Thursday, December 6, 2012

There’s a new charitable event taking place in Austin, Texas next April. The inaugural MJ&M weekend was put together by Jack Ingram, Matthew McConaughey and University of Texas coach Mack Brown. They intend to positively impact the life of kids who are part of the action-packed weekend. You can find out more at the new website for the event, but according to Jack, “We wanted to create a true, lasting impact and that inspired us to come together.”
Carrie Underwood is excited to be taking her Blown Away tour across the pond in 2013. She’ll have tour stops in Ireland and the United Kingdom in March. Why Great Britain again? “People seem to like it. I know there will be an audience in front of me. I know that there is going to be a lot of people that show up. It’s comforting and exciting to think maybe I could take it all there and see what happens.” 

Miranda Lambert is knocking on the door to her next #1 song, but still loves “Fastest Girl in Town”: “I love ‘Fastest Girl In Town.’ Girl, I wrote it with Angaleena [Presley]. It’s obviously close to my heart cause I wrote it with a friend. I love doing it every night – it’s an anthem song. It’s so much fun.”

The Band Perry’s latest song, “Better Dig Two,” is a little bit obsessive, according to Kimberly and Neil: “[Kimberly] It’s really a love song, it’s just about kind of ultimate commitment. [Neil] It’s kinda like the vow ‘til death do us part.’ But not even then. Yeah. It’s like one step more than that. [Kim] It’s like ‘Baby, not even then will we be separated.’ [Neil] Can’t get rid of me! [Laughs]” Check out the ultimate commitment in their lyric video for the song…

Gary Allan is gratified that his new song, “Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain)” is climbing the charts nicely. “I think it’s the perfect single just because of what it says. I think I have been through a ton, and every storm runs out of rain. I think it’s a coming above the water song finally, so I thought it was perfect.” 
Monday night, Taylor Swift was honored by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. At a gala in New York City, she was presented with the Ripple of Hope Award and performed the song “Starlight,” which she has said was inspired by the Kennedy family. Ex beau Conor wasn’t there, and Taylor caught up with new boyfriend Harry Styles after the party. They joined the other One Direction members for some karaoke at the Hudson Hotel. 
Saturday night, Hayden Panatierre will co-host the CMT Artists of the Year special with Rascal Flatts. The Nashville actressis a big fan of country music and country artists: “Personally, I love—I’ve been a huge Miranda Lambert fan for years. The Pistol Annies. I’m a fan of Luke Bryan. I love Jason Aldean, I love The Band Perry. I’m—Lady Antebellum—you name ‘em! That’s the thing about country music—everyone’s a fan of everyone for the most part.” 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tonight is the Grammy Nominations Concert Live!! special on CBS, and Luke Bryan is honored to be part of the fun: “Anytime you’re associated with the Grammys it’s pretty cool. We’re honored to be associated and do the show. So we’re going to get up there and do our stuff and have a good time.” Taylor Swift co-hosts with LL Cool J, and in addition to Luke, Dierks Bentley, Hunter Hayes and The Band Perry will perform. It’s on at 10pm Eastern tonight on CBS.

Another Taylor Swift/Harry Styles spotting happened over the weekend. Taylor and the One Direction member were spotted sightseeing in Central Park, and wandering through the Central Park Zoo in New York City. Wonder if she’s started writing a song about him yet?

Rascal Flatts certainly has a huge fan base, but the guys are fans of country artists themselves. According to Jay DeMarcus, “Jason Aldean has really been tearing it up – and Little Big Town. We had them out on the road with us, and we’re such huge fans of those guys and what they’re doing right now. It’s so good when you see good people doing well.” They’ll get to celebrate country music alongside people they admire this Saturday night during the CMT Artist of the Year special.

Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood are in Haiti, helping out on a Habitat for Humanity build. It’s the second time they’ve been to the island nation to help rebuild after the earthquake in 2010. Their goal on this trip is to help build over 100 new homes as part of the 29th Annual Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project.

It was Kimberly Schlapman’s brother-in-law who died Thanksgiving week, causing the band to cancel or reschedule several tour dates. Andy Schlapman was struck by a drunk driver in Nashville, where he, his wife and their daughter were visiting. In a post on Little Big Town’s website, Kimberly wrote, “This is a part of life that one never imagines or plans for. It has been very difficult to accept.”
Have you listened to the new Florida Georgia Line cd yet? The debut album includes the #1 song, “Cruise,” and according to band member Brian Kelley, not all of it is original material: “We actually cut four or five outside songs that we didn’t write. If you didn’t look at the liner notes, I think our fans and people would think we wrote them just because they’re right up our alley. They are songs we believe in, and felt a connection with, and songs that we felt like we were doing something wrong if we didn’t cut them.” 
Kip Moore’s video for the song “Beer Money” includes a true-to-life scene – him being fired from a job. Kip wanted that scene, because: “That wasn’t in the original piece, ‘cause I thought about how I wanted the whole video to flow and the story, and at the end of it, I said, ‘Let’s go back and let’s do this opening scene like this,’ because that’s how so many of my jobs were. I was always trying to write songs while I was at work or doing other songs, and I always had bosses getting on to me, especially the whole time I was here in Nashville.” Check out the video now… 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Carrie Underwood has won the role of Maria Von Trapp on a live production of “The Sound of Music.” The special will air sometime near the holidays in 2013, so we have a long time to wait, and she has a long time to rehearse. This will be the Broadway version of “The Sound of Music,” and NBC honchos are thrilled that Carrie will star in the role Julie Andrews made famous.

Did you watch Blake Shelton’s “Not So Family Christmas” special last night after The Voice? His Mom, Dorothy, wife Miranda Lambert and Kelly Clarkson were all part of it, and Blake remembered his favorite Christmas gift ever: “The greatest Christmas present I ever remember receiving, was a Remington 243 deer rifle that my parents got me when I was 16-years-old. It wasn’t just all about the rifle to me, that was my parents saying to me, ‘You’re growing up. We trust you to have this rifle and not do something stupid – take care of it and be safe.’ That’s what I did – I took that very seriously.”
Luke Bryan will be out with not one, but two, new albums in 2013. This will mark the first time that his Spring Break compilation will be a physical disc, in addition to being a digital album, plus he’s working on what he calls “the main album,” and says it’ll be pretty awesome, too. He’ll perform on the Grammy Nominations Concert Live! Tomorrow night on CBS. 
More fuel for the Brantley Gilbert/Jana Kramer fire – she got sick in Florida, and tweeted a shot of Brantley by her hospital bed, wearing a hospital gown. She joked, “I knew he always wanted to wear a gown!” Earlier in the day, she tweeted photos of the two of them fishing in south Florida, catching a baby shark. 
Speaking of fires, Trace Adkins has responded to the firestorm surrounding his stars and bars earpiece, visible when he performed on NBC’s Christmas At Rockefeller Center. Trace said, “As a proud American I object to oppression of any kind. To me, the battle flag represents remembrance of my Southern lineage – I am a descendant of Confederate soldiers who followed that flag into battle. To those who view the flag as a symbol of racism, that was not my message and I did not intend offense.” 
Today, Lady Antebellum’s concert DVD is out – “Own The Night World Tour” includes documentary and bonus footage, as well as the full concert they performed in Little Rock, Arkansas. If you run out for that, get their Christmas album, too – “On This Winter’s Night” is full of favorites to get you into the holiday spirit, and the cover, shot in Park City, Utah, sure got Hillary in the mood: “I’ve never seen that much just perfect, pure an untouched snow before. So, I just wanted to go and run around in it!” 

Monday, December 3, 2012

People who have too much time on their hands and are too easily offended are on Trace Adkins’ case. When he performed at the Christmas At Rockefeller Center tv special on NBC, his “stars and bars” earpiece was visible. A Twitter storm erupted and now online media is fanning the flames. Trace himself hasn’t commented, but in his autobiography, A Personal Stand, he does state that he’s a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Alan Jackson fans, heads up – there’s a limited-edition photo book called Seasons of Sweetbriar – A Photographic Collection of Home available, and it’s all shots of the home Alan and his wife Denise lived for nearly 14 years. Alan collected photographs to make a journal for his kids and is now sharing them with us, to benefit the Colon Cancer Alliance’s Blue Note Fund. Denise has battled colorectal cancer, and you can only get the book on Alan’s website.
Fans of Lee Brice’s song “I Drive Your Truck” will want to check out CMT today, because Lee plays VJ for a Day and share the video for the song. Lee is so pumped about this song: “We are looking forward to that day. We love that song. It really changed my life when I heard it. I couldn’t believe I got my hands on it. I didn’t write the song, I just—still floored by it to this day, so we’re really, really pumped about that one.” He’s also pumped about the video, which stars his real-life brother, Lewis. 

Love and Theft are racing up the charts with their new song, “Running Out of Air,” and Stephen Barker Liles says it’s a challenging but fun song to sing: “I get to sing in a lower, Barry White-like octave to Eric, so that’s kind of fun, get to use my deep voice. I’ve been waitin’ to do that — I just didn’t think I’d ever get a chance. [Eric] It’s good. He’s really like Barry White in so many ways. [Stephen] And you know, you know what he’s talking about. It’s weird that Eric actually knows that…but we’ve been spendin’ a lot of time on the road.” All kidding aside, the title could also describe trying to sing the song, as the pacing is pretty tough in some places. Sing along and see how you do…
Wednesday night, country music stars will be part of the Grammy Nominations Live tv special. Dierks Bentley and The Band Perry will pay tribute to the late Johnny Cash, Luke Bryan is performing, Taylor Swift and LL Cool J will host the special, and Hunter Hayes will perform – if his nerves allow it! “It is very nerve-wracking. You want them to like you, you know? I want them to like, I don’t want them to hate me. I want them to know that I love it, and that I—I’m grateful to be in the building with them basically. Yeah—it’s a balance of trying to be comfortable and trying to keep the nerves cause that’s what keeps it real.” 
Reba’s show, Malibu Country, has been picked up for additional episodes by ABC, and Reba’s delighted. Not just because she likes to be the star of a television show, but because she’s also trying to make a difference in peoples’ lives: “There are so many single moms in this country, that I hope the writers and I can give them options. Kind of like Andy Griffith did us – you know raising our kids. Hopefully we can give them some options and way of doing things, standing our ground and raising our kids – and we’ll do this together.” Catch Reba’s show Friday nights on ABC. 
Congrats to Scotty McCreery, who has a gold record for “Christmas With Scotty McCreery.” He says, “We’re really excited about it. Anytime you put a Christmas record out, you just hope people will get it and spread a little holiday cheer with them. So I’m excited that people are digging it and spending the holidays with us.”