Thing," "Perfectly Lonely," and "Gravity."

Shania Twain, Lady Antebellum and Rascal Flatts are on American Idol tonight.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Brooks & Dunn's Last Rodeo tour includes local active-duty military marching across the stage while they perform "Only In America," confetti cannons shooting red, white & blue streamers out over the audience and "Brand New Man" and "Boot Scootin' Boogie" as the encore songs. There are less than 50 shows remaining in the duo's 20-year career, so catch them if you can.

About 500 miles away, Sugarland kicked off their "Incredible Machine" tour, minus the machine set pieces, which didn't make it to the venue. Fans didn't seem to notice, as Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush tore through not just their own songs, but a medly of hits from Jackson 5, Beyonce and Miley Cyrus wrapped inside "Everyday America."

"Kenny Chesney: Summer in 3D" made over a million dollars in it's first four days in theatres. It's only supposed to be in theatres through this Sunday, so catch it quick if you want to see it on the big screen.

Well, the two Auburn University seniors who were angling for a hug from Taylor Swift got it yesterday, in typical Taylor style. Brian and Michael got an email from Taylor Swift at 12:30, telling them to go to a theatre at AU and sing some karaoke to her songs. They rounded up a bunch of friends, and of course the video cameras were rolling.

Have you seen Taylor Swift's Sony commercial for the new Cyber-shot camera, which takes panoramic view shots?

Garth Brooks popped in to entertain child patients at Denver Health, and to help with the grand opening of the new Child Life ZONE, funded by Garth's Teammates for Kids Foundation and the Troy Aikman Foundation. In the zone, kids have a library, playground, tv studios and creative areas where needles and treatments are not allowed.

Jimmy Wayne is about 550 miles short of his destination of Phoenix, Arizona in his walk across America. His new goal is to get Oprah Winfrey's attention, so she can help him raise awareness about the problems foster teens have when they age out of the foster care system. With nowhere to go, they become homeless, helpless and often hopeless. Project Meet Me Halfway is hoping that Oprah will do a segment on teen homelessness to help the mission.

New country music in stores today includes Lonestar's "Party Heard Around the World" and Jo Dee Messina's "Unmistakable: Love."

If you pick up a copy of "Chicken and Biscuits" by Colt Ford, you also have a good shot at getting a free meal from Zaxby's. There are 50,000 coupons out there, so good luck!

Lady A has scored triple-platinum status with the single, "Need You Now," and double platinum certification for the CD of the same name.

Before Lady Antebellum had a big hit with their first song, "Love Don't Live Here Anymore," the trio was tapped to be part of Jim Brickman's latest compilation, "Never Alone." They sing the title cut, and the CD is available for purchase today.

Don't forget that it's country music week on American Idol. Shania Twain is the mentor tonight, and Lady Antebellum and Rascal Flatts perform tomorrow night on the results show.

Dierks Bentley is on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

The Last Rodeo tour is officially underway. Brooks & Dunn kicked it off in California over the weekend. Ronnie Dunn was caught reminiscing about their early days as baby country stars, opening for Reba. “We just had I think our second hit and being back there and being absolutely star struck over how it went down and coming in with jets and big limos.”

Martina McBride has tapped Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan to open the last three shows of her Shine All Night tour, and decided to have a little fun with them. They'll be with her in Greensboro, Atlanta and Columbia, SC.

Chris Young had a bad Friday night, and so did a bunch of fans. He was supposed to play Wild West in Waco, Texas, but the show was shut down before it even started...the fire marshal wouldn't allow the show to happen. Chris ended up signing autographs for everyone out by his bus, and will probably work hard to reschedule the show sometime soon.

James Otto had a bad Friday night, too. He was supposed to play at an outdoor venue in Biloxi, but the show got canceled because of rain and predicted bad storms. As soon as the equipment was torn down and packed back in the trucks, it stopped raining. James tweeted, "I hate it cause all we wanna do is play." Bet that show gets rescheduled soon, too.

Justin Moore's Friday night show at Springfest in Southaven, MS was moved up a few hours in order to try to get it done before the weather moved in.

Keith Urban took the stage at The Joint in Las Vegas with Kris Allen, American Idol alum and Keith duet partner on the show last year. Keith tweeted that he had a great time on stage with Kris, so expect that pairing to pop up again.

Miranda Lambert and her Mom are the cover girls of Country Weekly's Mother's Day issue, out a week from today. Miranda will also be on a special edition of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, where she'll work on the house and also perform her new song, "The House that Built Me."

Yesterday in Dallas, Dierks Bentley took his Miles and Music for Kids ride & concert out on a beautiful day. The concert last night helped to raise tens of thousands of dollars for Texas children's charities.

It's all in a (nick)name. Alan Jackson's nickname, given to him by his father-in-law, is Rabbit Head. Alan says he's been calling him that since he was a kid, and Alan has no idea why, or what it means.

If you're a guitar player and would like to learn to play Lady Antebellum's "American Honey," Dave has posted an instructional video on their website.

Happy birthday to Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts, who turns 39 today.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Did you watch the season finale of Project: Runway last night? Faith Hill was the guest judge, and she says that was something that came naturally to her, because she's always had an eye for detail and a good fashion sense. She's open to producing a fashion line of her own, and would design for the busy mom with great style.

Reba had a few dress changes at the AOM awards. Which dress was her favorite?

Brad Paisley has been invited to be part of the 2010 National Memorial Day Concert, which airs live on PBS from the west lawn of the Capitol building.

One of the highlights of the Brooks & Dunn tribute show filmed Monday night was Jennifer Hudson singing "I Believe." Not only did she get a standing ovation, but many in the audience were moved to tears. Such is the power of a great song, no matter who sings it. During the show, artists reminisced about touring with Kix and Ronnie, and there were a lot of tour pranks revealed. For the finale, everyone hit the stage together for a rendition of "Play Something Country." The "Last Rodeo" tour kicks off tonight near Sacramento, CA.

Kenny Chesney was the surprise host of the first showing of "Summer in 3D" in Chicago. Because of the overwhelming demand for tickets, the movie will add screenings and theatres.

Mongtomery Gentry has hit the road in their Bourbon Suburban...guess who their tour sponsor is?

Randy Houser fan? Willing to trade a vote for a Randy Houser laughing ringtone? Vote for Randy Houser's "Boots On" in the 2010 CMT Music Awards Video of the Year category, then text in all caps "IVOTEDRH" to 66937 to get the free laughing ringtone.

Sugarland fan? iPhone user? Get their free app.

Tim McGraw fan? iPhone user? Get his free app

Shania Twain will be the mentor on next week's American Idol, and Rascal Flatts and Lady Antebellum will be performing on next Wednesday night's episode. Rascal Flatts has also been tapped to perform the National Anthem at the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby on May first. Also going to the races, Little Big Town will perform the Star Spangled Banner the day before at the Kentucky Oaks, a race for 3-year-old fillies.

Tonight, Jason Aldean is on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and Rascal Flatts is on "Food Revolution."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Tonight, Brad Paisley walks the red carpet at the Nashville Film Festival. What started as a prank on his wife, Kimberly, has turned into quite the box office draw. His film, "While Mom's Away," is part of the closing night line-up of the festival, and features a doll the size of their two-year old, Huck, doing dangerous things like riding a horse, shooting a gun and careening down a hill in a stroller. Brad describes it as "horrifying but hilarious."

Ok, so we know they'll have wedding cupcakes instead of a wedding cake, and we know that the wedding will be somewhere around Nashville, but other details about Carrie Underwood's marriage to Mike Fisher are being kept pretty close to the vest. Carrie told Ellen DeGeneres that the date is set, but is not being openly talked about, and also that they're trying to keep it small. But...he has lots of family members and she has lots of friends and family, so they're now trying to keep it "as small as possible." They know where the wedding will be and what food will be served, and Carrie says they're so laid back about the rest of it that they really don't care. Carrie Underwood - the Anti-Bridezilla!

Joe Nichols wants you in Dover. He's going to fly a couple of fans to the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway, where the winners get tickets to all three races, pit passes, driver meet & greet, Joe Nichols meet & greet, and an autographed Joe Nichols swag bag. Of course round trip air fare and three nights in a hotel are included.

On Monday night, Lady Antebellum was part of the tribute show for Brooks & Dunn, and performed "If You See Him/If You See Her." They were surprised onstage by Ronnie Dunn and Reba, who sang the song with them. They loved doing the song so much that it's probably going to be part of their concerts. “It’s one of those things that is such a moment for us, we’re going to want to relive it.” They're also planning a headlining tour this fall.

Dave Haywood of Lady Antebellum posted a short blog about his favorite memories of last weekend's Vegas trip. One of them was finally getting to meet one of his all-time-favorite performers, Brad Paisley.

Luke Bryan had a lot to grin about on Sunday night, winning two ACM awards and flaunting a wife with a baby bump. Their second child is due in August, and two-year-old Bo is excited to have a new baby brother or sister.

New Montgomery Gentry music, plus a video to go with's While You're Still Young.

Darryl Worley is headed back to Iraq for the 8th time with the Stars for Stripes Tour next week, and he's making it easy for fans to be part of the trip. He's using the event to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project and the Darryl Worley Foundation, which helps wounded veterans. From an 8 by 10 photo to sponsorship of the documentary, there's something for every budget.

Taylor Swift is the next country artist to have her life turned into a comic book. Look for her biographical comic book to be released in July by Bluewater Comics' Fame.

The Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon is this weekend in Nashville, so Friday night, it's Tim McGraw, carbs and bowling. "Bowling for Brains" is Tim's annual fund-raiser for the Tug McGraw Foundation, a way of raising money and keeping his dad's memory alive.

Faith Hill is on the season finale of Project Runway tonight, where she's the guest judge. Reports say that Faith was a hit with the cast with her strong point of view and constructive criticism.

Happy birthday to Glen Campbell, who turns 74 today.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

The CMT Music Awards will be handed out in Nashville on June 9, and the first round of performers has been revealed: Toby Keith, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban. The show is sold out, but the CMT/CMA Ultimate Fan Flyway contest could be your ticket in. Voting to determine the final nominees is going on now through May 3rd.

Apparently there's a love interest in Hillary Scott's life. The Lady Antebellum singer/songwriter has been seen spending time with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The two danced the night away in Las Vegas Saturday night, and Sunday night were together at the ACM Award after-party, celebrating Lady A's big night.

Told you yesterday that Miranda and Blake wouldn't get hitched in Vegas, but someone did...congrats to David Allan Coe and his long-time girlfriend Kimberly Hastings, who were married at Las Vegas' Little White Chapel on Saturday. The official witness was Toby Keith.

Luke Bryan got a taste of reality tv when he was part of Celebrity Apprentice on Sunday night, and that taste was good enough to last him forever. “It was interesting. I’ve never met Donald but I met his son which is essentially Donald in a younger better-haired version. Yeah I think I’m good on the whole reality thing. You won’t ever see Home with the Bryan’s on anything. I think I’m going to go straight to big time, high production movies, all the good stuff. Try to win a couple Oscars.” The performances by Luke and Emily West are on iTunes for 30 days, and proceeds from the sales go to Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Fund.

Kenny Chesney: Summer in 3D hits theatres tonight for a two-week run, so see it while you can!

Catch Gretchen Wilson on the Ellen DeGeneres show today. And tonight, it's the American Idol Gives Back special, with Carrie Underwood and Bucky Covington. And the season finale of Project Runway with Faith Hill as the guest judge airs Thursday night.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

So, did you wonder who was hitting Carrie Underwood's cellphone when she was making her acceptance speech for Entertainer of the Year Sunday night? Right in the middle of a sentence, she declared that her phone was going off. Now we was fiance Mike Fisher, texting his congratulations to her from Ottawa, where he was playing hockey with the Senators. Neither is stressing about wedding details, but they are looking forward to being together more often.

The ACM awards telecast on Sunday won the night in the ratings. Congrats to the producers, the talented artists who performed and also to Reba, the hostess with the mostest again this year.

Backstage at the ACM Awards, Miranda Lambert had a little visitor she said brought her luck. Her newly rescued Chihuahua puppy, Cher, visited backstage before the show, and that made Miranda feel lucky. Never mind that the award results had been tallied and the envelopes sealed before the visit - if you know Miranda, you know she'll give credit to her critters when she can.

Meanwhile, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert had some pressure put on them while in Vegas. “Reba and Ronnie Dunn were pushing us a little bit, ‘Might as well go to the church.’ We were out having dinner and I was like, ‘No, I’m not going to let him off the hook that easy. He’s got to do the ring and the whole deal.’ But no, we’re not because my family would kill me. My mom would be so mad.”

While the rest of us were watching the award show, Celebrity Apprentice featured Trace Adkins, Luke Bryan and Emily West. You missed it, too, and would like to see it? Here's the full episode, complete with the Donald's bad hair.

Rascal Flatts "Nothing Like This" tour details were revealed yesterday. They'll hit the road on June 25th in Raleigh, NC and tour through September 19th. Kellie Pickler and Chris Young will tour with them.
There's a fashion show in Nashville today, benefiting the Nashville Symphony's educational and outreach programs. Famed designer Isaac Mizrahi will be there, and the members of Little Big Town will perform and serve as the event emcees.

Congrats to Jeff Bates and his wife Kelly...their first child, Brianna Nadine, was born last Monday. Mom and daughter are doing great.

Condolences to Steve Wariner and family. On Friday, Matt Wariner, Steve's nephew, was killed in a car accident. "I loved Matt's passion and enthusiasm for music. He came about it naturally. In fact, he had his guitar and amp in the car with him at the time of the accident, getting ready for a show that night. He was full of life, and we just can't believe that his life was cut so short. Someone said to me that our loss is heaven's gain. I couldn't agree more."

Catch Jason Aldean on Lopez Tonight.

Happy birthday to Wade Hayes, who turns 41 today.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Carrie Underwood made history last night, becoming the first woman to win two Entertainer of the Year awards from the Academy of Country Music, and the first to do it back to back. Brad Paisley made history - he's now the only person to have won the Top Male Vocalist ACM four times in a row, and it was the 16th win for Brooks & Dunn in the Vocal Duo of the Year category. A complete list of award winners is at the end of this post.

During Luke Bryan's acceptance speech for Top New Artist, he referenced his late brother, Chris, who died in a car accident. "People lose loved ones prematurely and these families don't necessarily have anything to help get over something like that that. So anytime something like this happens with my family, its just another thing we can say well life is good tonight. This makes things good."

Last night during the ACM show, Toby Keith and Dave Koz played "Cryin' for Me" and had many in the audience in tears. The performance was stunning, and is available on iTunes today. Purchase it and support "Stand Up to Cancer." has a photo gallery of country stars from the orange carpet at the ACMs.

And keeping with the tradition of asking stars random questions and sharing the answer in video, asked Blake Shelton about any pre-award show rituals that he and Miranda Lambert have.

Tonight is the night that the Brooks & Dunn tribute special will tape in Las Vegas. The set list is supposed to be a secret, but this much has already leaked out:

* Keith Urban- Brand New Man
* Faith Hill- The Long Goodbye
* Rascal Flatts- It’s Getting Better All The Time
* George Strait- Boot Scootin’ Boogie
* Kenny Chesney- Your Going To Miss Me When I’m Gone
* Lady Antebellum- If You See Him, If You See Her
* Carrie Underwood - Neon Moon
* Jason Aldean – How Long Gone
* Jennifer Hudson – Believe (this has not yet been confirmed)
* Darius Rucker- Hard Working Man (this has not yet been confirmed)
* Sugarland- Red Dirt Road
* Reba McEntire Indian Summer
* Tim McGraw – That Ain’t No Way To Go
* Brad Paisley – My Next Broken Heart
* Taylor Swift- Ain’t Nothing About You

The show will air on May 23rd from 8-10pm eastern time on CBS.

James Otto announced his baby girl's name yesterday at the ACM awards. She'll be called Ava Katherine Otto.

Chris Young was hot on the slots in Vegas yesterday morning. He won a grand at about 5:30am, then a short while later, won another $500.

Jimmy Wayne's walk across America to highlight the need for safety nets for homeless teens hit New Mexico late Friday afternoon. He tweeted that he's only one state away from his destination, but he's taking a few days off the road to rest his blistered feet.

Joe Nichols is on the cover of this week's "Country Weekly" magazine, on sale today.

Here are the ACM Awards that were handed out yesterday in Las Vegas:

Entertainer of the Year
• Carrie Underwood

Top Male Vocalist of the Year
• Brad Paisley

Top Female Vocalist of the Year
• Miranda Lambert

Top Vocal Group of the Year
• Lady Antebellum

Top Vocal Duo of the Year
• Brooks & Dunn

TOP NEW ARTIST of the Year
• Luke Bryan

• Luke Bryan

• Joey + Rory

• Gloriana

ALBUM OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company(s)]
• Revolution - Miranda Lambert
Produced by: Frank Liddell, Mike Wrucke

Single Record of the Year [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company(s)]
• “Need You Now” - Lady Antebellum
Produced by: Lady Antebellum, Paul Worley

Song of the Year [Awarded to Composer(s)/Publisher(s)/Artist(s)]
• “Need You Now” - Lady Antebellum
Composers: Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott

Video of the Year [Awarded to Producer(s)/Director(s)/Artist(s)] (Off Camera Award)
• “White Liar” – Miranda Lambert
Producer: Tameron Hedge Director: Chris Hicky

Vocal Event of the Year [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company] (Off Camera Award)
• “Hillbilly Bone” - Blake Shelton featuring Trace Adkins
Producer: Scott Hendricks

Friday, April 16, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

As we head into ACM weekend, here's a look at the nominees: Lady Antebellum has seven nominations, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood and Zac Brown have six each, Taylor Swift has five nominations, and Kenny Chesney and Brad Paisley have four nominations each. A complete list of nominees is at the bottom of this post.

Reba is sharing her secrets
about hosting the show for the 12th time. When asked how it would feel to win Female Vocalist of the Year, she says it would be great, but she's just happy to still be nominated after all these years. She won her first Female Vocalist ACM in 1984.

The Knoxville pre-premier of Kenny Chesney's Summer in 3D movie raised a quarter of a million dollars for Variety: The Children's Charity of Eastern Tennessee. The official premier is tomorrow night in Las Vegas, and it opens nationwide next Wednesday.

Keith Urban has teamed up with KC Masterpiece for the second year in a row to offer the Backstage Barbeque Experience. Starting tomorrow, go to the KC Masterpiece site and enter to win a private barbecue and concert with Keith Urban, plus get free song downloads and more. takes you backstage at a Tim McGraw Southern Voice concert, including a meet & greet and watching his vocal warm-up routine.

Big Kenney is off and touring, but like everything else he does, he's doing it a bit differently than most country stars. He's in Redding, California and will play there, then start driving. According to Big Kenny, "Dates will be added weekly as the goal is to see the great beauty of the country and stop and play where it moves us." If you want to see where he decides to stop, follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Yesterday in Washington DC, "Grammys on the Hill" Awards were handed out. Garth Brooks got one in recognition of his support of musicians and the music industry. As part of the fun, "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer, joined by several congressional members and staffers, took the stage to sing "Friends in Low Places."

Lady Antebellum will perform "Need You Now" on an upcoming episode of American Idol.

Alan Jackson gets a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today. His star will be next to John Travolta's, the Doors', Judy Holliday's and Bill Graham's.

Alan Jackson is on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, Blake Shelton and Bomshel are on The Price is Right, and Willie Nelson is on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Saturday morning, Jack Ingram is on the CBS Early Show. Then on Sunday, the ACM Awards are on CBS, and Trace Adkins, Luke Bryan and Emily West are all part of Celebrity Apprentice.

This Sunday at 8 eastern on CBS, the Academy of Country Music Awards will be handed out with the help of host Reba McEntire.

Entertainer of the Year
•Kenny Chesney
•Toby Keith
•Brad Paisley
•George Strait
•Taylor Swift
•Carrie Underwood
•Keith Urban
•Zac Brown Band

Top Male Vocalist of the Year
•Kenny Chesney
•Brad Paisley
•Darius Rucker
•George Strait
•Keith Urban

Top Female Vocalist of the Year
•Miranda Lambert
•Reba McEntire
•Taylor Swift
•Carrie Underwood
•Lee Ann Womack

Top Vocal Group of the Year
•Lady Antebellum
•Little Big Town
•Randy Rogers Band
•Rascal Flatts
•Zac Brown Band

Top Vocal Duo of the Year
•Brooks & Dunn
•Joey + Rory
•Montgomery Gentry
•Steel Magnolia

•Luke Bryan

TOP NEW VOCAL DUO of the Year *
•Joey + Rory


ALBUM OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company(s)]
•American Saturday Night - Brad Paisley
Produced by: Chris DuBois, Frank Rogers

•Lady Antebellum - Lady Antebellum
Produced by: Victoria Shaw, Paul Worley

•Play On - Carrie Underwood
Produced by: Mark Bright
"Quitter" Produced by Max Martin & Shellback for Maratone Productions and Mark Bright

•Revolution - Miranda Lambert
Produced by: Frank Liddell, Mike Wrucke

•The Foundation - Zac Brown Band
Produced by: Keith Stegall, Zac Brown

Single Record of the Year [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company(s)]
•“Need You Now” - Lady Antebellum
Produced by: Lady Antebellum, Paul Worley

•“People Are Crazy” - Billy Currington
Produced by: Carson Chamberlain, Billy Currington

•“Red Light” - David Nail
Produced by: Frank Liddell, Mike Wrucke

•“Toes” - Zac Brown Band
Produced by: Keith Stegall, Zac Brown

•“White Liar” - Miranda Lambert
Produced by: Frank Liddell, Mike Wrucke

Song of the Year [Awarded to Composer(s)/Publisher(s)/Artist(s)]
•“Cowboy Casanova” - Carrie Underwood
Composers: Mike Elizondo, Brett James, Carrie Underwood

•“Need You Now” - Lady Antebellum
Composers: Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott

•“People Are Crazy” - Billy Currington
Composers: Bobby Braddock, Troy Jones

•“White Liar” - Miranda Lambert
Composers: Natalie Hemby, Miranda Lambert

•“You Belong With Me” - Taylor Swift
Composers: Liz Rose, Taylor Swift

Video of the Year [Awarded to Producer(s)/Director(s)/Artist(s)] (Off Camera Award)
•“Boots On” – Randy Houser
Producer: Eric Welch Director: Eric Welch (Drake footage: Vickie Vaughn)

•“Need You Now” – Lady Antebellum
Producer: Clarke Gallivan Director: David McClister

•“Welcome To The Future” – Brad Paisley
Producers: Mark Kalbfeld, Jim Shea, Peter Tilden Director: Jim Shea

•“White Liar” – Miranda Lambert
Producer: Tameron Hedge Director: Chris Hicky

•“You Belong With Me” – Taylor Swift
Producer: Randy Brewer Director: Roman White

Vocal Event of the Year [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company] (Off Camera Award)
•“Hillbilly Bone” - Blake Shelton featuring Trace Adkins
Producer: Scott Hendricks

•“Honky Tonk Stomp” - Brooks & Dunn featuring Billy Gibbons
Producer: Ronnie Dunn, Terry McBride

•“I Told You So” - Carrie Underwood featuring Randy Travis
Producer: Mark Bright

•“I’m Alive” - Kenny Chesney with Dave Matthews
Produced by: Buddy Cannon, Kenny Chesney

•“Seeing Stars” - Jack Ingram featuring Patty Griffin
Produced by: Jack Ingram, Jeremy Stover

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Sunday night in Las Vegas, the ACM Awards will be handed out, and some of the categories will still be open for voting as the show goes to air. During the show, you can vote by text on some categories, and also on which song Brooks & Dunn will sing. Details will be at the opening of the show, scheduled to start at 8 eastern on CBS.

As the recipients of the 2010 ACM Home Depot Humanitarian Award, Montgomery Gentry get a playground built in their honor. Home Depot wants fans to choose which city gets the playground, and the runners-up are Atlanta, Los Angeles, Denver, Orlando, Lexington and Toledo. With Montgomery Gentry's deep Kentucky roots, it's no surprise to see which city has a huge lead in the voting right now.

Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert and some friends were fishing on Hudson Lake in Oklahoma on Tuesday, when Blake's line got a big pull. A really big pull, from a record-breaking spoonbill. Blake and his 40-pound fish will probably end up being featured on an episode of Outdoor Oklahoma. Meanwhile, here's the proud fisherman with the one that didn't get away.

Congrats to Dolly Parton, who celebrates the 25th anniversary of her Dollywood theme park this year. When she decided to do it, she envisioned Dollywood as a way to bring jobs and prosperity to her neck of the woods. Now Dollywood is Tennessee's #1 ticketed attraction and provides jobs for over 3,000 locals.

The Judds are the kick-off performers at the CMA Music Festival this year. They'll do the honors on the Riverfront Park Stage on June 10th.

Taylor Swift is featured in the May issue of Vogue magazine.

Toby Keith is profiled on the Biography Channel at 10 eastern tonight, then Kenny Chesney is on Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Happy 77th birthday to Roy Clark.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

It's another broken record for George Strait. When his latest hit, "I Gotta Get To You" hit the Top 10 on the Billboard chart this week, it made him the first artist of any genre to have a top 10 song every year for 30 consecutive years. Congrats, King George!

Each year on the ACM Awards, one performance is designated as the ACM Lifting Lives performance. Last year, it was Trace Adkins, who raised over $100,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project. This year, it will be Toby Keith and Dave Koz doing "Cryin' for Me (Wayman's Song.)" The performance will be available for purchase on iTunes right after the show, and will benefit Stand Up to Cancer. Toby wrote the song for his late friend, Wayman Tisdale, who passed away after treatment for cancer. You can pre-order the performance now, or make a donation.

Meanwhile, Taylor Swift's ACM performance will feature a group she discovered on YouTube. The Tritones were in a talent show and sang "You Belong With Me" and it impressed Taylor so much that she's invited the on the show to perform with her.

In more Taylor news, the two Auburn University seniors who are campaigning to get a hug from Taylor Swift have posted the video response for challenge #2 - use Taylor's favorite number 13 in the most creative way possible. Once again, these two aspiring huggers have knocked it out of the park!

Singer-songwriter Trent Willmon is auctioning off his prized guitar to help a friend with cancer. Robin Boozer, who Trent has known since they were kids, is in a fight for her life, and he wants to help ease the financial burden, so he's letting go of a guitar he's used onstage, in the movies and as his main songwriting guitar. It's got an amazing collection of autographs on it. The eBay auction ends Saturday, so get your bid in quickly!

Kenny Chesney is a great writer of songs, as we all know. He can connect to the commonality of all of our lives. Well, it turns out, he can write a darn good open letter, too. He wrote a letter to East Tennessee, and it got posted online for all of us to read.

In the middle of Rod Stewart's classic, "Stay With Me," two female fans in the front row got into a fight at a Miranda Lambert concert. What did Miranda do?

Trisha Yearwood is about to become a columnist for People Country, and is profiled on

Twitter is big with country artists, and TwitPics are a wonderful showcase of our favorites in unguarded moments. Check out the collection from

The Today Show summer concert series in New York includes some great country music. Rascal Flatts is featured on June 11, Carrie Underwood does the show on July 30th, and Keith Urban performs on August 20.

Alan Jackson is on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno tonight and Gloriana's on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

If you can't be at the CMA Music Festival every night, individual night tickets go on sale Saturday, but there's a pre-sale going on today, tomorrow and Thursday. You can get one-night tickets for $30 if you use the pre-sale code CMT or TWEET. Miranda Lambert has been added to the already-A-list of country performers this year. All the details are on the CMA Music Festival site.

This is shaping up to be quite the tour - Toby Keith, Trace Adkins and now James Otto will be part of some summer shows on the American Ride tour.

Pssst...wanna buy a really great house? Alabama's Jeff Cook is selling his Ft. Payne, Alabama mansion. It's 15,000 square feet, features a 20-foot-wide rock fireplace, eight bedrooms, seven baths and a recording studio. Of course it has a pool...and it could be yours for only $3.9 million.

It's 11 weeks at the top of the charts for Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" cd. In spite of new music from top-selling country artists, the Lady A sophomore project has remained at #1 on the Billboard Country chart since it's debut week. It's sold over 1.6 million units so far, with no signs of slowing down, and their second single from it, "American Honey," sits at the top of the country singles chart this week. The title track, "Need You Now," is at the top of the Adult Top 40 chart.

And baby makes three - Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild and Jimi Westbrook's son Elijah Dylan makes his photo debut in People Country magazine, and here's my favorite shot.

Jimmy Wayne was the overnight guest of a couple of tough Texans. As Jimmy puts it, they're best friends, but they fist-fight all the time. As they were getting settled in after dinner, one of them handed Jimmy a guitar and asked him to play. He borrowed a pumice stone and sanded down the bridge to make the guitar sound better, but oops! He sanded it a little too far. He didn't tell the guys, just played like nothing was wrong, but the next day he called his Takamine guitar guy and sent them a new one. Jimmy's over the halfway point in his walk across America to focus attention on homeless teens.

Look for Shania Twain to mentor the American Idol contestants on an upcoming show.

Lady Antebellum are scheduled to be on the Late Show with David Letterman tonight, and also on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Should be interesting to see which show they end up on and which one decides to move their appearance to another night!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Sunday night, Reba will be working. Eleven times before, she's taken on this gig and she said yes again this year when the ACM people asked her. Why? “Selfishly, I’d much rather do that then sit in the audience. I love to be a part of the action. It’s just exciting, I love being part of live television. So, kind of selfish. They asked me and I jumped on the chance and I said, ‘yes!’” She's got four outfits ready for the show, and they're sure to wow us, if I know Reba.

Today, Darius Rucker is home in South Carolina. He and his band are hosting the 16th annual Monday After the Masters golf tournament, raising money for education. Darius has had little to say about the troubles of his good friend of 15 years, Tiger Woods, but did say he wasn't surprised that Tiger played relatively well during the Masters. "With all the stuff that's going on, golf remains a haven for him. He can just go out there and swing the golf club."

Hey, it works for Alan Jackson...Brad Paisley will headline the AquaPalooza 2010 concert on Lake Travis near Austin, TX on July 10th. The concert is free if you arrive by boat, and that's the only way you can see it. There's no land access or beach seating.

There's a song on Blake Shelton's first six-pack called "Kiss My Country Ass." Now there are 11 personalized video messages you can send on Twitter to those you'd like to share that sentiment with. Blake Shelton will deliver the message for you, whether it's to a boss, ex, tree-hugger, whatever.

And speaking of Blake, he'll be a model on The Price is Right on Friday. Bomshel will also be part of the show, which is country-themed, and one of the showcases includes a trip to the ACM awards in Las Vegas this Sunday.

If you can swing it, you might want to be in Las Vegas this weekend. NashVegas is the nickname the town gets during ACM week, and it's easy to understand why: the free concerts billed as the Freemont Street Experience Friday and Saturday night include Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert and many more performers, the USO concert at Nellis Air Force Base with Dierks Bentley, Montgomery Gentry, Randy Houser, James Otto, Josh Thompson and Anthony Smith, and there'll be a tribute concert to Brooks & Dunn filmed after the ACM Awards, to air on CBS May 23rd. There'll be a special premier of Kenny Chesney's 3D movie on Saturday night, and of course there's the red carpet event before the award show on Sunday night.

Kellie Pickler was in Vegas on Saturday and tripped and sprained her ankle. It's swollen, black & blue and is causing her to have to perform sitting down. If you've seen Kellie on stage, you know that's NOT her style!

Kenny Chesney has managed to actually take a vacation during his time away from touring. He's spent the last several months working on his 3D movie, which comes out at the end of this month, and then took an Italian vacation. Kenny said, “It's somewhere I've wanted to go my whole life, but I never afforded myself the time to do things like that. Now it's one of my favorite places in the world."

Toby Keith and Trace Adkins are talking about doing a duet together, but they can't agree on which song. Toby reports, "We've each got one we want to do. His is titled, 'If I Were a Woman, I'd Love a Man Like Me.’ I have a song that I want him to cut with me called, 'Mine's Bigger.' It starts out with two neighbors having a deck built on the back of their house ... a deck. You've got to say it right!”

Shopping alert - Lady Antebellum is on the cover of Country Weekly, which hits news stands today. May 4th is the day to buy Flicka 2, starring Clint Black. Got an iPad? Download the four-part Luke McBain graphic novel series inspired by Trace Adkins. Tomorrow, Jo Dee Messina releases "Unmistakable: Love" and Willie Nelson's out with new "Country Music."

Sunday night, catch Trace Adkins on "The Celebrity Apprentice."

Happy birthday to Vince Gill today, as he turns 52.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Carrie Underwood will wed in Nashville this summer. At least that's what sources close to her are saying. She hasn't said anything officially, but the timing would be right - there's a break in her tour schedule and fiance Mike Fisher's hockey season would be over with.

Taylor Swift is on the cover of this weekend's Parade magazine. It's the "what people make" issue, and according to Parade, Taylor made $17.2 million last year.

Congrats to Lady Antebellum, who now hold the record for most spins ever in one week on the adult pop chart. "Need You Now" continues to drive sales of the cd of the same name, keeping it on top of the Country chart and in the top 5 of the all-genre chart since it's release in January.

New performers have been announced for the ACM Awards show a week from Sunday. Darius Rucker, Rascal Flatts, Miranda Lambert, Toby Keith, Dierks Bentley, Jack Ingram and Billy Currington will all strut their stuff on stage.

What does Dierks Bentley like to do in his down time? Xbox NHL 2010. Yesterday he played so much he said he needed a cold beer to ice down his hand!

Sugarland has a tiny sneak-peek at their upcoming Incredible Machine tour set.

And Naomi and Wynonna want you to name their tour. Really - it's the "Name That Tour" contest, and the Judds want you to play. The winner gets not just bragging rights, but lots of tour swag, a video thank-you note from the Judds and a mention in the official tour book.

There's a great fund-raiser for the Wish Upon a Hero foundation, a group that helps women who are battling cancer. Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride and Taylor Swift have all donated shoes for the Hero in Heels auction.

Lady A's Charles and Dave have had Easton Corbin's song, "A Little More Country Than That" in their head, and decided to do a version for preppy people. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

So first, it was going to be two albums, but now Dierks Bentley has decided to release one album - "Up on the Ridge" on June 8th. “I originally said it was going to be a blue grass record, I said I was going to make two records this year. It took it from being that to that being like this is going to be the record and it is going to encompass everything I love. When you say album of the year I am not even sure what category it would be in, I am not sure where it fits anymore.” Guests on the project include Vince Gill, Jamey Johnson, Miranda Lambert, Alison Kraus, Kris Kristofferson, Del McCoury, Tim O'Brien and the Punch Brothers, Chris Stapleton and Chris Thile.

Shania Twain has been tapped by the Oprah Winfrey Network to star in her own tv series, "Why Not? With Shania Twain." The show will follow Shania as she begins her climb back to the top of the country music charts. That must mean there'll be new music coming along sometime.

With a hit song climbing the charts, look for a new cd from Clay Walker. Out June 8th, it's "She Won't Be Lonely Long." This is his first album in over three years, and features a duet with Randy Owen on "Feels So Right," the classic Alabama song.

Zac Brown Band will be headed overseas later this month for their second USO tour of the Persian Gulf. For security reasons, we won't know when they're there until they get back, but the guys are really looking forward to entertaining the troops again.

Chris Young is psyched for tonight, because it's opening night for the Alan Jackson "Freight Train" tour, and he's the opening act. “‘Who’re you on tour with?’ is always a big question, especially when you’re a new artist. You know, people are always like, ‘Ah, what are you doin’ this summer? You on tour with anybody?’ To be able to look at ‘em and go, ‘Yeah, I’m out with Alan Jackson.’ It’s just a lot different than last year: ‘Hey, I’m gonna go do a fair.’”

Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman just got the royal treatment overseas - really! They joined Rupert Murdock in Jordan for the baptism of Rupert's two daughters in the River Jordan. Nicole is the Godmother of the two girls, and after the baptism, Queen Rania of Jordan invited the group for a three-day tour of the country.

Always wanted to ride a country star's tour bus from show to show? Luke Bryan wants you to be his guest, on his bus and at the "Country Thunder" festival.

Rascal Flatts will be on an upcoming episode of "American Idol."

Miranda Lambert has added a new love interest to her life: a tiny Chihuahua that was found in a dumpster. She says she and Blake Shelton's Mom will share her, and have decided to name her Cher.

Looks like April 13th is the day that those two guys trying to get a hug from Taylor Swift will deliver the results of her second challenge to them.

As Terri Clark's family prepares for her Mom's funeral services this Saturday, word is out about another country star who suffered a loss Easter weekend. Collin Raye's nine year old granddaughter, Haley Bell, passed away. She had suffered from a neurological disorder and was Collins' inspiration for the song "She's With Me." The family is setting up a foundation in her memory.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Good-natured ribbing is what happened when Tim McGraw discovered that his children's book co-author and also co-writer on "I Run to You," Tom Douglas, had given a song to Lady Antebellum that he might have wanted to record. “(Tim) You know I never heard it until they cut a record on it. (Tom) (laughs) But just imagine the hit it could have been if Tim would’ve cut it. (Tim) If only! (Tom) Lady Antebellum, they just can’t get any radio airplay. (Tim) I know, I feel sorry for them. (Tom) And then they can’t get an opening slot on any big tour. (Tim) I’m sure I had the demo. I’m sure it’s in my truck somewhere. (Tom) (laughs).” All kidding aside, Tim's delighted for Lady A's success, and is also delighted to have them as part of his "Southern Voice" tour.

Voting just started for the ACM Awards, but already Keith Urban has won. He's been named the recipient of the ACM Jim Reeves International Award for his outstanding contributions to the acceptance of country music throughout the world.

They're having so much fun they decided to stay out on the road even more. The George Strait-Reba-Lee Ann Womack tour has added fall dates, and the April 28 Nashville show has been moved to September 11th. Tickets for the original date will be honored, so no worries there.

Kenny Chesney has teamed up with the National Parks Conservation Association and Nature Valley to raise a million dollars to preserve America's parks. Through May 9th, Kenny will give $1 from each ticket purchased for "Kenny Chesney: Summer in 3D" to the campaign. If that raises half a million, then Nature Valley will kick in the other half. Kenny says, "There's nothing better than being outside enjoying the parks, the lakes and the oceans, and that’s what makes protecting our national parks so important."

The seventh annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic will be held May 21st and 22nd in Norman, Oklahoma. The night before the tournament, there'll be a concert, silent auction and live auction, with prizes like a cruise, country star autographed memorabilia, a Food Network experience and much more. The tournament raises funds for the OK Kids Korral, a lodge to house pediatric cancer patients at the Oklahoma University Medical Center.

Taylor Swift is up for the 2010 Time 100, a list of what Time Magazine calls the 100 most influential people in the world. The list will be published April 29th, and there's still time for you to vote.

Alan Jackson's Freight Train tour hits the tracks this weekend, and rehearsals are going on for him and his opening acts, Josh Turner and Chris Young.

Have you traveled to see Jason Aldean? There's a new YouTube contest custom-made for you, and you could win some pretty cool stuff, including a new Flip camera.

And Jake Owen has a contest of his own going on, sort of like an on-line Biggest Loser. He and fans are embroiled in a fitness challenge, where they have to check in with their weight each Monday, and submit photos to show their progress. The contest is over June 14th, and the one with the biggest body change gets to hang with Jake on a boat on the 4th of July.

In the "oh, how sweet" vein, Reba met her oldest fan last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. He's 95, and told her he'd been waiting 95 years to meet her. He also confessed that the show was his very first country concert ever.

Tim McGraw has been warming up to throw out the first pitch at the sold-out Tulsa Driller's opening game tomorrow at ONEOK Field.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Well, now they've done it! Zac Brown Band is the first country band in history to have four number one songs from a debut album. Congrats, guys!

Are you into country music videos? Then you'll want to vote for the CMT Music Awards. Nominees were announced yesterday, and include Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum and Sugarland, who each are nominated in four categories. Other nominees include Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and Zac Brown Band. Vote in the first round now. The winners will be announced on May 11th.

Last week, Taylor Swift's "Fearless" tour logged it's one millionth ticket purchase. It was at the Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas, and was a college student attending her third Taylor Swift concert. She was heading for her seat when someone asked to see her ticket, verified the ticket number and told her she was going to have a slightly different seat for the night. She and her sisters were upgraded to front row seats and also got to go backstage to meet Taylor.

Dierks Bentley's Miles & Music for Kids hits Georgia on May 23rd. The ride starts at Killer Creek Harley Davidson and ends up at Lake Lanier Islands. The ride and post-ride concert will benefit Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta. Tickets go on sale this Saturday and start at $20.

Another benefit, this one for Challenge America, a group that assists injured military members and their families, will get you 90 minutes of Vince Gill's undivided attention. Do you want to talk golf with him? Fine. Guitar playing? That works. Wanna write a song with him? You'll have 90 minutes to try to get it done. An online auction is going on now, and ends on April 16th. As of this morning, the high bid was $1500.

Congrats to Eric Gunderson of Love and Theft and his new wife, Emily Hagar. They were married on Saturday.

Condolences to Terri Clark, who's Mom passed away Easter night after a long battle with cancer.

Trisha Yearwood is on Good Morning America and The View today, celebrating the release of her latest cookbook, "Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood." And catch Reba tonight on Dancing With the Stars. She'll sing "I Keep On Loving You" and "I Want a Cowboy."

Happy birthday to Merle Haggard, who turns 73 today.

Today's Country Tidbits

If you were hoping to see Brad Paisley's video prank on wife Kimberly, you'll have to go to the Nashville Film Festival to see it. “I have no plans for this to go anywhere else. Unfortunately I don’t really want it out, I don’t want it on the internet or anything like that. But to make a few little film festival stops and let people see it then people don’t own it, they don’t have it at home, and they don’t have a video of my son and everything else. But, it’s fun to do.”

Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley have been tapped to perform a benefit concert in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia at a PGA tour event. The golf tournament is the week of July 29 through August 1st, and badges which get you in to all the golf, plus allow access to the concert, start at $147.

Watch a video of Carrie helping out the Pedigree Adoption Drive. She's holding a cute Beagle puppy that gets the hiccups.

And Carrie Underwood will be part of "Idol Gives Back" this year, performing on the show that launched her career.

Friday night in Knoxville, Reba had some extra star-power in her show. In addition to Lee Ann Womack, who goes on stage at each tour stop to sing "Does He Love You" with Reba, she was also joined by Kelly Clarkson, Brooks & Dunn and Melissa Peterman. Lucky Knoxville crowd!

Luke Bryan has enlisted the aide of over 40 celebrities for the second installment of his "Don't Vote for Luke Bryan" campaign for ACM Top New Artist.

Sugarland has been in the studio, and the resulting album, tentatively entitled "The Incredible Machine," should be out in the fall.

Reba will perform on the Dancing With The Stars results show tomorrow night.

Joe Nichols will sing the National Anthem at the Arizona Diamondbacks opening day game today.

Happy birthday to Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Tim McGraw has some suggestions for your Easter weekend and your Easter baskets: “Either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday go to church and have family in and hide the Easter eggs. Have or ham, turkey, dressing, butter beans and cornbread. The whole deal. Fill up a basket with "My Little Girl" and "Love Your Heart" books and hand them out to your kids.”

There's a big party in Amarillo, Texas tomorrow, but it doesn't have anything to do with Easter weekend. Jimmy Wayne is expected to reach Amarillo today, and Amarillo is the half-way point in his walk from Nashville to Phoenix to raise awareness about teen homelessness. He will have walked 977 miles when he hits the Amarillo city limits, and a meet and greet party will be held at the Hastings Record Store there.

Dierks Bentley has put the finishing touches on his bluegrass cd, "Up On the Ridge," and is pretty pumped about it. It includes a cover of the U2 hit, "Pride (In the Name of Love)" and he says, “I love being able to listen to my own record. It’s like, gah, it makes me cry and I wrote it. I didn’t write it but I sung it and it’s just, it’s art. It’s beautiful.”

In an interview yesterday, Chris Young was talking about his plans as Alan Jackson's opening act - which songs he would include in his set, and which he would leave out. One that he said he wouldn't be singing is "The Man I Want to Be," his current, destined-for-#1 single. Instead, he said, he's taking lessons and practicing really hard on an old passion - miming. He said the part of the show where "The Man I Want to Be" usually happens will be filled with him doing a mime version - "The Mime I Want to Be." He then remembered something else he wanted to say - April Fools!

And don't forget that voting is underway for the ACM Entertainer of the Year and New Artist of the Year. You can choose between Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and Zac Brown Band for Entertainer of the Year, and between Luke Bryan, Gloriana and Joey+Rory for Best New Artist. You can also vote on which song you want to hear Brooks & Dunn perform on the April 18th show, plus enter to win an ACM prize package.

Here's Carrie Underwood's campaign video for your Entertainer of the Year vote.

The two Alabama guys who are trying to get a hug from Taylor Swift have a new challenge from her to earn that hug. She's asking them to use her lucky number 13 in the most creative way possible. They tweeted that they are up for the challenge, so we'll see what they come up with!

Are you in a country band? Looking for that big break? BamaJam Music and Arts Festival has launched the Jim Beam Battle of the Bands, with the winner getting a festival performance slot and a recording session with noted producer James Stroud. Enter before April 21st, and good luck!

Watch Rascal Flatts on the Ellen DeGeneres Show today.

Happy birthday today to Billy Dean, Emmylou Harris, Leon Russell, and to Hal Ketchum on Sunday.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

It's April Fools Day, and time to reflect on one of the best April Fools pranks ever, perpetrated by a country music star. Trace Adkins and his bride-to-be, Rhonda Forlaw, were planning their wedding, and Trace had decided he would sing at it. He had his management company send a contract and a bill for $7,500 to Rhonda's family. They're still married and have three daughters together, so guess that prank was forgiven.

A bit of controversy around Fox News' show, "Real American Stories" with Sarah Palin tonight. Toby Keith is featured on the show, but he only found out a couple of days ago. He gave the interview to a Fox reporter in 2008, talking about his song, "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue," and the interview never aired. It's being recycled for use in tonight's show, and it will probably look like Sarah interviewed him, but she didn't. LL Cool J was also supposed to be featured, but he asked that his interview segment be pulled from the show. Toby said, "I would have thought it polite and responsible to contact me first before using it for this, but it's their interview and they can do whatever they want with it."

New artists have been added to the nightly concert line-up for the 2010 CMA Music Festival. Trace Adkins, Easton Corbin, Danny Gokey, Randy Houser, Justin Moore, Blake Shelton and Josh Turner will all put on shows, joining previously announced performers Jason Aldean, Billy Currington, Alan Jackson, Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride, Reba, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Kellie Pickler, Rascal Flatts, Darius Rucker, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and the Zac Brown Band. The 2010 CMA Music Festival runs June 10-13 in Nashville.

ACM Entertainer of the Year and Best New Artists voting is scheduled to start today. Keith Urban has posted a video to help you remember what his 2009 was like.

Rodney Atkins has teamed up with Velveeta Shells & Cheese to give one lucky winner a private concert by Rodney and a cookout in their own back yard.

Jewel fans, take note - she's playing two shows at the intimate Blue Bird Cafe on April 28th as a fund-raiser for Project Clean Water. Tickets are $100 and $250 and there isn't a bad seat in the house.

Haven't bought Gretchen Wilson or Alan Jackson's new albums yet? Want to hear them before you buy them? You can, on MySpace Music this week.

Easton Corbin is on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Patty Loveless is on the Late Show with David Letterman, Toby Keith is on Fox News Real American Stories, and GAC is where you'll find Trace Adkins hosting the ACM Top New Artists show.