Thursday, May 31, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney kick off their “Brothers of the Sun” tour tomorrow and Kenny wants his fans to be protected. Well, their eyes, anyway! He and Costa Sunglasses just released five new custom sunglass designs, all with his signature and palm tree logo inside the frame. Part of the proceeds goes to the Coastal Conservation Association. About touring with Tim, Kenny says, “I think it’s going to be very special for us. But the people that are going to benefit the most are the people that have lived with our music for a while now. And see that we’re being all mixed into one stage, everything we’ve been through to get to that point in our lives and our career. That doesn’t happen in everybody’s life and career.”

Dierks Bentley headed for Washington DC tomorrow, where he’ll perform after the Washington Nationals play baseball, hosting the Atlanta Braves. One song that’s a fan favorite already is “Home,” and according to Dierks, there’s a special group of fans who love it the most: “One of the first times I played this song, a girl came up to me that had been in the Navy and told me just how much the lyrics meant to her and since then as the song has gone up the charts more and more, just hearing from so many different fans in the military saying how much the lyrics really affect them, so it’s just awesome to have a song out there that we can sing to our fans and they can sing back to us, and we can really honor those families that are making a huge sacrifice for all of us.”

The next CMT Crossroads is star-studded. Joe Walsh picked “some old friends and some new friends” to share the stage with him. The show will include Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan, Sara Evans and Hunter Hayes, and it will air on June 23rd.

Martina McBride is in the current issue of Wine Enthusiast Magazine, telling about her first experience with drinking wine. She confesses to “drinking Tickle Pink by Boone’s Farm, while riding around the Kansas dirt roads with friends listening to Def Leppard or Journey.” Her palate has grown more sophisticated, and she says she likes to have champagne on hand for special occasions.

Rodney Atkins headlines the second annual “Music City Gives Back” benefit concert for the American Red Cross June 5th on Lower Broadway between Second and Fourth Avenues in Nashville. In addition to Rodney, Lee Brice, Thompson Square, Josh Thompson, Clint Black, The Farm, Jana Kramer, Mallary Hope and The Willis Clan are part of the show. The concert is free – the Red Cross will be taking donations – and the Wrangler Facebook page will webcast the show live starting at 5pm Central.

Happy birthday to Ronny Dunn, who turns 59 today.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Keith Urban’s song, “For You,” is soaring up the charts. It’s from the movie “Act of Valor,
and Keith says that meeting the service men and women who were part of the movie blew him away: “Lieutenant Roarke who was the lead guy in the film, when he was interviewed, he was talking about all the funerals that he’d been to and he says there isn’t really any of us there that isn’t just a little bit jealous of the guy who has died. I mean, I heard that and just went OK, that’s a particular way of being that I cannot relate to. I mean, that is unbelievable depth of commitment and conviction.” Meanwhile, Keith’s donated a guitar to the Fourth Annual Guitars of the Stars Benefit Auction happening next Thursday in Nashville. The money raised by auctioning off a lot of stars’ guitars will benefit the Opry Trust Fund. Also donating guitars are Dierks Bentley, Charlie Daniels, Hunter Hayes, Merle Haggard, Casey James, Loretta Lynn, The Band Perry, Kellie Pickler, and Rascal Flatts. Well, no – Rascal Flatts donated a banjo in honor of their latest hit song.

Speaking of the song “Banjo,” Gary LeVox remembers the first time he heard the song: “Neil [Thrasher] and Wendell [Mobley] were actually at my ranch writing – the three of us were writing ‘Changed.’ Wendell just happened to get the rough copy of ‘Banjo,’ and was playing it for Neil to go, ‘Oh here’s the song they demoed for us.’ I heard it and I was like, ‘What is that?’ He was like, ‘Just some song,’ and Neil’s like, ‘Yeah I like it, it sounds good.’ I was like, ‘You gotta play it again!’” Hot on the heels of that song’s success, Rascal Flatts has released “Come Wake Me Up.” Prediction – number 1 on the country charts by the 4th of July!

What was Kenny Chesney up to while gearing up for the Brothers of the Sun tour this weekend? He was in the Bahamas – working! Not a tough job, though – he played a benefit concert at the Michael Douglas & Friends Celebrity Golf Tournament. Proceeds are earmarked for Plan!t Now, an organization that provides scholarships to students affected by severe weather.

Alan Jackson’s 14th studio album is due out Tuesday, and the first single from it is drawing huge praise. “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore” is being compared to “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” though Alan Jackson is a bit uncomfortable with the comparison, saying, “I wouldn’t want to put myself in that category with George Jones, but it is a great song.” Alan can say that, as he didn’t write it. He did write a song about wife Denise’s battle with cancer. “When I Saw You Leaving” is a song that “just came out,” according to Alan. Zac Brown shows up on the song, “Dixie Highway.” June 5th is the day we all get to hear the whole thing.

Darius Rucker gets to spend his summer as part of the 2012 Jim Beam Live Music Series. He’ll headline a Dallas House of Blues show on June 24th. As you might guess because Jim Beam is the sponsor, concert-goers must be 21 or older.

Kellie Pickler is on her 5th USO tour in the Middle East this week.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Dierks Bentley is in love with country music right now. Not just his, but everyone else’s, it sounds like! “As far as the new stuff out there, country stuff, probably just people I’ve toured with – Miranda [Lambert’s] record is great, Eric Church’s record is great. That ‘Springsteen’ song is awesome. Everything Blake [Shelton] is putting out I really enjoy. His last single “Drink On It” just has that classic sound to it. ‘Fly Over States,’ that song is unreal – it’s probably my favorite Jason [Aldean] song.” He’s headed for Washington DC this weekend, where he’ll perform after the Washington Nationals play baseball, hosting the Atlanta Braves.

The Band Perry is wrapping up their debut album’s success with one final single, “Postcard From Paris.” As it climbs the charts, they’ve been writing material for their next cd, which could be out late this year. The trio had a writing session with one of Kimberly Perry’s musical heroes, Sheryl Crow. According to Kimberly, “A huge influence of mine has always been Sheryl Crow. I just love how lyrically she is so creative and completely unique to herself. She’s a strong lady, a fantastic performer and she’s got a little spit fire herself. I’ve always looked up to Sheryl.”

Jake Owen is getting set to hit the road on the Brothers of the Sun tour with Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw, and his newest single, “The One That Got Away,” is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. About the song, Jake says, “It’s a true song for me. It’s the one on the record that I wrote, just about my hometown and the way that girls and their families would come to town during the summer and then they’d leave three months later, go back up north, start school. They would always leave, and there’s this one girl in particular I just remember I never saw her again.”

Got a huge Taylor Swift fan in your life? Planning a trip to Nashville this summer or fall? Then you have to stop by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum for the “Taylor Swift: Speak Now – Treasures from the World Tour” exhibit. It features costumes, props and even the Juliet balcony Taylor rode in as she flew over the audience singing “Love Story.”

Phil Vassar’s video for “Don’t Miss Your Life” is out and it’s as touching and as personal as you might expect. Tissue alert!

Gary Allen has turned in the final recordings for his next album. We don’t know the name yet, and we don’t know the release date, but Gary says the project covers everything from breaking up to healing. He’s on the road, headlining the Country Throwdown Tour, which is in Michigan on Friday.

Congrats to Kip Moore, who has the #1 song again this week with “Somethin’ Bout a Truck.”

Trisha Yearwood is on a re-run of The View today, and Wynonna celebrates her 48th birthday today.

The tweet of the day is from Martina McBride: “Kids in the pool. Music playing. Making fresh guacamole. Sun shining. It’s summer! #lifeisgood”

Monday, May 28, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Country stars spent yesterday honoring fallen soldiers – here are their thoughts on Memorial Day…

Luke Bryan: “My dad served in Vietnam and it’s so cool that he can always walk around for the rest of his life and say, ‘I went to Vietnam, and I served.’ I hate that I’ll never be able to say that, but I guess kinda my way of serving is getting down here and trying to play for the troops.”

Craig Morgan: “There’s two things that are important in my life and that’s security of my nation, and the security of my family. And the security of my nation comes first. Most people would not appreciate or understand that, but without the security of this nation I can’t take care of my family.”

Kip Moore: “Both of my grandparents, on my mom and my dad’s side, were both in the war and protected this country. So I’ve always had a patriotic side to me, and I don’t think sometimes we grasp how lucky we are.”

Kiefer Thompson of Thompson Square: “We’ve always been big supporters of the military. My dad was in the Army. Shawna’s daddy was a Vietnam vet. Her cousin’s been in Afghanistan and Iraq both – two tours. It’s just...we love our country you know? Every time, if something comes up, if we can do it, we do it!”

And here are some thoughts from country stars on performing for the military…

Toby Keith: “They mean everything to me. They show up at my show every night. Their families show up. I represent a piece of American pie for them. It’s way more special than I ever intended or thought it ever could be.”

Craig Morgan: “I remember being in Korea and having Sawyer Brown and Charlie Daniels. It was very impacting; it takes away a little bit of aggravation and tension for a few minutes. You get a taste of home, and there’s nothing like that.”

Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry: “I just love it more and more every time I go. Me and T we talk about it all the time, every time we go we wanna do more and stay longer. We just don’t thank them enough. When you see our America heroes man, they’re totally awesome.”

George Strait has been named one of the 21 sexiest men over 50 by AARP. Ya think??

Well, they’ve been married a week now – hope all is still well in the newleyweds’ world. Angaleena Presley of Pistol Annies married her boyfriend Jordan Powell one week ago today in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

The tweet of the day is from Rodney Atkins: “Grateful to the men & women past & present & their families for their courage & many sacrifices not just today but everyday God Bless y'all”

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

As we head into Memorial Day weekend, Randy Travis has something he’d like you to think about: “Wanted to ask everybody to remember that this time, this vacation day this year is not just about a trip to the lake or a cookout. Remember our men and women in the military and say a special prayer for them, and always keep them in your thoughts on these Memorial Days.”

Carrie Underwood loves all kinds of music, not just country, and sometimes that can cause her some grief: “I grew up a lover of music and if you look on my iPod, I have the most random stuff. We’ll go to photo shoots, and they’ll take my iPod and push shuffle and I’m always so worried about what’s gonna pop up, just because it’s the most random mix of music ever.” Her “Blown Away” album is at the top of the Billboard charts again this week for the 3rd week in a row.

Luke Bryan celebrated his first, but probably not last, platinum album this week. “Tailgates and Tanlines” has sold over a million copies, and Luke truly appreciates what has happened around him: “It’s kinda like a college degree. When you get one, no one can take it from you, and when you get to say the rest of your life that you’ve got a Platinum album, that really means something and it’s a lot of hard work, a lot of effort, a lot of people that have worked hard and made this stuff happen.”

Last night, Kelly Clarkson was part of the new Duets show on ABC. What does she look for in a great singer, and hope for in a Duets partner? “I think the cool thing about country music, and not even just country music but just powerful women, you know, like Reba or Trisha or Dolly or Loretta or Annie Lennox or Whitney Houston, like, all these women, it’s more than just music. It’s just…I don’t know, it’s like a…you believe in it. You believe in all those artists. And it’s…I love that.”

The Tug McGraw Foundation’s Celebrity Sporting Clay Shootout has added a lot more fire-power: Luke Bryan, Eddie Montgomery, Troy Gentry, Keith Anderson, Brantley Gilbert, Josh Thompson, Brad and Brett Warren, Steve Holy, Josh Gracin, Craig Campbell, Jon Pardi and Jeff McMahon all join Tim McGraw in drawing a bead on flying pottery. In addition to the shooting, there’ll be a silent auction, all raising money to fight brain cancer. The Nashville Gun Club hosts the June 5th event.

Eddie Montgomery had a rough day yesterday. He was on a plane, waiting to take off, but the plane wasn’t leaving and the flight attendants weren’t serving. The reason? Apparently the Vice President was there, and for some reason it was a breach of security to let fellow fliers get buzzed. Eddie tweeted, “ThEY WON'T SERVE US CaUsE the vice PRES,is here,been sitting on Tarmac 2 fu# hours no beam and no AIr hey vice pres,ur ass owes me a drink!”

Montgomery Gentry is on Fox & Friends in the morning, and on Sunday, Martina McBride sings the National Anthem at the Indy 500.

The tweet of the day is from Miranda Lambert: “Um...will someone call the woods and have them tell my husband to get home. Thanks.”

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw wrapped up rehearsals in Nashville this week and are chomping at the bit to hit the road on the Brothers of the Sun tour. June second is the first show, and Kenny says, “I think it’s going to be very special for us. But the people that are going to benefit the most are the people that have lived with our music for a while now. And see that we’re being all mixed into one stage, everything we’ve been through to get to that point in our lives and our career. That doesn’t happen in everybody’s life and career.” This tour reunites two really good friends on what is sure to be this summer’s hottest ticket.

Lady Antebellum played a show in Augusta, GA and were surprised by a high school marching band…check out the video!

In an interview with W magazine, Miranda Lambert gave props to Taylor Swift, saying, “When she hit, I was thinking, ‘Thank God Taylor’s out there to show people we’re not cheesy...I thought if they’re looking for Taylor’s videos or songs, they might see or hear other people they like. If her fans are watching for her, they might like me too.” There’s a pretty cool photo shoot, too.

Up and comer Hunter Hayes has caught the ear of Martin Guitars, and Hunter is now the official spokesperson for the brand. He’s doing small-venue shows, where he’s blowing people away with his musical talent, songwriting ability and charisma. About the little shows, Hunter says, “We’re doing a ton of Most Wanted tour dates and they’re kind of my headline show – my chance to get into small venues and kind of do my own show. It’s a blast, check out the website and check out what shows you can come to.” Hunter will be playing some larger venues with his Martin 42 this fall as he joins the Carrie Underwood Blown Away tour.

Speaking of guitars, Hank Williams Jr. had a valuable one stolen in 2010. It’s been missing since then, but the culprit may have been nabbed: Adam Braoch was arrested on Sunday (5/20), after allegedly giving a member of the Wayne Mills Band the 1968 Les Paul guitar as a gift. Adam has been charged with first-degree theft of property. Hopefully Bocephus will have his axe back soon.

Jerrod Niemann is touring with Miranda Lambert, and she likes the feeling to be “one big happy family” backstage. According to Jerrod, “She wants everybody to hang out, before and after the show – I mean religiously. If you’re not there, you get a text that says, ‘Hey get over here!” Don’t mess with Miranda…she can shoot!

Jennifer Nettles is on Duets tonight, and Montgomery Gentry will be on Fox & Friends tomorrow morning.

The tweet of the day is from Tim McGraw: "I'm just excited for the fans because we've got one hell of a show planned for them!"

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Last night, Montgomery Gentry led a salute to America’s heroes with a special performance at the Grand Ole Opry. About the special military appreciation night they said, “We just don’t thank them enough. When you see our American heroes, man, they are just totally awesome!” You’re totally right, guys!

Garth Brooks and Troy Aikman have teamed up to raise money for special facilities at children’s hospitals, and they dedicated one last week. The two superstars showed up at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Ft. Worth Texas to dedicate the Child Life Zone. It offers young patients an arcade and a professional recording suite, where kids can record their own music videos and songs. Garth and Troy spent hours at the facility, making kids’ smiles broader than cowboy hat brims.

Rascal Flatts and Farmers Insurance have teamed up to make a lot of Rascal Flatts fans very happy, and two fans will be over the moon! The “Star For A Day” contest is up and running, and 10 fans per Rascal Flatts tour stop will win tickets, a private meet & greet with the band, dinner at the crew catering tables, a private backstage dressing room and a package of tour merchandise. Everyone who enters is also in the hat for the grand prize tickets to the CMA and another Rascal Flatts meet and greet. Go get entered quick – the tour kicks off in June!

Big & Rich have new music out, and Saturday they hit the road for a summer tour. The video for “That’s Why I Pray” was released yesterday and you can hear the song and see the video here…

Taylor Swift is the top country nominee for the Teen Choice 2012 Awards. She nominated in four categories, including the all-genre Female Artist category. Blake Shelton is nominated in three categories, including the all-genre Male Artist category. The awards will be handed out on July 22nd.

Three country cuties landed on the Maxim 2012 Hot 100 list. Taylor Swift is the 26th hottest, Julianne Hough is at #47 and Kellie Pickler landed at #72. Topping the list is supermodel Bar Fefaeli.

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s announcement of Tim McGraw’s new label comes another country music label change. Joe Nichols and Show Dog Universal have parted ways. Joe tweeted, “I’m very thankful for Show Dog and what they have done for me.” Stay tuned for where he will land – I’ll let you know.

New music out this week includes Ronnie Dunn’s special Cracker Barrel release. “Ronnie Dunn – Special Edition” includes a couple of previously unreleased tracks, and a portion of the proceeds benefits the Wounded Warriors Project. Ronnie says the song “Singer in a Cowboy Band” describes him to a “T”: “I mean hey I’ve played all those states – I played all those bars, all those holes in the wall, that’s just part of the process coming up through the deal. At the end of the day I’m just a singer in a cowboy band, or a wannabe singer in a cowboy band. However you want to interpret that.”

Scotty McCreery is on American Idol tonight.

Happy birthday to Jewel, who turns 38 today.

The tweet of the day is from Miranda Lambert: “I just heard the worst song ever. It was pitched to Blake. People actually finish songs that shi**y and then demo them? Why?”

Monday, May 21, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

It’s official…Tim McGraw joins Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts, Reba, Martina McBride and a host of other up and coming country stars as part of the Big Machine record label group. Tim signed with what is arguably the most influential record label in Nashville, run by Scott Borchetta. Scott’s dad, Mike Borchetta, originally signed Tim to his deal at Curb Records, the label he parted ways with last year. About the new partnership, Tim says, “For me, it’s a new day. I have a great partner, great label, a lot of great people working around me and I’m lookin’ toward the future. I’m lookin’ toward bigger and better things than I’ve ever done and better music than I’ve ever made. It’s a new beginning to sort of a new career for me, I think.” Will there be new music? Yes – and according to Scott Borchetta, fairly soon. Tim’s energized about the new project: “The songs are incredible. I mean, I had a fantastic group of musicians in the studio, and I think I’ve had more fun than I’ve had in a long time in the studio. I a lot of energy, and music has a lot of energy in it and it’s infused with all this enthusiasm. I haven’t felt this way about music in a long time.” No release date yet…I’ll let you know. Meanwhile, how did Tim introduce himself to the staff at Big Machine? He and wife Faith Hill stopped by the label headquarters and brought ice cream for everyone. Sweet! 

It’s good to be on Brad Paisley’s tour. Sure, you might be scared about the pranks, but he also does thoughtful, fun things for his tour mates, like taking them out to the movies. Over the weekend in Indianapolis, Brad coughed up for tickets and anything anyone wanted at the concession stand for a 12:30am showing of The Avengers in 3D. No, he didn’t leave the crew out – they were all invited, too. 

The CMT Music Awards will be handed out on June 6th, right in the middle of the CMA Music Festival. Toby Keith and Kristen Bell will host the awards show live from Nashville on CMT, and Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood and Zac Brown Band will be performing. With lots of young talent snapping up awards these days, Toby recently said, “Some of the younger people comin’ around goin’, you know, ‘He’s a freakin’ legend,’ you know...this and that. And it’s like, I don’t see myself as that. I see myself as...I’ve been in the league a long time, but I always felt like I filled a void.” That’s true – there’s truly only one Toby Keith!

Taylor Swift has reached out to the family of a fallen Marine. Sgt. Wade Wilson. Wilson, a native of Leona, TX, was a huge fan, and when Taylor learned of his passing, she sent his family a note of condolence and asked if they would allow her to wear his dog tags in her next video to show her respect for him and all of our service men and women. Sgt. Wilson’s best buddy posted a video – watch it knowing there’s a bad word in there, and there’s the strong possibility that you’ll need tissues. There…you’ve been warned.

George Jones is back in the hospital, undergoing tests for the upper respiratory infection that just won’t go away. According to a message on his website, the Country Music Hall of Famer was admitted yesterday for “testing and evaluation,” and that all concerts scheduled through the end of June will be rescheduled “where possible.”

The tweet of the day is from Josh Thompson: “Just realized my Christmas tree is still up.”

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Jason Aldean kicked off the summer leg of his concert tour this past weekend in Atlanta, with two sold-out shows with nearly 40,000 fans partying with him. Ludacris joined him for “Dirt Road Anthem, sending the audience into a frenzy. Here’s a peek at how it went down…

Before going on stage, most bands have a ritual. Many don’t share theirs, but Zac Brown does. “We all throw our hands in right before we go onstage—everybody in the band—and I look every single person in the eye and on the count of three, we all say, ‘Ooooh, girl!’ That’s what gets it all started. We don’t ever do it—we don’t ever have a show without doing that first.”

Last week, Jason Aldean was surprised onstage by one of his musical heroes – Tracy Lawrence. Jason and Luke Bryan were onstage, singing Tracy’s hit “Time Marches On” when Tracy sauntered out onto the stage to join them. Fans were treated to twenty minutes of the trio riffing through some of Jason’s music as well as “Sticks and Stones” and “Paint Me A Birmingham.”

Congratulations to Taylor Swift, who was given the prestigious Woman of the Year award at the Billboard Music Awards last night. Kris Kristofferson did the induction, calling her “one of the most successful artists in country music”

Tomorrow night’s Dateline is special for two reasons: first, it’s their 20th anniversary special, and second, Carrie Underwood will be featured on it. The show, which airs at 10pm Eastern, will feature Hoda Kotb and Carrie remembering 2005, when Carrie won season 4 of American Idol, then talking about what’s happened in her life since then: the Grammy awards, multi-platinum albums, record breaking tours and her hunky hubby.

Tuesday night’s Grand Ole Opry red carpet will feature not gowns and tuxedos but brogans and camo. It’s a “Salute to the Troops Red Carpet Parade” tomorrow night and the public is encouraged to show up and cheer the arrival of the Tennessee National Guard as they arrive to be honored guests. The Opry features Montgomery Gentry, Rascal Flatts, Mark Wills, Kellie Pickler and lots more country greats. The show begins at 7, and the red carpet festivities start at 6 Central.

The June issue of Men’s Health magazine hits newsstands tomorrow, and Kenny Chesney is on the cover. Kenny likens performing onstage to sprinting on a treadmill at level 15 for two hours. No wonder he’s so skinny!

This Sunday, Martina McBride will sing the National Anthem at the Indy 500.

The tweet of the day is from Colt Ford: “My Son turned 13 Today. Hug your kids tell them you love them cause it goes by way to fast. Happy Birthday Reynolds. I love you buddy”

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Rascal Flatts have had a very crazy year. They changed record labels, which is a huge upheaval, released a new album, which means tons of media appearances, and have kept up a touring schedule that would wipe out younger artists. But Gary Levox believes they are exactly where they’re supposed to be at this point in their career: “It’s complete heart – 100% heart and soul in this album. Like Joe Don said, ‘It took us 11 years to make this thing.’ Everything feels so great right now in our career - professionally and personally. And we just look forward to the summer tour.” They’re touring with three other vocal groups: Little Big Town, Eli Young Band and Edens Edge.

Taylor Swift is the top country artist on Forbes list of “The World’s Most Powerful Celebrities.” The rankings are based on money, TV/radio/press exposure, web presence and social media influence. Taylor checks in at #11 in the world, Toby Keith is at #49, Kenny Chesney is at #53 and Brad Paisley is at #68. Jennifer Lopez tops the list. By the way, she apparently had an extra $4 million bucks burning a hole in her pocket – she donated it to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Little Big Town is once again hosting the 6th Annual Ride For a Cure on June 10th. The charity motorcycle ride benefits the TJ Martell Foundation. It starts at 10:30 at Franklin, Tennessee’s Mickey Roo’s and ends at the Harley Davidson Columbia Superstore with an All-Star am Session. The concert includes not just Little Big Town, but also Love and Theft, Lauren Alaina and Dean Alexander.

Kix Brooks and Joe Walsh have a song climbing the charts – “New to This Town” – and Kix is so excited to be able to work with Joe: “He is my favorite guitar player. I mean you can only say that once, ya know. Somebody has to be your favorite, whatever. I just worship the way he plays. God I mean his records are just awesome too. I grew up and James Gang was just the coolest to me.”

The Voice champion Jermaine Paul is so proud to have been a part of Team Blake, and proud to have gotten the win for Team Blake. Says Jermaine of his coach, “You know, he’s been a tremendous support to me throughout this whole process and he’s helped me so much on so many different levels and, you know, I don’t take that for granted at all.”

Lee Brice and his fiancée Sara Reevely are planning a 2013 wedding in Florida. Details, of course, are confidential, but listen to his music and you can hear the love!

Happy birthday to George Strait, who turns 60 today.

The tweet of the day is from Brad Paisley: “Ok, wish someone had told me this was a damn rehearsal and the show’s tomorrow. Bout had a heart attack!”


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Last night Lady Antebellum played their “Rebuilding Henryville Charity Ball.” They had intended to do a prom show for a deserving high school somewhere in America, but the winning high school didn’t want a prom – they wanted a fund-raiser to help the people of Henryville, Indiana rebuild after a horrific tornado outbreak destroyed the town. Looking at the crowd that attended last night, there were some “prom-goers,” and Charles Kelley talked about his first prom experience: “I remember my first prom being very nervous, and I got all dressed up in a nice little tux, first time I ever wore a tux, and it was very exciting. I didn’t rock the top hat, but looked sharp that night.”

This Sunday on the Oprah Winfrey Network, Oprah goes to Nashville to interview Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher on a new episode of “Oprah’s Next Chapter.” This is the first time Mike and Carrie have allowed cameras into their home, and the first time the two of them have done an interview together. They talk about adjusting to married life, balancing two successful and fast-paced careers, and they also take Oprah to the piece of land where they’re planning on building their dream home. Carrie told the story of her birthday celebration and how Mike came through, big time: “I said I wanted romance, and he did that on the 9th – the day before my birthday. He had this beautiful dinner set up and got me out of the house. They like decorated our house, and there was candles everywhere. It was gorgeous.” The show will air Sunday night from 9 to 10pm Eastern time.

Miranda Lambert is on the cover of Self magazine, and in the article she discusses the 15 things she’ll never apologize for, staying slim and fame, saying, "I'm a small-town girl. When you're famous, whoever you were before comes out more. So if you were an ass, you'll be even more of an ass." There’s a great photo spread of her, too.

Gloriana will be on “The Bachelorette” on Monday night, singing their current song, “(Kissed You) Good Night.” They love doing tv, but they really love touring: “We’re looking forward to getting out on the road this summer and just touring away. One thing that has been a staple for our band since we started almost five years ago is that we haven’t stop touring since. We pretty much make it home one, two, maybe three days a month, but other than that we love being on the road – we tour year round. We’re a live band, love playing shows, so yeah.”

Carrie Underwood’s “Blown Away” owns the top of the Billboard 200 for the second week in a row. It’s the third album to land at the top of the all-genre chart, but is the first time one of hers has been there for more than a week. 

Congrats to Rascal Flatts, whose new cd, “Changed,” has already been certified gold.

The tweet of the day is from Colt Ford: “Just signed some stuff for a fan at the store and met his Mama. It was cool-if was not for y’all I would not be here I love y’all THANK U!”

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Lots of wedding anniversaries this week – Blake and Miranda, Martina and John, Keifer and Shawna – so let’s hear what the stars have to say about their significant others. Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton just celebrated their first wedding anniversary and Miranda says he’s hot because he’s a regular guy: “I think it’s just that he doesn’t care if he’s hot. He’s like a man’s man – he’s not girly at all. He knows how to fix stuff, he knows how to ride a tractor – he’s a man’s man that’s what I like about him.” Shawna and Keifer Thompson of Thompson Square are celebrating their 13th anniversary, and Kiefer says that Shawna likes that he’s a take-charge kind of guy: “It’s fun like that though. It’s definitely not a chauvinistic thing – she likes me to take care of things, and I like to take care of her. So it works. It’s a good ying and yang.” Martina and John McBride have shared 24 years together and share a desire to be good partners to each other: “That’s really important, is just sort of being there every day. Things we do for each other is—just consideration—you know? Specifically, I think it’s just being a great partner, and seeing what your partner needs and doing it for them. For me, just the fact that John will call me up to ask me if there’s anything I need on the way home from work, at the grocery store.” Rascal Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus and wife Allison are also celebrating an anniversary this week.

Did you miss Joe Nichols on GAC’s Backstory? It re-airs tonight, and on it he shares, for the first time, his incredibly tough childhood: "My dad had a lot of bad habits," Nichols admits. "He was a hardcore drinker ... When my mom and dad got divorced, it was real nasty. My mother put me and my brother in a car and drove us to her cousin's house; she lived in this one-bedroom little shack in Garfield, AR. My mother pulled up in the car and said, 'I'm going to leave you boys here,' and took off. And we lived in a laundry room for the next six months ... I think that's where I developed this incredible distrust for everybody. Today, I still don't trust a soul." The show airs tonight at 9 Eastern and tomorrow morning at 10 on GAC.

What are you doing in October? You could be sailing with Blake Shelton, Trace Adkins, Justin Moore, Easton Corbin, Randy Houser, Jerrod Niemann and Neal McCoy on the Blake Shelton and Friends cruise, leaving Miami on October 14th. Where will you sail? Does it really matter?

In his latest Urban Chat, Keith Urban shares a little bit of studio time in Scotland with you…

Fall television will feature country music and lifestyle, as Reba’s comedy, “Malibu Country” and the drama “Nashville” will both premier this fall. Reba stars as a single mom who moves her family to Malibu to re-start a sagging singing career, and Nashville stars Connie Britton as a country artist at the peak of her career, with upstart Hayden Panettiere as the competition.

The tweet of the day is from John Rich: “Had a GREAT hang with J.Foxworthy 2day! Dude, let’s rawk this thang! U might be a redneck if u follow @foxoutdoors!”

Monday, May 14, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Love her or not, one thing’s for sure – Taylor Swift takes care of her fans. One fan, 13-year-old Summer, had waited nearly a year to see her idol, Taylor. On the way to the concert at the sold-out Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento, California, the car she was riding in was hit by a drunk driver. Summer ended up in the emergency room instead of in her seat at the show. The responding officer, Mike Lowry, couldn’t help but notice what a great attitude Summer had, putting on a brave face in spite of her injuries, so her parents wouldn’t worry. Officer Lowry decided to make it his mission to let Taylor know what happened. When Taylor’s managers heard the news, they set aside tickets for the next show Taylor does in Sacramento, and sent some personalized, autographed merchandise to help Summer feel better. Here’s the local news coverage of the story:

Jake Owen is getting set to hit the road with Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw on the “Brothers of the Sun” tour. He’s had a roller-coaster few months, and hasn’t kept himself as toned as he would like, and he says he can’t take the stage looking soft. “I’m really trying to get myself back into shape because for like three months, I wasn’t able to do anything. I had shoulder surgery after I broke my collarbone. I couldn’t go to the gym, I couldn’t run, I couldn’t do anything. I just felt worthless, and I’m like a really active outdoorsy guy, and I like to do a lot—and when I had to sit inside and cancel shows, and not be able—it was bad.”

Lady Antebellum played Radio City Music Hall, and while doing the sold-out shows, Charles Kelly decided to take their show to new heights – literally! He climbed up to the highest point in the building, even “borrowing” a beer from the audience. Check out the fun…

The John Rich & Friends benefit concert for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will happen on June 5th and will include Darius Rucker, Kellie Pickler, Jeff Foxworthy and of course, Big & Rich. The concert kicks off the FedEx St. Jude Classic golf tournament and celebrates the 50th year St. Jude has been leading the fight against childhood cancer.

Willie Nelson has a new album out. “Heroes” is his fifty-somethingth album (even he’s lost count!) and much of what’s on them, Willie wrote. That’s a lot of songs! Has he ever hit a rough patch? According to Willie, “Well, occasionally, you go through dry spells where you don’t write anything and Roger Miller was a good friend of mine and one of the greatest writers ever. And he used to say, ‘Well sometimes you just gotta, when the well goes dry, you have to wait a while til the well fills up and you can write some more,’ and I’ve always kept that in the back of my mind and never worried too much whether I was producing too much or too little.”

Congrats to Justin Moore, whose “Flyover States” is the #1 song on the country charts this week.

Carrie Underwood will be on “Dancing With the Stars” tonight, performing “Good Girl.” Alanis Morissette will also be on the show.

The tweet of the day is from Martina McBride: “Sitting outside and the temperature just literally dropped 5 degrees. Looks like we might get some rain or a thunderstorm. Love it!”

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Justin Moore had a rough weekend. Early Saturday morning, a car driven by Chicago resident Joseph Taylor crashed into the rear of Justin’s band and crew bus outside of Chicago on Interstate 57. When the 48-year-old Taylor got out of his car to assess the damage, he was hit by another car and was killed. Justin took to Twitter to express his feelings about the tragedy: “Thankful my band and crew guys are all good. They got hit by a car this morning in their bus. Prayers go out to the guy who lost his life and his family. You never know man. You have to be prepared to meet God today, cause it may be your last.”

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and as you would suspect, country artists love their Moms. Carrie Underwood says her mom and dad have had major adjustments to make since she won American Idol, but they’re coping well: “It takes a while to get used to everything but I think they’ve definitely done a great job, and mom and I, even though we don’t see each other as much as we used to, we still talk every single day.” Taylor Swift is very focused on her own mother/daughter relationship, and wrote a special song just for her mom: “‘The Best Day’ is a song that I wrote without telling my mom. I wrote it in the summertime, and I recorded it secretly too. I had this idea that I wanted to play it for her for Christmas. So, when I got the track I synced up all these home videos from when I was a little kid to go along with the song like a music video and played it for her on Christmas Eve. She was crying her eyes out.” Miranda Lambert says the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in her family: “My mom is a riot. She’s like, such a party animal — she loves to be on the road with me. She comes out probably like once a month. And my family is just great – they’re just, you know, they’re really cool. They get it, you know? They’re just like…they know when I need my space, but they also know when I need support. So, it’s really great to have a family like that.” Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelly says about he and his brother Josh: “We were honestly, at times, pretty hard to handle, both of us. And my mom’s just one of those people, she’ll do anything for her family and she sacrificed a lot for us boys. Anytime we needed something, she made it happen. And so, we owe her a lot. She’s definitely the reason we’re playing music.” And Kenny Chesney has a huge appreciation for his mom: “She’s been through a lot in her life. And she’s handled it. And she’s come through it, I believe, with a lot of grace…and a lot of style. And I’ve learned a lot from that. She has taught me a lot directly and indirectly. And she’s a hard worker, but she loves life. And I thank God that I got my love of life from her.”

Did you miss Carrie Underwood on the Jimmy Kimmel Show? They did a spoof music video – check it out and get set to laugh!

We don’t know when it will be made, but we know who will play the lead role. Zooey Deschanel was hand-picked by Loretta Lynn to play her in the musical adaptation of “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Loretta introduced Zooey at the Grand Ole Opry last week and the two sang “Coal Miner’s Daughter” together.

Willie Nelson is on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon tonight.

The tweet of the day is from Taylor Swift: “Celebrating this Mother’s Day, reflecting back on past matching velvet holiday ensembles.”

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Kenny Chesney is so happy that his current song, “Feel Like a Rock Star,” is doing well on the charts. It is, he says, exactly his life: “We’ve always lived by the theory of we work really hard and play harder. And it seemed to work for us. But I think that defines a lot of the people that have spent a lot of summers with us out there on the road. And the first time I heard ‘Feel Like a Rock Star,’ I knew I was gonna record it because it just defined everything that we’re about out there on the road.” He and Tim McGraw kick off the Brothers of the Sun tour June 2nd in Florida.

After years of raising money for it, Toby Keith’s dream becomes a reality starting a week from today. Groundbreaking on the OK Kids Korral in Oklahoma City will kick off the 9th Annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic on the 18th. The building on the grounds of the OU Medical Center will house children and their families while the kids are undergoing treatment at OU Med. In addition to the golf tournament, there’s also a banquet and auction, with everything from Three Stooges memorabilia to a trip to Africa included in it.

Coming up on June 5th is the date of the first Tug McGraw Foundation Celebrity Clay Shootout at the Nashville Gun Club. This event will raise money for service men and women suffering from traumatic brain injuries, to help improve their lives. Scheduled to be part of the fun are Tim McGraw, Luke Bryan, Troy Gentry, Eddie Montgomery, The Warren Brothers, Josh Gracin and several other Nashville notables.

John Rich of Big & Rich met Jimmy Fallon last year while he was busy winning Celebrity Apprentice. Jimmy pitched in to help John’s charity, and the two became great friends. No surprise to find that Big & Rich are featured on Jimmy Fallon’s album, “Blow Your Pants Off.” The track is “Cougar Huntin,” and the album will be out June 12th. No dummy, Jimmy also lined up Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews, Paul McCartney and other music luminaries to help with his music debut. 

Carrie Underwood has a plan for her look, as well as for her music: “I felt like ‘Good Girl’ and several of the other songs on the album, as well as the title Blown Away kinda allowed me to be a little more fierce for this one. I want every album to have a different feel to it, so I feel like you can look at the album covers and every single one occupies its own space, and none of them look the same.” 

BamaJam is coming up soon, and the ticket prices go up on Monday. If you don’t have yours yet for the mid-June festival, get em quick! 

Thompson Square debuted the newest addition to their family: a terrier puppy named Etta. Here she is, backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. Our dogs should be so lucky!  

Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson’s “Don’t You Wanna Stay” has reached double-platinum status for sales of over 2 million copies.

Happy birthday today to Kevin Fowler, and to Mark Herndon of Alabama. Kix Brooks celebrates tomorrow, and Darius Rucker’s birthday is Sunday.

The tweet of the day is from Josh Gracin: “One of the worst feelings is meeting the perfect person at the wrong time.”

Today's Country Tidbits

Blake Shelton is still basking in the glow of having the winner on The Voice. Jermaine Paul gets $100,000 and a record deal, and Blake gets bragging rights. He also gets something else – a warm glow from knowing he helped a new friend get a great start: “Maybe I should try to remove myself from being so attached, but it’s hard to, you know? Especially whenever you’ve been in the rehearsals with them and you’ve had all these conversations with them that are about, you know, why they want to do this and that thing you know you’re friends with them and you’re talking to them all the time and see them and you want this for them as badly as they do.”

Lady Antebellum debuted their new song, “Wanted You More,” on The Voice this week and Charles Kelley says that the trio are getting more comfortable at opening up with each other: “What we usually write about revolves around love. We don’t know how to change the world. And, you know, we just write about love lost and love gained, and right now we’re all in a really great spot and...I don’t know, it just feels like we’re growing even closer as a band and becoming even more comfortable to talk about the things that...I don’t know, maybe on the first couple records, we wouldn’t talk about.” This is the 4th single from “Own the Night.”

Carrie Underwood’s “Blown Away” is blowing away all the competition and blowing up chart records. It easily lands in the #1 position on the Billboard Country Chart, selling more than any other country album in the first week so far this year. But look at the records she’s tied or broken: she’s only the second artist in Billboard’s 47-year Country Chart history to have their first four albums debut at #1. And she’s only the second country artist in history to have three consecutive albums debut at #1.

Tifton, Georgia native Kip Moore is having his life changed by the success of his first single, “Somethin’ Bout a Truck.” According to Kip, “As a teen, man, all you can think about is getting out ‘cause it’s just so slow paced and there’s nothing going on. You always try to look for fun and now my life is extremely fast paced and there’s always a good time around, so it’s a lot different for sure.”

Justin Moore and his daughter Ella were in their pool yesterday morning, enjoying a nice swim, when a critter surprised them. It was a critter with no shoulders and no legs – Justin says it was a copperhead he killed. Check out the picture he tweeted…yikes!

Carrie Underwood is on Jimmy Kimmel Live tonight. 

The tweet of the day is from David Nail: “San Antonio Airport is like a freaking nursery this afternoon! Human birth control is what I like to call it!” 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Blake Shelton is proud of wife Miranda Lambert’s #1 song, but especially proud because it’s their first co-written #1, and the first time he’s opened up in song about the loss of his brother. “She never knew my brother, so I’m constantly remembering a story about him or something...telling her. Anyway, we ended up writing that song that night and it’s the first time I’ve ever actually done something like that, you know...I say for him, but about him. It’s hard to explain how important something like that is.”

Season two of The Voice wrapped up last night and Blake Shelton says that the cast and crew have gelled into a family after two seasons. Gifts were exchanged after the show wrapped, and Blake says that one of the judges gives the very best gifts, hands down. “Oh, Christina...absolutely no comparison...probably because she’s the richest person on Earth, might be why.” Watch for duets by the judges to be coming soon, and Cee Lo thinks the four of them would make the best super-group ever.

Alan Jackson was very comfortable taking over the Grand Ole Opry last night, airing out some new music from his “Thirty Miles West” cd, due out next month. He wasn’t always comfy there, though: “I mean, it’s always tough in the early days to go out on the Opry, just because it’s intimidating, you know – the wood floor and all that greats like Hank and everybody stood on, and then just the whole atmosphere that goes along with the Opry.”

Details are coming out about the events surrounding CMA Music Festival week in Nashville. The 2012 City of Hope Softball Challenge will happen June 9th at Nashville’s Greer Stadium, and celebrities include Carrie Underwood, David Nail, Scotty McCreery, Chuck Wicks, Lauren Alaina, Brantley Gilbert, Bucky Covington, Two Foot Fred, Sarah Darling, Whitney Duncan, Billy Gilman and several more celebrities to be named later.

“Tuskegee,” Lionel Richie’s collection of country collaborations has been certified platinum, just five weeks after its release.

You heard it here first, and then Lady Antebellum sang it last night on The Voice. Their new single, “Wanted You More,” grew from a guitar lick their guitarist was laying down during a sound check. The trio loved the sound of it and everyone gathered around and started working on the song. Watch it soar to #1, as most Lady Antebellum songs seem to do.

Carrie Underwood is on the Ellen DeGeneres show today, Lady Antebellum is on Anderson on CNN and Martina McBride is on The Chew on ABC.

The tweet of the day is from Danny Gokey: “I heard when Jessica Simpson had her baby, Kanye busted into the delivery room and said Beyonce had the best baby ever.”

Monday, May 7, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Jake Owen is a married man. He and his new bride, Lacey, were wed in Vero Beach, Florida, barefoot in the sand by the ocean. Jake’s uncle officiated over the sunrise ceremony yesterday morning, and the happy couple will honeymoon before Jake hits the road on the Brothers of the Sun tour with Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw next month.

Jason Aldean is enjoying touring with Luke Bryan, and has noticed that Luke’s adding some moves to his set: “He’s becoming a bit of a dancer lately. I think he’s started to realize that if he gets up there and swivels his hips around or whatever, you know, all the girls start screamin’ and so...he’s kind of incorporated that into his show! But, he’s awesome man...he’s one of my favorite people to be around and he and I are really good friends.” The “My Kinda Party” tour continues in Illinois and Indiana this week.

Toby Keith is prepping his “Live in Overdrive” tour, kicking off June 14th. He’ll take along Brantley Gilbert and will have more video & more pyrotechnics this time. About the extra glam, Toby says, “I’ve got the worst seat in the house ‘cause I never get to see any of it. My back’s to it...I’m out there workin’, I see the audience and it looks like it always did, so from my know the old saying, if you’re not the lead horse in the wagon train, the view never changes. My view never changes, so the audience gets the bang off the video screen and the pyro and all the effects. I rarely see any of it.”

Carrie Underwood is taking her show to Australia and the United Kingdom this summer. It’s her first time headlining in either place, and she’s excited to “blow away” her fans across the ponds. The UK show on June 21st sold out in less than 90 minutes. The Australian dates aren’t on sale yet, but expect them to sell out quickly, too. By the way, Carrie’s on the cover of Glamour magazine, talking about her married life and what it was like to win American Idol.

Brad Paisley is sharing the love on his Virtual Reality World Tour, bringing along some Nashville newcomers. Kristen Kelly, Jana Kramer and Love and Theft will appear on the outdoor plaza “Escape” stage, in front of a virtual Grand Ole Opry backdrop. Nice opportunity for them all!

Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton pull no punches on Twitter, making them fan favorites to follow. According to Miranda, she and Blake like having no secrets: “We are exactly who you would think we would be on and off stage. You know, there’s not really a difference. And we don’t have a lot to hide. Both of us are pretty open and honest and our fans pretty much know everything about us, and we like that about our relationship with our fans.” What do she and Blake do when not on the road? Ride four-wheelers, hunt and fish in Oklahoma.

Chris Young and his grandmother are teaming up to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Each month his Nanny is donating one of her hand-made quilts and Chris is putting it up for auction on his website. No word on how many quilts Nanny is willing to make, but as long as her fingers hold out, the auction will happen, with all of the money going to St. Jude.

Alan Jackson is on the Grand Ole Opry tonight.

The tweet of the day is from Jerrod Niemann: “Beautiful day in LA…screw this “map of the stars.” I want a map of the bars”

Jake Owen had a bit of a run-in with the law in his hometown of Vero Beach, Florida. Saturday night, after performing, he was celebrating Cinco de Mayo with some buddies and apparently the fun got out of hand. He tweeted a photo of himself and said, “I’m calling it a night. My mom cried. My dad was embarrassed. I lived out another day. Happy Cinco de Mayo!”

Brad Paisley could record anywhere he wanted to because he’s just that big a star. So where does he choose to record? In a studio he built on his own farm. He recorded “Remind Me” with Carrie Underwood there, and is working on his next album right there on the farm. According to Brad, “There’s something about this, in the place that you live, these really iconic things are happening. These people who are so cool are showing up on my farm, coming out here and putting down a piece of music that will live forever.” Check out Brad hard at work at home on this video…

Alan Jackson plays the Grand Ole Opry on Tuesday night and will showcase music from his upcoming album, “Thirty Miles West.” He says fans don’t have too much to worry about – he stayed true to his style on this project: “My voice has gotten a little deeper sounding to me, I think, ‘cause I’ve gotten older. I don’t know that I’ve changed that much musically. I still have always recorded songs—I’ve tried to—that are just fun things like ‘Chattahoochee’ and then much later you have like ‘5 O’Clock Somewhere.’ And then I’ve had songs from heartache like ‘Wanted’ in my early career that are not dissimilar to this song that’s out now.” What he has out now is “So You Don’t Have To Love Me Anymore,” and it continues to climb the charts. The new album comes out June 5th.

Jay and Allison DeMarcus are having a son, due to be born this summer, and his name will be Dylan Jay DeMarcus. According to the Rascal Flatts member, “You know I was hoping for a healthy child, whatever it was I was going to be okay with it. But, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I’m really thrilled that it’s a boy. In the back of mind I wanted one of each.” Big sister Madeline Leigh is excited about her baby brother and can’t wait for him to arrive.

Garth Brooks is doing Vegas shows at the Wynn Hotel. Shania Twain is about to start a two-year run of shows at Caesar’s Palace. Does Las Vegas have room for another country show? Apparently so – rumors are flying hot and heavy that Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are in talks to perform weekend shows at a major venue in Las Vegas. Stay tuned…

Later this month, Trace Adkins will be part of a very special send-off. HonorFlight will send 33 World War II veterans on an all-expense paid trip to Washington DC for a VIP tour of our national treasures. Trace will be in Tyler, TX on May 31st to wish them well and sing the National Anthem.

Congrats to Miranda Lambert, who has the #1 country song this week with “Over You.”

The tweet of the day is from Jake Owen: “The sheriffs were doing their job and I made an immature decision to announce it to the world. This is me talkin, not some puppet reciting what he “should” say. I take full responsibility – I am truly sorry.”

Friday, May 4, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Carrie Underwood performed on last night’s American Idol, and while she was there, her thoughts weren’t far from Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery, last year’s runner up and winner. According to Carrie, “I’m lucky. I work with the same people they work with so I always hear about what they’re doing before everybody else. I kinda have the inside scoop on their careers. It’s really exciting to watch both of their careers take off and see these kids grow up, and make music, and get to do what they’ve always wanted to do.” Carrie’s in the June issue of Glamour magazine and dishes about the first big splurge purchase she made after winning American Idol – a $2,000 sweatshirt she found in Paris. She’s only worn it twice, but described it as her “first big, irresponsible awesome purchase”

Jason Aldean is about to be part of a reality show – “Opening Act” kicks off June 9th, and on the show, producers scour the internet looking for emerging talent to book as the opening act for talents like Jason, who totally understands what a big opportunity this can be: “What it does, I mean especially for a new artist, it gives you a platform to launch your career. You know, you’re able to go in and play for more people in one night than you would play to in six months on your own, so it’s a big deal.” Jason’s big break was as the opening act for Rascal Flatts in 2006.

When Eric Church was a young boy growing up in Granite Falls, North Carolina, he didn’t dream of being a country star. Nope – he had a different dream for his life: “I was, you know, probably a typical kid. I mean, I played sports and I wanted to play basketball for the University of North Carolina it just didn’t...[sigh]...I ran out of talent! [laughs] But, it was for me...I was sports for a long time. I was eat up with it. I loved sports...still do!” He was in college before he discovered music, and has two gold albums under his belt so far. Guess he didn’t run out of talent there!

Lee Brice celebrated the milestone of a #1 song by moving his family into their new house. Fiance Sara and son Takoda are busy settling into what 2-year-old Takoda calls “da big house!”

Kip Moore is riding high on the success of his debut cd, “Up All Night.” The first single, “Somethin’ Bout A Truck” was an easy write for Kip: “Some of the songs took months to write, and some of them happened in two hours. ‘Something’ Bout A Truck’ happened in two or three hours, where ‘Crazy One More Time’ took me four or five months to write. But, it’s drawing from a lot of different past experiences. I wrote a lot of them in the present, but yet they were all based on stuff that happened to me a long, long time ago.”

Congrats to Lionel Richie and his Nashville duet artists – “Tuskegee” is the #1 album in the country for the third week in a row.

The tweet of the day is from Roseanne Cash: "At JFK. Flight delayed twice. They're killing me w/the 'air traffic' blah 'weather' blah 'not our fault' blah blah 'no upgrade' blah blah."

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Carrie Underwood is getting ready to go out on her “Blown Away” tour, and she’s taking along new artist Hunter Hayes. Why? She’s blown away by him: “Hunter Hayes...I mean what a phenomenal talent – he can play – everything. He’s a prodigy. I don’t think people really quite know that about him yet, how absolutely amazing he is. Not just a singer and writer, but also as a musician.” Carrie will donate a dollar per ticket to American Red Cross disaster relief efforts. Tickets go on sale May 11th for these shows:

5/26 Baton Rouge, Louisiana
6/21 London, England
8/12 Toronto, Ontario, Canada
9/14 Manchester, New Hampshire
9/15 Bridgeport, Connecticut
9/17 Providence, Rhode Island
9/19 Worcester, Massachusetts
9/20 Reading, Pennsylvania
9/22 Louisville, Kentucky
9/23 Nashville, Tennessee
9/26 Green Bay, Wisconsin
9/27 Minneapolis, Minnesota
9/29 Fargo, North Dakota
10/1 Saskatoon, SK, Canada
10/2 Calgary, AB, Canada
10/4 Vancouver, B.C.
10/6 Seattle, Washington
10/7 Portland, Oregon
10/10 West Valley City, Utah
10/12 Reno, Nevada
10/13 Sacramento, California
10/14 San Jose, California
10/16 Los Angeles, California
10/18 Bakersfield, California
10/20 San Diego, California
10/21 Glendale, Arizona
10/24 Dallas, Texas
10/25 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
10/27 Wichita, Kansas
10/28 Springfield, Missouri
11/3 Charlotte, North Carolina
11/4 Greensboro, North Carolina
11/7 Baltimore, Maryland
11/9 Atlantic City, New Jersey
11/10 Hartford, Connecticut
11/13 University Park, Pennsylvania
11/15 Grand Rapids, Michigan
11/16 Moline, Illinois
11/20 St. Louis, Missouri
11/21 Tulsa, Oklahoma
11/24 Indianapolis, Indiana
11/25 Auburn Hills, Michigan
11/27 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
11/28 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
11/30 Long Island, New York
12/1 Newark, New Jersey
12/4 Albany, New York
12/6 London, Ont.
12/8 Kanata, Ont.
12/11 Columbus, Ohio
12/12 Chicago, Illinois
12/14 Des Moines, Iowa
12/15 Kansas City, Missouri
12/18 Memphis, Tennessee
12/19 Duluth, Georgia
12/21 Orlando, Florida
12/22 Sunrise, Florida

This Tuesday night, Alan Jackson will perform on the Grand Ole Opry, and he’ll debut a few songs from his upcoming album, “Thirty Miles West.” The album will be out June 5th, and it’s his first new music from his own record label, Alan’s Country Records. Little Big Town, Thompson Square and Chris Young will be part of the Opry show that night, too.

Chris Young thought he was immune to the siren song of reality tv – until he watched an episode of “The Voice.” Then he was hooked! According to Chris, “I watched it and really loved it. I was like, ‘Man this is fun!’ It’s cool to watch and...just how they have everything set up and you know Blake’s funny as hell. So, it’s just cool to watch him get on there and be himself, ‘cause his personality is just so cool.” May 8th is the season finale of “The Voice,” and it will be star-studded. Lady Antebellum will be performing on the show, along with Hall & Oates, Justin Bieber and Flo Rida. Lady A will perform “Wanted You More” from their “Own the Night” cd.

Toby Keith is back in the States after his USO tour to the Middle East. It was his 10th time over there, and he said the shows were great and the troops were awesome.

Love country artists & their music? Want to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society? There’s an auction on eBay that runs through May 7th – check it out!

If you’re looking for a special Mother’s Day card and your mom is a Taylor Swift fan, Taylor’s got the perfect card!

Roseanne Cash has written and recorded a song that will be used to promote US tourism. Check out “Land of Dreams”…

The tweet of the day is from Martina McBride: “I finally figured out which vegetable goes best with hummus. Pita bread.”

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

Dierks Bentley has had a roller-coaster week. He celebrated “Home” and it’s chart-topping accomplishment, telling the crowd how special the song is to him: “We pretty much get the same reaction every night. Not only the applause and the cheers, but just the intangible feeling of pride in the country and unity – the crowd goes crazy for it. I don’t know it’s a great thing to have the song in the show. We got the up-tempo stuff, the party stuff, some of the slower stuff, but to have a song like that, that really just goes to a 3D dimension that we haven’t had before is huge.” That’s the high point – the low point was taking his daughters to see their mom Cassidy run in the Music City Marathon last Saturday. That didn’t go well, and he’s got some making-up to do, it sounds like! “Mother’s Day I need to come through strong. I totally messed up the marathon. It was great – I had the girls all ready to watch her, and we went to the first spot and they had already had come through. So, I got the girls back in the car and drove around it was just a solid wall of people. It was just a nightmare. So we didn’t get a chance to cheer her on for that so we need to come up with a good Mother’s Day deal.”

Fans have waited patiently, and the wait is almost over. Jason Aldean’s next album is so close to reality that they’ve shot cover photos already. “I went out this past week and did a photo shoot for the album cover and all that stuff. We should have a single comin’ out, you know, I would guess in the next couple of months. And then, it looks like the album’s probably gonna come out somewhere around October.” Jason’s song “Flyover States” is soaring on the charts, inside the top 5 and still climbing.

Carrie Underwood is psyched that her new project, “Blown Away,” is out and selling gangbusters. She cites rock music in her upbringing, as well as collaborations with artists like Steven Tyler, for the harder-edged music on the album, then goes on to say, “My album’s a lot like that. I feel like everything fits—it’s a big ol’ puzzle, but everything has its own place and its own piece, but in completely different directions. So, there’s ‘Good Girl,’ and there’s some more traditional country stuff than I’ve ever done before. And there’s just—every direction you could possibly think of.”

Eric Church is still in apology mode, days after a statement he made in Rolling Stone Magazine hit the streets. He said, about artists who take the reality tv path to fame, “I don’t know what would make an artist do that. You’re not an artist.” Blake Shelton tweeted, “I wish I had misunderstood that.” Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson are just a few Nashville artists who were part of reality shows before they became famous. Eric Church says he wasn’t complete in his comments and he now adds this clarification: “I have a lot of respect for what artists like Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, and my friend Miranda Lambert have gone on to accomplish...This piece was never intended to tear down any individual and I apologize to anybody I offended in trying to shed light on this issue.”

Congratulations to Rascal Flatts who have the #1 song this week on both charts with “Banjo.” It’s their 14th #1 song.

The tweet of the day is from Brad Paisley: “@carrieunderwood has a new album out today. She sings like a bird. Actually a loon.”

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Today's Country Tidbits

According to Dierks Bentley, 5-1-5-0 is police code for a crazy person, and he and his band use the code to describe people they see at concerts: “It’s all about the fans man, lookin’ out every night to see what they do...people jumpin’ up on stage. We played somewhere not too long ago, we had like 10 stage jumpers. It was great! I love it.” This weekend, they'll be on the lookout for crazy people in Maine, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. "5-1-5-0" is burning up the charts like crazy, too.

Keith Urban - jet-setter. Yep, that's what he and his family have become, since he took on the role of coach on the Australian version of the tv show, "The Voice." He, Nicole and their two daughters have been racking up the frequent-flier miles, commuting between the States and Australia. “We've got a place in L.A. that we occasionally go to, and we just decided we'll go back to there, ‘cause that's one flight – Sydney-L.A. direct. So we sort of based ourselves there, but I was in writing mode, so I just basically flew people from Nashville out to write with me. [laughs] So I was able to keep working.” Must be nice to be made of cash, huh?

Blake Shelton has a burning desire - to duet with fellow "The Voice" coach Christina Aguilera. She's already recorded with Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine, and Blake says he'll do whatever it takes to do a country duet with her. According to Blake, “I would pay her, I would beg her, I’ll wash her car, I’ll clean her house, I’ll babysit her kid. I’ll do whatever I need to do to get that done.”

Eric Church has stepped in a big pile with Miranda Lambert, saying that singers who participate in reality tv shows aren’t real artists. Oops! Miranda took him out on tour with her a couple of years ago. He’s got some ‘splainin’ to do!

Carrie Underwood was on the David Letterman show last night, and believe it or not, she was nervous! “When you’re on live I feel like there’s so much more pressure because you want to hit every single note, and you want everything to be perfect because you really only get one shot at it. So I get nervous on TV performances and I don’t get nervous ya know, in concert.” This morning you can see her performing through the butterflies on Good Morning America, and Thursday night she'll perform on American Idol.

In other Carrie news, she's become a rabid hockey fan and says that seeing hubby Mike Fisher's team take the Stanley Cup is on her bucket list. The Nashville Predators are in the playoffs, but are down two games to none against the Phoenix Coyotes. The best of seven series moves to Nashville tomorrow night for the next two games.

The tweet of the day is from Miranda Lambert: "Thanks Eric Church for saying I'm not a real artist. Or @kelly_clarkson, @carrieunderwood & @KeithUrban. Your welcome for the tour in 2010. "