Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Forbes Magazine is out with their list of the "Celebrity 100," a listing of the world's most powerful celebrities. Country artists on the list include Taylor Swift (#12) Kenny Chesney (#54) Rascal Flatts (#62) Toby Keith (#67) and Keith Urban (#76.) The list criteria includes not just how much money each person made from June 1, 2009 to June 1, 2010, but also web hits on Google Blog search, tv and radio mentions on LexisNexis, press mentions on Factavia and the number of times a celebrity's face landed on the top 25 consumer magazine covers.

AquaPalooza 2010's lineup is finalized, and it's going to be quite the party. July 10th on Lake Travis, near Austin, Brad Paisley, Jerrod Niemann, Lee Brice, Joanna Smith and Matt Stillwell will all perform a free concert. The catch? The only way to see the show is on a boat, so trailer up!

Blake Shelton, who is newly engaged, is trolling for great pick-up lines. Don't worry about Miranda - this is for a contest around his latest song, "It's All About Tonight." If you think you have a great pick-up line, call 615-942-0746 and leave Blake a message. A winner will be announced in August, though the contents of the prize pack haven't been announced. Knowing Blake, it could be anything!

Kenny Chesney is out of the re-scheduled Jimmy Buffett concert. He was on the bill for July 1, but when the show got moved to July 11th, he can't be there. He tweeted, "Hate that I can't get to Gulf Shores to sing w @jimmybuffett, Mac McAnally @zacbrownband! Gonna be great music!"

Martina McBride has teamed up with Cheerios cereal in the "Do What You Love" sweepstakes. Write a little essay about what you love to do, how you take care of yourself so you can continue to do it, and upload a photo of yourself. You can enter through July 23rd, and the winner will be notified around August 10th. What do you win? A tour of the Country Music Hall of Fame with Martina as your tour guide, a day in her recording studios and VIP treatment at one of her concerts.

The tweet of the day is from Kellie Pickler: "looking through a pile of wedding magazines. lots to do...but so exciting!"

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Willie Nelson's annual July 4th picnic is star-studded again this year, featuring performances from Jamey Johnson, Jack Ingram, Kris Kristofferson, Kevin Fowler and the Randy Rogers Band. There are a few $55 tickets available, if you feel a road trip coming on.

The free Jimmy Buffett concert scheduled for Thursday has been postponed until July 11 because of potentially dangerous surf conditions from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Alex. Everything else stays the same, hopefully - guests Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown, Allen Toussaint, Sonny Landreth and Jesse Winchester are all checking their calendars and hoping to be able to be at the show. CMT officials are scrambling to figure out how to air the show on its new date.

How fast is Jason Aldean's star rising? Astronomically fast - he just broke a record previously held by Kenny Chesney. When his tour hit Gulf Shores, AL, 9301 fans packed The Amphitheatre at the Wharf. Last August, Kenny Chesney set the old record, stuffing 9,720 fans into the same venue.

Jason may be breaking venue records, but Chris Young ended up in the funny papers yesterday.


Carrie Underwood's bachelorette party was last Friday in Las Vegas. The bride to be wore a sash and feather boa and the table of girlfriends partied into the wee hours, doing a lot of dancing. July 10th continues to be the date most often mentioned in the wedding rumors, with Reynolds Plantation in Greenville, GA as the location.

Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush have been chomping at the bit to play their next single, "Stuck Like Glue," in concert, but are holding off until the song is released as a single. That happens July 26th, so the first to hear it live will probably be the Albuquerque, NM fans on July 29th.

And Trace Adkins' first cd from his partnership with Toby Keith's Show Dog label comes out August 17th. "Cowboy's Back in Town" features his new song, "This Ain't No Love Song," and Trace said it was a blast making the cd because he got to pick his favorite musician buddies to play on it with him.

Congratulations to Brad Paisley, who has his 17th #1 song with "Water."

The tweet of the day is from Miranda Lambert: "We grew it: we picked it. From Our great "Garden of Eatin' "! Mmmmmm! Fried squash for days!!!

Dolly Parton is on the Late Show with David Letterman tonight, and tomorrow morning, see her on Live with Regis and Kelly. Also tomorrow morning, Carrie Underwood's on the Today show.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Big fan of the late Roy Rogers? Your chance to own Trigger, the stuffed Palomino sidekick who was widely considered the smartest horse in the movies, happens in just a couple of weeks. Christie's auction house has a special auction of more than 300 items from the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum on the auction block July 14th and 15th. Trigger's pre-auction estimate is between $100,000 and $200,000. If that's too rich for your blood, there are Nudie suits that Roy wore with estimates of $2,000 to $3,000 and a framed copy of Life Magazine featuring Roy Rogers and Trigger on the cover, estimated at $50 to $100. You can see everything in the collection and bid online before and during the auction.

Brad Paisley is doing some shows in Norway and is charmed - and sometimes alarmed - by the language differences. He shared this photo of a beer he ordered, just for the name. no word on whether he liked it or not...

Sammy Kershaw has cooked up a fun fund-raiser for For a donation of $40 or more, you can get your own sp[OIL]ed picture made, just like Zac Brown Band, Kellie Pickler and a host of other celebrities. Money raised goes to America's Wetlands Foundation and Louisiana's Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation.

Didja see Willie Nelson on the cover of Parade magazine in yesterday's paper? He told a lot of private stories on himself, giving us a window into his heart. There are some extra questions and answers that didn't make it into the article, but did make it online.

The episode of the Paula Deen show featuring Trisha Yearwood aired for the first time on Saturday. During the show, Trisha tasted a decadent dessert Paula made, looked directly into the camera and said, "Garth, I promise I will make this for you when I get home, and you'll want to marry me all over again." Watch it tonight at 6 on the Food Network.

The Daytime Emmy Awards were held in Las Vegas last night, and Garth Brooks helped salute Dick Clark at the awards show.

"Kenny Chesney: Summer in 3D" was the best-selling concert DVD last week. The 2D video set was released exclusively through Kmart.

The tweet of the day comes from Reba: "Fixing to hit the stage at Cadott, WI festival!!! After the show best advice...never stand between a red head and her corn dog!"

Happy birthday to Kellie Pickler, who turns 24 today.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Rascal Flatts is on the road. Their "Nothing Like This" tour kicks off tonight in the Carolinas and is headed south from there as they take fans on a 10-years-of-big-hits ride. Jay DeMarcus says it could be a long night for fans: “It’s gonna be four hours and forty minutes probably and Gary’s not going to be able to breathe by the time we get to the last song. But we’re really looking forward to it because it’s going to be a lot of music and very little talking. We’re going to try to get to as many of their favorites as we possibly can.”

With the first half of this year nearly over, Lady Antebellum has the top-selling album with "Need You Now," spending the most time at the top of the Billboard Country chart and logging several weeks at the top of the Billboard 200. Zac Brown Band's "The Foundation" is second-most-popular, and Taylor Swift's "Fearless" is in third place.

You can't make this stuff up. Researchers went looking for the nation's most unusual dog and cat names, and a Trace Adkins song came in third. The number one crazy dog name is Pickle Von Corndog, number two is Lord Chubby Pruneface and at number three is Badonkadonk. Trace must be so proud...!

Justin Moore has fixed up his tour bus to accomodate his little girl, Ella Kole. She's been on the road once, and proud daddy Justin says she slept the entire time. He and his wife, Kate, have gotten Ella's first passport in the hopes that the whole family can hit some of Justin's Canadian shows this summer.

Billy Currington will be spending the fall on the "Play On" tour with Carrie Underwood. He'll take over Craig Morgan's slot starting September 25th.

Looks like it'll only be 248 guests at Carrie's wedding. Her friend and tourmate, Craig Morgan, got an invitation but can't go because he has a prior committment. Hmmmm...he does have shows the weekend of July 10th, the date heavily rumored to be Carrie's wedding date. She doesn't, and she's off for about three weeks after that weekend, too.

Golf commentator and new American David Feherty will be the host of a special on CBS, on the eve of his first July 4th as a citizen. The show features David visiting with David Kelly of Lady Antebellum as they take in the beauty of The Champions Course at the University of New Mexico. Watch the show July 3rd at 2pm on CBS.

Tweet of the day is from Chris Young: "I just won this award!!! So cool to be honored as a songwriter" It's so cool to see artists get excited about their success. He won the Music Row Breakthrough Songwriter award for "Gettin' You Home."

Catch a rerun of Reba on the Rachael Ray show today.

Happy birthday to Gretchen Wilson, who turns 37 tomorrow.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

First Carrie, then Miranda and now it's Kellie's turn. Kellie Pickler is engaged to long-time boyfriend Kyle Jacobs. He's one of the writers of "More Than A Memory" for Garth Brooks and "Still" for Tim McGraw. Kyle proposed to Kellie last week on a beach in Florida. Yesterday she tweeted, "Yes, it's true. Can't wait to say 'I DO!'" And Kyle tweeted, "it went like this..."Kellie, will you marry me?" Kellie said, "Yes." I said, "Really?" Kellie said, "YES REALLY!"...thank you Jesus!”

Last night in London, Brad Paisley tried to convince the British to go muddin'. Most don't own 4-wheel-drive cars because you have to pay more to own one in England. Brad told the audience, just before tearing into "Mud on the Tires," "But you know, it rains so much—you’re missing out. You got a really good chance at mud in your country.” He'll do another show tonight in London, then head to Norway tomorrow.

Yesterday morning, the tickets for Jimmy Buffett's free Gulf Coast concert were available. In about 5 minutes, they weren't available, and the internet was smokin'. Three hundred and fifty thousand tickets were snapped up, some landing on eBay almost immediately. To eBay's credit, they have banned sales of the tickets on their site. The show will be a week from today in Gulf Shores, AL, and in addition to Jimmy Buffet, will include Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown and many other special guests.

Miranda Lambert shot the video for her next single, "Only Prettier," in Nashville this week, and included a few girlfriends. Kellie Pickler, Laura Bell Bundy and Lady A's Hillary Scott were part of the fun, all dressed up in 50's prom dresses.

And what were the three Lady Antebellum stars up to yesterday? Shooting a video...on a Nashville roof...on a 100-degree day. YIKES!

Rascal Flatts are now the official spokesmen for The Jason Foundation, a group which raises awareness of the problem of youth suicide and focuses on prevention. "Someone you know may need a friend - B1" is the message that Rascal Flatts will help spread.

Re-live the "unplugged" Jimmy Kimmel performance of Dierks Bentley in the midst of a power outage, shot on Jimmy's webcam.

Re-live the moment that Sandra Bullock decided to become a musical star on Tuesday night. She made her guitar debut onstage, playing - sort of - "Smoke on the Water."

The quote of the night Tuesday night at the "Nashville Rising" concert was from Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, who said "In four or five days after the rain stopped, all the wet drywall, all the destroyed carpet [was] out in front of homes ready to be picked up by public works. The city government didn't do that. The state government didn't do it. The federal government didn't do it. The citizens of Nashville did it."

Congrats to Jaron & the Long Road to Love - "Pray for You" has been certified gold for sales of half a million units.

Tweet of the day is a two-parter from Martina McBride, who attended Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert's engagement party yesterday: Part 1 - "Good Lord! This @blakeshelton and @mirandalambert engagement party is out in the freaking boonies!" Part 2 - "Great party! Worth the trip! Sang karaoke Does He Love You w/Miranda and I Love Rock And Roll w/ @blakeshelton. Love them both. So much fun!"

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Last night at the "Nashville Rising" concert, more than just country superstars showed up for the 4.5 hour-long show. Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw's Oscar-winning co-star in the movie, "The Blind Side," appeared and brought out Faith Hill when it was her turn to perform. People came from all over, not just from in and around Tennessee. One fan came from the Northwest Territories in Canada just to be part of the show. It's projected that last night's take was between two and 3 million, and music publishing house BMI will match all of the Nashville Rising donations, up to a limit of $50,000, until July 31st, so if you'd like to help, your dollars will be doubled.

Trace Adkins was honored by the Daughters of the American Revolution and the city of Brentwood, TN. He was given the DAR Medal of Honor, the most prestigious award given by the group, and in addition, the mayor of Brentwood proclaimed the day Trace Adkins Day. The reason for all the hooplah? Trace is a huge supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project, the USO, Stand Up for the Cure, and the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. When it came his turn to speak, Trace said, "You wanted to honor me. You've succeeded. I feel honored."

Monday night, Trace Adkins and Tim McGraw helped raise nearly two million dollars for Gulf Coast aid. The two-hour CNN special, "Larry Kind Live: Disaster in the Gulf" benefits the United Way, The National Wildlife Federation and the Nature Conservancy.

Ronnie Dunn is on a doctor-imposed three week vocal rest. Most of the Brooks & Dunn "Last Rodeo" shows will be re-scheduled, but three won't, and he was sad to miss performing at "Nashville Rising" last night.

Kenny Chesney's readying a new cd, "Hemingway's Whiskey," for release on September 28th. It's his first all-new-material cd in three years, since "Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates" came out.

Keith Urban, Nicole Kidman and their daughter, Sunday Rose, are featured in a slide show.

Lady Antebellum ticket sales for their first headlining tour have been brisk. Their show in Augusta, GA sold out in seven minutes.

More Carrie Underwood wedding rumors are swirling - July 10th is the date that keeps popping up, and the locations that are most discussed are the golf course in Augusta, GA, Reynolds Plantation in Greenville, GA and a farm in Franklin, TN. A bachelor party for Mike Fisher was held in Miami this past weekend, but the wildest behavior reported was a lot of shots being downed. Mike apparently only had one.

Tweet of the day comes from Martina McBride after 1am this morning, tweeting about "Nashville Rising:" "Tim sounded better than ever. Miranda rocked. Luke Bryan was great. Everybody just brought their best. And the crowd was amazing! Happy nite!"

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Tonight is the night for "Nashville Rising," the benefit concert put on by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. Tim's band, the Dance Hall Doctors, will serve as the house band for Toby Keith, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus, Amy Grant, Julie Roberts, ZZ Top and LeAnn Rimes. Brooks & Dunn were supposed to be on the show, but had to cancel this week's performances because Ronnie's fighting a sore throat. Though the flood happened two months ago, Tim and Faith started working on this show right away. “(Faith) You called the day of the flood…” (Tim)”Right at the day of the flood, we started working on what to do. And we knew there were other things going on, and we didn’t want to get in anybody’s way, of course, because it’s better to spread it all out to everybody can raise the most money.”

And speaking of Tim and Faith, they're planning a trip to Australia in September. It's going to be some work and some play - Tim will take his show on the road for the Australian fans, but they'll also make a family vacation out of it with a trip to the Great Barrier Reef for some diving and a solo flight over the outback for new pilot Tim.

Yesterday I told you about Jimmy Buffett's free concert in Gulf Shores, AL to promote tourism along the gulf coast in the wake of the oil disaster. The show has grown already - Kenny Chesney and Zac Brown will be part of the show, and it will air live on CMT, July 1st from 8 to 9:30 eastern. Tickets are available starting tomorrow at There's a limit of four tickets per person, and 35,000 are available for the beach concert.

Last night's Larry King Live was a telethon, and it featured Trace Adkins and Tim McGraw. Trace pointed out, "The day we stop using petroleum, you'd better find a way to make plastics, all kinds of medicines, the clothes and shoes we wear because all that stuff is made out of petroleum."

Also yesterday, Hank Williams Jr. strutted around a sound stage, shooting the opening song that the world knows him best for - "Are You Ready For Some Football?" This will be Bocephus' 22nd year as the voice of Monday Night Football's song.

Wanna have a pajama party at Dolly Parton's house? You can, but it's gonna cost you. On August 14th in Gatlinburg, TN, "An Evening of Elegance" will take place. It's a fund-raiser for the Dr. Robert F. Thomas Foundation, which supports health care in Sevier County, and one of the auction items is a sleep-over at Dolly's mansion, complete with a party in the evening and breakfast cooked by Dolly in the morning. Last year, the party for 11 went for $75,000. Tickets to the "Evening of Elegance" are $200 per person and are available by calling 865-446-9628.

Wanna win a trip to San Francisco? Jerrod Niemann, singer of "Lover, Lover" is offering a prize package that includes two nights in the Golden Gate city, tickets and meet & greet passes for his show there and a one-of-a-kind, "first on earth" CD plaque of his debut cd, "Judge Jerrod & the Hung Jury."

On the wedding front, it looks like Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton are planning on tying the knot next spring.

A benefit CD will be released on August 24th, featuring music from Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker, Trace Adkins, Reba, Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley, Rodney Atkins, Montgomery Gentry, Jypsi, Randy Houser and Big & Rich. The project, called "My Country: Smash Hits" also features a special message from President George W. Bush and benefits the Fisher House Foundation.

Psst...there's an early bird special going on for next year's BamaJam. Get tickets now, while they're as cheap as they'll ever be.

Yesterday, Dierks Bentley was on the set of Jimmy Kimmel Live, getting set to tape tonight's show. A power outage hit, and the studio was lit with only emergency lighting. Jimmy Kimmel, ever the creative guy, got out his laptop and the entire show was shot with it's webcam. Needless to say, Dierks' set was acoustic, but he says the show went great.

Congrats to Miranda Lambert, who's "The House That Built Me" is number 1 for the 4th week in a row.

New music out today includes Jaron and The Long Road to Love's "Getting Dressed in the Dark" and Mark Chesnutt's "Outlaw" which features classic outlaw country songs done Mark-style.

Tweet of the day comes from Zac Brown: "The details surrounding last night's events are stubborn in their fuzziness."

Happy birthday to Kris Kristofferson, who turns 76 today.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

How did Keith Urban celebrate Father's Day yesterday? He didn't. June 20th is his wife Nicole's birthday, so they decided to celebrate her birthday instead of trying to celebrate both. They'll celebrate Australia's Father's Day, which is the first Sunday in September.

What did the members of Lady Antebellum plan to do for their Dads for Father's Day? Hillary says her Dad is always talking about how he wants his home more organized, so a trip to the Container Store was in store for her. Charles Kelley planned to recycle a gift, saying his Dad loves to get the awards that his son wins. And Dave Haywood said his Dad wanted tickets to see Tim McGraw and Lady Antebellum. See how creative they are - not a tie in the bunch!

Taylor Swift was given the Hal David Starlight Award last week. The award is a songwriter's award, and John Mayer was the presenter. His words were right on target: "She's no accident." "You could put her in a time machine in any era and she would have a hit record. Don't confuse everybody loving one thing as hype. Sometimes that's everyone agreeing that it's fabulous."

There are still tickets available for the very last Brooks & Dunn show, August 10th at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, but they're going to cost you. The "Hillbilly Deluxe Package" is $750 per person, and includes dinner with Brooks & Dunn the night before, a floor seat and meet & greet at the show, a parking space and a Brooks & Dunn merchandise package with at least one autographed item. If that's too rich for your blood, how about the $300 "Play Something Country Package" which includes a floor seat, merchandise package and autographed B & D item. Or you could support the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum at the $250 level and get a tickets. The show is a benefit for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

There were more weddings in Little Big Town's Little White Church reception tent on Friday in Bakersfield, CA. People at nearly every tour stop are asking to be married in the tent before Little Big Town goes on stage, so they're going to be on a lot of people's marriage certificates as official witnesses.

If you go to an American Ride tour stop, keep an eye on the karaoke area. Toby Keith is threatening to take his "Incognito Bandito" persona there occasionally and see if anyone knows it's him. I doubt he'll keep that secret long!

Jimmy Buffett will throw a free concert on July 1st in Gulf Shores to bring people to the gulf area. With oil washing up on some of the prettiest beaches in America, tourism is hurting, and Jimmy's bringing his show to the rescue.

People magazine has free country music for you, including some Merle Haggard, Jaron and the Long Road to Love's "Pray for You," and nine more free cuts.

Tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton. He's had a lot that have made me laugh, but finally, here's one I can share in a family-friendly blog: "My show tonight in Detroit is gonna be more fun putting binaca in grandma's eye drops!!!!"

Friday, June 18, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

The Keith Urban and John Mayer episode of CMT Crossroads debuts tonight, and Keith says the connection he feels when playing with John is something he's rarely felt with other musicians. “It’s a guitar-player thing, I think, really, at the end of the day, ya know. I feel that same connection with Brad Paisley and Vince Gill. Whenever I play with anybody—it’s just speaking another language, ultimately, that’s communicated purely through playing.” Catch a tiny bit of them practicing together on this video.

Craig Morgan is about to become a tv star. He's getting his own show, called "All Access Outdoors," that will air Saturday mornings on the Outdoor Channel. The first episode airs on July 3rd, and each week will find Craig somewhere in America, hunting and riding motorcycles. There'll be special guests, including other country singers, celebrities and athletes. You know Blake and Miranda will pop up on an episode at some point.

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill have sold their Beverly Hills home. The original asking price was $14.8 million, but it sold for only $9.5 million. Before you feel too sorry for them, they bought the house for $6.2 million in 2003, so they did ok on it.

Kenny Chesney has been quietly visiting football coaches, working on a documentary about how football coaches influence their players. Yesterday, he visited with Georgia State football coach Bill Curry. The project began in January, and there's not a set release date yet.

Congratulations to Rascal Flatts - they're getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2011.

And congratulations to Ronnie Milsap, who's "Smoky Mountain Rain" is the new state song for Tennessee.

And even more congratulations to an actor we know as Dr. Albert Robbins on CSI who is about to make his Grand Ole Opry debut. Robert David Hall has wanted to be a guitar player and musician since he was 7 years old, and has finally made his hobby a reality. His first country album, "Things They Don't Teach You In School," is out and he'll perform on the Opry stage at tomorrow night's show.

Great news...Tracy Lawrence's Bulldog, Tank, is back home, safe and sound.

Randy Owen, lead singer for the legendary group Alabama, is being treated for prostate cancer. He was diagnosed earlier this year and in May, was treated with high intensity focused ultrasound, and his doctor has called the procedure a complete success.

Wanna see the video for Lady Antebellum's "Our Kind of Love?"

Did you see Jewel's cover shot for Shape magazine? (if not, scroll down to yesterday's post) Want to get her at-home ab workout and her rules for a rockin' body? Here you go.

Tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton: "Son of a b!#@^!!!!! It's so hot I opened the oven door to just cool off the house!!!"

Happy birthday to Blake Shelton, who turns 34 today.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker have been invited to be part of the national 4th of July celebration. They'll perform at "A Capitol Fourth" in Washington DC, which airs live on PBS. Reba will be presented with the country's National Artistic Achievement Award during the show.

The third installment of "For Those Who Serve" is posted online. It's the documentary that the Zac Brown Band made while on their last USO tour this April, and features the guys taking part in a memorial service, singing the National Anthem a capella.

It's all the fun of a real cd, and then some, but all the convenience of an mp3 download. It's V-Albums, a partnership between Big Machine/Valory records and ScatterTunes. Download a V-Album and you get mp3s of the music, along with digital booklets, liner notes, photos, lyrics, videos, web links, merchandise, ticketing and social media connections. Fans who have already purchased the music from other retailers can purchase V-Wraps for $2.99. That attaches all of the extras to the purchaser's existing album. Wanna try it free? If you already have Taylor Swift's "Fearless" you can get a free V-Wrap, while supplies last.

At the beginning of her music career, Jewel was dubbed "the chubby Renee Zellwegger." Not so much anymore...check out the cover of Shape magazine's July issue. She's rockin' 36 years old!

A country music tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd is about to be available at Wal-Mart. Starting July 20, you can pick up "Sweet Home Alabama," featuring Eric Church, Uncle Kracker, Jamey Johnson, Shooter Jennings, Randy Montana, Ashley Ray and the Eli Young Band.

iPhone user? Love Jamey Johnson? There's a free app for that.

Tracy Lawrence's Bulldog, Tank, was stolen day before yesterday, and Tracy wants him back. Tank was a Father's Day gift two years ago and is not just a member of the family, he's also part of Tracy's road crew. Mt. Juliet Police Department's Sgt. Michael Mullins is on the case and can be reached at 615-754-2552.

Kenny Chesney fans, mark your calendars for the Kenny Chesney/Steve Miller episode of CMT Crossroads. July 9th, 10pm.

Tweet of the day is from Toby Keith: "Hey this tweetin' thang ain't half bad, I might get into this! Never know what I might pull when out on tour this summer!!?!??"

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Last night, Miranda Lambert taped an episode of CMT's Invitation Only. The show's casual atmosphere really suited Miranda, who enjoyed answering audience questions like, "What do you do on a regular Saturday night?” and “Which one of your songs best showcases who you really are?” to “Would you ever write an autobiography, and if you did, what would you title it?” She didn't read the questions before the show, and gave honest if sometimes rambling, replies. The show will air later this year.

And big congrats are in order for Miss Miranda...for the third week in a row, her song, "The House That Built Me" is number 1.

The number one party for Joe Nichols' "Gimme That Girl" was Monday evening in Nashville. Chicken fingers and banana pudding shots were on the menu, and of course the songwriters were there. Dallas Davidson, Ben Hayslip and Rhett Akins co-wrote the song, and Rhett talked about how he and Ben have been writing together for two decades. "Ben and I have been writing songs since we were 14 years old. His mama has videos of it. We never thought we'd be here." The song stayed at #1 for three weeks, and is the fastest-rising song in Joe Nichols' career so far.

How hot is Jason Aldean? A pair of concert tickets & backstage passes is offered on eBay. The auction just started and is a benefit for Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. As of early this morning, there were 20 bidders, with the high bid at $560. Still 9 days to go in the auction, in case you want to meet Jason Aldean and support a great cause, too.

The Super Bowl concert series will wrap up on September 10th at Cowboy Stadium with a show that also celebrates the Cowboys' 50th anniversary as an NFL team. Who's the star of the show? Tim McGraw has been tapped to do the honors. Go, country music!

Poor Justin March, someone stole a guitar from his show, and now someone has broken into his house to steal stuff. A wallet and some of his memorabilia were taken. Thankfully, no one was at home at the time of the robbery.

Jimmy Wayne is featured in People Magazine, and that exposure is generating even more ways for him to get the word out about the plight of homeless teens. He's still in New Mexico, walking to Phoenix, Arizona, but will take some time off the walk to perform a few concerts. has a photo gallery from last week's CMA Music Fest. The artists autographed, and in some cases, defaced, their pictures. Funny stuff!

Tweet of the day is from Brad Paisley: "As I watch this BP oil coverage, all I keep thinking is"why can't SouthPark be in season!" you want justice? 2 words:South Park."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

How much does Carrie Underwood know about her upcoming wedding? A lot, but she's not talking much. It'll be on a farm in Tennessee and they aren't registered anywhere. Carrie says having the 250 guests attend is all the gift they need. How much does she know about the honeymoon? Not much at all. Fiance Mike Fisher has planned a surprise vacation for the two, and all Carrie knows is that it will be warm. By the way, did you see the cutest moment of the CMT Music Awards? When Carrie's name was announced for Video of the Year, she handed Mike her purse before going up on stage. Wonder what his NHL compatriots thought of that? I hear some trash-talking being cooked up!

Told you last December that Darius Rucker and Brad Paisley had written a song together, and that Darius hoped to record it as a duet with Brad. That recording session happened yesterday. No word on the song's release date, but it has to be awesome!

Gotta Garth? New shows will go on sale Saturday morning at 10 Pacific time for his stint at the Wynn Las Vegas theatre. The shows will be September 10 through 15, October 1-3 and 22-24, November 5-7 and 19-21. Tickets are $125 each.

More names have been added to the Tim McGraw/Faith Hill-led "Nashville Rising: A Benefit Concert for Flood Recovery" scheduled for June 22nd in Nashville. We already knew that Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Brooks & Dunn, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Amy Grant, Miley Cyrus, Michael W. Smith and LeAnn Rimes would be part of the show. Now so will Toby Keith, Blake Shelton, Montgomery Gentry, ZZ Top, Billy Ray Cyrus and Julie Roberts. The show is sold out except for a limited number of VIP packages.

Stories continue to come out in the wake of another successful CMA Music Festival. Blake Shelton's fan club party was a fund-raiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and Blake told his fans to request whatever songs they wanted to hear and he'd donate $20 for each one he didn't know. His bill topped $500, which he cheerfully paid. ESPN's Erin Andrews was there and requested "Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound" with one catch - she wanted Dierks Bentley, who was in attendance, to perform it. Dierks complied. Miranda Lambert and Laura Bell Bundy were also there and were happy to perform "Proud Mary" when that one got requested.

What did it look like and sound like when Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins hit the stage Sunday night at the CMT Music Festival?

The number-crunchers are having their way with the CMA Music Festival and are finding a lot of good news. Four day ticket package sales were up 33% from last year, daytime attendance at the Riverfront shows was up 6.4% from last year and nighttime concert attendance was up nearly 17%. CMA Chairman Steve Moore said, "After all we have been through, and all the hard work everyone contributed to getting the venues and businesses ready for our fans, this is a huge win for everyone who cares about Music City. This community needed a big win and we got it."

Forbes magazine is out with its annual top ten list of country artists. Based on ticket sales, merchandise and album sales, publishing deals, royalties and endorsements, here's the top 10 country money-makers from June of 2009 to June of 2010:

1. Kenny Chesney $50 million
2. Toby Keith $48 million
3. Taylor Swift $45 million
3. Rascal Flatts $45 million
5. Tim McGraw $30
6. Keith Urban $28
7. George Strait $25
8. Brad Paisley $22
9. Alan Jackson $15
10. Carrie Underwood $13

And another list - this time, People Magazine's 25 Hottest Guys in country music. Topping the list is Tim McGraw, though Faith Hill gets speechless around Kris Kristofferson and George Strait. George made People's list, along with Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley and Billy Currington. The entire list is in the current issue of People magazine.

What's Rascal Flatts got planned for fans during their 10th anniversary tour? Music, music and more music. They're trying to cram in as many hits as they can from their first decade, so that every fan gets to hear their favorite song. Chris Young and Kellie Pickler are the opening acts of the tour, which kicks off June 25th in Raleigh, NC. And this fall, they'll be shooting a miniseries called "To Appomatox" to air on HBO.

The 2010 Teen Choice Awards nominees have been announced, and up for favorite female artist are Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus. In the country-specific categories, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker and Keith Urban are up for male artist, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Gretchen Wilson are up for female artist, and Gloriana, Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, Sugarland and Zac Brown Band are all vying for group recognition. The awards will be handed out on August 9th on Fox-TV.

Did you love the moment on the CMT Awards when two Rebas - the real one and the Saturday Night Live version - were on stage together? Help get Reba a hosting job on Saturday Night Live and we can all see more of it.

Jewel is treating concert-goers to a song about their town. She's out on her Star Light Cafe tour, and goes sight-seeing at each stop, looking for what makes each city unique. She then writes a song about the town, usually just hours before the show. She also takes photos, and those show up on screens behind her as she plays the song during the show. Nice touch!

First it was a walk, then it became articles in People and O magazines, and now it's going to be a book. Jimmy Wayne will write about his walk across America to focus national attention on the problems teens suffer when they age out of the foster care system. He signed the book deal yesterday, as he continues his Project Meet Me Halfway walk. He's expected to reach his destination, Phoenix, around the 4th of July.

Quote of the day, from Trace Adkins, talking about his first grandson, who's due to be born in November to his daughter Tarah. “He’s well hung. My daughter showed me pictures…pretty impressive.”

Tweet of the day, from James Otto: "Went to breast feeding class with my wife tonight & I gotta say I don't know how y'all woman do it. I've never been so happy to be a man."

Sammy Kershaw is on Larry King Live today, talking about the oil spill and its effect on the Gulf Coast. Tomorrow, Lonestar stars on The Price is Right.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

It's all over but the aloe lotion for sunburns. The CMA Music Festival wrapped up last night with a stage full of stars. Brad Paisley, Trace Adkins, Blake Shelton, (joined by Miranda Lambert for a duet on the song, "Home") Darius Rucker, Kellie Pickler and Justin Moore all volunteered their time and talents to close this year's festival with the sold-out LP Field concert. More than 40,000 fans packed the place and loved knowing that this year, in addition to money going to music education for schoolkids, half of the proceeds from the 2010 CMA Music Festival will go towards flood relief in Middle Tennessee. The per-day attendance to the festival was 65,000 people, up from 56,000 last year. We'll all get to re-live the best parts of the week on September 1st, when Tim McGraw hosts "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock" on ABC.

Smaller, but trying harder, the BamaJam Music and Arts Festival had a gate count of over 300,000 and was responsible for selling out hotels within a 50-mile radius of Enterprise, AL. More than 2,000 jobs were created during the annual festival.

Martina McBride hosts an auction every year at the CMA Music Festival to benefit the YWCA. Other stars show up and pitch in as guest auctioneers, as well as bringing things to auction off. At yesterday's, over $100,000 was raised.

Taylor Swift's 13-hour autograph signing turned into a 14.5 hour event, as she made sure to meet and greet every fan, no matter how old or young.
And lots of artists show up at their fan club parties and perform, but how many bring the whole family with them for the fans to meet? Trace Adkins, for one.
Zac Brown Band closed out the week at the Bonaroo Music Festival last night. They played at the CMA Music Festival on Saturday night, after spending the afternoon with the ZBB fan club for their party, and performing there. And that's after playing Memphis on Thursday night and Birmingham on Friday night. Hope the guys all get a break today!

If you were an award-winning country singer, where would you stash your trophies? So far, Lady Antebellum has won 9 country music awards, and Hillary and Dave share their swag-stashing-secrets. “(Hillary) I have my Grammy on my bedside table and I say Good Morning and Good Night to it every day. (Dave)I’ve given like three or four of them to my Mom just because I don’t like to put them up around—I have my Grammy up like Hilary does. (Hillary) Do you say good morning and good night to it? (Dave) Yes, I sleep right next to it. But I give them to my mom—she gets a big kick when she has people over to the house—they love to see that stuff and take pictures with it.”

He was a country singer long before his name became synonymous with great sausage. The legendary Jimmy Dean has died. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame earlier this year, and was also a member of the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame, the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame and the Meat Industry Hall of Fame. According to his wife, Donna, he was eating dinner in front of the tv, but never finished dinner, passing peacefully. He was 81.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

The CMA Music Fest is in full swing, and is bigger than ever this year, in spite of the soft economy and the Nashville floods. Thousands of fans braved the thunderstorms Wednesday for the opening parade, and all are enjoying the air conditioning inside the Fan Fair Hall at the Nashville Convention Center. Brad Paisley held his fan club party on the shores of a lake and arrived by boat, Dierks Bentley hosted an album release party after the CMT award show, and military recruiting is in full swing as part of the fun, with the big draws being a Marine M1A1 tank and an Air Force F-16 fighter jet on display.

Zac Brown seized the opportunity to collect more letters for soldiers during the CMA Music Festival. Booths all over town are collecting letters and giving out free ZBB cd's in exchange.

It was a three-fer for Chris Young yesterday afternoon, as his fan club party also became a birthday celebration and a Number One party for "The Man I Want to Be." The newly-25 Chris was joined onstage by Gene Watson, and the two men sang "Mama Tried." "Just dig the hole and throw me in it now," Young said after the song. A fan yelled back, "You've got three more days!"

Sunday is June 13th, and Taylor Swift, whose lucky number is 13, will host a 13-hour meet & greet with her fans. Is that an autograph-signing record? No, Garth did a 24-hour one at Fan Fair in 1996. But does Garth have an iPhone app to unveil on Sunday? Nope, but Taylor does. The Mix Me In2 Taylor Swift app allows fans to sing along with several different versions of Taylor songs, and then upload them to social networks as well as to Taylor's website.

Love Jamey Johnson? There's an app for that, too.

Speaking of Jamey, he hooked up with Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert for a photo, then they all hit the stage together and sang "Bad Angel." Dierks asked the two of them to sing the song with him on "Up On The Ridge."

The Judds final tour kicks off November 26th in Green Bay, Wisconsin. "The Judds: The Last Encore" will stop in 18 cities through December, and both Naomi and Wynonna are looking forward to hitting the road. According to Wynonna, “We’ve come up with the tour name of ‘The Last Encore.’ Which to me, is funny, because we don’t know that it will be—but we had to come up with something other than ‘The Medicare Tour,’ or ‘Paying the farm off tour.’" The tour name came from a fan, who wins a bunch of Judds swag, plus tickets and backstage passes to the show of their choice.

Also for your advance planning pleasure, Darius Rucker will perform a pre-race concert and the National Anthem at the Coca Cola 400 on July 3rd in Daytona. You can pick up VIP ticket packages online now.

Again this year, country artists will perform private concerts during the Greenbrier Classic PGA Tournament July 29th and 31st. On the 29th, Rascal Flatts and Reba McEntire will hit the stage, then on Saturday, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood do the honors. The shows are only for the participants and tournament attendees, and will be held at a new amphitheatre on the West Virginia State Fairgrounds. Tickets to the golf tournament go on sale June 18th.

Happy birthday on Sunday to Jason Michael Carroll, who will turn 32.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Last night's CMT Music Award show was filled with a lot of great moments: the "twin" Rebas on stage, with the real Reba showing off her comic chops, Terrell Owens attempting to sing a country song with Kellie Pickler attempting to deliver a mean joke about his singing. Kellie doesn't have a mean bone in her body! Luke Bryan had to ask the audience member that caught his tux jacket to please tweet his thanks to his fans for voting him the Breakthrough artist, because he was afraid his phone was in the pocket. Trisha Yearwood had the line of the night, saying that looking at Nashville's recovery so soon after the flood clearly proves why Tennessee is called the Volunteer State.

How did Kid Rock get Jamey Johnson, Trace Adkins, Martina McBride, Kellie Pickler, Zac Brown Band and Hank Williams Jr. to perform with him on the opening song last night? “I kind of called them up myself rather than have the producers and the managers and tried to sidestep the whole fiasco and try and be really open about it and say, ‘Hey I understand if you don’t want to do this. It’s okay to say no.’ Everyone said yes and came together.” And Kid had a great closing line last night: "I'd like to leave on this note right here: As a music lover, if it looks good, you'll see it. If it sounds good, you'll hear it. If it's marketed right, you'll buy it. But if it's real, you'll feel it."

If you missed the show or just want to re-live it, promises that you can
see the entire show online.

With the CMA Music Festival happening at the same time as the Bonaroo Music Festival, a lot of country artists are doing double duty. Miranda Lambert, Zac Brown Band and Jamey Johnson are just a few of Nashville's finest who'll show up at the genre-bending Bonaroo festival.

Want to win a new Chevy? Want to win tickets to see Brad Paisley on his H2O tour? Here ya go...good luck!

Toby Keith will perform with the Boston Pops Symphony Orchestra on July 4th. The annual "Fireworks Spectacular" will air live on CBS.

Congrats to Darius Rucker and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. His inaugural fund-raising concert raked in nearly $50,000.

Don't miss Rascal Flatts on the Today show tomorrow morning.

Here's a complete list of last night's CMT Award Winners:

Video of the Year - Carrie Underwood for "Cowboy Cassanova"

Male Video of the Year - Keith Urban for "Til Summer Comes Around"

Female Video of the Year - Miranda Lambert for "White Liar"

Duo Video of the Year - Brooks & Dunn for "Indian Summer"

Group Video of the Year - Lady Antebellum for "Need You Now"

Collaborative Video of the Year - Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins for "Hillbilly Bone"

USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year - Luke Bryan for "Do I"

CMT Performance of the Year - Carrie Underwood for "Temporary Home" on "Invitation Only"

Video Director of the Year - Shaun Silva for work with Kenny Chesney & Rascal Flatts

Nationwide Insurance On Your Side Award - Chris Young

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

It's the week country fans descend on Nashville, and country artists, too. Last night at the Grand Ole Opry, Carrie Underwood, Josh Turner, Trisha Yearwood and The Band Perry all performed. At Darius Rucker's inaugural guitar pull for St. Jude's, Jake Owen, Radney Foster and Jamey Johnson joined Darius for a show, and then Kid Rock surprised them all when he decided to join the fun for the encore song, "Family Tradition." At the Wildhorse, there was a celebrity-filled fashion show and concert, with Pam Tillis singing "Don't Tell Me What to Wear," and Luke Bryan doing a serious version of "Do I." Clay Walker was part of the Musicians On Call fashion show, and displayed (but didn't model) women's undergarments emblazoned with the name of his new cd, "She Won't Be Lonely Long." Bet that got a huge laugh! The fund-raising continues online for Musicians on Call, with some of country's biggest stars donating concert tickets & backstage passes or autographed guitars. has a photo gallery from the City of Hope celebrity softball game, held Monday.

Even though it's been an action-packed week already, the CMA Music Festival officially kicks off today with the parade. Brenda Lee is the Grand Marshall, and Gloriana, Rodney Atkins, Chuck Wicks and many more artists will be part of it. At the end of the parade there's a free concert outside Bridgestone Arena, featuring Joe Nichols and Randy Houser.

Like a good yard sale? Head for Nashville's Bridgestone Arena this Saturday, as MusiCares and SOLID team up to throw a big one. Artist memorabilia is expected among all of the regular flea market finds, and all the proceeds benefit Nashville flood relief.

Tomorrow, Lady Antebellum's sold-out fan club party will be a flood relief benefit, too. Not only that, but Office Max will match donations up to $50,000. Can't be at the party but love Lady A? For a minimum donation of $5, you can watch the performance live online.

If you want to pretend you're at the CMA Music Festival, check out their social hub, where there are live video streams, photo boards, Twitter streams and much more.

The CMT awards haven't been handed out yet, but once they are, much of Nashville will head over to the Limelight for Dierks Bentley's album release party, expected to start at about 10:30 central time tonight and go until the wee hours of tomorrow morning.

Don't miss the CMT Music Awards red carpet show and award show tonight. Here's a complete list of nominees - come back tomorrow for a complete list of the winners.

Best video of the year; awarded to the artist (male, female, group/duo or collaboration) and the video director.  Final 5 nominees announced during live telecast, with final voting held online at during the show.
• Jason Aldean – “The Truth”
• Kenny Chesney – “Out Last Night”
• Toby Keith – “American Ride”
• Lady Antebellum – “Need You Now”
• Miranda Lambert – “White Liar”
• Brad Paisley – “Welcome to the Future”
• Taylor Swift – “You Belong With Me”
• Carrie Underwood – “Cowboy Casanova”
• Keith Urban – “‘Til Summer Comes Around”
• Zac Brown Band – “Toes”

Best video by a male artist; awarded to the artist
• Jason Aldean – “The Truth”
• Billy Currington – “People Are Crazy”
• Toby Keith – “American Ride”
• Tim McGraw – “Southern Voice”
• Keith Urban – “‘Til Summer Comes Around”

Best video by a female artist; awarded to the artist
• Miranda Lambert – “White Liar”
• Reba McEntire – “Consider Me Gone”
• Taylor Swift – “You Belong With Me”
• Carrie Underwood – “Cowboy Casanova”

Best video by a group; awarded to the artists
• Gloriana – “How Far Do You Wanna Go?”
• Lady Antebellum – “Need You Now”
• Rascal Flatts – “Here Comes Goodbye”
• Zac Brown Band – “Toes”

Best video by a duo; awarded to the artists
• Brooks & Dunn – “Indian Summer”
• Steel Magnolia – “Keep On Lovin’ You”
• Sugarland – “Keep You”
• Sugarland – “Nightswimming/Joey”

Best video from an artist's major breakthrough album; awarded to the artist (male, female, or group/duo)
• Luke Bryan – “Do I”
• Laura Bell Bundy – “Giddy On Up”
• Easton Corbin – “A Little More Country Than That”
• Steel Magnolia – “Keep On Lovin’ You”

Best video that featured a special collaborative appearance by artists; awarded to the artists (individual, group or duo)
• Jason Aldean and Bryan Adams – “Heaven” from CMT CROSSROADS: BRYAN ADAMS AND JASON ALDEAN
• Kenny Chesney with Dave Matthews – “I’m Alive”
• Kellie Pickler featuring Taylor Swift – “Best Days of Your Life”
• Blake Shelton featuring Trace Adkins – “Hillbilly Bone”

Musical performance on a television show, series or variety special on CMT; awarded to the artist (individual, group or duo)
• Lady Antebellum – “Lookin’ For A Good Time” from the 2009 CMT MUSIC AWARDS
• Reba McEntire – “Consider Me Gone” from INVITATION ONLY: REBA
• Tim McGraw – “Southern Voice” from INVITATION ONLY: TIM McGRAW
• Brad Paisley – “Then” from the 2009 CMT MUSIC AWARDS
• Carrie Underwood – “Temporary Home” from INVITATION ONLY: CARRIE UNDERWOOD

Best video director of the year; awarded to the director for his or her body of work from the past year
• Deaton Flanigen (award eligible videos include: Jason Aldean’s “The Truth” and Carrie Underwood’s “Temporary Home”)
• Chris Hicky (award eligible videos include: Miranda Lambert’s “White Liar” and Justin Moore’s “Small Town USA”)
• Shaun Silva (award eligible videos include: Kenny Chesney’s “Out Last Night” and Rascal Flatts’ “Summer Nights”)
• Roman White (award eligible videos include: Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” and Kellie Pickler’s “Best Days of Your Life”)


• Ryan Bingham
• Randy Houser
• Justin Moore
• Chris Young

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Billboard Magazine has crunched the numbers and come up with the top ten country artists of the last 25 years, based on charted songs and albums. Here's their list:

1. George Strait
2. Garth Brooks
3. Reba McEntire
4. Alan Jackson
5. Tim McGraw
6. Randy Travis
7. Toby Keith
8. Kenny Chesney
9. Alabama
10. Brooks & Dunn

Awards shows are known for their bling-filled celebrity gift bags, but this year, the CMT Music Awards stars won't be getting any goodie bags. Instead, the money will be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, allowing them to provide more than 160,000 meals. Trisha Yearwood is the spokesperson for this initiative, and she'll be talking it up on the red carpet tomorrow night, as well as being part of the check presentation on Thursday.

Tim McGraw has teamed up with Fritos to donate half a million dollars to local charities all along the "Southern Voice" tour route.

Zac Brown Band's "For Those Who Serve" documentary is being debuted online, and part two is available for viewing. And congratulations to Zac Brown and his wife. They're expecting their 4th daughter.

The surprise performer for Friday night's CMA Music Festival concert has been announced, and it's CMT Music Awards host Kid Rock.

Got an iPhone? Fan of Toby Keith? There's an app for that.

Ever wonder what stars would wish for, if they had three wishes? Here are three country stars' answers:

Darius Rucker: “World peace, world peace, and world peace.”
Jake Owen: “For everybody in my family to live happy and healthy lives, for myself—to continue to live a happy and healthy life. My third wish would be to have three wishes again!”
Luke Bryan: “Perfect health forever, happiness, and that my family could all live in the same town—all on one street.”

At the City of Hope celebrity softball game yesterday, the rivalry between the Grand Ole Opry Team and the After Midnight team fired up, with a bit of trash talk and an extra inning needed to settle the score. In the end, After Midnight beat Grand Ole Opry 15 to 10. Fans were treated to a surprise, as were Carrie Underwood and her fiance, Mike Fisher. A bridal shower broke out on the field, with the couple getting gifts from members of both teams. has a country music quiz online. See how you do!

And what's Trace Adkins doing this coming Monday? He's going back to high school. He's been asked to be the commencement speaker for the Piedmont High School's 50th graduating class, so he'll head to North Carolina and do the honors. Graduating senior Ashley Price wrote to him, telling him how much it would mean to her graduating class if he were their speaker. He was so moved by the request that he's doing this for free and even paying all of his own travel expenses.

New music out today includes Dierks Bentley's "Up On The Ridge" which features guest artists Miranda Lambert, Jamey Johnson, Vince Gill, Alison Krauss and Kris Kristofferson. Jewel's "Sweet and Wild," Ty Herndon's "Journey On," Clay Walker's "She Won't Be Lonely Long" and Lee Brice's "Love Like Crazy" are all in stores today, too.

Rascal Flatts is on the Elen DeGeneres show today.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

TV specials boost album sales. That's always how it works, but it doesn't usually work this well. After the Brooks & Dunn-The Last Rodeo special on CBS, their double-set, #1's...and them some saw a 211% jump in sales, landing it at the #2 spot on the Billboard Country Albums chart. Their Greatest Hits Collection had a 174% rise, putting it at the top of the Billboard Top Catalog Country Albums chart.

Something even better came out of that special - a $1,000,000 donation to the ACM Lifting Lives Foundation, given by the artists who were part of the show. The money is helping with flood relief in Nashville.

All sorts of other fund-raisers have cropped up in the wake of Nashville's flood, so why not an NRA charity event? It'll happen on Thursday, with Blake Shelton hosting the sporting clay shoot and Trace Adkins, Rodney Atkins, Gretchen Wilson, Justin Moore, Josh Thompson, John Rich and more country stars shouldering their shotguns for a few clay pigeons. Proceeds go to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee for flood relief.

The CMT Music Awards are Wednesday night, and tomorrow is the last day to vote for your favorite artist. Taylor Swift's first award ever was a CMT Music Award, which she took with her to every meet & greet. Why? Taylor says, “The reason why I took the CMT Award from autograph line to autograph line and let people take pictures with it is because it was strictly fan voted. They got me that award and they deserve to get a picture with it.”

Miranda Lambert and Laura Bell Bundy have put together a video asking fans to vote for their videos. It's got a little twist to it - they're not playing themselves in the video. Not even close!

Dierks Bentley has a crazy, crazy day today. It started with a 3am lobby call to get him to the Don Imus show on time, then at 10am he was scheduled to tape a segment of the Today show, then fly to Boston to play a few songs at a small event, then on another plane to fly to Washington DC. Crazy, crazy day!

Keith Urban is hosting a live chat tonight starting at 6 eastern. You can submit questions in advance via his Facebook page or Twitter account.

Rascal Flatts will perform on the Today show this Friday morning.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

The buzz in Nashville is who will be the surprise concert closer a week from tonight at the CMA Music Festival. Already confirmed for that show are Keith Urban, Josh Turner, Reba, Miranda Lambert and Julianne Hough. Performing Thursday night are Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Alan Jackson and Danny Gokey, Saturday night it's Rascal Flatts, Martina McBride, Zac Brown Band, Billy Currington, Randy Houser and Easton Corbin, and Sunday night's line-up includes Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker, Trace Adkins, Blake Shelton, Kellie Pickler and Justin Moore. So, if it's not any of them, who (Kenny) could (Chesney) it (maybe) be? Digging up the details as fast as I can, but the surprise guest is supposed to be a surprise.

If you're wishing you could go to the CMA Music Festival, you still can. Four-day tickets are still on sale, plus there are individual day tickets available for next Saturday and Sunday. Text SCHEDULE to 66937 for a complete list of artist appearance and times.

With most of Nashville's top artists in Nashville next week, there are a lot of other great events going on, too. Monday night, Darius Rucker, Jake Owen, Jamey Johnson and Randy Houser will do a benefit concert for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and Monday is also the day for the City
Linkof Hope Celebrity Softball Challenge, with Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and loads more country stars taking the field. Tuesday night, it's the 4th annual Country Weekly Fashion Show and Concert, with Clay Walker, Joe Nichols, Bucky Covingon and other country stars on hand. Wednesday night at the Ryman, it's Marty Stuart's 9th Annual Late Night Jam, featuring Keith Urban.

BamaJam is underway this weekend, and last night, Zac Brown Band played from midnight to 2am. You know that was rockin'!

Miranda Lambert may someday own the house that built her. Her parents still live in the house where they moved when she was 16, and it's less than a mile down the road from the place she lived her life before that. She's in touch with the man who owns that house now, and told him she'd better be the first person he calls when he's ready to sell it.

Keith Urban and John Mayer's episode of CMT Crossroads will air on June 18th, but you can see them doing "Sweet Thing" now.

Get a peek at one of the weddings that Little Big Town has been part of on the Country Throwdown tour. And watch this video all the way to the end, not just to the end of the song, for something sure to make you smile.

Just for fun, here's a wreck that happened at BamaJam, featuring Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert. Luckily, no one was injured.
And more fun - Kid Rock, joking about Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert's upcoming marriage: “He says he’ll wear the pants; she tells him which pair.’”

Kellie Pickler is on Fox & Friends today, tomorrow night on CMT, catch the 2010 CMT Music Awards Video of the Year special, and Sunday night, GAC re-airs the ACM Awards.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Serious guitar fans and fans of Brad Paisley need to get out their checkbooks. Gibson Guitars is making only 300 Brad Paisley Gibson Acoustic J-45's, based on the 1942 J-45 Legend, set up according to Brad's preferences and sporting his autograph. The guitar will set you back just a bit over five grand, but you do get a hardshell case, owner's manual, Gibson's Gold Warranty and a certificate of authenticity.

During the 2010 CMT Music Awards next Wednesday, there will be performances of previously unreleased music. Jamey Johnson will debut "Macon" from his next cd, due out in the fall. Keith Urban and John Mayer will duet on "Hit the Ground Running," a cut from "Defying Gravity" which hasn't been released, and LeAnn Rimes will do her version of the John Anderson chestnut, "Swingin,'" from her upcoming cd, "Lady and Gentlemen." The award winners are chosen by fans, and voting is still going on.

What's Keith Urban's favorite part about award shows? “I think every award show that Nic and I’ve been to—I sit there and say, ‘Look at these seats we’re in. This is incredible.’ I mean, because it’s not always going to be like that. You know, bit by bit, your seat gets moved and moved and moved over the years and before you know it…you’re sitting miles away. This is just sort of a magical time. Neither of us want to take it for granted. [We] really want to appreciate it while it’s here.”

As a salute to her lucky number 13, Taylor Swift will host a 13-hour-long autograph session at the CMA Music Festival next week, on June 13th. Kellie Pickler decided to host her autograph signing inside Opry Originals: The Shop. She'll sign for a couple of hours, then will perform for everyone in the store.

If you can't make it to the CMA Music Festival in Nashville next week, never fear. ABC will be there, filming every bit of it, and winnowing it down to the best stuff, which will air on September first. Yes, all the big stars will be part of it.

Jake Owen had a surprise proposal during his concert in Baton Rouge, Louisiana over the weekend. Bayou Country Superfest attendee Jason proposed to Britney on stage. The newly engaged couple danced as Jake performed his next song.

A couple of weeks ago, Dolly Parton pledged that a weekend's gate receipts from her Sevierville, TN theme parks would go to flood relief. Yesterday she presented a quarter-million dollar check to Nashville's mayor and United Way.

Even though he's walking through New Mexico right now, Jimmy Wayne is helping Nashville recover, too. He's partnered with Bryan Foods to donate 2,500 pounds of food to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee to go to those most affected by the disaster.

Luke Bryan is in USA Weekend in a newspaper near you this weekend, but you don't have to wait to read the interview.

If you're a fan of old-school George Strait, this'll make your hat twirl: George Strait is re-issuing the classic George Strait Live on DVD exclusively at WalMart on June 15th. The footage has been digitally remastered and optimized for surround-sound. The show was taped at the Dallas Reunion Arena on New Year's night. The show rang in 1987, and features sons like The Fireman, Amarillo By Morning, All My Ex's Live in Texas and more vintage George. And fall tour dates have been announced as the George Strait, Reba McEntire and Lee Ann Womack machine continues it's trek across America. The tour will stop in Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, New York and Minnesota before concluding Oct. 22 in Fargo, N.D.

Lady Antebellum has made chart history with their song, "Need You Now." It's now the longest-running number one song by a country group on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. The song has been atop the AC chart for 10 weeks, beating the previous record holders, Rascal Flatts, who were #1 on the AC chart in 2006 with "What Hurts the Most."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Just four weeks ago, large portions of Nashville were so flooded that even the 50-foot-high flood marker in Riverfront Park was completely submerged. It was the largest non-hurricane natural disaster in US history, and next week, just 5 weeks later, Nashville welcomes visitors from all over the world to the 2010 CMA Music Festival. Stages are being erected, parade routes are being re-drawn and the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau has launched a "Thanks for Visiting, We're Glad You're Here" campaign. Bureau President Butch Spyridon said, "Attendees could have gone anywhere, but we're glad they're spending their vacation here in Music City. The traffic is usually an inconvenience, but this year it's going to be a blessing for Nashvillians."

The 20th Annual City of Hope Celebrity Softball Challenge
is Monday night at Nashville's Greer Stadium. Among those playing on the Grand Ole Opry team are Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean and Craig Morgan. On Blair Garner's After Midnight team are Luke Bryan, Vince Gill, Joe Nichols and more of Nashville's finest.

Congratulations to Miranda Lambert, who has her second #1 song with "The House That Built Me," a song that made her cry when she first heard it, and still makes her cry sometimes when she performs it, especially when family is in the audience.
“Grandma was on the front row—and it’s general admission, mind you—she’s up there, like, head-banging and stuff—“The House That Built Me” came up and she was standing there, and she’s kind of like me— she doesn’t cry, she’s kind of a tough woman—and she just had big tears in her eyes and of course, I just couldn’t even finish.”

There's good money in wrecked cars. The owners of a California company that auctions off wrecked cars for insurance companies has purchased Alan Jackson's 135-acre estate outside of Nashville. It went on the market last year, listed at $38 million, and sold for $28 million to Willis and Reba Johnson. Don't feel too bad for Alan, though - that sale price is more than twice as much as any single-family home has ever sold for in Middle Tennessee.

Jimmy Wayne is still walking across America to shine a light on the plight of homeless teens. People Magazine has mentioned his trek a time or two, but yesterday a crew flew to New Mexico and drove out into the dessert to cover Project Meet Me Halfway.

Luke Bryan is celebrating June by putting the mp3 version of the cd, "Doin My Thing" on sale for only $5.

Live Nation, a major concert promoter and venue owner, has a goal of filling every seat this summer. In order to do that in a soft economy, they decided to declare June the month of no service charges on their tickets. Check out the venues near you and the concerts coming to them, plus buy tickets service-fee-free, on their website.

That Kid Rock cd I told you about last week? It's due out September 7th and will feature some really special guests - Martina McBride, Zac Brown, Sheryl Crow and Bob Seger will show up on Kid's country project.

Catch Dierks Bentley on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Sunday night on PBS, the National Memorial Day Concert aired, and Brad Paisley was part of it. He sang "Welcome to the Future" and "Then," and if you were watching, bet you got tears in your eyes, too. He tweeted, "Our new 3 trillion dollar stage backdrop for tonight."

The Country Throwdown tour, featuring twenty one artists with an average ticket price of $31, was forced to trim some dates. Houston, Dallas, San Diego and Phoenix won't get the show this year because of low ticket sales. The same people who have staged the Vans Warped tour for 16 years say that they expected a few key lessons for the first year of the Throwdown, and they promise there will be a "next year." Meanwhile, the tour, which features Montgomery Gentry, Jamey Johnson, Little Big Town, Eric Church, Jack Ingram, Eli Young Band, Heidi Newfield, Emily West, Tyler Reeve, Sarah Buxton and Jedd Hughes, is playing to sold-out venues and rave reviews on most of their tour stops.

Gloriana wants your help naming their summer tour. If your suggestion is chosen, you get bragging rights, plus tickets and backstage access to the show of your choice.

And Shania Twain is hinting that an acoustic tour could be in her (near) future.

Jewel sang the National Anthem at the Indy 500 on Sunday for about 400,000 people at the raceway, and got to hang with a couple of famous guys - Mario Andretti and Jack Nicholson.

Martina McBride and hubby John celebrated Memorial Day weekend by having their first "alone" trip in 13 years. Not a lot of tweets from the usually prolific Martina over the weekend. Hmmmmmm... has shots of country stars hanging with military types in honor of Memorial Day.

The Lost Trailers are calling it quits at the end of this year. Lead singer Ryder Lee and a couple of bandmates will re-group and have new music in early 2011. The guys have been together as a band since they were in high school, and the group best known for "Holler Back" feels like it's time to take a break from each other.

Happy birthday to Ronnie Dunn, who turns 57 today.