Friday, November 30, 2012

Forbes Magazine is out with their list of “The World’s 25 Highest-Paid Musicians 2012” and country music artists fare pretty well. Taylor Swift is tied with Sir Paul McCartney for the #8 spot on the list, each raking in $57 million for the year. Toby Keith is at #10, tied with Justin Bieber with $55 million in earnings. Kenny Chesney landed at #17, with a $44 million paycheck for 2012.

Zac Brown Band has had an incredible run since hitting the charts in 2008 with “Chicken Fried,” and Zac himself credits their character and work ethic for their success: “We’ve matured. We’re better musicians and better writers, we’re better as a band and as a unit and it reflects in the music. We spend hours and hours writing the songs and hours and hours arranging them and recording them and everything. We work harder than a lot of other bands, I think. And I think that’s what sets us apart.” Their new song, “Goodbye In Her Eyes,” is evocative and sad, but the video shows us the magic in they lyrics…

Carrie Underwood’s new song, “Two Black Cadillacs,” started out with just a song title from co-writer Josh Kear. “He came in with the title ‘Two Black Cadillacs’. Didn’t’ know what it was about. Wasn’t really sure of the storyline, and had the loop that was just, you know, ‘Two black cadillacs’, and that was it! So we were like, ‘Well, what could this be about? Why would you be in a cadillac? AH! Funeral! Ahh, okay!’” The story they told in the song is dark, and apparently the video will be even darker when it comes out in January. Here’s a sneak-peek…
Think putting up the Christmas tree is an ordeal at your house? Well, country artists are no different – Keifer and Shawna of Thompson Square put their sup this week, and apparently managed to stay married in spite of it: “3AM she about drove me crazy with this thing! We had to drive an hour to even get the tree. We probably spent a cumulative of 10 hours shopping for bulbs and Christmas ornaments and stuff. [Shawna] It was a little much, but we got it done. [Keifer] It was too much, but yeah we got it done. [Shawna] Actually, it’s not completely done. [Keifer] Now she wants to add some more stuff.” 
Florida Georgia Line is enjoying their first taste of success, and met Cyndi Lauper at the American Music Awards. Brian Kelley says that she’s a role model to the duo, and she gave them some amazing advice: “She told us one thing – don’t conform, continue to be yourself and always to challenge yourself to continue to get better and continue to try to get the best music out there as you can. She is so inspiring, she was having a great time and what an amazing artist. If anybody acts herself it’s her. She stood out and didn’t care – it was cool.” Their debut album comes out on Tuesday. 
Tomorrow, Shania Twain debuts in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace, and will continue doing shows there for the next two years. About the theatre, Shania says, “There is no other venue where the possibilities are endless as they are at Caesars Palace. That is for sure - I’ve seen a ton of shows in Vegas myself over the years, and I’m a great fan of going to live shows whenever I’m in Vegas. People go there for a trip – and I hope I become part of their trip.” 
Sounds like Randy Travis is trying to get his life back in order after a few drunken arrests. He says he’s “eliminated alcohol from his daily life,” eats a high protein diet and takes lots of vitamins. According to gossip website TMZ, he was in a recording studio in Texas last week, working on new music.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Blake Shelton is proving that country artists are a lot more than just a pretty face and a good song: “Nashville – there is a lot of creative people here - and we don’t all fit into a mold. There are a lot of talented people here that can do a lot of different things. I just happen to be one of them. I happen to be one of the guys that happens to be the first to do it on TV. And everybody go, ‘Oh I didn’t even know country people could read – that’s crazy!’ Not that I can read, I’m just saying.” He made Jay Leno laugh last night and tonight will be giggling with Chelsea on Chelsea Lately. Knowing those two, they’ll probably be knocking back a few, too! 

Little Big Town is taking some time off the road following a death in their family. The announcement on their Facebook page didn’t specify the relationship, just that it was an immediate family member. They’ve postponed two shows in California and skipped a slot on the Tonight show this week.

From the “ok, this is kind of weird” file, Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott and Chris Tyrell, the band’s drummer, don’t travel together when they’re on the road. Chris rides in the band bus so he can stay in tune with them, and Hillary shares a bus with Charles Kelley and Dave Heywood. According to Hillary, “You have to separate it a little bit, and thankfully – knock on wood and praise God – it’s been such a smooth transition.”

From the “this won’t happen again” file, Kelly Clarkson won’t be giving anymore interviews to British magazine The Mirror. She’s the cover story, but it’s not a flattering story. The headline reads ”No One On The Planet Should Be As Famous As Me,” though Kelly says that’s a misquote. She says she was really saying that she doesn’t want to be as famous as Britney Spears or Madonna, because she’s had a taste of what they have to deal with, and Kelly says she didn’t handle it well. The article also says she’s had a battle with anorexia, and that’s not true either.
What do country music artists think about the new country music TV show, “Nashville?” Chris Young approves: “I actually really like the show. You always get nervous anytime someone wants to do a show on your hometown. I don’t think that would change even if it wasn’t a music town, and obviously something that is the home of country music.” Brad Paisley’s wife Kimberly just signed on for four more episodes, and she’ll likely be a regular if the show gets a second season.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How do you have a debut and a #1 in the same week? Jake Owen cracked the code on that last week – his daughter, Olive Pearl, made her debut into the world, and his song “The One That Got Away” topped the country charts. It’s his third #1 song, and Jake’s elated: “It’s been almost eight and a half years. It’s been really cool, everything that’s happened and I’m just very fortunate.” Jake’s on the road right now with Florida Georgia Line, whose single “Cruise” is nipping at Jake’s heels – it’s #2 on the country charts this week. According to Brian Kelley, his FGL bandmate, Tyler Hubbard, predicted the song’s success: “First day in the studio when we were recording ‘Cruise’ and it was starting to come to life, BK looked at me and he said, ‘Dude, we’re gonna sell a million copies of this song.’ I’m like, ‘Dude, there’s no way. It’s not even possible.’ And that was a year ago and we were starting to work on it so it’s uh...I guess we have big dreams and big goals and we try to reach those goals.” Florida Georgia Line’s debut album, Here’s To The Good Times, is out next week.

Taylor Swift’s album, Red, is at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart for the third week in a row. “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” spent seven weeks atop the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, more than any of her other singles. What’s the song all about? Taylor explains, “Constantly fighting and causing a scene and making everyone uncomfortable and clearly everyone around us knows we need to break up and we won’t and they are all rolling their eyes at us. At a certain point, you realize you just have to be really bold about it. ‘No, we are not getting back together!’”

Pistol Annies’ members Ashley Monroe, Angaleena Presley and Miranda Lambert are working on their sophomore album. There’s no release date, but Miranda says it’ll be worth the wait: “The new album will be just what you expect. It’s three country girls singing about three country girls’ lives and we write everything on our own. We did on the last record and our goal on this next record is to write everything just in our family, just the three of us girls again.”
Trace Adkins had a break in the taping of All-Star Celebrity Apprentice, and used that break to schedule his seventh USO tour in 11 years. He’s in Japan, giving four private concerts for US troops and their families. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Randy Houser may have another #1 song on his hands, as “How Country Feels” is rocketing up the charts. It’s the first single from his next album, and even though he didn’t write it, he knew it was something special: “The first time I heard it, I heard that you know, ‘Let your hair down! Hair down!’ I went, ‘Aw, man.’ You know, I was hooked. There was no way I was not recording that song.” He’ll be a busy boy tonight, playing the Opry at the Ryman, then heading down the street to the Wildhorse Saloon to be part of Justin Moore’s benefit concert for Hurricane Sandy victims.

Dustin Lynch’s new song, “She Cranks My Tractor,” is very different from his first hit, “Cowboys and Angels.” What’s it all about? Dustin explains: “It’s definitely not about tractors; it’s about my dream girl. You know? It’s about a country girl that’s wilder than I am and kinda makes me come outta my shell, so that’s what that song means to me.” The woman in the video would crank a dead man’s tractor – check it out…

Blake Shelton isn’t winning any romance points with Miranda Lambert, it seems. In an interview with E! News, he was asked what he would give his wife for Christmas. He reminded the reporter that Miranda was very rich, and why should he blow a lot of his money on her when she could blow a bunch of her money on herself. He went on to say he might draw her a picture or something like that. Since we know Blake’s sense of humor, I’m guessing he’ll come up with a fabulous gift for Miranda.

The Band Perry feels cheated! They were in Europe last week, touring, and completely missed fall: “We live over in East Tennessee in the mountains so the leaves are all pretty over there, but I felt like we left and it was summer and we came back and all the trees were bare.” It’s ok, guys…you’ll see it next year, maybe while you’re on the road with Rascal Flatts.
Actually, Mike Gossin of Gloriana has some good advice for people whose lives are moving too fast: “I would say just savor the moment more. It all happened so fast for us. We didn’t really take it for granted, but I think we could have just realized more and been a little bit more appreciative of everything that was going on around us.” 
Garth Brooks fans, in case you missed it, be on the lookout for the “Gartha Stewart” episode of Trisha’s Southern Kitchen on the Food Network. Garth and wife Trisha Yearwood collaborated on black bean lasagna, TY Thai salad and peanut butter balls. The peanut butter balls are apparently something Garth and his daughters have made for years, and they looked really yummy!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Jake and Lacey Owen are now a family of three – their daughter Olive Pearl Owen was born on Thanksgiving Day. Calling her his “little turkey baby,” Jake said, “My grandparents are super excited about being great grandparents. My parents are excited about being grandparents and I’m excited about being a parent. So, there’s a lot of cool feelings going around the Owen household these days.” Ever felt pressure from your mom for grandkids? You’re not alone – listen to Jake on his mom’s pressure: “My mom has asked me for years, ‘When are you gonna get married? When are you gonna get married? I want grandbabies.’ And I told her that it just was gonna take the right person and I really thought I’d never get married but a lot of things in my life have happened when I least expected it.”
Did you spend Black Friday and Small Business Saturday in the stores? Turns out, country stars are pretty much like us – some did, and some didn’t. On the “didn’t” side is Brad Paisley: “I’m pretty last minute. Most guys I think are like me. You just don’t invest enough, you don’t think ahead, and plan it.” Carrie Underwood, on the other hand, loves to shop the sales, and not just for other people: “I love shopping in general. Makeup shopping can get me in trouble for sure. If I go into a make-up store and they give you one of those little baskets to carry around… By the end of it I’m like what just happened. You know I pass over my credit card so easily, and my magic plastic card and then they give me stuff.” Luke Bryan and his wife Caroline are seasoned Christmas shoppers for sons Bo and Tate: “Yeah my wife and I, we talk about it and get it figured out. And kind of pick what we want to get him and have a good old Santa Claus night.” Lee Brice is adamantly on Brad Paisley’s side where Black Friday shopping is concerned: “I never get involved with that, ever.” It’s a house divided for Thompson Square’s Shawna and Keifer: “[Shawna] The deals you can get are so good on that day. [Keifer] It’s not worth the stress. We almost got…[Shawna] We got plowed. [Keifer] Plowed by this crazy lady trying to get to a Nintendo or something I don’t know she was freaking out, like running people over. There have been people like hurt and kills and stuff with these stupid things.”
Garth Brooks has wrapped up his run in Las Vegas, but there are rumblings of a tour in the works. His youngest daughter is due to graduate high school in the spring of 2014 and apparently Garth is considering a major tour later that year. That means he’s probably already working on music for an album, and we know there’ll be a tv special directed by Martin Scorsese, live from the Encore Theatre in Vegas. No word on the date for the special, but expect it to happen before the tour in 2014. 
Tracy Lawrence fed a lot of hungry people over Thanksgiving – his “Mission: Possible Turkey Fry” fed thousands with the 500 turkeys he and his friends fried up in the Nashville Rescue Mission’s parking lot last Tuesday. Since his event started in 2006, he’s supplied about 6,500 fried turkeys to feed more than 40,000 families at Thanksgiving. 
Wednesday night, Trace Adkins will help with the annual lighting of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center. He’ll sing a new, Celtic- influenced version of “We Three Kings.” 
Taylor Swift’s “Red” has dominated the top of the country charts for 4 weeks in a row, but lost it’s grip on the Billboard 200 all-genre chart last week to One Direction. She’s on the Katie Couric Show today.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Friday may be Black Friday for most of America, but in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, it’s Pink Friday. That’s the day Miranda Lambert opens her new store, The Pink Pistol, and the grand opening celebration includes Pink-aoke singing and the first annual Pink Pistol Princess Pageant. Judges will be looking for costume creativity, spunk and sass. Miranda says this event will be an annual one at her new store: “Pink Friday will be country fun with some glitz!”

Fans of Jake Owen have a lot to be thankful for. He is good to his fans, because he truly cares about them and what they think. No, really! “I just like talking to people. I like to learn about folks, I like to make new friends and I like to hear what they think. If they think I should put a song out that’s better than this one or that one – people are going to tell you the truth. I just like connecting with people.” A four-year old fan, Ava Schipke, even got a birthday call from Jake because her Mom tweeted that she wanted to talk to him on her birthday.

Little Big Town already has their stuffing taken care of – they stuffed backpacks for Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, helping ensure that no child would go hungry tomorrow. The band’s Phillip Sweet explained why it’s important to all of them to help this cause: “It’s important all year long, but even more so this time of year. And I think one good thing is to bring awareness to people’s minds about it, because we’re all thinking about being with our family and being together and feasting and eating turkey and all these things, and to think that there are others that won’t have that beautiful gift, it’s not right! We’ve got to do something about that.”

Carrie Underwood is counting her blessings again this year, with a great career, a great hubby and quite a few awards under her belt. She says her favorite part of award shows are the acceptance speeches: “I love the chance to thank people! You know, if I’m blessed enough to win an award to get up there and thank the fans ‘cause they really are our employers.”
Craig Morgan is thankful to be able to support groups like The Wounded Warrior Project – he did a benefit concert for them in Florida this past weekend – and knows that gives meaning to his life: “There’s nothing more rewarding than giving back. It makes you feel good. Those military shows and all that kind of stuff we get to do – it is very rewarding and also very humbling.” 
What happens when a song takes on a life of its own? Florida Georgia Line is learning about that, as “Cruise” continues to sail up the charts. The platinum-selling song is the first hit for the band, and member Brian Kelley is in awe of it’s success so far: “It’s crazy to see where the songs come from. From the day we wrote it, to the day we started recording it, and then waited a couple of months, then finished it up and then released it. To now, it’s definitely a dream come true. It’s crazy.” It gets even crazier – a Nashville Chevy dealer just presented the duo with “a brand new Chevy with a lift kit” each for Mike and bandmate Tyler Hubbard. 
The American Country Awards will air December 10th on FOX-TV, and performers are lining up to be part of the fun. Jason Aldean, Rascal Flatts, Dierks Bentley, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Jake Owen, Luke Bryan and Kip Moore have all been chosen to perform, and more will be announced before the awards are handed out. 
Country music will be well-represented on the People’s Choice Awards in January. Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift are both nominated for Favorite Female Artist, Blake Shelton s up for Favorite Male Artist, and the three of them are joined by Jason Aldean and Tim McGraw for Favorite Country Artist. Taylor Swift is up for Favorite Song for “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” and Carrie Underwood is nominated for Favorite Album for “Blown Away.” You can vote for your favorites now
Martina McBride and her family will be spending Thanksgiving in New York City. She’ll be performing during The Thanksgiving Day Parade on CBS tomorrow. 

While we’re all getting ready to spend Thanksgiving with family and friends, Trace Adkins is getting ready to ring in the Christmas season at the annual lighting of the tree in Rockefeller Center. He’ll perform during the TV special, along with Mariah Carey, Cee Lo Green and Rod Stewart. The show airs live a week from tonight at 8 on NBC.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Taylor Swift is working to top her Speak Now Tour with the Red tour, which kicks off next March. Tickets for some of the dates went on sale last Friday and even the stadium shows sold out in mere minutes. About what she has in store for her fans, Taylor says, “The next tour I really just want it to be even more entertaining than the last one. Which is going to be hard because we had a lot of stuff going on, on the Speak Now Tour. It was a tour that I was so proud of – and I always will be. So I’m trying to figure out what to do with this tour to make it different and a spectacle – but a different kind of spectacle.”

Carrie Underwood has a new song out called “Two Black Cadillacs,” and it’s causing quite a stir. The song is dark, almost sinister, and has been compared to an iconic Reba hit: “There’s a lot [laughs]—there’s a lot to be left to the imagination, and I love that. We don’t—we don’t go into too much detail, but I’ve heard it described umm like ‘The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia’. People keep bringing that one up, and I’m like ‘Yeah, it is a story like that!’ You wanna listen more to it, you wanna find out what happens.” Her “Blown Away” tour stops in St. Louis tonight, then takes a break for Thanksgiving.
Justin Moore is working on new music, and thinks his fans will like what they hear: “I love traditional country music, always have and always will. That’s what I grew up on and I’m always gonna try to do my part to keep that music alive, for not only the generations who grew up on it when that’s all there was, but also trying to keep it out there for the coming generation so that it’ll continue to be relevant down the road.” No word on when the new album will be out, especially since his latest hit song from his gold-selling sophomore album, “Til My Last Day,” is doing so well on the country music charts. 
Taylor Swift may have picked up more than just a couple of awards Sunday night. It looks like she and Harry Styles of the band One Direction could be an item. Harry was hanging out with Taylor’s mom during rehearsals and he and Taylor were spotted holding hands on the set of The X Factor when Taylor performed there last week. 
Yes, Hunter Hayes traveled with Taylor Swift, opening her show on the Speak Now Tour, and he loved every minute of it. Yes, the two did interact, did talk about writing together, but didn’t date, and if you ask Hunter if there’s a song about him on her new album, Red, Hunter says, “Ah that’s funny. No probably not. I didn’t hear any songs about opening acts. I didn’t hear any of that. So I would probably guess no.” 
Kristian Bush of Sugarland bought his bandmate Jennifer Nettles what he describes as the perfect baby gift. Dubbed “the Miracle Blanket,” it is supposed to help new babies sleep deeper and longer, allowing their parents to get more rest, too.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Did you catch Taylor Swift’s performance on the American Music Awards last night? She loves doing that show, because “The AMAs have great production so you can do all kinds of different things.” Tomorrow, Seventeen magazine’s love column will be taken over by Taylor, who dishes out advice on how to steer clear of guys who are bad news, plus how to get a crush’s attention. Wonder if she’ll tell teens to write a song about their dream guy?

Carrie Underwood performed her new single, “Two Black Cadillacs,” on the AMAs last night, and knocked it out of the park. It’s her third single from “Blown Away,” and Carrie hopes it’ll follow “Good Girl” and the title track to #1 on the charts, too.

In case you saw it over the weekend, that cover story that tabloid magazine Life & Style ran isn’t true – Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton are not having a baby. In true Blake style, he tweeted to his fans, “Look, I know I've gained some weight but the test was negative!!!" Miranda piled on, tweeting, “‘we are having a baby' Yay! @BlakeShelton we're getting a new puppy?"

Eric Church loves the fact that country music seems to be getting more mainstream: “When I first started touring, it was not cool to wear a country music artist’s shirt on a college campus. There was still that stigma that country was outside of cool. Frankly, I think country music has always been the coolest format.” We agree, Eric, we agree!

Hey, if you’re going to show up, show up big. Last week, Shania Twain made her official entrance into Las Vegas in advance of her Caesars Palace debut on December first. But she didn’t arrive in a limo – no, Shania rode up on horseback, accompanied by 40 other riders. Her song, “Still The One,” blared from loudspeakers up and down the Las Vegas strip and fans lined up to catch a glimpse of the arriving star. Shania will be performing in Vegas at the Colosseum for two years.
There’s a Hungerthon auction going on, and you have a chance to pick up some one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts – autographed guitars from Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Willie Nelson, Kix Brooks, and a football signed by Jason Aldean. There’s more in the auction, too, and it’s for a good cause. You have until December 13th to get your bids in
Wall bling for Justin Moore, whose album, “Outlaws Like Me,” has been certified gold, and for Florida Georgia Line – their first hit, “Cruise,” is now platinum, and has a huge fan in Darius Rucker: “That song! I heard that song – I don’t buy a lot of records. I heard that song I had to buy it on iTunes the second I heard it. Man, great song!”
Happy birthday to Billy Currington, who turns 39 today. 
Rascal Flatts is on Chelsea Lately, and Zac Brown Band is on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Country music is filled with some beautiful people, and even though People Magazine recognized Channing Tatum as tops in their People’s Sexiest Man Alive for 2012 list, Blake Shelton made the list, too. He’ll be featured in the issue that comes out today. Earlier this year, wife Miranda Lambert made People’s 2012 World’s Most Beautiful Women list. Another country artist is now in the running for Sexiest Man Alive for 2013, since Chris Young is featured as the Sexiest Man of the Week in the current issue of People Magazine. He says he doesn’t see himself as sexy, but admits the ladies go wild when he performs: “Someone threw neon underwear on stage last week, which I just laughed. I’ve gotten bras before. You know, shoot a thong on stage is one thing. If they start going through the process of like, ‘not only underwear, I’m gonna make sure it ties in with the album.’ That’s a lot of thought. That’s a lot of premeditation to throwing underwear on stage.” He’s currently touring behind his album, entitled “Neon.”

Fan reaction to the announcement of Keith Urban’s first headlining tour since 2011 has been very gratifying for Keith, and he’s stoked to hit the road and do what he does best – play live for a crowd, sharing the energy and the love. According to Keith, “I really love, love what I do. It’s really important; it’s just that lessons in gratitude that’s a daily thing. And I think if you really love it, it’s something people pick up on.”

Taylor Swift was on X Factor’s live results show last night, performing “State of Grace” off of her new album, Red. If you looked carefully, you saw a new addition to her band: “We actually have four extra backup singers now, who are amazing! They’re these girls who I love so much, and they’re so good at singing and they move all pretty – they’re adorable. They’ve performed with us on the VMA’s and the TV performances we’ve done.” Taylor was also part of MTV’s Restore the Shore campaign special last night. Growing up in Pennsylvania meant that her family often went to the Jersey shore for summer vacation. She, along with many other country stars, are pitching in to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Jason Aldean was on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night, and, remembering the days of dive bars and half-empty halls, he’s grateful for where his career has gone: “To be able to stand there with the guys that have seen it go from that, to what it is now – I think really those guys are probably the only ones that really understand – that really get it. Family a lot of times doesn’t see the everyday stuff, they just kind of all of sudden notice you’re getting bigger.” 
Lee Brice is in love with his next single, “I Drive Your Truck,” a song about a man who loses his brother, presumably in the Middle East. “It really changed my life when I heard it. I couldn’t believe I got my hands on it – I didn’t write this song. I’m still floored by it to this stay – so we’re really pumped about that one. It is really amazing - the songwriter was straight up touched by God that day.” 
Kristian Bush of Sugarland bought his bandmate Jennifer Nettles what he describes as the perfect baby gift. Dubbed “the Miracle Blanket,” it is supposed to help new babies sleep deeper and longer, allowing their parents to get more rest, too. Jennifer is expecting her first child sometime this month. 
Martina McBride and her family will be spending Thanksgiving in New York City. She’ll be performing during The Thanksgiving Day Parade on CBS Thanksgiving day.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Jake Owen is dreaming of being a father, which will happen some time this month, but he’s a bit worried about how his bulldog, Merle, will handle the new addition: “Yeah, I’m a little…I’m worried that, you know, Merle’s (sighs)…Merle’s gonna get his feelings hurt a little bit. He already looks sad enough ’cause he’s a bulldog, but he also really likes kids. He’s fascinated with kids, and he loves playin’ with ‘em, and so it could be cool. I can’t wait. I really can’t wait ’til she’s big enough where she can sit on the couch, and he can sleep right next to her, and the two of them, the same size, can lay there together, and I can take photos.”

Keith Urban announced his tour plans for next year, and he’s also in the studio, working on an album he’ll release before hitting the road. He’s taking along Little Big Town and Dustin Lynch as tourmates, kicking things off July 18th in Cincinnati, Ohio, and wrapping up October 5th in West Palm Beach Florida. The complete list of tour dates is on his website, and check out how psyched they all are about this tour…
If you’re a Rascal Flatts fan, you might want to call in sick next Tuesday – “Rascal Flatts: All Access & Uncovered” comes out Monday, and they’ll be haunting the airwaves all night Monday night. Joe Don says their fans learn a lot more about each of them: “It’s really a little deeper glimpse into the heart, souls and minds of Rascal Flatts. And the three of us individually – how we grew up, where we grew up, before we came to Nashville and met each other. Also parts of how we met each other and how we became Rascal Flatts, and all the emotions that’s built up to where we’re at in life.” The trio will be on The Voice and Chelsea Lately on Monday night. 
Luke Bryan is at the top of the charts again this week with “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye.” It’s his second week at #1, and instead of basking in the glow, Luke is planning the album that will follow up the platinum “Tailgates & Tanlines.” According to Luke, “I’m super excited about what I’ve got written and what songs I’ve found—even more than Tailgates and Tanlines—I’m more excited. There’s one or two little things I kinda want on the record that I don’t have yet—but it’s certainly great being on this side and getting great songs from the Nashville community.” 
What do writers do? They write, and husband/wife duo Thompson Square is no exception. But they’re not limiting themselves to songs this time – they’re writing a book called “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not?,” due out in June of next year. It’s a novel, and they’ll co-write with Travis Thrasher. 
The ABC show, “Nashville,” is such a hit that it’s been picked up for the entire season. Hayden Panettiere, who plays Juliette Barnes, knows why people are drawn to the show: “Both characters, and as are all the characters in the show, going through their own hard times, their own troubles, turmoil and everyone has their own issues to overcome and I think that’s something that people bond over, is hurt or pain or … just things like that in motion that people really find common ground with.” The music is great, too, and a soundtrack will be out on December 11th. 
Taylor Swift is on The X Factor on FOX tonight, and Jason Aldean is on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Brad Paisley and The Band Perry are making waves across the Atlantic, selling out shows in Norway, Sweden, and they wowed ‘em in Ireland last night. While Trace Adkins and John Rich are filming “The Celebrity Apprentice” for it’s 2013 season, Kimberly Perry says there’s someone else who should be on the show: “I would have to say Brad Paisley because I feel like even though he’s like a super-creative guy, he’s always thinking...that guy. So, I’d have to go ‘BP’ on that one!” The new season of the show airs early next year, but Donald Trump won’t have a chance to fire Brad Paisley – he won’t be on it.

Keith Urban is a hit with Nicki Minaj on American Idol. The rapper and fellow AI judge described Keith as “the perfect man,” saying he “is very respectful of his wife” and that “he’s very sweet.” Really – did we expect anything less from Keith? The new season starts January 16th.

Taylor Swift and celebrity photographer Nigel Barker have teamed up for a limited edition book, “8 Hours/Taylor Swift.” It’ll be sold only in Sony stores, and ten autographed copies will be auctioned off on eBay. About photo shoots, Taylor says, “I love getting glammed up for photo shoots, because I love just the relaxed feeling of, ‘You guys are good at what you do – do whatever you want.’ The hair and make-up people, they always do a different look on me than I’m used to, and I always just go with it. At this point you do so many magazine shoots that you’re just like, ‘I can’t wait to see what you guys turn me in to!”

Carrie Underwood’s tour stopped in hurricane-ravaged Atlantic City, and she donated all the ticket money coming to her to hurricane relief. While singing “Do You Think of Me” she witnessed a marriage proposal in the audience, and in the middle of the song, urged the woman to “say yes, say yes!!” Apparently it worked!

Eric Gunderson and his wife of nearly 3 years, Emily, are expecting their first child. The baby is due in May of next year, so Love and Theft will hit the road hard between now and then, so Eric can have a little time off when the baby is born. They’re on the CMT On Tour circuit with Jake Owen right now.
Apparently, Jason Aldean thinks having hit records is pretty easy: “To me, making records is going and finding the best group of songs you can find, and making them sound like you, and putting them out there.” Jason made his debut on The Voice last night, singing “The Only Way I Know” with a little help from Blake Shelton. Tomorrow he’ll be on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, performing and also announcing the nominees in a few categories of the People’s Choice Awards. Friday, catch him on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Reba is so proud of her friend Blake Shelton, and was very emotional when she handed him the Entertainer of the Year award at the CMAs. “I was...I was bawling. I was so proud to give that to him, to be the one to present it to him. He’s like a brother to me and we’ve had such a great time. I just got to do his Christmas special...his TV Christmas special taping...that’s a hoot!” Blake Shelton’s Not So Family Christmas special airs December 7th on NBC.

Veterans Day was Sunday, but country artists remember the military all year long. Dierks Bentley raises money for the Wounded Warrior project: “These guys have all put 10,000 hours into being soldiers – and then they come back here. That’s a hard thing to do, especially when a lot of our soldiers are older and already have kids and families. They’re not coming back 21 or 22 – they’re like 36 or 37. The guys that come back that are wounded – it’s even a more difficult road to go down. We just hope to spread a little money and spread even more awareness to it, and get people involved.” Lee Brice has his priorities straight: “They’re so thankful for a shout out, they are so thankful for a song, for going and playing events for them – whether it’s for the USO or Wounded Warriors. They are so appreciative of it, but we are the ones that need to be thankful for them. Everytime I get a thank you from them, I’m just doubling it back to them – ya know?” And Martina McBride knows it’s not just the soldier, but that soldier’s family, too, that serves: “Knowing that so many people do have family, children and loved ones that are overseas fighting for us, is always something that I think, ‘What a hard thing? But they must be so proud as well.’ So I have a very special place in my heart for the military and what those men and women are doing for us.”

Kellie Pickler is about to add another star tattoo to her collection of 5 – she’ll be making a 6th USO tour overseas. What does she like to do while she’s in the Middle East? “I love hearing about their story and how they joined and why they joined and what are their thoughts on everything that’s going on over here. What are your thoughts about the election? Like, what are the military what do they want?”
Trace Adkins is also packing for a USO tour to take some holiday cheer to troops in the Pacific. He’ll travel there November 25th to December 2nd. 
Lady Antebellum won the Breakthrough Award at the 2012 Billboard Touring Awards last week. Dave Haywood says their favorite part of the Own the Night tour was fan response: “I think you know getting out and touring this year has kinda shed a new light for us as songwriters, on where we want to go. I mean, we started last November on Own The Night and we were blown away by the response all throughout this year and this summer, and you really kinda realize what songs translate to a large audience. And that’s kinda helped shape our writing.” 
Taylor Swift is looking for shelf space for her three new awards – MTV European Music Awards for Best Live, Best Look and Best Female. She truly is taking over the world, isn’t she? 
Scotty McCreery is the star of Bojangles’ new TV commercials. Haven’t seen them? Here they are… 
Miranda Lambert’s song, “Over You,” has been certified platinum for sales of over a million units. She and co-writer/hubby Blake Shelton won a CMA Award for that song. 
DVR alert – Trace Adkins will be part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC. CMA Country Christmas will air December 20th, 22nd and 23rd on ABC. Stars include Jennifer Nettles, The Band Perry, Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, Lady A and many more.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Kenny Chesney is psyched about his 20th anniversary tour – 20 years of touring and he vows to make it the best tour yet for his fans because of the mutual admiration they have: “I’m glad there’s anticipation I’m glad there’s a certain energy there. To be honest with you, the idea of that energy drives me to be even better. I think any entertainer will tell you this, because I do wear my feelings out on my sleeve a lot. So that being said, the more love we get, the more we throw back at them.” Tourmate Eric Church is thrilled to be part of the fun, so he can build a relationship with new fans: “We got this night, I’m not going to see you for a while and you’re not going to see me for a while, you know? And I love being able to capitalize on that moment and trying to live in that moment and get as much energy exchanged between myself and the crowd as we can. I love that! That’s my favorite part of what we do. I love being around people…I’m very passionate about my music and I love people who are passionate about the music too, and I love playing a show for that type of crowd.” He’ll join the tour on select stadium shows, as will Zac Brown Band. Eli Young Band and Kacey Musgraves are the regular tourmates, signed up for at least 17 stadium shows with Kenny next year.
Jake Owen has set a record for the most consecutive sold-out shows for the CMT on Tour effort. He knows why people keep coming back to see him – he’ll all about giving value for that ticket price: “That’s all you ever try to do - is try to please the people that were there. Make sure they go home and tell their friends who weren’t there about it. The next time around they bring them back – and your crowd progressively gets bigger.” 

Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean spent the weekend hunting in Kansas with the crew of Buck Commander. Also on the hunt are baseball stars Adam LaRoche, Ryan Langerhans and Tombo Martin. Luke admits that the deer could be safe from him and Jason: “Who knows – we’re both pretty awful. I haven’t killed anything on this past trip. I got a deer down in Texas – but I’m still waitin’.” The show will air this fall or winter on the Outdoor Channel.
Miranda Lambert spent her birthday weekend at home in Oklahoma, working on her new boutique, The Pink Pistol. It’ll open the day after Thanksgiving. Since she’s busy with that, plus her tour, plus her work with Pistol Annies, and Blake’s busy with The Voice, the subject of children doesn’t come up between them – they’re too busy, and Miranda says her dogs are like children to her. 
Martina McBride just shot a video for “Please Come Home For Christmas” in Franklin, Tennessee. Her crew spent a week decorating the town, including adding snow, so it would be in the holiday spirit. The song will be part of “A Very Special Christmas” benefit cd this year, and the video featured 12 Special Olympians. 
There’ll be a Hurricane Sandy benefit concert in New York at Madison Square Garden on 12/12/12. The performers are still being lined up, but there should be a country artist or two in the mix.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Brad Paisley is gallivanting around in Europe this week, playing shows in Sweden, Norway and Ireland. But as he says in the song “Southern Comfort Zone,” there’s no place like home: “There’s this circle of wood at the Opry, and it’s back here in Tennessee where everything is as I remember it. And everything is…it’s just…it’s the Shire in Lord of the Rings, it’s the place that’s this beautiful, ideal place to live, which I appreciate more now after having seen the world.”

When Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney toured together this past summer, what was their favorite part of the shows? Kenny starts the reminiscence: “It’s just special, you know, it was special for me, it was special for Tim. I think it was special for the fans to get to see us. To get to sing this song together every night and you know that’s something that doesn’t happen every day in this business and we were very excited to do it and this is just icing on the cake, really. [Tim] For me, it was seeing Kenny naked on those videos during the show.” Hey, Tim – that was “shirtless,” not naked!!

Taylor Swift has the #1 album in the country again this week with “Red.” It sits atop the Billboard Country chart and the Billboard 200 chart. As is her custom, Taylor either wrote or co-wrote every song on the album, and one of her collaborators is long-time writing buddy, Liz Rose. Taylor says, “It was really cool to get back with her, and tell her what was going on in my life and to just kind of walk her through this experience I had. We wrote a song called ‘All Too Well’ which is basically the story of a relationship from beginning to the ending. It’s pretty sad actually.” When the two sat down, Taylor had the song written, but it was over ten minutes long.

Luke Bryan has the #1 country song in America again this week, but if you ask him about other songs, he’ll dish. Favorite make-out song for him and Caroline? “Can’t Get You Off My Mind” by Lenny Kravitz. Favorite Karaoke song? Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long.” The song he wishes he’d recorded? Blake Shelton’s “Who Are You When I’m Not Looking?” About his #1 song, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye,” co-written by Luke, Jeff Stevens and Shane McAnally, Luke says, “I think the chorus of that thing is some of the best writing that I’ve ever been a part of and I love the simplicity of the verses…I just love ‘Girl, rest your head.’ I love all that -- the melodies and all that through the song.” “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” is Luke’s sixth #1 song, and the third from “Tailgates & Tanlines.”

We know what the guys in Zac Brown Band will be doing this holiday season – resting! They blocked out their calendars for some serious family time, but they won’t be resting long. By March, they’ll have new music written, a new touring rig and the production mapped out for their 2013 tour.
Sunday, Jo Dee Messina is running 13.1 miles at the Rock n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon & ½ Marathon. Not content to just run, she’s playing the post-race show at the Alamodome. 
Tracy Byrd is frying up turkeys again this year. His 7th Annual Mission Possible Turkey Fry happens Tuesday, November 20th at the Nashville Rescue Mission. He and his cohorts will fry 500 birds, providing meals for the homeless and unemployed. It’s open to the public, so go pitch in if you’d like. Donations are appreciated. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Blake Shelton understands that his work on The Voice helped him win the CMA Entertainer of the Year award, but he’s still a bit star-struck to have won: “It’s just making me go, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m starting to become one of those guys that I’ve read about, I’ve studied and I’ve understood and worshiped. What do I do with this?’ And it’s very important to me with what I do with this. That’s why a vehicle like The Voice is such a big deal.”

Little Big Town knows exactly why they won their first two CMA Awards last week – it’s the fans: “If we all knew the recipe for what makes that kind of big smash hit – then we would do it over and over again and we wouldn’t have waited 13 years! (Laughs) But I think just timing and the fans you know, you pick the right song at the right time and bam all the stars start lining up. But the fans, they gotta grab on to it, and they made it their song this summer.”

Their debut album went platinum for over a million in sales, and The Band Perry is poised to release their sophomore album early in 2013. The first single, “Better Dig Two,” hit #1 on iTunes as soon as it was released, and shows the dark side of love, but according to Kimberly Perry, it’s a love song! “It is truly that love story—and the cycle of life and love and living with the person that you care more about than anything in the world.” Including breathing, apparently!

Thompson Square is working on their next album, too, and say they’ve grown a lot since their debut album came out: “We learned a lot from radio, we learned a lot from our fans and just from all the shows we’ve been playing. We wanted to say something a little bit different on this album – it’s a little more diverse. It shows growth from the writing standpoint, performing and even production.” Expect their next album sometime in the spring.

Looks like Reba may have another hit on her hands, and it’s not a song. “Malibu Country” attracted nearly 9 million viewers last Friday night for the premier episode, and Reba says the end product was a labor of love: “Putting it all together, working hard on it, making sure every script, every concept of the TV show is meaningful—it’s a lot of work! I was in auditioning almost all the characters, but other than that it’s a lot of fun. It’s a job I love to do.” Catch Reba and Lily Tomlin tomorrow night at 8:30 on ABC.
The Civil Wars are apparently living up to their band name. The Grammy-winning duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White abruptly cancelled their tour right in the middle of the European leg, citing “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition.” They have a new album due out in early 2013, but according to the announcement, they are “unable to continue as a touring entity at this time.” They won the Grammy for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for “Barton Hollow” and were nominated in the Vocal Duo category at last week’s CMA Awards. 
Taylor Swift is the featured artist on this week – check out her performance and audience Q&A.. 

Tim McGraw’s new song “One of Those Nights” has a lyric video out, taped at the performance he did the night before the CMA Awards. See if you can recognize any faces… 
Carrie Underwood is on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon tonight, performing “Blown Away.” 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

If you’ve been inside a Walgreens store lately, you probably noticed a Taylor Swift display, selling her new album, “Red.” How did that happen? Taylor’s dad had the idea: “He comes in and he’s like, ‘Walgreens has like 8,000 stores. That’s more than anything out there. Do you think they would sell music?’ And we’ve been working on it ever since. We’ve been working on it for ages partnering with Walgreens and we are finally opening the doors to the stores inside Walgreens where they’re gonna sell my music now and it’s amazing to me that that was just something, an idea out of thin air that my dad had.”

Jason Aldean has announced the first leg of his Night Train tour. It’ll kick off February 21st in Louisiana and visit 23 cities through May. Jason says his fans are in for a treat: “We’ve kind of made it a point to go out and make our shows, you know, as good as we can possibly make ‘em. You know, when people come out to our show, that’s what they’re gonna get.” Meanwhile, former tourmate Luke Bryan and Jason are making plans for right now: “[Jason] It’s huntin’ season. [Luke] Go deer hunt a little bit! [Jason] ...huntin’ season and just kinda gives us some time to take a couple months off and get ready for next year.”

Eric Church’s family was with him in Nashville when he accepted the CMA Album of the Year award for “Chief.” Eric’s dad and brother went back home after the show, but his mom hit the road with him for shows on the West Coast. He’s working on songs for his next album, but doesn’t really know when that one will be out, as he’s in no hurry: “I think there’s a lot of reasons to make records. The one thing I won’t do is I won’t make records for an economic reason. It won’t be because a label needs to make a quarterly number or we need to promote a tour.” If you need an Eric Church fix, a live album recorded last month in Chattanooga will be out in early 2013.
Miranda Lambert is getting into the retail spirit on Black Friday this year – she’s opening her new store, The Pink Pistol, in the small Oklahoma town where she and Blake Shelton live. The new boutique will sell, according to Miranda, “antiques, gifts, boots, jeans and pretty much everything you can imagine.” She says she wants to turn Black Friday, the huge shopping day after Thanksgiving, into Pink Friday. 
Kenny Chesney fans, heads-up! He’ll announce details of 2013’s tour, including dates, opening acts and the tour’s name, on Thursday.
Chris Young is People Magazine’s Sexy Man of the Week, meaning he’s up for the annual Sexiest Man Alive award. Miranda and Blake are on the cover of the current issue.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Oh, to have been in this Nashville bar – Tim McGraw played a show in Nashville before the CMA Awards last week, warming up his band and working out some of his new songs. How did it feel? According to Tim, “Anytime you get to play new music, it energizes you. And playing new stuff, and knowing I’ve got an album coming and knowing it’s sort of a new day in my career, I was really energized.”

Little Big Town is delighted to have their first CMA wins in their decade-long career, and think that the success of “Pontoon” might lie in the mystery in the lyrics: “Who would’ve thought that ‘Motorboatin’’ would be up for Single of the Year, you know? But that’s how big an impact, I guess, it’s had with the fans and with people. People want to have a good time.” Ok, so if that’s the case, then their follow-up single, “Tornado,” should be a success because – people want to have a bad time? “It’s so much fun to sing, I mean the writers—they’re the ones that—they paint the picture of ‘thought you’d change the weather, start a little storm, make a little rain, I’m gonna do one better, hide the sun until you pray [laugh]—I’m a tornado’. I’m that kinda sets the whole scene of what’s to come.” Yeah, you don’t want to get on the bad side of that storm!

A little news broke on the red carpet last week – Jake Owen and his wife Lacey will name their daughter Pearl, after his Godmother, who passed away in July. Jake already has her name tattooed on his left wrist. Pearl should make her debut sometime this month.

Hunter Hayes is psyched to be Carrie Underwood’s opening act on the second leg of her “Blown Away” tour. He had a great time on the first leg, saying, “The crowds have been really cool. They’re showing up early. You know, and as an opening act it means a lot. And it’s really cool to be like direct support, you know, be right in front of Carrie and to get that slot and for her to say that I’m sort of worthy of that’s awesome and it’s really cool for her to say, ‘Hey, come back out next year! We’re doing some more.’” Probably didn’t hurt for him to win New Artist of the Year at the CMAs last week, with Carrie hosting!
You can’t see it until this weekend, but Eli Young Band went in a very different direction for the “Say Goodnight” video. “For the video, we could have very easily gone in more of a romantic love story kind of direction, but we chose to go science fiction with it. It’s pretty much the exact opposite of what you think it would be when you’re listening to the song.” Why science fiction? Oh, heck – why not? CMT will air it this weekend. 
Kellie Pickler has a bone to pick with the media – Summer, the woman with breast cancer that Kellie shaved her head to support, is more than a friend: “It’s so weird for people to call her my best friend, because she’s not my best friend – she’s my sister. We’ve never referred to each other as friends – ever. She’s always been my sister Summer. So it is weird. She actually brought that up to me and goes, ‘It’s so weird to see headlines and people say were best friends because I feel like that’s an understatement.” 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Jason Aldean sold out two more stadium shows on Friday, after selling out Fenway Park in Boston in a record 7 minutes. The second Fenway Park show and the show at Athens, GA’s Sanford Stadium were both sell-outs in under an hour on Friday. Jason says it’s a testament to how hard his band and crew work, plus the loyalty and passion of country music fans.

The post-CMA parties in Nashville have ended, and the winners are probably still staring at their trophies in amazement. Here’s what a few of them had to say about their wins:

Blake Shelton, on winning Entertainer of the Year: “I didn’t think about that tonight. I was thinking well...there’s Taylor Swift right there. I mean, really? This is pretty dumb that there’s anybody else even nominated, you know? So, I didn’t even really think about it.”

Miranda Lambert, on being named Female Vocalist of the Year: “You know, I’m one of those girls right now that’s on top and I’m so thankful to be able to be the reigning vocalist three times in a row and be standing here but I know it’s gonna be time to pass that trophy on to the next and I hope there’s enough females to put into that category and there’s some great talent out there and we’re gonna accept it. I kicked the door open and I’m gonna hold my leg in there! I’m gonna keep the door open for all these amazing female singer-songwriters.”

Eric Church, on “Chief” after winning Album of the Year: “We didn’t plan it. We didn’t talk about it. There’s as much unrehearsed magic on the record as we’ve ever had.”

Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town, after winning Vocal Group of the Year and Single of the Year: “We just really always kept showing up and believing and dreaming and working really hard and it happened! It’s happened for us. You never know what’s around the corner.”
Country music won big last Thursday night, as the CMA Awards show was the most-watched show during it’s time slot. Nearly 14 million viewers watched, making it ABC’s best ratings of any show this season. 
Tim McGraw releases his new album, “Two Lanes of Freedom,” on February 5th. It includes the song he performed at the CMA’s, “One Of Those Nights.” 

You’ll soon see Miranda Lambert sporting a milk mustache in the latest flight of the “Got Milk?” ad campaign. How does she manage to look sulky and sultry at the same time?
Blake Shelton is on The Voice tonight and Jerrod Niemann is on Marie! on the Hallmark Channel.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Here's a complete list of CMA Award winners from last night's show:
Entertainer of the Year
Blake Shelton

Female Vocalist of the Year|
Miranda Lambert

Male Vocalist of the Year
Blake Shelton

Vocal Group of the Year
Little Big Town

Vocal Duo of the Year
Thompson Square

Musical Event of the Year
“Feel Like a Rock Star” – Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw

New Artist of the Year
Hunter Hayes
Single of the Year
“Pontoon” – Little Big Town (Producer: Jay Joyce)

Song of the Year
“Over You” – Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton (songwriters)

Album of the Year
Chief - Eric Church (Producer: Jay Joyce)

Music Video of the Year
“Red Solo Cup” – Toby Keith (Director: Michael Salomon)

Musician of the Year
Mac McAnally (guitar)
There was magic on stage last night at the CMA Awards. No, it wasn’t the performances, and no, it wasn’t the acceptance speeches – it was the interplay between Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood as they co-hosted the show for the fifth year in a row. “[Carrie] He’s just a great guy. He’s like the big brother I never had and we really do get along very well. We have kind of the same type of humor. [Brad] We have a great time. She is the best co-host I could ever ask for and really it’s a great combination. You can tell I think that we have a good time with it.” Uh, yeah, we sure can!

It hasn’t been that long ago – two years – since The Band Perry first played live on the CMA Awards Show. Many artists say it’s the toughest crowd to play to, because the audience is comprised of their peers, so it’s pretty intimidating. How did the Perry siblings handle the nerves last night? According to Kimberly, “We just kind of mentally have to get to that place that it’s ‘just another live performance’ and forget about the rest of it.” The crowd loved their new single, “Better Dig Two.”

Eli Young Band were pleased to perform their #1 song, “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” in front of their peers. The song, which includes the lyric,

“Downtown is where I used to wander.
Old enough to get there but too young to get inside.
So I would stand out on the sidewalk,
Listen to the music playin' every Friday night.
Ohhh, I can hear 'em playin'.
I can hear the ringin' of a beat up ol' guitar.
Ohhh, I can hear 'em singin',
"Keep on dreamin', even if it breaks your heart."

is special to the band, and Jon Jones says it might have been a special moment for the audience, too: “For us, ‘Even If It Breaks Your Heart’ could not tell our story more. And I think it’s great to play this in front of all our peers because looking out in the audience, that same story rings true for them. I think everybody got into country music on any side of it because it’s a dream, it’s a passion.” 
Little Big Town knocked it out of the park last night when they performed on the CMA show, and will be hitting the road in January, taking their live show to beautiful theatres all over America. If you want to see them knock it out of the park live, here’s where they’ll be: 

1/31 Murray, KY Lovett Auditorium
2/1 Birmingham, AL Alabama Theatre 
2/12 New York, NY Irving Plaza 
2/14 Washington, DC 9:30 Club 
2/15 Atlantic City, NJ Harrah’s AC Concert Venue 
2/16 Lowell, MA Lowell Memorial Auditorium 
2/22 Huntsville, AL Von Braun Center 
3/1 Huntington, WV Keith Albee Theatre 
3/2 Cherokee, NC Harrah’s Cherokee Resort 
3/3 Lancaster, PA American Music Theatre 
3/7 Peoria, IL Peoria Civic Center Theater 
3/8 New Buffalo, MI Four Winds Casino Silver Creek Event Center 
3/9 Mt. Pleasant, MI Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort 
3/21 Joliet, IL Rialto Square Theatre 
3/22 Rochester, MN Mayo Civic Center 
3/23 Appleton, WI Fox Cities Performing Arts Center 
3/26 Winnipeg, MB Pantages Playhouse Theatre 
3/27 Saskatoon, SK TCU Place 
3/28 Regina, SK Conexus Arts Centre 
3/30 Edmonton, AB Winspear Centre for Music 
4/1 Calgary, AB Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium 
4/3 Vancouver, BC Orpheum 
4/19 Fayetteville, AR Arkansas Music Pavilion 
4/20 Bossier City, LA Riverdome at Horseshoe Casino 
4/26 Catoosa, OK Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 
4/28 San Antonio, TX Majestic Theatre 
5/8 Augusta, GA William G. Bell Auditorium 
5/9 N. Charleston, SC North Charleston PAC 
CMA week also includes the BMI Country Awards, a songwriter competition, and Songwriters Dallas Davidson and Luke Laird shared Songwriter of the Year honors. Dallas' credits this year include "Country Girl (Shake It For Me)," "I Don't Want This Night To End," "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away," "Just A Kiss" and "We Owned the Night." Luke wrote "A Little Bit Stronger," "Baggage Claim," "Drink In My Hand," "You," and "Take A Back Road," which was honored as Song of the Year. 
Rascal Flatts spread a little Halloween cheer this week, performing at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital in Nashville. Children, their families and hospital staff gathered around for the show, and afterwards Gary, Jay and Joe Don visited the kids who couldn’t leave their rooms for the show. No tricks there, just a really big treat!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

As you try to keep your hands out of the Halloween candy stash from last night, country stars share some of their favorite Halloween memories. Lady Antebellum’s Dave Haywood remembers his best costume as a kid – half of a pair of dice: “I was a die for Halloween. I had a big cardboard box that I had painted white and had the polka dots and stuff. And I remember I was walking up this hill to go to this hill and literally fell back down the entire hill, rolling in this giant cardboard box that I couldn’t do anything about, because I rolled down about 50-feet.” Luke Bryan says Halloween is great for researching your neighbors: “You can find out a lot about your neighbors by what kind of candy they put out. So, well, like full bars of Snickers bars, that’s what, and Reese’s cups, but the old chocolate popcorn ball of stuff, that’s no good either, like Dots – you get Dots one time of year and they pull your teeth.” And Taylor Swift has a different kind of Halloween memory: “All I remember about Halloween last year is that it’s when I bought my cat. She’s a Halloween cat. I didn’t really dress up for anything last year - I just went out and bought a kitten.”

Last week was the biggest sales week for any album in over a decade. Taylor Swift’s “Red” sold 1.2 million copies last week, meaning it is platinum after just seven days in release. It’s her second straight album to sell more than a million copies in its first week – “Speak Now” accomplished that feat in 2010. The last artist to sell over a million was Eminem in 2002, with the release of “The Eminem Show.”

What you’ll see tonight on the CMA Awards show: the show-opener will be Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Eric Church singing Jason’s new song, “The Only Way I Know How,” Tim McGraw performing his new single, “One of Those Nights,” Faith Hill performing “American Heart,” then Tim and Faith will be part of a tribute to Willie Nelson which will also include Lady Antebellum and Blake Shelton. Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood performing separately, Taylor Swift doing her new single, “Begin Again,” Kelly Clarkson singing her new country song, “Don’t Rush,” backed by Vince Gill, and John Rich with the biggest smile on his face ever, because he and Big Kenny are nominated for Vocal Duo of the Year. “To see our name back in the lineup is pretty cool. It is like, ‘Alright there it is!’ It’s just a manifestation of what we’ve been doing for the last couple of years. You know, hookin’ the cables back together between Big Kenny and myself. It’s been quite a ride to do that, because you wonder if the fans are still there and you wonder if anyone gives a damn about your music anymore.”

The cash has finally all been counted, and Jason Aldean’s breast cancer benefit concert last weekend raised $509,125. Wanna bet he rounds the check up to $510,000?
Taylor Swift is the magazine cover queen right now – she’s on December’s Cosmopolitan magazine, plus the United Kingdom’s “You” and Australia’s “Sunday” publications.

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