Monday, February 21, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Florida was hogging all the country music stars yesterday! In addition to those at Daytona, Kenny Chesney did a show in Palm Beach, Florida for the Everglades Foundation. The benefit concert happened because Jimmy Buffett, who is on the Board of Directors of the foundation, invited Kenny to be their musical guest this year. Kenny wasn't lonely on stage - Jimmy Buffett joined him on the songs "Back Where I come From" and "Come Monday," and Mac McAnally joined Kenny for "Down the Road."

It was a big country music day at Daytona yesterday, as Dierks Bentley and Brad Paisley took the infield stage to perform just before the Daytona 500. Martina McBride nailed the National Anthem and Brad Paisley drove the pace car, sayint it was "the most ridiculously exciting thing" he's ever done. Rodney Atkins was part of Daytona, too, working the Crown Royal stage and announcing the winner of the annual Crown Royal "Your Name Here" 400. The event at Richmond International Raceway is given the name of the grand-prize winner in Crown Royal's sweepstakes, but this year, the race will have two first names: Crown Royal Presents the Matthew and Daniel Hansen 400. US Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Matthew Hansen was the grand prize winner this year, chosen from 5 military finalists who have shown themselves to be heroes. Matthew's godmother nominated him for his service during three deployments to Iraq, and for continuing to serve with courage and faith after losing his twin brother Daniel. Daniel lost his life during combat operations in Afghanistan when a roadside bomb exploded. NASCAR hits Richmond on April 30th with the running of the "Crown Royal Presents the Matthew and Daniel Hansen 400." 43 drivers are signed up to compete for that very special trophy.

Lady Antebellum headlined the Gift of Music concert, a benefit for the Dustin J. Wells Foundation music program. Friday night, they played the Wild Horse Saloon in Nashville, and here's a minute from the show:

Zac Brown is putting his money where his heart is. He's building a place for special-needs kids to learn about music, life and health skills. Camp Southern Ground will be about 40 minutes south of Atlanta, and while it isn't in existence quite yet, it does have a website.

How did Alan Jackson know he'd hit it big? A little piece of his childhood landed in the Country Music Hall of Fame. “Sometimes I do “Chasing That Neon Rainbow” onstage, and I set the song up talking about growing up and the first radio I remembered. And it was the one that Daddy won at the Pepsi-Cola plant for some employee thing. Later when that was a hit, they put that radio in the Hall of Fame, and I tell the fans onstage, if you ever come to Nashville, go to the Hall of Fame and you can see that radio in there!”

Eric Church doesn't have anything in the Country Music Hall of Fame yet, but he does see his fan base growing and giving his shows a life of their own. “Somehow, over the last four years, they’ve really taken ownership of the music themselves. It’s about them singing it, or toasting beers with the guy beside ‘em that they don’t know, or body surfing through the crowd, I mean whatever it is. That’s what I’m there to witness, and it that don’t fire you up, then you’re dead, you know?”

Judds fans, put a big red "X" on your calendar April 10th. That's when their 6-episode series "The Judds" will debut on OWN. The show follows the mother/daughter duo on their final tour, and the newly svelte Wynonna explained their travel arrangements: “Let me tell you why we have to have separate buses. We’re gonna be so busy, the only time I’m gonna have to myself is literally when I’m in the shower and sleeping. When you go on the road with your mother, you’re never alone.”

Congratulations to Jamey Johnson - his album "Guitar Song" has been certified gold, for half a million copies sold. The party was on Friday at the Palm in Nashville, just before Jamey took the stage at Bridgestone Arena, opening for Kid Rock.

On this day in 1996, Garth Brooks' album "Fresh Horses" was certified gold, platinum and triple plantinum on the same day. That was 15 years ago, when more people bought albums and cd's than now. Now it's much more common for singles to go platinum quickly, because of the popularity of downloading only one or two songs from an album instead of buying the entire album.

And going way back in history - did you ever wonder how long Little Jimmy Dickens has been part of the Grand Ole Opry? On this day in 1948, he made his Opry debut. That's 63 years as a fixture at the Opry. Congrats, Little Jimmy!

Nicole Kidman opens up about her fertility struggles at

Uncle Kracker is in the studio in Nashville, working on his 5th studio album. He says he's got 20 songs ready to record, and will work pretty quickly, because he hits the road on March 17th with Kenny Chesney. Uncle Kracker has teamed up with legendary producer Keith Stegall, who has worked with Alan Jackson and Zac Brown Band among many others, and tells fans to expect this album to sound "more Americana." The first single should be released in early May with the album due out late this summer.

If you missed Kenny Chesney's new documentary "The Color Orange" on ESPN last night, here's a little bit of it:

Happy birthday to Mary Chapin Carpenter, who turns 53 today.

Jason Aldean will be on the Ellen DeGeeres show and on Conan tomorrow.

The tweet of the day is from Brad Paisley: "Seriously,driving the pace car was about the most ridiculously exciting thing I've ever done. & @JeffGordonWeb was bumping me.tradin' paint!"