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."