Friday, April 29, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Willie Nelson turns 78 tomorrow, and he's been making music and touring for nearly all of his life. Will he ever retire? Probably not - according to Willie, “Oh occasionally, when you’re out for six months and haven’t had a break and you’re looking at the calendar and there’s not one there for a while and you start thinking, ‘Well maybe when this one’s over I’ll consider it.’ But I never have done it. Usually I’m off a few days and I’m ready to go back.”

Reba and Blake Shelton are teaming up for a Tornado Relief Concert on May 26th in Oklahoma, to benefit the Tushka Disaster Relief Fund. Tornadoes and thunderstorms caused half a million dollars in damages to an area near and dear to both Blake and Reba. Said Reba, "A lot of people lost a great deal in this disaster, and it's particularly close to us because we both consider Oklahoma home. We wanted to do something and let the people in Oklahoma know that we love them and we're praying for them during this difficult tragedy." Can't be at the show, but want to help? Text OKGIVE to 27722 to donate $10, or mail your donation to Tushka Disaster Relief Fund, 101 SE 1st St., Tushka, OK 74525.

Dierks Bentley likes to prank his opening acts, but Miss Willie Brown decided to beat him to the punch. Oh, dear...they've declared war, I fear...

Dierks Bentley wasted no time in pranking them back, stuffing 480 beers into every orifice on their bus - toilet, sinks, cabinets, zippers. He did tweet "prank or gift??!"

John Rich says that this Sunday's episode of "Celebrity Apprentice" is being called "The Wrath of Nene" and he thinks it's a pretty accurate title. Says John, "It gets so out of hand, Star Jones actually calls in her own personal security to follow her around and keep her out of harm's way." We'll have to watch to see who gets fired, and it's only a few weeks until we find out who the new apprentice is. May 22 is the finale and all of the contestants will be on that show.

Didja miss Darius Rucker on the Today show this week? Here you go...

And here he is on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon...

Tomorrow in Nashville, more than 30,000 runners shoe up for the Country Music Marathon and Half-Marathon. Their reward for finishing? Montgomery Gentry in concert. They'll headline the post-race show.

Steve Earle is on the Late Show with David Letterman tonight and John Rich is on Celebrity Apprentice on Sunday night.

Happy birthday to Willie Nelson tomorrow, and Tim McGraw and Ty Herndon on Sunday.

The tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton: "I'm so drunk right now I just threw my T.V. at the remote..."

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Jason Aldean leads the list of nominees for the 2011 CMT Music Awards with four. He's up for Video of the Year, Male Video Artist of the Year, Collaborative Video for his duet with Kelly Clarkson and Best Web Video of the Year for "My Kinda Party." Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift and Zac Brown Band all have three nominations, and Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Reba and Sugarland all earned nominations, too. You can vote for your favorites now through June 7th. The awards will be handed out on June 8th.

This year's Country Throwdown Tour will have its final stop at Billy Bob's Texas in Fort Worth for Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic & Throwdown. The picnic has been Willie's longstanding tradition, and is always a huge party, so concluding the Country Throwdown Tour there was a natural. The tour features Willie, Jamey Johnson, Randy Houser, Lee Brice, Brantly Gilbert and tons more great artists.

Brady Seals loves musical instruments, especially vintage ones. Collecting them has been his hobby, and now he's turned his hobby into a business. He's teamed up with instrument historian Gabriel Hernandez to form Music City Pickers. If you've got old guitars, banjos, or other band gear and would like to turn them into cash, check out their new service.

Luke Bryan's new song, "Country Girl (Shake it for Me)" sold 105,498 digital copies it's debut week, tearing up the charts faster than any song he's had before and selling more in one week than any of his other songs. The song will be on his next cd, due late out this summer. And to cap off a good bunch of news, Luke's song, "It's a Shore Thing," was nominated for CMT Music Award's Best Web Video of the Year. Check it out...

The late Gene Autry's things are being auctioned off next month in Los Angeles, including the Steinway & Sons mahogany piano that he wrote 640 songs on, including "Here Comes Santa Claus." His white Resistol cowboy hat is also part of the auction, being handled by A.N. Abell Auction Company.

Tim McGraw is on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon tonight.

The tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton: "Re-writing my fav Garth song.. I got friends with ugly faces Unibrows and could use some braces They smile, I yell Is your tongue in jail?"

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Blake Shelton couldn't pass up the chance to be part of "The Voice," where the coaches have to judge a singer just by their voice. According to Blake, “And I’m tellin’ you sometimes you turn around and what you thought was, you know, a cute little girl singing a Colbie Caillat song might be, you know, an overweight man from Chicago, you know. You never know what you’re gonna see on this show when you turn around.” The show debuted last night and continues on NBC Tuesday nights at 9 Eastern.

American Idol is down to six, and Kellie Pickler knows just what that feels like: “I just heard it got narrowed down to six and I was like, ‘Well, hell that’s where I got the boot.’ So, good luck to number six! It’s hard. It’s not an easy ride that’s for sure. I mean, it’s an uphill, downhill, uphill, downhill. But, it’s fun and it’s worth it.” The six remaining contestants pair off into duets tonight, taking on the songs of Carole King at 8 Eastern on Fox.

The next Kenny Chesney single will be his duet with Grace Potter, "You and Tequila." This is a homemade fan video for the song.

Dierks Bentley and Josh Thompson are on the road together. What do they do when they're not performing? They grab their bands, break up in teams and play paintball.

And when they're not playing, they're... um, ...playing!

The Band Perry and Evan Farmer announce the 2011 CMT Music Awards nominees on the Today Show this morning, Emmylou Harris is on the Late Show with David Letterman, Alison Krauss and Union Station are on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and Tim McGraw is on The View.

The tweet of the day is from Dierks Bentley: "our drummer steve misamore's bubble bath scene in AM I THE ONLY ONE video is cracking and creeping people out nationwide"

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

May of 2010 is one of Nashville's darkest moments in history. That's when the devastating floods hit the area, wiping out homes, businesses and the industry that fuels the city's economy - tourism. But you can't keep a good city down, so the Grand Ole Opry will mark the anniversary of the flood with a huge celebration. "Party On, Nashville!" is set for Tuesday May third at the Opry House, and at this point the scheduled performers include Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan and the Charlie Daniels Band. You know that between now and a week from tonight, even more of Nashville's stars will sign on to the party. If you'd like to go, tickets are available. If you'd like to support Hands On Nashville, the American Red Cross or United Way of Metropolitan Nashville, buy your tickets through your favorite charity and $10 of the ticket price will go to them.

Tomorrow is the day we find out all of the nominees for the 2011 CMT Music Awards during the third hour of the Today Show on NBC. The Band Perry will perform during that hour, singing their new single, "You Lie." These are fan-voted awards, and the voting starts as soon as the nominees are announced. One category has been revealed already - Breakthrough Video of the Year, and here are the nominees:

Lee Brice - "Love Like Crazy"
Aaron Lewis - "Country Boy"
Jerrod Niemann - "Lover, Lover"
The Band Perry - "If I Die Young"
Thompson Square - "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not"

With "Honey Bee" rocketing up the charts at a record pace, (pardon the pun!) Blake Shelton has had a change in plans. He wasn't going to release a new cd until fall of this year, but the momentum of the first single has moved that time frame up to July 12th. That means Blake has some work to do, as the album isn't finished yet. He and his guys are in the studio this week, working on the untitled album. Better get it done quick - he and Miranda are tying the knot in a couple of weeks!

Breaking with tradition, Brad Paisley's next cd, "This is Country Music," will street on a Monday instead of a Tuesday. The album now goes on sale Monday, May 23rd.

Ronnie Dunn's first ever solo album is a self-titled one, due out June 7 but available for pre-order now. And Ronnie's doing something new to country music, to coincide with the release of the physical cd. Says Ronnie, "I am producing a series of videos to go with the majority of the songs. So far, I have finished five." You can see a "behind the scenes" video now.

Uncle Kracker loves mash-ups, so he sort of did one of his own, melding "Good to be Me" with "All Summer Long."

There are good fans, great fans and super fans. One of Reba's super fans, Wanda Couturier, got to meet her idol last week. Why? Because super fan Wanda has been to more than 100 of Reba's show, seeing 33 in just one year. She also broke the Today show record for standing in line the longest to see a star. Now, that's a fan!

Toby Keith has returned to the states after his 9th USO tour. He loves performing for the troops and spending time with America's heroes, and loves sending back photos.

Jo Dee Messina has donated a song to help build a school, and the songwriter, Jared Anderson, is kicking in his share of the royalties, too. "Carry On" is available for a $1 donation to "A Million Doors," an organization raising money to build a new school for Nashville's Holy Trinity Montessori. The goal is to raise $2.3 million, so text all your friends and all of you go get this song.

In an interview on Taste of Country, Darius Rucker was asked who he would love to trade places with for one day. His answer, "Let’s see … Miranda Lambert. That way I could see how it feels to be that cool!" Miranda, did you know Darius was such a big fan?

Congratulations to Kenny Chesney, who has earned his 22nd number 1 song with "Live a Little." It's the third #1 from "Hemingway's Whiskey."

Tonight is the premier of the new singing competition show, "The Voice," which finds Blake Shelton as a coach on a show, looking for America's best voice. The other coaches are Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine, and their job is to each pick a singing team based on sound, not looks. It's on NBC at 9pm Eastern.

Happy birthday to Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts, who turns 40 today. And happy anniversary to Joe Don Rooney of Rascal Flatts. He and wife Tiffany Fallon were wed on this day in 2006.

The tweet of the day is from Brad Paisley: "Hey @martinamcbride, your new song is so fantastic. It sounds classic and current and real and catchy, and it makes me so glad I have boys."

Monday, April 25, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Well, looks like rumors of Taylor Swift buying a house in Beverly Hills were true. Settlement papers show that the person who attended the closing and signed all of the paperwork is none other than a business manager known to work for her. The three bedroom, 3.5 bath house is in the 90210 zip code, sits on about an acre and a half and has a small guest house on the property. Here are the real estate flier photos for the house...

Must be nice to be able to afford a $3.5 million house at any time in your life, much less when you're just 21. Good for Taylor!

While the world holds its collective breath waiting for the Royal Wedding this weekend, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton are focused on their wedding on May 14th. Specific details haven't been shared, but Miranda's not sweating any of those details, either, saying “Everything’s done pretty much except little details that I’ve, you know, been thinking of at the last minute. But I have a great planner because I couldn’t have possibly done it without her.” She goes on to say that the little details don't really matter because she's found the right man and that's the truly important part.

LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian were married Friday night at a private, surprise ceremony in Malibu, California. The two invited their closest family and friends, telling them it was an engagement party. Everyone was surprised when a wedding ceremony happened instead, and made the event a wedding reception instead of an engagement party.

John Rich survived another week of Celebrity Apprentice as the men's team beat the women's team and La Toya Jackson got sent home. John was the project manager and sang the praises of rapper Lil Jon: “Lil Jon is one of the smartest dudes. I know he’s got the gold teeth and he’s a rapper and all that but that’s just part of his schtick, you know. That’s what he does. But, in real life he’s a very successful business guy and marketer. This guy is no joke. And, he and I are becoming really good friends actually.” Wonder if Lil Jon will join the Big & Rich tour this summer? Wouldn't surprise anyone, that's for sure!

Tim McGraw and Curb Records, his long-time label, are at an impasse on the release of his next album. "Emotional Traffic" will be his last on Curb, as he's made clear, and he says the album is done and the label has it. The label is apparently hanging on to Tim for as long as they can, as there's still no release date for the record. Nevertheless, Tim is on tour through August in support of the project.

Blake Shelton knows when his next album will be out - July 12th. It will include his latest song, "Honeybee," which is the fastest selling song every by a country male vocalist. Blake's new tv show, "The Voice," kicks off tomorrow night on NBC.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has a new exhibit: "Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power." Featured in it is Faith Hill's Versace outfit worn during a Thanksgiving special in 2000, Loretta Lynn's pink gown worn during the "Portland, Oregon" video and Taylor Swift's handwritten lyrics for the song "Change." The exhibit opens May 13th and shows how women have influenced music from the early 1900's to the present.

Jake Owen is on a roll - his new song "Barefoot Blue Jean Night" sold 20,000 downloads in its first week of sales, which is a really good number. To what does Jake attribute the song's success? A great song: “Literally two days after I heard it, I went in and recorded it. And it was cool. Organic. We tracked the whole rest of the record with great musicians and great players but that song we did it ourselves.”

Congratulations to Colt Ford, who collected platinum and gold certifications for digital downloads of singles and albums, respectively. That's a million songs sold and half a million albums. Nice hit!

And Jerrod Niemann has his second gold single in only 8 months. First to go gold was "Lover, Lover" and now his second song, "What Do You Want," has also sold half a million units. According to Jerrod, “Man, you know I’ve dreamt my whole life to have this opportunity. So really, everyday really doesn’t feel like a vacation or anything but it’s like I don’t really care for any time off. I mean, I’m sure I’ll change, probably eat those words.”

Happy birthday to Glen Campbell, who turns 75 today, and Kellie Coffey, who is 40.

The tweet of the day is from James Otto: "As it turns out the Easter Bunny left no eggs for me.......just brightly colored rum drinks. Thank you Easter bunny!"

Friday, April 22, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Toby Keith's week went from Dancing to Dahaneh. He left the stage of Dancing With the Stars, hopped a jet and landed in the middle east, where he's on his ninth USO tour. When Toby says he's going "Somewhere Else" he means it!

Congratulations to Chris Young, who has topped all the competition and won Country Weekly's Hottest Bachelor competition. It's the second time in three years that the 25 year old has earned the reader-voted honor. “What can I say, country fans are the best!” Chris gushed. “It’s thrilling to get any type of recognition and this one is even more fun since it comes directly from the fans. And thank you Country Weekly readers!” The entire list is in the May 2 issue of the magazine, on newsstands now.

Do you like Little Big Town? Then go "like" their special Facebook page and you'll be helping kids get music lessons. For every person who "likes" the page, Little Big Town and Country Financial will donate to Drive 4 the Music, a program dedicated to music education for children. They've already delivered 2,000 music lessons to Nashville youth.

And speaking of Little Big Town, they've given a distinctive spin to Lady Gaga's song "Born This Way."

And perhaps inspired by their tour of Australia with Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum has covered Men At Work's "Land Down Under." By the way, their "Need You Now" album has just gone platinum in both Australia and New Zealand.

Last Friday, Charlie Daniels put a song on his website. The response has been so overwhelming that it's now available on iTunes, and It's called "Let 'Em Win or Bring 'Em Home," and is a pointed, poignant song that's vintage Charlie Daniels.

Joey+Rory fans, here's your early warning - the 3rd Annual Bib and Buckle Fest will happen on
Saturday, June 4th at their farmhouse in Pottsville, Tennessee. The fun starts with a 5-mile canoe float down the Duck River, and if you need to rent a canoe, hurry, because there aren't a lot for rent. Food, games and live music fill out the day from 1pm until 8pm. "Each year we put on the festival, it grows and becomes even more fun than the last," said Joey. Rory adds, "we travel, play shows and meet fans all year long in their communities around the country. This is a chance for fans to come and be a part of ours." Take your lawn chairs, sunscreen and a big ol' grin. Tickets are available to purchase now, and if it's not sold out, you can also buy them at the gate the day of the festival.

Next Tuesday, "The Voice" debuts on NBC, featuring Blake Shelton as one of the coaches searching for America's next big singing star. Blake and the other coaches, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine, will also be performing on the show. Here's a sneak-peek at their work-up of Gnarls Barkley's hit, "Crazy."

Rumors are swirling that this is the weekend for LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian to tie the knot. They had been looking to rent a secluded ranch in the wild, wild west, but the rumors place the wedding in or near Los Angeles. Fill you in on Monday!

Don't forget to set your DVRs for the "Girls Night Out: Superstar Women of Country" special tonight at 9 Eastern on CBS. And Sunday night, John Rich continues on "Celebrity Apprentice," "The Judds" continues on OWN and GAC airs "Backstory: LeAnn Rimes."

Happy birthday to Glen Campbell, who turns 75 today.

The tweet of the day is from Big Kenny of Big & Rich: "Who's getting ready to paint some Easter Eggs ? ....Meeeee, ...gonna paint Camo!"

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

When Kenny Chesney's "Goin' Coastal" tour stopped in Wichita, Kansas last week, something magical happened. 14-year-old Carrington Walker had tried to get tickets to the show, but wasn't able to find any. An anonymous donor sent her tickets, and went a step further. Carrington has been battling lymphoma for three years and when Kenny Chesney got ready to sing "Summertime" he called her up on stage with him and he serenaded her. Carrington called the experience "amazing" and said she went to sleep with a smile on her face that night.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs went country last night in Nashville, as Carrie Underwood, Vince Gill and Jo Dee Messina all performed after the first period of the game. Carrie's husband, Mike Fisher, plays for the Nashville Predators, who lost to the Anaheim Ducks 6-3. Their series is tied, 2 to 2, with another game tomorrow night.

Miranda Lambert is on the cover of Health Magazine, which hits newsstands tomorrow. She talks about growing up on a farm, staying in shape on the road and knowing that the food on her dinner plate had been running around on the farm not long before she ate it. According to Miranda, her parents were pretty clear about animals: "They explained that not every animal was a pet — some were providing for our family. It sounds weird to other people, but I look at it like, there are some animals you feed and some animals that feed you."

Martina McBride's new single, "Teenage Daughters," talks about her experience of having them, but what was she like as a teenage daughter? “Well I was very rebellious and I was very ready to get out on my own. I didn’t understand why I had to have all these rules and people telling me what to do. And I was really into music and wanted to travel and sing with a rock band and you know. I wanted to be just out there on my own.” Which explains the line in the song, "At seventeen, she’s just like me when I was seventeen so I don’t blame her."

Jennifer Nettles has launched the "Jennifer Nettles Presents The Attic Community Playground Online Auction." You can bid on meet and greet experiences with Kenny Chesney, Martina McBride, Reba, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock, Bon Jovi, Katy Perry and of course Sugarland through May 11th. Proceeds benefit the Playground, which gives music education opportunities to kids.

Country artists will add some sparkle to the Barnstable-Brown Kentucky Derby Eve Gala in Louisville, Kentucky on May 6th. Miranda Lambert, Montgomery Gentry, Kix Brooks, Lee Ann Womack, Travis Tritt and Wynonna Judd are all expected to attend. No word on whether the women will be in hats, but I'll be on the lookout for pictures for you!

The free concerts on the 2011 CMA Music Festival Riverfront stage are going to be awesome - Gary Allan, Darryl Wroley, Phil Vassar, Billy Ray Cyrus and Terri Clark are among the performers scheduled. Gary Allan kicks off the daily concerts at 10am on Thursday, June 9th.

Next Wednesday, The Band Perry will be on the third hour of the Today show, announcing the nominees for the 2011 CMT Music Awards. Voting on the awards begins as soon as the nominees are announced, and the awards will be handed out on June 8th at Bridgestone Arena.

If you want to shop at the Grand Ole Opry's online store, today's your day. Use the code ONEDAYSALE at checkout to get 25% off of almost everything available. The sale is today only, so get shopping!

So yesterday it was reported that "Pray for You" by Jaron and the Long Road to Love had been certified gold for half a million units sold. Yesterday was also the day that the platinum plaque arrived at Jaron's agent's office. Looks like the RIAA is a little behind on their press release updating! Congrats to Jaron ATLRTL on his first platinum single!

Joe Nichols is headed to Australia next week for his third tour of the Land Down Under. He'll do some face time on TV while he's there.

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers will be on the Late Show with David Letterman tonight.

The tweet of the day is from David Nail: "Traumatic events have a way of never leaving you, last years flood has cause me to fear storms to the point that I slept two hrs last night!"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

The RIAA has made it official - Taylor Swift has sold more digital singles than anyone, even Lady Gaga. Counting song certifications through March of this year, Taylor Swift has sold 22.5 million songs, with triple-platinum certification for "You Belong With Me" and platinum certifications for "Fifteen," "Back to December" and "Forever & Always." Her albums are doing ok, too, with each of them being triple platinum and 2006's "Fearless" topping six million copies sold. There were gold certifications for Eric Church's "Smoke a Little Smoke" and Jaron and the Long Road to Love's "Pray for You."

In more Taylor news, she's very exited to be part of "The Lorax," an animated movie based on the Dr. Seuss story of the same name. Taylor plays Audrey, and is loving the process. “It’s really fun because you can do it on your own time and you don’t have to be on set for two weeks at a time, or four weeks, or six weeks at a time – which I just can’t do. I’m really stoked about the cast and the writing is really good.” Danny DeVito plays the Lorax, and the movie is set for a March 2012 release.

Esquire magazine once again issued a songwriting challenge, and they asked Dierks Bentley to be part of it. This year's theme is "Last Night in Detroit" and all of the artists were challenged to come up with the best song they could around that theme. Joining Dierks in the fun are Brendan Benson, Ben Blackwell, Dhani Harrison and Raphael Saadiq. The songs are available on iTunes for .99 each, with all of the proceeds going to Big Brothers Big Sisters Detroit. You can get some songwriting secrets from Dierks in the current issue of Esquire, hitting news stands next Tuesday.

Blake Shelton is one of the artists who'll be on hand for the T.J. Martell Foundation's Best Cellars Dinner this coming Monday night. It's a benefit for the Vanderbilt Cancer Center, and the event pairs Nashville's biggest stars with Nashville's top wine collectors. Blake's probably going to need to bone up on his wine etiquette, though! According to him, “The prize possession to have—and Miranda is the same way, whether we’re at home or on the road—is one of those—if somebody has access to one of those Route 44 Sonic cups, cause you can pour like a whole bottle of something in one of those and mix it—THAT’s where it’s at!" Martina McBride, Kellie Pickler, Kix Brooks, Clint Black and Big Kenny will all be part of the event, too.

Willie Nelson's shows last night through this Saturday night have to be re-scheduled because Willie's under the weather. No word on exactly what the ailment is, just that no shows will be played this week. Everything set for Sunday night on will happen as scheduled. According to a tweet, Willie's sick from the weather changes met during travel from New York City to Hawaii to South Dakota. Pretty extreme changes, for sure!

Brad Paisley is in Charlotte, shooting a music video with one of the racing teams. Apparently they're not at the Hall of Fame or the speedway...hmmmm...

Chris Young is in the middle east, playing shows for the troops stationed there. He has been tweeting photos and said, “Loving these shows guys. Our troops are amazing.” Yes, they most certainly are!

In support of her book, hitting stores on May 3rd, Shania Twain is headed out on the "From This Moment On" book tour. It'll start in New York and stop in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Minnesota's Mall of America and in Ontario, Canada.

If you're a golfer who loves Toby Keith, mark your calendar for May 20th and 21st and make plans to be in Norman, Oklahoma for his annual Toby Keith and Friends Golf Classic. Many big-name sports celebrties are always in attendance, plus there's great golf, great food and some amazing items up for bid in the auction.

Happy birthday to Wade Hayes, who turns 42 today.

The tweet of the day is from John Rich: "GaryB!When the stakes are $629,000 so far raised for St.Jude,there's no room for chaos. BIG respect 4 you!But the KIDS are 1st...BeWellGary!"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

John Rich of Big & Rich is holding his own on "Celebrity Apprentice." Trace Adkins, a former contestant, is the one that suggested to John that he consider being a contestant, and now John is paying that forward by suggesting to Dierks Bentley that he'd be a great contestant. According to John, “He’ll text me after the show’s over and go, ‘Dude! What happened tonight? Oh my God, I can’t believe it,’ you know and he’s askin’ me questions about it. But, I think a guy like Dierks would be good because he’s very even tempered, he’s a smart guy, he’s just the kind of guy after bein’ through the show, I think his kind of attitude and smarts could go a long way in that show.” And after Gary Busey's firing on this week's episode, John was pretty sure he knew why it happened: “I think Trump finally was seeing what we’d all been saying, like, ‘Mr. Trump you don’t understand Gary Busey off-camera is out of control and when he comes into your boardroom he’s actin’ like, ‘What, I didn’t do anything? Why is everybody pickin’ on me?’’ And, I think Trump finally caught wind of that.” There are three women and three men still in competition to be the next "Celebrity Apprentice" for Donald Trump.

Planning on being at the CMA Music Festival? Then be sure to get tickets to the Friday show at LP Field, because Sugarland has been added to the line up that night. On Thursday night, Jason Aldean and Zac Brown Band were already on the bill, but duet partners have been added: Kelly Clarkson for Jason and Alan Jackson for Zac Brown Band. More performers will be added to all of the shows, so keep your eyes on the schedule and get tickets before they sell out.

And the 21st annual City of Hope Celebrity Softball Challenge will happen June 11th at Greer Stadium. Tickets range from $15 to $50 and are available now. There's also an online auction that'll happen after the game, where autographed memorabilia will be available. Over the years, this softball game has raised nearly 2 million dollars for City of Hope's mission of finding cures and better treatments for cancer and other catastrophic illnesses.

Brad Paisley and Keith Urban have been added as performers at the Leadership Music Dale Franklin Award gala dinner celebrating the CMA. Little Big Town, Martina McBride and Ronnie Milsap are also on the bill. The dinner takes place on May 17th in Nashville and reservations are available - just email for details.

When Keith Urban and Lady Antebellum performed in Melborne Australia, they worked up a version of "Seven Bridges Road" and performed it.

Sugarland's Tuscaloosa show got stormed out last Friday night, and that experience is the focus of the latest episode of Sugarland TV.

Trisha Yearwood has landed her own cooking show on the Food Network. No details yet on airdate and time, but it will be a daytime cooking series, launching this September. It's described as a show that takes the viewer "into the kitchen of country star and cookbook author Trisha Yearwood," so we might actually get to see where she cooks for Garth.

Tim McGraw has had to back out of the next Denzel Washington movie, "Safe House." With his tour schedule, the film's shooting schedule didn't mesh. Tim is still planning to appear in the movie "Dirty Girl" later this year.

William Shatner is working on a celebrity-studded cover album entitled "Searching for Major Tom." Brad Paisley will be part of it, backing Bill on guitar and vocals for the Steve Miller classic "Space Cowboy." Also on the album are Peter Frampton and Alan Parsons.

Congratulations to Darius Rucker, who has a #1 song with "This." That means he's going to Disney World, a promise he's keeping to his kids. And what ride is Darius' favorite? “Oh I still think Space Mountain’s one of the greatest rides of all time. I do. People laugh at me. I love Space Mountain. Don’t like it, love it, love it.” It's Darius' fifth #1 country song. (Scroll down to yesterday's blog for the complete story on the Disney promise.)

Friday night, "Girls' Night Out: Superstar Women of Country" airs on CBS. Being honored, and also performing, are Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Reba, Martina McBride, Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland and The Judds. Loretta Lynn is also being honored, but wasn't able to be at the taping. She appears via a satellite hook-up. Doing the honoring, and also performing, are Blake Shelton, Vince Gill, Rascal Flatts, Sara Evans, The Band Perry, Jason Aldean and the JaneDear Girls.

Toby Keith is on "Dancing With the Stars" tonight, performing "American Soldier" and "Should've Been A Cowboy." And Rascal Flatts is on "Inside the PGA Tour" on the Golf Channel tonight at 7:30 Eastern.

The tweet of the day is from Dolly Parton: "Men are no different than women as far as their hearts go. It’s just that women love to tell everything!" :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Reba is just blown away by how far her Dad, Clark McEntire, has come since suffering a debilitating stroke in March. Doctors didn't expect him to make it, and according to Reba, “I’m not kidding, we had planned the funeral three times. We’ve selected songs, we’ve picked out where he’s going to be buried, and now he’s just done a complete turnaround.” She knew he was out of the woods when she called her Mom at the rehabilitation facility where her Dad is receiving treatment, to tell her about her son's Grand-Am race in Alabama. Reba's Mom told her to tell it to her Dad, and held the phone for him. “I talked and I talked and pretty soon I heard him clear his throat, and I stopped talking and he said, ‘Well, does it look like he’s got a chance?’ I almost dropped the phone. He’s lucid. He knows what he’s talking about, and he asked me a question. I said, ‘Well yeah, Daddy, he might have a chance.’ And he said, ‘Well alright, tell him to drive fast and safe.’” Reba's got her fingers crossed that he'll be able to make the trip to Nashville this October to see her inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Darius Rucker must be the neighborhood's most fun Dad. Not only do his kids get to go to his Monday After the Masters charity golf tournament if they want to, they just might get a trip to Disney World soon. “My kids have the deal, where if I get a number one, they get a trip to Disney. And I forgot that I told him that, and my son says to me the other day, ‘Daddy, where’s, how’s ‘This’ doing on the charts?’ And I’m like ‘Ahh, it’s doing good buddy, its number five.’ He’s like, ‘Yessss!’ I was like, ‘What?!’ He was like, ‘Disney World!’ I said, ‘Not yet, buddy!” The way "This" is racing up the charts, it could happen very soon!

Gary Busey was fired last night on The Celebrity Apprentice, after he led the men's Team Backbone to a loss in the Omaha Steak challenge. According to John Rich, who is one of three men left on the show, “The stuff that Gary Busey does off-camera is worse than what he does on camera. He tries to make you crazy and he does make you a little bit crazy.”

Rascal Flatts is being sued by their former mamagement team at Turner Nichols. The suit was filed early last week, seeking continued commission on income from deals negotiated while Turner Nichols was representing Rascal Flatts. A touring agreement which runs through 2013 was negotiated, and the managment company wants royalties from the ABC television special, DVD sales and proceeds from recording agreements and tour sponsorships. Publicist Jessie Schmidt had this two-sentence response from Rascal Flatts: "We are disappointed they have chosen to file, as we had hoped to address these issues privately. However, we hope that this can be resolved amicably."

Joe Nichols played a charity concert at Billy Bob's Texas on Saturday, raising money for the Red Cross relief efforts in Japan. The $10 per ticket show was sold out, and additional donations poured in from attendees. The day before that show, he performed his latest single, "The Shape I'm In," at a USO show in Washington DC. He's pledged all of the profits from that song to the USO to help soldiers returning from the war with broken bodies and minds. The show in DC raised nearly $575,000 for the USO of Metropolitan Washington.

Joe's wasn't the only big show in Texas over the weekend. Jewel threw a free concert for her fans, who came from as far away as Australia, France and Great Britian. For the fans who couldn't be there, she streamed the show live on her website, and also will have cds of the show available on her site. She played for three and a half hours, pulling out album cuts, some of which she had never performed live before. TexFest, as the show was called, was her way of thanking her fans for their support, whether or not her songs land high on the charts.

David Nail was busy doing a show and Randy Owen showed up to sing along...

Danny Gokey, his brother Charles and sister Angie and friend Ruben Burgos had a little a capella fun with doo wop.

Colt Ford has a new tv show on the Outdoor Channel called Mud Slingers. They visit Trucks Gone Wild events across the country, filming the action and Colt busts out a song or two.

Toby Keith will play two songs tomorrow night on "Dancing With the Stars."

The tweet of the day is from Brad Paisley: "Not sure about this new @NASCAR tandem racing at Talladega. I haven't seen this much adolescent bumping and grinding since prom."

Friday, April 15, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Imagine being Kenny Chesney, doing a meet & greet before a show and meeting a family that planned their entire vacation around attending one of his shows. According to Kenny, “I couldn’t have imagined that when I was a kid dreaming in East Tennessee about what I wanted to do with this that it would have grown into this. And have people come to a meet and greet going, ‘Well, we planned our whole summer vacation around what you’re doing.’ That just blows me away.”

Now THIS is a mash-up! Faith Hill and Tim McGraw are part of an all-star cast of a country-themed production of William Shakespeare's "The Merry Wives of Windsor." The show will be May 9th at UCLA's Royce Hall. The music of the late Hank Williams will be featured in the production, and other stars include William Shatner, Christina Applegate, Kenneth Branagh, Eric Idle and Martin Short. The proceeds benefit the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles. I hope someone tapes this and turns it into a tv show, or at least a YouTube video series.

Jason Aldean taped an episode of CMT's "Invitation Only" on Tuesday. The air date hasn't been announced yet, but he played an 8-song set that included "My Kinda Party," "Amarillo Sky," "Why," "The Truth," "Crazy Town," "Hicktown," "She's Country" and "Dirt Road Anthem."

Carrie Underwood is on the cover of US Weekly, and the article talks about "How Marriage Changed Me." She offers “Just learning how to live together has been fun and frustrating and everything in between.” As for kids, she says they have plenty of time and are content with their furry dog family for now.

Are you male, between the ages of 18 and 26 and a country singer with range and twang? Then Mercury Records is looking for you. Mercury is the home of Billy Currington, Jamey Johnson and Sugarland, and they're looking to give one lucky singer a record deal. has a sale going on - 100 albums for only $5 each. Some of the country artists include Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert and Tim McGraw. Check it out!

Chad Ochocinco of the Cincinnati Bengals is a country music fan. Yesterday he tweeted, "In the gym listening to @ashleygearing song entitled 'Five More Minutes' on repeat; awesome song. Something about country music is compelling." Welcome to what we've known for a long time, Ochocinco! By the way, that tweet earned Ashley Gearing 300 new followers in less than an hour.

Feel better wishes to Michelle Branch, who was in a car accident yesterday while picking her son up from school. A woman ran a red light and T-boned Michelle's car. She reports that they only had minor scrapes and are just shaken up.

Congratulations to Sara Evans. Her "A Little Bit Stronger" song has been certified gold for sales of over half a million copies.

Saturday, Danny Gokey is in the movie "Truth Be Told" on Fox. Sunday, Ashton Shepherd will be on the Aaron's 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, John Rich will be on Celebrity Apprentice and promises to put Gary Busey in his place, The Judds' show will be on OWN and Rascal Flatts is on "Inside West Coast Customs" on Discovery's HD Theater.

Happy birthday to Roy Clark, who turns 78 today.

The tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton: "Re-writing my fav Easton Corbin song... Girl I'm not plus size in low rise From behind thats mostly crack I'm a little more chunky than fat"

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Jason Aldean joins American Idol Season One winner Kelly Clarkson tonight on American Idol, where they'll duet on their #1 song, "Don't You Wanna Stay." Jason knew the song was special from the first time he heard it, but he also knew that it needed Kelly Clarkson on it. According to Jason, “I called my producer and I said, ‘Man, this is it.’ You know and he goes, ‘Well who do you want?’ I said, ‘Well I want Kelly Clarkson but I don’t know if we are going to be able to get her. You know, she’s not really in the country world over here.’ And so I… she was who I wanted but I really didn’t… I really kinda felt like it might be a long shot to get her. You know just to my surprise it just worked out. We got her the song, she fell in love with the song, and came in and just, I mean, nailed this thing. I mean just killed it.” The song spent three weeks at #1 on the country charts.

The Billboard Award nominations were announced yesterday, and country gets a nice nod in the noms. Here's hoping that when they hand out the awards on May 22nd in Las Vegas, country artists will take home at least some of the all-genre awards. Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum are the leading country nominees. Here's the list:

Top Artist
Taylor Swift
Justin Bieber
Lady Gaga

Top Billboard 200 Album
Lady Antebellum
Taylor Swift
Susan Boyle
Justin Bieber

Top Duo Group
Lady Antebellum
Black Eyed Peas
Bon Jovi
Linkin Park

Top Billboard 200 Artist
Taylor Swift
Lady Antebellum
Justin Bieber
Susan Boyle

Top Female Artist
Taylor Swift
Lady Gaga
Katy Perry

Top Streaming Song (Audio)
Lady Antebellum – Need You Now
Taio Cruz – Dynamite
Bruno Mars – Just The Way You Are
Nelly – Just A Dream
Eminem feat. Rihanna – Love the Way You Lie

Top Country Album
Jason Aldean – My Kinda Party
Taylor Swift – Speak Now
Lady Antebellum – Need You Now
Zac Brown Band – The Foundation
Sugarland – Incredible Machine

Top Country Artist
Jason Aldean
Zac Brown Band
Taylor Swift
Lady Antebellum
Kenny Chesney

Top Country Song
The Band Perry – “If I Die Young”
Lady Antebellun – “Need You Now”
Miranda Lambert – “House That Built Me”
Sugarland – “Stuck Like Glue”
Taylor Swift – “Mine”

Darius Rucker is one of five celebrities added to the Red Cross National Celebrity Cabinet. The group promotes Red Cross services by donating time, responding to disasters and lending help to those in need. Darius was part of the fund-raising efforts after last year's Nashville floods, helping to raise over $1.7 million.

Phil Vassar teamed up with Little Big Town to play a benefit concert for the Miller Home, rasing money and awareness for the organization, which provides a safe haven for girls aged four through 18. They played a sold-out concert in Lynchburg, VA and raised over $100,000 for the cause. Phil also sweetened the pot, throwing in two private dinners with him at his Nashville home, and those sold for over $10,000.

Toby Keith will take his "Locked & Loaded" tour to Europe this fall. He's added 12 shows in the UK, Holland, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Told you yesterday about Taylor Swift buying a new home for her parents - $1.4 million for a 1920's mansion that's been recently renovated. But Taylor didn't stop her shopping spree there - she bought herself a home in Los Angeles because she spends a lot of time there and wanted a "home away from home" in southern California.

Congratulations to Kellie Pickler for making People's Most Beautiful People list.

Congratulations to Blake Shelton, who has now sold more digital singles in the first week of availability than any other male country artist. Last week his brand new song, "Honey Bee," sold 138,000 copies. Nice hit!

Keith Burns of Burns & Poe has a daughter, Savannah Leigh, who is battling leukemia. Savannah is hospitalized at Egleston Children's Hospital in Atlanta and is in dire need of platelets and blood. On April 19th in Gainesville, GA, there'll be a blood drive to help supply her needs, as well as those of other kids in her situation. Call 770-538-0500 to schedule an appointment or to get more information.

Did you miss seeing Sara Evans on the Tonight Show? Here ya go...

The search will continue today for the cousin of Whitney Duncan. Holly Bobo, who lives about 100 miles northeast of Memphis, was abducted from her home yesterday afternoon. Her brother witnessed the kidnapping and is helping police. Holly is 20 years old, 5'3", blonde with hazel eyes and was last seen wearing a pink shirt and light blue jeans. Anyone with information should call the Sheriff's Department at 731-852-3714.

Catch Jason Aldean on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson after watching Jason and Kelly Clarkson on American Idol tonight.

Happy birthday to Miss Loretta Lynn, who turns 79 today.

The tweet of the day is from Brad Paisley: "Tying to think of a funny tweet. Nothin."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Lady Antebellum is in Australia with Keith Urban's tour and made a stop at Australia's Today Show. After they performed, Keith Urban also joined the fun, answering questions ranging from music to fitness to family.

Jerrod Niemann went back to his roots Monday night, showing off his waiter skills at the "Waiting for Wishes Celebrity Waiter Dinner" in Nashville. The event is hosted by Rascal Flatts' Jay DeMarcus and NFL great Kevin Carter. Also taking orders and hoisting trays were Joe Don Roony and Olympic skater Scott Hamilton. The waiters also gave out autographs and collected donations, with all tips going to the charity. According to Jerrod, “One of the best parts about being able to have music out there that people are kind enough to support is you can actually help people for once. So, it’s really cool to get to do that and all those other artists, just to be part of a cool event.” When he first moved to Nashville, Jerrod supported himself by waiting tables, so he was right at home. Proceeds from the evening went to the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Kevin Carter Foundation.

Speaking of Rascal Flatts, Jay DeMarcus is thrilled to have a baby girl. He was convinced that the child his wife, Allison, was carrying was a boy, but one ultrasound put that theory to rest, prompting Allison to tell him, "girls always love their daddy to death. She’ll get mad at her mother, but daddy can do no wrong.”

Sad that Rascal Flatts isn't coming to your town on tour this summer? Don't be - they'll be adding more shows as they go, so keep checking their tour page.

According to eonline, Taylor Swift has purchased a new home for her family, moving them from their 8,400 square foot, six bedroom, five bathroom house into an even more spacious one in Nashville. And if you're wondering if Taylor Swift would consider dressing provocatively for a photo shoot, here's your answer, straight from the blonde one's lips: “I don’t feel comfortable taking my clothes off…I wouldn’t wear tiny amounts of clothing in my real life, so I don’t think it’s necessary to wear that stuff in photo shoots.”

Wondering if Brad Paisley would do an album of cover songs, or just cover a great country classic or two on an album now and then? Wonder no more, and "no" is the operative word! According to Brad, those songs “have already been done as well as they could’ve been done or they wouldn’t have been hits.”

Reba and her record label, Valory Music, threw a party this week. "Turn On the Radio" was Reba's 60th top ten single and 24th #1 song, and that was a huge pair of milestones. With albums dating back to the late 1970's, Reba's been successful in country music longer than any other female performer and she'll be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame this year. And her Dad is in a rehab facility, doing better after his stroke. If he's where she got her stick-to-it-iveness from, he might just be her date that night!

Steel Magnolia has teamed up with GM's Cell Phones for Soldiers campaign, collecting gently used cell phones to raise money for calling cards for troops overseas. They're working with Florida high schools, challenging them to collect phones to be donated. The school that collects the most get a free live concert from Steel Magnolia.

John Rich thinks Donald Trump would make a good President, and here's why - “He said, why don’t we pump about two trillion dollars worth of oil out of there before we let them have it back. He said we could make gasoline a dollar a gallon in America for the next ten years if we would do that. And by the way, that’s how business works. We come in and save your butt, well you have to pay us for doing that.” Interesting theory on middle east diplomacy, that's for sure!

Happy birthday to Aaron Lewis of Staind, who turns 39 today.

Alison Kraus and Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas are on the Late Show with David Letterman tonight.

The tweet of the day is from Trent Tomlinson: "I wish Johnny Cash was still around to grace us all with great tweets of wisdom! Although twitter wouldn't be anything he'd do!"

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Miranda Lambert knows what she wants, and she wants Loretta Lynn as a writing partner. She had an idea for a song, thought Loretta would be perfect for it and wrote her a letter. According to Loretta, "she sent me the idea for the song so I’m going to have to call her and tell her, ‘let’s get with it.’” That should be a magical songwriting session!

The Billboard Awards will happen on May 22nd in Las Vegas, and Lady Antebellum and Keith Urban will perform on the show. Award nominees will be announced tomorrow morning.

Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow and Bob Seger hit Kid's studios in Detroit about a month ago, after Bob and Sheryl did a show there, and they stayed up all night recording. One of the song's "Hannah," will be part of Bob Seger's next album.

Chris Young is headed to Iraq and Kuwait on his second "Stars for Stripes Piece of Home" tour. He'll tour five camps while he's there, performing for the troops and distributing iTunes gift cards.

Easton Corbin's tour manager, Chris Tate, had a momentous Sunday on the golf course. No, he wasn't in Augusta at the Masters, he was in Brentwood, TN at the Governors Club golf course. On the par 3 number 12, he scored an ace. It was his first hole in one and he used a hybrid 3 on the 201 yard hole.

Congrats to the Zac Brown Band, who sits atop the country music charts again this week with "Colder Weather."

Sara Evans is on the Tonight Show, The Grascals are on The Talk, Kenny Rogers is on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Wynonna is on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Happy birthday to Vince Gill, who turns 54 today and to Easton Corbin, who is 29.

The tweet of the day is from Miranda Lambert: "Home. OK spring day. Awesome! Can't wait to spend forever like this."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

George Strait, golf resort owner. It's true - he bough the Tapatio Springs Golf Resort and Converence Center just outside of San Antonio, TX. The resort includes three 9-hole golf courses and more than 100 rooms. George has played the course and says he's always believed it "could be a real jewel." The former owners, Textron Financial Corporation, paid $4.5 million for it last summer, but there's no word on what George and his business partner paid for it this year.

Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson are headed to American Idol this week. They'll share the stage on Thursday's results show, performing their #1 smash "Don't You Wanna Stay." Kelly won the first season of American Idol.

The Band Perry is on tour with Tim McGraw, and have a treat for the fans who stay for the whole show - they're meeting with fans after Tim's done. If you have tickets to an Emotional Traffic tour stop and love the Band Perry, stop by the merchandise table after the show and you'll find them meeting, greeting and signing. There also could be more of them to love later this year, as their diets go out the window when they hit the tour bus: “[Kimberly] We normally start out with good intentions. Like Clementine’s, oatmeal we stock the bus with. [Neil] Which I normally finish those like in the first night. Which I don’t know why. So then after that it’s, you know, whatever junk food we get at shows. [Kimberly] Well it’s whatever the fans bring. Because our fans they all know like our favorite candy. So we just get bags and bags of candy which is just reeking havoc on our New Year’s resolutions.”

Josh Thompson is touring with Dierks Bentley, but has another reason to celebrate - Brad Paisley is recording a song Josh wrote as part of Brad's "This is Country Music" cd, due out May 24th.

Rascal Flatts teamed up with Michael Bolton for his upcoming duets project. Not only did they sing with him, but they co-wrote the song they sang. According to Gary, Jay and Joe Don, they think "Love is Everything" is something pretty special. “[Joe Don] We got together and just wrote a killer song. It just turned out great so it’s like wonderful. He and Gary sound so good together it’s so cool. [Jay] He still sings his butt off that’s what’s amazing. He still hits all those notes, I mean it’s really, really great. [Joe Don] I cried through the whole writing session (laughs).”

Blake Shelton's new song, "Honey Bee," is inspiring people to sing it themselves and put a video of it on YouTube. Blake was so impressed with this young lady's rendition that he tweeted a link to this video:

Tickets for individual concerts at the CMA Music Festival go on sale this Saturday morning at 10 Central time. Artists scheduled to appear at LP Field are:

Thursday, June 10: Jason Aldean, Easton Corbin, Sara Evans, Brad Paisley, and Zac Brown Band.

Friday, June 11: Sheryl Crow, Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride, Ashton Shepherd, Keith Urban, and more to be announced.

Saturday, June 12: Trace Adkins, Little Big Town, Rascal Flatts, Reba, Josh Turner, and Chris Young.

Sunday, June 13: The Band Perry, the JaneDear girls, Miranda Lambert, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton, and more to be announced.

Congratulations to Blaine Larsen and his wife Sammie on the birth of their new baby girl. Their other daughter, Zoe, turned 3 the day before the birth of new baby Noble Blaine Larsen. Via twitter, daddy Blaine said the delivery doctor's name is Dr. Chesney. "You can't make this stuff up!" he tweeted.

Happy birthday to Steve Azar, who turns 47 today.

Trace Adkins is on Fox & Friends this morning and kd lang is on The Tonight Show tonight.

The tweet of the day is from Lee Brice, and includes a video: "This proves my band needs me around to keep them from doing dumb stuff."


Friday, April 8, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Toby Keith usually doesn't want stories of his good works told. He thinks that the good things he does should be about the recipient, not about him. But on his Facebook page, a wonderful story was told and I'm sharing it here for you:

"That handsome, cowboy hat wearing boy in the photo is Charlie, who’s from Garfield Heights, Ohio. Charlie has Muscular Dystrophy. He’s also a Make a Wish child. Charlie’s a BIG country music fan and his wish was to go to the Academy of Country Music Awards and to then have dinner at Toby’s I Love This Bar & Grill after the show. Imagine his surprise when Toby showed up at the restaurant! Toby invited Charlie, his mom & dad into the VIP room where they met with Toby & baseball’s Roger “Rocket” Clemens. Toby then invited the family to come up on stage with him. Here’s an excerpt from the letter we received:

“Charlie had the BEST time. We didn’t expect to meet Toby at all so that was a huge surprise for the family. Not only did Charlie meet Toby, but he and his family got to go on stage when Toby performed and he had the entire crowd cheer Charlie’s name! His parents could not have been more appreciative for the experience. It was already a very special night for the family & really added the magic to the evening.” - Lauren Bronson/Make-A-Wish Foundation." Way to knock one out of the park, Toby!

The EMI Music Group has teamed up for an online auction, with 100% of the proceeds benefiting Red Cross of Japan relief efforts. Keith Urban, Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Dierks Bentley, Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker, Eric Church, Luke Bryan, Little Big Town, the late Chris LeDoux and many other artists have donated items in the week-long eBay auction.

Would you like to win a week-long vacation in Nashville, with tickets to the CMA Music Fest, including the kick-off June 7th at the Grand Ole Opry? Performers that night include Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride, Jerrod Niemann, Carrie Underwood, Oak Ridge Boys, plus you'll get to go backstage and meet Lady A. Hit the Grand Ole Opry's Facebook page and enter for your chance to win.

Keith Urban's "Get Closer World Tour" kicks off tonight in Adelaide, Australia. Opening for Keith is Lady Antebellum, who are very excited to be Down Under. According to Hillary Scott, “Dave has been to Sydney and then Charles and I have never been, so this is going to be an adventure for us. And we’re excited, you know? We’ve done some phoners and some promo—we’re really looking forward to it, it will be really fun!”

Ever wonder about vocal warm-ups that your favorite band does before going on stage? Well, if Zac Brown Band is your favorite, have I got a treat for you!

Yesterday on The Ellen DeGeneres show, Carrie Underwood kind of complained about hubby Mike Fisher, saying when he moved into her Nashville home, he “brought all his crap with him”. “He’s not a hoarder,” she said, “but he’s close, maybe.” Carrie also complained that Mike has too many shirts and admitted he would say she “nags” him to clean up his stuff. Hmmmm...maybe they should buy a house together and sell Carrie's Nashville home. Fresh start, fresh heart!

Check out Hillary Scott in Elle magazine, where she's featured in a photo spread that also includes Jennifer Hudson, Gwen Stefani and other women of music. Hillary talks about the power of a song, saying, “There aren’t a ton of people in this country who will understand songs about riding a tractor through a pasture. But when it comes to falling in love and out of love and getting your heart broken, there’s no way you can’t understand what the song’s about.”

The tweet of the day is from Dierks Bentley: "found a random pair of panties in my jean pocket at airport security. pink w/ white hearts. watch out for a 2 year old flying comando to TN"

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

It was just 5 years ago that Jason Aldean earned his first gold record for "Hicktown." Jason has the #1 country album again this week with "My Kinda Party." He's had three platinum-selling albums, ten top-10 hits and 5 #1 songs so far, and it looks like he's just getting started. After all this success, what did he and his wife do to celebrate? “’Bout a year ago we went and actually bought us a beach house. So that was like the first time we spent that kinda money on anything, you know. And of course I didn’t sleep for about six months after that. But it’s all good.” Jason is taking a month off the road this summer so he and his family can enjoy that beach house.

Carrie Underwood makes her big-screen debut tomorrow, as the movie "Soul Surfer" opens nationwide. The true-story movie features Carrie as a church youth group leader who counsels competitive surfer Bethany Hamilton, played by AnnaSophia Robb, after a shark bites off her left arm. Carrie told a USA Today reporter, "I thought it was a wonderful project. It was all about the story and getting the opportunity to tell it … people can go see this movie and walk out inspired.” It's gotten wonderful early reviews, so check it out this weekend.

Brad Paisley is polishing up his "This is Country Music" cd, set for release on May 24th, and is proud of the fact that he's got a lot of co-stars on the project. Clint Eastwood guest-whistles, and there are duets with Blake Shelton, Don Henley, Sheryl Crow, Marty Stuart, Alabama and Carrie Underwood. Of Carrie's work, Brad said, “Carrie Underwood, who is the best singer in any format of music, I am convinced—every take. When you hear that song with her, every take that she did sounded exactly as good as what we chose—every time she sang it. I am floored by her and really proud of that moment.” I've had a sneak-listen to it and it's going to be a huge hit. The two of their voices work perfectly together.

The performance of the night at the ACM Awards was Darius Rucker's "Music From the Heart" and here's another look at it.

Want an encore of Reba doing her new song on the ACM Awards? Here it is...

Miranda Lambert's "Heart Like Mine"...

How bout Jason Aldean's "Dirt Road Anthem" encore?

Sara Evans' "A Little Bit Stronger" from the ACM Awards...

And just one more for's Zac Brown Band and James Taylor's duet...

Got an extra $15 million lying around? You might want to check out George and Nancy Jones' estate just outside of Nashville. It's a 9,704 square-foot home situated on 78 acres of land. The home features a fully-functional beauty salon, an oudoor living room complete with kitchen, fireplace and tv. There's an in-ground pool, a horse barn and a nine-car garage.

Carrie Underwood is on the Ellen DeGeneres Show today, and Thompson Square is on Fox & Friends this morning. They will do the "After the Show Show," too. That'll be available on the Fox & Friends page later today.

Happy birthday to Cal Smith, who is 79, Bobby Bare, who turns 76 today and Restless Heart's John Dittrich who is 55 today.

The tweet of the day is from Thompson Square: "4am is way too early to sing!"