Friday, September 30, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

The NFL is going pink during October for breast cancer awareness month, and Martina McBride is kicking things off by performing the National Anthem before the Baltimore Ravens - New York Jets game on Sunday. Watch for lots of pink on the players, the field and on Martina.

Now we know what's up with Steel Magnolia's Joshua Scott Jones. The duo had to cancel last week's shows, and Megan Linsey, the other half of Steel Magnolia and Josh's fiance, resumed their tour over the weekend with solo concerts. Joshua posted on the band's website, “God has been on my heart to announce and make public that I have entered a rehabilitation and treatment facility to address issues related to alcohol and substance abuse. Hundreds of thousands of people in the world struggle with these battles daily, therefore I am sincerely grateful for all thoughts and prayers at this very poignant juncture in my life and career. I would also like to thank my family, friends, record label and management team for being so supportive and having an active hand in my recovery process.”

Dierks Bentley was on the Jimmy Fallon show last night, performing Pink Floyd's classic song, "Wish You Were Here." He was excited to be part of the project, saying “Country music’s 90-percent of what I listen to, and always really have since I’ve been about 17 years old, but, I mean, Pink Floyd’s, ya know, one of the biggest rock bands of all time. When you hear that Pearl Jam’s going to do it. A buddy of mine plays guitar for Pearl Jam. A buddy of mine plays for Foo Fighters. Those are bands I really think are great. To be on the same, ya know, same show and part of the same deal they’re all doing was kind of a no-brainer.” Missed it? Here you go...

Congratulations to Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, who won the International Bluegrass Music Association's Entertainer of the Year award last night in Nashville. During his acceptance speech, Steve said, “I want to thank all the other nominees ... for losing." The award is given to the entertainer who does the best job of taking bluegrass to a wider audience. After the show, Steve said to reporters, “It really means a lot, sort of like winning two Oscars. It’s something we work very hard at and I kind of started from scratch. I mean I’ve been playing banjo for 50 years, but performing in a band I’ve never done. I’ve done it for about two years ... You know, the hardest part was talking and tuning.”

LeAnn Rimes was on the Ellen DeGeneres Show yesterday, talking about eating disorders, affairs and her new cd.

Tim McGraw's next movie, "Dirty Girl," comes out October 7th. He plays the estranged dad of a girl who's trying to find him. According to Tim, "I'm only in a small part in the movie, but it's a pretty pivotal part ... It's about a girl's journey to find her dad ... It's something that's dear to me, and something I related to."

Taylor Swift has some perfume coming out. Check out the commercial for "Wonderstruck."

Are you a fan of college football? Then you need Colt Ford's "Tailgate: College Football Versions, Vol. II" Colt drops college and university names into his game-day song, "Tailgate."

Lady Antebellum is the musical guest on Saturday Night Live tomorrow night and CBS Sunday Morning. Martina McBride sings the National Anthem before the Jets/Ravens game on NBC Sunday. Scotty McCreery is on the Today show Monday morning.

Happy birthday to Marty Stuart, who turns 53 today, and Eddie Montgomery, who is 48. Will he party? What do you think? “You know, shoot, anywhere me and ‘T’ try to show up, we try to make it a party. So, you know, cause it’s…that’s what it’s all about man is livin’ life.”

The tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton: "I'm so hung over right now I just spent 10 minutes trying to turn down the volume on my coffee maker..."

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Lady Antebellum are headed for New York, prepping for their first stint on Saturday Night Live. Even though they're pretty big stars themselves, the trio are more than a little star-struck over this gig: “[Dave] I think… [Hillary] Yes! [Dave] …I’d love to meet Andy Samberg. [Hillary] Kristen Wiig. [Dave] Yeah, Some of those guys – I mean, God – Jason Sudeikis and some of those guys are freakin’ hysterical, so. I mean, just to walk through the halls and watch them rehearse and do stuff will just be a pretty surreal experience. [Hillary] Yeah.” They'll perform this Saturday night at 11:30 Eastern on NBC.

Luke Bryan lost his shirt on the Ellen DeGeneres Show yesterday. Well, it didn't completely come off, but he did manage to show off his chest and abs. Here's Luke performing on the show:

When Rascal Flatts played the Opry on Tuesday night and got invited to be members, were they really surprised? According to Jay DeMarcus, yes. “The only thing that was a little weird to me, I told my wife, I said, ‘Just stay home, we’re only doing three songs, it’s just a short segment.’ And she showed up right before we went onstage but she was just like, ‘Well, I put the baby to bed, and the nurse is there so I just came on out…’ And that was the only thing that was a little weird, but I had no clue. Even when Vince came out on stage, I thought he was just messing with Joe Don.” They'll be inducted on October 8th. They've been working on songs for an album with a release date but no title yet. The next Rascal Flatts cd is due out on April 3, 2012.

Carrie Underwood has been writing and recording, working on the follow-up to her 2009 album, "Play On." She says there are six songs recorded for the project, though they could all land in the scrap heap if something better comes along. No release date yet.

Eric Church has played over a thousand shows since he began touring in 2006, and one fan, Aaron Shriver, has been to 100 of those shows. To celebrate this super-fan, Eric brought Aaron up on stage at the 100th show this past weekend and gave him an autographed Gibson Hummingbird guitar.

American Idol alum Scotty McCreery has been invited to tour with Brad Paisley next year.

For your early holiday shopping pleasure, Big Machine Records is offering a holiday gift set in partnership with Colonial Candle. A CD of Christmas music featuring label artists Reba, Taylor Swift, The Band Perry, Martina McBride and Rascal Flatts is included with the candle set. Retail price is around $25.

LeAnn Rimes is on the Ellen DeGeneres show today, and Dierks Bentley is on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon tonight.

The tweet of the day is from Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts: "I am beside myself. We were asked to be members of the Grand Ole Opry!!! The greatest honor ever!!! Can't believe it, am I dreaming?"

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Rascal Flatts played the Grand Ole Opry last night and were surprised with the invitation to become members. Vince Gill joined them onstage, talking about all the hit records they've had and the $500 they still owe him from a golf match. The trio will be inducted into the Opry on the 86th birthday weekend, October 8th on the segment of the show aired live on GAC. Here's how it all went down:

On October 17th, Texas country artists will come together to raise money for those affected by the Texas wildfires. The benefit concert will take place in Austin, Texas, and already signed on to the project are George Strait, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Asleep at the Wheel and Dixie Chicks. The Austin Community Foundation will administer the proceeds, being sure those who need help most get it.

Kenny Chesney just notched his 10th platinum cd. "Hemingway's Whiskey" has sold more than a million copies, spawned three #1 songs so far, and it looks like "You and Tequila" might be #4. What's the 5th single from the album? According to Kenny, “‘Reality’ was kind of, like, kind of like my message to the fans out there. You know, when I go to concerts – and I still love to go to concerts – because I don’t think about my reality when I’m at those concerts, just for a little while. I don’t think about what’s on my mind. I don’t think about the problems I’ve got or the problems somebody else has got, or anything. I see that in our audience, and I had that in mind when I was writing this song.”

When Martina McBride was ready to record her upcoming album, "Eleven," she wanted to do something different. Sure, she owns Blackbird studios in Nashville and has recorded most of her projects there, but she wanted some fresh walls around this music. She wanted to record in an Atlanta studio, but needed the support of her daughters before leaving home to do that. “But I sat down and talked with them, and I said, ‘I’m thinking about doing this, and I’ll be close enough to get back, if there’s an emergency, and it’ll only be for four days.’ They were so supportive. Ya know, they said, ‘Mom, you should go and do it. You should…should really focus on making this record.’ So, that was really a sweet thing, too.” Martina's "Eleven" is out October 11th.

Dierks Bentley celebrated his latest #1 song, "Am I the Only One," yesterday in Nashville. He hadn't driven his classic '67 Camaro in a while, so he took it out, shined it up and it was his celebratory ride.

Randy Travis is recovering after fainting on stage Saturday night. But if you have to faint on stage, you should do it in front of a room full of doctors, and that's just what Randy did. He was performing at the Crystal Heart Gala, a benefit for the Fort Worth Huguley Memorial Medical Center. Dehydration, over the counter allergy meds, caffeine and hot stage lights teamed up to cause the collapse. Randy is planning to resume his 25th anniversary tour Saturday night.

On the CMA Awards show November 9th, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood will perform "Remind Me" for the first time in front of a live audience. It should be awesome!

Condolences to Kitty Wells, who lost her husband of 74 years yesterday. Johnny Wright was 97 years old.

Luke Bryan makes his first appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show today.

Happy birthday to Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town, who turns 44 today.

The tweet of the day is from Colt Ford: "If your never in over your Head, how will you know how Tall you really are. Have a Great Day ya'll!!!"

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Blake Shelton's version of "Footloose" is a little bit countrified, but still a little bit too pop for some country music fans. Blake's reaction? Predictable: “And I expected it to be polarizing, ya know, whenever I signed up for it. But, that’s, I’m that guy, so who else to do that and piss people off than me? Ya know?” The movie comes out October 14th. The movie soundtrack is out today.

Justin Moore celebrated the success of his song, "If Heaven Wasn't so Far Away" yesterday at a #1 party in Nashville. Justin and his wife Kate have something else to celebrate, too. They are two months away from having their second baby daughter, and have revealed that her name will be Kennedy Faye Moore. Ella Kole is looking forward to being a big sister before she's two, and how does Justin feel about it? “We were nervous with our first one. I mean, it’s such a huge, you know, life changing thing, obviously, right at the point I was enjoying some success. So, I was gone a lot, and, and didn’t get to be as big a part of the whole process as I, I would like to have been. And, uh, I don’t think my wife and I really took the time to enjoy the whole process either. So, we’re trying to do so this time.”

Whazzup with Steel Magnolia? Something, because Meghan Linsey has been performing shows solo after cancelling last week's tour stops. A message posted on the duo's website reads, “Dear Fans, We are really sad we had to cancel several shows this week. We were very much looking forward to seeing each and every one of you…but at this time, Josh is unable to perform. We really appreciate your thoughts and prayers.” For now, it looks like Meghan will play Steel Magnolia's shows solo, singing material off of their debut cd.

Dierks Bentley's next single, "Home," is just coming out, and the video hasn't been finalized yet. To tide you over, here's a behind-the-scenes look at the recording of the song.

Have you seen the video for Rodney Atkins' new song, "Take a Back Road?" Here you go...

And how about Eric Church's video for "Drink in My Hand?"

Congratulations to Rodney Atkins, who has the #1 country song in America again this week with "Take a Back Road." It's his 6th #1 song - does the feeling get old? Not according to Rodney: “You really realize after, after, a while just how much work: how many people; how…the stars in alignment; divine intervention; luck; it just, the fact that you get the song when you get it at that certain point of time; and all the, all the folks. And I’m knocked out, I really can’t express the way it makes you feel and I’m more in awe than I’ve ever been.”

LeAnn Rimes has a new cd out today, "Lady and Gentlemen." It's a collection of classic country covers.

Glen Campbell is on Jimmy Kimmel Live tonight.

The tweet of the day is from David Nail: "Couldn't wait to have a back yard! Just watched my two dogs chase each other non stop for 10 minutes! Random things I enjoy while home!"

Monday, September 26, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Brad Paisley's H2O II tour wrapped up over the weekend, and the pranks were flying. First, though, Brad replaced Edens Edge's door mat that he torched earlier this year. Sunny Sweeny launched pink flamingos and a toilet into the middle of Brad's set, and Brad and Scotty McCreery sent remote control water-gun trucks onstage to soak Blake Shelton while he played.

Jason Aldean's latest song, "Tattoos on this Town," seems like a straight-ahead ode to pride of place. The video premiers today, and according to Jason, “I think it’s gonna be something that’s a little different from anything we’ve done before with the way we kinda of tie it all in at the end. It starts out probably like you would think, you know, showing a young couple together, ‘carving-their-names-in-a-tree’ kinda deal. And then from there, it kinda takes you on a different path, I think, than people that listen to the song think it’s going to.” Watch for a patriotic slant, something Jason't proud of.

With seven kids between them, Sara Evans and Jay Barker had to have some house rules to keep their home a happy one. As Sara tells People magazine, "The kids love each other like Jay and I love each other. It just really works." To keep it working, here are the house rules: Keep it Cozy, Keep Things Organized, Keep Dinner Simple and Keep Sleeping. That last rule applies to letting Mom and Dad sleep until at least 10am on Saturdays.

Lady Antebellum was supposed to be on CBS Sunday Morning yesterday morning, but the segment was moved to this coming Sunday morning. Set your DVRs.

Dierks Bentley is part of Jimmy Fallon's tribute week to Pink Floyd. They're releasing two box sets this week, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon features a different artist each night performing a Pink Floyd classic. Dierks Bentley will sing "Wish You Were Here" Friday night. Other acts are Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, The Shins and MGMT.

Chris Young is on the Late, Late Show with Craig Fergson and Luke Bryan is on Access Hollywood.

Happy birthday to Lynn Anderson, who is 64 today, Olivia Newton-John, who turns 63 and Doug Supernaw who is 51.

The tweet of the day is from Miranda Lambert: "What did the gingerbread man step in? Cookie sheet!"

Friday, September 23, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Not sure how this is going to be policed and judged, but it's a great idea. Brad Paisley is playing a concert in Washington DC tomorrow night and wants his fans to help out the Capitol Area Food Bank. He's asking them to bring canned food and bottled water to donate, and the fan that brings the most wins a pair of premium seat upgrades and gets to hang with Brad backstage. Wonder how many tractor-trailers they can park at that arena?

Still no word on the shake-up going on in Tim McGraw's camp. Yesterday I told you about his Facebook post indicating that some or all of the Dancehall Doctors are no longer working with Tim. Today, there's no further word about who's gone and why. All of the current Dancehall Doctors have been with Tim since 1996.

Alan Jackson has been working on a new album, and is nearly done with it. There's no release date and there's no title yet, but according to AJ, “We’re about finished it up. We’re doing some mixing on it now. But, pretty much done and it’s just …I think we got a good bunch of material together and …I think it’s gonna be a fun time. I’m ready to put it out!” In addition to being part of the 9/11 memorial services in DC, Alan got to perform for the President and First Lady.“He was real nice and his wife and they’re real tall! I didn’t realize they were both so tall! That’s the fourth president I’ve sung for that’s …when I think about that, that’s crazy. I mean, where I come from in that little town of Georgia, I never thought I’d even go to Washington, much less sing for four presidents. So, it’s pretty crazy.”

The Grand Ole Opry celebrates its' 86th birthday during October, and all the stars are coming to the party. Who, you might ask? Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Martina McBride, Chris Young, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, LeAnn Rimes, Montgomery Gentry, Randy Travis, Rascal Flatts, Ronnie Dunn, Sara Evans, Scotty McCreery & Trace Adkins are just some of the country artists who've committed to play the Opry in October. Road trip alert...get tickets now!

Jason Aldean has his likeness carved into a corn maze, and now Lady Antebellum has their own corn maze, too. Steed's Dairy in Grovetown, Georgia decided to celebrate country's favorite trio in a maize maze. Can you navigate the maze?

Jason Aldean had a special guest on stage at a tour stop this week - Kid Rock. The two partnered on Kid's "Cowboy."

Dierks Bentley and his band found themselves armed and in Texas, and boy did they have fun!

The National Enquirer is chiming in on Carrie Underwood's reproductive decisions, making it sound like she's either afraid to get pregnant or too busy to have a pregnant body. If you hear stories like that, please consider the source. Carrie will be a great mom when she and Mike decide that parenthood is right for them.

Toby Keith's song "Made in America" is racing up the charts, but it almost didn't make it onto his current album, "Clancy's Tavern." “I didn’t know if it was a single or not, and the second we recorded it, everybody in the studio were calling people telling them to drop by and hear this song. I thought we wrote a good song, but I didn’t know it was this powerful. And, I guess with the timing of what’s gone on in the world, I guess it struck a nerve with America.” Toby's performing it live in the heartland this weekend as the "Locked and Loaded" tour stops in St. Louis and Chicago.

Justin Bieber is working on a Christmas album. That's only newsworthy here because The Band Perry will be appearing on at least one track, and Taylor Swift is probably going to be on the project, too. The release date hasn't be set yet.

RIAA has issued platinum certification for Kenny Chesney's "Hemingway's Whiskey," Luke Bryan's "Country Girl (Shake it For Me)" and Darius Rucker's "Alright." Darius got gold certification for "Come Back Song" and "This."

Carrie Underwood and Tony Bennett duet on tonight's episode of "Blue Bloods." Lady Antebellum is on CBS Sunday Morning, and Monday night Chris Young is on the Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

The tweet of the day is from David Nail: "My prayer tonight is that today is the last concert I ever have to cancel. It sucks, I've been cranky all day! Thanks for the well wishes"

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

For all of his career, it's been Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors. Now, it looks like they may have parted ways. A message from Tim on his Facebook page reads, “As some of you might know, there have been some recent changes in my band. Change can be hard, and it’s not something you come to lightly. I couldn’t be more proud of the music we’ve created together over the years, and I’ll treasure the memories. I know you will join me in wishing everyone only the best in their future endeavors. Thanks for all the unwavering support you’ve shown me over the years, and I can’t wait to continue our journey … See you all soon!” Tim's website still shows his Dancehall Doctors' photos and bios, so not sure what's up, but I'll keep you posted.

Alan Jackson played a street party in Nashville last night and killed it. Eric Church was also part of the fun as the two performed the annual Capitol Records Street Party. It's a free appreciation event for the city of Nashville. Eric's been trying to stay pretty close to home, as he and wife Katherine are expecting their first child any day. According to Eric, “We’ve been trying to get him used to the bus, even though we’ve not had him yet. Katherine’s been riding the bus a lot, getting used to the shaking and movin’ so. It’s funny now, he’s a bit of a kicker and puncher. He’s fine if she’s movin’. If she stops movin’, he’s kickin’ and punchin’, which is ironic because I punch a lot on stage. So, we’ll see what happens with that in a few years.”

Keith Urban is excited about the CMA Awards. No, not because he might win Male Vocalist of the Year or Entertainer of the Year, but because he gets to strap on a guitar. “I look forward to being able to play on award shows. That is the absolute that matters most to me is getting to play, ‘cause the other stuff is – I don’t know about the other stuff – I know about playing and that’s the only thing I know about.” He's got about six weeks more to wait, as awards night is November 9th.

Got a Wii game console? Then you probably want to check out Country Dance 2, which is due out this holiday season. More than 30 of the hottest country songs will be part of it, including Brad Paisley's “Old Alabama,” Dierks Bentley's “Sideways,” Jason Aldean's “My Kinda Party,” Keith Urban's “Better Life” and Luke Bryan's “Country Girl (Shake It For Me.)”

Just in time for stuffing the stocking of the Taylor Swift fan in your life, she'll release a "Speak Now World Tour - Live" cd/dvd set on November 21st.

Are you a huge Jamey Johnson fan? If so, break out the plastic or checkbook and get set to pony up $125 this Sunday. "This Ride...In Color, and in Pictures" is a photo book by Melinda J.P. Harlan, featuring stories, quotes and observations from some of Jamey's closest friends and idols. The book is a rare peek into the life of the man who says, "My dream already came true...all I ever wanted was to get to just ride around and sing country music." A portion of the proceeds will be donated to five charities: The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's Hatch Show Print, Darryl Worley Cancer Treatment Center, Southeastern Beefmaster Breeders Assoc. College Scholarship Fund, Alabama School of the Deaf and Blind's Music Education Program and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. There will only be 2,500 copies of the book released on the 25th, and each one is signed and numbered.

Jake Owen's "Barefoot Blue Jean Night" has just been certified platinum for over a million in sales.

And from the "no surprise there" department, Lady Antebellum's new cd, "Own the Night," is not just the top-selling country cd, it's also #1 on the Billboard 200, with sales of 347,000 in the past week.

The tweet of the day is from Jewel: "I drove! To town! By myself! The baby is with a sitter! My first time away! Ok, its just to get my teeth cleaned, but still- kinda crazy -ha"

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Toby Keith tops Forbes Magazine's "Country Music's Highest-Paid Stars" list, raking in $50 million in the past year. His money comes not just from his music and tour dates, but also his "I Love This Bar & Grill" restaurants, his "Wild Shot Mezcal" and a sponsor relationship with Ford. Taylor Swift is second with $45 million, Brad Paisley is third at $40 million, Tim McGraw comes in fourth with $35 million and Rascal Flatts is a close 5th at $34 million.

Fun news about the CMA Awards - all five of the Entertainer of the Year nominees - Jason Aldean, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban - will perform during the show. Tickets for the show go on sale to the public this Saturday at Ticketmaster.

Luke Bryan kicks off his third annual "Farm Tour" next week in South Carolina. Luke loves these little-town shows, saying “We just wanna have a little fun in the fall. And these things are a big event for these towns. I just love the fact that people can come out and have a big time, listen to some music, and…it’s just a fun experience.” He's on the road now, and wraps up his show with a little Lady Gaga. Don't believe me? Check out Luke's rendition of "Bad Romance"...

Last night in New York, Vince Gill and Sting shared the stage for a taping of CMT Crossroads. The two have known each other for 14 years and are great friends, and both had been looking for a way to work together. During the invitation-only concert, they swapped licks on Vince's "Whenever You Come Around," "These Days" and "Liza Jane." From Sting's catalog, they chose "Fields of Gold, "Shape of My Heart" and "Every Breath You Take." They also both whipped out guitars and had fun with a guitar jam. "CMT Crossroads: Sting and Vince Gill" will air in November. On October first, Vince will be part of Sting's 60th birthday concert, along with Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and Lady Gaga.

Randy Travis celebrates 25 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry on October 4th. Carrie Underwood and Josh Turner are just two of the stars turning out to fete Randy. Parts of the show will air on GAC's "Opry Live" on October 15th, and there are still tickets available if you're up for a road trip.

Montgomery Gentry's new cd, "Rebels on the Run," won't be out until October 18th. The release date was pushed back because the guys decided to give away a motorcycle in conjunction with the release. One of the cd cases will include a "golden ticket" that the winner will exchange for a custom-made chopper from Demented Cycles.

There's fantasy baseball, fantasy football and now...fantasy hunting? Yep, and Craig Morgan is the first country artist to sign on as a player. There's over $60,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs, so you might want to pick a team!

Happy birthday to Faith Hill, who turns 44 today. She wants to share her gifts with her daughters - “I guess the greatest gift that I could give my girls is a sense of self worth and just…to be happy, learn to be happy, try to be happy.” By the way, Faith is working on a new album, though there's no word on a potential release date.

The tweet of the day is from Jo Dee Messina: "Love is ... carrying leftover mac and cheese 1/2 way across country, through secuity, on plane, for a 2 year old"

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

The ACM Honors were last night at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, and Reba, Garth and Taylor were treated to special performances in their honor. Joe Nichols hosted the event, and Ronnie Dunn presented Reba's Career Achievement Award. Reba told the story of a childhood visit to the Ryman, where she got sick on the outside steps. Jerrod Niemann sang "Good Ride Cowboy" in Garth Brooks' honor as he was presented with the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award. Taylor Swift was her usual gracious self, talking with every film crew along the red carpet and personally greeting every fan lined up on 5th Avenue, signing autographs and posing for photos. She was honored with the Jim Reeves International Award for spreading country music worldwide, and she remarked, “Getting to go all these places I’d never dreamed I’d even get to see in my life and play arena shows there, it’s been an amazing, amazing year. You know, what I love the most is that all these people they speak different languages, but they knew all the words to our songs. It was so wonderful to get to see that first hand.”

Camera crews from CBS's "60 Minutes" followed Taylor Swift around Nashville last weekend as she staged two sold-out shows in her home town then was honored last night. The profile will air sometime in November.

Toby Keith was interviewed by the Boston Herald, and among the questions asked was why he carried a gun. Toby's reply? “If somebody asked me, ‘Why do you have one? What are you afraid of?’ I’d say, ‘I ain’t afraid of nothing. I carry so I don’t have to be.’”

Rodney Atkins takes over the top spot on the country music charts with his latest hit, "Take A Back Road." It's his 6th #1 song, and he credits songwriters Rhett Akins and Luke Laird for this success: “What makes this town so special are the songwriters, that’s where it all comes from. We wouldn’t have anything to sing without ‘em. My first love with…with music once I started playing music, I wanted to write songs. That was the best part of it.”

PollStar's Top 20 Tour list has juggled just a bit, with Kenny Chesney pulling ahead of Taylor Swift in total money raked in on tour so far this year. Seven of the top 20 touring acts are country: Keith Urban at 19, Sugarland at 18, Jason Aldean at 14, Rascal Flatts at 11, Brad Paisley at 9, Taylor at 3 and Kenny Chesney in second place, behind U2. Here's the list of the top 20, with gross revenues and average ticket price:

1) U2 - $6.9 mil. / $95.46
2) Kenny Chesney - $2.2 mil. / $75.18
3) Taylor Swift - $2.1 mil. / $73.70
4) Glee Live! In Concert! - $1.5 mil. / $84.10
5) Sade - $1.3 mil. / $97.93
6) Phish - $1.1 mil. / $52.95
7) Britney Spears - $928,133 / $83.23
8) New Kids on the Block w/ Backstreet Boys - $854,610 / $72.89
9) Brad Paisley - $692,410 / $37.29
10) Rush - $688,049 / $72.51
11) Rascal Flatts - $634,271 / $35.63
12) Michael Buble - $566,789 / $76.04
13) Motley Crue - $528,602 / $55.68
14) Jason Aldean - $522,061 / $30.98
15) Katy Perry - $490,625 / $42.24
16) Train w/ Maroon 5 - $489,043 / $42.31
17) American Idols Live - $486,495 / $54.52
18) Sugarland - $418,274 / $48.90
19) Keith Urban - $414,439 / $52.63
20) Luis Miguel - $358,164 / $92.72

Tony Bennett's Duets II album is out today, featuring duets with Carrie Underwood, Faith Hill, Willie Nelson, and artists from other musical genres.

Kelly Clarkson is on the Tonight show.

The tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton: "Congratulations to AT&T on their 1 billionth dropped call!!! And that's just on MY phone..."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Taylor Swift played Nashville this weekend, and had some high-powered hunks on stage with her. Ronnie Dunn took the stage Friday night, and Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney joined her on stage Saturday night. Ronnie and Taylor sang "Bleed Red" together. Tim, dressed all in black, duetted with Taylor on "Just to See You Smile," and Kenny and Taylor knocked it out of the park singing "Big Star."

In other Taylor news, she was presented with some plaques while in Nashville, one celebrating 5 million in sales for her "Speak Now" album, and one commemorating a million tickets sold on the "Speak Now World Tour."

Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert have issues with going out. No, not issues with each other, issues with people who know them but don't like them very much. According to Blake, “We don’t go places like we used to. I hate to even say that because it just sounds stupid to say it, but we just can’t anymore. Especially now with Miranda—some of the stuff you see that’s written is hurtful—so you decide, ‘I’m not even gonna go out. I don’t want people to see me…’ You know what I mean? But outside of that, I mean, my gosh, this is what I moved to town for. It is awesome!” The next
season of "The Voice" starts taping next month, and the first show is right after the Superbowl in February. In other Blake news, some of the artists for the first Blake Shelton Cruise have been announced - get your berth reserved, because it's going to be a party. Trace Adkins, Easton Corbin and Neal McCoy will be on board and performing, and more artists will be announced soon. The cruise happens October 14-21, 2012 so you have time to save up.

The Shelby Corn Maze, featuring the likeness of Jason Aldean, opened this past weekend, and it's gained national attention because of the design. Jason is impressed, but feels a little bit strange about it: “It’s pretty good. But it’s a little weird, I’m gonna be honest with ya. I’d like to go walk around in my whiskers over there…or run up my nose.” The maze is open through the end of October, and becomes a haunted maze in two weeks.

Darryl Worley's Tennessee River Run was this past weekend, and even before all the events were over, they had raked in a record $120,000 for charity. Montgomery Gentry headlined the country concert on Saturday, so more money will flow in from this fun event.

What did the guys in Rascal Flatts give Justin Moore as an end-of-tour gift? A pretty snazzy pistol, and Justin's delighted, tweeting "Best end of tour gift ever!"

Happy birthday to Jeff Bates, who turns 48 today, and Trisha Yearwood, who is 47.

The tweet of the day is from Martina McBride: "Loved @taylorswift13 in Nashville. Appreciated the"For the Girls"lyrics on her arm. It's a great big show! Beautifully done"

Friday, September 16, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Monday night in Nashville, stars will gather for the ACM Honors awards. Ronnie Dunn will be there, performing, and Reba will receive the ACM Career Achievement Award. It's to recognize an artist who has consistently help promote country music through their work, though Reba admits that she was a little fuzzy about it at first. “They said, ‘Well you…’ As a matter of fact somebody congratulated me on it…oh, Melissa Peterman. She texted me and she said, ‘Congratulations!’ I said, ‘What for?’ And she said, ‘Well you got the Career Achievement Award.’ I said, ‘What’s that for?’ and she said, ‘Well I don’t know, but they’re all tweeting about it. And so I really didn’t understand what it was, except, I guess an achievement for my career, so that was great!” Also getting hardware are Garth Brooks, who will be given the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award, and Taylor Swift, who earned the Jim Reeves International Award.

If you get an email or see an online ad inviting you to visit a website to see photos of Carrie Underwood or learn shocking information about her, don't click that link! Carrie Underwood is #51 on the list of the most dangerous celebrities on the internet. No, she's not doing anythng wrong - cyber-criminals use her name and image to lure people into infecting their own computers with malware, viruses and trojan software. Practice safe surfing - if you don't recognize the source, don't click the link.

Brad Paisley, author. His book, "Diary of a Player," hits the streets November first. He and Rolling Stones writer David Wild co-authored the book, which describes how guitar masters from all genres of music shaped Brad's love of guitar playing. In Brad's words, “Nothing has changed my life like the fact that my grandfather gave me a guitar when I was a kid. For me, it’s my release. It’s this thing that has become such an integral part of my life and who I am. I don’t know who I’d be without it.” Brad got that guitar at age 8, by 12 was writing songs and at the tender age of 13, he was opening for stars like George Jones and the Judds.

Taylor Swift played an appreciation concert at the Target sales meeting in Minneapolis Wednesday. She re-wrote the song "Smelly Cat," a tune made famous by "Phoebe" on the tv show "Friends." Some of the lyrics include “You sell lots of things from food to Spanx. You also sell albums, and I wanna say, ‘thanks.’ Red shirts, khaki pants. Red shirts, khaki pants.” Oprah Winfrey, Tony Bennett and Beyonce were all there for the event.

Eric Church is happy to have a lighter-themed song out, after "Homeboy." "Drink in My Hand" was written on his tour bus. The inspiration? The fans. Eric says, “We were out on tour – I think we were on tour with Miranda at the time – and I was on the bus with a couple of co-writers of mine, and we had just walked offstage and saw the crowd, saw our fans and saw ‘em put their beers in the air. You could just tell that they had worked all week, and this was their moment to let all that wash away. And, that was where the title was born from really. ‘Everything’s OK now, I’ve got a drink in my hand, and I’m relaxing and I’m chilling.’” Eric's out with Toby Keith on the "Locked and Loaded" tour.

There's a Facebook page aimed at getting Sugarland as the Superbowl 2012 entertainment. Put up by a group of fans, they hope to influence the NFL's decision for halftime entertainment. They started "a flood of phone calls" yesterday. No word so far on whether the NFL will pay attention, but if you're a Sugarland fan and want to help, go like the page.

This week, Mark Wills was given the Patriot Award while performing at Nashville's Hard Rock Cafe. Operation Troop Aid gave him the honor to recognize him as an "artist/entertainer who goes above and beyond to demonstrate his/her support of our troops via visits abroad or at U.S. bases and facilities, performing before them, being actively involved in fundraising initiatives to support charities, organizations and causes that directly benefit the military men and women and their families." Hope they didn't have to engrave all that on the award...that's a mouth-ful!

Lady Antebellum is on the Ellen DeGeneres show today and on the Tonight show later on.

Happy birthday to Sonny Lemaire of Exile, who turns 64 today. David Bellamy is 61 and Terry McBride is 51.

The tweet of the day is from Big Kenny Alphin: "'The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.' -- Thomas Paine"

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Taylor Swift is in the Guinness Book of World Records. No, she's not swallowing goldfish or leaping over river gorges on a motorcycle. She holds the record in two categories: fastest selling digital album by a woman in the US for "Speak Now" and the most songs on the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time, with 11 singles charting in the same week.

The three members of Lady Antebellum have been together as a band for four years, and Charles Kelley admits that the first two years weren't always easy. He, Dave Haywood and Hillary Scott got along great until a difference of opinion cropped up. According to Hillary, “We figured out how to argue and work through things, but argue respectfully. Because we agree on a lot of things — on most things — but on the things that we didn't, it was figuring out how to work through those things.” The trio worked with a mediator to learn how to respect their differences and move forward peacefully.

Alan Jackson and Ozzie Osbourne helped save a missing autistic boy this week. Eight-year-old Joshua Robb slipped away from school, and when teachers tried to catch him, he ran into the woods and became lost. His father suggested that the searchers play Joshua's two favorite songs over a loudspeaker, in the hopes that he would come out. It worked. Authorities alternated "Good Time" by Alan Jackson and "No More Tears" by Ozzie Osbourne, and Joshua walked to his rescuers, telling them, "Thank you. You saved me." Neihher Ozzie nor Alan has commented on the incident.

Jewel and Ty Murray introduced their nine-week-old baby boy, Kase Townes, to the world via People magazine. Ty and Jewel had a list of baby names even before they got married, but in the end, their son was named for Ty's best friend Kase and Jewel's favorite singer-songwriter, Townes Van Zandt.

Martina McBride is planning a whistle stop tour this fall, to celebrate the release of her "Eleven" album. The four-day trip will take her from Los Angeles to New York, making 11 stops along the way, performing intimate concerts for fans in Albuquerque, NM, Chicago and New York. The event is called "Eleven Across America Powered by Amtrak," and Martina is excited about the trip, saying a cross-country railroad excursion is something she's always wanted to do. Her next cd, "Eleven," comes out October 11th.

Jason Aldean's "Here for the Party" has just been certified double-platinum for sales of over two million copies. That makes it the best-selling country album of 2011. He's having a good year - he's up for five CMA awards, and is sure to bring home at least a couple of those.

Congratulations to George Strait, who's 39th studio album is actually #24. It's his 24th #1 album on the Billboard Country Album chart, debuting on top this week. "Here For A Good Time" sold 91,000 copies. He admits he wanted to hang up his songwriting hat until son Bubba and songwriter Dean Dillon called with an idea: “’Here for a Good Time was an idea that my son had had, and Dean, he’s going like, ‘Well, Bubba what have you got today?’ And he goes, ‘Well, I got this ‘I’m not here for a long time, but I’m here for a good time idea. Should we write it as a ballad? Or is it serious?’ We decided it was a more fun idea than a more serious, so we wrote it that way.” And it turned out seriously fun, didn't it?

Find Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum between the covers of Ladies Home Journal, on newsstands now.

Clay Walker is on Fox & Friends this morning.

The tweet of the day is from Chris Young: "The real two-step... Step 1. Drunk late text Step 2. Hungover apology text"

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

The lawsuits and notices of impending lawsuits are starting to fly fast and furious after the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair, and so far, they're all including Sugarland as defendants. Very sad, on so many levels... Meanwhile in Syracuse, NY, Sugarland fans brought signs to the show to make Jennifer and Kristian feel better. Thousands of them held up signs saying "Little Miss, Little Mister - it's alright, and it'll be alright again." Two schoolteachers organized the project, handing out 6,000 signs for the audience to raise when the song "Little Miss" came on.

Told you last week that Blake Shelton had to do a little cajoling to get what he wanted for the "God Gave Me You" video - wedding footage. Miranda took a week to say "yes" to its' use, and Blake is proud of the way the video turned out...

This might be the next single from Miranda's "Four the Record." Live in concert, here's "Mama's Broken Heart."

Friday night, Brad Paisley conjured up Carrie Underwood on stage to duet with him on "Remind Me." She wasn't really there, though - she's projected on a screen so she's about the same size as Brad, fooling a few people in the arena. By the way, Carrie says she wants to "tour her face off" next year, so maybe she and Brad will do this song live then. Meanwhile, enjoy the fan video of the virtual duet.

Saturday night in Washington DC, Toby Keith shared his pre-show ritual with a video camera.

Sunday night, Lady Antebellum performed the National Anthem before the Cowboys/Jets game. The entire tribute was wonderful, but Lady A capped it off perfectly.

Taylor Swift was in Vancouver Sunday night, and during her concert, she stopped to remember the 10th anniversary of 9/11. She performed Alan Jackson's beautiful "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning," and those were the lyrics she wrote on her arm that night, too. This is an amateur video, but you get a feeling for how powerful the moment was.

Trace Adkins will be featured on "Invitation Only" on September 25th on CMT. Here's a sneak-peek of the session - "Just Fishin'"

And while we're playing with videos, go "like" NRA Country's Facebook page to see Justin Moore doing their theme song.

A little behind-the-scenes info on Miranda Lambert's "Baggage Claim" - it features a couple of guests, Josh Kelley singing back-up vocals and rocker Steve Winwood on the Hammond B-3.

Last night at the Grand Ole Opry, stars turned out to celebrate George Jones' 80th birthday. Alan Jackson took the stage, singing "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and "Golden Ring" as a duet with Lee Ann Womack. Jamey Johnson, Montgomery Gentry, the Oak Ridge Boys and Pam Tillis were part of the fun, that included a possum-shaped birthday cake. The show was sold out, and George was grinning ear to ear when he took the stage for the happy birthday song.

The ACC has taken note of how much Dierks Bentley likes to party, and have invited him to perform at the ACC FanFest before their championship game on December 3rd in Charlotte.

John Rich and Big Kenny are touring, and post-tour, they'll be headed for a studio to record another Big & Rich album. Says John, “Kenny and I are swapping songs, swapping ideas, so I would say it's inevitable, it's coming. And it's not like people can pitch you songs for a Big & Rich record; our music is not like anybody else's stuff. It really is a meeting of the minds between me and Kenny, so it's just a process. But we're pumped about it, I can tell you that.” The tour runs through next month, and they're planning to be in the studio by December.

Pick up the latest issue of People Country to see how your favorite country stars live. Opening their homes for the photo feature are all three members of Lady Antebellum, Kenny Chesney, Reba, Brad Paisley, Sara Evans and more.

Tomorrow morning, catch Clay Walker on Fox & Friends.

Happy 52nd birthday to John Berry, and to Mrs. Brad Paisley. Kimberly Williams Paisley is 40 today.

The tweet of the day is from Martina McBride: "1 more thing before bed. My 6 year old lost her first tooth today! Sigh."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Sunday night, Rascal Flatts was in concert in New Mexico, and stopped the show to remember the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

Miranda Lambert has several treats in store for us when "Four the Record" comes out November first. This project was very collaborative, according to Miranda: “I just have a lot of people on this album that are an influence to me or that are a hero of mine or that are friends. It’s a community on this record, and I love that because, ya know, as a songwriter you always have that little tinge of ‘Well, I wrote this song, or I could cut this one.’ But, I didn’t have that on this album because I knew my strongest songs and I knew what I needed. So, I leaned on my other favorite artists to do that.” Miranda co-wrote songs on the project with Lady A's Charles Kelly, Pistol Annies' co-horts Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley, and duets on "Better in the Long Run" with hubby Blake Shelton. The deluxe version of the album will include a bonus DVD featuring Miranda telling the stories behind each song.

Zac Brown Band wraps up their arena stops with Kenny Chesney and hit the road on their own this fall. Starting Thursday and running through November 12th, the boys are barnstorming America, taking their rootsy country and eat & greets with them. Here's where you can find them:

9/15 - Boise, ID - Taco Bell Arena
9/16 - Portland, OR - Memorial Coliseum
9/17 - George, WA - The Gorge
10/14 - State College, PA - Bryce Jordan Center
10/15 - Bristow, VA - Jiffy Lube Live
10/16 - Virginia Beach, VA - Farm Bureau Live
10/21-10/23 - Charleston, SC - Southern Ground Music & Food Festival at Blackbaud Stadium
10/28 - Jacksonville, FL - Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena
10/29 - Biloxi, MS - Mississippi Coast Coliseum
10/30 - The Woodlands, TX - Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
11/12 - Dallas, TX - American Airlines Center

Congratulations to Jake Owen, who's celebrating his second week at #1 on the country charts with "Barefoot Blue Jean Night." The original version had Jake swapping lines with guest vocalist Jerrod Niemann: “I called Jerrod while I was making the…the record that day. I was, ‘Dude, you’re one of my, like, really good friends, come over here and sing on this song.’ So, in the part of the song where I said, ‘Cadillac, horns on the hood,’ I would go, ‘My buddy Jerrod had his daddy hook us up good.’ And, then Jerrod comes in singing on the original track, going, ‘Girls smile when we roll by.’ And, then, so it’s us going back and forth.” Jake's label persuaded him to re-record the track without Jerrod, feeling it would be a stronger song with just Jake singing. Sorry, Jerrod...

In the latest issue of Nashville Lifestyles magazine, Taylor Swift is interviewed, talking about her favorite things in Nashville. One of those things isn't a thing at all - it's Faith Hill. According to Taylor, "I think my favorite person in Nashville is Faith Hill. She's been my idol since I saw her on both VH1 and CMT when I was about 10. I loved how she was taking country music to bigger audiences and her grace in the spotlight. Since I put out my first album, Faith has been a welcoming and warm presence in my life, time after time." Taylor goes on to say that Faith has always been supportive of her, sending flowers on her birthday and cookies when she's sick.

Brantley Gilbert made music before his current hit, "Country Must be Country Wide." With his new label affiliation, the decision was made to bring back one of his older releases, "Halfway to Heaven." Brantley is pleased, but a little unsure about the deluxe edition: “I never thought I’d see that word and my name on the same product, or piece of paper, but I saw it the other day for the first time and it was kind of weird. We added three new songs, ya know, that, it’s themed album, it told a story. It kind of had some open ends at the end of it, and I feel like they tie up some loose ends. And, really, uh, since we released that record the first time, my life, ya know, had been through some other things, so I, kinda, got to update that chapter of my life.”

New music in stores today includes Lady Antebellum's third cd, "Own the Night," Pistol Annies' "Hell on Heels," Brantley Gilbert's "Halfway to Heaven - Deluxe Edition" and Steve Holy's "Love Don't Run."

Lady Antebellum is on the Today Show this morning.

Happy birthday to Joe Don Rooney of Rascal Flatts, who turns 36 today.

The tweet of the day is from Joe Don Rooney: "My b'day wish, is to get so many followers that it shuts twitter down for a day!!! :)" Go ahead y'all - tweet away to @JoeDonRooney

Monday, September 12, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Lady Antebellum is set for their album release, and it'll be a busy week. They started off by singing the National Anthem at the Sunday Night Football game last night, they'll be on the Today Show tomorrow morning, and later this week will show up on the Ellen DeGeneres show and the Tonight Show. Dave Haywood explains the trio's commitment to making a great project with "Own the Night." “You know, we don’t just pop in and out and sing some vocals and let somebody throw it together. I mean, there are our songs and our entire pieces of work and we want to make sure they sound exactly the way that we want them to sound. So, we’re there for the entire process and really don’t miss a beat of it. I mean, our producer will spend extra time here and there when we’re out on the road. But, we love crafting these.”

Blake Shelton hasn't really had time to take in his 5 CMA nominations, what with being a newlywed, launching "Red River Blue" and wrapping up Brad Paisley's H2O II tour. He's aware that he's up for Entertainer of the Year for the first time, and says it'll all sink in soon. "I’m gonna take a week off, and Miranda and I and some friends are going to Colorado for a week-long hunting trip up in the mountains. I can’t wait. And I think that’s when I’m gonna be sittin’ there one mornin’ and go ‘Gah! What the—Holy crap!’ You know? That’s a big deal!"

Reba's got a new tv show in the works. ABC-TV's "Malibu Country" features Reba as the single mom of three who moves to Malibu to relaunch her singing career. Shooting starts in April, and the show should start airing next fall. Reba isn't just the star, she's also the executive producer.

Kenny Chesney was on the Today show Friday morning to celebrate the beginning of NFL football. In case you missed it, here it is...

Congratulations to Ashton Shepherd and her husband Roland Cunningham on the birth of their second child, Raden Delilah Cunningham. Her big brother, James, is delighted with his little sis. According to Mom, “The other night he was looking at me real serious, thinking. I said, ‘What are you thinking about?’ He said, ‘What I’m going to do if somebody messes with little sis.’ So, he’s already really in tune with it.”

And Eric Church and his wife Katherine are just a few weeks away from the arrival of their first child. According to the expectant daddy, “I feel like I should be doing more to prepare and there’s really just no way to get ready for it. You just kind of let it happen, you know, and it’s really, really a unique sensation to know that this person’s coming that you’re gonna be responsible for.”

For the Taylor Swift fan in your life, pick up a copy of Glamour magazine, where the Golden One shares her beauty tips & tricks.

Keith Urban likes body art, but which of his was his first tattoo? “I got an eagle, because I was in America,” he recalls. “The eagle just seemed perfect. It was like, American. I had my freedom and it was something that would be on this journey with me for my whole life.” Keith does suggest that kids who look up to him stick with the wash-off kind until they're adults. He got his first tat on his 24th birthday.

Kix Brooks will be part of "Stars for Second Harvest," a benefit concert happening October 18th at the Ryman Auditorium. Songwriter Craig Wiseman is the force behind this annual charity concert.

The Muzik Mafia and Operation Finally Home will pony up for a new home for Air Force veteran Shaun Meadows, who lost his legs during a combat reconnaissance patrol in Afghanistan three years ago. Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson and WSMV-TV surprised the Meadows family mid-concert in Nashville, bringing them up on stage to tell them about their new home. Ground will be broken in November and the family should be able to move in Memorial Day, 2012.

Condolences to Gretchen Wilson, whose Uncle Vern passed away unexpectedly from a massive heart attack Friday morning. Uncle Vern was in Gretchen's debut video, "Redneck Woman," and was featured in the 60 Minutes profile of his famous niece. Vern Heuer was 44.

Happy birthday to Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland, who turns 37 today, and to George Jones, who is 80.

Chris Young is on the Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson tonight, performing his new song, "You." Glen Campbell is on the Tonight Show.

The tweet of the day is from Lady Antebellum: "Still shaking after singing the Anthem. Thank you @NFL & NYC for letting us show our deep appreciation for this amazing country!"

Sunday, September 11, 2011

today's country tidbits

Reprinted from Country Aircheck, a trade publication for the radio industry:

Remembering 9/11: At some point this weekend, all Americans will take a moment to reflect on the events of 9/11. The memories of that horrific day remain painful for many, but vivid for us all. On that day and in the decade since, Country radio and Country music has served to inform, unite and remember. Through the words of our on-air people and the lyrics of our artists, radio has been there.

For Country radio in particular, it has been far more than words. Dozens of personalities were embedded with troops overseas in the early days of the ensuing war, visiting soldiers and bearing gifts and messages from home. Countless men and women in the military have had their minds taken off their duties in Iraq and Afghanistan, if only briefly, while being entertained by so many Country artists who have put themselves in harm's way.

Alan Jackson, whose words we reprint at the bottom of this page, Toby Keith, Darryl Worley, Charlie Daniels, Radney Foster and so many others, have moved and inspired us, and continue to do so with the songs Country radio plays. "Where Were You," "American Soldier" and "Everyday Angel," never fail to put a lump in your throat.

Country unabashedly waves the flag like no other format. As Brad Paisley writes in "This Is Country Music," "And if there's anyone that still has pride and the memory of those that died defending the old red, white and blue/This is Country Music, and we do."

Darryl Worley and Wynn Varble wrote, "Have you forgotten how you felt that day?/To see your homeland under fire/And her people blown away/Have you forgotten when those towers fell?/We had neighbors still inside going through a living hell/And you say we shouldn't worry 'bout bin Laden/Have you forgotten?"

No one tells the story better than country music writers and singers; no one delivers the message better than Country radio. And we will continue to do it this weekend, as we all remember 9/11.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

This weekend, several country artists will participate in events commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Trace Adkins flies to Germany to perform for wounded vets at Ramstein Air Force Base on Sunday. The show will be broadcast live to troops around the world. Alan Jackson will perform "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning" at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday. He was supposed to be at the Washington Cathedral, but technical issues caused the concert venue to be moved. Atlanta Motor Speedway is the site for a multi-day music festival honoring those who lost their lives on 9/11. Artists include Rodney Atkins, Darryl Worley, Mark Wills, Burns & Poe and many more. Mark Wills has a new song, "Crazy Being Home," that he's built a new charity around. is intended to foster support for America's post-9/11 veterans. Eddie Money is giving all proceeds from his new song, "One More Soldier Coming Home" to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.

On September 19th, the 5th Annual ACM Honors show happens at the Ryman Auditorium. Performers include Randy Houser, Montgomery Gentry, Jamey Johnson, Jack Ingram, The Gatlin Brothers, Jerrod Niemann, Thompson Square, Lee Ann Womack, The Isaacs and The Whites. Presenters include Ronnie Dunn, John Michael Montgomery, Laura Bell Bundy and Ralph Emery. Joe Nichols hosts the show, and the nominees are here.

Road trip alert - Martina McBride will throw the switch when the Opry goes pink on October 22nd. It's the 3rd annual "Opry Goes Pink" show, helping to raise awareness of breast cancer and money for research and treatment. The show will also feature Kellie Pickler, Lauren Alaina, Edens Edge and Ronnie Milsap. Tickets are available at 615-871-OPRY.

Blake Shelton's video for "God Gave Me You" includes some very personal video - from his and Miranda Lambert's wedding. Blake thought it was a cruial part of the video, but it took some convincing to get Miranda on board. According to Blake, “She thought about that for a week and I was stressed out. It was like, man, this video’s gonna suck if she doesn’t let me use that wedding video, you know? But, she finally, I said, ‘Man, please,’ I said, ‘It would mean a lot to me if we could use that.’ And she’s getting’ to the point where she’s wanting to keep more and more of us to us, you know? But, I talked her out of that and it’ll probably be the last thing I’ll get to do like that.”

It's probably not a huge surprise, but there's confirmation today that Zac Brown and the Food Network are in talks about Zac doing a cooking show. Or maybe the network will follow the band around and turn his "eat and greets" into a reality-type show. No firm decisions have been made, but there's interest on both sides of the table.

In the midst of being a newlywed and a touring country diva, Carrie Underwood is finding time to write and record. She is about half finished with her next album.

Oh, Dierks Bentley is a little bit of a daredevil. Ya think??? Check this out...

Check out a behind-the-scenes look at CMA nominee Thompson Square's video shoot for "I Got You."

And a behind-the-scenes look at Little Big Town's "Shut Up Train."

Singer/songwriter Ty Herndon and former NFL player Kevin Turner teamed up to raise money for the ALS Therapy Alliance. When the dust cleared, the donation amount was $4.3 million! Ty's song "Journey On" has been used to raise awareness...check it out...

Last month, I told you about Keith Urban's foray into fragrance, developing "Phoenix," a men's fragrance. Now scuttlebutt is that he's working on a women's scent, saying "I think we've got a really good one." Wonder how involved Nicole is in the development, since she's probably going to be wearing it.

Kenny Chesney is on the Today show this morning. Monday night, catch Chris Young performing his new song, "You," on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Happy birthday to Joe Smyth of Sawyer Brown and Joey Martin of Joey+Rory. Saturday, Pistol Annies Ashley Monroe turns 25 and Sunday, Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley turns 30.

The tweet of the day is from Phil Vassar: "In the studio today surrounded by lights and decorated trees tracking my Christmas record! Hot cocoa for all!"

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Gearing up for next Tuesday's album release, Lady Antebellum will not only "Own the Night," they'll own the media, too. Tonight they'll perform at the NFL opener in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and over the next week, they'll also be on the Today Show, the Ellen DeGeneres Show, the Tonight Show, Saturday Night Live and CBS Sunday Morning. According to Lady A's Dave Haywood, “We’re workaholics, I think, all of us. Man, we were ready to have new stuff out there. I mean, almost before “Need You Now” was released, we were working on new material and so we’ve had these new songs written for a while. So, we couldn’t wait to get back in and get these things recorded for everybody.”

Jake Owen has his first #1 song this week, the same week that his new cd, "Barefoot Blue Jean Night," debuts at #1 on the country album chart. Nice week for Jake! Oh, and his plan to call 10 Twitter followers to ask them what they thought of his album has kind of exploded - according to Jake, "I enjoyed talking to people so much that I decided to keep doing it. I've called almost 500 people. I'm going to keep doing it for as long as I can."

Taylor Swift will have to make room for at least one more award: The 2011 Harmony Award. The Nashville Symphony is honoring Taylor as one who exemplifies the Nashville music community. The award will be given to Taylor on December 10th during the 27th Annual Symphony Ball in Nashville.

In the Taylor trivia department, do you know what her new hobby is? Cooking! Taylor's got a collection of cookbooks, uses them, tweaks the recipes to see what happens and will probably end up endorsing a line of cookware, dishes and kitchen linens. Heck, a Taylor Swift cookbook and cooking show? Don't laugh - she's really hooked on cooking: “Right now, I’m, like, obsessed with cooking. So, I’ve been getting all kinds of cookbooks. I have this entire bookshelf full of cookbooks in my place. Ya know, when you go in the stores and there’s just like, ‘How to Make Great Sandwiches,’ and you’re like, ‘Who buys those?’ I buy those! I’m like, ‘A book of 100 ways to make Cupcakes.’ I buy that. I love that.”

From the "awards trivia department," if Thompson Square wins the CMA for Duo of the year, they'll be the first married couple to win that award in 24 years. Who did it last? Ricky Skaggs and his wife, Sharon White, in 1987.

Jay DeMarcus takes you on a backstage tour of a Rascal Flatts tour stop, complete with some comedy...

Want to hear Tony Bennett duet with Carrie Underwood? Here you go!

The tweet of the day is from Kellie Pickler: "You can buy an education but you can't buy common sense."