Monday, January 31, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Next week, the Grammy Awards will be handed out, and there's one person up for Best Female Country Vocal Performance who is shocked - Gretchen Wilson. Her song, "I'd Love to be Your Last," wasn't even supposed to be on the cd, "I Got Your Country Right Here." Says Gretchen, “We listened to the mastered version of the record and we thought it was missing something.” She thought of a song played for her by Rivers Rutherford during a writing session, and decided it would be perfect. “It’s an acoustic guitar and a vocal and we put one cello part on it later,” she said of the simple recording. “I believed the lyric was all it took to make that song. It just tickled me pink to know that the lyric carried it all the way to a Grammy nomination. It didn’t have to be dazzling, and it didn’t have to have a bunch of reverb or 400 tracks on it or spend 12 weeks at No. 1 at radio. It didn’t even have to be released as a single. It just amazes me. I’m just so shocked and overwhelmed.” The Grammys will be handed out on Sunday, February 13th.

Last night at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Keith Urban accompanied his wife Nicole Kidman. On the red carpet, they were bombarded with questions about their new baby girl. Nicole explained the name Faith like this: “We needed to have that through the whole pregnancy. That’s what it required was a lot of faith. Her name is Faith Margaret … People call her just Faith, but she’s actually Faith Margaret, that Southern double name. Margaret is my grandmother’s name. She had her last baby at 49, so she’s my inspiration.” Nicoles older children, adopted during her marriage to Tom Cruise, sent a basket of wonderful gifts for Faith Margaret, as well as for Sunday Rose.

Jay DeMarcus will be walking with a limp for a while. He was playing basketball Saturday and twisted it. No breaks, but no fun, either!

It's Superbowl week, and Faith Hill is busy prepping for her first CMT Crossroads appearance. The show will air live on Saturday as part of the Super Bowl Fan Jam, and features Faith and rock group The Pretenders.

Garth Brooks is throwing his hat into the Superbowl ring, teaming up with Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten to host the February 5th "SuperCamp II" football and cheerleading clinic for kids aged 7 to 14. The event includes a VIP experience with both stars for all of the families and kids involved, and proceeds benefit Jason Witten's SCORE Foundation, Garth Brooks' Teammates for Kids Foundation, Kids 2 Camp and the Jason Taylor Foundation. If you have deep pockets and a child in the age group, you can be part of it.

Dierks Bentley is in the studio working on his next cd, and as promised, hosted a live feed from the studio yesterday. It will pop back up all during the recording process, so serious Dierks fans might want to keep checking back in. There is no audio, though - Dierks doesn't want to spoil the surprise. You can watch him work, but not hear him work.

Remember the "fly across America" contest that Taylor Swift held around the release of "Speak Now?" She's posted video of the concert in New York at the airport, and film from the flight and all the rest of her crazy day.

Taylor Swift and Big Machine Records threw a big party in Nashville Friday night. Billed as "Heavy Metal at the Hard Rock" it was a gathering of Taylor's friends, family, bandmates and music industry executives. The heavy metal part? Big awards for the success of "Mine," and a plaque from the Recording Industry Association of America commemorating total shipments of more than 13 million records.

Didja miss The Band Perry on the Tonight Show? Here's the video, but the Tonight Show people make you sit through two commercials first...

Watch The Band Perry on the Ellen Degeneres Show today, Steel Magnolia on Tavis Smiley and the JaneDear Girls on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

The tweet of the day is from Kellie Pickler: "If Kyle (my husband) doesn't tone down the snoring I'm gonna shove a tampon in his nose."

Friday, January 28, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Reid and Kimberly Perry of The Band Perry have a goal Grammy night. Sure, they'd like to win Best Country Song for "If I Die Young," but they're not in control of that goal. The one they feel more in control of is meeting and wooing Lady Gaga. There's a rumor that she wants to go to Nashville to write songs, and Kimberly says, "We would love to be her guinea pig. A TBP/Lady Gaga collaboration sounds good to us!"

Told you about Luke Bryan playing Spinnaker's in Panama City Beach for spring break, but here's a new tidbit - he's teamed up with CMT to give away a week-long Panama City vacation March 5th - 12th for the shows. You can enter daily through February 23rd.

Trace Adkins' new love song is more of a lust song, and I told you yesterday that there are puppets involved in the video in order to make it more family-friendly. Take a look...

A love song is a love song is a love song. It's tough to write a love song that's much different from the ones before it, but this song by Randy Montana offers a fresh take on a love song.

Think you can write a country song? Here's your chance - Billy Ray Cyrus, Patty Loveless and the CMA have partnered to raise awareness for Chronic Obstructed Pulmonary Disease, or COPD. The Tune Up for COPD Songwriting Competition challenges you to write the best DRIVE4COPD-inspired song, with the winning entry being chosen after April 15th.

Those people at Rolling Stone magazine get to have all the fun. Darius Rucker stopped by their New York offices and played a few songs. Here's what it looked like.

Truth or silliness? It's tough to tell sometimes with Rascal Flatts' Gary LeVox, but here he confesses to using an infomercial craze to have fun staying in shape while on tour.

Lee Brice didn't have much fun in LA this week. His tour bus was disabled by an LA city bus. It sideswiped Lee's bus, knocking the mirror off, then running over it, totally smashing it. Lee took the news hard, considering how long he's waited to own a tour bus. "I was in a van for three years with my whole band and we were pushing through all over the country in a 15 passenger van. So then 'Love Like Crazy' comes along and it gets just enough money to where you can pay for a bus and you can now enjoy this career that you've worked hard for." The bus couldnt' be driven without the mirror, so all of the band's gear was loaded into a Tahoe and taken to The Viper Room in time for Lee's show. No word on how long it'll take to get a new mirror installed.

There's a new movie trailer out for Carrie Underwood's "Soul Surfer," and it features more of Carrie than previous ones have.

Sara Evans and Keith Urban will be part of the GMA Winter Concert Series. Keith will perform on February 17th and Sara will grace the stage the day after her "Stronger" album release, March 9th.

Tonight, The Band Perry is on the Tonight Show, and Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers are on the Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Don't forget that Dierks Bentley is streaming live video from his recording session starting Sunday.

The tweet of the day is from Kelly Pickler: "My Gpa Pickler gave me him and Gma's old record player. Still sounds beautiful and so do all of the old records. Reminiscing"

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Jimmy Buffet, occasional country collaborator and chief parrot-head, took a header off the stage in Australia during his final show down under. He was unconscious for several minutes and was taken to the hospital, where he was admitted and treated for lacerations on his head and arm, and for a concussion. His CAT scan was normal, so he's been released from the hospital, and according to his management, will still be able to kick off his North American tour in April, as scheduled.

The line-up for the ACM's "Girls' Night Out: Superstar Women of Country" is being revealed, and it's as good as you would suspect. Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride, Reba, Miranda Lambert and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland will all take part in the party on April 4th in Las Vegas, the night after the ACM Awards are handed out. The show will be taped to air on CBS, and you can be there if you'd like. Tickets are $100, $150 adn $200 each, and proceeds go to the ACM's charity, Lifting Lives.

The first show sold out in 8 minutes, so a second Foxboro, Massachussetts stadium show has been added for Kenny Chesney and Zac Brown Band. The show will be August 28th and is the last show on his "Goin' Coastal" tour. Tickets go on sale February 5th.

Congrats to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. They've received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to expand the "Words and Music" program, which provides songwriting workshops to Nashville public school students.

Heard Trace Adkins new song, "Brown Chicken, Brown Cow?" If so, you know it's pretty suggestive. How to make a family-friendly video for it? Puppets! Says Trace of the puppet that sort of looks like him, “It’s kind of creepy.”

Tonight is the night American Idol airs it's Nashville auditions. It was the city with the biggest turn-out of show hopefuls, and apparently some major talent was found.

The Keith Urban/The Wiggles collaboration is due to be released this coming Tuesday. "England Swings" is a happy-sounding remake of the Roger Miller classic, and Keith hopes it will help him score some "cool dad" points with daughter Sunday Rose.

Catch Larry Gatlin on FOX News Red Eye, Wynonna on NBC Nonstop Moms in the City and Billy Currington on the Tonight Show.

Happy birthday to Cheryl White, who turns 56 today, and to Tracy Lawrence, who is 43.

The tweet of the day is from Terri Clark: " who to follow" on my twitter account just suggested "Weight watchers" AND "Paula Deen"...sounds counter productive."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

The Oscar Nominations came out yesterday, and the Country Strong soundtrack got a nod, with a nomination for Best Original Song going to the Gwyneth Paltrow-performed "Coming Home." Written by Hillary Lindsey, Tom Douglas and Troy Verges, the song is Gwyenth's favorite on the soundtrack. The Academy Awards will be handed out February 27th, live on ABC. Nicole Kidman earned a Best Actress nomination for her work in "Rabbit HOle."

Dierks Bentley is headed to North Carolina to record his next cd. He'll be in Asheville for a week, recording his 6th studio cd, and on Sunday, he'll let his fans in on the fun. He's setting up a live feed from the studio for 24 hours, so you can see how his next cd gets made. Not sure exactly when the feed goes live, but when it does, it'll be live for 24 hours.

Told you a couple of months ago that Don Henley was working on a country album. Here are some more details - he's doing a cd full of his versions of great country songs, and he's inviting some Nashville A-listers to join him. It's not the first time Don has worked with Nashville artists before. He and Trisha Yearwood had a huge hit with "Walkaway Joe" and in 1993, country superstars did a cover album of Eagles songs. More detail as I get it!

Friday night in La Crosse Wisconsin, Blake Shelton re-ignites his "All About Tonight" tour. Easton Corbin, Steel Magnolia, The Band Perry and Chris Young are going along for the wild ride.

Darius Rucker was on The Late Show with David Letterman, performing "This." In case you slept through it (guilty!) here it is...

Last night in Nashville, the Gospel Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony was held. The late Johnny Cash was inducted, and Trace Adkins sang "Wayfaring Stranger" as a tribute to the Man in Black. That performance earned him the longest standing ovation of the evening.

Luke Bryan is headed back to the Redneck Riviera for another notorious spring break party. March first, he'll release a four-song EP, "Spring Break 3...It's a Shore Thing," and March 8th & 9th, he'll be at Panama City, Florida's Spinnaker's Beach Club. The EP includes "If You Ain't Here to Party," "Faded Away," "Love In a College Town" and "It's a Shore Thing." Says Luke about his annual tradition, ”Are you kidding me? This is one of my favorite times of the year. I get to let loose, write new songs that are a little out of the box, play on the beach for 2 days and have fun with the fans during one of the best times of their lives!”

Carrie Underwood's hocky-playing hubby, Mike Fisher, could be trade fodder. His name has been bandied about in a trade rumor between the Ottowa Senators and the Nashville Predators. Publicly he's saying he hopes to remain with the Senators. Privately...who knows?

The Band Perry has partnered with Purina for a Double Dog Dare contest. Dare Purina Dog Chow, and you could win $5,000, a year's supply of dog food and a two-year supply of food for a shelter dog. Purina will start taking the dares on March 21st.

Ronnie Dunn's first solo single, "Bleed Red," will be at country radio this Sunday, and at digital retailers on February the 8th. He's working on an album for release later this year.

Condolences to the family of Charlie Louvin, who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer this morning. Charlie was a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1955, and as been known as the elder statesman for country music. He was 84.

The tweet of the day is from Martina McBride: "Came home from studio and had a Fat Tire, a yummy brownie, glass of milk, and some pistachios. Photo shoot in a month. total denial."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

If it's January, most of the Nashville studios must be packed with country stars working on new cd's. Booking studio time right now could be tough, with Brad Paisley, Toby Keith, Trace Adkins, Martina McBride, Dierks Bentley, Lady Antebellum, Jake Owen, Kellie Pickler, Little Big Town, Gloriana, Justin Moore and Love and Theft all logging some time behind the mics. Lady A's Charles Kelley says, of their touring experience last fall, "We wrote almost every day, and I feel like we've got some great material. It's so funny because somehow in the busiest year of our lives we were able to write more. I really don't know how we slept." Will keep you posted on album release dates, but it looks to be an exciting year for country music!

Congratulations to The Band Perry, who celebrated their first #1 hit yesterday in Nashville. "If I Die Young" topped the chart for them, and got the attention of Tim McGraw, who invited them to tour with him this summer. How have the three siblings managed their success? Their Mom is their road manager and home-school teacher, and their Dad stays home to pay for their dreams. For that reason, Kimberly Perry calls their #1 accomplishment a family victory. “You know, it’s a really wonderful thing and our… our family, our parents as well, have poured a lot of financial support, spiritual support, emotional support into the last decade. And so, truly, today is like the pinnacle moment of true celebration of a lot of hard work as a family.”

The CMA usually hands out awards, but on May 17th, they'll be receiving an award. The Leadership Music Dale Franklin Award will be given to the CMA in recognition of the leadership that organization shows in both music and philanthropic avenues.

A week from today, Miranda Lambert and Ronnie Dunn will meet ath the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville at 7:30 in the morning to announce the nominees for the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards. The show airs live on April 3rd from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on CBS, co-hosted by Reba and Blake Shelton.

Jewel and her rodeo hubby Ty Murray are expecting a baby boy. Jewel told People magazine that Ty even did a little dance as they left the doctor's office. No exact due date has been announced, but Jewel is in her second trimester, so the nursery should be full of a bundle of joy by June.

And if you thought the Zac Brown Band was a litte quiet right now, you're right. They're taking a little break while Zac and his wife await the arrival of their 4th daughter, due around Valentine's Day.

In stores today, Joe Nichols Greatest Hits, which includes his current hit, "The Shape I'm In." Online today, get a three-song preview of Thompson Square's self-titled debut, set for release on February 8th.

Wynonna is busy today, showing up on the Today Show, Access Hollywood and the Joy Behar Show.

The tweet of the day is from Brad Paisley: "Nope. Never. Absolutely no way. Not once. Woops. Other than this. RT @michunte: @BradPaisley do you ever tweet your fans :)???"

Monday, January 24, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

From the "it had to happen" file, a teen has invited Taylor Swift to be his prom date. He did it in style, with a YouTube video of him performing her song, "Our Song," re-lyriced to "Our Prom."

Was that a hint about an upcoming baby in Keith Urban's liner notes on "Get Closer?" “I continue to be brought to my knees by this love of ours,” Keith wrote to Nicole. “I just want to be a better man, for you, and father for our heavenly Sunday Rose…all we need is faith.” And Faith was born just before the turn of the year. Hmmmmmm...coincidence?

Did you catch Martina McBride and Joe Nichols at last night's Steelers/Jets game? Martina sang the National Anthem and Joe performed during the halftime show. Pittsburg prevailed, and that's the third time Martina has sung the Anthem at a Steelers playoff game and they won, so she's 3 and 0. The Superbowl is on February 6th in Dallas, and will be Steelers vs. Packers. Keith Urban is part of the pre-game fun on Superbowl weekend.

Joe Nichols' video for "The Shape I'm In" is released today, and Joe included some of his heroes in the video. Meet the heroes and learn about The Survivor Foundation.

And maybe it was just what the team needed to get fired up for their victory yesterday - Thursday night in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Brad Paisley was joined on stage by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers for "I'm Still a Guy." Aaron was supposed to sing a line of the song, but had trouble hearing, so just started high-fiving people onstage. Later, Aaron and a whole bunch of other Packers hit the stage for the encore, "Alcohol." The Packers soundly beat the Bears yesterday afternoon.

The JaneDear Girls debut cd hits stores February first, but you can hear the tracks now on their Facebook page.

Joe Nichols' greatest hits package will be released tomorrow.

Happy birthday to Ray Stevens, who turns 72 today.

The tweet of the day is from Jewel, who gets extra credit for the creative hashtag: "Ok. Seriously. I am a writer. I swear. I will write. A song. I wont procrastinate watching another NCSI marathon. #pickupyourguitardamnit"

Friday, January 21, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Dierks Bentley will do a small-venue tour this spring. Starting March 17th, he'll be playing three- to four-thousand-seat venues, which he really enjoys. Says Dierks, "it should be intimate which I kind of really like doing in the Spring. It's kind of becoming a ritual to start of the year with at tour that's really just smaller." Josh Thompson and Miss Willie Brown are his opening acts on this Jagermeister-sponsored tour. Dierks is currently in the studio, working on the follow up to his Grammy-nominated "Up On the Ridge" project.

The Country Throwdown Tour 2011 is getting ready to roll this summer, with Willie Nelson, Jamey Johnson, Randy Houser, Lee Brice, Brantley Gilbert, Craig Campbell and Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real all performing. The tour kicks off May 27th and includes 16 stops so far.

It's official - Alan Jackson and Sony Music Nashville aren't an item anymore, after 22 years together. No word on who Alan will sign with, but his former labelmate, Martina McBride, is now with Big Machine Records and loving it, so it wouldn't be a surprise if Alan made that move, too.

The performer line-up at the Grammy Awards just got a little better. Lady Antebellum, who are up for six awards, will be performing on February 13th.

Eddie Montgomery has a clean bill of health after his surgery for prostate cancer in December. He and Troy Gentry played at the Grand Ole Opry, and are packing for an 8-day USO tour of South Korea and Japan which starts Sunday.

Jason Aldean's "My Kinda Party" tour kicks off in Little Rock, Arkansas tonight.

The line-up for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival has been announced, and Jamey Johnson, Willie Nelson, Kid Rock, Ricky Skaggs and Jimmy Buffett are all part of the fun. The festival runs April 29th through May 8th.

Toby Keith has a music video collection about to hit stores. "10" will be available on March 8th, and you guessed it - it will feature videos to 10 songs from Toby.

New RIAA certifications are out, and Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" and Taylor Swift's "Speak Now" are both triple-platinum. Sugarland's "The Incredible Machine" is platinum, Keith Urban's "Get Closer" and Zac Brown Band's "You Get What You Give" are gold.

Keith Urban is on the Oprah show today.

Happy birthday today to Teddy Gentry and Ray Stevens.

The tweet of the day is from Craig Morgan: "What happens in Vegas ends up on twitter"

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

If you follow me on Twitter, you saw the re-tweet of Dierks Bentley's '67 Camaro tragedy yesterday. Here's the tweet: “met my friend charles kelley at a bar. he wanted to see my new ’67 camero. we walked back outside. it was on fire. not cool.” Here's the scoop: Dierks had been part of the Grammy Nominee event at the Ryman, and the party moved to a nearby bar, where Dierks had parked his vintage Camero. He'd only driven the car three times, and wanted to show it to Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum. They went outside to find flames coming out from under the hood. Dierks got the fire put out and posted video of the tow truck coming to get his car.

Every year the Grand Ole Opry moves from the Opry House to the Ryman Auditorium in January. And every year, the last show of the run is something special. This year is no different - the final Winter 2011 show at the Ryman is on January 29th and the stars are Trace Adkins and Toby Keith. There might be a few tickets still available to see these two country giants in the intimate confines of the Mother Church of Country Music.

In celebration of American Idol's 10th year, there's a traveling museum visiting cities around America. It features interactive exhibits like life-sized cut-outs of the new judges and Ryan Seacrest that you can have your picture taken with, a vocal booth where you can see if you sing better than past Idol contestants, plus memorobilia like Carrie Underwood's finale dress, David Cook's guitar and a suit worn by Ryan Seacrest.

What do these artists all have in common: Darius Rucker, Tim McGraw, Willie Nelson, Little Big Town, Zac Brown Band, Blake Shelton, Kenny Rogers, Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland? They're all part of Lionel Richie's new project, an album of duets with country artists. No specific release date has been announced, but a summer release is planned.

The scoop on Keith and Nicole's new baby, Faith, is in the new issue of People Magazine. You can't miss it - Nicole Kidman is on the cover, behind the huge headline, "Nicole's Secret Baby!"

Happy birthday to John Michael Montgomery, who turns 46 today.

The tweet of the day is from Brad Paisley: "The mixing of the album ThisIsCountryMusic has begun.Till then it's called ThisIsGoingToBeCountryMusicEventually."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Army veteran Craig Morgan is packing for his 9th tour to entertain troops stationed overseas. The "Not Alone" tour is organized by Stars For Stripes, and Craig will be performing for service members in Kuwait and Iraq late this month and early in February.

If you happen to run into George Jones, Josh Turner, Joe Nichols, Charlie Daniels, Gretchen Wilson, Lee Greenwood, Jamie O'Neal, Chuck Wicks, Colt Ford, the Eli Young Band or the Randy Rogers Band, look down. Bet they'll have boots on. They're all part of The Boot Campaign, created by th Lone Survivor Foundation. The Boot Campaign encourages people to wear boots in their everyday lives to show support for military personnel and their families.

Taylor Swift is now 12 for 12. Starting in December of 2006, when her first single, "Tim McGraw," made it into the top 10 on Billboard's chart, she's released 12 singles. All 12 have reached the top 10. "Back to December" had a huge week in sales and listener growth, moving from #11 last week to #9 this week. In other Taylor news, a comic book series featuring the blonde one is in the works. The first issue of "Fame: Taylor Swift" will be in stores in May.

Speaking of Tim McGraw, his new fragrance is doing well, and you can win a limited edition belt buckle along with a bottle of it. How does Tim describe Tim McGraw Silver? “I know from my experience that my woman doesn’t want me to smell like a flower (laughs). I try to, you know, make stuff that a man could feel comfortable smelling. For me, I wanted something really clean and masculine. I feel like that that’s what we nailed with this one.”

What are Carrie Underwood's top five food cravings? Here they are, from the latest issue of "Women's Health" magazine, which features Carrie:

1. “I’m addicted to Hostess 100-Calorie Packs. I love sweet stuff after meals.”
2. Boca Meatless Burgers - “MorningStar Farms also makes great veggie burgers.”
3. “I love Kashi. I eat cereal like a little kid. I carry it in my purse.”
4. Healthy Choice ice cream sandwich bars – “But that’s pretty naughty for me.”
5. “When in doubt, head for Subway; you can’t go wrong with the veggie sub.”

Dierks Bentley confesses to some drunk and disorderly activities as he retrieves his lost credit card in the latest DBTV episode:

No word on who the country stars are, but a Tennessee man was arrested for making death threats against several, along with threatening to blow up Sony Music Nashville's building. Miles Ledbetter Jr. apparently even identified himself during the phone call to Sony's switchboard, though he said he lived in Calhoun, GA. He said during the call that the music had caused him to lose his job and ruined his marriage. He's charged with two counts of harassment.

Rascal Flatts will tape their Friday night performance in St. Paul, Minnesota for an ABC television special. It's scheduled to air on March 12th.

On February 5th, Faith Hill and the Pretenders will team up for a live "CMT Crossroads" during the NFL Pepsi Super Bowl Fan Jam. The only other time that a live Crossroads happened was also during the Super Bowl run-up. The year was 2004 and the acts were Toby Keith, Willie Nelson, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith.

Dolly Parton is working on the songs for a children's musical. According to Dolly, it's about a mountain girl who makes good. She's also still thinking about doing a country version of "Hello, Dolly!"

Congratulations to Kenny Chesney, who tops the charts this week with "Somewhere With You."

Darius Rucker is on the David Letterman Show tonight.

Happy birthday to Dolly Parton, who is 65 today. The has a photo gallery spanning the decades of Dolly's career.

The tweet of the day is from Jewel, who is in the second trimester of pregnancy: "didn't bring snacks on this flight. Who am I?! I ALWAYS have food hidden. I'm usually the 1 who cld live for 3 months on what's in my purse"

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Congratulations to Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman, who have a new daughter. The child is biologically theirs, but was carried by a gestational surrogate mother. Faith Margaret Kidman Urban was born on December 28th in Nashville. In a statement, Keith says, "Our family is truly blessed, and just so thankful, to have been given the gift of baby Faith Margaret. No words can adequately convey the incredible gratitude that we feel for everyone who was so supportive throughout this process, in particular our gestational carrier." Faith is little sister to Sunday Rose Kidman Urban, who will be three in July.

The ACM Awards are adding something new this year - a fan jam. The ACM Fan Jam will be held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas at the same time as the awards show is being broadcast from the MGM Grand Garden. Artists will be part of both shows, performing a few songs for the fans as well as appearing at the ACM Awards. Sounds like a logistical nightmare for the artists but like a lot of fun for the fans! If you'd like to be there, here's the scoop - there's a ticket pre-sale for ACM A-Listers tomorrow (Jan. 19) from 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. Pacific Time at Tickets are $35 and $55, and the pre-sale code is SPADE. After 10, remaining tickets will be available to the general public. The pre-sale for the ACM Awards and the "Girls Night Out: Superstar Women of Country" show is also tomorrow at 8am Pacific at, and the code for those is also SPADE. You'll be needing a place to stay, so call 877-632-7000 and use the code EACMAC at the Mandalay Bay hotel for any rooms they have left.

Kid Rock threw himself a star-studded 40th birthday party in Detroit last weekend. He packed Ford Field with 45,000 fans and gave them a three-hour concert. Other stars who joined him on stage included Martina McBride, Sheryl Crow, Uncle Kracker, Anita Baker, Reverend Run from Run-DMC, Peter Wolf and Cindy Crawford.

Jason Aldean is spending this week in Nashville rehearsing for his "My Kinda Party" tour, which gets underway this Friday night. Eric Church and the JaneDear Girls are his opening acts.

It's 21 for Kenny Chesney. His "Somewhere With You" landed at the top of the Billboard chart this week, making it his 21st #1 song.

This is the week the Oprah episodes that were filmed in Australia are airing. Friday is the show that includes Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman, along with Bono, Olivia Newton John and Hugh Jackman.

The tweet of the day is from Terri Clark: "I don't think Regis liked a kid calling it the "Ragu and Kelley show". I thought it was funny- esp since he introduced me as "Patty Clark"

Monday, January 17, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Love country music? Love Twitter? Support our troops? There's an auction going on called TwitChange, with proceeds going to the military's "Operation Once in a Lifetime." Fans and followers can bid on the chance to be followed, re-tweeted or mentioned by their favorite star. Brad Paisley, Reba, Sara Evans, Dolly Parton, Vince Gill and Billy Ray Cyrus are all part of the fun.

Carrie Underwood walked the red carpet at the Golden Globe Awards show solo last night. Hubby Mike Fisher couldn't go with her because of his hockey schedule. Carrie's song, "There's a Place For Us," was nominated for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture, but lost to Diane Warren's song, "This Won't Be the Last of Me." Also spotted walking the red carpet were Nicole Kidman, who was nominated for Best Actress in a Drama for "Rabbit Hole," and hubby Keith Urban, dubbed one of the sweetest couples of the night by reporters.

Zac Brown Band sang the National Anthem at the Falcons/Packers game on Saturday night. For Atlanta fans, that was the highlight of the game.

Lady Antebellum is in the studio, focused on writing and recording album number three. Charles Kelley says that they're taking inspiration from nostalgic moments the trio had over the past year. Tomorrow night's episode of NCIS will feature "Hello World" by Lady A.

Darius Rucker has teamed up with the PGA and iTunes to raise money for charities across the country. Download his song, "Together Anything is Possible" from iTunes and all proceeds go to the PGA Tour Charities. has Taylor Swift beauty tips, especially the secret to her perfect curls. The secret? No blow drier ever. “I can’t do it. I’m really impatient, so I just let it air dry,” she tells People.

Gloriana band member Tom Gossin had surgery on his knee last week, to repair a torn meniscus. It was an injury he toured with last year, but decided to have fixed once the tour and the holidays were over. “I made it,” he tweeted after the operation. “All is well…The doctor said that my meniscus was more torn than Natalie Imbruglia.” Tom’s using his down time after surgery to write songs for Gloriana’s next album.

Donald Trump is a busy man - he's rumored to be very serious about running for President, but in the meantime, he's selected the celebrities who'll be part of the 11th season of "Celebrity Apprentice." John Rich will be part of the fun, and with him on the show, you know anything is possible! The new season kicks off March 6th on NBC.

And 11 seems to be a popular number today. The 11th annual Golden Moose Awards will be handed out Thursday night, celebrating the best in outdoor television show programming. Craig Morgan's show is nominated in three categories, Best Fishing, Best Sound Design and Best Commercial for Millennium Tree Stands. Blake Shelton is the featured performer. You can watch the awards show on The Outdoor Channel Thursday night.

Condolences to the family and friends of Tommy Crain, former Charlie Daniels Band guitarist and co-writer of many of the band's hits, including "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." Tommy passed away at home last Thursday. He was 59 years old.

Happy birthday to Steve Earle who is 56, Kid Rock who turns 40 today and Amanda Wilkinson of The Wilkinsons who is 29.

The tweet of the day is from Jo Dee Messina: "Love is..... giving up the bite size kit kat you find in the freezer"

Friday, January 14, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

How popular is Taylor Swift? The video for "Back to December" was posted on YouTube yesterday and as of 6am today already had nearly 700,000 hits.

Miranda Lambert's truly on a roll. She's nominated for three Grammys and is going to be one of the performers on the show. The Grammy Awards air February 13th on CBS.

Faith Hill was on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Wednesday night, chatting about her new Teleflora deal, the charity work she's been doing with Tide Loads of Hope, and also about hubby Tim McGraw's movie, "Country Strong." Somehow she found time to do a little bit of snowman-tackling, too.

Lady Antebellum has been invited to headline the annual Dustin J. Wells Foundation Gift of Music concert February 18th at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville. Proceeds from this show benefit the W.O. Smith Music School in Nashville, and past performers at this benefit include Rascal Flatts and Dolly Parton. Tickets go on sale Saturday morning at 10 Central time and range from $49 to $1,000 per person. Call 615-902-8200 to order.

Lee Brice and Jerrod Niemann, two of Nashville's hottest newcomers in 2010, are headed to college towns all across America for their "Higher Education Tour." They'll kick it off in Columbia, MO on March 10th, and so far have announced the dates for 12 shows, with plans for more.

The tweet of the day is from Jaron and the Long Road to Love: "What is it called when you wake up with a hangover, but you didn't drink the night before? Just a headache?"

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

The Super Bowl always has stellar entertainment, and this year is no different. Martina McBride is part of the "2011 Taste of the NFL," a fund-raiser for food banks across the country. Thirty-five celebrity chefs come together to create a night of food for NFL players, retired players and team staff members. The night wouldn't be complete without a concert, and Martina is the performer. No word on whether she has to wear pads and a helmet for the show.

Kenny Chesney has announced the dates for his "Goin' Coastal Tour." After taking a year off from touring, Kenny's chomping at the bit to get back out on the road, and the tour schedule shows it. Starting in West Palm Beach Florida on March 17th, and ending with a sold-out show at Gillette Stadium on August 27th, Kenny will hit 50 cities this year. Billy Currington and Uncle Kracker will open the regular shows, and at the stadium dates, The Zac Brown Band will co-headline.

Tickets go on sale Saturday for Tim McGraw's "Emotional Traffic" tour. He'll stop in 52 cities between March 7th and August 13th, with Luke Bryan and The Band Perry along as his opening acts.

Curious about Kellie Pickler's wedding to Kyle Jacobs on New Year's Day in Antigua? People Magazine has the scoop in the issue hitting newsstands tomorrow. The two had been planning a big shindig in Nashville, but realized that they were getting lost in the details, so they decided to have a private ceremony. "We didn't have anything but us and God and our minister," Kellie said, "and I can't think of a word that can quite describe how perfect it was."

General Electric has a new tv commercial coming out, and it features people line-dancing all around the world when Alan Jackson's song "Good Time" comes on the radio. It's an ad for GE's "ecomagination" technology initiative. Look might see Alan dancing. (or maybe not...!)

How do you handle it when you're a big star that everyone wants to know everything about and your Mom likes to share stories of your childhood? Invent a code word. Carrie Underwood and her Mom Carole are often seen together at award shows and other events. The two are very close, and understandably, Carole is very proud of her daughter and loves to chat with reporters about her. When Carrie hears an embarassing childhood story coming out, she uses the phrase "chocolate bunnies" and that's her Mom's cue to change the subject. Clever!

Gwyenth Paltrow - actress, country music singer and now cookbook author. She's released "My Father’s Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family and Togetherness" as a tribute to her late father, producer Bruce Paltrow. The cookbook features easy recipes that her Dad enjoyed making.

Shania Twain will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in March at the 2011 Juno Awards, Canada's version of the Grammy's.

Sara Evans' second novel, "Softly and Tenderly," is out. It's the second in a three-novel series called "Sweet By and By," and Sara has loved the writing process. “I never imagined that I would be able to create the character and then have this character, you know, come to life. It's a really weird thing. It's almost like she's a real person."

Got Wii? Love to dance? You're in luck, as "Country Dance for Wii" is set to be released this spring. It features music from all of your favorite country artists - here's just a sample:

Carrie Underwood, “Cowboy Cassanova”
Brad Paisley, “Water”
Sugarland, “Stuck Like Glue”
Trace Akins, “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk”
Tim McGraw, “Just to See You Smile”
Zac Brown Band, “Chicken Fried”
Rascal Flatts, “Life is A Highway”
Blake Shelton, “All About Tonight”
Miranda Lambert, “White Liar”
Johnny Cash, “Ring of Fire”

Happy birthday to Trace Adkins, who turns 49 today.

The tweet of the day is from Terri Clark: "Been shoveling snow. Its been 20 years since I've shoveled so much snow. Need an ATV-quad with a blade."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Alan Jackson is a hot ticket in Australia. Tickets to his third show sold out in only 23 minutes. That show was added after tickets to the first two sold out quickly. It's his first time headlining in Australia and he's looking forward to meeting his Down Under fans. The tour starts March 4th and includes Miranda Lambert and Australian Jasmine Rae.

Congrats to Jewel and her bull-riding hubby Ty Murray. They are expecting their first child later this year. Married since 2008, the two have been trying to start a family with no success, and Jewel waited until she was in her second trimester to announce the news. The couple live on a ranch in Texas and are converting the guest room into a nursery.

If you're in Virginia and see a familiar face on tv with your Governor, you're not seeing things - that is Garth Brooks in a public service announcement, talking about the natural beauty of Virginia. He was there to work on the Lifetime Network movie "Unanswered Prayers" which was filmed entirely in Virginia. That song was #1 on this day in 1991.

The ACM Awards are coming up in April, and this year there's a big change. After solo-hosting the show for the last 12 years, Reba will have a partner this year - Blake Shelton. The two are great friends, plus Reba's son is Blake's manager, so the pairing is a natural. The awards will air on April 3rd live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The Bellamy Brothers are crying foul, saying that the new Brittny Spears song is a bit too close to their big hit, "If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body, Would You Hold It Against Me." Her song is called "Hold It Against Me" and the theme is pretty much the same - in a bar, pick up line. According to the Bellamys, they feel ripped off. No word from the Spears camp, but one listen will tell you that both were probably inspired by the same lame pick-up line, and the Bellamy Brothers song is by far the better one.

Here's maybe the final year-end list for 2010. It's late because the company keeps tabs right up through New Year's Eve. Here's the list of th Top 10 Country Dance Club hits of 2010, according to Marco Club Connection:
1) “Stuck Like Glue” – Sugarland
2) “All About Tonight” – Blake Shelton
3) “Hillbilly Bone” – Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins
4) “Need You Now” – Lady Antebellum
5) “Giddy On Up” – Laura Bell Bundy
6) “Country Done Come To Town” – John Rich
7) “Roll With It” – Easton Corbin
8) “Why Don’t We Just Dance” – Josh Turner
9) “Turn On The Radio” – Reba
10) “Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer” – Billy Currington

And Keith Urban has made an interesting list - he's the only country artist on's list of the best workout songs of January 2011. "Put You In A Song" will help you keep that New Year's resolution about working out, so load it up and get going!

There's a new country music magazine out. Look for Country Music Profiles in music stores. The premier edition features Rodney Atkins on the cover and includes an interview with Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery-Gentry.

Tours re-starting this weekend include Rascal Flatts' "Nothing Like This" tour and the George Strait/Reba/Lee Ann Womack tour.

Catch Faith Hill on the Today show this morning and on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon tonight. She's making the rounds talking about her new partnership with Teleflora. Blake Shelton was supposed to be on the David Letterman show tonight but couldn't get to New York because of the snow storm.

Happy birthday to Ray Price, who is 87, William Lee Golden of the Oak Ridge Boys who is 72, Ricky Van Shelton who turns 59 and Keith Anderson, who is 42 today

The tweet of the day is from The Band Perry: "Photo-shooting with our pups and Purina. Should it hurt our feelings that Dakota/Addie/Mose are more photogenic than us three??"

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Kenny Chesney has fallen in love with producing. It all started when he produced his 3D movie, "Kenny Chesney: Summer in 3D," and then he produced a football documentary, "The Boys of Fall," to go along with his song of the same name. Now there's word of an upcoming ESPN special, "The Color Orange: The Condredge Holloway Story" for ESPN's "Year of the Quarterback." When Kenny played high school football, he wore Holloway's jersey number, idolized him and is thrilled to pay tribute to him this way. The special is scheduled to air February 20th on ESPN.

Ready for a road trip? The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is shaping up to be the concert series of the year this year, and tickets go on sale this Saturday. Check out who'll be there:

Clay Walker March 1
Trace Adkins March 2
Sugarland March 3
Billy Currington March 5
Tim McGraw March 7
Keith Urban March 8
Martina McBride March 9
Rascal Flatts March 10
Lady Antebellum March 11
Gary Allan March 12
Kid Rock March 14
Miranda Lambert March 16
Zac Brown Band March 17
Alan Jackson March 18
Brad Paisley March 19
Jason Aldean March 20

Other concert tickets going on sale Saturday are for Garth's one-man show in Las Vegas. He's been performing at the Encore Theatre at Wynn Las Vegas since December of 2009 and is looking forward to his second full year of solo acoustic shows. The tickets are $225 each and are available at Ticketmaster or through 877-65-GARTH.

Toby Keith fan? Want to see him at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville? You're in luck - he's performing there January 29th, along with Trace Adkins and Bill Anderson. It's Toby's first time at the Ryman since 2002.

Sara Evans and Diamond Rio will be part of the inaugural festivities when Tennessee's new Governor, Bill Haslam, is sworn into office. Friday night at Nashville's Municipal Auditorium, they'll play a benefit concert called "All Together Now," with proceeds going to the Tennessee Archives program, which provides scholorship funds. Tickets are only $10. The new governor will be sworn in on Saturday in Nashville.

We know we watch the Superbowl as much for the commercials as for the game, right? Well this year, be on the lookout for a Faith Hill commercial. She's partnered with Teleflora to create "The Collection by Faith Hill." Some of the floral designs in the collection will be revealed during the Super Bowl on February 6th.

This past Friday and Saturday, Darius Rucker and 250 of his friends and family members shot a video in Charleston, SC. It for his next single, "Together Anything is Possible," and all proceeds from the iTunes sale of that song will be donated to charities across the country.

They won "Can You Duet" in 2009, securing a recording contract with Big Machine Records as part of the prize. Today, the record finally comes out. "Steel Magnolia" is the debut cd from the duo of the same name, and it contains "Just By Being You (Halo and Wings)," their current hit, as well as the first hit, "Keep On Loving You."

Congrats to Tim McGraw, who has the #1 song in country music again this week. "Felt Good On My Lips" tops both of the major county charts. His movie, "Country Strong," was #7 at the box office on its opening weekend, bringing in nearly 7.5 million dollars.

Happy birthday to Naomi Judd, who turns 65 today.

The tweet of the day is from Meghan Linsey of Steel Magnolia: "Just woke up and can't believe our debut record is finally out!!!!! Thank u guys for being so supportive! Love u all! Xo Meg"

Monday, January 10, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

If you love country music, love second-hand shopping and would love to own things previously worn and used by some of your favorite country stars, you're in luck: there's a shop about to open in Nashville that you need to know about. Estrella Celebrity Consignment is intended as a celebrity boutique, where clothing worn by artists like Miranda Lambert, Alison Krauss and Rascal Flatts will be available for purchase. Even better, all of the proceeds will benefit Noah's Ark Society, a non-profit animal rescue group. The store will open sometime this spring.

There's the pitter-patter of little feet in Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher's life. Four of them, as a matter of fact. No, not twins, a new Dachshund mix puppy named Penny.

Garth Brooks is helping Middle Tennessee again. Go online to purchase merchandise fro Garth's string of flood relief shows, called "Rescue Party," and all of the proceeds will to towards cleaning up and rebuilding flood-damaged areas.

In Georgia, a storm has cancelled the inauguration celebration for the new governor, Nathan Deal. Home-grown talent was on tap for tonight's party at Philips Arena, including Georgians Luke Bryan and Mark Wills, but the day's festivities have been scrapped. Ticket holders for the gala will have their money refunded, and Luke is said to be bummed not to be able to play for the new governor.

The Professional Bull Riders Association is so enamored of Gary Allan's song, "Get Off On The Pain," that they're adopting it for all of their broadcasts throughout 2011. You can catch the 2011 PBR season on Versus, NBC and CBS.

Nicole Kidman's latest movie, "Rabbit Hole," opens this Friday. She stars in it, and also produced the movie, which has earned her a Golden Globe nomination. She says now that had she been a mother at the time she took on this project, she would not have taken the role. Nicole goes on to say that she nearly backed out of finishing the movie on more than one occasion, but she did complete what she calls the "terrifying" role. The movie revolves around a couple who have lost their 4-year-old son in a car accident. Nicole and Keith are the parents of Sunday Rose, who's going on three.

The smoke in Middle Tennessee Friday night was from Charlie Daniels' barn. It caught fire while Charlie and his wife were on vacation in Colorado, and is a total loss. Thankfully no one was injured, but sadly, the fire destroyed nearly a dozen animals, farm equipment and a stove that was a gift from the late Roy Acuff.

Steel Magnolia's debut album finally comes out tomorrow.

The tweet of the day is from Charles Kelly of Lady Antebellum: "7 hr drive back home: heard hello world 3 times, georgia clay 2 times, a little bit stronger 2 times. big smile thanks country radio -ck"

Friday, January 7, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

"Country Strong" finally opens in theatres around the country today. Tim McGraw plays James Canter, the manager-husband of Gwyneth Paltrow's character. Tim didn't have to look far for the inspiration for his character - Reba's husband-manager, Narvel Blackstock. “I did sort of start my look out for this character on Narvel Blackstock a little bit. Of course, the character is nothing like Narvel, but just sort of to get the ball rolling, I sort of had this image of Narvel when I was creating this character." Tim and Narvel have been friends for years.

Sugarland's "Incredible Machine" tour fires back up on March 3rd and will hit another 59 cities in 2011. Tour dates and ticket sale dates are on the Sugarland website.

The 2011 Grammy Nominees album will be out on January 25th, and features two country songs - Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" and Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me." Proceeds from the sale of the album go to MusiCares Foundation and the Grammy Foundation. The Grammys will be handed out on February 13th, live on CBS.

Fan of Brad Paisley and movies? Got deep pockets? Then you might want to celebrate Valentine's Day in Nashville at the second annual Le Fete du Cinema fundraising dinner, hosted by Brad and Scott Hamilton. Top Chef All-Star Chef Richard Blais is overseeing the menu, and the party has a James Bond theme. Remember that "deep pockets" part? Tickets are $2500 per couple or $8,000 for a table.

Uh-oh...Carrie Underwood is boycotting Montreal. She and Mike were there recently and the rental car they were using was broken into. She's not saying if anything was stolen, but is swearing she's not going back to Montreal. Talent bookers take note - if you want Carrie to perform in Montreal, it'll take some serious sweet-talking!

Josh Turner and his wife Jennifer have three boys, with the youngest just a month old. His name is Crawford Marion Turner, and they're calling him Marion. Why Marion? It's after the Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion, who is one of Josh's heroes. Says Josh, "They called him the Swamp Fox, out of South Carolina. Our sense of this child was that he was going to be a warrior and a fighter and somebody that was able to overcome challenges. He looks like he's got that look in his eye.” He'd better be, with a name like Marion!

Newlyweds Kellie Pickler and Kyle Jacobs, along with Joan Jett, are headed for the Middle East for a USO tour. They'll be there for a week, entertaining troops and sharing the country's support for them. When they get back, Kellie will be sporting a new tattoo - a 4th star, one for each USO tour she's done.

Luke Bryan celebrated his birthday on the road with a fishing-themed cake. Check out grown men playing with their food...

Happy birthday to John Rich, who turns 37 today, and to David Lee Murphy, who is 52.

Little Big Town is on Jimmy Kimmel Live tonight.

The tweet of the day is from Brad Paisley: "There's an auction ending Saturday on the flooded black/gold Tele I played in the waitinOnAwoman vid,and onstage.At Go get it!"

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Congratulations to Taylor Swift, who won Favorite Country Artist at the People's Choice Awards last night. Even better, though, was what happened when Taylor was awarding the Favorite Male Actor trophy to Johnny Depp. He stepped up to the mic, turned to Taylor and said, "My daughter said if I didn't say hi to you I'd be in trouble, so hi from my daughter." Johnny's daughter Lily-Rose is 11, and apparently a huge Taylor Swift fan.

More kudos to Taylor, as she had the third-best-selling album of 2010. Country did well at the cash registers, with Lady Antebellum having the second-best-seller. Here's the top 5 list:
1) Eminem, Recovery – 3.42 million, released in June
2) Lady Antebellum, Need You Now – 3.09 million, released in January
3) Taylor Swift, Speak Now – 2.96 million, released in October
4) Justin Bieber, My World – 2.32 million, released in March
5) Susan Boyle, The Gift – 1.85, released in November

Little Big Town is very sought-after as college bowl game National Anthem singers. Monday night they sang it prior to the Discover Orange Bowl and tomorrow night, they'll sing it before the AT&T Cotton Bowl, airing on FOX.

Nicole Kidman is featured in the February edition of Harper's Bazaar, interviewed by none other than Jennifer Aniston. Talking about first meeting Keith Urban, Nicole tells Jenifer, “I remember thinking, "Oh, my God, if you ever gave me a man like that, I promise I would be completely devoted for the rest of my life.” Prayer answered!

Get well wishes to George Jones, who was admitted to the hospital yesterday in Nashville for heart-related issues. The doctors decided to adjust the dosage of one of his medications and he's expected to go home today.

Tim McGraw will be on E! tonight, visiting the Chelsea Lately show.

Happy birthday to the legendary Earl Scruggs. He is 86 today.

The tweet of the day is from Terri Clark: "Getting my hairs done. Love it when my country roots show, but not if they are gray..."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Every year on New Year's Day for the last 5 years, Dierks Bentley starts the year by swimming in Nashville's Percy Priest Lake. No one from his band showed up this year, and he says he'll make them pay for their absence while on tour this year. Meanwhile...Brrrrrrr!

First we heard that Shania Twain got married over New Year's weekend, then we heard about Valerie Bertinelli's wedding, and now it's official - Kellie Pickler married fiance Kyle Jacobs on New Year's day, too. They were on a private island in the Caribbean and had an intimate ceremony with just a few family members and friends. They got engaged on the beach, so it's only fitting that the wedding would take place there, too. Says Kellie, “I love the beaches. I love hot weather. I am not a fan of snow. I’m not a fan of cold weather at all. I’d much rather be on the beach, in the ocean, or in a pool than anywhere. So, that would be ideal. Like, wouldn’t it be so cool to just be able to live on a beach somewhere and have no care in the world…all ya gotta do is tan and swim.”

In other relationship news, it looks like the Taylor Swift/Jake Gyllenhaal romance has cooled. People magazine is reporting that they spent their birthdays and Christmas apart, and were last seen together publicly on December 9th in Los Angeles.

What does it take to be the number one female country touring artist? Thirteen trucks of equipment, 8 buses, 80 traveling workers and a million fans in attendence. Carrie Underwood closed out her 2010 Play On Tour last Thursday after being on the road since March. Inspired by the "36 cents" referenced in her song "Change," Carrie donated 36 cents from every ticket sold - over a million tickets - to Save The Children's United States programs. What do you want to bet that she rounds that donation up to an even half-million dollars?

Miranda Lambert is featured in the January 10th issue of US Weekly, talking about her weight-loss. One way she's shed a few pounds is by choosing almonds instead of Cheetos. She's not talking about how many pounds she's down, but she has lost two sizes by working out three times a week and watching what she eats.

Luke Bryan is performing at the inaugural celebration for incoming Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. The party will be at Phillips Arena next Monday. He's also hosting the taping of GAC's "ACM Showcase" at the Ryman on January 18th. Tickets range from $18.50 to $55 and are available through the Grand Ole Opry website. Performing during the show will be Eric Church, Randy Houser, Easton Corbin, The Band Perry, the JaneDear Girls and Steel Magnolia. The special will air on January 27th, kicking off fan voting for the newcomer categories at the ACM's.

Got Rock Band 3? Love Johnny Cash? You're in luck - The Man In Black's music is finally available for download and play. Eight of his most popular songs, including "I Walk the Line," Cry, Cry, Cry" and "Folsom Prison Blues" are available for $13.49 and will work with Xbox 360, Wii and Playstation consoles.

Gwyneth Paltrow will host Saturday Night Live on January 15th. It's her third time hosting the show, and the musical guest is Cee Lo Green. Wonder if she'll whip out a line or two of "Country Strong?"

Check out the People's Choice awards tonight on CBS. Kid Rock will perform and Taylor Swift will be there. Tim McGraw is up for Favorite Male Artist, Carrie Underwood is up for Favorite Female artist, Favorite TV Guest Star and Favorite Country artist. Also up for Favorite Female Artist and Favorite Country Artist is Taylor Swift. Rounding out the Favorite Country artist category are Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum and Rascal Flatts.

Catch Tim McGraw on Good Morning America and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon today. Tomorrow, he'll be on Chelsea Lately, and Friday he'll visit with Martha Stewart.

The tweet of the day is from Kellie Pickler Jacobs: "Private Island. Caribbean. Cigar in one hand, Rum in the other. Someone just called me "Mrs. Jacobs."....sounds nice :)"

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Oh, to have been in Mesa, Arizona on New Year's Eve, ringing in the New Year at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill. The restaurant and bar were at near-capacity and Toby showed up and played an impromptu half-hour set. Songs included "I Love This Bar," "Courtesy of the Red White and Blue" and "Whiskey Girl."

Once again this year, the Academy of Country Music wants fans to decide who the Top New Solo Vocalist and Top New Vocal Duo or Group are. Voting begins on January 27th and goes until February 24th at The winners of each category will then compete for Best New Artist. The awards will be handed out April 3rd on CBS. Meanwhile, here are the nominees for the two fan-voted categories:

Top New Solo Vocalist
Eric Church
Easton Corbin
Randy Houser

Top New Vocal Duo or Group
The Band Perry
The JaneDear Girls
Steel Magnolia

Jennifer Nettles will perform a benefit concert on January 15th in Denton, Texas. The acoustic set is something she doesn't do often, but this is for a cause near and dear to her heart - music. Attic Community Playground is a non-profit group which supports the performing arts. Says Jennifer, “Music, band, chorus, drama—each of them provided me with outlets of emotional exploration and self expression, and offered me an avenue to develop self confidence.” Jack Ingram will also perform.

Forbes Magazine is out with their list of Hollywood's top earners, and Taylor Swift has broken into the top 20 and edged out Judge Judy. How Taylor makes a "Hollywood" list, I'm not sure - guess it's because she's been in a movie. Then again, Madonna, Lady Gaga and Britney Spears are also on the list. Guess they're using the term "Hollywood" loosely!

1) Oprah Winfrey - $315 million
2) James Cameron - $210 million
3) Tyler Perry - $125 million
4) Michael Bay - $120 million
5) Tiger Woods - $105 million
6) Jerry Bruckheimer - $100 million
7) Steven Spielberg - $100 million
8) George Lucas - $95 million
9) Beyonce Knowles - $87 million
10) Dr. Phil - $80 million
11) Simon Cowell - $80 million
12) Jerry Seinfeld - $75 million
13) Britney Spears - $64 million
14) Lady Gaga - $62 million
15) Madonna - $58 million
16) Sandra Bullock - $56 million
17) Ellen Degeneres - $55 million
18) Miley Cyrus - $48 million
19) Taylor Swift - $45 million
20) Judge Judy Sheindlin - $45 million

For fans of old-school country, here's some really good news: Merle Haggard has been told his cancer is gone, and he's rarin' to hit the road for some shows. Also apparently in the works: a collaboration between Merle, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. They've been talking about doing an album together, even coming up with the working title of "The Musketeers" because there are three of them. No word on when it might happen.

Old-school good news part two - previously unreleased demos, radio appearances, non-album singles and B-sides from Johnny Cash's early years as a country star will be released on February 22nd. "From Memphis to Hollywood" will showcase Johnny's music from his days with Sun Records in the 50's to his time with Columbia records in the 50's and 60's.

Congrats to Craig Morgan, whose hunting show on The Outdoor Channel is the #1 hunting show on the network. "Craig Morgan: All Access outdoors" airs Saturday mornings at 11 Eastern.

Tim McGraw is on the David Letterman show tonight, and up early to be on Good Morning America tomorrow morning.

Happy birthday to Patty Loveless, who turns 54 today, and Deana Carter, who is 44.

The tweet of the day is from Jaron and the Long Road to Love: "Congrats! We made it thru out first Monday of 2011. Better than last year so far?"

Monday, January 3, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Congratulations to Tim McGraw, who was named the #1 touring act of 2010 by Billboard Magazine. Not one to rest on his laurels, Tim and the Dancehall Doctors will hit the road with Luke Bryan and The Band Perry for the Emotional Traffic Tour. Tour dates haven't been announced yet, but the ticket sales begin on January 15th. And he starts of 2011 with another big win - the first #1 song of the new year. "Felt Good On My Lips" tops the Billboard country chart this week.

Well, now, that was the shortest engagement ever - Shania Twain and fiance Frederic Thiebaud are now married. They wed on New Year's Day in Puerto Rico with family and friends around them.

This is the year that Toby Keith keeps a promise to his daughter Krystal. When she was younger, she asked her Daddy to help her release her own album. Toby promised he would do that when she graduated from college. She did, and this year he'll "pay up." In 2004, Krystal got to have a little taste of singing success when she and Toby duetted on "Mockingbird" for his greatest hits cd.

The People's Choice Awards are Wednesday night, live from Los Angeles. Country music is well-represented:

Carrie Underwood – Favorite Female Artist, Favorite Country Artist, Favorite TV Guest Star (for How I Met Your Mother)
Tim McGraw – Favorite Male Artist
Taylor Swift – Favorite Female Artist, Favorite Country Artist
Lady Antebellum – Favorite Country Artist
Rascal Flatts – Favorite Country Artist
Keith Urban – Favorite Country Artist

Catch Taylor Swift on the Rachel Ray show today.

The tweet of the day is from Sugarland's Kristian Bush: "Happy New Year everyone. May this year have wonders that make last year jealous. Hope, Love and Peace to you all."