Friday, May 20, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

John Rich and Marlee Matlin face off in the finals of "Celebrity Apprentice" this Sunday night. John says the show is unpredictable, and he's psyched about going for the win. “I know that it’s me and Marlee Matlin and one of us is gonna win and I hope it’s me because if I win I get another 250-thousand dollars for the kids at St. Jude and that will put me well over a million dollars raised. My goal coming into this was to raise a million bucks. So, to hit my goal, I gotta win.” The show airs from 9 to 11 Eastern Sunday night on NBC.

Brad Paisley is hangin' at the tracks this weekend, getting set to world-premier the video for "Old Alabama." His new cd, "This is Country Music," drops Monday and it's likely that the second single from it will be the #1 country song next week. Brad will celebrate at the NASCAR Spring All-Star Race tomorrow, and world-premier the video to "Old Alabama" at the race, on the SPEED channel on tv and at The video includes not only Alabama, but Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Gordon and Rick Hendrick, and takes viewers down a virtual memory lane of Alabama music videos from the '80's.

Tomorrow night is Taylor Swift's final dress rehearsal before her "Speak Now" tour fires up in the US. At Bridgestone Arena, the show is sold out, and is a benefit for tornado relief. At least two songs will be streamed live starting at 10 Eastern on her website, and she's cautioning the audience that it won't be a perfectly polished show. “Because it is actually a true dress rehearsal, there might be some fine tuning, there might be some things we’ll have to do over again…I can imagine that it might be a very, very true dress rehearsal, but I don’t care—it’s worth it to raise money for people who really need it right now.”

Garth Brooks will be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York City on June 16th. Doing the honors is Garth's friend of 20 years, Billy Joel.

Carrie Underwood is about to take her first trip to Australia to tour. She's going there in mid-June and will play shows in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. She's there in support of the June 10th release of "Play On: Deluxe Edition" in Australia and New Zealand.

Heading to Nashville for the CMA Music Festival? Here are the Opry performances that week:
June 4 - Rascal Flatts and Jimmy Wayne
June 7 in the afternoon - free Plaza Party with Jerrod Niemann
June 7 - Carrie Underwood, Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride, Darius Rucker, Oak ridge Boys and Jerrod Niemann
June 10 - Billy Ray Cyrus and Randy Travis
June 10 & 11 - Charley Pride, Mel Tillis, Roy Clark and more.
June 11 matinee - Thompson Square, Mandy Barnett, Anna Wilson and more

Blake Shelton's next cd, "Red River Blue," drops on July 12th. It's his 9th studio album, and includes his hottest single yet, "Honey Bee." And Blake Shelton will likely return for season two of The Voice. The other three judges have also indicated that they're open to being part of the hit show, too.

This Sunday, Craig Campbell sings the National Anthem before the NASCAR "Iowa Dealers 250" on Sunday, and then plays a free concert after the race for those at the track. The race airs at 2pm Eastern on ABC.

This Sunday night, Lady Antebellum and Taylor Swift are up for a combined 13 awards at the Billboard Music Awards. Lady A is up for eight and Taylor's nominated in five categories, and performers include Lady Antebellum and Keith Urban. The show airs Sunday night starting at 8 Eastern on ABC.

The tweet of the day is from Martina McBride: "In the studio this morning with my band singing a few songs live for some radio stations. Waffle House is on the way..."