Sugar Hill Lee Ann Womack teams up with John Legend for CMT's next episode of Crossroads. The pair will sing alternate versions of each other's hits and duet on others, in a taping outside Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee before the special premieres in September.
Legend won the 2005 Best New Artist Grammy and performed his most recent smash hit "All of Me" at June's CMT Awards with Jennifer Nettles and Hunter Hayes. Lee Ann's latest single is the title track from her new album The Way I'm Livin', her first in almost six years.
Fans can enter CMT's Destination Crossroads sweepstakes to win airfare, hotel and spending money for the taping between now and September 10. CMT Crossroads: John Legend and Lee Ann Womack airs September 26 at 10 p.m. ET, just a few days after Lee Ann's album comes out on the 23rd.
Image Courtesy Jim Wright/Broken BowYou can check out Jason Aldean's steamy new video for "Burnin' It Down" on E!'s Music Channel. The sexy clip, shot in Nashville earlier this month, features a scantily-clad brunette seducing a guitar player at home, while Jason and his band perform the song amid a pyro-laced backdrop.
Florida GeorgiaLine's Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley are two of the song's co-writers. It's the first single from Jason's sixth studio album, titled Old Boots. It's due October 7, before Jason wraps his tour in Texas on October 25.
Though the headline seems to indicate that Brad has some problem with Taylor’s acknowledgement that her forthcoming album 1989 will be her first full-blown pop effort, the article itself points out that she and Brad are longtime friends. He goes on to call the crossover “admirable” and to say she “has the vision for who she wants to be going forward.”
In the quote where he actually uses the world “product,” Brad is talking about how Taylor has grown from her Music City roots.
"People are going to have to get used to it cause it's not the Taylor Swift obviously that you knew,” he told E! News. “Because this is somebody -- like, she was talking about how she cut her hair, and she is spending time in different cities more and becoming more of a product -- and she is a world famous superstar now. She is just not Nashville's, [and] we just have to kind of get used to that."
So far, there’s no response from Taylor on the minor brouhaha. Her new album is due October 27, while Brad’s latest, Moonshine in the Trunk, came out last Monday.
Show Dog/Universal Though his name is already over the door in at least sixteen locations of I Love This Bar & Grill, Toby Keith can now count one more restaurant as part of his empire. This week, Big Dog Daddy's Ice House opened in Norman, Oklahoma, achieving its goal to be ready for this year's first University of Oklahoma home football game on Saturday.
Big Dog Daddy's is a "casual, college bar setup" with an "old classic Texas Ice House feel," according to The Norman Transcript. Toby's partners in the venture are the Hal Smith Restaurant Group, who also run the Oklahoma locations of I Love This Bar & Grill.
The menu revolves around build-your-own hot dogs, burgers and pizza, and also features Toby's signature fried bologna sandwich. Big Dog Daddy's also serves up jalapeno Spam on Texas toast, along with "Red Solo Cup" specials, in a tip of the hat to Toby's hit song.
Capitol NashvilleThere's no denying that "Day Drinking" is one of the most infectious songs of the summer, thanks in part to the chorus Little Big Town whistles near the end. And sure enough, when they look out over their audiences while they're performing their hit, they often find folks whistling along.
"I do see them whistling, which is kinda funny," Jimi Westbrook laughs. "It's hard to whistle when you drink too much, you know, I think," Karen Fairchild interjects.
When it comes to the band members themselves, the four agree that Jimi and Kimberly Schlapman have to carry the bulk of the whistling load, while Karen calls herself a "below-average whistler," and Phillip Sweet admits his challenges are even greater.
"I am the weakest link in the whistling chain," he laughs. "I mean, I really have always struggled with whistling. I almost have to sing it just to get it out." Karen clarifies that she and Phillip did both whistle on the record, though.
Kimberly goes on to demonstrate that she is indeed the best whistler in the bunch, even performing an impromptu version of "Whistle While You Work" from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at her band mates' urging.
"That's not my best either," she exclaims.
Next Wednesday, LBT joins Darius Rucker to announce the nominees for this year's CMA Awards on Good Morning America. Their new album, Pain Killer, comes out October 21.
Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockNashville Outlaws: A Tribute to Motley Crue debuted at number two on Billboard's Country Albums chart, just behind Chase Rice's Ignite the Night. The country take on heavy metal sold 31,000 copies in its first week.
Former Amazing Race contestant Canaan Smith's new single is called "Love You Like That."
Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris and Marty Stuart will all appear at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium for the 13th Annual Americana Honors & Awards September 17. It will air as a special edition of PBS's Austin City Limits on November 22.
Republic NashvilleFlorida Georgia Line's forthcoming sophomore album is called Anything Goes, and the duo believes it has something for everybody-- from the good-time songs they're known for to more serious songs like their current hit, “Dirt.”
“We really do feel like there's a song for everybody on the album. A little bit of this, a little bit of that,” Brian Kelley says. “There's a song called ‘Confession,’ that's different than ‘Dirt,’ but it's a ‘make you think’ [kind of song]. It's a deeper song for us. It's a song that every time that dang hook hits, it's goose-bump city again.”
At the same time, Brian says every song means something different for him and his musical partner Tyler Hubbard.
“I mean, you literally go down the line. Each one of 'em means a lot to us, and there's a reason why we put that on the album. Getting down to the end of the album, and we wrote two more songs back in June, and those made the album. It just feels like every little piece fit. It's the strongest piece of work we've ever done.
Florida Georgia Line’s second album will be available in stores and online October 14.
Image Courtesy Vinyl RecordingsAs Martina McBride embarks on the fall leg of the tour to support her Everlasting album, seven of the dates are already sold out. She believes part of the reason why is that her new versions of R&B standards from the fifties, sixties and seventies mix so well with her hits like “Independence Day” and “This One’s for the Girls.”
"I feel like this show really takes the audience on a musical journey,” Martina says. “The songs from Everlasting and my hits blend seamlessly together throughout the night."
Accompanied by an eleven-piece band, including a horn section and a group of background singers, Martina delivers her take on songs ranging from the Supremes’ “Come See About Me” to Van Morrison’s “Wild Night.” Everlasting debuted at number one on the Billboard Country Albums chart when it was released in the spring.
Martina’s first cookbook, Around the Table, will be out October 7.
These are the fall dates for the Everlasting tour, with the sold-out shows marked with an asterisk:
*8/28 -- Meridian, MS, MSU Riley Center for the Performing Arts *8/29 -- Forrest City, AR, East Arkansas Community College Fine Arts Center *8/30 -- Lake Charles, LA, L'Auberge Casino and Hotel *8/31 -- Nashville, TN, 3rd and Lindsley 9/5 -- Carmel, IN, The Palladium 9/6 -- Wabash, IN, Honeywell Center 9/11 -- Deadwood, SD, Deadwood Mountain Grand Event Center 9/12 -- Mahnomen, MN, Shooting Star Casino 9/13 -- Waukegan, IL, Genesee Theater 9/18 -- Saratoga, CA, The Mountain Winery 9/19 -- Lincoln, CA, Thunder Valley Casino Resort 9/20 -- Pomona, CA, Los Angeles County Fair 9/22 -- San Diego, CA, House of Blues *9/25 -- Midland, TX, Wagner Noel PAC 9/26 -- Durant, OK, Choctaw Event Center 9/27 -- San Antonio, TX, Majestic Theatre 10/2 -- Dartmouth, NS, Dartmouth Sportsplex 10/3 -- Moncton, NB, The Center at Casino New Brunswick 10/4 -- St Johns, NL Canada, Mile One Centre 10/9 -- Westbury, NY, Theatre at Westbury 10/10 -- Albany, NY, Palace Theatre 10/11 -- Waterbury, CT, Palace Theatre 10/16 -- Sarasota, FL, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall 10/17 -- Melbourne, FL, King Center for the Performing Arts 10/18 -- Niceville, FL, Mullett Festival 10/24 -- Athens, GA, Classic Center Theater *11/1 -- Nashville, TN, Ryman Auditorium 11/7 -- Dearborn, MI, Ford Community & Performing Arts Center *11/8 -- Dayton, OH, Schuster Center 11/13 -- Jim Thorpe, PA, Penn's Peak 11/14 -- Utica, NY, The Stanley 11/15 -- Lynn, MA, Lynn Auditorium 11/21 -- Brookings, SD, Swiftel Center 11/29 -- Kansas City, MO, Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland 12/3 -- Glenside, PA, Keswick Theatre 12/4 -- Northfield, OH, Hard Rock Live 12/5 -- Red Bank, NJ, Count Basie Theatre 12/11 -- Milwaukee, WI, Northern Lights Theatre 12/12 -- Milwaukee, WI, Northern Lights Theatre 12/13 -- Omaha, NE, Orpheum Theatre
Big Machine RecordsAs Tim McGraw gets ready to release his new CD, Sundown Heaven Town, next month, he’s taking aim at the charts with his new single, “Shotgun Rider.” Tim says he loves the way the song paints a picture and sets a mood.
"In my mind, you look over and see the person that you love next to you sitting in the front seat, and you think, 'How good do I have it? Life is perfect’,” he reflects. “There is a certain warmth to this song and several others like it that really establish the tone for the whole album."
On release day, Tim will team up with the man who directed the films Moneyball and Capote, Bennett Miller, to livestream a new episode of American Express Unstaged. You can watch the performance live from New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom starting at 9 p.m. ET on September 16.
Show Dog/Universal Toby Keith is the latest country star to complete the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness for Lou Gehrig's disease. Toby responded to about 60 challengers by dousing himself with ice water during football practice at the University of Oklahoma in his hometown of Norman. He nominated retired baseball pitchers Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux before getting soaked. Former Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys Coach Barry Switzer and University of Oklahoma Athletic Director Joe Castiglione joined Toby in the challenge.
Meanwhile, four of Toby's number one songs made the official Tonight Show Truck Playlist: "American Ride," "How Do You Like Me Now," "Red Solo Cup," and "Who's Your Daddy." Jimmy Fallon compiled the 57-track collection after deciding to buy a truck earlier this year.
Fans who'd like to have Drinks After Work with Toby also have only a few more days to enter the contest named after his latest CD. The Facebook sweepstakes wraps up August 31.
Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleBrett Eldredge admits being one of People Country’s sexiest men is a pretty good gig-- until you’re in the airport early in the morning.
“I literally was sitting on an airplane, and a girl was reading a People Country or one of the magazines with the hottest guys or whatever,” he recalls. “It was like six in the morning, and I'm on the airplane and I slept, like, one hour, and I'm like, ‘Oh my God. She's, like, turning to the page that I’m on.’ I'm like, ‘Please don't look over here! Please don't look over here!’ I've got bags under my eyes.”
Having just logged two number one hits that were both love songs, Brett admits the “sexiest” label still hasn’t helped him shake his bachelor status.
“I am single. I'm always looking,” he confesses. “ I'm not afraid to look and find that right one. I am a very focused guy with my music right now. That right one comes along and hits me over the head and says, ‘You'd be dumb not to follow this,’ then I'll do it. But right now, it's just like I’m living by the song, and maybe I'll find that one in the process.”
Brett’s current single, “Mean to Me,” is climbing the charts now.
Webster & AssociatesWhen Kenny Rogers challenged his good pal Dolly Parton to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, he never thought she'd go through with it -- but she's now proved him wrong.
"Kenny Rogers dared me! He said you'll never do it with your false hair, your false eyelashes, and your false nails,” Dolly says in her video accepting the challenge. “Kenny, you'd be surprised at what all I do with my 'falses' for a good cause and a good laugh.” The icon then removes her earrings and her scarf, but when someone off camera suggests she remove her shoes, she says, "My shoes are plastic. But then again, so's the rest of me!"
Dolly then enlists two of her nieces, Rebecca and Hannah, to pour two buckets of ice water over her head, as she screams. "Yes, I have on a bra!" she yells. "Kenny, you gotta pay extra for the wet t-shirt contest!"
In a statement, Dolly says, "Although I didn’t challenge anyone, I do challenge everybody to make a generous donation like I did!”
Burke/Triolo Productions/ ThinkstockZac Brown Band will be one of the headliners at this year’s Music Midtown festival in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park on September 19 and 20. They’ll join heavy-hitters from mainstream rock and pop like Eminem, Jack White, John Mayer, Lana Del Ray, Iggy Azalea, Gregg Allman and Run DMC.
The self-titled debut EP from new band Old Dominion is due out October 7, featuring their new single "Shut Me Up." This fall, they open for Chase Rice on select dates.
After a 17-year departure, lead singer Marty Raybon will reunite with the band Shenandoah in October for a reunion tour. Miranda Lambert references the late 80s and early 90s hitmakers in her Platinum track "Another Sunday in the South."
Image Courtesy Columbia NashvilleNewcomer Chase Rice is currently savoring the success of his first major release, Ignite the Night, as it debuts at the top of Billboard's Top Country Albums chart, selling 44,000 copies in its first week. He finds it particularly satisfying, since along the way he's been an NFL hopeful, a contestant on Survivor, and a member of a NASCAR pit crew.
"We've built things a little bit differently, starting with live shows and building up our fan base through touring," Chase says. “Now people are showing up night after night to sing these songs right along with me, and to do it the way we’ve done it and have the No. 1 country album in the nation this week is unbelievable. It's surreal.”
Chase wrote twelve of the fifteen songs on Ignite the Night, with his current single "Ready Set Roll" having already gone gold before the CD even came out. He kicks off the Ignite the Night Tour September 5 in Denver.
Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleAs Miranda Lambert cris-crosses the country on the Platinum tour this summer, she says she owes a debt of gratitude to Kenny Chesney for teaching her how to run a happy tour.
“When I was on the Kenny tour,” she remembers, “ his crowd and his crew and his everybody has his spirit, which is, ‘I love my job. I love what I do. This should be fun. This is entertainment.’ It's just his great spirit and love of the beach and love of relaxing and having a margarita leaks throughout the entire camp, therefore throughout the entire tour to the person on the back row of the stadium, and that's what's important.”
Miranda believes having camaraderie with your opening acts also helps set the right mood.
“The people I'm taking on the tour this year are people I've been out with before. I'm kind of a creature of habit. I get real comfortable. Like, I was just with Dierks [Bentley] last year, and we've been on tour three or four times together,” she laughs. “It's Justin Moore and Thomas Rhett. I love them to death. They're both great guys.”
Ultimately, Miranda's found that what goes on behind the scenes translates to what audiences see on the show.
“A lot of it's about how it feels backstage, too, because as much as you say you leave it back there and don't bring it on the stage, there's a feeling about the whole package, the whole process and what it feels like,” she says. “And a tour can have a whole vibe. I think the crowd can feel that.”
This weekend, the Platinum tour swings through New York and Connecticut, before heading to Toronto next Thursday.
Image Courtesy Arista NashvilleSince Brad Paisley namechecks 18 mascots in the song "Country Nation" from his new CD Moonshine in the Trunk, it seems appropriate he's the face of College Colors Day this Friday. He's partnering with 12,000 U.S. retailers to encourage fans to wear their gear during the official kick-off of college football season this weekend.
Brad himself is an avid fan of West Virginia University. You can see his challenge to his fellow WVU Mountaineers on YouTube.
The Swon Brothers' self-titled debut album won’t be out until October 14, but you don’t have to wait that long to hear some of it. From now through the Labor Day weekend, fans can stream four songs at People.com: “95,” “Pretty Beautiful,” “Pray for You” and “This Side of Heaven.”
The album also features Zach and Colton’s first top twenty hit, “Later On.” The Oklahoma natives debuted the song as part of Team Blake on season 4 of The Voice. They co-produced the record with Mark Bright, who’s known for his work with Carrie Underwood and Sara Evans.
Photo Credit: Art StreiberGeorge Strait is America’s favorite country musician, according to an unscientific Harris Poll conducted in July. King George comes in at number five on the overall list, with only Led Zepplin, Beyonce, Elvis and the Beatles outranking him in popularity. Garth Brooks is the only other country artist in the top ten, tying the Eagles and Neil Diamond for the number seven spot.
Several country artists dropped off the yearly poll, including Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts and Alan Jackson. When the Harris Poll broke down their data by demographics, seniors routinely named Willie Nelson as their favorite musician.
The results come from an online poll of 2306 Americans.
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