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 voteacm.com. 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?"