Monday, October 25, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Hi...I'm on vacation until 11/1/10. Have a great week, and I'll see you back here next Monday!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Two hundred volunteers helped Montgomery Gentry build a playground. As the recipients of the ACM/Home depot Humanitarian Award, they got to choose the community that would get the playground and chose Lexington, Kentucky. An outdoor classroom, community bulletin boards, planter benches and raised garden beds were included in the playground. Local schoolkids serenaded Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry with their rendition of "My Town."

The first round of voting is underway for the 2011 People's Choice Awards. Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert and Jason Aldean all have two nominations each. Voting to determine each catagory's five final nominees goes through November 9th.

Jennifer Nettles will host the CMA Country Christmas special, being taped in Nashville on November 11, the night after the CMA Awards. She quipped, "I love the holidays and, as my first time hosting a show, I am sure it will be full of laughs and surprises both for myself and for the folks watching." The show will air November 29th on ABC.

Trace Adkins and Craig Morgan are teaming up for a charity concert at Opryland. Proceeds from the November 18th show will benefit Hands On Nashville, Second Harvest Food Bank and the Nashville Red Cross. Tickets for the show are $50 and include food, parking and discounted cocktails for those of legal drinking age.

Tomorrow night, Blake Shelton gets inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, and he wants you to help choose the song he'll perform.

Relive the hot mess that was Blake Shelton's visit on the Chelsea Lately show.

James Otto has a military appreciation deal at all of his concerts: the first 10 active-duty military to present their IDs get free tickets and a pair of meet & greet passes.

Wanna help out at Tracy Lawrence's 5th annual "Mission: Possible" turkey fry? It'll be November 23 at the Nashville Rescue Mission, and there'll be special guests in attendance again this year. The event feeds over four thousand people each year and raises more than $100,000 for the mission.

Sugarland is on the Today show this morning, and the Judds are on Fox & Friends.

Happy birthday to Jimmy Wayne and Dwight Yoakam tomorrow.

The tweet of the day is from Taylor Swift: "Just finished a tv interview in a pub and yesterday I passed Kate Moss in a hallway! I'm 100% sure I'm in London."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

So you think you shoot good concert video? Did you see Tim McGraw on tour this year and shoot some of him? You could win a contest with that video, and it might even become part of the video for "Felt Good On My Lips." Hit up Tim's YouTube channel for all the details, and good luck!

Blake Shelton will be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night, and today he'll be doing a Twitterview on the Opry's Twitter feed, starting at 10am Eastern time. Expect his Opry tweets to be much more family-friendly than some of his own tweets! You should also check out the Opry's YouTube page - Blake's all over that, too.

CNN caught up with Toby Keith and talked to him about bullying, politics and how he came to be a big country star.

Rascal Flatts just wrapped up the fall leg of their "Nothing Like This" tour, and are set to do the media blitz that always surrounds an album release. Their new cd, "Nothing Like This," hits stores on November 16th. After the holidays, Luke Bryan and Chris Young will join Rascal Flatts for the winter part of their tour. Dates and locations will be on the Rascal Flatts website soon.

Jason Aldean is sponsoring a contest to get you to the CMA's. You could win a trip for two to Nashville, tickets to a private concert by Jason on November 9th at the Hard Rock, and then tickets to the CMA Awards the next night.

Congrats to Darius Rucker, whose sophomore country cd, "Charleston, SC 1966" debuted at the top of the Billboard Country Album chart. The Band Perry's self-titled debut cd is at #2, Kenny Chesney's "Hemingway's Whiskey" is #3, Zack Brown Band's "You Get What You Give" is #4 and Toby Keith's "Bullets in the Gun" is at #5.

Today, watch Kellie Pickler is on the Ellen Degeneres show, Dierks Bentley on Live! With Regis and Kelly, and the Judds on Good Morning America and the Today show.

Tomorrow, Taylor Swift hits newsstands as the cover feature of People Magazine.

The tweet of the day is from Jake Owen: " Don Williams just reassured me why I LOVE country music. Lord, This day IS Good!"

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Jason Aldean threw a benefit concert last Friday night, and $132,000 is going to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure. It's his 5th year of hosting the concert, and the first time it's been anywhere but Nashville. He decided that going forward, he'll pick a different city each year, and he wants to thank everyone in Evansville, IN who showed up to the concert wearing pink. His best friend's wife died from breast cancer at a very young age, and that spurred Jason and his wife to create this fund-raiser.

Reba is enlisting the help of her fans to launch her upcoming cd, "All The Women I Am." It streets on November 9th, and she's got an online contest, offering prizes to the fans who show the most creativity in letting the world know about the cd release. Enter photos and videos, and be sure they show a lot of people being exposed to your creative message. Good luck!

Chris Young wants you to go to the CMA Awards in style. He's looking for a winner of a black dress designed by Carmen Marc Valvo, a pair of tickets to the CMA Awards, two tickets to the red carpet viewing area and limo service for the night. Guys, you can enter, too, but please promise not to wear the black dress!!

Last night, Blake Shelton was on the 600th episode of Chelsea Lately, and he took her a couple of presents. He made up a couple of tank tops for her, one saying "Hot Mess Blake Shelton on my 600th episode" and the other saying "Kiss My Country A**." She declared him her favorite person to follow on Twitter, and on a serious note, Blake said that being made a member of the Grand Ole Opry will be the highlight of his professional life and marrying Miranda Lambert will be the highlight of his personal life.

Jamey Johnson is on the Late Show with David Letterman tonight.

The tweet of the day is from Dierks Bentley: "glad my mom used to wash my mouth out with time to buy toothpaste in NYC.brushing with soap.surprisingly zestfully clean feeling"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Sunday night, Nashville celebrated the song. It was the induction ceremony for the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and Garth Brooks was in attendance to perform "Unanswered Prayers," "That Summer" and "The Thunder Rolls" to honor inductee Pat Alger, the author of those songs. Also inducted were Steve Cropper, whose work includes "In The Midnight Hour" and "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay", Paul Davis who wrote "I Go Crazy" and "'65 Love Affair" and Stephen Foster, who penned the classics "Oh Susanna" and "My Old Kentucky Home." Honored for the third time in four years was Taylor Swift, who won Songwriter/Artist of the year again.

Speaking of Taylor Swift, check out this video of Taylor in Paris, trying to get from her car to the front door of a building. The French are in love with Taylor, that's for sure.

And in case you're wondering, some of the guys Taylor wrote about on her upcoming cd, "Speak Now," are being identified by song. "Dear John" is apparently for John Mayer, with whom she was rumored to be romantically linked last year. That song references the wish that she'd listened to her Mom's advice, and it's clear from the lyrics that it didn't end well at all. Taylor Lautner, her love interest in the movie "Valentine's Day," gets two songs: "The Story of Us" and "Back to December." The second song is an apology to Taylor L., whose heart Taylor S. confesses to have been careless with. And "Innocent" was written for Kanye West in the aftermath of the MTV Video Music Awards debacle last fall. The new cd is out a week from today.

Last night's Sugarland concert in New York was streamed live online, and Twitter was used to give away an autographed guitar. Special guests Ronnie Dunn and Little Big Town helped make the show amazing, and even mighty YouTube had a bit of trouble keeping up with the demand for the stream.

At the CMA Awards this year, Miranda Lambert and Sheryl Crow will team up for a tribute to Loretta Lynn, in celebration of her 50 years in country music. They'll perform "Coal Miner's Daughter" live on the show. The next night, "CMA Country Christmas" will be taped to air November 29th on ABC. Scheduled to perform are Brad Paisley, Reba, Sugarland, Rascal Flatts, Martina McBride, Little Big Town, Sheryl Crow and LeAnn Rimes.

Voting is underway for the first annual American Country Awards, a fan-voted show which will air live from Las Vegas on December 6th. Nominees include Lady Antebellum and Easton Corbin, who are each nominated seven times, Carrie Underwood, who has six nominations, and Miranda Lambert and Josh Turner, both nominated five times.

Brad Paisley's H2O tour has been re-named the "H2O Frozen Over" tour, and will continue January and February of next year. Darius Rucker is on the bill as one of the openers, with Jerrod Niemann joining the tour.

Jack Ingram's Acoustic Motel series continues this week with "Stand Up."

Gary Allan will have to take some time off the road in December, as he undergoes surgery to remove a polyp from his vocal cord. Ticketholders for the shows on December 11th and 31st are being offered a refund, even though both shows will be rescheduled. Gary is expected to make a full recovery after surgery and vocal rest.

Congratulations to Easton Corbin, whose "Roll With It" is the #1 country song this week.

Congratulations to John Rich, who will be part of the next season of "Celebrity Apprentice."

And condolences to the family of Rodney and Tammy Jo Atkins. Tammy Jo's stepfather, Ralph Smith, passed away. Services were held yesterday.

Catch Blake Shelton on "Chelsea Lately" tonight. It's his third visit on the show, more than any other country artist, and it's also a celebratory show, as it's the 600th episode. Knowing both of them, anything could happen, so either stay up or set your DVR.

Today is the day that Sugarland's "Incredible Machine" cd is released. It's incredible...take that to the bank! Also look for the two "Original Songwriter Demos Volume 1 and Volume 2" which are out today. They're the original demo versions of songs like Garth Brooks' "The Dance," Martina McBride's "Independence Day" and Tim McGraw's "Something Like That," performed not by the artist, but by the demo singer or songwriter, in the form that the artist heard the song when deciding to record it. Great concept.

The tweet of the day is from Jimmy Wayne: "He stopped & shook my hand & said we're gonna have fun tonight. It was Garth. The only thing I could think to say was " uuuuhh hey Garth"."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Tonight, Sugarland streams their New York show live online. You can find it on the Sugarland Vevo channel on YouTube and also on Sugarland's site. The concert starts at 9 Eastern time. It's happening just before "The Incredible Machine" is released tomorrow. Here's a peek at their work with director Kenny Ortega at rehearsal.

Brad Paisley wowed the crowd last night in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Tickets were available for free for locals and also for anyone booking rooms in the coastal area as a way to help boost the economy. The beach was wall-to-wall people and the night was perfect for a little water fun with Brad and his band. With his songwriting ability, it's not surprising to hear that he'll be writing a book. Entitled "The Diary of a Player," Brad and co-writer David Wild chronicle how guitar masters in country, blues and rock influenced Brad's life. The book is due out in May of 2011.

Kudos to Dierks Bentley, who raised over a quarter of a million dollars yesterday in Nashville with his "Miles & Music for Kids" ride and concert. He says fatherhood has given even more meaning to this event, now in it's 5th year. "Yeah, it definitely does. I mean it has a huge impact on you once you have a kid and we’ve had a healthy kid... a really healthy kid, but this makes you even more appreciative of knowing about the families that don’t and you know, those families don’t need to be worrying about money and financial, you know, debt and all of that stuff, they need to be just concentrating on their kids getting healthy and getting well. I’ve got another kid on the way and I pray it’s healthy too, but knowing that Vanderbilt’s there if there’s ever a problem is a great piece of mind."

Congratulations to Craig Morgan and Carrie Underwood, who both picked up awards at the 16th Annual Inspirational Country Music Award Show in Nashville last week. Craig won Mainstream Country Artist and Mainstream Inspirational Song for "This Ain't Nothin'" and Carrie won Inspirational Video for "Temporary Home."

And even more congratulations to Miranda Lambert...her "Revolution" cd has gone platinum!

For only the second time in the history of the show, Ellen Degeneres will devote the entire hour to one guest, and once again, it's Taylor Swift. The first time it was for the release of "Fearless" in 2008, and this time it's for the release of "Speak Now." On November 1st, Ellen will host a "Speak Now Release Party" on her show.

And Alan Jackson continues to make history in Australia. He's touring there with Miranda Lambert as his opener in March of next year, and tickets for the first 4 shows sold out faster than any other country artist ever has in Australia. So they added another show in Brisbane, which sold out in 23 minutes when those tickets went on sale. No word as to whether more dates will be added, but it looks like demand for them is certainly robust!

Taylor Swift will be in this weekend's "Parade" magazine, and she tells the story of seeing an 11-year-old girl in Nashville, wearing one of her "Fearless" t-shirts. She followed the girl into a video game store and introduced herself. The girl was speechless for 3 minutes, and her Mom burst into tears, telling Taylor that they'd driven from Austin, Texas to Nashville to see the town that discovered Taylor Swift.

Happy birthday to Josh Gracin, who turns 30 today.

Watch the Judds on "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" on Fox News today.

The tweet of the day is from Brad Paisley: "This was magical tonight. For everyone who reads this,these beaches are clean and beautiful,and open. Come visit the gulf coast. It's ready."

Friday, October 15, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

The CMA Awards are coming up, and the record labels are wooing the industry voters with creative reminders of just how great their nominee is. Perhaps the most creative so far is one for Reba, shot on the Saturday Night Live set.

Sugarland has been invited to be part of the "2010 VH1 Divas: Salute The Troops" special on December 10th, along with Katy Perry, Paramore, Nicki Minaj and Keri Hilson. The show is staged for thousands of military members at MCAS Miramar in San Diego. Wonder how Kristian Bush feels about being called a "diva?"

Lady Antebellum posted a sepia-toned, unplugged version of "Something Bout A Woman" this week...enjoy!

Did you miss Trace Adkins on Chelsea Lately earlier this week? Check it out here, as the two trade shots and Trace describes his alcohol allergy.l

Toby Keith was on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson...

When Keith Urban's cd, "Get Closer," comes out on November 16th, Target will have an exclusive edition with three new tracks and four live recordings.

Want the title cut from Randy Houser's "They Call Me Cadillac?" For free? has it for you.

Billy Currington will be on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson tonight.

Happy birthday today to Kimberly Schlapman of Little Big Town, Alan Jackson on Sunday and Josh Gracin on Monday.

The tweet of the day is from Brad Paisley: "IN A WORLD,where 33 miners are trapped under the earth..How will they escape?Starring:Antonio Banderas,George Lopez, Dwayne"the Rock"Johnson"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

It's the best of all possible newses...the 33 miners, trapped for two months underground, all making it out safely yesterday. Country artists took notice via Twitter:

Brad Paisley: This chilean miner rescue is one of the most incredible things I've ever seen.

Reba: Yeah!!!!!! Great news! So happy for the miners getting out of the mine after all that time!!!

Terri Clark: Been watching the news and am so thrilled, and amazed at what a miracle it is that they rescued all 33 miners in Chile.

This week in Nashville, Capitol Records threw a Capitol Street Party, with live music from Darius Rucker, among others. A surprise "other" was Keith Urban, who joined Darius onstage for "Raining on Sunday" and the Steve Miller Band's "Joker." Talking to reporters, Keith said, “I love it. I love that kind of environment. It’s very festive and celebratory. I think in this town particularly I’d like to see more of it because – it’s Music City – but in so many ways it’s sort of music business city cause we get so stuck in the business side of it that we kind of forget it’s about playing live music too.”

Sugarland fan? Then make a date with your computer and high-speed connection for this Monday evening, as they stream their concert in New York online. The show will air at 9pm eastern on YouTube as part of the American Express Unstaged series. Then Tuesday, their next cd, "The Incredible Machine," comes out. And has the Living Liner Notes for the making of "The Incredible Machine."

Video of the red carpet part of Tuesday's salute to Loretta Lynn has started surfacing, and this charming one featuring Garth and Loretta will give you a smile.

Jack Ingram's Acoustic Motel continues this week with "Once in a While," a song he did a long time ago.

Congrats to Toby Keith, whose "Bullets in the Gun" sits atop both the Billboard Country and Top 200 charts this week.

Blake Shelton has been quiet on Twitter for the last few days, and that's VERY unlike him. Today, using an app called TwitLonger (for when you talk too much for Twitter) he posted the reason: "I know i've been absent on twitter lately.. I've spent the last few days with Miranda, family and some friends hanging out and deer hunting just clearing my head and thinking about things. Last night it hit me as I left Oklahoma on the bus again that the dream/goal I moved to Nashville with 16 years ago has come true. On November 9th MY greastest hits album comes out!!! I am humbled my friends.. Thank you."

The tweet of the day is from David Nail: "davidnail: Okay @blakeshelton that was sweet and all, but honestly, how did you tweet 400 characters!"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

The American Music Awards nominations were announced yesterday, and voting is underway. Lady Antebellum is tied with Eminem for the highest number of nominations, with 5 each. Lady A is nominated in the appropriate country categories, but also has noms as Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist and Breakthrough Artist of the Year. Scroll down to yesterday afternoon's post for the list of country artists and their nominations. The show will air November 21st on ABC.

Darius Rucker dishes about band names, acceptance and why he's a dork...

The counting is over and the total is revealed: this year's "We're All for the Hall" benefit concert, led by Keith Urban, raked in nearly half a million dollars for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. That's about twice what last year's show brought in, and will go a long way towards care of the exhibits and educational programs.

Martina McBride shares a behind-the scenes "We're All for the Hall" peek at rehearsals and the show.

Last night's show at the Ryman Auditorium was a tribute concert for Loretta Lynn. She brought a date - Garth Brooks. The two of them ended up onstage, duetting on "After the Fire is Gone." Also performing at the gala were Martina McBride, Kid Rock, Gretchen Wilson, Jack White, Lee Ann Womack and Reba McEntire, who was the host for the event. The evening was billed as "A Grammy Salute to Country Music Honoring Loretta Lynn" for 50 years in country music. She was honored with The Recording Academy's President's Merit Award last night.

A new television network has debuted this week, and what better way to gain the public's attention than to debut a Taylor Swift special over three nights. The Hub network, which replaces Discovery Kids, is geared towards a 6-to-11-year old audience, and "The Making of the Fearless Tour" will air in three parts on October 22nd, 23rd and 24th at 7pm Eastern time.

Speaking of the Golden One, Taylor has a secret wish that is yet to come true: she wants to see her music sold at Starbucks. “I go there every day and stare longingly at the CDs they sell" says Taylor. Starbucks execs, take note!

Happy birthday to Rhett Akins, Lacy J. Dalton and Marie Osmond today.

The tweet of the day is from David Nail: "I have the sweetest dog, she knows I'm leaving tomorrow, she knows what the bags being packed means. She won't let me out of her sight!"

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Ready, set, go...start voting for your favorites in the American Music Awards. Nominees were announced this afternoon and Lady Antebellum has the most country nominations, and is tied with Eminem for the most nominations overall, with five.

Country Male Artist: Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean

Country Female Artist: Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert

Country Music Band, Duo or Group: Rascal Flatts, Lady Antebellum, Zac Brown Band

Country Music Album: Carrie Underwood "Play On," Lady Antebellum "Need You Now," Jason Aldean "Wide Open"

Adult Contemporary Artist: Lady Antebellum, Train, Michael Buble

Favorite Band, Duo or Group: Lady Antebellum, The Black Eyed Peas, Train

Breakthrough Artist: Lady Antebellum, B.o.B., Justin Bieber, Taio Cruz, Jason Derulo, Ke$ha, Travie McCoy, Mike Posner

The voting is open now, so head to the official American Music Awards page to cast your votes.

Today's Country Tidbits

And now there's video proof of the pranking that Brad Paisley pulls on his opening acts. From squirt guns to silly string to hot rolls and a really rotund yellow guy, Nashville newcomers are warned: agree to be Brad's opening act at your own risk!

When did Darius Rucker decided he needed to make country records, not pop records? In 1992, when Radney Foster's "Del Rio, Texas 1959" came out. Darius says his old band, Hootie & the Blowfish, will attest to the fact that he played that album every day for three years. Says Darius, ". It was at that point where I didn't want to make a country record someday, I had to." Today, check out Darius' nod to Radney's genius, "Charleston, SC 1966." It's Darius Rucker's second country cd, and features a duet with Brad Paisley. Here he is doing "Things I'd Never Do" on Good Morning America.

People Magazine asked Kenny Chesney to list the 10 songs that changed his life. Here they are:

1.) John Mellencamp – “Small Town”
2.) Bruce Springsteen – “Born To Run”
3.) Bob Marley – “Stir It Up”
4.) The Eagles – “Take It Easy”
5.) U2 – “Angel of Harlem”
6.) Joe Walsh – “Life’s Been Good”
7.) Van Halen – “Jump”
8.) Jimmy Buffett – “A Pirate Looks At Forty”
9.) Hank Williams Jr. – “Come And Go Blues”
10.) Merle Haggard – “Misery and Gin”

Think you can sing, or maybe you know someone who's great? Jake Owen says "bring it!" Hit his Facebook page and sign up for the chance to be on stage, singing with Jake Owen, on December 10th in Vero Beach, Florida, Jake's hometown. The winner also gets to ride with Jake on his tour bus from Nashville to Vero Beach.

This Friday night, the sequel to "Pure Country" will debut. Entitled "Pure Country 2 - The Gift," it features Katrina Elam in the starring role. George Strait is also in this sequel, though his role is much smaller this time around.

New music out today - Trace Adkins "The Definitive Greatest Hits: Til the Last Shot's Fired," The Band Perry's self-titled debut, Lady Antebellum's six-song holiday disc available only at Target, "A Merry Little Christmas," and the most anticipated sophomore effort since Lady A's, Darius Rucker's "Charleston, SC 1966." Also, Miranda Lambert's "Live by Candle Light" DVD is out today.

Catch Trace Adkins on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson tonight.

The tweet of the day is from Martina McBride: "I bought a sweater yesterday. I LOVE it. I am going to wear it so much that people are going 2 say, "Does she OWN another sweater?!"

Monday, October 11, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

The Grand Ole Opry celebrated it's 85th birthday on Saturday night, and the stars were out in force for the show. Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift and Marty Stuart were just part of the fun, and from the looks of the cake, there was plenty for seconds and maybe even thirds for the entire audience.

This is the week the Opry turns pink. Tomorrow night's show kicks off the second annual Opry Goes Pink, a benefit for Women Rock for the Cure and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The two Opry performances kick in an extra $5 per ticket when buyers mention "oprypink" over the phone or online. In addition, there's an online auction that includes autographed items from many country artists, including Sugarland, Luke Bryan and Craig Morgan.

When stars collide, it can have hilarious consequenses. Laura Bell Bundy, in her guise as Euneeda Biscuit, interviews Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert. She never once gets Miranda's name right...

When someone becomes a big star, they also become a target. Taylor Swift's former manager, Dan Dymtrow, has filed suit against her, claiming he's owed millions of dollars in commissions. He was her manager from April 2004 when she was 14 until July of 2005. He claims he introduced her to the Nashville movers and shakers, including Scott Borchetta, the head of the record label she's now on. According to Taylor's people, she will not be commenting on this case. No court date has been set yet.

Rascal Flatts had to postpone all of their shows this past weekend because of a bad bug the guys are all passing around. The west coast shows have all been rescheduled, and all tickets will be honored.

Ever wonder what goes into making a Moog synthesizer? Kristian Bush did, so he and the Sugarland Band took a tour of the Moog factory in North Carolina.

Saturday Night Live took on Sunday Night Football, with a send-up of Faith Hill's theme song. Celebrity host Jane Lynch (think "Glee") did a creditable job on the Faith Hill send-up, but doesn't fill out a black dress anything like Tim's honey does:

Condolences to Josh and Jennifer Turner, who lost their "first child," Moses the bloodhound. Moses co-starred in the "Everything is Fine" video and was there with the two of them for the last six years. Moses died of kidney disease, and Josh says, “Moses was a special part of our family. It’s been a very hard time for us. He was the best dog there ever was.”

Trace Adkins is on Chelsea Lately on the E! network tonight.

The tweet of the day is from Jo Dee Messina: "At a fair. They actually have deep fried butter. How many calories/fat grams do u think THAT has?"

Friday, October 8, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Garth Brooks knows his way around a construction area. He showed up yesterday in Birmingham, Alabama to help build houses for Habitat for Humanity. It's not the first time he's pitched in to help the organization in a hands-on way. The hard hat suits him nearly as well as the cowboy hat does.

Alan Jackson has set a record - he's the fastest country music tour sell-out in Australia's history. All of the tickets to his shows next March with Miranda Lambert were snapped up in just a few hours. There was so much demand for tickets that a third show in Brisbane has been added.

Got a motorcycle? Will you and it be in Nashville on the 17th of this month? Then you might want to join Dierks Bentley's fifth annual Nashville "Miles & Music for Kids" ride and concert. Miranda Lambert, Jerrod Niemann, Luke Bryan, Heidi Newfield, Del McCoury and Laura Bell Bundy will all be part of the post-ride concert, which benefits the children's hospital at Vanderbilt.

Taylor Swift is the cover girl on Glamor Magazing this month, and not only is she excited about her new album release on the 25th, she tells Glamor "I'm also pretty interested to hear the response from the guys I've written about on this record." Taylor sits atop the iTunes all-genre and country singles charts with nearly 86,000 paid downloads of "Mine."

Congratulations to Jamey Johnson, whose "The Guitar Song" double-disc set continues to get rave reviews in publications like The New York Times, Washington Post, Rolling Stone Magazine and others. Says Jamey, "I've read that dreams were little achievements like [selling 500,000 records]. "[But] all I wanted was just to get to ride around and sing country music. It's cool when things like [this] happen along the way because those are the things I never thought I could achieve. I'll just keep doing what I do. I wake up every day and go play some more country music and have another drink."

Martina McBride has been invited to be part of a tribute concert for David Foster, legendary writer, producer and discoverer of talents like Celine Dion and Michael Buble. Martina is the only country artist invited to be part of the October 15th show in Las Vegas. The evening will be filmed and turned into a CD/DVD for release early next year.

Rascal Flatts had to postpone last night's concert in California due to an unspecified illness in the band. Ticketholders were told to keep their tickets, as the show will be re-scheduled. This weekend's scheduled concerts might or might not happen - the decision is day-to-day. Feel better, guys!

Meanwhile, Darryl Worley will embark on a tour of Army garrisons next Friday, starting in Killeen, TX. His "God & Country Tour" will be free and open not just to the military stationed at each post, but also to the people in the surrounding communities. His 7-song EP will be available for free at each show, too. And anyone who's in the military or ever has been can get a free song from Darryl, "Unsung Heroes."

Jaron and the Long Road To Love's Jaron Lowenstein played a practical joke that could have ended with him locked up. While in Pennsylvania attending a local awards show, he swiped the costume that the local minor league baseball team's mascot wears. He showed up for a radio interview the following day wearing the "Rascal" costume, causing quite a stir. Guess he didn't know that the team had an APB out for the costume, valued at $5,000. The costume is back where it belongs and Jaron didn't get arrested for his prank.

Lady Antebellum celebrated "Need You Now's" #1 status this week and were surprised with a presentation of triple-platinum certification for the song. It's their 4th #1 song in a row.

More wall bling - Lee Brice's "Love Like Crazy," The Band Perry's "If I Die Young" and Sugarland's "Stuck Like Glue" have all been certified gold.

Love the Grand Ole Opry? Got an iPhone or an Android? There's an app for that!

Toby Keith's "CMT: Invitation Only" episode premiers tonight. It features a few songs from his new cd, "Bullets in the Gun."

Might want to pick up a little extra work this weekend so you can buy all the new country music coming out Tuesday. Miranda Lambert's first performance DVD comes out, called "Revolution: Live By Candlelight." Trace Adkins' "The Definitive Greatest Hits: Til the Last Shot's Fired," The Band Perry's self-titled debut, Darius Rucker's "Charleston SC 1966" and Lady Antebellum's "A Merry Little Christmas" all go on sale this coming Tuesday.

The tweet of the day is from Jack Ingram: "Like Roy Halliday, I've delivered a few "no hitters" in my career! Unlike him, it's not a good thing when I do it!"

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Kenny Chesney's on a roll - "Hemingway's Whiskey" is at the top of the Billboard Country chart and on top of the Billboard Top 200 chart, selling more than 183,000 copies since it's release last week. That's a great accomplishment, but check this out - it's his 10th cd in a row to debut at #1. Now that's success!

We know that when Taylor Swift is up for a music award, she usually wins. What happens when she's in court, suing people? She wins there, too. Last year during the "Fearless" tour, 16 people were found to be selling bogus Taylor Swift merchandise, claiming it was real. They were arrested, their goods confiscated by police and a lawsuit was filed against them all. A federal judge in Nashville ruled in her favor, ordering the people to never engage in selling Taylor Swift merchandise again and ordering the confiscated items to be destroyed.

This years CMA Music Festival raised nearly 3 million dollars in charity funding to support music education in schools and to aid in flood clean-up. Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said, during the check presentations attended by Kix Brooks, Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town and Luke Bryan, "The CMA Music Festival went on as planned just a month after the devastating May flood, and it was the largest, most successful Festival to date. That's a testament to the strength of Music City and the commitment CMA has to Nashville."

Want a look at the life of a touring artist? How about a day in the life of Lady Antebellum while they're on tour?

Trace Adkins is tooling up to tour the Middle East. It's his third USO/Armed Forces Entertainment tour there, and he plans stops in Bahrain, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Zac Brown Band is built for speed. They'll be giving a fee concert during the "Coca-Cola Fuels NASCAR Drive" in Miami on November 18th. They're also going to be featured in an ad campaign for NASCAR's 2011 racing season.

Carrie Underwood's the featured artist in this week's People Magazine: Country Edition on newsstands now. She talks about life with Mike and how important counting blessings is to her.

Watch Toby Keith on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson tonight.

The tweet of the day is from Martina McBride: "Ok so today I actually put ON the work-out attire....and that's all. But I'm choosing to see that as a positive step."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Last night's "We're All For the Hall" benefit concert in Nashville was action-packed and star-studded. Miranda Lambert and Randy Houser hit the stage together for a rocking song, Martina McBride, Keith Urban and Vince Gill worked up a trio version of "Broken Wing" that blew the roof off, Alan Jackson kicked it up with "Chattahoochee." Country Music Hall of Famers Charley Pride and Dolly Parton got standing ovations when they were introduced, and again when they performed. Last year's benefit raised nearly half a million dollars. It'll be a couple of weeks before the final tally for last night's show is known.

More performers are being added to the CMA Awards show on November 10th. Brad Paisley, Sugarland, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Reba and George Strait join the previously announced Dierks Bentley, Kenny Chesney, Lady A, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton and Zac Brown Band with Alan Jackson. Expect more performers to be announced before the show airs.

CMT is handing out new awards this year. The CMT Artists of the Year awards will be given out on December 3rd during a tv special. Being honored that night are Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Zac Brown Band. The criteria for the awards is music sales, country radio airplay, concert gross as headliner or co-headliner, video streams, searches and page views on

The top 10 most-played songs on jukeboxes so far this year was just released, and the top spots were filled by country songs.

1. Lady Antebellum "Need You Now"
2. Zac Brown Band "Toes"
3. Zac Brown Band "Chicken Fried"
4. Toby Keith "I Love This Bar"

At #7, fourty years after its release, was Janis Joplin's "Me and Bobby McGee" and the rest of the slots were filled by Nickelback, Rhianna, Journey, Kings of Leon and Usher.

Blake Shelton will put out a greatest hits cd on November 9th. Called "LOADED: The Best of Blake Shelton," it will include his newest song, "Who Are You When I'm Not Looking."

On November 30th, Tim McGraw will celebrate his twenty-year career with a double-disc greatest hits package. Cleverly called "Number One Hits," the package includes his #1 songs and bonus tracks, including a dance remix of "Indian Outlaw" and his current single, "Felt Good On My Lips."

Watch Toby Keith on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

The tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton: "blakeshelton: Seriously just yelled out "Leave me alone!!!" in the voice of Gilbert Goddfried... I hate black flies and skeeters!!!!"

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Tonight is the second annual "We're All for the Hall" benefit concert, hosted by Keith Urban. The line-up includes Martina McBride, Miranda Lambert, Alison Krauss, Dolly Parton, Alan Jackson, Billy Currington, Charley Pride and John Mayer. Hit a Ticketmaster if you want to be at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville tonight...there are still a few tickets available.

There's a new Carrie Underwood biography out this week. The book follows her rise to stardom, from her decision to compete on American Idol to her committment to using her celebrity to do good works. Written mainly for students by Vernell Hackett, it's available wherever you shop for books, plus in schools and libraries soon.

Luke Bryan's 2010 Farm Tour happened last week, where Luke takes his show to rural Georgia and plays for farm families. Proceeds from the tour fund scholarships so kids from those rural communities can go to college, whether or not they can afford it. Luke's been doing these shows since before he was a Nashville star: “When I was at Georgia Southern we would go set up under a tractor barn and pass that word of mouth and tell people. You know, four or five hundred people would show up and we needed 600 people to break even and so we’d figure out a way to pay it off. And so I did that for years.”

Want a peek at the #1 party for Luke Bryan's song "Rain is a Good Thing?" Check it out...

Jack Ingram's "Acoustic Motel" series continues, this week with a song he wrote after his parents got divorced. Enjoy "Biloxi"

Hope Zac talked to Shelly about this...Zac Brown's wife Shelly is pregnant with their 4th child - another girl. Zac, who's taking a month off the road to be at home with his girls, says that they're going to keep trying until they have a boy. Zac, who's one of 12 kids, said, "If that's 13, then I doubt I'm gonna be able to pull that off, but we'll see.”

Gretchen Wilson has teamed up with Dollar General to give one lucky person a million bucks. The contest runs through December 15th..

Today the countdown to Taylor Swift's "Speak Now" release begins on iTunes. You can purchase the title cut today, "Back To December" next Tuesday and "Mean" on the 19th. Then on October 25th, the entire album will be available.

Next Tuesday, Lady Antebellum releases a 6-song Christmas collection. Entitled "A Merry Little Christmas," the EP includes five holiday classics and one original song - "On This Winter's Night." The music was recorded in July in Nashville, and Dave Haywood says, "it was a little bit peculiar being in the studio in the middle of July in Nashville, Tenn., 100 degrees outside, sweating, and doing a Christmas record. But we had a great time doing it. We had the studio all decorated...We brought everything we had from our houses and decorated and tried to get into the spirit. It was a fun experience."

New music today from Toby Keith. "Bullets in the Gun" includes Toby's favorite song ever, "Somewhere Else." He says it's a metaphor for dealing with problems in life - if you don't know where you're going, you might end up somewhere else.

Congratulations to Keith Anderson, who's engaged to his girlfriend of 10 years, Lauren Woodruff. He popped the question on the beach in Fort Walton, Florida.

Rascal Flatts will be on the Ellen Degeneres show today.

The tweet of the day is from Jo Dee Messina: "I put the baby to bed. I'm in my room, writing for my book. I can hear him saying "AFLAC! AFLAC!" imitating the duck from the commercials!"

Monday, October 4, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

Congratulations to Rodney Atkins, Billy Currington and Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry. They've been named to Nashville Lifestyle's list of 2010's Most Beautiful People.

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw decorated a Fender Stratocaster that's being auctioned off to help put music in schools across the country. The Little Kids Rock auction includes a total of 29 Stratocasters, and the auction runs until October 21st.

Darius Rucker is hosting a songwriting contest. He's asking writers to send their best, and the winner gets a mentoring session with Darius.

And Randy Houser is offering up an autographed guitar in his contest.

Also helping out a good cause, Montgomery Gentry has painted their website pink for October. Real men Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry are lending their support for breast cancer awareness month, and a re-designed website will be unveiled on November 1.

Looking for Kenny Chesney's "The Boys of Fall" documentary on DVD? It won't ship until November 9th, but you can pre-order it now.

Jimmy Wayne's book, "Paper Angels," will be released soon. It was in the works before his walk across America, and he signed the book deal during the walk. He's proof-reading it a couple of times before it goes to the printer, and is very excited at the progress of the project.

New music out tomorrow includes Toby Keith's "Bullets in the Gun." He says he's put his heart and soul into this cd: “I just feel rejuvenated as a writer. I’m writing all the time, and instead of just writing fifteen or twenty things, so I have a lot more songs to select from on this album.”

Kenny Chesney is on the Ellen Degeneres show today.

The tweet of the day is from Jack Ingram, who's been staying up reeeeeallly late: "2 sunrises in a row... Good weekend. Good shows. Hung w/Charlie Daniels... Good 2 b home. Good 2 b."

Friday, October 1, 2010

Today's Country Tidbits

When Kenny Chesney's "The Boys of Fall" hit #1 he hit a big milestone. He's had at least one Billboard Country Chart #1 song each year for the past 10 years. Only a handful of artists have done better - he's tied at 10 #1's in 10 years with Merle Haggard and Conway Twitty. Tim McGraw and Dolly Parton topped the charts for 11 years, Loretta Lynn did it for 12, Alabama had 14 straight years of #1's, Ronnie Milsap had 16 and George Strait is the all-time leader with 19 years in a row of #1 songs.

Tonight and tomorrow, the Grand Ole Opry is celebrating "Spirit of Nashville Day." The celebration starts tonight with Dierks Bentley onstage at the Opry, celebrating his 5-year milestone as an Opry member. Tomorrow, there'll be free tours of the Opry House between 10 and 4, but if you can't be in Nashville, check out the Opry Facebook page, where Dierks will host a tour of the facility starting at 10 central time. On the plaza outside of the Opry House, bands will play free shows starting at noon, with The Band Perry taking the stage for a free show at 6pm.

"Farm Aid 25" happens in Wisconsin tomorrow, and Jamey Johnson will join Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, Kenny Chesney, Dave Matthews and the Randy Rogers Band for the day-long food and music festival. DirectTV will air the show starting at 6pm eastern on channel 101.

Jason Aldean's 5th annual Concert for the Cure will be October 15th in Evansville, IN. He decided to do a benefit concert after the death of a good friend who was only 29. Proceeds benefit Susan G. Komen For The Cure and a few tickets are still available.

Want Toby Keith to call you Tuesday to remind you to pick up his new cd, "Bullets in the Gun?" Text TOBYKEITH to 30103 and he'll be calling you Tuesday.

Did you miss Miranda Lambert on the Today show this week? Here it is:

And Kenny Chesney, who'll be on the Ellen Degeneres Show Monday, performed "The Boys of Fall" on Good Morning America:

Congratulations to The Band Perry, whose "If I Die Young" has been certified gold. Their debut cd comes out October 12th.

Kenny Chesney is on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

The tweet of the day is from Terri Clark: "Thinking I drink far too much coffee. I could thread a sewing machine with it running right now."