Monday, November 14, 2011

Today's Country Tidbits

Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw have made it official...they'll tour together next summer, doing stadiums and domes with their "Brothers of the Sun" co-headlining show. In addition, they're working on at least one song together. Tim and Kenny have been friends for years...ticket info coming soon, and they'll be on sale in time for stuffing stockings this Christmas.

With a little time to help give him perspective, Jason Aldean is talking about finally winning a CMA (he actually won two last Wednesday) and his next album. According to Jason, he thought he had a decent shot at the Musical Event award, but was blown away by the Album of the Year award. What will his next project sound like? “I feel like on the next record, we’ve already found some great songs and the ball is rolling now. But (My Kinda Party) has been special in a lot of different ways. I don’t know if you can compare another record to this, you just got to go out and try and make the best record you can the next time around and hope it can do some of the same things.”

Every major artist has a song that marks the flashpoint in their career - that time when success turned into stardom. For Blake Shelton, the song is his collaboration with Trace Adkins. “That’s when everything kinda, really, truly changed, I think, when we released ‘Hillbilly Bone.’ And, all of a sudden, it’s just like things started happening, one after the other. Yeah, 18 months ago, if you’d told me what was about to happen, I’d have told you, you were crazy. And, it just doesn’t seem real to me still.” Blake just won CMA Male Vocalist of the Year for the second straight year, and is taping season two of The Voice.

Blake's bride Miranda Lambert earned CMA Female Vocalist of the Year for the second time last week, and will be making the rounds of the tv talk shows this week. How is she feeling about her shooting star? “It’s kinda crazy, you know, you, you hope when you get into this business that you can make history, and to actually see it happening is, it’s a dream come true. And, I’m, I’ve worked my butt off and it’s like, ‘Thank you, God. It’s payin’ off.’” She'll perform "Baggage Claim" on the Tonight Show tonight and will be on the Ellen DeGeneres show and Jimmy Kimmel Live later this week.

Pollstar rankings are showing that the new CMA Entertainer of the Year is also the top touring act right now. Taylor Swift has the #1 tour, with Rascal Flatts coming in at #6, the American Idols Live tour with Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina in 7th place, Jason Aldean in 8th place and Keith Urban at #9.

Meanwhile, at the Billboard Touring Awards, Taylor's tour won for best Concert Marketing and Promotion. Kenny Chesney was honored for Top Tour with his "Goin' Coastal" tour, which included Zac Brown Band, Uncle Kracker and Billy Currington. Jason Aldean won the Breakthrough award for 2011.

Taylor's still on the road with her "Speak Now" tour, but she's thinking about what's next. Specifically, the next album and how those songs will play on stage. “With this next album, I’m so excited because I’ve been writing so much and we’re still in the first year of making it. So, I’m kind of seeing ideas as we finish songs and as we demo them up in my producer’s basement, I can kind of picture them being played on a stage.”

Saturday night in Dallas, the audience at the Zac Brown Band show got a treat - and so did Zac! Randy Travis showed up and joined the band on stage. The crowd went nuts, and judging from his tweets, so did Zac.

Did you notice that Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood weren't at the CMA Awards? There's a good reason - they were in Haiti, helping Habitat for Humanity build 100 houses. They were two of 500 volunteers who showed up to build new homes as part of the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project.

Trace Adkins' daughter Brianna is a budding humanitarian, too. You'll remember that when their house burned down earlier this year, it was Brianna who ran back in to save the family dogs, Bella and Daisy. An anonymous donor gave her $500 for her bravery, which she donated to a rescue group to help a dog that is lame. He needs, as Dad Trace explains, “one of those doggy walker things.” Trace says “She feels bad about it. That’s the kind of kid she is.” Then he goes on to say he's “proud of her passion.”

Rascal Flatts surprised a high school in Franklin, TN, visiting with the students to talk about the importance of music education and to donate $5,000 towards the school's music program.

The Christmas specials are tipping their hands about stars, and Faith Hill is the only country artist invited to be part of NBC's "Christmas at Rockefeller Center." Tony Bennett, Michael Buble, Justin Bieber and Cee Lo Green are some of the other performers for the November 30th special, which features the lighting of the Rockefeller Tree.

Lady Antebellum's "Own the Night" went platinum in just four weeks. According to Dave Haywood, "It's been a dizzying and exciting few months launching this album." Ya think??

Miranda Lambert is on the Tonight Show.

The tweet of the day is from LeAnn Womack: "well i am dreading getting the house ready for thanksgiving festivities...anyone else? im a thanksgiving grinch"