Friday, July 29, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Trace Adkins is getting ready to release his new cd, "Proud to Be Here" on Tuesday and is thinking about his life as he reflects on the song collection. Thinking about the loss of his home, he said, . "Now, only weeks later, have I begun to realize how it has affected me. It's the gift that keeps on giving every day you remember something you don't have anymore and that really meant a lot to you." One thing is for sure - this cd means a lot to him, right down to the new collaboration he and Blake Shelton did for the project. "If I Was a Woman" is destined to be the must-listen follow up to "Hillbilly Bone." No word on when the song will be released as a single, but you know it will be.

October 25th is the drop date for Toby Keith's next cd. Named after his grandmother's bar, "Clancey's Tavern" features Toby's current single, "Made in America," and the title cut describes his grandmother's talents as a barkeep:

“She knows all their faces, she practically raised 'em
And that's why they're loyal and true
They'll pay their tabs, and that pays the light bill
And she keeps their glass full of brew”

Tim McGraw's new movie, "Dirty Girl," is due out late this year. Here's a sneak peek at it...

Keith Urban's wife, Nicole Kidman, is taking her next project home with her. "Stoker" is her next movie, and it will film in Nashville. According to Keith, "She's bringing a film here to Nashville, which is something she's been trying to do for a long time for so many reasons. Obviously, this is where she lives, and it's easier than having to uproot the kids and everything. And it's a great place for people to come and spend a couple of months shooting a film, and there's such a great infrastructure for that."

At the Brickyard this weekend, Rascal Flatts will perform the National Anthem and Reba will sing "America the Beautiful" before the race on Sunday. Also performing are The Band Perry, Justin Moore and Brantley Gilbert. Waving the green flag for Sunday's race is the head of Big Machine Records, Scott Borchetta. How did Big Machine Records come to be the title sponsor for this race? It's a great story and ESPN has it.

Happy birthday today to Martina McBride, who turns 45 and James Otto, who is 38. Tomorrow, Neal McCoy turns 53. Sunday, it's Zac Brown's 33rd birthday.

Tonight on CMT, Jason Aldean is the "Invitation Only" artist.

The tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton: "Stepped into the elevator drunk and tired... Stepped out of elevator drunk, tired and high.. Welcome to California baby!!!!"

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Congratulations to Taylor Swift, who will be honored with the Teen Choice Awards' Ultimate Choice Award during the telecast on August 7th. The show's top honor recognizes Taylor for her contributions to the entertainment industry.

Going to a Zac Brown Band concert this summer? Hang out in the tailgate lot having fun with your friends before the show, but keep an eye out for Zac, who likes to check out the party incognito. Says Zac, “I love—I absolutely love being on a motorcycle, in a helmet, nobody knows who I am. I can ride right through the tailgating with a helmet on and it’s just like you’re invisible. I can observe first hand what’s going on at our shows, and at these Kenny shows, and these things, and get to see it. You know, I just get out and ride around the tailgating. There’s no other way to do it.”

Zac Brown Band and Jimmy Buffett want to give you a prize, and they want to hear about your favorite/least favorite/craziest summer mishap story. You could win the message in a bottle used in the "Knee Deep" video, signed by Zac and Jimmy, plus other cool prizes.

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood's video for "Remind Me" is done and on here.

Chris Young's bass player, Steve, decided he would pop the question to his girlfriend, and wanted to be creative about it. He had a shirt made that said "Missy, Marry Me!" and wore it last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live. He put it on just before Chris Young and the band hit the stage, and Missy didn't miss the message. By the way, according to Chris on Twitter, Missy said "yes" and Chris tweeted, "So congrats to my bass player Steve and Missy!"

Congratulations to Blake Shelton, who now has two weeks topping Billboard's Top 200 album chart with his new "Red River Blue." He worked hard to make the songs the best he could, saying, “As a writer, it’s hard to really, honestly go ‘well, my song that I wrote is better than this song,' because when you got guys like Rhett and Craig Wisemen, and those guys—Ben Hayslip and Dallas, all writing songs and sending them, everyday you get one and you go, ‘oh my God, that’s even better than the other one I was gonna cut!'”

Be on the lookout for Toby Keith's video to "Made In America" today.

The tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton: "I'm so hung over right now I just salt and peppered a wet dish rag and put new batteries... In my cat."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Eric Church ticked off his record label last August, taking the entire month off instead of raking in cash by touring. He needed the time off to hide out in a cabin in North Carolina to write songs for "Chief," his latest album. He took a month off the grid - no computer, no phone, no tv, in order to let his creativity flow. The cd's name comes from his grandfather's nickname. According to Eric, "He was chief of police, but he spent every weekend either making or participating in Wilkes County moonshine." Eric's new cd is getting shining reviews from the critics!

Alan Jackson gets ideas for songs in odd places, and there's no telling how many #1 songs he'd have by now if he could just remember them all. According to Alan, “There’s been a lot of places I’ve been, whether it’s a restaurant or bar, or somewhere with people, and you get some kind of little hook or idea that you can’t, you try to remember. A lot of times I get the ideas in places like that, and then I don’t write ‘em down, and then you forget what the idea is anyway.” He's working on a new cd, due out this fall.

Trace Adkins has a new cd coming out Tuesday, and the first single, "Just Fishin'," is doing well. Also on the album is another duet with Blake Shelton called "If I Was a Woman, I'd Love a Man Like Me." About the cut, Trace remarks, “I didn’t know if there would be anybody in this business that would be silly enough to sing ‘If I Was a Woman, I’d Love a Man Like Me’ other than Blake. But, it’s just a perfect song for he and I to do together and the way that we wrote the song pointed straight at Blake.” Their last duet, "Hillbilly Bone," went #1 so both have high hopes for this one.

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's oldest daughter, Gracie, is taking after her parents in more ways than one. Tim describes his 14-year-old daughter this way, “She grew up all over the sudden last year. She’s 5-foot-6 or 5-foot-7 and looks like a beach volleyball player.” Don't be surprised to see Gracie McGraw's name in tv or movie credits someday, as she's totally immersed in school theater programs and wants to be an actress when she grows up. Apples don't usually fall far from the tree!

ESPN is doing a high school makeover show called "Rise Up." It premiers on September 13, features athletic makeovers for deserving high schools, and the reason I'm telling you about it is that Kenny Chesney will provide the theme song for the show.

Zac Brown Band has partnered with Gander Mountain, seller of outdoor gear and specialty items, to carry the Southern Ground product line. The nationwide chain will carry Zac's cookbooks, spices and sauces, along with a hat being sold to benefit Soles4Souls, a charitable group that gives shoes to those who need them.

Kix Brooks is the featured speaker at the 30th Annual Alumni & Fan Preseason Kickoff at Louisiana Tech next month. Kix graduated from that school in 1978 with a degree in communications.

Chris Young is on Jimmy Kimmel Live! tonight.

Happy birthday to Bill Engvall, Bobbie Gentry and Duncan Cameron of Sawyer Brown.

The tweet of the day is from Jimmy Wayne: "someone said 'I like my coffee like I do my women' I thought ground & stored in the freezer. Was that weird?"

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Today, Montgomery Gentry performs at the first ever "USO Homefront Concert" in Kentucky for the USO and the Kentucky National Guard. The show is free to U.S. military families and the volunteers who support them. It'll be broadcast live on the Pentagon Channel and the Armed Forces Radio Network.

Over the weekend, Rascal Flatts delighted a bunch of their fans by crashing their own party. Whaaa? Before the Flatts Fest shows, there's a lot of interactive fan fun, and Gary, Jay and Joe Don decided that the fans shouldn't have all the fun. They wandered through the fan zone, stopping in to be witnesses to the wedding going on in their "Why Wait" wedding chapel, and joining a stunned singer on the karaoke stage to give her moral support as she sang, and then delighting those gathered with a song of their own. For those of us who weren't there, GAC will cover the fun Thursday on "Headline Country" and CMT's "Insider" will have the story on Saturday.

There are blogs about tech stuff, blogs about music and now there's a blog about the lyrics Taylor Swift writes on her arm for concerts. For Taylor fans, this is a must-read each day.

Alan Jackson's new video for "Long Way to Go" was shot in Florida, in some of their famous liquid sunshine.

Joey+Rory have been dreaming of a white Christmas - and singing it, too. October 11th is the drop date for "A Farmhose Christmas." In a bid to do something fairly unique, 10 of the 12 songs on the project are either new songs or cuts never before released as Christmas songs. The standards are "Away in a Manger" and "Blue Christmas." They also took on Merle Haggard's "If We Make It Through December," a song that was never meant to be a holiday song. Joey said, “We can’t begin to tell you what an honor it is to have Merle singing on it with us. There are some dreams that even when they come true, you still think you must be dreaming… and this is one.”

Some amazing items and experiences are up for grabs from your favorite artists, and they would make great Christmas gifts, if you want to start shopping early. An on-line auction benefitting The Grammy Foundation's "MusiCares" features a guitar signed by Kenny Chesney, cds signed by Lady Antebellum, a chance to get up close and personal with Sugarland and Keith Urban, and more great music-related things. The auction only runs through Friday, so hop on it.

It was six years ago today that Jason Aldean landed on the country music scene, releasing his self-titled debut cd. What was he doing before that? Working at a Pepsi plant and trying to get noticed as a performer. Balancing the two was tough, but he had a friend that hooked him up. According to Jason, “My friend that was workin’ there, you know was cool enough to uh…to kind of let me do that. You know, basically kind of let me work when I wanted to and he uh, he understood my situation. So, it was pretty cool and I worked there for a few years. But, I love Pepsi. You know, it’s cool. But, I think I drank so many of them that now I’m kind of over it and Coke’s my favorite!” In 2005, "Hicktown," "Why" and "Amarillo Sky" took off, ensuring that Jason wouldn't ever have to work in a plant again.

The tweet of the day is from Brad Paisley: "Busy week. Just got finished negotiatiing the NFL lockout deal, now I'm headed to Washington to work on the debt deal."

Monday, July 25, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Taylor Swift spent four nights rocking the fans in Newark, NJ and the show even got great reviews from the New York Post. There was one kinda scary moment for Taylor, when the balcony she uses to fly over the crowd while she sings "Love Story" started swaying out of control. The flying Taylor and her balcony made an emergency landing on the stage and she finished the show with her feet on the ground.

Meanwhile, Blake Shelton rocked the world of one fan - Mandy Rolbiecki - before his performance at Country Jam USA in Wisconsin. Seven-year-old Mandy suffers from Crohn's Disease, and the Make-A-Wish foundation reached out to Blake, letting him know that her wish was to hang out with him. Blake obliged, even making sure she was on stage when he sang her favorite song, "Ol Red." How did Mandy describe the experience? "It was awesome meeting him!" she said.

Darius Rucker has been tapped to be part of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Fall Gala on October 29th in Connecticut. He'll do a tribute to Stevie Wonder and also receive the Sprit of Hope Award at the event. Proceeds go towards research and treatment for this incurable blood cancer.

The list of top-earners among American Idol alums is out for 2011, and Carrie Underwood tops it. According to Forbes, she's made $20 million so far this year. Kelly Clarkson comes in at #6 on the list with a take of $2.5 million, and Kellie Pickler is #8 with $1.8 million.

Remember Bucky Covington, the former American Idol? He was doing a show at the Iron Horse Saloon in Ormond Beach, Florida last month when the concert promoter was rushed to the hospital for a suspected heart attack. Later, the promoter called police, claiming that Bucky, his brother and sister-in-law stole a cash box with $1,500 in it from the venue. Bucky says the accusations are false, and police are still looking into the case.

Love Vince Gill? Road trip time - Vince celebrates 20 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry on August 30th, and the show will include Martina McBride, John Anderson, Emmylou Harris and of course Amy Grant and Jenny Gill. Next year, Vince gets a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Congrats to Brad Paisley, who's earned gold certification for "This is Country Music," to Jason Aldean's gold "Dirt Road Anthem" and Luke Bryan's "Country Girl Shake it For Me," Kenny Chesney's "Beer in Mexico," The Band Perry's "You Lie" and Rascal Flatts "I Won't Let Go" which are all gold. Sara Evans' "A Little Bit Stronger" is platinum.

Phil Vassar's new song, "Let's Get Together," has a party vibe. In it, Phil sings about having a crowd of people at his house. When the crew showed up to his house, according to Phil, "So we're shooting a video and a party broke out!"

Willie Nelson will be inducted into the Agricultural Hall of Fame for his support of American family farmers via his annual Farm Aid concert events. He's raised nearly $40 million over the past 25 years, and he'll be awarded the Hall of Fame induction on August 13th in Kansas City, just before Farm Aid #26.

Congratulations to Chris Young on his 4th straight #1 song with "Tomorrow."

Eric Church, Randy Montana and Ronnie Milsap all release albums tomorrow.

The tweet of the day is from The Band Perry: "Sharp knives of short lives. Heartbroken for the Norwegians. Tragic days. Sending warm thoughts and honest prayers."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Last year it sold for $1.4 million. This year, it's on the market for $1.45 million. The Nashville estate that Taylor Swift bought is on the market, so if you have some spare change, maybe you should snap it up.

Toby Keith's golf course, BelMar Golf Club, seems snake-bit. Last week, a thief walked in and helped himself to cash in the bar cash register, and early yesterday morning the pool house burned to the ground. No one was injured, but the building is a total loss.

Martina McBride took to Twitter yesterday, asking for help naming her upcoming albm. She appreciated the help, but no word if one of her tweeps came up with the title that will grace Martina's new project, due to be released on October 18th. She's enjoyed the process of recording her 11th studio album, saying “There’s such a great energy and positive energy and I feel safe and supported to create and not have to worry about this, that or the other thing. For me, right now, it’s all about the music and I feel that I can go in there and make the very best album that I can possibly make.”

Luke Bryan was invited to the Marine Ball in Albany, GA by Lance Corporal Nicole McCoy. She's married, and so is Luke, but according to him, "My wife, she obviously understands, and there is no bigger supporter of the troops than her. Whatever we can do to make their jobs easier and offer support, that’s what we want to do.” Luke's checking his schedule, but, "I don’t necessarily know if I can go to the Ball with her. I think I may be working somewhere … When I get home, though, I’m gonna check it out and see what we can do.” Lance Corporal McCoy made her invitation to Luke via YouTube, and chose to ask Luke because she and her entire family are huge fans.

Darius Rucker's wife is a changed woman. Beth Rucker is now a country music fan and enjoys listening to country radio. According to Darius, “We listen to the radio constantly. Country radio is always on. I gotta wife from Jersey who four years ago, five years ago if you’d told her she’d be listening to country music everyday she would have told you, you were crazy. And now, it’s all she wants to listen to. You know, it’s cool because there’s so many good songs. There’s so many great songs on the radio.”

Carrie Underwood and Tony Bennett will be part of the CBS show "Blue Bloods" on September 23rd. The two will play themselves, doing a benefit concert for the town's new mayor. They duet on "It Had to be You," a song they recorded for Tony's "Duets II" cd, in stores on September 20th.

Reba's son Shelby has finished the Ford Racing High Performance Driving School, meaning he's a licensed racer. According to the proud mom, he hopes to compete in Indy Car and NASCAR sometime in the not-too-distant future.

Congratulations to The Band Perry, whose song "You Lie" has just been certified gold.

Eli Young Band plays a post-race concert at the Federated Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Nationwide series race at the Nashville Superspeedway tomorrow.

Catch Dolly Parton on The Tonight Show, performing her new song "Together You and I."

Happy birthday on Sunday to Pam Tillis, who turns 54, and to Jerrod Niemann, who'll be 32.

The tweet of the day is from Trent Tomlinson: "I wonder what the check in lady at the peabodys gonna say about my shotgun and duck call?"

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

There's a bright spot in America's dreary economy - concert ticket sales. Because of tours, money is pouring into local economies, and country artists are definitely doing their part. Check out Pollstar's list of top country concerts and what they've generated in just the first half of this year:

#4 - Kenny Chesney - 446.7 million
#6 - Taylor Swift - 429.5 million
#15 - George Strait, Reba, Lee Ann Womack - $18.4 million
#27 - Brad Paisley - $11.9 million
#28 - Jason Aldean - $11.8 million
#33 - Sugarland - $10.1 million
#39 - Rascal Flatts - $9.2 million
#49 - Tim McGraw - $7.3 million
#50 - Zac Brown Band - $6.7 million

Jason Aldean was pitched a movie script about a month ago, and he says he's not ruling out acting, but he wants to ease into it, no leap into a big role right away. He says he wants to avoid kissing on-screen, though, because he doens't want his kids to see it and be confused. He's even careful about his music videos, though his creative people keep trying. According to Jason, “It seems like every time I get a video treatment, for some reason it's got me hooking up with some girl and I'm like, damn, y'all gotta get somebody else to do that.”

Fans turned out to see Luke Bryan at the Grand Ole Opry last night for a benefit concert. Parts of the show will be on an upcoming episode of "Jimmy Kimmel Live" so fans who couldn't be in Nashville can see the show, too. One of Luke's biggest fans is his little son, Bo, who is three. The proud daddy says Bo is into all sorts of things. “Well, he’s kinda—he’s obsessed with baseball, playing drums, fishing, …the ‘Country Girl Shake It For Me’ video. He’s kinda everywhere, you know? He’s kinda stubborn like his dad. But he’s kinda comin’ in to his own and gettin’ his own little personality, and its fun watching your kids become little people, you know?”

If you are a musician, it could be time for a road trip to Nashville this Saturday. For the second time in the history of the National Association of Music Merchants trade show, the doors will be open to the general public to see the latest musical gear before it hits retail shelves. The "Wanna Play Music Day" will feature vendors with hundreds of new products, live performances, demos, workshops and autograph signings.

Ronnie Dunn's new song, "Cost of Living," had to undergo a re-write before it could be part of his debut solo cd. When it was being written, gas was "two dollars and change." By the time they went into the studio to record it, gas was over $3 a gallon, necessitating a lyric change. Ronnie says that, for everyone's sake, he hopes there doesn't have to be another revision down the road.

Check out Lady Antebellum's sneak peek at the recording of "Own the Night."

Brantley Gilbert has a surprise for the children of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in the next 24 hours. I'm not spilling the beans, but will tell you all about it once the kids know.

Congrats to Blake Shelton, who has the #1 album, all genres, this week with "Red River Blue." The cd moved more than 116,000 copies, nearly a third of which were digital copies.

Happy birthday to Paul Brandt, who turns 39 today and to Brad Mates of Emerson Drive, who is 33.

The tweet of the day is from Eddie Montgomery of Mongomery Gentry: "Wow what a day house is empty but I'm smiling like a 2 dollar bill in a strip joint!!!!! HELLYEAH !!!"

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Tim McGraw is walking around in an orthopedic boot because he broke a bone in his foot. Problem is, he has no idea how he did it. He thinks it could have happened while on stage, because he's pretty active, running around and jumping off the speakers. He kept up the tour schedule and his daily runs for a couple of weeks, until the pain got so bad he couldn't walk. That's when Faith convinced him to see a doctor. It's a fracture, not a complete break, and the doctor has told him no more running for a few weeks. He's using a seated elliptical machine twice a day to try to keep those muscles in tone, and when he's on stage, he's seen sporting a cane to get around.

Miranda Lambert is excited to share her new music with fans, debuting "Baggage Claim" on stage at a show in South Carolina.

The new cd, "Four the Record," drops November 1.

Taylor Swift is in Canada on her "Speak Now" tour, and paid tribute to Canadian singers with this medley...

Jason Aldean is proud of his record label, Broken Bow Records, for backing his 7th #1 single, "Dirt Road Anthem." As Jason explains, “Dirt Road was almost the first single from this record. We thought about coming out with that as the lead single. And to the credit of my record company—they’ve always been really cool at letting me talk ‘em into things that they may not necessarily be 100 percent on, but they were behind this song. To their credit, they dug it. And I love that about them, is that they’re not scared to let us go out and be a little different and try some new things.”

Add The Band Perry to the list of artists working on Christmas albums this month. They're cutting holiday classics, including "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." No release date yet, but it'll be before Christmas, for sure!

Even though she's just had her new son, Jewel is on the cover of Fit Pregnancy magazine. Pick it up and see how she managed to stay fit while pregnant with her frst child and how she's bouncing back after delivery.

Happy birthday to Radney Foster, who turns 52 today, and T.G. Sheppard, who is 67.

The tweet of the day is from Jewel: "Tweets! Been in a daily heaven with my angel boy... Not much sleep but high on love....what a sweet thing to be a part of"

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Toby Keith is reported to be spitting mad after a golf club he owns was robbed. Last Wednesday, a man walked into the BelMar golf club in Norman, Oklahoma, stole cash from the bar's register and walked away without being caught or questioned. Toby released surveillance tape to the local tv station and is asking people to identify the culprit so justice can be served.

It happened again Saturday night at a Tim McGraw show - rowdy guys down front almost got an entire row of concert-goers tossed. A couple of guys got into it and were fighting, and Tim told them, “Dude, calm down, calm down. If it happens again, that entire row is gone.” Apparently the emotions cooled down in the audience so that the Emotional Traffic could keep on rolling onstage. If you're going to a Tim McGraw show, mind your manners!

Tomorrow night in Nashville, Luke Bryan will give a free concert at the Grand Ole Opry House. It's the 4th annual "Summer Krush" concert series and part of the show will be filmed to will air on Jimmy Kimmel Live on August 11.

Lady Antebellum's "Own the Night," due out September 13th, has 12 tracks, with 10 of them penned by Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley. The trio also have co-produced the project, ensuring that the songs sound exactly as they imagined them as they were writing. They worked with Paul Worley, co-producer of "Need You Now," so we can probably expect more huge hits. The first track on the project, "Just a Kiss," is the fastest-rising single ever for Lady A.

Gloriana is working to decide their future as former member Cheyenne Kimball plans her wedding after splitting from the band earlier this month. According to Tom Gossin, “We’ve got some creative decisions to make with whether or not we…maybe go on a search for a new member or, you know, maybe even keeping it as a three piece and changing things up a little bit. We’re working through all that right now. But we’re definitely pressing on. We’ve got this album that we can’t wait for people to hear.”

Kid Rock has a rough-guy-tough-guy image, but he's got a softer side. He's a sucker for a sad story, especially when he's on tour. According to Kid, “If I’m reading a newspaper…see something that’s just an ugly story, sometimes I just try to re-instill a little faith in human nature in people and send a check or do something nice for them.” Awwwww...

Darius Rucker's video for "I Got Nothin'" is on CMT...and right here.

I don't know about you, but I want that library!

Keith Urban's song "Days Go By" was the astronaut wake-up song early Monday morning. It was the crew's last full day on the International Space Station, as they pack up and prepare to return to Earth on Thursday morning.

Shania Twain has been invited to be on Michael Buble's Christmas album. The two are duetting on "White Christmas," and according to Michael, “We did it bouncy. I was inspired by ‘Home Alone,’ the Drifters.” No release date yet for the project, but Christmas is coming in five months, so you know it's going to be before then.

Congratulations to Jason Aldean, who has the #1 country song in America this week with "Dirt Road Anthem."

The tweet of the day is from Martina McBride: "Is everyone out doing something fun besides me? #Iwantadatewithmyhusbandrightn​ow"

Monday, July 18, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Billboard Magazine has dubbed Kenny Chesney the "biggest ticket seller in country music." His "Goin' Coastal" tour is filling up arenas and stadiums all over North America, and here's a peek at the production, by the numbers.

110 - the number of people traveling with Kenny to stage the arena shows.
140 - the number of people on hand to put on a stadium show.
10 - the number of buses in the Kenny Chesney tour fleet.
23 - the number of trucks it takes to move the show from one city to the next.
8 - the number of hours it takes to set up Kenny's stage, lighting and music.
80,000 - the number of pounds of staging, lighting and amps that make up the "Goin' Coastal" set.
60,000 - the number of miles Kenny and his entourage of people and trucks will drive for this year's tour.

Josh Turner threw a party and thousands of people showed up, donating over $150,000 for tornado relief in the northwest Georgia town of Ringgold. The town's middle and high schools were heavily damaged, and the money will go towards rebuilding. The show started late, due to a downpour that turned the venue into a big mud puddle.

Lady Antebellum had to reschedule last Friday night's Toledo, Ohio show. Hillary Scott's grandmother passed away, so the show was moved to August 10th and tickets will be honored on that date.

How does Toby Keith manage to have so many great hit songs? He says his goal is to write at least 50 songs a year, some by himself and some with songwriting buddies Scotty Emerick and Bobby Pinson. No word on whether he'll share any of those songs with his daughter, Krystal, who is working on her debut country album with Daddy producing.

It's not due to be internatonally released until fall of next year, but Taylor Swift's first fragrance will ship to 3,400 stored nationwide in Spetember of this year. "Wonderstruck" was inspired by the lyrics to "Enchanted," a song on Taylor's "Speak Now" cd.

Going to take a backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry? Your tour guide will be none other than Blake Shelton. He's recorded a video guide of the stars' dressing rooms, Studio A and the Opry's Green Room. Blake says the Opry experience is one that never gets old. Carrie Underwood joins him at one point on the tour.

If you've already set your DVR to record the "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock" on August 7th, you need to make a change. The show, originally scheduled to air on the 7th, will now air on August 14th starting at 8pm on ABC. The three-hour show was up against the Teen Choice Awards originally, and there are several country acts appearing on that show, so network honchos decided to reschedule the best of the CMA Festival.

Didja miss Brad Paisley on Good Mornng America Friday morning? Here it is for your viewing pleasure...

And here's some bonus backstage footage from Brad's appearance...

Happy birthday to Ricky Skaggs, who turns 57 today.

The tweet of the day is from Radney Foster: "I've just been butt-dialed by Sunny Sweeney. I must be somebody"

Friday, July 15, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

VH1's "Do Something Awards" nominees have been named, and a bunch of country is showing up. Awards will be handed out to those who get the most on-line votes, so if you want to support country, vote early and vote often. Nominated for awards are Blake Shelton, Reba, Taylor Swift and Jimmy Buffett for their benefit concerts in the past year. The awards will be handed out August 18th.

Vogue magazine is out with their annual issue of fashion icons. In a feature called "American Idols: Icons of Stateside Style" Tommy Hilfiger chose Taylor Swift for her stylish casual summer looks as well as her red-carpet glamour.

Willie Nelson is being recognized for his committment to green causes. No, not that kind of green! His long-time support of family farmers, his biodiesel tour bus and his encouragement of others to follow in his footsteps has landed him the "Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance Visionary Award" in San Francisco next Friday.

Blake Shelton is sometimes outrageous, sometimes very thoughtful but always very honest. When questioned about his crazy Twitter behavior and whether he needs to tone it down a little bit, Blake replies, “I hope people learn from me it’s OK to be yourself. It’s OK to offend somebody…If you don’t stand for something, how can anyone respect what you do?”

Craig Morgan's 5th annual Charity Ride and Concert will happen August 6th and 7th in his hometown of Vanleer, Tennessee. The motocross/sporting clay shoot and concert event takes up the whole weekend and benefits Billy's Place, a home for temporarily homeless children. Celebrities confirmed for the weekend include Bucky Covington, Pam Tillis and Sarah Darling.

Blake Shelton was his normal rowdy self on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Miss it? Oh, no you dih-uhn!

Luke Bryan's latest LBTV episode recaps his week, playing a festival in Ohio, the original site of Woodstock and some down-time fun...

Loretta Lynn is resting at home after having to cancel a few shows after treatment for heat exhaustion and dehydration. The Conneticut and Ohio shows will be rescheduled if possible.

Congratulations to Eric Church, who's latest album, "Carolina," has been certified gold. At the party, Eric said, "I have a pretty strong opinion of the identity of who I am and where I'm heading. It may take a little longer, but I promise we're going to kick everybody's ass in the end." Now that's a flaming stake in the ground, but one that Eric can certainly live up to. His new cd, "Chief," comes out a week from Tuesday.

Brad Paisley is on Good Morning America and Billy Ray Cyrus is on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Happy birthday today to Linda Ronstadt, who turns 65 today and to Luke Bryan and Craig Morgan, who both celebrate birthdays on Sunday.

The tweet of the day is from Brad Paisley: "Anyone who gets up early for the @GMA concert series friday will recieve a limited edition bright warm smile. Don't delay! Act now!"

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Taylor Swift is on a roll in her career, and her fan base is pretty dedicated. When Taylor started writing some of her lyrics on her arms and hands, some of her fans followed suit in a more permanent way - tattoos! According to Taylor, fans show her “Lots of lyric tattoos...I was seated next to a seat filler at the Billboard Awards. She said, ‘Hey, check it out!’ She had ‘Fearless’ tattooed on her wrist. You know, there are girls who tattooed lyrics like, there was this girl who had on one arm, ‘I’m not a princess, this ain’t a fairytale.’ And then, there are people who like, actually go for the face! They just, like, tattoo my face on parts of their body.”

Kid Rock threw himself a birthday party at Hotel on Rivington in New York, and among the 200 guests were Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert. They enjoyed rock shrimp tacos, sipped on Kid Rock's o
wn American Badass beer and headed for the roof to take in the New York skyline at night, hand in hand.

August 7th is the air date for the three-hour ABC-TV special, "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock." Performers include all of the top country artists who were in Nashville for the CMA Music Festival in June, so yes, that means your favorite is bound to be part of the show.

Dierks Bentley is the star performer at the Franklin Fire Company benefit concert in Pennsylvania tomorrow night. It's a sure bet that the firefighters and their friends will "feel that fire" when Dierks takes the stage. Tickets to the show are available at the door on Friday evening and at the local high school during the day tomorrow.

Cheyenne Kimball, who up until this past weekend was a member of Gloriana, tweeted that she is now engaged. Her intended is musician Benji White, and the two celebrated their happiness at the popular Nashville night spot, 3rd and Lindsley. Cheyenne has been engaged once before, last fall, but that relationship broke up shortly after the engagement was announced.

It's the Hats Off to the Opry Sweepstakes, and you can win his and her Stetson outfits plus a trip to Nashville. Brad Paisley, Stetson and the Grand Ole Opry have teamed up to give you a shot a really fun prize. Enter once a day until September 5th for your chance to win.

Little Big Town has a weekly video feature called "Scattered, Smothered and Covered" where they cover another artist's song. Showing off their amazing vocal ability, this week they tackle Jessie J's "Price Tag" and nailed it!

And Jaron and the Long Road to Love (aka Jaron Lowenstein) was on Extra, performing "Beautiful Lies."

America is exporting a couple of hot tours north of the border this weekend. Taylor Swift resumes her "Speak Now" tour tonight in Montreal, and Kenny Chesney's "Goin' Coastal" tour heads for Canada this weekend, too.

Congratulations to Justin Moore who has the #1 country song in America with "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away."

And further congrats to Easton Corbin, whose first two singles have both gone gold. He's the first male solo artist in 17 years to have that happen, since Clay Walker did it in 1993 with "What's It To You" followed by "Live a Little." Easton did it with "I'm a Little More Country Than That" and "Roll With It." How is Easton feeling about the accomplishment? Humble. He says, “You know, I was just goin’ in there and cuttin’ music I believed in and…and uh, you know, again I’m so fortunate for all the fans in radio and the industry to get behind me and, and really be supportive!”

It's a re-run, but Steel Magnolia is on Jimmy Kimmel Live tonight.

The tweet of the day is from Jewel, tweeting about her newborn son: "1 little piece of heaven broke ranks from the sky and fell into my arms...he smells like a peach, warmed by the sun..."

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

There's a new little country bundle of joy - Jewel and hubby Ty Murray welcomed their first child into the world on Monday in Texas. Kase Townes Murray weighed in at 7 lbs., 6 oz. Says Jewel, “Ty and I are so pleased to welcome our new baby boy into the world. We are overcome with happiness – it really is as great as everyone told us it would be – better even!” The couple have been trying for a long time to get pregnant, and when she was 5 months along, Jewel was in a bad car crash. Luckily, neither mom or child was injured. With a professional bull rider as a daddy and a singer/songwriter as a mommy, Kase is sure to be one talented little country kid!

Chris Young celebrated the release of his new cd, "Neon," on Good Morning America yesterday. Here's the live version of his current hit, "Tomorrow."

Blake Shelton is making the rounds of the tv talk shows, chatting up his new cd, "Red River Blue." He jokingly threw Miranda Lambert under the bus while talking to Jimmy Fallon about songs they've written together, saying, “Finally, you know, it was like…it came down to time to record and it was like, ‘Hey babe, are you thinking about cutting this song?’ ‘Yes…why?’ ‘Oh, no reason.’ So, anything we write…she gets first pick of and it’s usually the only ones that are worth a crap.” He posted his musings on music yesterday...shameless plug for his new cd included.

And Craig Campbell's new song, "Fish," has a video. Be prepared to laugh...this is a funny, sort of bawdy song...

Cosmopolitan magazine compiled a list of the hottest men on tour, and Kenny Chesney made the cut. There are 15 guys on the list and 11 pictures in the photo spread, though only one of Kenny.

Happy birthday to Louise Mandrell, who turns 57 today.

Blake Shelton is on LIVE! With Regis & Kelly this morning and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon tonight. VH1 goes behind the music with Miranda Lambert tonight, and Billy Ray Cyrus is on The View.

The tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton: "I'm so drunk right now I just announced to the hotel lobby "Listen up people!! I have a bomb in my pants.. Now, who wants to disarm it?!""

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Gloriana is now a trio, as Cheyenne Kimball left the band over the weekend with a tweet. At the end of a show in Missouri, she didn't return to the bus. After waiting as long as they could, the rest of the band took off for their next show, and Cheyenne tweeted, “Fans, I'm no longer going to be a part of Gloriana. It's been a great 4 years and thank you for all of ur support. See u soon.” In a prepared statement, the group's Tom and Mike Gossin and Rachel Reinert said, "We need you to know that Gloriana will absolutely continue on. We couldn't imagine our lives any other way ... We wish Cheyenne the best of luck in whatever lies ahead for her." Last night, she tweeted, "Don't worry you guys. I will be giving my side of the story soon. Xo" No word on what Cheyenne is planning, but at this point the remaing three plan to release their next album this fall.

Remember last year, when Jimmy Wayne walked 1,700 miles across America to raise awareness of teen homelessness? i20productions is making a documentary of the trek, and Jimmy say it's "a great opportunity for us to spread the message even further. I am incredibly grateful that the people involved in the company understand the plight of these foster children, who age out of the system and are left without any options." He's also written a book about the 8 months he spent walking from Nashville to Arizona.

Dierks Bentley knows how to enjoy a day off, and will do almost anything for a beer...check this out!

It's official...Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood will once again host the CMA Music Awards. That was the big announcement yesterday, and it marks their 4th year in a row of co-hosting country music's biggest night.

Congrats to Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher, who celebrated their first wedding anniversary over the weekend at the exclusive Blackberry Farms resort in the Smokey Mountains of east Tennessee. Their actual anniversary was on July 10th, but they managed to squeeze a whole weekend out of the celebration.

Congrats to Taylor Swift, whose "Speak Now" cd has already gone quintuple-platinum for 5 million units sold. And kudos to Justin Moore, who has his second #1 song with "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away."

Did you miss seeing Ashton Shepherd on the Tonight Show? Oh, no you dih-uhn!

Catch Blake Shelton on the David Letterman Show tonight, LIVE! with Regis and Kelly tomorrow morning and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon tomorrow night.

New music out today is Blake Shelton's "Red River Blue," Ashton Shepherd's "Where Country Grows" and Chris Young's "Neon." If you like your country stars on DVD, you're in luck...Trace Adkins' turn in "The Lincoln Lawyer" is in stores today, as is Martina McBride's CMT Crossroads episode with Train.

The tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton: "My new album is out in less than 12 hours!! I can't wait to hear it!! I was so drunk when recorded it I can't remember whats on it..."

Monday, July 11, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Jason Aldean is the featured performer at tonight's State Farm Home Run Derby, part of Major League Baseball's 2011 All Star Week. He took part in the Legends & Celebrity Softball Game yesterday, which will air right after the home run derby tonight. This is sort of a dream come true for him, being part of the All-Star celebrations. He used to dream of being a pro baseball player, and even went to college on a baseball scholarship. Who's his favorite team? The Braves.

This morning at 11am Eastern, two of country's biggest superstars will make what the CMA calls a "major announcement" via the CMA's Facebook page. No word on who the stars might be or what their announcement is, but it's sure to be something about the 45th Annual CMA Awards, scheduled to be handed out on November 9th at Bridgestone Arena.

Tim McGraw is hobbling around in a cast onstage because he's broken a bone in his foot. According to a post on his Facebook page, Tim said, “FOOTBALL, BASEBALL, car wrecks, bar fights, bullridin'...and this is the first broken bone I've ever had!” No details on how it happened, but it won't keep him from performing.

Congratulations to Justin Moore and his wife Kate, who are expecting their second daughter in November. Their first daughter, Ella Kole, was born in February of last year.

Taylor Swift missed out on a whole week of shows, rescheduling the sold-out Charlotte and Atlanta shows until this fall. Bronchitis has laid her voice low and her doctor said she has to rest. The tour resumes in Montreal on July 14th.

Miranda Lambert announced her next album plans while on Good Morning America Friday. It'll be out on November first, will be called "Four the Record" and she hopes to record a duet with hubby Blake Shelton for the project. And in more Miranda music news, her "girl group" Pistol Annies will release their debut cd featuring "Hell on Heels" August 23rd.

Earlier this year, Neal McCoy added "wedding singer" to his resume, when he was the featured entertainment at Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert's shindig. Now, he can add the title "Grandpa" to his list of accomplishments. Neal's daughter Miki and her husband Trevor welcomed their first child and Neal's first grandchild into the world on July 7th. Titan McCoy Strong was 7 pounds, 6 ounces and 21 inches long, and he and his mama are both doing great.

New music out tomorrow includes Blake Shelton's "Red River Blue," Ashton Shepherd's "Where Country Grows" and Chris Young's "Neon." Chris will celebrate the release by playing live on Good Morning America tomorrow.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

It's Independence Day, a commemoration of the very brave Founding Fathers, who risked their life, liberty and happiness in order to build an independent nation. Those signers of the Declaration of Independence epitomized the bravery and can-do spirit of America.

On this day, country music artists reminisce about what the 4th of July means to them.

Josh Turner: “All the individual families kind of had a lot of competition with each other and they tried to outdo each other to try and see who had the biggest and baddest fireworks and all that. My daddy I think was the smartest one. He just went out and bought maybe 25-dollars worth of fireworks and let everybody else put on the big show. So, he saved a lot of money!”

Carrie Underwood: “America really is, you know, the land of opportunity. It’s the only place in the world that I could try out for some show and win and…amongst hundreds of thousands of people…and go on to do great things. I mean, it’s just the land of ‘anything could happen.’ The people in it are what makes it great.”

Chris Young: “Fourth of July is always a big day with me and my dad. I think we spend, like, four-hundred dollars, five-hundred dollars on fireworks alone during Fourth of July. And we go do a cookout at the house, and then we set off fireworks. And we’ve almost blown ourselves up a couple times, but you know, it’s somethin’ that me and my dad just love gettin’ out there and doin’. It’s a lot of fun for us.”

Jerrod Niemann: “Well, as a kid, I loved Fourth of July because I could shoot Roman candles at my siblings. But then when you finally understand what it stands for, and you’re old enough to grasp that the only reason you can shoot Roman candles at your siblings is because there’s people out there that are sacrificing their lives and allowed all of us to continue to be free and do the things that we love.”

Kenny Chesney: “You know what? I was usually playin’ little-league baseball on the Fourth of July. You know, I was big into sports, and the summertime in east Tennessee consisted of playin’ baseball, and that’s what I did on the Fourth of July. And they had a big fireworks display after all the games, and I was usually, you know, tryin’ to win the affection of some little girl over at the concession stand. And, you know, things don’t change very much!”

Miranda Lambert: “I love holidays in general, but Fourth of July is…summer is my favorite time of year, so Fourth of July is probably one of my favorites because…my favorite firework is sparklers. Always it brings out the little girl in me. I always ask for sparklers for Fourth of July”

Billy Currington: “My best memories would be hanging out with my mom and brother and sister on the beach of Tybee Island, right off the coast of Savannah, Georgia. We’d go there pretty much every year and we’d light our own fireworks and watch the ones they had for us. Those were some of the best times of my life.”

Jake Owen: “Fourth of July is my weekend, man to relax. Every year, we do a big boat party and just a lot of my friends, family...cook a lot of food, do a lot of wakeboarding, water skiing, hang out, get sunburnt…get a little buzz…and have a good time.”

Darius Rucker: “Oh, I love fireworks. We had the bottle rocket fights and all that good stuff. I was the typical little crazy kid, you know. In South Carolina it was always legal, so we shot fireworks when it was legal. We did all that sort of stuff. I almost blew my hand off once.”

No matter how you spend your day, have fun, be safe and remember the bravery that made our nation possible.

I'm on vacation for the rest of the week...see you on July 11th!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Blake Shelton is featured in the current issue of US magazine, talking about how Miranda Lambert has changed him. Saying he wouldn't take back one single thing he did in his wild, drinking-til-7am-pizza-for-breakfast-at-noon days, he says, “Now if I want to go drinking, I only want to sit at the house with Miranda watching ‘Snapped’ on TV at home. She really is that rock for me and the center of all of this.” Awwwww...! And this just in - confirmation that all four judges from The Voice will return for season 2. Online auditions are going on now for the show, which will tape late this year or very early in 2012.

Trace Adkins spent yesterday in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, helping to raise money and awareness for the preservation of endangered Civil War battlefields. He's working with The Civil War Trust in its mission to protect endangered sites and to promote education and tourism for them.

The video is out for Zac Brown Band and Jimmy Buffet's "Knee Deep."

Brad Paisley's music is featured in the new Cars 2 movie, and one song, "Nobody's Fool," is a very bluesy track. According to Brad, “That kind of thing is really fun for me, and it’s especially good timing because I just released what I would consider my ‘countriest’ album. So it’s not like somebody can see that and say, ‘Well see? He’s leaving!’ I’m not leaving. I just happen to be able to get away with things like that every now and then, with the right opportunity.”

If you've been on the sidelines for much of the Taylor Swift phenomenon and wondered how she's managed to garner such a host of rabid fans, she posted a blog yesterday that will help you understand why people love her like they do. Take a minute and read it...unless you're totally convinced you never want to even like her. If that's the case, then don't read it, because if you have even half a heart, you'll give it all to her after reading this blog post.

Congrats to Toby Keith, whose Bluebird Cafe benefit concert raised $20,000. That's an astonishing number when you consider that the venue's seating capacity is only 100 people!

Up and coming country singer Bradley Gaskins, whose song "Mr. Bartender" is climbing the charts, is excited about finally breaking through. Why? His dreams for his dad. According to Bradley, “It’s the first single that I’ve ever had to reach country radio. And it’s really crazy for him now, ’cause before that, he said, ‘Boy, I’m gonna give you this drywall job and let you have it,’ and I said, ‘Dad, no offense, but I don’t want it because I’ve seen it beat you down, and I’m gonna try to retire you someday.’ And I said, ‘So I’m gonna try to make it in the music business.’” Now that's incentive!

Happy birthday to Michelle Wright, who turns 50 today. It's also the anniversary of the birth of the late Keith Whitley. He would have been 56 today.

The tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton: "Oh hell.. Woke up and read that I signed up for Season 2 of The Voice... Damn you Bacardi!!! I was going to retire!!!!"