Monday, April 30, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Carrie Underwood likes kids, but she's not ready to have any yet, so she stopped by PS22 in Staten Island, New York to sing with the school chorus. The kids nailed her song, "Good Girl," and the drummer has mad skills!

Keith Urban is launching a new video feature, and episode one is online. In the first Urban Chat, he's backstage with Seal, Kelly Clarkson and David Foster.

Colt Ford had a rough night last night - he didn't see a bank of speakers, tripped and fell off the stage. He's got "a few broke ribs and hurt knee," as he put it on Twitter, but says he'll be alright. He was doing a show in Danville, Virginia on Friday and kept his date in West Virginia on Saturday night.

Saturday in Nashville it was the St. Jude Marathon, and country music (of course!) was involved. Danny Gokey was one of the runners and Rodney Atkins and Gloriana provided the post-race entertainment.

Blake Shelton performs his new single, "Over," on The Voice tonight.

Tonight, Carrie Underwood will be on the David Letterman show, and Thursday night she'll perform on American Idol. Her cd, "Blown Away," comes out tomorrow.

Happy birthday to Willie Nelson, who is 79 today. He's in Maui, where he likes to spend Monday nights with friends: “We play in Maui, I have a little hideout out in the back of the house next to the ocean out there where we play poker a lot.  Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson and a lot of my friends from Maui, we’ll get together on Monday nights or whenever and play poker.”

The tweet of the day is from John Rich: "I'm being very inappropriate right now."

Friday, April 27, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Lady Antebellum's "Rebuilding Henryville Charity Ball" tickets go on sale today at Ticketmaster. The money raised by the May 16th concert is for tornado relief efforts in the Indiana town that was very hard-hit a couple of months ago. According to Charles Kelley of Lady A, “We’re just so excited to be able to be playing for the community there in Henryville and, you know, our thoughts go out to them. And we kinda just wanted to do something to bring a little joy and excitement to the community.”

Miranda Lambert will be joined by the Pistol Annies at her show in Fresno, California tonight, and they'll be on the rest of the tour with her. Miranda is very supportive of other artists, saying, “I have a kindred spirit with other artists, because I know what they’re going through and they know what I’m going through, and I think that’s why a lot of us get along—Hillary Scott, and with the Pistol Annies, and with Carrie—we don’t hang out that much, but you know I really respect her. And guys, too, I mean, I just feel like if it’s great, there’s room for all of it.”

Eric Church's new song, "Springsteen," has been certified gold and is chewing up the charts. Eric co-wrote it and explains, “The title of the song is ‘Springsteen,’ but what I love about it is it’s not a tribute song, it’s not about Springsteen. It’s just about whatever that artists is becoming the soundtrack for the love or the person your with.”

How far in advance do country artists plan? If you're Luke Bryan and you're planning a headlining tour in 2013, you've started already: “Next year will kinda be our year to get out there and headline. And so, we’re already getting everything lined up and getting all our plans together for a huge tour next year.” He was out with Jason Aldean on the "My Kinda Party" tour and has a shiny new gold record with "Drunk On You," so expect Luke's tour to be a good one.

Steel Magnolia is in the studios, working on a new album and getting set to hit the road for a tour. It kicks off next Saturday night in Winchester, Tennessee.

"No-show Jones" has returned, but this time it's the doctors' fault, not the bottle's. George Jones is still recovering from his recent medical woes and doctors have told him to postpone all concerts through May 20th. He says he's feeling much better but continues mandatory R&R at his home in Franklin, Tennessee.

Sunday night at 10 on ABC, Love and Theft performs their current single, "Angel Eyes," on the drama GCB.

The tweet of the day is from Toby Keith: "USO TOUR #10: CAMP BUEHRING, KUWAIT THANK YOU FOR BEING MY FRIEND!"

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Toby Keith is spending this week in the Middle East, entertaining troops on his 10th USO tour. He'll do shows in five countries over the 12 day tour, and service men and women in forward staging units won't be left out. He's already done a show on the SS Abraham Lincoln, and by the time this tour is over, he'll have done meet & greets on more than 100 military installations. There've been camera crews recording it all, so expect some sort of video project soon.

Told you earlier this week that "Uncaged" was the probable title for upcoming Zac Brown Band cd, and now it's official - ZBB's next project will be out July 10th and "Uncaged" is officially the title. The band has also added a new member - Daniel de los Reyes, a percussionist who "adds a new kind of pulse" to the band's music, according to Zac. Also adding some flavor to the new album is Trombone Shorty, a legendary New Orleans musician, who appears on the track "Overnight."

Keith Urban's working on a new album, too, and says that the songs will be more personal. Since his vocal chord surgery, he feels his voice is stronger than it's ever been and looks forward to getting into the studio with his new songs.

The Indiana State Fair has announced part of their concert line-up for this summer, and Blake Shelton will be one of the performers. He doesn't have to worry about having the stage collapse, as it did just before the Sugarland show last year. The grandstand stage has been retired since the tragedy that cost seven people their lives last summer. The shows will now be held inside the Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

People Magazine comes out tomorrow with their list of the 2012 World's Most Beautiful Women. Beyonce topped the list, but Miranda Lambert made the cut, too. She once said, in an interview with Seventeen magazine, “I have a horrible girl crush on BeyoncĂ©. I’ve seen her four times. I got to meet her in Dallas. I met her backstage and it was awesome.”

Lionel Richie's "Tuskegee" is at the top of the Billboard album charts again this week, and Lionel Richie knows why - his country collaborators brought it: “Tim McGraw walks in...he sang the song just like Tim McGraw. Everyone brought their A-game and their style.” In other Lionel news, he'll serve as a mentor on the ABC summer show, "Duets."

You can listen to all of Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away" album at iTunes, but you have to use a special link to get it.

It's baby girl #2 for Lady Antebellum's Josh Kelley and Katherine Heigl. They've adopted a second baby. We don't know little sister's name yet, but big sister Naleigh is delighted with her new baby sister.

Happy birthday to Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts who turns 41 today.

The tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton: "Grown men who wear skinny jeans may as well wear a t-shirt that says "Even though I don't have to, I pee sitting down..."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Brad Paisley is a huge South Park fan, and has been featured on the Comedy Central animated series before. Well, he's doing it again tonight, adding voice to his cross-eyed, cowboy-hatted caricature. Brad's delighted, saying, “I’m a big South Park fan. I identify with people who have absolutely no fear in making fun of...of everything. And so, I’ve seen almost every episode! As band members on a tour bus, you look for things like that that kind of blow the lid off things. Anyway, I just think they’re brilliant.”

Jason Aldean knows how to take care of his fans - especially the young ones. Tyson Zimmer is seven years old and is fighting an aggressive form of brain cancer. His dream was to hear from Jason, and that dream has come true. Not only did Jason post a video especially for Tyson, he also sent him a package of autographed items and promised tickets to a show, along with backstage passes, for the next time his tour stops near Lincoln, Nebraska. Here's the video Jason made for Tyson:

Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman have been waxed - but not the painful kind of waxing. They've been scultped in wax and are part of the Madame Tussauds exhibit in their Sydney, Australia museum. It takes 60 artists 800 hours to create each figure, costing about $220,000 in man-hours and materials.

The Band Perry are known for their innovative way of telling a story, and their latest single, "Postcards from Paris," showcases that talent well. According to Kimberly and Reid, “[Kimberly] It just was a very sort of southern, swampy-feeling song ... a completely hypothetical story...completely...about just seeing that guy, that girl across the room that you immediately fall in love with, but never get to be in a relationship with, which just stinks doesn’t it? [Reid] It happens all the time!”

Something that doesn't usually happen - a superstar changing her look, but that's just what Carrie's thinking of doing. She's not cutting her hair, but is thinking of going to a darker hair color. No word on when that might happen. Congrats to the currently blonde Carrie, whose debut single, "Jesus Take the Wheel," has been certified double-platinum for sales of over two million copies.

Congratulations to Brantley Gilbert, whose "Halfway to Heaven" has been certified gold. The album has his first #1 hit, "Country Must Be Country Wide" on it, and Brantley knows why the album has been such a success: “You know I got the best support group ever. I like to think we got the best of the best. These people are on fire you know. Anything we ask them to do – even things we don’t ask them to do, they just go out on a limb for us just to support us, and be there for us. I’m telling you we got a lot of good friends.”

Zimbio is out with their list of the "100 Hottest Celebrity Couples of 2012" and several country couples make the list. Beyonce and Jay-Z top it, and here are the country couples that ranked for their attractiveness, popularity and staying power."

#24) Nicole Kidman & Keith Urban
#28) Faith Hill & Tim McGraw
#39) Carrie Underwood & Mike Fisher
#47) Katherine Heigl & Josh Kelley
#50) Miranda Lambert & Blake Shelton
#52) Julianne Hough & Ryan Seacrest
#96) LeAnn Rimes & Eddie Cibrian

Jake Owen fans got a double-header last night, as Jake put on a couple of StageIt online shows from his kitchen. He tweeted that he couldn't sleep, so at about 1am he did a set of what he called "old school country songs" from Haggard, Waylon and David Allen Coe. Finished that show up and did another one. This is one of the best uses of Twitter - follow your favorite stars to catch the surprises they come up with.

The tweet of the day is from Miranda Lambert: "Blake is playing "Single White Female" right now. And he knows all the words. And the chords. Um....."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Blake Shelton is on top of the charts again this week with "Drink on It." It's his second week at #1, and he attributes the success of the song to it's relatability: “I just love the idea of the whole song being about a guy just trying to pick up a girl at the bar, and saying everything she wants to hear.”

Zac Brown Band is touring, and has been in the studio working on a new album due out this summer. Officially, the project doesn't have a title, but little birdies are chirping that "Uncaged" is a top contender. If you catch them on stage, you'll hear some of the new music, as they're mixing in three or four new songs each night.

Lee Brice's "Hard 2 Love" is out today, and according to Lee, his record label gave him the freedom to pick the songs he wanted and to record them his way. Several of the song are live, one-take, full-band recordings instead of the usual instrument-by-instrument layering production that's become normal in Nashville. According to Lee, “I was able to do exactly what I wanted to do—let my heart go free, and just try stuff. The label really allowed me to have so much freedom to just go do things. And that’s why some songs came out like they did.”

Carrie Underwood is admitting to an addiction. Even though she's known for her vegetarian, and now vegan, lifestyle, she is addicted - to shoes! “I mean, I have a lot of shoes. I’m not gonna, an unnecessary amount of shoes. Um, I did revamp my closet and then I thought, ‘I’ll never be able to fill all these shoe spaces,’ and I’m out of shoe spaces. So, what’s a girl to do?”

Happy birthday to the first American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson, who turns 30 today. About his "Don't You Wanna Stay" duet partner, Jason Aldean says, “I’ve always been a fan of her voice. I love her voice it’s really soulful and kind of has this raspy-ness in it. There’s something about when she starts to sing it’s really powerful and soulful – that’s the thing.”

The tweet of the day is from Miranda Lambert: "At the grocery store just now, I had to use lip liner to cross items off my list. No pen:)"

Monday, April 23, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Keith Urban is the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. There were stars on stage for the induction - Vince Gill did the inviting earlier this month, and Trace Adkins and Josh Turner were on hand Saturday night. What does being in the Opry family mean to Keith? “What it means to me to be inducted into the Opry is probably no more than just a feeling of they know where my heart is. That’s what it means to me to get this induction. This is exactly where my heart is...always has been.” His wife, Nicole, was there Saturday night for the festivities. In case you missed it, here it is again, including a special message from Keith...

Trace Adkins will perform at the PBS National Memorial Day Concert on May 27th. The show honors our military men and women and takes place on the west lawn of the US Capitol. The show will air live on PBS at 8pm Eastern.

Lee Brice hit the top of the charts with "A Woman Like You" and is looking forward to sharing his new album with fans tomorrow. How is "Hard 2 Love" different? According to Lee, “This album is definitely two things: It’s definitely more true to where I’ve been in a section of my life, a year of my life, last year. And it’s also just a more know, me.” His new tour sponsor is Bud Light, and Lee jokes, "It looks like all the years I spent supporting Bud Light are paying off.”

Taylor Swift is looking at being part of another big-screen project. "Girls Like Us" explores the careers of Carole King, Carly Simon and Joni Mitchell, and Taylor's name keeps popping up as a contender for the Joni Mitchell role. If the movie goes forward, it'll go into production later this year.

Jerrod Niemann is part of Miranda Lambert's "On Fire" tour and has been trying his new songs out on the audiences. He's also working on his second album, and according to Jerrod, “I’ve just really been concentrating on what the fans care to hear, because in my opinion, country music fans do know everything, and that’s why they’re the best. So, this next album, I’m very excited. We have put so much work into it and passion, and I’m just thrilled to see what everybody else thinks.”

Miranda Lambert's 5th Annual Cause for the Paws will happen on June 22nd in Beaumont, Texas. It raises money to build animals shelters across the country. Wade Bowen and the Josh Abbott Band will join her for the show.

Little Big Town is getting set to tour with Rascal Flatts this summer, and both groups share a love of the movie "Anchorman." They're planning at least one big viewing party during the tour: “[Karen] I think we quoted almost every line from Anchorman, cause they love it as much as we do! [Kimberly] And there’s a sequel coming! [Jimi] Yes, there is a sequel coming. [Karen] So we talked about having an Anchorman party backstage one night with big plasma TVs and margaritas…you know the Little Big Town ‘ritas!”

The tweet of the day is from Trace Adkins: "It was an honor to hand the Opry Statue to keith urban last night. I also kissed Nicole on the cheek. Damn good night!"

Friday, April 20, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Tomorrow, Keith Urban will be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, after a surprise invitation the night of the All for the Hall benefit concert. About surprises, Keith says, “You know, it’s funny because my wife and I have a very strict rule that we don’t keep secrets, we’re not into surprises. My wife’s like, ‘I don’t like surprises, don’t ever have a surprise—always tell me if there’s going to be a surprise party’—that kind of thing. And so we’ve never surprised each other with anything or kept any secret about anything and this was the rare exception. When I got home she said, ‘Do you wish I’d told you?’ And I said, ‘No!’” Carrie Underwood isn't surprised at all - she says he's the perfect Opry member: “I mean Keith Urban - I can’t believe he’s not an Opry member already. People already thought of him, you know, being associated with the Opry, so it’s only fitting that he is actually a member! What a great addition to our Opry family.”

Lady Antebellum is doing their tornado relief concert up right. "Rebuilding Henryville Charity Ball" in Louisville, Kentucky on May 16th will include the Lady A show and probably a surprise guest or two. A fan-voted poster contest is going on right now at the band's website, looking for the design that'll be featured on commemorative t-shirts. Tickets for the show go on sale April 27th at Ticketmaster.

How do country stars relax before going out on tour? Well, if you're Jake Owen, you buy a new boat and float: “Just went for a little joyride the other day and had a good time. I love, especially when I’m in Nashville, just getting away and getting out on the river and turning the engine off and just floating with the current down the river. It’s just very relaxing. It’s good for your mind and soul.” Jake is getting set to be part of the Brothers of the Sun tour with Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney this summer.

Miranda Lambert is now part-owner of the Green Bay Packers football team. Her tour hit Wisconsin on Wednesday, and she was presented with one share of stock in the team. She and 99,999 others own a tiny bit of football.

A little birdie told me that Blake Shelton and Christina Aguilera are planning to do a country duet.

When Justin Bieber surprised the audience with a visit on The Voice, Blake Shelton got to see Bieber Fever first-hand, and was impressed, saying, “I never witnessed anything like that, it’s got to be similar to what happened with Elvis when he would come walking into a room...I literally looked at a group of girls that were in the audience and they were crying!”

Today is April 20th, a day many people celebrate as Weed Day. Who else to chime in on this but Willie Nelson, who was asked if marijuana makes him a better songwriter: “I’ve never thought about it that way because I wrote a lot of hit songs before I smoked and I’ve written a lot since I started so I can’t even make that comparison. It doesn’t compute. I think a songwriter will write songs and if he gets too high to write he’ll sober up and write again so I can’t say that it’s affected it one way or another.”

Late night tv is repeats tonight - catch Jason Aldean and Lionel Richie on the David Letterman Show and The Civil Wars on Jimmy Kimmel.

The tweet of the day is from Miranda Lambert: "Bed. Dogs. Need to wash face and tryin to talk myself into it. Ok... I will. It's not worth a zit :)!"

Today's Country Tidbits

Tomorrow, Keith Urban will be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, after a surprise invitation the night of the All for the Hall benefit concert. About surprises, Keith says, “You know, it’s funny because my wife and I have a very strict rule that we don’t keep secrets, we’re not into surprises. My wife’s like, ‘I don’t like surprises, don’t ever have a surprise—always tell me if there’s going to be a surprise party’—that kind of thing. And so we’ve never surprised each other with anything or kept any secret about anything and this was the rare exception. When I got home she said, ‘Do you wish I’d told you?’ And I said, ‘No!’” Carrie Underwood isn't surprised at all - she says he's the perfect Opry member: “I mean Keith Urban - I can’t believe he’s not an Opry member already. People already thought of him, you know, being associated with the Opry, so it’s only fitting that he is actually a member! What a great addition to our Opry family.”

Lady Antebellum is doing their tornado relief concert up right. "Rebuilding Henryville Charity Ball" in Louisville, Kentucky on May 16th will include the Lady A show and probably a surprise guest or two. A fan-voted poster contest is going on right now at the band's website, looking for the design that'll be featured on commemorative t-shirts. Tickets for the show go on sale April 27th at Ticketmaster.

How do country stars relax before going out on tour? Well, if you're Jake Owen, you buy a new boat and float: “Just went for a little joyride the other day and had a good time. I love, especially when I’m in Nashville, just getting away and getting out on the river and turning the engine off and just floating with the current down the river. It’s just very relaxing. It’s good for your mind and soul.” Jake is getting set to be part of the Brothers of the Sun tour with Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney this summer.

Miranda Lambert is now part-owner of the Green Bay Packers football team. Her tour hit Wisconsin on Wednesday, and she was presented with one share of stock in the team. She and 99,999 others own a tiny bit of football.


A little birdie told me that Blake Shelton and Christina Aguilera are planning to do a country duet.

When Justin Bieber surprised the audience with a visit on The Voice, Blake Shelton got to see Bieber Fever first-hand, and was impressed, saying, “I never witnessed anything like that, it’s got to be similar to what happened with Elvis when he would come walking into a room...I literally looked at a group of girls that were in the audience and they were crying!”

Today is April 20th, a day many people celebrate as Weed Day. Who else to chime in on this but Willie Nelson, who was asked if marijuana makes him a better songwriter: “I’ve never thought about it that way because I wrote a lot of hit songs before I smoked and I’ve written a lot since I started so I can’t even make that comparison. It doesn’t compute. I think a songwriter will write songs and if he gets too high to write he’ll sober up and write again so I can’t say that it’s affected it one way or another.”

Late night tv is repeats tonight - catch Jason Aldean and Lionel Richie on the David Letterman Show and The Civil Wars on Jimmy Kimmel.

The tweet of the day is from Miranda Lambert: "Bed. Dogs. Need to wash face and tryin to talk myself into it. Ok... I will. It's not worth a zit :)!"

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

The legendary Dick Clark passed away yesterday in Los Angeles, apparently of a heart attack. Though best known for his work in the world of pop music, America's Teenager liked all kinds of music and appreciated it for what it adds to our lives: “I mean, music is truly the soundtrack of our lives. No matter what your age, what vintage you are...whatever’s music’s going on scores what’s happening every single day of your life.” Country artists took to Twitter to offer their thoughts, and Reba remembers working with him on the ACM Awards: “One time Dick Clark said, ‘Alright, Keith Urban...they can’t find his guitar. Get out there and stretch!’ And I went [mumbles]...And I got out there and went [mumbles]. Finally, here comes Dick and he’s standing right beside me and I said, ‘Dick, I tried! I just couldn’t think of nothing to say!’ It was a real cute moment. One that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.” Carrie Underwood is saddened by the loss of the legend, saying “What an amazing life he led and what an impact that he had on entertainment, on the television world. I did get to work on projects that he was a part of and you just never, ever, ever, ever, ever heard anything negative said about that man, and he is certainly somebody that made his mark and will certainly be missed.”

One leaves and one arrives - congratulations to Joe and Heather Nichols, who are the parents of a baby girl. Born Tuesday, Dylan River Nichols is doing fine, and daddy Joe says, “We have been trying to have a baby together for many years, and this gift is not something we take for granted.” Joe and Heather have been married since 2007.

Jake Owen didn't have a ring when he proposed to girlfriend Lacey Buchanan last week, but he made up for it - he went to Atlanta to work with a designer, and this is what they came up with - 2.5 carats of everlasting sparkle...

In case you're wondering, Taylor Swift isn't dating Harry Styles of the band One Direction, nor is she dating football phenom Tim Tebow. She's hard at work on her next album, according to pictures she's posted on Twitter this week.

Dierks Bentley's new song, "5-1-5-0," is a fan favorite on tour, and Dierks understands the song's appeal: “I don’t think it’s a gonna-change-the-world type of song lyrically, but I think it’s definitely gonna help some people drink some cold beer this summer and after ‘Home,’ it’s kind of a nice change of pace and I think it’ll be a fun song to have out on the road.”

Congrats to Carrie Underwood, whose "Good Girl" is gold already.

The tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton: “So proud I had the chance to shake hands with Dick Clark in my lifetime... Great man..”

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Consider the touring artist - they spend their days and nights on the road, dragging around a lot of expensive equipment so they can put on shows all around the country. All usually goes well, barring the occasional flat tire, but all went very wrong this week for Tracy Lawrence. His tour entourage stopped in Bakersfield, California and while everone was asleep, someone broke into their vehicles and stole nearly all of their stage gear. Local music companies have come to their rescue, lending them everything from amps to digital mixing consoles so the show can go on tomorrow night in Bakersfield. Police are on the case.

Carrie Underwood graces the cover of Billboard Magazine this week, talking about her next album, "Blown Away," due out May first, and talking about her experiences in the music business: “I came into this music industry in a different way through American Idol, and I feel like I’m an elected official, often, because they voted me in. They voted for me. I still get people coming up to me all the time saying, ‘I voted for you! Oh, my gosh, it’s been so great to see everything that’s happened in the past seven years.’”

Blake Shelton loves his eleventh #1 song, "Drink on It." Why? It reminds him of old-school country tunes: “I always wished I had a song like ‘The Chair,’ like that George Strait song ‘The Chair’, ‘cause it’s basically just a guy trying to pick up a girl at a bar. That’s what ‘Drink On It,’ that’s why I fell in love with that song when I heard it, outside of the melody being kind of a throwback to you know, Conway Twitty or Ronnie Milsap sounding records, which I love, too.” "Drink on It" is his 6th #1 song in a row.

Rascal Flatts is getting ready to hit the road this summer, and according to the guys, planning a tour gets harder, not easier: “You know, we’ve been doing this for a while now. I guess this is probably our seventh real headlining tour and each one it becomes harder and harder, such a challenge to try to make each tour better than the last one, and maybe bigger than the last one. And so we really got together and talked about what we wanted to do with this summer tour and we came up with a great idea I think.” This time around, they're taking not one single solo act on the road with them - Little Big Town, Eden's Edge and Eli Young Band are their tour mates.

A "gone gold" party is in the works for Lee Brice and his song, "A Woman Like You." Why does he think the song is so successful? “It is very conversational and it’s the truth. It’s like, ‘Yeah I’d probably be doing this, I’d be doing that. But I’d be the same ole me. I’d be that dude that was looking for you the whole time.’ So it’s really just true. I think that’s why it’s coming across so well. It’s just really honest.” "Hard 2 Love" is Lee's next album, and it comes out next Tuesday.

June 4th is the day for the 3rd Annual Darius and Friends celebrity golf tournament at the Gaylord Springs Golf Links in Nashville. Darius Rucker will announce other country stars who'll be part of the golf tournament and concert that follows it soon, and tickets go on sale Saturday at Ticketmaster.

Kenny Rogers, Ronnie Milsap and Glen Campbell have been added to the nightly concert line-up at LP Field during CMA Music Festival week. Tickets are on sale for country music's ultimate summer vacation.

This Saturday is "Record Store Day," with artists all over the country showing up at local music stores to perform, sign autographs and raise awareness of brick & mortar stores that sell music. In celebration, Pistol Annies have released "Hell on Heels" in vinyl and are giving fans the chance to win an autographed copy and a turntable.

Catch Toby Keith on the Tonight Show.

The tweet of the day is from John Rich: "Wouldn't it be cool if they made "redneck sushi?" Fried catfish roll, spicy bass roll, smoked blue gill roll with crawfish on top? Ideas?"

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Told you last week that Garth Brooks will kick off the Calgary Music Festival this summer with a full-band show. Here's how hot the demand is for the G-man: nearly 16 thousand tickets for the July 12th show sold in less than one minute. It's the fastest sellout in the festival's 100-year history. There were no pre-show sales to fan club members or festival patrons - this was a 58-second sellout through Ticketmaster. There won't be a second show, so you know the scalpers will be out in force re-selling these tickets.

We don't get to see it here, but Keith Urban is having a blast being a coach on the Australian version of "The Voice." He enjoys giving aspiring singers a shot at the same kind of stardom he's found, but has a rough time with some aspects of the show: “The battle rounds are the hardest ‘cause you gotta choose somebody over somebody else, and let someone go—that’s the toughest bit. But the fact that they got a couple minutes of camera time to show everybody what they do is really the greatest thing.” This Saturday he becomes the first Australian to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.

In other Keith Urban news, his "All for the Hall" event last week raised nearly half a million dollars for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Over the last three years, the annual concert has raised about a million and a half dollars, and Keith says there will be another one in 2013.

Eric Church is on his first arena tour, his first headlining tour and his first real touring challenge: how to take the Blood, Sweat and Beers tour into the bigger venues and still have the party atmosphere he likes. Eric explains, “The hardest thing and the most important thing for me is to turn that arena into a bar or club. You have to make it feel the same way, wall-to-wall, people up. Beers in the air. Partying, interacting with each other. And it’s the hardest thing to do in an arena that size when people get farther and farther away. And I’ve been very pleased and proud of the fact that we’ve been able to do that.”

Congratulations to Luke Bryan, whose "Tailgates & Tanlines" album has been certified platinum for over a million units sold. It's been a learning experience for Luke: “When you get into your third album and you’re lucky enough to get to a third album, you just get more seasoned and a little more calm about the experience. You’re take the things you did write and wrong from your other two and you make mental notes and you try to do all the things you liked and roll into this album.” Luke is touring with Jason Aldean, but you know there'll be a platinum party soon.

And congratulations to Blake Shelton, who has the #1 country song in America this week with "Drink On It."

Waylon Jennings has been gone for 10 years, and in September, his final recordings will be released. "Goin' Down Rockin' - the Last Recordings" will include songs he wrote and recorded during the last few years before his death.

The tweet of the day is from Miranda Lambert: "My husband just took me on a date y'all. First real date in a while. Back Home now with a pile Of dogs!:) just how we like it!"

Monday, April 16, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Dave Haywood of Lady Antebellum is officially off the market. He and fiance Kelli Cashiola were married Saturday just outside of Nashville. Dave liked the process of planning a weddding: “You know, I actually enjoy...I really do enjoy the wedding planning. It’s fun to do that and talk about all the details. But, yeah, we’ve been gone on tour for a while so it’s been a lot over email and over the phone.” Lady A bandmates Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley were there to witness Dave's life event, and the band is off this month, giving Dave and Kelli some nice honeymooning time.

Blake Shelton performs along with his team members tonight on The Voice, and he's pretty stressed out about it. “I mean it seriously stresses me out! And maybe, maybe I should try to remove myself from being so attached. But it’s hard to, you know? Especially when you’ve been in the rehearsals with them, and you’ve had all these conversations with them about why they want to do this and that, and how they got in the business—next thing you know, you’re friends with them.” Christina Aguilera will also perform with her team on tonight's show, airing at 8 on NBC.

Keith Urban is starting to write for his next album and says vocal cord surgery has helped his writing, too: “The ability to not be limited in what I can sing has definitely created a freedom to write about things that I haven’t written about in the past.” Keith will be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry this Friday night.

This Friday is also "Record Store Day," a day where artists all across the country give live, free performances at brick & mortar record stores to help consumers remember that they exist. Dierks Bentley will be celebrating with a performance in Seattle, Washington at Easy Street Records.

Brad Paisley is hard at work on his next album, and has definite ideas about what an album should be: “I always have to find inspiration to do an album, especially if it’s a collected grouping of songs that are supposed to have something to do with one another. I’m not a fan of the records that feel like somebody just cut ten songs and put it out.” Wanna see Brad at work? Here's a sneak-peek at the work on his next project...

Miranda Lambert found another dog on the side of the road and tweeted a picture of him. Fans are asking if she's keeping him, and her answer is "it's being discussed." Who could say no to a face like this?

Carrie Underwood's hubby, Mike Fisher, is about to grow a beard. His hockey team, The Nashville Predators, are heading into the playoffs and it's
a tradition that the players grow a beard for good luck. Carrie isn't really happy about it and says she may retaliate and stop shaving, too. Pretty sure she's joking about that, but she's not joking about being vegan. She's a believer in that way of eating. What convinced her? “I actually saw somebody that I work with...her skin was glowing, her eyes were gorgeous, her body was amazing...something had happened. I was like, ‘What are you doing? I need to know.’ And she said, ‘I went vegan.’”

Kip Moore finally has a hit song with "Somethin' Bout A Truck." It's expected to go gold this week, and Kip is set to celebrate: “It’s wild man. I’ve always believed in myself and you have to, to get anywhere. But at the same time you get so use to it not happening, so when it does it’s just wild to see.” The song is now Top 10 at country radio.

Blake Shelton stops by the Tonight Show tonight.

The tweet of the day is from Trace Adkins: "My SWEETHEART OF THE DAY?!?! The beauty I spent the day with watching Disney movies... Trinity Lee Adkins."

Friday, April 13, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

The music industry is still struggling to find its way as cd sales plummet and downloadable music takes over. It stands to reason, then, that an artist who can sell a million units in one week has quite a bit of pressure on her to produce new cds. Taylor Swift's next album is in the works, but according to the Blonde One, she won't be hurried: “With this one, it’s gonna be done when it’s done. And it’s only gonna be done when I’m obsessed with it to the point where like every single song is on it for a reason. I still have like, a little bit of time. It might be this year, it might be next year, but… I hope that whenever it comes out, it’s good!” Meanwhile, she's written with Justin Bieber for his next cd and duetted with rapper B.o.B for his new album.

Brad Paisley is in the studio, working on a new album, too.

One week from today, Keith Urban becomes a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was invited earlier this week and has been buried in well-wishes: “I got swamped with texts and emails from my family and friends, and Brad Paisley sent me a nice text this morning. Dierks Bentley sent me a text yesterday and said, ‘Oh, and from now on, don’t call’s 912.’ He goes, ‘It’s an Opry thing.’ So, I’m in!” The 912 reference is to an Alec Baldwin line about 912 being the 911 for rich people.

Brantley Gilbert isn't exactly rich yet, but he's well on the way. He's got a project going on in his hometown of Jefferson, GA: “I’m actually building a house in my hometown. I bought some acres out there and have a house going up. It’s pretty exciting – I’m in transition.” He's touring with Eric Church, and tomorrow night, headlines a show in Austin, Texas.

Big & Rich are back, and Jon Bon Jovi gave them the title to their upcoming album, Hillbilly Jedis. John and Kenny explain: “[Kenny] We’re in the middle of writing this new song and these lyrics come out, ‘Hillbilly Jedi.’ Bon Jovi looks at us and says, ‘That’s ya’ll!’ [John] Bon Jovi does say ‘ya’ll’ by the way. [Kenny] He calls us his country cousins.” Jon and Richie Sambora have apparently recorded songs with Big & Rich for their next album.

More details are rolling out for this year's CMA Music Fest. Here's the Riverfront Stage lineup for the free shows:

June 7th: Lee Brice, Colt Ford, Tracy Lawrence, Dustin Lynch, Neal McCoy, Montgomery Gentry, Craig Morgan, Jerrod Niemann, Randy Rogers Band, Josh Thompson, Uncle Kracker

June 8th: Craig Campbell, the Farm, Gloriana, Jo Dee Messina, David Nail, Oak Ridge Boys, Thomas Rhett, Sawyer Brown, Phil Vassar, James Wesley

June 9th: Laura Bell Bundy, Edens Edge, Casey James, Lonestar, Love and Theft, Kip Moore, Heidi Newfield, James Otto, Corey Smith, Mel Tillis

June 10th: Wade Bowen, Brett Eldredge, Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, JT Hodges, Steve Holy, Jana Kramer, LoCash Cowboys, Lorrie Morgan, Sunny Sweeney, Darryl Worley

Tonight is the Lionel Richie & friends concert, taped the day after the ACM Awards. The show features country artist like Kenny Chesney, who'll duet with Lionel on "My Love." How did Lionel find out that Kenny would be part of his Tuskeegee project? Kenny tells the tale: “We’d been over-served in red wine, I think, and I decided that I was gonna call Lionel and tell him I was gonna do the record. And then I did a really, not-very-flattering rendition of ‘My Love’ on his voicemail. And so that’s how it happened, and I’m glad he didn’t perceive that—you know how you can put something on the record before it actually starts? I’m glad you didn’t hear that [mimics phone static noise].” Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw Sara Evans, Martina McBride...those are just some of the country stars on the show tonight at 9 on CBS.

New country baby - Mindy McCreedy has just confirmed the birth of her son, Zayne, on Monday. She and David Wilson released a statement, and in it Mindy said, “Zayne is truly a blessing and a joy. It was a long and trying pregnancy; we're so happy he's here. There are no words to convey how happy we are.”

Happy birthday to Loretta Lynn, who turns 80 tomorrow.

The tweet of the day is from Chris Young: "Today has been surreal and we haven't even played a show yet. Sometimes I really can't believe this stuff is really happening."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Rascal Flatts' new cd, "Changed," debuted at the top of the Billboard Country chart this week, and the trio thinks they know why: “It’s probably the album we feel best about from top to bottom. You know, when you listen back to your previous works when you get through with them, there’s always something about each project that you wished you’d done differently or a different song you wished you’d cut, you know? But, this record we feel like we finally got it dialed in to the point to where we’re proud of every single thing on this project.”

Three quarters of a million. That's how many fans Lady Antebellum has played in front of so far on their Own The Night 2012 World Tour, and they're only halfway through. What keeps them going onstage each night? Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott weigh in: “[Charles] Red Bull... [Hillary] That’s what I was gonna say! [Charles] mean, honestly, their response is what drives you, you know, when they’re freaking out. And it just keeps you comin’ back for more.” The summer leg of the tour kicks off May 3rd at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

Carrie Underwood spends a lot of time in the spotlight, and that can really change a person. She's working to stay grounded, saying, “So much happens when you’re on the road and when you’re making albums and when you’re doing TV shows and awards shows and stuff like that, you forget I think! You’re in your celebrity bubble, and I don’t want to be in that bubble. It’s fun sometimes, but for your heart and for you as a person, you just kinda need to step away and just be real.” This Sunday in Parade Magazine, Carrie gets exposed. It's the What People Earn, Then and Now" issue, comparing what people earned before they were big stars with what they earn now. Carrie rakes in about $20 million a year now, but just eight years ago she was making just $16,000 as a waitress.

Craig Morgan's song "What Matters Most" is making money for an organization that really matters. The Folds of Honor Foundation supports families of service men and women killed in the line of duty, and Craig is donating all of the proceeds from the song to that cause. You can only buy the song at one place on the internet, to ensure the maximum donation to Folds of Honor.

Set the DVR - Blake Shelton and his four team members will perform on The Voice Monday night at 8 on NBC.

Happy birthday to Vince Gill, who turns 55 today.

The tweet of the day is from Brad Paisley: "Welcome home to the Opry, Keith. You're rooming with Little Jimmy for the first month."

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Last night was Keith Urban and Vince Gill's "We're All for the Hall" benefit concert for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Keith told us yesterday that there would be some surprises, but it turns out, the biggest surprise was on him. During the show, Vince Gill shocked Keith with an invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry. Keith's official induction happens April 21st. The surprises that Keith knew about were Merle Haggard and Don Williams being part of the show. Here's video of Keith's moment - actually 4 and a half minutes...

Another surprise happened, this one involving The Band Perry. They popped in at the elementary school in Greeneville, Tennessee, their home town, and helped the kids with a fund-raiser. Thanks to the trio's support, Doak Elementary School raised nearly $35,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Blake Shelton weighed in on the Ashton Kucher faux pas at the ACM Awards. Ashton showed up in western clothes with a couple of guys he identified as his band, and he sang a lick of a George Strait song. Many country artists thought he was making fun of country music. Blake agrees - sort of: “I don’t know him; I just think that he was trying to be funny and probably really didn’t think that through as far as how it looks to us...I mean, that’s our know what I mean? It’s not the MTV Awards where there’s a lot of pranks and things like that. I mean, we try to keep it fun but...I just think he didn’t think that through.” In case you missed it or want to see it again, here's the video of Ashton's antics...

June 5th is a big day for Alan Jackson and his fans - it's the day "Thirty Miles West" comes out. It's Alan's first new music since 2010's "Freight Train," and the first album on his Alan Country Records label. The first single, "So You Don't Have to Love Me Anymore," is climbing the charts now, and there's a song on the album that really moves Alan: “There’s a song I wrote, it’s kinda hard to sing and listen to because I wrote it when Denise first found out she had cancer a year or so ago. Man, that just knocked me down, it was really tough. And this song came out of it. I don’t imagine it’s anything for commercial release or anything, but there’s a lot of emotion in that song.”

Sounds like Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood are experimenting with a new way of eating. They've been spotted in Washington DC and Las Vegas ordering vegan dishes off the menus. No word from the stars themselves yet.

Craig Morgan is on the Conan O'Brien show tonight, and the Civil Wars are on Jimmy Kimmel.

Proof positive that social media is mainstream - Merle Haggard is on Twitter now. His twitter handle is @merlehaggard, in case you want to follow him, and he has the honor (??) of being the Tweet of the Day: "Hello Twitter. #FirstTweet"

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Keith Urban and Vince Gill team up tonight with some of Nashville's top talent to raise money for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. "We're All For The Hall" features groups and artists who are friends and inspirations to Keith, who's pleased that his childhood heroes are part of the show: “Alabama were a big influence on me because of the timing of when I was growing up listening to country, especially through the ‘80s. And there was that real mix of sort of contemporary melodies and the sort of the way the band sounded on records was different than any other band I’d heard before in the genre. So, we covered a lot of Alabama songs.”

Rascal Flatts paid homage to one of their musical influences on their latest album, "Changed." Only available on the Deluxe version is a classic Shenandoah song - here's why: “We’ve been huge Shenandoah fans forever, so just our ode to one of our heroes. we did a real cool version of ‘Next to You, Next to Me’ on it. So we’re excited for all the fans to hear it.” Rascal Flatts will be touring this summer, taking Little Big Town, Eli Young Band and Edens Edge along for the run.

Dierks Bentley's new song, "5-1-5-0," is racing up the charts, and astute fans have noticed the influence of a certain 80's rock band: “Well, you know I love country music and I love bluegrass music, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say rock music was a big part of my background. I grew up during the 80s and Van Halen was one of my favorite bands. They had an album called 51-50, which is a police code for a crazy person. So my friends and I would always kind of use that sayin, ‘Last night was 5-1-5-0, last night got crazy, it was a total 5-1-5-0 last night!’”

He's been to the top of the country charts as a songwriter before, but Lee Brice has landed his first #1 song as an artist. "A Woman Like You" got him there, and Lee is happy to credit his fiance, Sara Reeveley, as the inspiration to the song: “We’re that perfect couple of opposites in a lot of ways. She’s so clean and tidy and organized and really sensitive, and I’m just kind of wild and free and I’m messy. We complement each other, but she’s always on me about little things, and I actually like it, cause it’s makes me a better guy!”

Jake Owen's proposal to girlfriend Lacey Buchanan was spur-of-the-moment, apparently. Jake said when he got on stage and realized how many of their friends and family were in the audience, he realized that sharing the moment would mean a lot to everyone. In a press release, he called Lacey "an amazing person" and "the answer to all of his prayers."

So it looks like the divorce wasn't as amicable as we all first thought. Randy Travis' ex-wife Lib slapped him with a breach of contract lawsuit last week, claiming that he interfered with her role as his manager and that he terminated their management contract without written notice. The couple divorced in 2010 after 19 years of marriage.

Entertainment Weekly is out with their list of the "30 Greatest Artists Right Now." Adele tops the list, but Taylor Swift came in second as the magazine's "Everygirl Superstar." Other country artists on the list include Carrie Underwood (#4 - Country Belle) and Jake Owen (#19 - Nashville Casanova.)

The tweet of the day is from David Nail: "Sorry Pittsburg-h! I knew it looked kinda wrong! Whoops... Thus why I sing and don't teach spelling!"

Monday, April 9, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Team Blake is down to four members on "The Voice," and Blake Shelton is enjoying being the coach of his crew. “It’s definitely changed the way I view my position in this business. It’s easy to kind of take it for granted sometimes, but it’s like how many people would love to be standing up here and talking about the stuff I’m talking about. And every time I sit in one of those chairs and I see those people on that stage that want this, it’s humbling – it’s good for you.” Live battle rounds are tonight at 8 Eastern on NBC.

Jake is taken. Saturday night, while performing in his hometown of Vero Beach, Jake Owen proposed to his girlfriend Lacey Buchanan. Thanks to smartphones, there are lots of amateur videos of the event. Here's one from a really good vantage point...

Carrie Underwood has a singing hubby. Mike Fisher likes to sing Carrie's songs around the house, and apparently he's confident - but often wrong. “He’s ...he sings it out, even when it’s wrong. It’s quite amazing how words come out, because they’re always way off and I’m like, ‘Just...time out! What you just said...does that make any sense at all?’ I try to teach him but...I don’t do directions, he doesn’t do lyrics. I guess we both have our shortcomings.” He'll have a whole new album of material to butcher on May first, when Carrie's "Blown Away" comes out.

Justin Moore has his theories about fitness, but I doubt most fitness instructors would agree: “I tell my wife I’m in terrible shape but as long as I look like I’m in alright shape, I’m probably not going to do anything about it. I like to drink beer and I like chicken-fried steak and I can eat gravy on anything, just have to watch it. Everything in moderation is OK, so as long as you don’t get outta control.”

The "All for the Hall" event is tomorrow night in Nashville. Keith Urban hosts it along with Vince Gill, and Rascal Flatts, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert and Pistol Annies, Alabama, The Band Perry and lots of surprise guests will grace the stage. The show will be at Bridgestone Arena and is sold out.

Happy birthday to Hal Ketchum, who is 59 today, and to Dave Innis, guitarist for Restless Heart. He turns 53.

The tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton: "Ok.. Very funny.. Who colored their Easter eggs on my white underwear?"

Friday, April 6, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Miranda Lambert is on fire, so what's up with her girl group, Pistol Annies? New music later this year, apparently: “The new album will be just what you expect. It’s three country girls singin’ about three country girls lives. We write everything on our own, we did on the last record and our goal on this next record is to write everything in our family – just us three girls again. I’m really looking forward to it and I’m gonna start kinda focusing on that that after the summer tour.”

Do you ever wonder what Nashville's old guard thinks about the new stars? Dolly Parton, never one to bite her tongue, dishes on Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift. About Miranda, Dolly says, “I think I really related to Miranda. She reminds me a lot of myself when I first moved to town somehow. She is just kinda raw and natural – she’s got a lot of gut, heart and soul.” And how does she feel about Taylor? “She represents herself so well for the youth of today I just wish so many more of the young people would follow her lead – in that respect. There’s not a thing that kid can’t do, and she’s beautiful, and she’s smart, and she’s talented. So, I really admire that.” Dolly has a new concert CD/DVD out, available at Cracker Barrel.

Miranda Lambert's tour took this week off, but she, Jerrod Niemann and Chris Young are ready to hit the road again after Easter. Chris Young is having a blast being part of the "On Fire Tour:" “The combination of all three of us—everybody is just having fun all the time. We don’t really prank each other, but, man, Miranda is just so funny. She’s got such a cool personality. It’s definitely one of my favorite tours I’ve been on!”

The Band Perry is working on a new album, due out later this year. Meanwhile, they've gone five deep on singles from their platinum-selling debut album. "Postcards from Paris" is the latest one, and Kimberly Perry explains the story behind it: “It kind of talks about that age old summer romance where it’s brief, but it has this way of kinda ruinin’ ya. The couple in ‘Postcard from Paris,’ neither one of them is quite the same after they’ve seen each other across the room and in the song it’s unclear whether or not they actually get together or not. I guess we’ll leave that up to the listener’s imagination.”

Trace Adkins wants you to check out his sausage. Trace Adkins' Hightower Country Sausage is in stores now, in three flavors - original, hot and jalapeno & cheese. It's "certified Cajun," according to the label, coming from Trace's home state of Louisiana.

Garth Brooks will help celebrate Calgary Stampede's 100th anniversary with a full-band concert. The show will be July 12th, with tickets going on sale this Tuesday.

Remember the song "We Are the World," where tons of singers teamed up to raise money for charity? Well, country stars have teamed up to do a song for Souls4Souls, a charity that provides shoes for poor people around the world. Billy Gilman wrote "The Choice," which will be out on April 16th and features Keith Urban, Reba, Montgomery Gentry and many other Nashville stars.

Brantley Gilbert has added to his tattoo collection - he had Corey Miller, star of LA Ink, add a flaming skull with his BG logo and the words "Prodigal Son" to his left forearm. Here's a picture of the partial work...

Happy birthday to Merle Haggard, who turns 75 today. Tomorrow, Cal Smith turns 80.

The tweet of the day is from Miranda Lambert: "Treating people the way you want to be treated, doesn't always return the favor."

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Would you like to own one of the dresses Reba wore on the ACM Awards Sunday night? The cobalt blue, high neck, cutaway-shouldered gown is being auctioned off on ebay, with proceeds going to the non-profit Feeding America. Reba and her stylist Terry Gordon designed the dress, which was made by Universal Studios Couture. It's a size 6, and the high bid as of 5am Eastern this morning was $3,150, with 6 days to go in the auction.

Next time you go to a Jason Aldean show, wear your best country concert duds and smile pretty - you could be on a DVD one day. According to Jason, “We actually film every show, so just in case, that at some point, we wanted to put together a live DVD and just kind of a cool little thing from the road, we tape every single show.”

Kelly Clarkson played the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles Tuesday night, and her pop fans got a little country kick. Blake Shelton was in town for his show, "The Voice," and joined Kelly on "Don't You Wanna Stay," singing Jason Aldean's part. Later in the show, Reba strolled on stage to sing their hit, "Because of You." And Michelle Branch of The Wreckers also hit the stage to sing a little with Kelly, who just released a country version of her pop hit, "Mr. Know It All."

Alison Krauss and the Eagles are about to become Doctors of Music. The stars are the latest to be given honorary doctorates, recognizing them for their accomplishments and influence in the music world, from the Berklee College of Music. They'll don their caps and gowns on May 12th for commencement.

Congrats to Toby Keith, whose "Red Solo Cup" has gone platinum for sales of over a million. Toby says, “I’ve got 80-million spins as a songwriter and I didn’t write this’s my only song that’s ever gotten pop airplay to speak of. Ryan Seacrest made it the Spring Break song of 2012.”

And Lionel Richie tops the country charts with his country duets album, "Tuskeegee." He's pretty clear the album's title is perfect: “There’s a great line in life that says, ‘Most the time in life you can’t go home.’ In this case I can. This is going to be a full circle. I’m going to revisit these songs again and it could only be called Tuskegee.” April 13th is the debut of the ACM duets special on CBS, featuring Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, Lady Antebellum, The Band Perry and more of country's best.

Kellie Pickler is on American Idol tonight, performing her song "Where's Tammy Wynette" from her "100 Proof" album.

Happy birthday to Pat Green, who turns 40 today, and Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry, who is 45.

The tweet of the day is from Kellie Pickler: "I ain't talking to Siri till she learns how to speak with a southern accent. #StepItUpiPhone"

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Imagine being a married couple making a big splash at award shows - Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert have some serious decorating problems since last Sunday night! “We’re really thankful, we’re humbled. We’re really excited to celebrate it together. But I think he feels the same way I do, you know? It’s like ‘thank you so much for letting us win male and female, but we are totally happy.’ And we look at our awards every day, don’t get me wrong! We have ‘em all combined on one shelf, which I guess now, we gotta get a bigger shelf!”

First it was "Barefoot Blue Jean Night," and now Jake Owen scores his second #1 song with "Alone With You." “I mean there’s been people come and go that have had number one songs, you know? But when you can back up a number one with another number one, it really is a validating feeling like you—like people are accepting what I am doing.” "Alone With You has been certified gold with 500,000 paid downloads.

Rascal Flatts is making the media rounds this week, celebrating the release of their latest album, "Changed." Jay DeMarcus says the title is very appropriate: “Anytime that you have life changing experiences, whether it’s personal or career wise, and we have had bunch of both – it affects your artistry. You can’t help but let your life experience be let out through the music, and that has certainly happened on Changed.” The trio willbe on the Ellen DeGeneres show Thursday and Good Morning America Friday.

Lady Antebellum's Dave Haywood is planning his wedding to Kelli Cashiola, and plans to be part of the entertainment, too. According to Hillary Scott, the trio will crash the wedding band at some point during the night. No word on when this party will be happening.

Hot on the heels of the Lionel Richie country duets project, John Fogarty is working on one, featuring Miranda Lambert, Alan Jackson, Keith Urban and Brad Paisley. Set for release this fall, "Wrote a Song for Everyone" will include artists from both the rock and country worlds.

Miss Loretta is telling all - well, at least more than she has up til now. Loretta Lynn has released a book, "Honky Tonk Girl: My Life in Lyrics," which includes photos, song lyrics and the stories that inspired the songs. Get it at or a bookstore near you.

Good news for George Jones - he's out of the hospital after nearly a week of treatment for an upper respiratory infection. He'll rest at home until his next concert on April 20th in Minnesota.

Billy Currington is on Jimmy Kimmel tonight, dueting with Lionel Richie.

The tweet of the day is from Blake Shelton: "I shall now begin to punish my liver by drinking my face off in a way that only @richardmarx could understand and appreciate."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Toby Keith is about to celebrate 10 years of USO/Armed Forces Entertainment Tours. His first rotation was in 2002, and he's packing to go again, saying “We leave in a couple weeks, and we should surpass 200 shows this year. And we’ve got it all documented – at some point I’m going to put something together and show everybody what a wonderful ten years it’s been and the trip. And show you some wonderful warriors and heroes.” He'll do shows in Afghanistan, Kuwait and Bahrain, and will do a special show aboard an aircraft carrier.

Last night in Las Vegas, Lionel Richie was joined on stage by country's royalty as they taped "ACM Presents: Lionel Richie and Friends - In concert." Performers include Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, The Band Perry, Jennifer Nettles, Darius Rucker, Big & Rich and Lionel was blown away: “It humbles me. Because remember now, I don’t travel then talk to them everyday – I see the audience every day. So that was quite an eye opening experience when you open your eyes and realize they [artists] are singing my songs. It’s fabulous.” The special will air April 13th at 9pm Eastern.

Rascal Flatts' new cd, "Changed," is out today, and the guys had more fun than normal in the studio: “It was really fun to make this record, I can’t remember the last time we had so much fun doing a project. For us it was just one of those records that we couldn’t have made a few years ago, you know? We had to have gone through all the things we’ve been through in the past year and a half in order to make this record.”

Jason Aldean's been alternating time on stage with time in the studio and says he's finished his next album: “I’m done. I’m finished with the next record. We got a single comin’ out off of it probably sometime in the summer. Then, I think the album is going to be released probably October-ish. We found some songs I think are not right down the middle mainstream things. Things that allowed us to branch out a little more.” He promises that his "aggressive country style" will still shine through.

Carrie Underwood gives some fashion tips in the current issue of InStyle Magazine. Show off your best asset - for Carrie, that's her legs - and cover up the rest. She recommends a slathering of shimmer lotion to make your best asset shine, and her travel wardrobe is white, grey and black, because everything goes with those colors. For more Carrie fashion tips, check out the online issue.

Blake Shelton and the rest of the coaches lead their teams through a second night of live performances tonight on "The Voice" on NBC.

The tweet of the day is from Trent Tomlinson: "National anthem by The Frey! More like AFREYED NOT!"

Monday, April 2, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

At the ACM's last night, there were great performances, amazing outfits and oh, yeah - some awards were handed out.

Taylor Swift won Entertainer of the Year again this year, as she prepares to cut a new album: “You know, for me I’m always looking forward, and I’m always ahead at what’s next – and I’m writing my next record right now, as I have been for the last two years, but intensely writing my next record right now. I hope it’s good, keep your fingers crossed I would love it if it was good!” Taylor's date was to have been high schooler Kevin McGuire, who is a cancer patient, but he was hospitalized on Friday night and unable to attend. Taylor tweeted, “Please keep him in your thoughts. I’ll make it up to you, Kevin!”

Blake Shelton, co-host and winner of Male Vocalist, watched Dierks Bentley perform "Home" just before he won. Blake noted, “I was standing there listening to Dierks sing that song and the lyrics of that song...I really was thinking, ‘Man...’ That kinda fits where I’m at, you know what I mean? It has been a long time to get to this point for me and I’ve seen a lot of people come and go since I’ve started that passed me and had big hits and I was always the guy that was in the audience wondering what it takes to be that.” On his loss to Taylor in the Entertainer of the Year category, Blake said, “I think she deserves it. I don’t think I said I hope Taylor wins...cause I hoped I would win! But, I remember saying, Taylor deserves it...I mean, she truly does.”

Miranda Lambert won Female Vocalist and Album of the Year for "Four the Record." Her date to the show was her grandmother, and Miranda said, “Nonny had the best night ever. My grandmother is rockin’. She was like, ‘I’m not gonna go to the after parties, I’m going to the slots.’ I was like, ‘Ok!’” About the Album of the Year win, Miranda said, “I really did want this really bad. But, I’m good now. I don’t need to win another ACM ever. I love the ACMs. I love the industry. I’m so thankful. I don’t want to be greedy. I’m so thankful and humbled, but I do believe that a time comes where, for a certain awards, you pass the torch and I do believe I’m ready to do that.”

Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson won two awards for "Don't You Wanna Stay" - Single Record of the Year and Vocal Event. About the song, Jason says, “That song has been huge man for me and my career. I remember sitting around talking about who we wanted to get to sing on the song and she was the first person I came up with. The way that song worked out I’m really glad that it went the way it did because I don’t think it could have been any better. Once she came in and put her voice on it it really made the song take off.”

Eli Young Band seemed completely blown away by their win in the Song of the Year category. “With the success of ‘Crazy Girl’ our life has kinda changed for the better. I think everything we’ve been used to before this has been these baby steps of success. We’ve never gone backwards which is good – it’s always been forward movement. But this song gave us – we took the elevator this time!”

Lady Antebellum took home Vocal Group of the Year after a stripped-down performance of their latest song, "Dancin' Away With My Heart." About the ACM's Hillary Scott remembers their first one: “It was all so new to us. I think literally the second red carpet we’ve walked down. The ACM’s have just been so fantastic to us and all the people involved are really important and special to us. So we are always happy to come back.”

Thompson Square won in the Vocal Duo category, and were given the award on Saturday night as part of the ACM Salute to the Military show. Kiefer recounts their journey to success: “Two years ago today, we did our first showcase for radio. A year ago today, we had the number one song in country. So, it’s been three good years for us.”

Toby Keith won Video of the Year for "Red Solo Cup," and remembers that some of his friends didn't believe they were really filming a video: “They weren’t convinced until about halfway through the video shoot that we were really shooting a video – they thought we were doing an episode of Punk’d. They were going, ‘Alright at what point are you going to tell us this is fake.’ They really were hesitant and reluctant about buying into the thing until we got halfway through the video. Then they finally said, ‘Oh this is the real deal,’ they were all excited.”

Scotty McCreery won the fan-voted New Artist award, and has this to say about his fans: “They never cease to amaze me. They are wild – on Twitter they call themselves the McCreerians and they’re just insane man – they’ve been by my side since American Idol and they keep on coming out so I appreciate them.”

The surprise of the night was that the top nominee went home with no awards. Kenny Chesney went into the night with nine nominations but went 0-fer on the evening.

The song Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw sang last night is Kenny's next single. "Feel Like a Rock Star" is the first single off of "Welcome to the Fishbowl," due out June 19th.

Catch the probably still-astonished Eli Young Band on Jimmy Kimmel tonight.

Happy birthday to Country Music Hall of Famer Emmylou Harris, who turns 65 today.

The tweet of the day is from Justin Moore: "Seen Ashton kutcher at the acms tonight. What a douche! I don't care for people making a mockery of the way country artists' dress."