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Dustin Lynch Says Even the Fans Have Noticed His Major Crush on Reba


Image Courtesy Broken Bow RecordsWhen Dustin Lynch recently Instagrammed a picture of Reba on #WCW-- Woman Crush Wednesday-- he wasn't kidding. In fact, his adoration for the country icon has gone so far that even the fans have noticed it.

"Well, she is my crush," he confesses, "and she knows that. That's what's awesome. I have a Reba cup onstage every single night. .. It's interesting, in, where was I -- Warsaw, Indiana. I look in the crowd and they've got Reba shirts on. So, it's getting out there. If they're not wearing my shirts, they're wearing Reba McEntire shirts to my concerts. So, it's pretty cool. But she is my crush. She's always been a dream girl of mine since I was a little bitty guy."

As you can imagine, Dustin would love to sing with the red-headed superstar, but he says he's not going to rush it.

"I think that's one of those things I want to earn my way into asking," he says. "I don't think I've gotten there yet, but hopefully, one day our paths will cross, and I can have enough courage to say, 'Hey, you know, I've got this song I'd love to record.'  How awesome would that be?"

Dustin goes on to say he gets chills just thinking about it. His new album, Where It's At, comes out September 9.

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Country Star Trivia


Comstock/ThinkstockWhich one of Nicole Kidman's famous husbands is taller? ANSWER:  Keith Urban reportedly stands 5'10", while Tom Cruise is allegedly only 5' 7".

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Kenny Chesney Performs Surprise Georgia Concert for CMT's Instant Jam


Sony Music NashvilleKenny Chesney performed a surprise pop-up concert Friday night in front of a small crowd of about 500 lucky fans at the Georgia Theatre in Athens, Georgia.

The concert was videotaped for the first installment of CMT's new Instant Jam series, which premieres September 27.  Each episode of Instant Jam will showcase live performances, and gives fans a behind-the-scenes look at the hours leading up to the concerts.

At Friday's show, Chesney performed 23 songs, including two from his upcoming release The Big Revival, which is due out September 23. Kenny even covered Hank Williams Sr.'s "Kaw Liga" and George Strait’s "Carried Away."

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Keith Urban Says Releasing Two Car Songs in a Row Is Just a Coincidence


Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleIf you think it's by design that Keith Urban followed his hit "Cop Car" with another automobile song, "Somewhere in My Car," he says you'd be wrong.

"It's not intentional. It's just the themes, I guess, that hit some of my songs," he says. "Not all of them, it's just with these singles -- the order of the singles has seen this car theme, but they're the only car songs on the whole album."

Keith admits he is definitely a car aficionado, though.

"It's the first thing, for me, that I was excited to be able to get, my first car," he recalls, "and most people remember what their first car was. My dad was a car-lover, so I really inherited that. My taste in cars run the gamut of all sort of eclectic things, but it's trucks, too. I love trucks, cars, everything, and we've got some truck songs on the record. But, 'Somewhere in My Car' is really, it's not really about a car so much as it is what happens in the backseat of a car."

When he's in the front seat, the Aussie superstar does follow some more serious pursuits, it turns out.

 "It's where I still listen to more music than anywhere, probably, in the car," he says. "It's just a great place of sort of coming to terms with everything, you know what I mean? It's the only quiet place you can get, sometimes, is in the car, as well."

Next weekend, Keith takes his Raise 'Em Up tour to Irvine and Mountain View, California.

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Jason Aldean Making Big Announcement Tonight; New Album, "Old Boots, New Dirt," Due Out October 7


Broken Bow RecordsJason Aldean will release his new album, Old Boots, New Dirt, on October 7 featuring his latest hit, "Burnin' It Down." He revealed details on the album on BuzzFeed, where he'll host another surprise event Tuesday night at 8 ET.

Jason says, "It’s going to be a pretty big thing I think and something we’ve never done before.  Just hope everyone will tune in and check it out and see what we got going on."

As for the album title, Jason says it ties in with the "madness" he's experienced through in the last two years splitting with his wife in 2013 and forging a new relationship with girlfriend, Brittany Kerr.

Jason tells BuzzFeed, "In the last couple of years, it feels like everything I’ve done has been on blast, personally and professionally. That title and that song, ‘Old Boots, New Dirt,’ is about starting with a clean slate. I’m the same dude, but we’re gonna start over and hit some uncharted territory here.”

As evidenced by the lead single, Jason felt free to explore new sounds on Old Boots, New Dirts. The 15 songs on the album include everything from Southern rock and R&B to pop and classic country.

Jason says, "When we’re cutting a record, we don’t have any rules. It’s just about finding the best songs we can find.”

Here's the Old Boots, New Dirt track listing:
"Just Getting' Started"
"Show You Off"
"Burnin' It Down"
"Tryin' to Love Me"
"Sweet Little Somethin'"
"Laid Back"
"Tonight Looks Good on You"
"Too Fast"
"If My Truck Could Talk"
"Old Boots, New Dirt"
"I Took It with Me"
"Don't Change Gone"
"Miss That Girl"
"Gonna Know We Were Here"
"Two Night Town"

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Nashville Notes


Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockJosh Turner recently launched his Instagram account with a video of himself heading into the studio. His new single is called "Lay Low."

Lady Antebellum fans can get a sneak peek at their new album at ladyapassport.com, with song previews, videos and even a contest to win a cruise. 747 comes out September 30.

Alan Jackson:  25 Years of Keepin' It Country opened Labor Day Weekend at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. The exhibit runs through March of next year.

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Carrie Underwood Announces She's Pregnant


Chris Hollo

Carrie Underwood picked an appropriate day -- Labor Day -- to announce that she and her husband Mike Fisher are expecting their first child.

Carrie posted on Twitter a photo of herself holding her two dogs, Ace and Penny.  The caption reads, "In honor of 'Labor' Day...Ace & Penny would like to make an announcement. Their parents couldn't be happier!"  Ace is sporting a t-shirt that reads "I'm gonna be a big brother," while Penny is wearing one that reads "I'm gonna be a big sister."

In case there was any question about whether or not Carrie and husband NHL player Mike Fisher were actually having a baby, or just getting a new puppy, he responded to a Twitter question to confirm that in fact the pair are expecting.

It's not clear how far along Carrie is in her pregnancy.  She and Fisher married in 2010.

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In honor of "Labor" Day...Ace & Penny would like to make an announcement. Their parents couldn't be happier! pic.twitter.com/bROrzuHJ4J

— Carrie Underwood (@carrieunderwood) September 1, 2014

 

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Taylor Swift Joining "The Voice" as Season Seven Mentor


Sarah Barlow/Big Machine RecordsGet ready to see a lot of Taylor Swift on your TV this season.  The singer has joined The Voice as a mentor for all four teams, US Weekly reports.

Taylor will be working with the show in the same way that Coldplay's Chris Martin did last season: she'll advise the contestants on the teams of veteran coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, as well as new coaches Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams.

As previously reported, each team will also have its own advisor: Stevie Nicks will work with Adam, while Alicia Keys joins Pharrell. Gwen's husband, rocker Gavin Rossdale, will advise her team, and Little Big Town will work with Blake.

A source tells US Weekly, "Taylor was an absolute pleasure to work with. She had great feedback for all the contestants. She made for an amazing mentor." 

The new season of The Voice begins September 22.  Taylor's new album, 1989, is out October 27.

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Taylor Swift Loves Blake Shelton's Pizza Hut Spots


Warner Music NashvilleTaylor Swift is apparently a fan of Blake Shelton's Pizza Hut commercials.

"I saw Taylor Swift this week," Blake tells Rolling Stone Country. "She said, 'You're so funny in those Pizza Hut commercials!' And I said, 'Yeah, Taylor. That was my goal all along as a kid: to make it to this level in country music so I could sell the most amount of pizzas possible… reach the biggest audience of pizzas that I possibly can," he jokes.

Next up, Blake returns to his regular TV gig when the new season of The Voice starts September 22. The avid sportsman's only regret is that he'll be so busy he won't be able to spend much time in a tree stand this year.

"It's funny, because every year for the past 10 years, I've had this phone call with my manager where I say, 'Hey man, this fall… I'm not kidding this time, I'm not doing it. I don't care what it is. I'm tired, I want to protect my fall — that's when deer season starts. I just want to be home.' And here we go again."

Blake's new album, Bringing Back the Sunshine, comes out September 30, right before he wraps up his tour at the Hollywood Bowl on October 4.

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Country Stars Take Center Stage on MDA Show of Strength


Big Machine Label GroupRascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, LeAnn Rimes, Sara Evans and Nashville's Charles Esten all take center stage on this weekend's MDA Show of Strength Telethon. Rascal Flatts' performance of "I Wish" and Sara's "A Little Bit Stronger" were both taped on the Grand Ole Opry stage.  The traditional Labor Day weekend special raises money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. You can catch this year's two-hour version this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Lee Ann Womack and John Legend Team Up for CMT Crossroads


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.

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Jason Aldean Rolls Out Steamy Clip for "Burnin' It Down"


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 Georgia Line'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, New Dirt. It's due October 7, before Jason wraps his tour in Texas on October 25.

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Brad Paisley Calls Out E! News over Taylor Swift Headline


Arista NashvilleBrad Paisley is apparently not too happy with E! News. In response to E!'s online article titled Taylor Swift’s ‘Becoming More of a Product’ as a Pop Music Singer, Says Brad Paisley,” the singer tweeted, "Bulls**t headline, E. Nice interview. Go taylor.”

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.

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Little Big Town Explains the Politics of Whistling "Day Drinking"


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.

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Country Star Trivia


Comstock/ThinkstockOn which hit reality show was Chase Rice a runner-up? ANSWER:  Survivor: Nicaragua in 2010.

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Toby Keith Opens "Big Dog Daddy's" in Time for First OU Game


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.

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Florida Georgia Line Says "Anything Goes" Has Something for Everybody


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.

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Nashville Notes


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.

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Martina McBride Sets Out on Fall Leg of Everlasting Tour


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

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Tim McGraw Takes Aim with "Shotgun Rider;" Readies for Release Day Livestream


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.

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