Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Jason Aldean's song "My Kinda Party" is the ACC Network's theme song this year, and Jason's pumped. Not just because they're using his song...he's more practical than that. “I’m just hoping to get some free tickets out of the deal, man. Some sideline passes and, ya know, I actually rewrote, some of the lyrics and stuff to kinda fit what they’re doing with it and, ya know, it’s cool, ‘cause I’ve watched it and I’ve seen Brooks & Dunn and all those guys doing the same deal. Ya know, it’s cool that they want your music, ya know, that they want your song to kinda be that.” Each ACC game's television coverage will begin with a video montage set to Jason's music. In other Jason news, he had a #1 party for "Dirt Road Anthem" yesterday in Nashville.

Toby Keith's song "Made in America" is climbing the charts, and he's following in Trace Adkins' footsteps, trying to ensure that all of his merchandise is made in America. About the decision, Toby says, “It’s difficult to get everything American made. We try. It’s a mentality. You have to change your way of thinking to be American made and buy American made.” He goes on to say that even though it's tough, it's worth doing, for the future of our country, and Toby reminds us, “we could all do better.”

Miranda Lambert's musical taste is all over the board - Adele, Brandi, Beyonce...Merle Haggard? Yep, he's her musical hero, and according to Miranda, “I got to meet Merle Haggard. And most people don’t get to meet their heroes, you know? It’s very rare that people actually get to meet – face-to-face – their heroes and that was really, really special. I said like two-hundred words in 30 seconds just like ‘blah blah blah blah blah’ everything I’ve ever wanted to say to him. He signed my guitar, and he was so nice. You know, I was honestly scared to meet him because meeting your hero is like, ‘Well, what if they’re in a bad mood? And I’m crushed for my lifetime?’ But he was…he was awesome.”

Between concerts, the guys from Rascal Flatts are in the studio, working on an album. Jay DeMarcus has been tweeting about writing with his band-mates and working with producer Dan Huff. The project has no name and no release date, though it's targeted for a spring 2012 release.

Speaking of new releases, Mr. Carrie Underwood, Mike Fisher, is the subject of a new book out. Entitled "Defender of Faith: The Mike Fisher Story," it follows his rise to fame and life of faith, and of course includes discussion of his marriage to Carrie. Author Kim Washburn worked with Mike to get the tone and stories just right in the book that's available now.

If you or your favorite country guy likes serious country style, there's a new store to check out. Gary Allan and his styist, Renee Layher, have partnered to open a wonderland of men's country style in Nashville. "The Label" is on 12th Street in NashVegas and offers custom suits, shirts, leather jackets, jewelry and furniture. The shop opens tomorrow, and Gary says that's not a minute too soon. “I’ve worked with Renee a long time and I’ve always paid her to fly someplace to find my stuff, and it’s hard to find people that do really custom stuff just so that you’re not wearing something that somebody else is wearing, and still feel like it’s a flavor you want. Yeah, I feel like there’s a big hole for that here.” Road trip for a shopping session? On it!!

Rodney Atkins had a great time in East Tennessee last week. He taped a "CMT Origins" special, played for fans at Bristol Motor Speedway, was given the key to his hometown of Harrogate, TN and spent time at the Holston Children's Home, where he lived as a child before he was adopted. “This is such an honor for me,” says Atkins. “I will always be thankful for my upbringing and the opportunities my parents and this town afforded me. I will always remember the creek bed fishing, the long days at the ball park, as well as the hard knocks, but this town keeps a strong hold on my heart and I am honored to be holding the key to this city.”

Have you seen the video to Steve Holy's new song, "Love Don't Run?" It's the song...

Tracy Lawrence is out of legal hot water. He was charged early this month with disorderly conduct after he and a concert promoter got into it in a muddy backstage area. Tracy wanted his bus towed out of the mire, and the promoter took a swing or few, sending Tracy to the doctor for stitches in his face. According to Tracy's attorney, the charges were dropped because the evidence clearly "showed [Tracy] wasn't the aggressor and that he didn't do anything improper after he was punched.”

Jake Owens' "Barefoot Bluejean Nght" is in stores today.

The tweet of the day is from Jerrod Niemann, who appears to be taking a page from Blake Shelton's tweetbook: "Alright, don't touch my damn cooler unless you are a cooler DJ & know how to mix it up. I need a variety on my liver's dance floor."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

The Country Music Association has a new award, and Kenny Chesney's keyboard player won it. The CMA Touring Musician Award goes to Wyatt Beard, who's been tickling the black & whites for Kenny for 14 years. The award was given on stage Saturday night at the closing show of the "Goin' Coastal" tour at Gillette Stadium in Massachussetts. According to Wyatt, "This is a once in a lifetime ride that I will never even comprehend for another 20 years or so. I try to enjoy the moment."

This year, the big NFL season kick-off concert secret seems to have leaked. Lady Antebellum and Maroon 5 are said to be the performers at the New Orleans/Green Bay game on September 8th. Also in the very detailed rumor, Kid Rock will be part of the show and Jill Scott singing the National Anthem. The NFL addressed the rumors this way: “When we have something to announce, we will announce it. Until then, this is all speculation with some great acts thrown in the mix.” If you check their tour schedules, not a single one of those acts is booked for anything else on 9/8. Hmmmmmm.....

Country music is generally family-friendly, but some artists take that a step further. Rodney Atkins brings his son Elijah with him on tour, and brings along the Super Mario game to keep him happy. Justin Moore takess his wife Kate and daughter Ella Kole along on tour, and loves the fact that tourmate Rascal Flatts' Gary LeVox likes to play with Ella. According to Justin, “It’s a lot of fun. I mean, those guys are great. Obviously they have kids, and I know Gary was playing with my daughter quite a bit. I think he’s got a soft spot in his heart for little girls. I know he’s got one or two, but yeah, it’s a kid-friendly tour so it’s a lot of fun.” Next summer's tour will be even more kid-friendly, since Ella Kole is about to get a little brother or sister in November.

Some people go all-out for their favorite country stars, but this could be a first - the owner of a corn field in Shelby, NC has sculped his acreage into a Jason Aldean corn maze. The maze will be open Septemer 17th through October 30th, and starting October 7th, it'll be a haunted corn maze. No word on whether Jason himself will be stopping by when he does a show in NC in two weeks.

Oh, yay for Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, and yay for me, too. Their duet, "Remind Me," hit the top of both of the major country music charts - Billboard and Country Aircheck - and that's great for them. As for me, if you'll remember last week I predicted it would be #1 this week, and if not, I'd eat crow. Phew...chicken for dinner tonight, please! It's Brad's 20th #1 song and Carrie's 14th.

Sugarland was on the Ellen DeGeneres show yesterday, performing "Stuck Like Glue."

Did you watch the Brad and Miranda video posted in yesterday's blog? If not, you missed their latest collaboration, so scroll down and check it out. Here's the rest of the story. Brad and Miranda are making an album together - Neal McCoy's album. They're producing it for him, "XII." It won't be out until January of 2012, but the first single, "A-OK," will be out in October.

In case you missed it, Miranda Lambert was on Dateline NBC last night, and in her conversation with Hoda Kotb, said about guns, "If it's legal in your state, I probably have one in my purse."

It was a hit last year, so it's happening again this year. The CMA Country Christmas tv special will tape November 10th at Bridgestone Arena, the day after the CMA Awards. Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland will host the show again this year, and it'll air on ABC during the holidays.

The show Punk'd is coming back this fall, with Justin Bieber as part of the first episode. He punk'd Taylor Swift in LA last week, so she's the season's first victim. No word on what the prank was, and a firm air date for that episode hasn't been announced yet.

Happy birthday to Kitty Wells, who turns 92 today.

Scotty McCreery is on Live with Regis and Kelly today.

The tweet of the day is from Sara Evans: "Sooo excited about football season! All the boys have started! Favorite time of year!"

Monday, August 29, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Taylor Swift went o-fer last night at the MTV Video Music Awards. She was only up for one award, Video with a Message, but lost to Lady GaGa. Taylor wasn't at the award show - instead, she was next door rocking the Staples Center for the 4th sold-out night.

How hot is Lady Antebellum? They're on the cover of this week's Billboard Magazine, and have the feature article. They talk about their rocket ride to success, plans for their first arena tour and their new album, "Own the Night," out on September 13th.

Another country trio, The Band Perry, is following in Lady A's footsteps. Lady A's first headlining show was at the Ryman, and now The Band Perry's first headlining show will be there, too. The February 20th, 2012 show sold out in 20 minutes!

Carrie Underwood has been invited to be part of Tony Bennett's 85th birthday celebration. It'll be a big party at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and Carrie plans to duet with Tony onstage, singing "It Had to Be You." That's the song Carrie shares with Tony on his current "Duets" project. John Mayer and Stevie Wonder will also perform at the September 24th event.

Some fun in the studio with Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert and ... well, watch the video...

Miranda Lambert and Josh Thompson both have a new record label - RCA. Sony Nashville did a huge re-org last week, shuffling some of their roster between sister labels and sending lots of long-time staffers packing. No word from either artist on their "new" affiliations.

Don't forget that Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton are part of Dateline NBC tonight at 10 Eastern.

Eric Church is on Jimmy Kimmel Live tonight.

Today's birthdays include songwriter Don Schlitz (Randy Travis' "Forever and Ever, Amen") who is 59, Diamond Rio's Dan Truman, who is 55 and singer-songwriter Shawn Camp (Garth Brooks' "Two Pina Coladas") who turns 45

The tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton: "Man at gas station says to me "Em dogs sure are purdy... You gonna give em to me?.." My response "No. I'd rather see you reach for one.."

Friday, August 26, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

George Strait has worn a lot of hats in his life, but he's about to don a new one. He's been a troubador, a business man, movie star, cutting-horse competitor and soon, he's going to be a grandfather. George's son Bubba and his wife Tamara are expecting their first child, and King George is over the moon. “Norma and I are having a great time, and my son and his new wife – they’ve been married, they were married last December – they’re expecting a baby in February, so I’m going to be a grandfather.”

Lady Antebellum is having a crazy-busy year, and the fall should be even crazier, with a new album on September 13th, a tour that kicks off November 11th, three big-city acoustic events and all of the media madness that goes with a new album and tour. Lady A's Hillary Scott is also planning a wedding, to fiance Chris Tyrell. When is she finding time to work on the wedding? “[Hillary] I’ve met the wedding planner a lot. But going into this album, the tour—it will definitely still be something that I’m working on, but I tried to get a lot of the big decisions out of the way before all this has picked up. I haven’t gotten my dress yet. I’m starting to kinda stress about that, but umm… [Dave] They’ve got some a Target, I saw the other day… [Hillary] Perfect!”

Blake Shelton didn't write the title track to his current cd, "Red River Blue" but it sounds like it could be a story about Blake and Miranda. Turns out, it is. The songwriter is Buddy Owens, a friend of Blake's, and as Blake tells it, “At some point along the way, Miranda and I had gotten in a fight and broken up for one of our week-long breakups, or two days or whatever. But at this moment, I had seen him that night and he asked how she was doing, and I said, ‘Aw, Man. Ya know, I screwed up.’ He said, ‘Aw, Man, I hate that, ya know.’ He went and wrote a song about a guy from Oklahoma and a girl from Texas breaking up, and about how the Red River is, ya know, the great divide, symbolic, between the two.” Catch the now-happily married couple Monday night on Dateline NBC at 10pm Eastern.

Taylor Swift is up for an award at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night. Interesting note about the awards - when the nominees were first announced, Taylor's name wasn't anywhere in the list, after raking in Moonmen over the last several years. Someone at MTV must have taken note of that and decided to ensure that the Golden One would participate, and suddenly a new category, Best Video with a Message, had a gang of nominees, with Taylor as one of them. Her song "Mean" is up against Eminem's "Love the Way You Lie," "Firework" by Katy Perry, "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga, "F******* Perfect" by Pink and "Make It Stop" by Rise Against. Taylor's not scheduled to perform on the show.

If you're in a doctor's office this fall, check out the magazine table. Carrie Underwood is on the cover of Vim & Vigor, distributed to health care practitioners only, and in the article she talks about her vegetarian diet and her exercise routine to keep those legs in shape.

On September 6th, The Band Perry and Jake Owen will announce 5 categories of nominees for this year's CMA Awards on ABC's Good Morning America. Then Jerrod Niemann and Thompson Square wll announce seven categories, wth the Jane Dear Girls revealing the Broadcast awards finalists. The awards will be handed out on country music's biggest night, November 9th, live from Nashville on ABC.

Montgomery Gentry is getting set to slap the jumper cables on the Sylvania 300 - they're the pre-race entertainment at the September 25th race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Jake Owen will turn 30 this weekend on tour with Keith Urban. They'll be in Dallas, Texas, so you can expect some big doins' for the milestone. How does Jake feel about hitting the big 3-0? “I had some pretty awesome things happen in my 20s. And so as I’m turning 30, I’m just at a place now where I think about my life more than I think about just day-to-day. When you’re 22, 23 years old, and you’re just going day-to-day, you don’t think about the ‘bigger picture’. You don’t think about ‘Damn, I’m 30! My kid – if I don’t have a kid ‘til I’m 40 – he’s not gonna wanna throw a baseball when he’s 10 with his 50-year-old dad!’ You know?!”

I don't usually predict #1 songs, but it's looking like Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood will log a #1 with their collaboration, "Remind Me," next week. I'll either say "I told you so" or I'll eat crow in this space next week.

Chris Young is on Fox & Friends, Kellie Pickler is on the Ellen DeGeneres show and Emmylou Harris is on Late Night with David Letterman tonight.

Happy birthday to Jmmy Olander of Diamond Rio, who is 50 today. Tomorrow, Jeff Cook of Alabama turns 62, and on Sunday, Shania Twain turns 46, Jake Owen turns 30 and LeAnn Rimes turns 29.

The tweet of the day is from Joe Don Rooney of Rascal Flatts: "Thinking about the East Coast tonight Hoping Hurricane Irene loses her power and doesn't do very much damage this weekend! #PrayersGoingUP"

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Hurricane Irene has already blown a big event away - Kenny Chesney's "Goin' Coastal" tour was supposed to wrap up on Sunday in Foxboro, Massachusetts. But because Irene could come calling in a wet and wild way on Sunday, the show has been moved up to tomorrow night.According to Kenny, "I want the last weekend of the Goin' Coastal tour to be a great experience for everybody. But I also want it to be the safest experience for everyone." The final show on the tour is now Saturday night at Foxboro's Gillette Stadium.

Luke Bryan is crediting his wife Caroline with helping him get a #1 album. "Tailgates and Tanlines" is spending its second week atop the Billboard Country Album chart, and he says his wife influenced the track list. She really didn't like a song Luke wrote, but loved "Too Damn Young" and "You Don't Know Jack." As Luke tells it, “The first time I heard them, Caroline was sitting right there and she was like, ‘Oh, wow.’ I mean, we both fell in love with them, and then, I actually recorded a song that I wrote, that she just did not like…ya know, lyrically, what it was saying. And then it didn’t make the album, just because she was right on the money. So, any time you got people that know
you helping you through the process it helps the album become better.”

Dierks Bentley is at it again, hosting another "Miles & Music for Kids" benefit ride and concert in Chicago on October 9th. The event benefits Chicago's Children's Memorial Hospital, and the concert features Eli Young Band and Jerrod Niemann. Dierks loves doing these events, saying “We’ve raised several million dollars for Children’s Hospitals across the country. It’s been great, man. It’s a motorcycle ride that anybody can sign up for. A really family-oriented concert, down-home style just, you know…different collaborations with different people and it’s been a real blessing.”

And speaking of benefit concerts, Big & Rich and Gretchen Wilson will donate 100% of the
proceeds from their Fontanel show to Operation Finally Home, an organization that provides houses to wounded and disabled veterans. According to Big Kenny, “Building a home is noble, but constructing a home tailored to the needs of a specific injury or disability is one of the things Operation Finally Home really understands and has done well time and again.” The show takes place on September 2nd at the historic property just outside of Nashville.

Taylor Swift - real estate mogul? She's bought another home, this one a historic four bedroom, four and a half bathroom, 5,601 square foot stunner. She won't be the one living in it - she bought it for her parents. Here's a picture, but there's a whole gallery at CasaSugar.

Wanna be John Rich's neighbor in Nashville? It could happen...

Those size-six stilettos that Shania Twain was wearing when she fell at the CMT Music Awards this year sold on eBay for $9,000. Shania autographed the shoes and the money will go to a charitable foundation she set up. In other Shania news, she'll appear via video link at her alleged stalker's trial. Dr. John Palumbo has been in jail since March 27th after being arrested at the Juno Awards show. His trial begins this month in Toronto, Canada. teamed up with USA Today for a photo gallery of stars' yearbook photos. Garth Brooks and Kenny Chesney are part of the feature.

Little Big Town was on The Talk yesterday, and performed their song, "The Reason Why."

Dolly Parton is on the Tonight Show tonight.

Happy birthday to Billy Ray Cyrus, who is 50 today, Jo Dee Messina, celebrating her 41st birthday and Henry Paul of Blackhawk, who turns 62. He's not country, but he's a classic - happy birthday to Monty Hall, who is 90 today.

The tweet of the day is from Jaron and the Long Road to Love: "In honor of Steve Jobs... an amazing quote: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life..."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Road trip alert - Zac Brown Band will throw a huge three-day food and music festival October 21-23 at Charleston, SC's Riley Park. In other ZBB news, the guys have a new tour sponsor - Jack Daniels. Old No. 7 will back the tour, take part in the Eat and Greets with adult beverages, and Zac Brown Band will be featured in advertising and responsible drinking messages. The partnership kicks off at Red Rocks in Morrison, CO on September 5th. If you can't make it to the show, there'll be special commemorative bottles of Jack Daniels for sale soon, with some of the proceeds going to Camp Southern Ground.

Yesterday's blog told you about Alan Jackson's invitation to be part of the national 9/11 recognition event this year. After yesterday's earthquake, the host venue is in trouble. Washington National Cathedral reports that at least three of the spires have fallen off of the central tower and the tower itself appears to be leaning. Structural engineers will be on site later today to assess the damage and see if the show can go on.

More George, more often. George Strait's "Here For a Good Time" streets on September 13th, and a week later, a greatest hits collection, "Icon," will be out. The 11-song collection includes nine #1 songs. Here's the track list:
Amarillo By Morning
Ocean Front Property
All My Ex's Live In Texas
Love Without End, Amen
I Cross My Heart
Check Yes Or No
I Just Want To Dance With You
Living And Living Well
Give It Away
I Saw God Today
River Of Love

Chomping at the bit to hear new Lady Antebellum music? Head over to for 30-second previews of all of the songs on "Own the Night," which streets on Septeber 13th. The trio is really excited about the new songs, suggesting, “[Hillary] ‘Dancing Away with my Heart’ for sure…It’s very Lady Antebellum. [Dave] Yeah, there’s one called ‘Friday Night’ that we’ve been playing live. It’s a fun tempo, just kinda good electric guitar kinda rocker. So, you know, that would be one they could definitely check out.” The "Own the Night" tour kicks off November 11th in Knoxville, TN.

Another ZZ Top tribute album is set to be released on October 11th, and includes Jamey Johnson covering "Tush."

Brad Paisley is enjoying his time in Europe, and the Old World fans are enoying Brad, singing along to all of his songs, even the album cuts. He did three sold-out shows in Ireland last weekend, with fans coming from as far away as Spain. He's off to Scandanavia this week.

Congratulations to the President and CEO of Big Machine Label Group Scott Borchetta, who will be honored with the TJ Martell Foundation Spirit of Excellence Award at the November 3rd gala. The other honorees are Arnold Palmer and Drew Carey. Big Machine is the home of Taylor Swift, Martina McBride, Rascal Flatts and many more Nashville luminaries.

Last night at a Taylor Swift concert in Los Angeles, Justin Bieber hit the stage for a song. What happened next is the tweet of the day, so be sure to scroll down and read it. He promised in July that he would surprise fans with an appearance and duet with Taylor on his hit, "Baby" after he found out she was singing it in concert. Enjoy...

Rascal Flatts' current song, "Easy," is a duet with Natasha Bedingfield. But, Natasha can't be on tour with them, so how does that work on stage? Tour mate Sara Evans to the rescue. According to the band, “We asked her, and she loved the song and was willing to stick around…it’s hard for somebody that’s been offstage for an hour-and-a-half to get pumped up to come back out and do one song, so, we’re very, very grateful to her that she decided to come out and do that with us each night. And it is one of my favorite moments of the show, to be quite honest.”

Big & Rich have remade the Kenny Loggins hit, "Footloose," and here's a peek at the video...

Here's a peek at the behind-the-scenes world while Martina McBride was filming the video for "I'm Gonna Love You Through It."

Tomorrow night, "CMT Unplugged: Martina McBride" wll be webcast on the Starburst Facebook page as well as on the Unplugged CMT page. Martina will perform music from her upcoming album, "Eleven," as well as talk about the making of the album.

This coming Monday night, check out Dateline NBC, because Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton and Pistol Annies will be featured.

Alison Kraus & Union Station are on the Ellen DeGeneres Show today.

The tweet of the day is from Taylor Swift: "You think you've heard LOUD screaming in your life.. Then @justinbieber comes out and does a surprise song during your show. Woah. Unreal."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

today's country tidbits

People have called Tim McGraw and Faith Hill the Barbie and Ken of country music, and soon they'll be the country version of Barbie and Ken. Barbie Collector Editions is releasing a Tim and Faith collector edition of dolls to celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary. The dolls are on back-order until September first, but you can place your order now if you've got about $70 to spare.

Garth Brooks will be inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame on October 16th, along with Alan Jackson, in the Songwriter/Artist category. Songwriter honorees are John Bettis, Thom Schuyler and Allen Shamblin.

Alan Jackson will be part of the Washington National Cathedral three-day commemoration of the 10th anniversary of 9/11. "A Call to Compassion" will feature Alan as part of "A Concert for Hope" on Sunday night, September 11th. The Washington National Cathedral was the national gathering place for mourning, reflection and prayer in the wake of the tragedy, so it's only fitting that it serve as the place to honor the dead, address the need for more healing and raise awareness for the need to create a more hopeful world. "A Concert for Hope" will be broadcast live on ABC from 8-9pm Eastern time.

More details on why Alan Jackson will be inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame this October. He's either written or co-written 24 of his 35 #1 songs, plus other artists have taken songs he wrote or co-wrote to #1, too. Randy Travis owes "A Better Class of Losers" to Alan, and Clay Walker's "If I Could Make a Living" came from his fertile mind, too. His music is honest, straightforward and back-to-basics, which resonates with country music fans. It also resonates with those who give out awards - he's won Song of the Year honors from the CMA, ACM and Grammys, plus he was ASCAP's Country Songwriter of the Year in 1993, 1994 and 1998. ASCAP recognized Alan as the Country Songwriter/Artist of the Year in 2002, 2003, 2008 and 2009, and in 2010 that organization gave him the prestigous ASCAP Founders Award. The Nashville Songwriters Association recognized Alan as their Songwriter/Artist of the year in 1991, 1992, 2002, 2007 and 2008. From the award shows, he's garnered a total of two Grammys, 16 CMA awards and 17 ACM awards. But going into the Hall of Fame doesn't mean he's ready to retire - his new single, "Long Way to Go," is climbing the charts, and he says he feels energized now that he's working with EMI Records and releasing his albums on his own label, ACR, or Alan's Country Records.

Little Big Town lend their soaring harmonies to an oldie but a goodie - the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" - in this week's Scattered, Smothered and Covered.

Have you seen the video to Sara Evans' new song, "My Heart Can't Tell You No?" It's a remake of the Rod Stewart hit, and Sara knew as she recorded it that it would be a single, as it's a song she believes is deserving of being widely heard.

Condolences to the family of Meagan Toothman, who was scheduled to be removed from life support yesterday afternoon after her organs were harvested. Meagan is the seventh victim of the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair during Sugarland's tour stop there. Sugarland posted this video of the tribute they did last Thursday night...

Congratulations to Dierks Bentley, who lands the #1 spot on the country charts with "Am I The Only One." It's his 8th #1 song.

New music in stores today is by Pistol Annies. "Hell on Heels" is the debut cd of the trio, featuring Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley.

Happy birthday to Ira Dean and to Becky Robertson of Carter's Chord.

Martina McBride is on the Today Show this morning.

The tweet of the day is from Jaron and the Long Road to Love: "when life gives me lemons I put em in my cervezas."

Monday, August 22, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Congratulations to Alan Jackson, who will be inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame during their annual gala on October 16th. He's their choice for the Songwriter/Artist category this year. Alan has either written or co-written 24 of his 35 #1 hit songs, putting him in very elite company. Very few artists have had a hand in writing over 20 #1 songs. He's second to Merle Haggard in the country music realm.

Jason Aldean's 6th Annual Concert for the Cure will be September 30th in Roanoak, VA. It's a benefit for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and is in memory of a close friend, Melissa, who lost her battle with cancer at the age of 29. According to Jason, "It's amazing what we can do and how much money we can raise when we all come together for this cause." When he's not on tour, Jason savors his "dad" time: “You know, I’m always goin’ to softball practices and definitely in the carpool line and all that stuff. So, it’s cool. I mean, I enjoy that. I miss a lot of stuff when I’m out on the road. So, when I’m home I like to kinda get involved in all those things.”

Sad news - a 6th person has lost her life in the wake of the stage collapse at the Sugarland concert on August 12th. Jennifer Haskell, who was 22, succumbed to injuries caused by the falling stage roof. There are still victims hospitalized with injuries from the accident.

And from the "we knew it was going to happen" folder, the first lawsuits have been filed. Tammy VanDam was killed in the accident and a wrongful death suit is pending on her behalf, and her partner, Beth Urschel, who is hospitalized with injuries, has a suit pending claiming that she'll suffer lifelong impairment due to those injuries. Experts expect many more suits to be brought.

Dierks Bentley got talked into helping a man propose to his girlfriend after a concert. If sweet things make you puddle up, consider this your tissue warning!

Martina McBride and Darius Rucker are both going to be part of the MDA Labor Day telethon, and scuttlebutt is that Jerry Lewis will, indeed, be part of the telethon this year. About a month ago, the Muscular Dystrophy Association announced that Jerry Lewis wouldn't be coming back this year.

Happy birthday today to Holly Dunn (54), Ricky Lynn Gregg (50) and Collin Raye (51 or 52, depending on the source.)

The tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton: "I'm. Going. Home. Tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yyyeeessss!!!!! By the way how long can dogs go without water?"

Friday, August 19, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Last night in New Mexico, Sugarland's "Incredible Machine" tour resumed after the tragedy last weekend that claimed five lives. Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush asked fans to donate to a relief fund for the families of those injured and killed, and stagehands wore t-shirts honoring Nathan Bird, the stage hand who was up in the light rigging when the stage roof collapsed. He died at the hospital a couple of hours later. Just before last night's show, Jennifer led a moment of silence in honor of the victims.

The ACM is donating $661,000 to the ACM Lifting Lives Foundation, and the money was generated by the "Girls Night Out: Superstar Women of Country" special. The money is being gifted in the names of the performers and honorees, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, the Judds, Loretta Lynn, Reba, Jennifer Nettles, Jason Aldean, The Band Perry, Ronnie Dunn, Sara Evans, Little Big Town, Blake Shelton, Rascal Flatts, Pistol Annies, Vince Gill, John Fogerty and the Jane Dear Girls.

Brad Paisley is on the European leg of his world tour, and he loves playing overseas. According to Brad, it's pretty easy to be incognito. “There’s a really great audience there, and there may not be a lot of people that love country music, but if there’s several thousand, they’re all going when you go play there. I mean, no one in the city knows who you are when you walk through except the people lined up. The best time to walk around in London is when they’re lining up for your show, because that’s it. That’s the only people who care about you. And they’re out in front of the theater. Go out the back and you can just go anywhere you want.” Scroll down for video of the encore performance that featured Rolling Stone guitarist Ron Wood.

Jake Owen loves his fans and loves to share his day-to-day exploits with them. When he needs stitches, he shows the photos. When he needs some fun time on the water, he invites his fans to come and play with him. Twitter is the medium he's using to keep in touch, and according to Jake, “I think Twitter’s supposed to be used, at least from my perspective, it’s supposed to be used for talking to people on a real level, you know? That’s why I do real things like that. I mean, I’m not scared. I’m a human being. If I invite someone out there that’s a weirdo that shows up to come on my boat, I’ll kick ‘em off in the water, man.”

Didja miss The Band Perry on Jimmy Kimmel Live? Here you go...

and their other performance...

When you're a big-time country music star, you get to be part of peoples' most important life moments. Case in point - Dierks Bentley got to help a guy propose to his girlfriend. Of course she said "yes!"

Told you yesterday about Brad Paisley being joined onstage by Rolling Stone guitarist Ron Wood. The two swapped licks on "Let the Good Times Roll" and according to Brad, "We've never rehearsed. But we don't care. Do we?" They ended the show, joined by Darius Rucker, with a rousing performance of "Alcohol."

Remember that Shania Twain took a fall when coming down the aisle at the CMT awards? The fabulous shoes she was wearing, which she blamed for the fall, are on eBay, being auctioned off for charity, the "Shania Kids Can" fund. The bid at the time of publication was $16,500. Pony up your credit card, if you're a huge Shania fan!

If you're a huge George Jones fan, you'll want to be in Nashville on September 30th for the Tuesday night Opry show. That night will honor George Jones, and celebrate his 80th birthday. Guests will include Alan ackson, Montgomery Gentry, Joe Diffie, Jamey Johnson, Pam Tillis and the Oak Ridge Boys.

New music on the way from Montgomery Gentry. "Rebels on the Run" hits the streets October 4th. It's their 7th studio album.

Randy Travis and Josh Turner are on the Tonight Show, and Trace Adkins is on Chelsea Lately. Sunday night's "True Blood" episode will feature Taylor Swift's song, "Haunted."

Happy birthday to Eddy Raven as he turns 67 today, Clay Walker, who is 42 and Lee Ann Womack, who's 45. Sunday Kenny Rogers turns turns 73.

The tweet of the day is from Chris Young: "I was kinda down today... and then I remembered my dad survived lung cancer and I still have the man I look up to in my life #perspective"

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

A teacher in Knoxville, TN, knew that Keith Urban likes to read signs that audience members bring to the show. Patty Sloan had tickets to his show, so made up a sign that said, "I told my class no more homework for the rest of the year if I had my picture made with you." Keith loved the sign, and Patty's wish came true, as did the wishes of her 4th grade class. No more homework for the rest of the year for them. Patty said afterwards, "Thank God I'm tenured!"

Blake Shelton is on a roll, with #1 albums and songs coming easily in the last couple of years, a new marriage to a beautiful and talented woman, plus a role on a top tv show. That makes people talk about other dragons he could slay, and the rumors are out there that he's going to start his own record label. In response to that, Blake says, “I can’t even balance my checkbook. At least once a week, I’ll have an accountant call me and go, ‘hey, did your credit card get stolen? Are you okay?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, why?’ ‘Ahh you’re overdrawn you know, two-thousand dollars. It says here you bought a bunch of corn.’ ‘Oh yeah, I had to fill up my deer feeders—I’m broke?!’…I don’t really see myself in the executive position.”

We won't be seeing Dierks Bentley on "Celebrity Apprentice," apparently. After winning last year, John Rich suggested that Dierks would be a great contestant, but with a new tour and kids at home, Dierks is bowing out. “I did get the call, which I was totally flattered to get. It’s just for me, at this time, where I am, I just, I’m really happy. I have, like, the road and the show and the fans and the music and the songwriting and the making records. That stuff brings you so much joy and happiness…a family and everything that comes with that. I’m good. I don’t need anything more right now.”

Have you seen the video for Martina McBride's new song, "I'm Gonna Love You Through It?" It's star-studded, featuring Robin Roberts, Katie Couric, Hoda Kotb and Sheryl Crow, all women who've either fought their own battle with cancer or have a close connection to someone who has. The video is a message of hope to cancer patients and their loved ones.

Ronnie Dunn has lived some of the lyrics to his latest song, "Cost of Living." He grew up moving a lot, as his dad chased jobs to keep his family fed. According to Ronnie, “You know, I went to 13 schools in 12 years. My dad was always out of work. I can remember times when…just not knowing where the next meal was gonna come from. One of the comments that one of the executives made when I was getting’ ready to cut the song was, ‘Hey, you’re too rich to sell that song right now.’ And I just lost my mind.”

Congrats to Luke Bryan, as his "Tailgates & Tanlines" debuts at #1 on the Billboard Country Album chart this week, and at #2 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. The first single, "Country Girl (Shake it For Me)" has been certified platinum for more than a million downloads.

Onstage in London, Brad Paisley's show was well-received, especially when the legendary Ron Wood took the stage with him. He and Darius Rucker joined Brad for the encore, and the legendary Rolling Stone guitarist and Brad swapped hot licks (on their guitars, silly!)

The tweet of the day is from Josh Gracin: "I hate when mean snotty ugly people say "I need my beauty sleep".... B!%*h U need to Hibernate!"

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Sugarland will resume their tour with the show tomorrow night in Albequerque, New Mexico. To say they were shaken by the events of last Saturday night is to be guilty of understatement. Here's the text of their latest message on their website:

Dear Fans, Family and Friends,

We have taken a couple of days to try and even begin to emotionally process the magnitude and gravity of the tragedy in Indiana on Saturday. While the path to healing from this type of trauma and loss is long and winding, we wanted to reach out and update you on where we are and how we are.

We are in the process of planning a private memorial in Indiana, to honor those fans who died. We would first like to hold space so that their families can have time to go through their own services and memorials. Until that time we are holding vigil for them. We join them on their mourning benches. And we stand in the gap asking God to offer them peace and healing. For those suffering from injury we hold you up with prayers for complete healing of your own.

We are also addressing our own specific healing. Our road family experienced its traumas together. While we all scattered to our given families for their comfort, the trauma
we experienced together binds us in a unique way that we share only with each other, and those who were there. There is healing in our being together. There is healing in our working together. For this reason we are planning to get back on the road this weekend, beginning with our scheduled show in Albuquerque this Thursday, August 18th. The emotions have us yearning to be close to each other immediately. The logistics have us needing to replace all of our instruments and equipment. (The set is a loss that is insignificant in light of the tragedy.)

This Incredible Machine is more than a tour and more than a set. We have always celebrated music as a Healer. While music cannot change the events and losses at the Indiana State Fair, it can hopefully serve as a ritual and a balm to provide comfort and facilitate healing in this time of great sorrow. We hope to see you all soon.


Last night in Athens, GA, a benefit concert for two fallen police officers drew an all-star crowd for a guitar pull. Jason Aldean, Colt Ford, James Otto, Brantley Gilbert, Corey Smith, Rhett Akins, Dallas Davidson, Mike Dekel and Edwin McCain were all on stage raising money and raising the roof. No word on the amount brought in, but judging from all the tweets about it, we should all be sad today that we weren't there. I know I am!

Last week, Keith Urban helped a Knoxville woman become a homeowner through Habitat f
or Humanity and Anderson Cos. He played a private benefit concert for The Anderson Foundation, to raise money to build a house on Knoxville's Music Row. The event raised over a quarter of a million dollars, more than enough for the house and furnishings. The home's recipient, Regina Olum, moves in near homes dedicated to Martina McBride and Brooks & Dunn.

For the second week in a row, Lady Antebellum's new song, "Just a Kiss," sits at the top of the country charts. It's been certified platinum for a million downloads, and Hillary Scott says they knew they were onto something special the day they wrote it. “I’ll never forget the day we wrote our single, ‘Just a Kiss,’ because the guys were over at Dallas Davidson’s, in his writing room, and I was in the vocal booth actually singing a vocal on another one of the songs on the album. And so, Charles called and said, ‘Hillary, I know you’re singing, but you’ve got to get over here. We started something that we really think is special.’ And so I drove down Music Row and hopped in the writing room with the boys, and we wrote it and loved it.”

Pistol Annies, consisting of Miranda Lambert, Angaleena Presley and Ashley Monroe, are offering up free music this week as a preview to their album release this coming Tuesday. Plus, if you see a Miranda Lambert show, you're likely to see a Pistol Annies set of music. According to Miranda, “We’re hoping to tour on our own even maybe in December. But, you know it’s not that exhausting, believe it or not, because I’m already on tour. I’m already doing all this. I already have all my schedule laid out and now we just plugged in the Pistols with it. So, they’re on the road with me and we do a Pistol Annies set in the middle of my set and the logistics have worked out. It’s almost like the stars were aligned.”

Blake Shelton is in Cosmopolitan and Ladies Home Journal magaznes, talking about how he knew he found a keeper in Miranda Lambert, his biggest fears and his best grooming move.

You're about to start hearing of a new country artist, Eric Paslay, so let's start here. He's releasing a song called "Never Really Wanted" and is hoping that it will be as successful as some of his other songs. Whaaaa? He's already made quite a mark on Nashville as a songwriter. Jake Owen's current song, "Barefoot Blue Jean Night," was co-written by Eric, and he's pumped about who else has cut one of his tunes: “I’ve got a song on the next Lady Antebellum record called ‘Friday Night’ that’s coming out soon and I’m just pumped they recorded…they’re such a…I mean, they’re one of the biggest bands in the world right now.”

Road trip alert: Big & Rich will play a free show during Nashville's "Pickin' on the Patio" event on August 25th.
October 11 is a big day for Taylor Swift fans. Her first DVD, "Taylor Swift's Journey to Fearless" will be released, and in addition to concert footage from the Fearless tour, the set includes home movies and personal photos, and Taylor narrates the project.

Condolences to Joe Don Rooney on the loss of his big bag of wagging love, AKA Stevie Ray. The 170-pound Dogue de Bordeaux exited his life with the family on Monday. According to Joe Don, Stevie Ray Rooney was the "Sweetest dog ever put on this earth!"

The Band Perry is on Jimmy Kimmel Live tonight.

The tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton: "Quote of the day... "I get how funny you are... But when you're around stupid people... You ain't that funny"... - Neal McCoy"

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Sugarland's tour manager, Hellen Rollens, may have saved some lives Saturday night, chief among them Jennifer and Kristian's. The band was gathered backstage, ready to go on, when Hellen looked at the sky and decided to hold them off the stage. One minute later, the stage collapsed around them, with debris and dust swirling around them. When they heard the thunderous roar of the roof collapsing, Sugarland and their crew hit the ground, then huddled up against a nearby wall, thinking the roof would fall on them. Sugarland's manager, Gail Gellman, said the other people backstage felt it was safe to go onstage, but that Hellen stuck to her guns and instinct and probably saved some lives.

Eric Church is one of the hottest new acts out of Nashville in years, and it's thanks to his hard work and his parents' support. Eric's dad, Ken Church, promised him that if he graduated college, he would pay Eric's living expenses in Nashville for a year while he tried to make it as a star. Eric hit town, got a job answering phones at the Home Shopping Network and in the evenings he played free shows around town, trying to get noticed. His work ethic and great stage presence couldn't be ignored, and now Eric's on tour with Toby Keith. Apparently, in Eric's mind anyway, there's an on-stage rivalry. “We take the stage every night to step on it and I try to bring it every night and kick Toby’s tail. And it’s up to Toby to either kick back or not and I think it makes for a great show for the fans. I’d do that whether it was Toby or Garth or the Rolling Stones…doesn’t matter. I’m still gonna do what I do. I think it makes for a great show because Toby’s the same way. It makes it fun for the fans.” Ken and Rita Church, meanwhile, are enjoying their son's success - somewhat. Says Rita, what her son does isn't "as easy as it looks," and about some of the wild road behavior, his dad said, “I’ve been a Sunday school teacher for a lot of years, and I’ve cringed sometimes.” Eric and his wife Katherine are expecting their first child, a boy, this October.

The inspectors are going over the stage set-up in the wake of the tragedy Saturday night at the Indiana Sugarland show. Sunday night's show was cancelled and much of Sugarland's touring
equipment is still on the stage, under the mangled lighting trusses. For this year, at least, there
will be no more shows on the racetrack stage, and the Lady Antebellum concert scheduled for this Friday night has been cancelled. Kristian Bush of Sugarland posted on their web site, "I thank God for every fan and emergency responder, for everyone who ran to the trouble instead of away from it. The courage of those men and women will forever be with me."

Luke Bryan's "Farm Tour 2011" opens September 29th in Clemson, SC, and there will be a total of six shows. Luke loves taking his show into rural areas where normal tours can't stop, saying, "There’s nothing like building a tour set in the middle of a crop field!” The tour also stops in Athens, GA on September 30th, Macon, GA on October first, Statesboro, GA on October 5th, Valdosta, GA on October 6th, and Carrollton, GA on October 7th.

Toby Keith is preparing for an album release and a European tour. "Clancy's Tavern" comes out on October 25th and hs 12-date European tour kicks off five days later. Says Toby about his previous
European tours, "The accents are a little different and the food sure isn't what you get in Oklahoma. But they say music's a universal language, and the folks we saw sure seemed to be having a good time. And so did we."

Lady Antebellum's fall tour will kick off November 11th in Knoxville, TN. The "We Owned the Night" tour includes Josh Kelly, Edens Edge and Randy Montana, with opening acts changing from show
to show.

Dierks Bentley's version of Octoberfest is the "Country & Cold Cans" tour. First date is October 6th in La Crosse, Wisconsin and includes Jerrod Niemann and the Eli Young Band.

Entertainment Weekly has a stream of the new Pistol Annie's song, "Bad Example." The cd, "Hell on Heels," is out on August 23rd.

Congratulatons to Easton Corbin, who earned platinum certification for "A Little More Country Than That." Also raking in the heavy metal are Lady Antebellum's quintuple platinum certification for "Need Yo Now and first platinum certification for "Just a Kiss," plus Blake's platinum "Honey Bee."

Lady Antebellum's "Just a Kiss" is the #1 song this week.

Happy birthday to Ashton Shepherd, who turns 25 today and to Emily Robison of the Dixie Chicks, who is 39. Billy Joe Shaver turns 72 today.

Eli Young Band's cd, "Life at Best," is out today. The lead-off single, "Crazy Girl," has already been certified gold.

The tweet of the day is from Colt Ford: "Got to play 2 shows with Ronnie Dunn. He is without a doubt 1 of the Greatest Country Singers there has ever been."

Monday, August 15, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Sugarland and Sarah Bareilles were the featured performers at the Indiana State Fair on Saturday night. Sarah had just finished her set and Sugarland was preparing to take the stage when a huge gust of wind hit, estimated at between 60 and 70 mph, collapsing the stage. Five people were killed and dozens more were injured, with 45 still hospitalized. Many of the injured are "walking wounded," but several spent Saturday night in surgery and are still very critical, so the death toll could rise. Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland said, "We are stunned and heartbroken for the fans and their families in Indiana. We hold those injured in our prayers at this very sad time. There are no words to process a moment of this magnitude and gravity. There are only prayers for peace in the hearts of the bereft, and prayers of thanksgiving for those who were spared or safe. A piece of our heart is left in that grandstand." Sugarland was also scheduled to perform Sunday night, but the fair was shut down yesterday and the performance cancelled. Most of Sugarland's staging and band equipment is onstage, tangled in the lighting rig and broken stage supports. A concert-goer shot this video of the stage collapse...

Here's a high-def video from another angle. As you watch, notice people running to, not from, the collapsed stage and light rigging. That's the spirit of America on display there - people rushing to help in a tragedy. YouTube has age-restricted this video, so you may have to sign in and verify your birthdate to see it.

The Indiana State Fair will re-open this morning, starting with a service for those who lost their lives. The concerts will resume on Wednesday night. No word on whether or when Sugarland's show will happen.

Taylor Swift is well-known for her heart-hands, a gesture she flashes to fans from stage. She started making a heart symbol with her hands when she was in high school, and explains that the meaning is somewhere between "hello" and "I love you." She uses it to express her appreciation for fans. “It’s not like meeting a stranger, it’s sort of like saying hello to someone that I already know is on the same page with me. And I just feel so thankful to have that understanding between us. I just have so much fun with them. They’re incredibly cool people and I’m really happy that I get to spend the summer with them.”

In other, less fun, Taylor news, six Nashville police officers have been suspended after accepting an off-duty job escorting Taylor around town. Firefly Entertainment contracted with the officers, who were initially given the go-ahead to do the job by their higher-ups. Then the top brass told the officers, no, they couldn't take the gig, but the officers decided to do it anyway, hoping their superiors wouldn't find out. They did. Firefly is working to mend fences, and their spokesperson says Taylor was unaware of and is not responsible for the issue.

When George Strait's "Here for a Good Time" lands in stores on September 6th, we'll get to hear George duet with Faith Hill. The song is "A Showman's Life," the same song that appeared on Gary Alan's "See if I Care" cd. His version of the tune is a collaboration with Willie Nelson.

In more George Strait news, he tops Billboard's list of the hottest 25 country artists from 1985 through 2011. Garth Brooks is second, Reba is third, Alan Jackson is fourth and Tim McGraw is fifth.

Kellie Pickler will play a country music singer on the CW's "90210" next month. She'll perform her new single, "Tough."

If you've been waiting to get Scotty McCreery's and Lauren Alaina's debut cd's, your wait is nearly over. Release dates have been set for them both: Scotty's "Clear as Day" comes out October 4th and Lauren Alaina's "Wildflower" drops October 11th.

Congratulations to Vince Gill, who celebrated his 20th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night.

The tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton: "My prayers to the people at the Sugarland concert in Indianapolis.... Absolutely shocking and hard to comprehend... Beyond belief..."

Friday, August 12, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Trace Adkins is putting his money where his mouth is. His second greatest hits collection is "American Man" and he's decided to use American vendors from now on for his merch. He was on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight and said, “I don’t know that it’s the American way, but it’s my way and it’s me doing at least a little something to make me feel like I’m helping somehow, that I’m doing something. If it maybe just gives one more American a job, you know, I’m trying to do something.”

Want to win an Alan Jackson concert in your town? You can - the town, city or metropolis that casts the most votes wins the free concert. Remember that it's easier to organize a small town than a big city, and go for it!

So yesterday the photo of Luke Bryan's latest boo-boo was shared here, but at the time of posting, there were no details about how he hurt himself so badly he needed stitches in his forehead. Now the tale can be told, and it has to do with a two-wheeled skateboard. Luke was trying out his new RipStik, purchased in New York shortly after he appeared on the Today show, and took a bad fall. The diagonal injury is right above and between his eyes, and will probably give him even more babe-appeal.

Also yesterday, this blog featured video of a Brad Paisley retaliatory prank where he lit an Arkansas Razorback doormat on fire. He's taking some serious heat for that from Razorback fans, who are threatening to burn their Brad Paisley cds. Brad's reply, via Twitter: "Also if you still want to burn an album, I'm okay with that,but I insist you burn the new one"ThisIsCountryMusic." On sale now at WalMart."

Martina McBride is releasing her next album, "Eleven," on 10/11/11. Why not 11/11/11? As she explained via Twitter, "It's not a Tues. All cds come out on Tues. Plus, I can't wait any longer! Too excited!" Discussing the album with a reporter, Martina said, “I just felt when I went in I just wanted to find the best songs. I wrote a lot for this album which I think brought out a lot of different sides of me and so we have songs that have a little bit of an R&B feel, songs that are the big ballads that you maybe have come to expect from me. I have some…just songs that are just plain fun.”

Taylor Swift is ready to take her "Speak Now" tour down under. Six dates are scheduled for March of 2012, and it's probable that more shows will be added.

A little closer to home, Alan Jackson, Eric Church, Eric Paslay and Jon Pardi will be the performers at a free concert in Nashville on September 21st. The fun starts at 7pm on Demonbren Street. Be prepared to make new friends - last year, this event drew over 10,000 revelers.

Lady Antebellum has been invited to be part of Saturday Night Live's 37th season. They're the musical guest on the second show this season and actress Melissa McCarthy is the show host. Air date is October first.

There's not much here, but enough to tell you that, even though the song isn't country, it's still going to be awesome. Here are Carrie Underwood and Tony Bennett duetting on "It Had to be You," part of his all-star duet cd coming out September 20th. Sheryl Crow, Faith Hill and Willie Nelson are the other country artists on the project, which also includes the late Amy Winehouse, Aretha Franklin, Lady Gaga and more big-name singing stars.

The numbers have been crunched from last weekend's charity ride, skeet shoot and concert, hosted by Craig Morgan. The two-day event raised over $95,000 for Billy's Place, a haven for temporarily homeless children.

Sunday night, watch the "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock" on ABC. The show features your favorite artists' concert performances, plus behind-the-scenes fun from this summer's CMA Music Festival.

Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery are on Good Morning America today, the Zac Brown Band is on the Today show and Blake Shelton is on the Late Show with David Letterman tonight.

Happy birthday to Danny Shirley of Confederate Railroad, who turns 55 today. Tomorrow, Andy Griggs turns 38 and Mike Melacon of Emerson Drive hits 33. Sunday, Connie Smith turns 70.

The tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton: "Dear iPhone... No I'm not trying to spell shut!!!!! Or shot!!!! Or duck!!!!!!! Or fudge!!!!!!! You piece of shut..... Damn it!!!!!!"

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Brad Paisley's H2O II tour has been romping around the country, with newcomer Brett Eldredge on board for some of the shows. This past weekend was his last show on the tour, so he
wanted to show Brad his appreciation for being included...and also maybe prank the prankmaster just a little bit. Brad's ride of choice is a Chevy Corvette when he's not on his tour bus, and Brett decided to give Brad a new 'Vette, complete with a "Paisley" license plate. Brett arranged to replace Brad's full-sized red Corvette with this sporty yellow one. But Brad didn't have to worry...his real 'Vette was nearby, plus now he has a special ride for his two boys.

Pranks on Brad's tour continued, with openers Edens Edge stealing the West Virginia doormat outside his tour bus and replacing it with an Arkansas Razorback mat. Showing his displeasure with the "gift," Brad lit it on fire.

Some artists are really open with their fans, including them in play dates. Case in point - Jake Owen, who tweeted an invitation for people to join him at the river yesterday. He offered to bring the boat, the wake board, beer and a towel. He even gave the exact address of the boat ramp so anyone who wanted to play on the water with him could be there. Wow...tha
t's a life wide open!

Luke Bryan was on the Today show yesterday, and took a special gift to Hoda and Kathy Lee. Beer for breakfast, anyone?

After the show, Luke must have had a clumsy moment, because he tweeted a photo of himself after getting some stitches in his forehead. He didn't offer up any explanation about how it happened, though.

John Rich aced Celebrity Apprectice, and has kept a video blog during and after his journey. Here's the last vlog entry.

While we're playing with videos, have you seen the one shot in Phil Vassar's back yard?

Congrats to Eric Church, who sits atop the Billboard Country Album chart again this week with his new release, "Chief."

Trace Adkins is on Chelsea Lately! tonight, and Jerrod Niemann is on the Ellen DeGeneres show today.

The tweet of the day is from Justin Moore: "Guys...chill. I'm the farthest thing from a Yankees fan. I said I'm at Yankee stadium, not go Yankees. GO BRAVES!!!"