Monday, April 4, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Well, it was no surprise that Taylor Swift's army of fans turned out for her, and she won the fan-voted Entertainer of the Year award last night at the ACM awards. That makes it three years in a row that the ACM award for Entertainer of the Year went to a female artist. She's now taken top honors in both the ACM Awards and the CMA Awards, where she won Entertainer of the Year in 2009.

Miranda Lambert went into the night with seven nominations and ended up with four awards, including Female Vocalist, Single, Song and Video of the Year awards. That's more awards than anyone else won last night. Brad Paisley chalked up the Male Vocalist win. Album of the Year and Top Vocal Group of the Year went to Lady Antebellum. Sugarland hosted the show at Mandalay Bay and were rewarded with a win in the Vocal Duo of the Year category. The Band Perry beat out Eric Church in the fan-voted Top New Artist category. From the "who's surprised here" desk, Alan Jackson and Zac Brown Band won the ACM Vocal Event of the Year award for "As She's Walking Away." And Sara Evans got a standing ovation at the show last night. Country fans love her, and country music artists are glad she's back, too.

In the performance category, let's just say that the ACM Award show last night broke new territory for award shows. They didn't even mention an award, much less give one out, for the first 53 minutes of the show. Between Reba and Blake's opening skit and banter, the first 11 minutes of the show was all talk except for the little bit of "Who Are You When I'm Not Lookin" that Blake serenaded Reba with. The performances last night were stellar. Brad Paisley and Alabama brought the house down with his new song, "Old Alabama," Keith Urban re-created the video experience in his performance of "Without You." Toby Keith performed his new song, "Somewhere Else" to a rousing round of applause and Eric Church knocked "Smoke a Little Smoke" out of the park, performing at the Mandalay Bay party. The Band Perry also performed from the stage at Mandalay Bay, singing "If I Die Young" just before being awarded the fan-voted ACM award for Top New Artist. Dierks Bentley showcased his fun new song, "Am I the Only One" and Taylor Swift looked like she was having wicked fun singing "Mean," which is a song that sprang from her award show experience singing with Stevie Nicks and the very bad reviews she got afterwards. Jason Aldean did his country song/rap, "Dirt Road Anthem." In a closely-held surprise pairing, Carrie Underwood was joined by duet partner Steven Tyler, and they teamed up on her song "Undo It" and his song "Walk This Way." Very fun - their voices worked really well together and Carrie looked like she was having a blast.

Blake Shelton debuted his new song, "Honey Bee," last night on the ACM awards. Jennifer Nettles and Rhianna teamed up on Rhianna's song, "California King Bed." Jennifer was the top trending topic on Twitter for quite a while after that rather risqué-lyriced duet...people loved it! And Zac Brown Band teamed up with James Taylor for a magical musical pairing. "Colder Weather" into "Sweet Baby James"...lovely! Darius Rucker had the heart-string-tugging performance of the night. He sang "Music From the Heart" with a group of young adults who have developmental disabilities. The Academy of Country Music sponsors a program through Lifting Lives that includes music training, and it was people from that academy who joined Darius on the song. At the end, the audience gave them a standing ovation and cameras caught Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift with tears in their eyes. The song is available on iTunes, with all proceeds going to Lifting Lives. has a vast photo gallery from last night's awards show.

And has a gallery of the best lines of the night, complete with appropriate photos.

Tonight in Las Vegas, the "Girls Night Out: Superstar Women of Country" show takes place and will be taped for airing on April 22nd on CBS. And just who are those superstar women? Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Nettles, Reba, Loretta Lynn and the Judds will be honored, and Sara Evans and The Band Perry will take part in doing the honoring. This one includes not just women, as Ronnie Dunn, Jason Aldean, Rascal Flatts and John Fogerty are also scheduled to perform.

When Kid Rock hits the road this summer, Sheryl Crow will be going with him. Starting July 2nd and going through September 3rd, the two will wow the crowds. Their duet, "Picture," was the first country music success story for both of them.

Big & Rich are putting the band back together, taking the "Xtreme Muzik: The Tour" on the road starting June 18th. They'll take along Gretchen Wilson, Cowboy Troy and Two Foot Fred to be part of the fun, and promise the shows will be like the Muzik Mafia shows from the '90's, with a twist. According to John Rich, “We’re gonna have a bar on the stage and as one of us finishes a song we go sit down at the bar and have a beer, have a shot whatever we’re gonna do and watch the other one sing. And then we may jump in, sing with them and have fans up on the stage hangin’ out with us at the bar and it’s really gonna be a really interesting, different kind of a concert.”

Craig Morgan has signed a new recording contract with Black River Entertainment Group. Gordon Kerr of Black River said of getting Craig, "You could take a poll of country fans, and be pretty sure at least one or two of Craig's hits would be among their all-time favorites. We're immensely proud to have Craig join the Black River family." They plan to release a new Craig Morgan cd later this year.

Kenny Chesney's many fans in the NFL can breathe a sigh of relief - in spite of the rule saying that players can't go to any stadiums during a lock-out, NFL players will be allowed to attend Kenny Chesney stadium shows because the event if not NFL related. The NFL bigwigs cleared that problem up on Friday and promise that it's not an April Fools joke. Kenny has nine more stadium shows this summer.

Josh Thompson is on Better TV today.

Happy birthday to Hal Ketchum and Steve Gatlin today.

The tweet of the day is from Reba, who was between rehearsals for the ACMs and the airing of the ACMs when she tweeted: "Sitting back stage playing Angry Birds...."