Thursday, June 30, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Last night on The Voice, Blake Shelton's mentee, Dia Frampton, came in second to Adam Levine's Javier Colon. The voting was incredibly close - only a 2% difference between first and second place. Dia and Miranda Lambert did a lovely duet on "The House the Built Me." Blake truly enjoyed being part of the show and is in talks with producers to be in the next series. But just in case, he's asked for a keepsake from the set: “I have, I’ve asked Mark Burnett if I can take my chair home with me after the show is over and he offered to sell it to me.” The Voice Live On Tour kicks off in July and hits most of America's major cities, taking the top 8 contestants along for the ride.

Tonight in Michigan, Toby Keith's "Locked & Loaded" tour kicks off, and tomorrow night in Milwaukee, the video for "Made In America" will be shot during the show. Toby recorded the song right after coming back from a USO tour of the Persian Gulf, and loves the feel of it, saying, “It just, talks about being American made to the core and living here in the greatest country in the world where every day is Independence Day.”

Toby Keith did the first of a series of benefit shows for the Bluebird Cafe this week, and while final numbers on the money raised aren't available yet, one thing is for certain: attendees had a major concert experience in a very intimate space. It was a non-politically correct night, as you'd expect from Toby, Scotty Emerick and Bobby Pinson, and the three-hour show featured songs from "Weed With Willie" to "American Soldier," Toby passing bottles of his new Wild Shot mezcal and stories about anyone and everyone in Nashville. He more than lived up to what you'd expect from NSAI's Artist/Songwriter of the Decade. In other Toby news, he's having a bit of success at the tracks lately. His three-year-old colt, Sherriff Cogburn, placed second in the quarter of a million dollar Iowa Derby race on Saturday at Prairie Meadows.

Jake Owen catches major air in his video for "Barefoot Blue Jean Night." No, he didn't use a stunt double, either!

The 2011 Teen Choice Award nominations are out, and Taylor Swift raked in six. She's up for Female Artist, Female Country Artist, Country Single for "Mean," Love Song for "Mine," Break-Up Song for "Back to December" and Choice Red Carpet Fashion Icon: Female.

Zac Brown Band will debut the video to "Knee Deep," their Jimmy Buffet collaboration, today on their website.

Wanna work out like Kenny Chesney? Mens Health magazine has modified Kenny's ultra-intense (300 push-ups in 10 minutes, for example) workout for mere mortals.

Montgomery Gentry and Kansas are the featured musical acts for Darryl Worley's Tennessee River Run September 15th through 17th at the Pickwick Landing State Park in Tennessee. Tickets for the fun go on sale this Saturday.

The July issue of Self Magazine features some of country music's prettiest stars talking about their favorite comfort foods. Carrie Underwood likes pizza made with a tortilla crust, topped with spinach, olives, onions and bell peppers. Sara Evans loves the honey-beer ham that her mom makes, and Miranda Lambert shares her love of raspberry-lemon-yogurt bread. Sara Evans is also in Shape magazine, discussing fitness and stress-reducing exercises.

Thinking about going to the Grand Ole Opry for a show this summer? Buy your tickets today or tomorrow, use the offer code SMR48 and you'll have a buy one, get one free deal.

Today, you can get a free download of Gloriana's "Soldier Song" from their Facebook page. You have to grab it before July 7th, though.

Wynonna is the headliner for the 29th Annual Independence Day Concert in Warner Robins, Georgia tomorrow. The American Armed Forces Network will tape the show and broadcast it on the 4th of July. Wynonna is also on Morning Express with Robin Meade on HLN this morning.

Congratulations to Justin Moore who has the #1 country album this week with "Outlaws Like Me." And Taylor Swift has notched her 8th career #1 song with "Mean." It's #1 on one of the major country charts, and Blake Shelton's "Honey Bee" is #1 on the other for the third week in a row.

Happy birthday to Dwayne O'Brien, the guitarist for Little Texas. He's 48 today.

The tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton: "I'm so hung over right now I just tried to add more water... To my dog."

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Best wishes to Josh Scott Jones and Meghan Linsey of Steel Magnolia. Wedding bells are thinking of ringing, as the two of them are engaged. Megan's sporting an engagement ring that belonged to Josh's great grandmother, and they're looking at July 10, 2012 as a possible wedding date. That's also Meghan's birthday.

Lady Antebellum revealed their new video for the song "Just a Kiss" this week...

The cd featuring the song will be out September 13th, but you can pre-order "Own the Night" now.

Phil Vassar has customized his song, "Let's Get Together," and it's become the Arizona Rattlers theme song and rallying cry. The Rattler Hum is lighting up the arena football world, and from the looks of the players, they're delighted with their country romp.

Taylor Swift is on the cover of the current issue of Teen Vogue.

On Jimmy Kimmel Monday night, Steel Magnolia debuted their new single, "Without You."

Darius Rucker is on The Early Show today, and tonight on "The Voice," Miranda Lambert duets with Dia Frampton, Blake Shelton's mentee. Marty Stuart is on the Late Show with David Letterman tonight. Dolly Parton is on Fox & Friends and VH1 Morning Buzz today, and on the Moby in the Morning network radio show tomorrow morning.

The tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton "Ok I'll admit that I'm drunk... But am I seeing this right?!!!! Am I?!!!! Am I?!!!!"

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Road trip alert! Kenny Chesney will participate in the CMA Songwriter Series for the first time ever. The show will be in Boston on August 25th and tickets go on sale Friday at noon Eastern at Ticketmaster. Kenny joins songwriters who've written some of his biggest hits: Matraca Berg (You and Tequila) Craig Wiseman (The Good Stuff, Summertime) Brett James (When the Sun Goes Down, Out Last Night) and series host Bob DiPiero.

The internet is huge, and search engines like Google make it easy to find what we're looking for. But just what are we looking for? According to Coed Magazine, the 50 Most Popular Women, according to web searches, include Taylor Swift at #18 and Carrie Underwood at #47. Lady Gaga tops the list, with Justin Bieber (added by the magazine as a joke) coming in second.

New music out today includes Dolly Parton's "Better Day" and Billy Ray Cyrus' "I'm American," which features the remake of "Some Gave All" with Darryl Worley, Craig Morgan and Jamey Johnson.

Catch Brad Paisley on "The Voice" tonight, performing "Don't Drink the Water" with Blake Shelton.

Happy birthday today to Kellie Pickler, who turns 25. What's she up to with her hubby, whose birthday was day before yesterday? "We’re gonna try to escape from the world for a little bit and go to a beach somewhere—if we can get away! But that’s our goal for our birthdays!”

Yellow hills and blue mountains... #CoorsLight

Apparently they met their goal!

The tweet of the day is from Steve Holy: "TSA does that stand for 'Thousand Standing Around'?!?!"

Monday, June 27, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Taylor Swift polished off two nights at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachussetts this weekend, and loved the experience of playing for 52,000 fans each night. She has a meet and greet after the show, and random fans are invited back for her "T-Party." How do they get chosen to go? Taylor tells it, “Throughout the show I have people that I trust going around, they know like what to look for…for like really passionate people in the crowd who are maybe at the top rows or in the fourth row. But, anyone who’s just like dancing and having the best time throughout the entire concert or maybe they dressed up like characters from the music video or maybe they’re just like all lit up or something.”

Lady Antebellum's cd, "Own The Night," will be out September 13th, and the trio are planning a tour to support their third album. According to Dave, “We’re actually, you know, planning kind of a headlining tour when the album does come out now. For us, 'Own the Night' is kind of that call to action for the fans to come out, enjoy that moment and enjoy that evening with us. We’re in the works of putting that together.” In other Lady A news, the video for their current hit, "Just a Kiss," will debut on their website at noon today.

The video for Jake Owen's current hit, "Barefoot Blue Jean Night," is about as real as a video can get. Jake says, “You know, it would have been nice to have some country girls shaking it in my video…but I’ll let Luke (Bryan) have ‘em for this one! It’s just real—it’s literally me out on my boat—and it’s my truck pulling my boat and putting it in the water. And all my friends that are in the video are literally my friends. It just brings the song back to where my roots are.”

Miranda Lambert will duet with Team Blake's Dia Frampton on Wednesday's finale of The Voice. There are two more episodes, with Blake Shelton's hopes riding high on his performer. The four finalists perform tomorrow night and the winner will be announced on Wednesday's finale.

In more Miranda news, her trio, Pistol Annies, has just been signed to Capitol Records.

Rhett Akins wrote it and Justin Moore is having a big hit with "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away." Justin feels like the song was a gift, saying, “Well, you know sometimes I say—I’ve said this—‘sometimes you find songs, and sometimes songs find you.’ Not to sound ‘artsy-fartsy’ about it, but it’s true. It kind of fell from the sky. I’m happy that we had the opportunity to cut it. I’m surprised it hasn’t been a big record yet, ‘cause it’s about ten years old…kinda blows my mind!”

Happy birthday to Lorrie Morgan, who turns 52 today.

Catch Steel Magnolia on Jimmy Kimmel tonight on ABC.

The tweet of the day is from Kellie Pickler: "TSA took $500 worth of clothes from my suitcase. Your suppose to protect, NOT steal!"

Friday, June 24, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Brad Paisley is featured in the soundtrack to "Cars 2" which hits theatres today. The movie's creator and animator, John Lasseter, was taken with Brad's oldest son, Huck, letting him see the first "Cars" movie long before it came out, and making a gift of all of the toy cars from the movie. According to Brad, “John went to the garage where he has all the toys stockpiled and gave him every model of car, which I had to quickly sort of confiscate and make sure that…He…it, was like, a little bit of overload, you know?”

Alan Jackson is working on a new album, and has a duet with Zac Brown on it. The song is called "Dixie Highway."

And Blake Shelton has a duet with Martina McBride on his upcoming "Red River Blue" cd. It's a song called "I'm Sorry," and Blake says it's one he's held on to for a few years, feeling it was very special, but too nervous to ask Martina to duet with him on it. He finally texted Martina's daughter, Delaney, asking her if she thought her mom would sing with him. Thankfully, the answer was yes. The cd comes out July 12th, but you can preorder it now.

Josh Turner is throwing a benefit concert for the middle and high schools in Ringgold, Georgia. "After the Storm: Coming Together Benefit Concert" happens July 14th in northwest Georgia. Tickets go on sale today for the show that will be held July 14th at the Davis Cattle Company.

Meanwhile, the "Bama Rising: A Benefit Concert for Alabama Tornado Recovery" raised $2.1 million. Two musicians made sure that all of the money donated goes to tornado victims: Brad Paisley donated the production and Dave Matthews underwrote the show's expenses. You can still donate if you'd like - text BAMA to 501501.

The annual CMA Music Festival television special, "Country's Night to Rock," will air August 7th on ABC. Performers include Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Zac Brown Band, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Reba, Darius Rucker, Rascal Flatts, Sugarland, Lady Antebellum, Jason Aldean, Sara Evans, Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery.

By any measure, the CMA Music Festival was a home run for Nashville. It generated a record-smashing $30 million in visitor spending, up from $24 million last year. That figure includes more than 110,000 hotel room nights, ticket sales and restaurant and attraction spending. Tickets go on sale for next year's festival on July 30th.

Congratulations to Keith Urban, who celebrated his latest #1 this week in Nashville. The party included the songwriters Joe West and Dave Pahanish. According to Keith, "I couldn't believe how it captured my life so beautifully. It's rare to hear a song where every lyric is so poignant for me. I didn't have to change anything."

Did you miss Dierks Bentley on the NHL Award Show? Oh, no you dih-uhn!

Tonight, catch Luke Bryan and the Doobie Brothers on CMT Crossroads.

Happy birthday Sunday to Gretchen Wilson, who turns 39.

The tweet of the day is from Brad Paisley: "Now when you go see @Disneypixar cars2 Friday stay through the end credits to hear both songs an see the animation they did to the first one"

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton have been man and wife for a month, and finally some video of their wedding is available. Enjoy!

Little Big Town is in the studio right now, working on a Christmas album.

There's only one country star who'll receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next year. That star is Vince Gill. All of the honorees for 2012 are listed here.

Next Tuesday evening, Toby Keith presents "An Evening with Toby Keith and Friends" featuring songwriters Bobby Pinson and Scotty Emerick. The benefit show goes to pay bills on the historic venue, and the show will be followed by an auction, featuring an autographed Toby Keith guitar. The Nashville Songwriters Association International bought the Bluebird Cafe, and the money raised will help put money back in the association's coffers.

Major Leage Baseball hosts a benefit All Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game each year. This year, it's July 10th in Phoenix, Arizona, and Jason Aldean is one of the participants. We'll see if his pitch is as perfect on the field as it is on the stage.

Sad news for Glen Campbell and his wife Kim. Glen was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease six months ago. Glen will still go out on his farewell tour this fall, and the couple shared the news because, as Kim says, "Glen is still an awesome guitar player and singer. But if he flubs a lyric or gets confused onstage, I wouldn't want people to think, 'What's the matter with him? Is he drunk?'" Glen is 75 years old.

The tweet of the day is from Jerrod Niemann: "Make no mistake, they only serve virgin Marga-daquiri-screw-olada-on the beaches at this location. So happy to be in gorgeous Charleston!"

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Kenny Chesney's "Goin' Coastal" tour is going wide open, with fans agog at the experience. But Kenny is, too, saying "That’s kind of a odd existence to be in front of 20,000 people, and that’s where you feel the most comfortable. But that’s where my life is. You know, when I’m up there with my band, and we’re in the zone and playin’ music, and me and the band and the crowd, thousands of people that are in front of us, are all in sync, that’s a very special thing to feel.” The tour hits Ohio and indiana this week.

After the opening weekend of Flatts Fest, people who've seen the show say don't be late - the opening is incredible. Here's video of it, which doesn't really do it justice but is pretty cool!

And Keith Urban had fun with the audience during his tour opening weekend. Here are a couple of videos...first, Keith "getting closer" to his audience and falling off the stage...

Check out this singing (?) contest...

Jerrod Niemann roped in a few of his friends to be in the video for his new single, "One More Drinkin' Song." Their vehicle of choice? The Nashville Pedal Tavern, a 16-person rolling bar. Jerrod explains it's attraction like this: "It's this bar on wheels that you pedal from bar to bar and pick up friends. I like it because it's cardio and consuming alcohol at the same time." In on the beer and the video shoot were Lee Brice, Jake Owen and Tyler Farr. The video will be out in the next week or two.

This summer, Live with Regis and Kelly will have some country performers in their line-up. On July 13th, Blake Shelton visits, on the 19th it's Lady Antebellum and on August 9th Luke Bryan stops by to chat and sing.

Friday night on CMT, watch the newest CMT Crossroads, featuring Luke Bryan and the Doobie Brothers. Taping this show was a bucket-list experience for Luke: "I thought it was cool that one of the coolest night of my life was really gonna be documented. I grew up with a classic rock station—I think everybody had this big, classic rock station in your hometown, and you turn it on, and the Doobie Brothers—you heard ‘em four times a day!”

Watch Dierks Bentley on the 2011 National Hockey League Awards on Versus and CBC tonight. Alison Krauss & Union Station will be on Conan.

Happy birthday to Kris Kristofferson, who turns 75 today.

The tweet of the day is from Trent Tomlinson: "It sucks that Natalie couldn't keep her mouth shut cuz the Dixie Chicks made some great records. No telling where they'd be now."

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Blake Shelton and fellow "Voice" coaches Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine are wrapping up this season of the show, which ends next week. Will there be another season for these particular judges, or will next season's show feature new faces in the oversized chairs? According to Blake, “You know, I think everybody involves wants that to happen. Now, whether the reality of it is…with four different artists that are doing completely different things and a network that has a…time schedule that they want things to happen in and…who knows what will happen? But, I’d hate to miss it, you know?” The Voice airs tonight at 9 Eastern on NBC, and Blake's team will perform on tonight's show. According to him, watch for some surprises.

Darius Rucker can add "Doctor" to his list of accomplishments, though his doctorate is an honorary one, granted by the Medical University of South Carolina. Darius says, “It was one of those honors that…One of those things that I don’t expect and then when it happens, it’s unbelievable. It’s great though, I asked my lawyer if I…If I was filling out an application and, you know, it says ‘Mr.’ and ‘Mrs.’ and ‘Dr.’, if I can fill in, ‘Dr.’ and legally I can. So that’s awesome!” He was given the doctorate to honor all of the charitable work he has done and continues to do in his hometown of Charleston, South Carolina.

Justin Moore's sophomore album is in stores today. "Outlaws Like Me" includes the song, "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away," which is inching closer to #1 on the country charts. Of the album, Justin says, “I’m excited about it. I’m really proud of it. I think it’s a little more diverse than the first one. I wanted to go in and make an album that was more country than the first one, which everybody looks at me like I’m crazy when I say that! And I think it’s the best songwriting that I’ve ever done. You know anything you do over time, you should get better at it.” Justin is part of Rascal Flatts' "Flatts Fest" tour this summer.

Tim McGraw was playing a show at The Gorge in Washington. A very drunk female fan was causing problems near the front of the stage, and Tim called her out, called her up on stage and had her escorted out of the show. Another couple of fans who wouldn't settle down also got thrown out. Once the unruliness was under control, Tim resumed the show. If you go to a Tim McGraw concert, keep your drunk & disorderly to a minimum or Tim will get you, too!

And new bride Miranda Lambert surprised hubby Blake Shelton with a serenade for "Mr. Lambert" on his birthday on Saturday...

Hot on the heels of being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Garth Brooks is up for induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in the Songwriter/Artist category. Also nominated are Alan Jackson, Amy Grant, Larry Gatlin and Townes Van Zandt. Only one of them will be inducted during the October 16th dinner and induction ceremony in Nashville. Member voting is underway by secret ballot.

How sweet is this? Joe Nichols' 2011 tour sponsor is Dunkin' Donuts. Joe will be part of a live video chat Wednesday at 7pm Eastern to discuss the details of the show and whatever else people want to chat about. To be part of it, fan Dunkin' Donuts on Facebook.

And while we're talking food and country music, Cracker Barrel stores have something new - a compilation album of Grand Ole Opry members. The 12-cut cd features Reba, Alan Jackson, Martina McBride, Montgomery Gentry, Trace Adkins, Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Josh Turner, Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley, Diamond Rio and Terri Clark. And coming soon, another Cracker Barrel/Grand Ole Opry collaboration - a three-cd series featuring live performances at the Opry. The "Classic Collection" will be organized by duets, outlaw performers and classics.

Congratulations to Blake Shelton for being #1 again this week with his song "Honey Bee."

Happy birthday to Kathy Mattea, who turns 52 today, and to Porter Howell of Little Texas, who is 47.

The tweet of the day is from Reba: "Just want to let you all know that my Daddy is back home after a long stint in hospitals & rehab. Thanks so much 4 all your prayers"

Monday, June 20, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Blake Shelton turned 35 on Saturday, a day that he was on stage as part of Brad Paisley's H2O II tour. Brad isn't one to miss a good pranking opportunity, and he didn't miss this one. He dressed up a member of his crew in a pair of way too small "Kiss my country a$$" boy shorts and a hair ribbon and sent the guy on stage while Blake was performing. The look on Blake's face is priceless.


The movie "Cars 2" opens this week and features two songs from Brad Paisley. The first one he co-wrote with British pop star Robbie Williams, and it's called "Collision of Worlds." He also has the song, "Nobody's Fool," in the film. According to Brad, he laid down 66 tracks of guitar for the songs, which were written specifically for the movie.

Justin Moore has an interesting publicity angle for his "Outlaws Like Me" cd. He'll spend six hours in a bass boat on a lake in Central Park. While fishing in New York City, he'll do satellite interviews with dozens of media outlets, and there's a live stream of the event so you can watch. He'll be boat-bound from 6am to noon Eastern time today.

Reba and Darius Rucker are getting ready to be part of the national Fourth of July celebration. They'll perform during "A Capitol Fourth" live from Washington DC. The event airs starting at 8pm on PBS-TV.

Martina and John McBride just celebrated their 23rd wedding anniversary, and Martina chimed in on what makes their marriage work so well. They try to find a perfect blend of personal and professional, and according to Martina, “I think it’s just being a great partner, you know and seeing what your partner needs and doing it for them, you know? And being…for me just the fact that John will call me up to ask me if there’s anything I need on the way home from work at the grocery store or he’ll go to the grocery store when it’s the last thing I wanna do. You know, or something like that, and he’s always cheerful about it and that’s a gift in itself.”

Did you miss Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter on the Today show last Friday? Oh, no you dih-uhn!

By the way, you can see Kenny and Grace in a photo spread in the latest issue of People Country. The shots were taken in Malibu California, where they were filming the video for "You and Tequila."

Vince Gill has new music coming out this summer. He co-wrote "Threaten Me With Heaven" with his wife Amy Grant, along with Dillon O'Brian and Will Owsley. Soon after working on the song, Will took his own life, and Vince says that the song now has a profound impact on him. It will be on his album, "Guitar Slinger," due out this fall.

The world got a little smaller over the weekend. Clarence Clemons, the legendary sax player in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, passed away a week after suffering a stroke. The Big Man was an admired person and musician by people from all walks of the music world. He was 69.

Happy birthday to Keith Urban's wife, Nicole Kidman, who is 44, and to Kenny Chesney's duet partner, Grace Potter, who turns 28 today.

The tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton: "I'm so drunk right now I just toilet papered my own house while shouting "Now who looks stupid?!!"

Friday, June 17, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Rascal Flatts' summer tour kicks off tomorrow night in Bristow, VA, and the guys are pulling out all the stops to be sure the fans have fun at Flatts Fest 2011. According to Jay DeMarcus, "I'll actually be out there giving bikini waxes. Only the dudes. I don't want to upset my wife." He's kidding. I hope. The real "Why Wait" wedding chapel will allow couples to walk down the "Broken Road" aisle to make or renew their vows. "There's a prenuptial tent right next to it, too," Joe Don Rooney kids. Gary LeVox adds, "Yeah, it's called the 'I'm Movin' On Tent.' That's where you get an annulment at the next show. It's a package deal." The tour will take them through the summer and is a romp around North America.

The ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp happens from June 26th to July first in Nashville, and campers will be treated to volunteer camp counselors Carrie Underwood, Gary Allan, Darius Rucker, Little Big Town, Wynonna and other music city luminaries. The camp is for people with developmental disabilities and their families. Activities include a recording session with Carrie, a songwriting session with Gary and a concert with Darius at the Grand Ole Opry.

Randy Owen wanted to raise $1 million, but they're at $2 million and counting after the BAMA Rising concert on Tuesday night. Nashville's A-list turned out to help raise money for those devastated by the tornadoes in the southeast last month. If you'd like to pile on, text BAMA to 501501 to make a $10 donation.

Garth Brooks was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame last night in New York. Trisha Yearwood was there to see her hubby serenaded by some pretty big stars: Billy Joel, Dwight Yoakam, Boz Scaggs and even more stars who showed up to speak at the induction ceremony. Inducted along with Garth were Leon Russell, Billy Steinberg, Tom Kelly, John Bettis and Allen Toussaint.

Luke Bryan is part of Tim McGraw's Emotional Traffic tour, and Tim decided to have a little bit of fun with Luke's Bronco...

And "big baby" Justin Moore pranked his band...

Jake Owen was in the middle of a break-up when he found his newest single, "Barefoot Blue Jean Night." His then-girlfriend was packing up her stuff and storming around the house when she came downstairs and proclaimed, "If you don't record that 'Barefoot Blue Jean Night' song, you're an idiot." Well now we know...Jake Owen is no idiot!

Congratulations to Thompson Square. The husband/wife duo has just been handed their first platinum award for the song "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not" for over a million copies sold.

New music out next week includes the latest by Weird Al Yankovic, who parodies Taylor Swift's song "You Belong to Me." It becomes a rant about the paparazzi called "TMZ." And Lady Antebellum gets the "Polka Face" treatment, as a parody of "Need You Now" becomes part of his trademark mash-up.

It's good to be a tv star. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Blake Shelton is making $75,000 per episode of The Voice, and is already signed to another year of the show. Yay for him!

Billy Currington is on Fox & Friends and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and Kenny Chesney is on the Today show.

Happy birthday tomorrow to Blake Shelton, who turns 35.

The tweet of the day is from Danny Gokey: "Every time a bird poops on my car, I eat a plate of scrambled eggs on my balcony, just to show them what I'm capable of."

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Dierks Bentley has two daughters, Evie, who's 2 and a half and Jordan, who's six months old. Of Evie, Dierks says, “When I was growing up, my exposure to country music was my dad listening to the radio in the car. I mean, my daughter’s exposure to music in general is just crazy, it’s all around. So, she loves it and I’m not trying to turn her into my 401k package you know, down the road. But, if she wanted to get into the business, I’d support her.” Gotta keep an eye on that little one - she's bound to be a prodigy.

Can't see the whole thing yet, but here are clips from the video for the Zac Brown Band & Jimmy Buffett song, "Knee Deep."

Blake Shelton had to hurry up and produce the album that went with his new single, "Honey Bee" when that song started racing up the charts. Blake knew he had a good song on his hands but never expected it to be as hot as it was. In the midst of taping "The Voice" he and his band had to hit the studios to produce the rest of the album, which comes out July 12th. "Honey Bee" is the fastest-selling digital single by a country male artist to hit gold status. The cd, "Red River Blue," comes out July 12th and here's the track list:

1. “Honey Bee”
2. “Ready To Roll”
3. “God Gave Me You”
4. “Get Some”
5. “Drink On It”
6. “Good Ol' Boys”
7. “I'm Sorry”
8. “Sunny In Seattle”
9. “Over”
10. “Hey”
11. “Red River Blue”

We see a lot of Carrie Underwood's Mom, but what about her dad? Says Carrie, “My dad is the kind of person that most likely, he’ll never look at me and my sisters and say ‘Hey, I’m proud of you,’ or ‘you’re doing a great job’ or anything like that. But I catch him watching things he’s taped of me on TV. You know, that means a lot. And I’d meet co-workers of his that used to work with him, and they’ll say, ‘Your dad has pictures of you all over his desk—like, proud to the world!”

Carrie Underwood earned a platinum single for "Last Name," and Taylor Swift is already at gold with "Mean."

Brad Paisley will be part of the New York City July 4th celebration. He'll perform on NBC's Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular.

Martina McBride, Darius Rucker and Lady Antebellum all taped performances at the Grand Ole Opry last week that will be used on the Labor Day MDA Telethon.

Congratulations to Ronnie Dunn, who debuted at #1 on the country album sales charts with his self-titled album. He sold over 45,000 units in the first week.

Happy birthday to Billy "Crash" Craddock, who turns 72 today.

The tweet of the day is from David Nail: "Who love 6am flights? Me me meeeeeeee! I admire folks who work this early, you all should be paid double!"

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

The BAMA Rising concert was last night in Birmingham, Alabama. Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley, Martina McBride, Sara Evans, Alabama, Brad Paisley and Kellie Pickler all took the stage to raise money for tornado victims and their towns. According to Kellie, “Somehow or another we always end up coming together! And the people of country music, not just the artists, but the fans come together too. And we just gotta, we gotta take care of each other, we gotta look out for one another.”

If you read the media reports immediately following Trace and Rhonda Atkins' house fire, you know that Rhonda said she'd do everything she could to keep Trace from flying back from Alaska, where he had a planned fishing trip and concerts. You'll also remember that she didn't succeed...he got on the next flight back to Nashville as soon as he heard. How did he win the argument? "We were getting to Alaska Saturday to fish and Rhonda calls, 'There's nothing you can do here. Just stay up there and fish.' And she's a former publicist! I said, 'Honey, I need you to put on your publicist hat for a second and see that headline: 'Trace Adkins' house burns down, his family's homeless and he goes fishin' in Alaska.' So I came home. And she was right. There was nothing I could do but hug them all." By the way, their 9-year-old daughter Brianna was the one who saved the family's two Australian Shepherd puppies. Daisy and Bella, 10 months old, didn't get out with the girls and their baby-sitter, and Brianna headed back in to get them. A neighbor tried to stop her, but she wouldn't be deterred, and got them out safely. Trace told his daughter he was proud of her bravery.

If you think only the fans look forward to and enjoy the CMA Music Festival, check out these quotes from artist this year:

"You're asking me to do math, which is dangerous. My first Fan Fair was in 1992." — Martina McBride

"It's such an amazing experience being surrounded by 50,000 people who are all singing the same thing. You look out and it's this never ending sea of people for as far as you can see." — Taylor Swift

"Can you sign this for me?" — Clay Walker to Dierks Bentley, who signed a notebook for Walker's daughter.

"My house burned down. I've felt like Rain Man for the last few days every time someone asks me a question, 'Trace, what do you want to eat?' 'My house burned down.'" — Trace Adkins

"I have a little video of my daughter's reaction when I sent Jay the picture of me with Justin Bieber. I made a complete fool of myself going up to meet him, but it was so worth it." — Sara Evans who showed press cell phone video of her daughter's reaction.

"The thing that really amazes me is not only the loyalty of the fan but the loyalty of country music back to the fan. You couldn't pull this together in rock n' roll, not so much because of the bands, but the egos of their managers. They'd go, 'Oh, my guy's too big to play that.' But you don't have that here." — Darius Rucker

"These die-hard country fans come from all over the world. It's not just here in the US. It's the least we could do. We love going and signing and seeing familiar faces and being able to look them in the eyes and say thank you." — Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott

Yesterday I showed you video of Keith Urban and Jake Owen duetting on stage at LP Field for the CMA Music Festival. How did Jake get the invite from Keith? "I missed a call from a random number and when I listened to the voicemail, it was Keith asking me to come out and do a song with him at LP Field. I was so blown away because first of all, he didn't have to do that, and secondly I don't know how he got my number. I felt like a super-fan."

Sunday in Nashville, Little Big Town hosted the Fifth Annual Ride for a Cure and raised $70,000 for the T.J. Martell Foundation, which supports research into life-threatening diseases. More than 450 riders "hogged" Nashville's streets and a huge crowd showed up for the afternoon concert following the ride.

Speaking of Little Big Town, have you seen their cover of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep?"

For the first time since 1985, a concert was held in Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers. Kenny Chesney took his "Goin' Coastal" show there Saturday night, and the team's coach even brought their Superbowl trophy up on stage just before Kenny Chesney sang "The Boys of Fall." What was that like for the die-hard football fan? “It was one of the most special nights that we’ve ever had. Just to be able to sing “Boys of Fall” in a place that is so historical, that means so much to the world of football—to have the coach of the Packers come up and bring the Superbowl trophy onstage before we sang that song—I didn’t know what to expect coming here to play at Lambeau Field. But it exceeded everything that we expected.” Trivia question - who performed the show in 1985? The pop-rock band, Survivor.

You know Taylor Swift has a lot of fans, but did you know she has some big, famous ones? Here's Shaquille O'Neal's video proof of his love for The Golden One:

Congratulations to The Band Perry - their "If I Die Young" has now been certified double-platinum for two million in sales.

Clay Walker is on the Today show this morning, and Blake Shelton and Scotty McCreery are on the Tonight Show.

Happy birthday to Michael Britt of Lonestar, who is 45 today, and to the late Waylon Jennings, who would have been 74.

The tweet of the day is from Kellie Pickler: "Two things I want to mark off my bucket list this year are flying with the @BlueAngels and jumping with the @ArmyGK"

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Tonight's the night for BAMA Rising in Birmingham, Alabama. The show features Alabama, Dierks Bentley, Sara Evans, Sheryl Crow, Montgomery Gentry, Brad Paisley, Martina McBride, Darius Rucker and Kellie Pickler. Sara Evans, a Birmingham native, shares the stage tonight, but shares something else special today - it's her 3rd anniversary of being married to Jay Barker. “I am so proud of country music for coming together and doing this benefit concert because everybody’s donating their time and it’s just a busy time of year for everybody. It just warms my heart that this is taking place. It’s on our anniversary and Jay and I are both saying, ‘We can’t think of a better way to spend our anniversary than to be helping.’” If you can't be there but want to help, text BAMA to 501501 to donate $10.

Trace Adkins releases new music on August 2nd. "Proud to Be Here" is it's title, which has taken on a whole new meaning for Trace since his home burned down last week. “It’s an autobiographical song anyway, because of some of the well-publicized near death experiences that I’ve had, and now—if that had happened at three o’clock in the morning, there may not be any of us here to tell about it. But it didn’t. It happened at three o’clock in the afternoon, and for that I am grateful.” Yes, there'll be a deluxe edition, featuring extra music including a new duet with Blake Shelton called "If I Was a Woman." That will be available July 12th on iTunes.

For the second year in a row, the LP Field concerts at the CMA Music Festival were sellouts. That means for four nights running, 65,000+ people showed up, shelled out cash and partied the night away to great country music. Tickets for next year's festival go on sale July 30th.

The annual City of Hope Celebrity Softball Challenge, held each year on the Saturday of CMA Music Festival week, raised over $100,000 for those combatting life-threating diseases. The After Midnight with Blair Garner team beat the Grand Ole Opry team 9-5. Stars turning out for the game were Dierks Bentley, David Nail, Jake Owen, Vince Gill, and American Idol's Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery.

Congratulations to Justin Moore and his wife Kate, who are expecting their second child in November. The little one will join one-year-old big sister Ella Kole. Justin's new cd, "Outlaws Like Me," comes out June 12th.

Forbes Magazine has compiled a list of the world's top earners under 30, and you know Taylor Swift is on it. Lady Gaga tops the list, earning $90 million last year, Justin Bieber, LeBron James and Roger Federer are in spots two through four, with Taylor checking in at #5. She earned $45 million last year.
Didja miss Keith Urban on the Ellen Degeneres show? Oh no you di-unt...just watch!

Carrie Underwood is down under, charming the Australian media and blowing away the country with her high-energy show.

Could Bieber Fever be coming to country music? After picking up a CMT Music Award for his collaboration with Rascal Flatts, Justin told the media that his mom is a big country music fan, and so is he.

Congratulations to Blake Shelton, who has the number 1 song in country music this week with "Honey Bee."

Tonight, catch Blake Shelton on "The Voice and Josh Turner and Randy Travis on the Tonight Show.

The tweet of the day is from Michelle Branch: "Confessed my fried chicken salad and biscuit sins to my trainer this morning. Then he made me do 5 million lunges. #WorthIt"

Monday, June 13, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Last night was the closing night for the CMA Music Festival, and the concert at LP Field featured The Band Perry, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton and his surprise guest Trace Adkins, Miranda Lambert and her new project, Pistol Annie's, and closed with Taylor Swift. Fan highlights were Miranda "killing" beach balls with her high heels, Blake & Trace doing "Hillbilly Bone" and Taylor Swift on a small stage at the back of the stadium performing an acoustic version of "Fearless" on a ukelele. Fireworks capped the event, and the festival is just a memory for this year. Plans for the 2012 CMA Music Festival are already underway, though, you can bet on that.

Chris Young celebrated his birthday weekend by playing the big stage at the CMA Music Festival. He was part of the Saturday night show, and was so humbled by the experience. "This is a big deal for me," he says. "I've been going to CMA Music Fest since I was a kid, so it's very cool .... My birthday's on Sunday. It's going to be a good weekend." Ironically, the CMA Music Festival and Chris share the anniversary. Chris has been around 26 years, and the CMA Music Festival, originally known as Fan Fair, began on June 12th 40 years ago.

Last week during the CMA Music Festival, several artists included fund-raisers as part of their events. Martina McBride raised over $100,000 for the YWCA, Darius Rucker raised over $50,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Marty Stuart raised more than $30,000 for MusiCares and Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, and LeAnn Rimes raised $35,000 for storm victims in the Southeast.

On the heels of the Nashville fun, several artists are making the road trip from Nashville to Birmingham, Alabama for the BAMA Rising benefit concert today. The show features Alabama, Dierks Bentley, Sara Evans, Sheryl Crow, Montgomery Gentry, Brad Paisley, Martina McBride, Darius Rucker and Kellie Pickler. Teddy Gentry of Alabama says, “The devastation can’t be described. You see it on the news, but unless you’ve been there and seen it firsthand…of course, the loss of life can’t be replaced. But, we feel like we’re doing something that can help bring people back to some sort of stability." If you can't be there but want to help, text BAMA to 501501 to donate $10.

According to US magazine, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert spent the first part of their honeymoon in Tishomongo, Oklahoma on their farm, and the second part in Cancun. There, they stayed at Reba McEntire's vacation home. Back to work comes quickly - Blake's in LA working on NBC's The Voice and Miranda is headed back into the studio to record her next album.

Jake Owen is joining Keith Urban on tour this summer, and the two practiced a bit Saturday night at the CMA Music Festival.

Huge Kenny Chesney fan? Then you might want to get tickets to his July 8th "Goin' Coastal" show at Red Rocks amphitheater in Colorado. It'll be the last of three nights there, and he's invited Grace Potter & the Nocturnals to join him. Grace is his duet partner on his current hit, "You and Tequila."

The conclusion of Shania Twain's series on OWN was last night, and featured the premier of her new song "Today is Your Day." Tonight on GAC, catch a re-air of ACM Presents: Brooks & Dunn - The Last Rodeo.

Happy birthday today to Jason Michael Carroll. He's 33.

The tweet of the day is from Billy Currington: "can someone make me a t'shirt that says I AM NOT DIERKS BENTLEY. i would appreciate it. v-neck size medium"

Friday, June 10, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Keith Urban hosted his fan club party and concert yesterday afternoon in Nashville, and blew the crowd away. Saying, "It's a rehearsal, not a tour," he covered other artists' songs, like Little Big Town's "Boondocks" and played a bit of his tour set list, made jokes about trying to get prepared for a tour and messing up onstage, and then proceeded to melt all the faces in the crowd with his amazing showmanship. How does he feel about going on tour and leaving Nicole and their two daughters behind? “When I put this tour together I just structured it so that I’m only gone maybe two or three days…maybe four days, sometimes I do four shows in a row. Then I go home for a day or two or three. So, I’m in and out. I don’t go out for weeks and weeks at a time. When we do Canada and we do three weeks, I’ll bring the girls up to some of that run.” The Get Closer 2011 tour opens next Thursday in Biloxi, Missouri.

Reba announced a fall tour yesterday, and tonight's performance at LP Field for the CMA Music Festival will give us all a sneak-peek at what to expect. The 31-city waltz across American and Canada will kick off in October, and she'll have The Band Perry as her opeing act, with Steel Magnolia and Eden's Edge along on selected dates. “I am very excited about the fall tour. We are designing new production and staging. I'm looking forward to touring with The Band Perry, Steel Magnolia and Eden's Edge. It will be a night of great music and I'm planning on having a blast,” said Reba.

As Lady Antebellum get set to play LP Field in Nashville tonight, Hillary Scott talked about the experience of playing the CMA Music Festival: “The electricity in LP Stadium every year for that is just—you can’t really beat it. I mean it’s so much fun to be there, and to have a stadium full of the most die-hard country fans you can imagine from all over the world. That never gets old.”

Shania Twain world-premiered her new song, "Today is Your Day" yesterday in Nashville for a group of music industry professionals. During the private event, she was given a plaque commemorating the sale of 75 million albums worldwide. That makes her the top-selling female artist in the world.

If you're a big Blake Shelton fan, watch his Twitter feed this afternoon. Follow @blakeshelton to win VIP passes and tickets to his fan club party. No word on what the competition will entail, but if you play, good luck!

Luke Bryan's performance on the CMT Video Music Awards was so compelling that his name was the top-searched term on Google Wednesday night. His energetic and sexy performance was of his new single, "Country Girl (Shake it for Me)" and was the first solo award show performance of his career. Given the reaction, it probably won't be his last.

In Nashville tonight, there's a reunion that's about two decades in the making. Radney Foster and Bill Lloyd will play the Bluebird Cafe tonight. That's where the two met and started Foster & Lloyd, way back in the last century. Lovers of the Texas country sound are rejoicing everywhere, and hoping this means a new album might be coming sometime in the future!

There's an on-line auction to benefit tornado-ravaged Alabamans. Organized by John Paul White of the Civil Wars, stars like Miranda Lambert and George Strait have donated items to the fund-raiser.

Happy birthday to Lee Brice, who is 32 today.

The tweet of the day is from Kellie Pickler: "Today in my meet and greet line a fan proposed to his girlfriend. Then another fan went into labor (her water broke)! Only at #CMAFest :-)"

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

The CMT Music Awards were last night, and the night was filled with great performances, surprising artist combinations (Kid Rock & Wynonna???) and one big embarrassing moment when Shania Twain fell down while taking the stage to present the Male Video of the Year award to Blake Shelton. She got right back up, flashed her beautiful smile and went on as if nothing happened. She later explained that she didn't need a stunt double, because she can do all of her own stunts, and she's going to auction the shoes off for charity. And in typical Blake fashion, he had to have a smart remark about the event. Scroll down to the tweet of the day to see what he said.

Video of the Year - Taylor Swift "Mine"

Male Video of the Year - Blake Shelton "Who Are You When I'm Not Looking"

Female Video of the Year - Miranda Lambert "The House that Built Me"

Group Video of the Year - Lady Antebellum "Hello World"

Duo Video of the Year - Sugarland "Stuck Like Glue"

Breakthrough Video of the Year - The Band Perry "If I Die Young"

Collaborative Video of the Year - Rascal Flatts with Justin Bieber "That Should be Me"

Just off the red carpet, Martina McBride and her youngest daughter Ava ran into Justin Bieber. Justin was gracious, but Martina's daughter was awestruck and ended up in tears over the whole thing.

The 40th annual CMA Music Festival, the event formerly known as Fan Fest, is officially underway. The parade was yesterday, with more than 30 major artists caravaning through Nashville in souped-up Chevrolets. Grand Marshals Bill Anderson and the Oak Ride Boys joined Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon and tons of Nashville's finest for the fun. The music shifts into high gear today with the first LP Field show, which is totally sold-out. By the time this hits the internet, Friday, Saturday and Sunday will probably be sold out, too.

In case you missed it yesterday, Shania Twain will grace the stage at Caesars Palace in Las vegas starting in December of 2012. She's got a two-year deal with the venue which includes 60 shows a year and a deal that lets American Express card-holders get in first. Ticket prices will range from $80 to $750. There'll be a new album out soon, maybe before the end of this year.

Willie Nelson walks away with just a slap on the wrist and a fine after his marijuana bust last fall. Originally, authorities said it was a felony bust, but it turned out to be just a misdemeanor after all. He'll pay a $500 fine, court costs and has to keep his nose clean for a month.

Darius Rucker will headline Nashville's 4th of July Celebration at Riverfront Park.

Congratulations to Brad Paisley, who has the #1 album in America again this week with "This is Country Music."

On this day in history, the man who invented the technology that Brad Paisley uses so well was born. Les Paul would have been 96 today. He passed away in August of 2009.

The tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton: "Whoa!!! Not only did I win but Shania Twain is falling for me!!!!"

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Following the loss of his home, Trace Adkins' fans have offered an outpouring of support. Trace is touched, but wants fans to direct their generosity to those affected by the April and May storms throughout the southeast by making donations to the American Red Cross and CMT One Country. According to Trace, "I have been blessed. My kids are OK. My wife is OK. I have my guitar and my songs. Everything else can be replaced. Unfortunately, there are families out there who need help if they're to rebuild after these recent storms. The American Red Cross was one of the first on the scene to help my family and, through their work, others will receive the assistance they need to get back on their feet."

The 2011 CMT Music Awards will open with a "Thelma and Louise" inspired clip featuring Taylor Swift and Shania Twain, along with Kenny Rogers, Kid Rock, comedian Ron White and Glee's Chord Overstreet. The Band Perry will perform during tonight's show, and Martina McBride and Little Big Town are scheduled to present an award. Colt Ford, Lee Brice Thompson Square, the JaneDear Girls and Hunter Hayes will all be featured on the side stage during the show, which airs tonight at 8 Eastern on CMT.

Taylor Swift will be part of the Black Eyed Peas and Friends Concert for NYC tomorrow night in Central Park. Proceeds benefit the Robin Hood Foundation, which works to fight poverty.

Meanwhile, Shania Twain is poised to make some sort of announcement at 3pm Eastern today, and speculation is that it will be about a stint at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.

Dierks Bentley and the NHL have teamed up for some fun NHL promos on the NHL Network. His song, "Am I the Only One" has a custom music video, featuring Dierks and some incredible game footage.

There's a drop date for Lady Antebellum's third album, "Own the Night." It'll be released on September 13th, and includes their current hit, "Just a Kiss."

The 2011 CMT Music Awards are tonight, LoCash Cowboys are on Man V. Food on the Travel Channel and Jo Dee Messina is on the Today Show and Fox & Friends today.

The tweet of the day is from Brad Paisley: "Forget the Tea Party. With names like Weiner, Frank, and Boehner, congress has become the Sausage Party."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Trace Adkins' trip to Nashville to check on his family after fire gutted their home is a short one. He'll head back to Alaska tomorrow, where he'll do his concert in Anchorage, then fly back to Nashville for the CMA Music Festival. Can you say "jet lag?"

The Grand Ole Opry is celebrating CMA Music Festival week online, so those of us who aren't in Nashville for the fun can still play along. Like the Opry Facebook page? You can win the chance to meet Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina. Follow the Opry on Twitter? You could be part of Crystal Bowersox's audience, and also win meet & greets with Opry members. And of course there's an app for that - follow the fun no matter where you are with the Opry's CMAfest app, or check out the online updates.

There's an online charity auction supporting the Bama Rising tornado relief efforts. An autographed Sugarland guitar, concert packages from Martina McBride and Alan Jackson and lots more great items are up for bid.

Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert are in LA digs while Blake wraps up The Voice. According to Blake, “We just rented a house out there and I’m gonna be living in L.A. for a month doing this show which should be a lot of fun, interesting. Probably p**s some people off when they catch me in the yard shooting pigeons and squirrels and stuff cause I know there’s a lot of tree huggers out there.” He's been tweeting about his experiences on the left coast:

"Ba! Ha! Just walked into a karaoke bar called Dimples in LA... me and #teamblake are about to blow the roof off this place!!!”

“How in the hell did I end up living in L.A. for a month?!!!!”

"This ain't no disco.. Ain't no club either.. This is LA.”

If you watch HLN's "Morning Express with Robin Meade" then you know she's beautiful and smart. She's also a talented singer and a huge country music fan, and is releasing her first country project on June 21st at Target and iTunes.

Brad Paisley's H2O II: Wetter and Wilder tour kicked off this past weekend with two shows, one in Virginia Beach and one in Hartford, Connecticut. Over 35,000 people showed up for the 7-hour-long party which featured two stages, an interactive Water World Plaza and performances from Brad, Blake Shelton, Jerrod Niemann, Brett Eldredge, Sunny Sweeny and Eden's Edge.

Brad Paisley is the king of one chart while Keith Urban is the king of the other. Brad's "Old Alabama" is #1 on the Billboard chart and Keith's "Without You" is #1 on the Country Aircheck/Mediabase chart.

Taylor Swift is the cover girl and featured article in this week's USA Weekend.

Ronnie Dunn is on The View today and Blake Shelton's on The Voice tonight.

Ronnie Dunn's self-titled solo debut is out today. It includes the hit, "Bleed Red." Randy Travis "Anniversary Celebration" duets CD is out today and it includes songs with Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Don Henley, Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, Willie Nelson, Zac Brown Band and George Jones.

The tweet of the day is from Miranda Lambert: "Favorite things Ashton Shepard said..... "if I wasn't pregnant I would haul off an get DRUNK" hahaha"

Monday, June 6, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

It's the kickoff of CMA Music Festival Week in Nashville, so if your country-music-loving co-workers are missing this week, you probably know where they are. Every year, nearly half a million people descend on Nashville to meet their favorite stars up close and personal, see the sights and attend great concerts. This year, four hundred country artists will be on hand to party with their fans and friends. The festival officially runs Thursday through Sunday, but unofficial events start today.

A fire that started on a workbench in the garage destroyed Trace Adkins' Brentwood, TN home on Saturday afternoon. Trace and his wife Rhonda weren't home, but two of their daughters were, along with family friends who were watching the girls while Rhonda ran errands. She was about three minutes away from the house when a neighbor called to let her know the house was on fire, and by the time she made it home, the house was fully engulfed and her daughters and friends were at their designated emergency meeting place. According to reports, no family members or pets were injured in the fire, which gutted the home. One neighbor was bitten trying to rescue one of the Adkins' dogs but the injury was minor and the neighbor and dog both got out of the fire safely. Trace was landing in Alaska for concerts when he heard the news in a voicemail from Blake Shelton, and he turned around and took the first flight back to Nashville. Rhonda said that the family lost a lot of items with sentimental value including most of Trace's awards, but added, "It's just stuff. You can replace things, not people. I’m just glad that my children are safe." Moving vans were at the Atkins home on Sunday, salvaging the things that weren't destroyed by the fire, water or smoke. A few awards were ok, some musical instruments were salvaged, and some furniture can be saved. Rhonda was grateful to the Brentwood Fire Department for teaching fire safety seminars in school, which helped their daughters be clear-headed and stay safe during the emergency. According to Rhonda, she and the family will stay at their Eagleville, TN farm for the time being.

On a happier note, Trace Adkins and his youngest daughter, Trinity, star in the video for his latest song, "Just Fishin'." The video debuts today, and Trace says of it, “I’m proud of it. I think it’s gonna serve its purpose. I think we should’ve been deep sea fishin’, landing some big Marlin, but you know…we had to go for the Brim. We don’t have that kind of budget anymore. I mean, she had a life-jacket on, surely she’d have had enough sense to let go of the rod.”

Tonight is Darius Rucker's second annual Darius and Friends charity concert at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville. Who are the "friends?" Rodney Atkins, Easton Corbin, Justin Moore and Jerrod Niemann. Proceeds from the sold-out show go to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Jerrod Niemann and Darius Rucker are part of tomorrow's Grand Ole Opry celebration, which also includes Lady Antebellum, Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride and more. Jerrod is the featured performer on the free Opry Plaza Party stage tomorrow afternoon.

Carrie Underwood took time after the finale of American Idol to talk with Lauren Alaina about how her life is about to change. According to Lauren, “She invited me back into her little area and I talked to her for probably an hour and she just was telling me about her life and she said now the real like…career’s gonna start. And she said that she’s a big fan of mine and that she thinks I’m gonna do great.” Lauren and Scotty McCreery will make their debut at the Grand Ole Opry this Friday night and will play in the City of Hope Celebrity Softball Challenge on Saturday.

At the Blake Shelton/Miranda Lambert wedding last month, three of Miranda's dogs were part of the ceremony. Wearing their own wedding finery decorated with rhinestones, Chihuahua Cher, Chihuahua/Pug mix Delta and Terrier mix Delilah walked down the aisle with one of the bridesmaids. Miranda's Mom said the dogs were a big hit, garnering lots of attention and a few laughs.

Congratulations to Brad Paisley, whose "Old Alabama" holds the #1 slot again this week.

Happy birthday to Uncle Kracker (real name Matthew Shafer) who turns 37 today. Joe Stampley is 68.

The tweet of the day is from Jake Owen: "Greatest day ever. I get to play country music... At a NASCAR race.. Then watch the race.. And to top it off my twin bro surprised me!!!"

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Fire destroyed Trace Adkins' Brentwood, TN home on Saturday afternoon. Trace and his wife Rhonda weren't home, but two of their daughters were, along with family friends who were watching the girls while Rhonda ran errands. She was about three minutes away from the house when a neighbor called to let her know the house was on fire, and by the time she made it home, the house was fully engulfed and her daughters and friends were at their designated meeting place in case of emergency. According to reports, no family members or pets were injured in the fire, which gutted the home.

Trace was on the way to Alaska for concerts when he heard the news, and he's scheduled to be back in Nashville on Thursday if he doesn't cancel the concerts and come home sooner. Brentwood assistant fire chief Brian Goss said that an investigation is ongoing looking into the cause of the fire, which apparently started in the garage.

Rhonda said that the family lost a lot of items with sentimental value including all of Trace's awards, but added, "It's just stuff. You can replace things, not people. I’m just glad that my children are safe." She was grateful to the Brentwood Fire Department for teaching fire safety seminars in school, which helped their daughters be clear-headed and stay safe during the emergency. According to Rhonda, she and the family will stay at their Eagleville, TN farm for the time being.