Monday, May 31, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Today is Memorial Day. You might see more red, white and blue today than usual - more families spending time together than usual and more people going shopping or to the movies than usual for a Monday.

For most of us, we're fortunate to associate Memorial Day with fun family events, patriotic parades and ceremonies.

For some, though, Memorial Day is the day a nation pays tribute to a member of their family who was willing to serve in the military, to go into harm's way and who would have loved to come back to the country they were willing to die in support of.

Instead, they did die for that country.

Memorial Day is not just a remembrance of those who gave their lives for America. It's also a day to remember the families they left behind. Widows and widowers. Mothers and fathers, Brothers and sisters. Friends and lovers. When a service man or woman falls in combat, their life is lost, and countless other lives are broken.

Today, Memorial Day, honor the fallen and remember those who have also given so much for our freedom. Say thank you...and maybe a prayer.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

As we head into Memorial Day weekend, it's good to remember those who serve. Zac Brown Band did a USO tour in April, and filmed it. They've produced it up and titled it, "For Those Who Serve." Part one is online now.

Tuesday, former oil platform worker Trace Adkins paid tribute to the 11 rig workers whose lives were lost in the April 20th explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. Diamond Rio was also part of the commemoration ceremony.

Trace is about to be the one honored, as he'll be awarded the Daughters of the American Revolution's Medal of Honor for his patriotic leadership and humanitarian works.

Congrats on new wall bling to:
Sugarland - "Enjoy the Ride" is triple platinum
Zac Brown Band "The Foundation" and Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" cds are double platinum. Lady A's song, "Need You Now," is triple platinum.
Brad Paisley's "She's Everything" is platinum, and Kenny Chesney's "Out Last Night" and "Never Wanted Nothing More" have both gone gold.

The members of Rascal Flatts, alongside a highway, picking up trash? No, it's not court-ordered service for traffic violations, it the guys doing their part to keep a beautiful state beautiful.

And Rascal Flatts want to make you their Roadie for a Day at the show of your choice.

Rumors are flying that the Carrie Underwood/Mike Fisher wedding is happening very soon. Right now, they're just rumors...

Uncle Kracker will release a country album on June 22nd. "Happy Hour: The South River Road Sessions" will include his current hit, "Smile."

Legacy Recordings has a new "Set List" on the way July 13th, featuring remastered live performances from Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Alabama and other country greats.

Don't forget to watch Darius Rucker's concert on the Speed channel Saturday night.

Brad Paisley will be part of the 2010 National Memorial Day Concert Sunday on PBS.

Happy birthday to Phil Vassar, who is 46 today, and to Wynonna, who turns 46 on Sunday.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Willie finally did it! The signature long red pigtail is gone, replaced with the masculine version of a bob. Will he replace his well-worn guitar next?

Lee won, but Carrie stole the show on American Idol last night.

Presenters for the 2010 CMT Music Awards have been announced, and as usual, they're from all walks of life. TV cook Paula Deen, the NFL's Terrell Owens, NASCAR legend Richard Petty and other non-country stars join Zac Brown Band and Trisha Yearwood as trophy presenters. Kid Rock is the show's host, and jokes that he'll just read from the teleprompter and change hats now and then to keep things interesting. The awards air live on CMT on June 9th.

Lady Antebellum will donate all of the proceeds from their June 10th fan club party and concert at the CMA Music Festival to Tennessee flood relief. You can even watch the party online for $5, which will be donated.

Zac Brown Band is donating free music to people who drop off a letter to a US soldier at a Ram Trucks dealership. So far, more than 70,000 letters have been collected, and they're shooting for a million.

Last week in Charlotte, Darius Rucker performed a private concert in support of the Lowe's USO Family Fund, an organization that helps military families through deployment and afterward. The concert was hosted by NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson and will air on the Speed channel Saturday night just before the running of the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

If you're planning to summer vacation in the Bahamas this year, you might want to see if your favorite artist will be there in concert before you book anything. Taylor Swift will perform June 19th and Lady Antebellum will be there September 18th, as part of the Atlantis Live 2010 concert series. More acts are planned, so check with your travel agent.

Students who modeled their yearbook after a Brad Paisley album cover have stirred up a hornet's nest in Plainview, TX. They took the "Time Well Wasted" album cover and title and used it as the theme for this year's annual, but the teachers were not amused. The students say they were using Paisley's well-known sarcasm, and intended the book to be a tribute to the time well spent at high school. Yearbook adviser Nicole Jackson resigned over the flap, which is still swirling. Brad Paisley issued a tweet about it: "Paisley, please report to detention!"

And from the "you knew it had to happen" file, Little Big Town is hosting weddings in their Little White Church tent party on the Country Throwdown tour. So far, two couples have been married in the tent, and the members of LBT attended both ceremonies and signed the marriage license as official witnesses.

Miranda Lambert is on the Bonnie Hunt show today.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

It's the season finale of American Idol tonight, and Carrie Underwood returns to the show, performing her current hit, "Undo It." It's also the final show for Simon Cowell, and Carrie chimed in on who could fill his shoes. “I think it surprised everybody. I honestly have no idea what’s going to happen. People are like ‘Oh do you know who they are going to get to replace him? I don’t know anything, but you know I think they did a great job with Ellen. I wouldn’t have immediately thought of her to be a judge so I’m sure whatever they come up with will be great.”

Faith Hill and Emmylou Harris have been asked to perform at a gala on June 2nd in honor of Sir Paul McCartney. Whoever was in charge of naming the show, which will air on July 28th on PBS, needs an editor, though. "Paul McCartney: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in Performance at the White House" is the name of the show. Suppose they could have wedged a few more words into the title??

Benefit concerts continue in and around Nashville, pouring money into the flood relief efforts. Kix Brooks just hosted the "As Long As We Have Voices" show at his Arrington Vineyards, just south of Nashville. He performed, along with Joey + Rory, Ty Herndon, Keith Stegall and others. Tickets were $100 for the sold-out show, and included a bottle of wine from the vineyards. Proceeds went to the Salvation Army's flood relief efforts.

Love to play the game Rock Band? Want to help out the American Red Cross with middle Tennessee flood relief? Musicians like Big Kenny are donating songs to Rock Band Relief, and those songs will be available in a couple of months via download from the Rock Band website. Proceeds from those downloads will go to assist in rebuilding Nashville and the surrounding communities devastated by the floods.

Dierks Bentley's new website is up, and he's proud of all of the changes. His dog, Jake, even has his own forum topic page!

Jewel has a new song out, with a cd coming out on June 8th. She was on Live with Regis & Kelly yesterday, and here's the video in case you missed it.

And Reba's "Unplugged" episode is online for your viewing pleasure.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Tonight in Nashville, a birthday celebration begins, and the city gets the gifts. The "Opry Guitar Jam for Flood Relief," featuring Vince Gill, Brad Paisley, Ricky Skaggs and Steve Wariner, is the inaugural event in the Grand Ole Opry's 85th anniversary celebration. Donations for flood relief will be accepted during the show, which will stream online.

Alan Jackson gave of his time and talents on Sunday in West Virginia, where he played a benefit concert for the families affected by the Montcoal mine explosion in April. The 27 families who lost relatives in the disaster attended the show free, and were also taken backstage for a reception with Alan. The money from the show will go to the families, and online donations are still being taken.

Reba could be headed to Broadway. Last week, she attended a reading for the Broadway production of "The Unsinkable Molly Brown." She was supposed to play the role of Molly Brown in the movie, "Titanic," but had to back out because of schedule conflicts.

11 million people watched the Brooks & Dunn special on Sunday night. Relive your favorite performances whenever you wish, as they're archived online.

Also on Sunday night, Taylor Swift was storming around onstage, when her feet went right out from under her. She's a pro, right back up and kept right on singing.

Can't get enough Taylor Swift? Check out People magazine's photo gallery of Taylor and her purses, and Us Weekly's collection of her best style moments.

If your travels take you past a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store today, pick up Wynonna's "Love Heals." A portion of the proceeds goes to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

The Brooks & Dunn special last night was a tribute to two men who've had 23 number one songs, sold over 30 million albums and who have won more ACM awards than anyone else - 27, with three being Entertainer of the Year awards. The star-studded show was taped in Las Vegas, right after the ACM award show.

Lady Antebellum is ready to hit the road as headliners. The 35-city Need You Now 2010 tour launches on September 20th and runs through November. David Nail is the opening act.

Alan Jackson's Freight Train tour is over already - Saturday night, Charleston West Virginia was the last stop. Chris Young, who was his opening act, tweeted that it was over way too soon, and really enjoyed learning from AJ on the tour. “Alan was a huge, huge influence on me and still is. And you know, I think that’s one of those things. I mean, he is that guy. He is a traditionalist, singer/songwriter. I probably run around on stage a lot more than Alan does, but other than that…. I mean, it’s really been amazing to watch his show.”

Taylor Swift leads the Billboard Hot Tours list, with $8.1 million in revenue from eight tour stops. She's made their list six times this year, but this is the first time she's topped it.

Jimmy Wayne has made it to Albuquerque New Mexico in his walk across America. He estimates he'll reach Phoenix Arizona on July 8th, and you know there'll be a huge party when he does. As a former homeless teen, he's spending half of this year simulating what life is like for homeless teens, who have gotten too old for foster care and have no one to lean on. The kindness of strangers has lifted Jimmy's spirits along his trek. Learn more and follow Jimmy's progress on the official Project Meet Me Halfway website.

Danny Gokey's flood relief center is open and taking donations. His non-profit Sophia's Heart Foundation is providing food, water, clothing, cleaning supplies and other needed items to people who lost their homes in the Nashville floods. Mail or drop off donations to 5320 Hickory Hollow Parkway, Antioch, TN 37013, or make a $10 donation by texting ONEHEART to 85944.

Country Weekly features a story about how country artists are helping with Nashville's flood relief efforts. A story that's not in there features Trace Adkins, who's raising money on his tour stops and radio station visits. In Portland, Oregon, his visit to a radio station raised a guitar case full of cash when he offered to do an impromptu meet and greet for anyone who donated at least $5. Fans flocked to the studios, and Trace signed everything from a hubcap to a pair of bull horns.

Looking for a new place to call home? Got about seven and a half million dollars to plunk down on it? Then you might be interested in Sheryl Crow's 150-acre estate outside of Nashville. It comes complete with a recording studio.

New music available tomorrow includes a 3-song download from iTunes by Chris Young. He says his musical influences are Keith Whitley, John Anderson and Vern Gosdin, and he's recorded versions of their biggest hits. The "Voices EP" features "Chisled in Stone," "I'm Over You" and "Swingin."

Happy birthday to Rosanne Cash, who turns 55 today.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Forbes Magazine is out with their annual "Country Music's 10 Top-Earning Stars" list, and Kenny Chesney tops it, with an estimated $50 million raked in in 2009. Here's the rest of the Top 10:
Toby Keith - $48 million
Taylor Swift - $45 million
Rascal Flatts - $45 million
Tim McGraw - $30 million
Keith Urban - $28 million
George Strait - $25 million
Brad Paisley - $22 million
Alan Jackson - $15 million
Carrie Underwood - $13 million

Brad Paisley's "H2O" tour opens tonight in Virginia Beach, in spite of losing nearly all of his stage gear in the Nashville flood. The show is more than just a show - there's the "Water World Plaza" which includes a fishing simulator, a dunking booth and a "Hope Through Healing Hands" booth. After the gates open but before the main stage fires up with Justin Moore and Darius Rucker, there's a Plaza Stage, featuring Easton Corbin, Steel Magnolia and Josh Thompson.

Carrie Underwood, as reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year, gets to decide where donations to ACM's Lifting Lives initiative go this year. Together, they've launched the Temporary Home Fund to support Tennessee flood relief efforts. She's encouraging those who want to help to text ACM to 501501 to make a $10 donation.

Lady Antebellum was tapped to sing "Need You Now" in Simish for the new Sims3 game, available in June. Catch the performance, and the sims of Hillary, Charles and Dave.

Jimmy Wayne is still walking across America to raise awareness of the issues teens in foster care face when they age out of the system. His nephew joined him on the road a couple of days ago, and is making videos of their travels & travails.

The Bonaroo line-up is published by date and stage, so if you're going, you can be sure to see your favorite artists. Miranda Lambert, Jamey Johnson and the Zac Brown Band are just some of the country stars that'll be part of the festival June 10-13 in Manchester, TN.

Yesterday, Dierks Bentley found himself somewhere he's never been before - the Oval Office, meeting the President of the United States. He tweeted, "kind of making it hard to fall asleep" last night.

On tv today, catch Dolly Parton on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and
tonight, Brooks & Dunn and Reba are on The Late Show with David Letterman. That same threesome shows up on the Today show Sunday morning, then Sunday night, it's "The ACM Presents: Brooks & Dunn - The Last Rodeo." The show taped the night after the ACM awards in Las Vegas, and the show is a star-studded, music-filled tribute to the duo who've given us 20 years of great music. There are also a lot of laughs in the show, including Ronnie Dunn doing an impersonation of Taylor Swift. Can't wait to see that!

Carrie Underwood will perform "Undo It" on American Idol next week.

Happy birthday to Jewel, who turns 36 on Sunday.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Going to the CMA Music Festival? Big fan of great songwriting? Then you want to put this benefit concert on your list: the Musicians on Call Songwriter Series will host a tribute to Kenny Chesney on June 10th, with a guitar pull featuring Mac MacAnally, Craig Wiseman, Brett James, Neil Thrasher Wendell Mobley and Casey Beathard. You can buy tickets online before you get to Nashville for the CMA Music Festival.

Brooks & Dunn have a house named for them on Music Row. Knoxville Habitat for Humanity and the Charlie And Moll Anderson Family Foundation are teaming up to build a neighborhood over the next 10 years. A major part of the fund-raising happens at benefit concerts, and Brooks & Dunn headlined the first one. Next year's home will be named for Martina McBride, who headlined the second concert last year.

Martina McBride has a new manager - Clint Higham of Morris Artist Management. Clint is the same guy who manages Kenny Chesney and Jake Owen, and Martina's excited about working with him. Of Martina, Clint says, "Martina is a superstar at the top of her game, but I believe there are many layers to her career that have yet to be explored."

Donations are still pouring in to GAC for the Music City Keep On Playin' benefit for flood relief. You can donate through this Sunday, either online or by texting GAC to 501501. Proceeds benefit the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

When we think of Nashville musicians, we think of the superstars with big fan clubs and big bucks. But most musicians in Nashville live and play in relative obscurity, and have lost not just their livelihood but the instruments they used to make a living in the flood waters. Music Rising, a partnership formed after Hurricane Katrina to assist musicians with instrument repair and replacement, is pitching in after Nashville's floods. Administered by the Gibson Foundation, the charitable arm of Gibson Guitars, Funds will also be used to help flood victims get back into their houses more quickly. Donations are appreciated, and you can donate and read more about it online.

Here's a sneak-peek at this Sunday night's Brooks & Dunn tribute show.

Do you have kids who own Miley Cyrus jewelry? Toss it - Wal-Mart has pulled it from the shelves due to high levels of cadmium, a toxic element. It's thought to be safe to wear, but ingestion can cause bone softening, kidney failure and cancer.

Reba and Brooks & Dunn were on the Today show this morning, and they'll be on the Late Show with David Letterman tomorrow night.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

From the "it's hard to be a prophet in your own hometown" playbook, Tim McGraw says his daughters don't think he's cool. He's in Good Housekeeping magazine, talking about his life, and says his chore is taking out trash. Another assignment - hiring contractors to finish projects that he starts and can't do.

New performers have been added to the roster for the CMT Music Awards. Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Zac Brown Band and Kid Rock will be performing, along with previously announced Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, Toby Keith and Lady Antebellum. Voting continues through June 8th.

Now the truth can be told...Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum is more than just a songstress, she's a style-stress. She's featured in this month's InStyle magazine, where she answers the Sexy Dozen on page 267.

Somebody needs to help Jake Owen. He gets lonely on the road, and gets lonely when he's home. “I don’t have a girlfriend, I don’t have mom and dad or family up here, and when I come home off the road – other than my dog – and I did this yesterday, got home from the bus, got home to my house took my dog out, he did his thing, and he and I just sat there and stared at each other for a couple of hours. I mean, it’s kind of weird not having a lot to do when you come home.” Awwww...

Little Big Town is on the Country Throwdown tour, and they're holding a Little White Church Reception backstage at each tour stop. Pick a city, and enter to be part of the fun.

Yesterday, Taylor Swift added two new awards to her trophy collection: Artist of the Year from the National Association of Recording Merchandisers and Song of the Year for "Love Story" at the BMI Pop Awards.

Chely Wright will be on the Oprah show today, and Wynonna is on the celebrity look-alike show "I Get That A Lot" tonight on CBS. She'll be posing as a tire-store employee, pranking the customers.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

The Country Throwdown Tour started rolling this past weekend in Florida, and it's not your average concert. Two stages and nine hours of great country music, headlined by Montgomery Gentry make it much more of a festival than just a concert. The parking lot vibe is reminiscent of a Jimmy Buffet show, and life events happen at shows like that. A contest winner named Randy got to go backstage and won a private song from the Eli Young Band. He knew he would have them play "Always a Love Song" and would propose to his girlfriend Tricia during the song. Their special moment will live forever on YouTube.

Jack Ingram made a promise to himself to write a song a week all this year, and so far he's on track. "Songwriter" magazine is following his progress. Read about it and hear the first cut, "America," on their website.

Shopping alert: Reba's going to add a line of purses and totes to her Dillard's merchandise. “I love purses and handbags. Matter of fact, we’re going into that real soon at Dillards. Big, they’re not going to be little petite purses yet. Maybe later.” By the way, she's a practical woman who still uses a purse she bought eleven years ago!

This weekend, Dolly Parton hosts a flood relief fundraising weekend at Dollywood, Dollywood's Splash Country and Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Proceeds from this weekend will all go to flood victims in middle Tennessee.

Here's the scoop on the big flood relief donations Sunday night: The ACM Lifting Lives initiative gave a quarter-million dollars, Big Machine Music Group, Delta Airlines, Jack Daniels distillery and Scripps Networks (parent company of GAC tv) each gave $100,000, as did Brad and Kimberly Paisley. Comcast, Humana and Ferguson Bath & Kitchen Gallery each gave $50,000, the box office take for the show was $44,000 and Hard Rock International gave $20,000. You can still donate to Music City Keep On Playin' to help rebuild Nashville. Online donations are still being accepted, or you can text GAC to 501501 to make a $10 donation.

At a Dierks Bently tour stop, Dierks found perhaps his biggest little fan, and he proclaimed her "better than any award!"

Dierks wraps up his "Up On The Ridge" tour this Saturday night at the Ryman in Nashville.

Jason Aldean is almost ready to award prizes in his Road Trips and Guitar Picks video contest. The finalists are posted, and the top three vote-getters will win a prize pack loaded with a Flip camera, iTunes gift card and autographed goodies. This is fan-voted, to go to it!

Look for "Now That's What I Call the USA (The Patriotic Country Collection) in stores on June 15th. Why do you want it? Because it features Carrie Underwood's "All American Girl," Trace Adkins' "Arlington," Brooks & Dunn's "Only in America" and tons more great songs about life in the USA. Out the same day is "Now That's What I Call Music! Volume 34" and it has a couple of country songs on it, too...Lady Antebellum's "American Honey" and Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me."

Joe Nichols is on the Tonight Show tonight.

Happy birthday to George Strait who turns 58 today, and David Nail, who turns 31.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Last night on the GAC telethon, deep pockets spilled cash. Brad Paisley, who himself lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in gear, gave $100,000. Delta Airlines kicked in a hundred grand, and the Academy of Country Music pledged $250,000.The "Music City Keep On Playin'" benefit concert for flood relief raised nearly 2 million dollars in the three hours it was on tv last night, and the phones stayed open for several more hours, allowing fans who couldn't get through during the show to call and donate, or just chat with the artists who were still manning the phone banks. You can easily give to make that number go higher. Just text GAC to 501501 to donate $10.

The Nashville Tenneseean newspaper has an excellent article about last night's telethon posted online, accompanied by a gallery of great photos taken by staff photographer Jae S. Lee.

Meanwhile, the Tim McGraw/Faith Hill-led flood relief concert nearly sold out as soon as the tickets went on sale Friday. All seats priced from $22.50 to $247.50 are gone. The VIP seats, priced at $1,000, are nearly sold out, but if you have deep pockets, there are still a few of those left. Check Ticketmaster to get them.

Miranda Lambert didn't see it coming at all when Blake proposed to her. “I was very surprised, very surprised. You know, bein’ a girl, you’re always like, ‘When are we gonna get married? When are we gonna get married? When am I gonna get a ring? I don’t care if we get married…just give me the ring,’ you know? (laughs) And I was shocked. I just…I didn’t know when or where or how, and I’m glad, ’cause I love surprises. Usually I can figure those things out, but I had no clue.”

Lady Antebellum is touring with Tim McGraw right now, but one of their fondest memories is opening for Martina McBride. Why? The food. Hillary explains, “It was this catering company out of Knoxville, they’re called Dega. They traveled with us. It felt like you were in a four-star restaurant. Organic, they had an industrial juicer. That was one thing that Martina felt so strongly about – making sure that everybody stays healthy and happy. Whenever you’re well-fed, you’re healthy and you’re happy.” As they're thinking of how to manage their own headlining tour, which they hope to roll out this fall, they're planning to take a page out of Martina's playbook where the food is concerned.

Jimmy Wayne is still walking across America to raise awareness of the kids in foster care who turn 18 with nowhere to go but the streets. He's in New Mexico, and Friday was caught in a rain storm in the desert.

On Friday in Nashville, James Otto felt his baby kick for the first time inside wife Amy's belly. Then on Saturday in Detriot, he got to meet the man he has looked up to since he was a kid, and the man who made him want to be a singer for a living...Bob Seger.

Jewel will be singing the National Anthem before the Indy 500, and catch Zac Brown Band on the David Letterman show tonight.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

On July 4th, as part of the celebration of our country's 234th birthday, Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker will perform with the National Symphony Orchestra for "A Capitol Fourth." But it'll be an even bigger day for Reba, who will receive a Congressional medal, the National Artistic Achievement Award. This is the fourth time the award has been given, and Reba joins composer John Williams, Latin music legends Gloria and Emilio Estefa and Stevie Wonder as recipients of the award.

Sunday night, GAC will air "Music City Keep on Playin' - A Benefit for Flood Relief" telethon. Initially planned as a two-hour show, it has grown to three hours because so many artists want to be part of it. Keith Urban, Martina McBride, Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, Kellie Pickler, Rodney Atkins, and Brad Paisley are all signed on, and the list of performers continues to grow. The show will air live from the Ryman Auditorium Sunday night, starting at 8 eastern.

Montgomery Gentry's "Country Throwdown" tour is kicking in 50 cents per ticket plus all the proceeds from merchandise sales for tour partners Montgomery Gentry, Jamey Johnson, Little Big Town, Jack Ingram, Eric Church, Eli Young Band and the artists on the Bluebird Stage towards flood relief efforts. The tour kicks off today and runs through June 20th, at which point a lump-sum check will go to Hands On Nashville. By the way, production rehearsal for the show was yesterday, and when it was over, Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry fixed a mess of crawfish for everyone.

A number one party in Nashville was just what the town needed, after dealing with flood-related issues for the past 12 days. Craig Wiseman and Luke Laird wrote "Hillbilly Bone," Blake Shelton sang it, and if you know anything about those three, you know they're all a bunch of kidders. The plaque presentation turned into a stand-up comedy routine when Craig quipped that he and Luke were just messing around when "Hillbilly Bone" was written. Blake replied, "It's tough enough to do interviews on shows like Chelsea Lately and talk about a song called 'Hillbilly Bone.' I've been defending that for awhile. But then to hear Craig Wiseman do an interview about how he and Luke were messing around and came up with the song called 'Hillbilly Bone'... Anyway, I'm the guy that sang it, but that's between y'all." In addition to the other keepsakes that were handed out, $10,000 in dog treats - "Hillbilly Dog Bones" - were given to the Nashville Humane Society.
Miranda Lambert was at the party, sporting her engagement ring and her Chihuahua pup, Cher. A self-confessed addict to wedding reality shows like "Say Yes to the Dress" and "Whose Wedding Is It Anyway," Miranda quipped, "I don't think I can talk myself out at least one trip to Klenfeld's Bridal!" Blake says that as tough as Miranda's image is, she's "200% girl" when it comes to planning their wedding.

Jewel has come up with an innovative album launch idea: a virtual "Sweet And Wild" concert and party, simulcast at theatres, private clubs and Morton's Steakhouse and Maggiano's Little Italy locations. Steel Magnolia will be Jewel's opening act.

Well, this was a secret for a while, wasn't it? Vince Gill's daughter Jenny married her childhood sweetheart, Josh Van Valkenburg last Saturday at Vince and Amy's Belle Meade home. The couple is honeymooning in Jamaica.

Today is the on-sale date for "Nashville Rising," the Tim McGraw/Faith Hill-led benefit concert to be held in Nashville at the Bridgestone Arena on June 22nd. Tickets go on sale at 10am eastern online and at all Ticketmaster outlets.

Remember, tomorrow is the CMA Music Fest volunteer fair. If you'd like to be part of the festival, head to the CMA offices at 1 Music Circle S., Nashville, TN 37203 to apply between nine and noon central time Saturday. Fill out your application ahead of time, drive safe and good luck!

David Nail is the star of a 6-part series titled "Making the Team." The online show follows David's spring training tryout with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Sunday night, catch Trace Adkins singing on the Miss USA Pageant, Wynonna on "Army Wives" and most of Nashville on "Music City Keep on Playin' - A Benefit for Flood Relief" on GAC.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

According to Victoria's Secret, Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift are pretty sexy! Both made the lingerie company's Sexy List: Taylor for Sexiest Hair and Carrie for Sexiest Legs.

One small kiss, and she's nominated for an award! Apparently Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner shared a pretty special kiss in the movie "Valentine's Day." They were nominated for the MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss. Taylor says, about playing that role, “Our scene was so much fun to do. It was hilarious doing this scene. We played the high school couple that I would just roll my eyes at in high school. Ridiculous kind of airhead like couple and it was so hilarious to play those people.”

Got a serious Taylor Swift fan in your life? Got a lot of money to throw around? Then spend it for a couple of great causes - making the Taylor fan happy and helping restore instrumental music to public schools. VH1 Save the Music and have teamed up to give someone A Night to Remember With Taylor Swift. The winner gets a trip to Washington DC, a meet & greet with Taylor, and an autographed guitar. Bidding starts today and goes through Sunday, May 23.

Tomorrow night, Zac Brown Band and Alison Krauss will play the first Hangout Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Organizers of the festival have been rounding up clean-up crews to fight the effects of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and are encouraging fans to bring donations and supplies to the shows this weekend.

Toby Keith's seventh annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic in Norman, OK, will be held May 21st and 22nd. The concert will feature David Allan Coe, and the highlight - the auction - includes a yacht vacation, a Mexican vacation, and an on-set experience on "Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives." Memorabilia from stars like Garth Brooks, Darius Rucker, Bret Favre and more will also be up for bids. The proceeds benefit the Toby Keith Foundation, which is funding a 16-room guest lodge for pediatric cancer patients and their families at the Oklahoma University Medical Center.

Brad Paisley had NBC cameras following him as he toured the flooded Grand Ole Opry. Not much of the 10-minute segment made it to air last night, but the whole segment is here.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Did you miss Keith Urban, Sarah Buxton and Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon singing the Rolling Stones chestnut, "Tumbling Dice" earlier this week? See it now...

If you missed it the first time, you can see it tonight - Taylor Swift and Def Leppard's CMT Crossroads episode re-airs tonight. And get up early to catch Trace Adkins on Fox & Friends tomorrow morning between 6 and 9.

Happy birthday to Darius Rucker, who is 44 today.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert are engaged. She's been sporting the ring since Sunday, when he popped the question and she said "yes." About the diamond and platinum ring, Miranda said, "We've been together for five years, so he knew exactly what I wanted but it's so much more perfect than I could have picked out myself." Blake popped the question while the two were out in the woods near Miranda's Oklahoma home, and before he asked Miranda, Blake talked to her Dad to get his blessing. No word on a wedding date yet, but I'll keep you posted.

Blake Shelton will perform a free show in Evansville, Indiana on May 26th. Fan club members have first crack at the free tickets for the Roberts Stadium show, which will be filmed for release later this year.

Brad Paisley goes into rehearsals today with a completely new set, new instruments and new sound boxes. His tour opens just two weeks after he lost all of his tour gear in the flood in Nashville, but he says his guys are miracle workers, and the tour will mean so much more to them all this year than ever before. And this little tease about what to expect when Brad's on stage: he says even if your tickets are way in the back, you could be in the front row at some point in the show.

The CMT Music Award nominees were announced yesterday, and Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood all have three nominations each. At two each are Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Steel Magnolia, Sugarland, Keith Urban and Zac Brown Band. These awards are fan-voted, and you can vote as often as you want. The awards will be handed out on June 9th.

Wanna be part of CMA Music Festival in a really special way? This Saturday in Nashville, the CMA Music Festival Volunteer Fair will take place from 9 to noon, central time. Volunteers have to be at least 18, and will be assigned jobs like working in the information booths or handing out samples. In return, you'll get free parking, event t-shirts, you'll be fed while you're working and you'll get free tickets to one of the nightly concerts at LP Field.

Taylor Swift will be in New York City on June 17th, accepting the Hal David Starlight Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala. The award recognizes up and coming songwriters who make a significant impact on the music industry. I'd say Talor qualifies, wouldn't you?

Can't wait to have your own copy of Kenny Chesney: Summer in 3D? You can pre-order the 2D version on DVD and Blu-Ray at K-Mart's website, and on June 13th, it'll be in K-Mart stores nationwide. As incentive to pre-order, you can enter to win autographed merchandise and a trip for two to see Kenny in concert in Las Vegas.

How do you christen a huge cruise ship? With a huge star, that's how. Reba will be breaking the champagne over the bow of the Norwegian Cruise Line's biggest ship ever, the Norwegian Epic, on July 2nd in New York City. The 4200 passenger vessel will go into service immediately after Reba does the honors.

Happy birthday to Kix Brooks, who turns 55 today.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

The Nashville flood benefit concerts continue to multiply - Tim McGraw and Faith Hill will host an all-star show on June 22 at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena. Proceeds from "Nashville Rising: A Benefit Concert for Flood Recovery" will go to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. Already signed on for the show are Brooks & Dunn, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Amy Grant, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Leann Rimes, Miley Cyrus and Michael W. Smith. More artists are expected to join the fun, and tickets go on sale Friday at all Ticketmaster outlets.

Last year, David Nail and his wife bought an 80 year old home just south of Nashville. Little did they suspect at the time that theirs would be the hardest-hit home in their neighborhood when the floods came. “I keep telling all of these people that keep coming to my house, ‘Trust me, I just sing for a living. I don’t know anything about any of this stuff.’ So, I’m trying to get an idea of why our house was effected so much so I can try as best as I can to avoid it in the future.”

CMT, which has been running its network from a remote location since their building on Commerce Street was flooded, is back home again. The power was restored to their building yesterday, so operations are being moved back in as the mud is cleaned out.

John Rich was so moved and inspired by the volunteers helping after the floods that he wrote a song about it. "Lend a Hand" is available for free at his website.

Wynonna is the latest country artist to have a line of products for sale at Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores. Starting on May 24, you can get Wynonna shirts, mugs, journals, wallets, cosmetic bags and sunglasses.

New #1 country song on Billboard this week is Chris Young's "The Man I Want to Be." He's riding high with this hit song, plus an opening slot on Alan Jackson's "Freight Train" tour. “If I could go back in time and like see myself as a kid, you know, singing along to Alan Jackson records, and be like, ‘Man, you have no idea. You’re gonna open for this guy one day.’ I probably wouldn’t believe myself. Just to be honest. I mean, this really is one of those things that is such a big deal.”

If you missed Miranda Lambert performing her new song, "The House that Built Me," on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, here it is.

New music in stores today includes "Shaken Not Stirred" from Jeff Cook, and the self-titled debut CD from Matt Kennon. A new group called 4Troops also released their self-titled debut today. From the name, you might guess it's four guys who are former military, and also that the money they make will go to support the troops currently serving, and you'd be right!

The Golf Channel has an hour-long special filmed at Darius Rucker's charity golf tournament, "Monday After the Masters," tonight at 8 eastern.

Luke Bryan is on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Laura Bell Bundy is on Chelsea Lately tonight. A little birdie twittered that Keith Urban, backed up by Sarah Buxton and Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild, will perform on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon tonight.

Happy birthday to Mark Henrdon of Alabama today - he's 56.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Over the weekend, musicians were allowed into the buildings at Soundcheck, the rehearsal and storage facility where most of Nashville's musicians kept their equipment. Brad Paisley posted photos of his ruined tour equipment, including this acoustic guitar. His 1968 Paisley Telecaster wasn't was at his house when the flood happened. Steve Azar estimates he's lost $100,000 in musical eqipment, and the owner of Soundcheck, Ben Jumper, lost a 1952 Les Paul Gold Top, valued at $100,000. Joe Glaser, owner of Glaser Instruments, figures he'll be up to his eyeballs in guitar repairs for at least the next year.

Brad Paisley and Alan Jackson were at the Ryman Auditorium over the weekend, supporting the Grand Ole Opry by playing shows. This Sunday, Brad headlines a concert at the Ryman called "Music City Keep On Playin' - A Benefit for Flood Relief." Along with Brad are Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, Rodney Atkins and more performers. The tickets are on sale today. And on June 9th, Marty Stuart's Late Night Jam will benefit Nashville Flood Relief. So far, Keith Urban is the biggest name on the bill, but Marty's promising surprise guests from the Country Music Hall of Fame and also the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. And crews cleaning up the Grand Ole Opry have taken the historic 6-foot circle of wood from the Opry stage and it's getting some special clean-up and TLC. President of the Grand Ole Opry Group, Steve Buchanan, says that the circle will be back in place on the Opry stage when the complex re-opens. That probably won't happen for at least 4 months.

Tomorrow in Nashville, there's a concert in Owen Bradley Park to raise money for flood relief. Darius Rucker, Steel Magnolia, Dailey and Vincent and New Orleans jazz band Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue will perform.

Danny Gokey's charitable foundation, Sophia's Heart, is working on renting an empty Best Buy store and stocking it with the supplies that flood victims need. Danny says, “We put a contract together and got insurance and got some organizations together, and want to sign on the dotted line for a 30-day lease on it. (The flood) is all over the news now, but what happens when it’s not on the news and people forget? We have trucks and volunteers lined up if we get the building. This isn’t about us — it’s about love. And love is action.”

Justin Moore gave up some details of his wedding day that are slightly less romantic than most wedding days. He came home from his bachelor party in the wee hours of the day and had to climb through a window to get into his house. His dogs seized the opportunity for escape, so Justin spent a couple of hours out looking for his dogs. While he was doing that, he was also on the phone with his manager, who was negotiating his record deal. The negotiations continued right through the ceremony (Justin ditched the phone before the ceremony, of course!) and the deal was signed after Justin and his new bride cut the wedding cake.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill were on Anderson Cooper 360 yesterday, showing him the devastation that the Nashville flooding has caused.

Brad Paisley also joined Anderson Cooper on the air.

Add Little Big Town and Terri Clark to the list of country music artists who have lost all of their tour gear in the Nashville flood. Brad Paisley, Toby Keith, Keith Urban and now Little Big Town are scrambling to beg/borrow/buy new equipment so that their shows can go on as scheduled.

Last night's flood relief telethon in Nashville raised nearly two million dollars for the Salvation Army, the Red Cross and the Second Harvest Food Bank. Billed as "Vince Gill and Friends," the friends included some of country music's top stars. Country stars, whether on the show or not, helped out, too - Reba donated 100 grand, Vince Gill and Amy Grand also donated $100,000 and Taylor Swift kicked in a cool half-million for flood relief. Dierks Bentley was on stage last night in Boston, and before he went on, he was trying to call in and make a donation. He couldn't get through - the lines were jammed. He even called Alison Krauss on her cell phone, which was busy, too. Most country artists took to their Twitter accounts, posting the phone number to call to donate. A national telethon is scheduled for May 16th on GAC. Brad Paisley, Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, Rodney Atkins and more stars are already on board for the telethon, which will be held at the Ryman Auditorium, and will air from 8-10pm eastern.

The Country Music Association announced that half of the proceeds from the CMA Music Festival will go to flood relief, and the other half, as it always does, will go to music education.

Jake Owen and Jerrod Niemann took over a bar Wednesday night to play and raise money for flood relief efforts. They'd raised over three grand before they hit the stage, and took donations from the crowd in exchange for playing their favorite songs. Elsewhere in Nashville, other stars pitched in:
Jake Owen served hot dogs and hamburgers to victims and work crews before he hit the stage, and Kellie Pickler helped a family move their non-flooded belongings to safety as looters tried to steal them.

Jimmy Wayne's walk to raise awareness about the problem of teen homelessness has gotten the attention of FosterClub, who has named Jimmy their national celebrity spokesperson. Jimmy's walked to New Mexico on his trek to Phoenix, Arizona from Nashville.

Dierks Bentley's Miles & Music for Kids motorcycle ride in Atlanta on May 23rd will feature Drivin' N Cryin', Josh Thompson, members of Cross Canadian Ragweed and a few more artists to be announced soon.

Willie Nelson has had to cancel and reschedule a bunch of tour dates because of a torn rotator cuff.

Miranda Lambert is on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on Sunday night.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

The national media is finally catching on to what we've known all week: Nashville's flood is a disaster of epic proportions. Two dozen lives were lost, at least, and whole neighborhoods are likely to be condemned, just as happened to New Orleans after Katrina. Kenny Chesney's home is severely damaged and may be a total loss after water consumed the entire first floor.

The stars are coughing up cash to help - Reba donated $100,000 to the Nashville Red Cross to help provide immediate assistance to those without homes in and around Nashville.

Today's Country Tidbits

There'll be a telethon in Nashville tonight from 7 to 10pm central. "Working 4 You: Flood Relief with Vince Gill & Friends" features not just Vince, but Keith Urban, Alison Krauss, Darius Rucker, Naomi Judd, Phil Vassar, Steve Wariner, Buddy Jewell, Lonestar, Lee Roy Parnell and Bo Bice. All proceeds go to the Salvation Army, Red Cross and Second Harvest Food Bank for flood relief efforts. You can watch online or on WSMV-TV out of Nashville.

Kenny Chesney's home flooded, and he had to use a boat to rescue what he could. Who knew he owned chest waders?

Toby Keith, Brad Paisley and Keith Urban are just some of the artists who lost all of their tour gear when SoundStage flooded this week. Toby had seven production trucks parked at SoundStage, and his stage set, production cases, backdrops and instruments all got soaked when the parking lot flooded. They are not planning on missing any tour dates, though - they've all started ordering new equipment, and will rent stuff to use until their new gear arrives. Brad Paisley has a sense of humor about it, as you might guess: "I sent a Tweet the other day that basically told people that when they come to the show just know that what you're seeing has been fully tested under water. You're talking about total cred. This is the H2O Tour. This isn't posers acting like we know about it. We've done it, buddy." His H2O tour kicks off in two weeks, and he says his guitar tech is "spending like a broker on the stock exchange floor" trying to line up enough equipment by then.

Lady Antebellum's latest Webisode Wednesday installment is all about how we can help Nashville recover from the devastation.

Some good Nashville news - the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum reports that all of the collections are safe and dry, and they plan to re-open on Saturday. The Ford Theatre on the main level flooded, but all of the exhibits are on the second, third and fourth floors. The museum is closed until electricity can be restored, and then the staff is ready to welcome visitors back to the exhibits.

The CMA Music Festival will go on as scheduled, and CMA Board Chairman Steve Moore said, "We cannot think of a better way to help our local economy at this time of great need than to continue the 39-year tradition of Festival." If you were going to the CMT Music Festival and have reservations at the Opryland Hotel, you're going to have to get another hotel room, as the Opryland won't be cleaned up by then. You can check with the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau for hotel availability, and starting Monday, you can call 800-657-6910.

Taylor Swift performed at Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World gala Tuesday night. She was honored and thankful to have made Time Magazine's list this year. “It was so wonderful and so unexpected. This is such a prestigious list and to be on this list and to be in that room and to be asked to perform, it was such an honor.”

Gosh, big surprise here - Lexington, Kentucky is the overwhelming winner of on-line voting to select the site for the Montgomery Gentry ACM Humanitarian Award's playground. Eddie and T-Roy will be on hand this fall to help Home Depot with the build.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

The Tuesday night Grand Ole Opry show went on last night, in spite of the flooded-out theatre where it's usually held. For the first time in over 60 years, the show was held on the stage of the War Memorial Auditorium, a former home of the Grand Ole Opry. Chris Young was part of the evening's entertainment, and remarked, "I think the most special thing about tonight is it needed to happen. They didn't say, 'Oh, the Opry House is flooded, we're not going to do it.' We pulled together, and we're here to do it. That means a lot — as a region, it's what we do." Other performers were Suzy Bogguss, Restless Heart, Marty Stuart, Jimmy C. Newman, Jack Green and Jeannie Seely, who lost everything except her dog in the flood. She even had to borrow a pair of shoes to wear to last night's show.

The Cumberland river through Nashville finally crested, and the waters are starting to subside. CNN's coverage of the flood included an interview with Keith Urban about the event.

The Army Corps of Engineers is calling this a thousand-year flood for Nashville. You can text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

One of the stars totally missing out on the flooding in Nashville is Jimmy Wayne, who's still walking across America. He's in New Mexico now, headed for Phoenix, which was to be the end of his walk. Now he's decided that he probably needs to walk from Phoenix to the Pacific ocean, collect a jar of sand, and when he gets back to Nashville, walk from Nashville to the Atlantic ocean. He says he wants to dump the Pacific sand into the Atlantic. Jimmy is over two-thirds of the way on his 1,600 mile journey, spotlighting the plight of homeless teens.

Zac Brown Band did a benefit concert last October in Atlanta, to raise money to rebuild the Georgia Theatre in Athens, GA. "Pass the Jar" is a CD/DVD recording of the concert, featuring Kid Rock, Little Big Town and more stars who showed up to help. It's on sale now.

Well, it was just a matter of time - Taylor Swift has launched her own tv channel online. features exclusive content, her video blog and more.

Are you a fan of the CMA Music Fest? How would you like to win free tickets for life? The CMA is giving away the Ultimate Country Music Fan Experience passes, which include all festival events and access to the lower level of LP Field for the nightly concerts. The prize is valued at $400 per year, and the last day to enter is June 12. By the way, the number one question on the CMA phone line is whether the festival will go on as scheduled this year, and the answer is a resounding "yes!"

Wanna be at BamaJam, but can't be there the whole three days? Single day tickets go on sale this Saturday. Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown Band and Hank Williams Jr. are the headliners.

Willie Nelson is on the Late Show with David Letterman tonight, and he'll be on The View tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Told you yesterday how the flooding in and around Nashville had disrupted artists' lives and schedules. The Gaylord Entertainment Complex, home of the Grand Ole' Opry, Opryland Hotel and more, had to be evacuated, and the Grand Ole Opry theatre is flooded.

This week's shows have been moved to other venues around Nashville, including the Ryman Auditorium, which was spared in the floods. If you are planning a trip to Nashville for anything Opry related, stay on top of the changes at the official website. The closure of parts or all of the Gaylord Opryland complex may last for months while crews clean up and rebuild.

Soundstage in Nashville is a place where country music artists rehearse, record and store their gear. It's filled with millions of dollars of equipment, and it's filled with water. In the parking lot, gear trailers floated and toppled over.

If you'd like to help those who've lost homes in the Tennessee floods, text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Here are some other ways to help Music City rebuild:
Middle Tennessee Red Cross: Donate online, by phone at 615-250-4300 or by mail at 2201 Charlotte Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203.
Salvation Army: Monetary donations are preferred and can be made online or by phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Donations of bottled water, mops, brooms, heavy duty work gloves, masks, sponges, squeegees, scrub brushes, plastic gloves, bleach, all purpose cleaner concentrate, trash bags and paper towels can be sent to the 631 Dickerson Pike, Nashville, TN.

Some good news after the flood - Naomi Judd's buffalo are no longer roaming. They got out of her pasture during the flooding Sunday when a fence line collapsed, but all are present and accounted for, back home behind a newly re-built fence.

Keith Urban has a new song coming to radio. It's the 5th single from "Defying Gravity" and is called "I'm In." He's hosting a contest on his website for people to tell him what they're "in" to in their lives:
How you’ve made a commitment to a significant other.
How you’ve dedicated yourself to a charity.
How you’ve made a difference in someone's life.
However you would define being “in.
Prizes include tickets to concerts, backstage passes, Keith Urban music and an autographed guitar.

Sammy Kershaw has thrown his hat in the ring for Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana. He's calling his campaign the "Real People Campaign" and is running as a Republican.

Chely Wright has a new cd out today, "Lifted Off the Ground," and is profiled in People Magazine this week, where she talks about her homosexuality. She'll be on the Today show tomorrow morning.

Happy birthday to Randy Travis, who turns 51 today.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

The weather on Sunday wreaked havoc with homes, roads and concerts in Tennessee. Dierks Bentley's Knoxville concert was canceled and he spent the extra time bailing water out of his house, Terri Clark had to bail water out of her basement with big plastic storage totes, and Naomi Judd had six buffalo escape from her farm in Leiper's Fork. Jo Dee Messina tweeted, "Well, house flooded :( trying to pump out water. Its at least 5 ft high. Crazy weather here. family is well. Thats most important." And Kenny Chesney asked for help for the community: "TN is a mess with floods. If you're fortunate enough to help out, hit up the mid-TN Red Cross: Stay safe, everyone." In Nashville today, there's a lot of clean-up going on. Schools are closed, many businesses are closed & mopping up the mess, and the Opryland Hotel sits empty, a victim of flood evacuation. Singer-songwriter Seth Jones put the mess to music:

The 136th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday evening was a great race, made even more special by Rascal Flatts' performance of our National Anthem.

The spring leg of the Strait/Reba/Lee Ann tour wrapped up last night. They'll take their show back out on the road for more concerts later this year.

Last night was also the last night for Martina McBride's Shine All Night tour. Here's hoping all of those artists who are heading home from tours find their homes safe and dry.

Tim McGraw is about to take his Southern Voice tour south of the Equator - he's headed to Australia and New Zealand.

Congrats to Taylor Swift, who has logged another endorsement deal. Now she's the new face of Cover Girl cosmetics. A brand new product is on the way, featuring Taylor as the face of it in print, tv and in-store advertising.

This week's edition of Country Weekly is the Mother's Day issue, with Miranda Lambert and her Mom, Bev, on the cover, and Carrie Underwood, Reba, Darius Rucker and more stars saluting their Moms.

Happy birthday to Eric Church, who turns 33 today.