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Canaan Smith Shares a Frigid Moment with Dierks Bentley

UMG NashvilleWhen tickets go on sale Monday for the Sounds of Summer tour, newcomer Canaan Smith will already have a major bonding moment under his belt with headliner Dierks Bentley -- one he calls “the worst experience of my life.” Dierks enlisted his tourmates, including Kip Moore and Maddie & Tae, to take part in his annual Polar Plunge this January.

“It was so freaking cold. The ride out to the middle of the lake on the pontoon was miserable enough, and then when we took our clothes off and jumped in subzero water, that was another thing,” Canaan recalls. “Then riding back against the wind to the shore was the cherry on top,”

He’s looking forward to performing his latest hit, “Love You Like That,” in a warmer climate, when Dierks’ tour kicks off June 5 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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Kip Moore Remembers How Ronnie Dunn Inspired Him During Lean Times

Image Courtesy MCA NashvilleKip Moore recalls how Ronnie Dunn inspired him to keep pursuing his dreams, in the latest installment of the YouTube series Backstage at the Ryman.

“Ronnie Dunn played here, doing a solo acoustic thing one time... It was right when I first moved to town. Ronnie Dunn blew me away in this building, like blew me away, his voice was so magical," Kip remembers. "That was probably the second year I’d been living here and I’d never had the money the first year to get in, so I remember how hard that hit me in the chest and just being like, ‘Gosh I gotta get on that stage, somehow.’"

Last October, Kip realized his dream, as he delivered his own sold-out show at the Ryman Auditorium. Now that he’s successful, Kip admits you’ll still find him hanging out at the same bar near Music Row as he did when he was struggling.

“When I do come home, I spent so much time in the back room of Losers, playing shuffle board and drinking a few beers, long before we started traveling a lot. It’s always fun to go back in there,” he says. “A lot of the same characters are in there, propped up at the bar, they’re playing a lot of the classic music on the jukebox and stuff. It’s a cool place.”

You should start hearing Kip’s new single, “I’m To Blame,” on country radio next month.

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Hit Songwriter Chris Stapleton Releases First Solo Album

Becky Fluke/Mercury Records NashvilleWith five number ones already under his belt and album cuts by artists as diverse as Adele and Brad Paisley, writer Chris Stapleton is set to release his first album as a solo artist this spring. Though you may not be familiar with his voice, Chris has penned hits like Kenny Chesney’s “Never Wanted Nothing More,” “Drink a Beer” by Luke Bryan, and George Strait’s “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright.”

Though he’s most often hit the road with his bluegrass band The SteelDrivers, Chris sets out on the Pain Killer Tour with Little Big Town in March, before heading out with Eric Church in May. His album, Traveller, comes out May 5. Fans can preview the record on Vevo now.

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Hunter Hayes Plots Collaboration with Ed Sheeran

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleHunter Hayes is dying to collaborate with British hitmaker Ed Sheeran, and he’s hoping he might have the chance to bring it up at this year’s Grammys. Sheeran, known for his hits like “Don’t,” is set to sing on the show, while Hunter is up for Best Country Solo Performance for “Invisible.”

"There's tons of people who want to work with him who are way more capable than I am, so how do you even sell it? Do you bet him? Or bribe him? I might have to bribe him," he jokes to Yahoo Celebrity.

But it turns out the two have met before.

"It was after the Grammys, the first year that I went because afterwards I went to a Justin Timberlake concert and he was there, so we shook hands and talked a little bit,” he recalls. “Probably the place I talked to him the most was after that, when he joined Taylor Swift on her Red tour. So we know each other and we are acquainted so we will see what happens. Still, there's no pressure, Ed."

While Sheeran collaborated with Taylor as she was developing more of a pop following, Hunter says he’s not necessarily looking to cross over.

“I'm absolutely country at heart, and that's just me," he says. "It's not necessarily a choice kind of thing, but it is a home."

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Frankie Ballard Recalls "Glory Days" with Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seger

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleIn his latest single “Young & Crazy,” Frankie Ballard sings about “sit(ting) out on the porch, telling stories ‘bout my glory days.” So with back-to-back number ones with “Sunshine & Whiskey” and “Helluva Life,” does Frankie feel like he’s living his “glory days” now?

“I don't feel like I've had 'em, yet,” he says. “You know, I feel like I'm in the middle of 'em now. I definitely have stories I could tell people, but your glory days are your prime, you know, when you're just at your best when you feel like you can take over the world. That's what I feel like now. So, I'd have to be way past the way I feel today before I could honestly speak to glory days.”

Ironically, Frankie says the pinnacle of his success thus far happened when he got to meet the artist who had his own hit called “Glory Days.”

“The most, like, high moment I've had in my music career was when we were on the Bob Seger tour, and we played Madison Square Garden, and Bob introduced me to Bruce Springsteen backstage,” he recalls. “To me, it's like, if I keeled over after this meeting, that would be my highlight. Not only to get to meet Bruce Springsteen, but to be introduced to him by Seger at Madison Square Garden. It was like, ‘Where am I? What am I doing here?’ So, that's probably my highlight so far.”

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhich season of American Idol did Carrie Underwood win? ANSWER:  Carrie took home the title during season four in 2005.

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Nashville Notes

Image Courtesy Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockBrad Paisley, Carrie Underwood and Florida Georgia Line are set to headline the third annual Faster Horses Festival July 17-19 in Brooklyn, MI.

Mary Kay will be the official beauty sponsor of the 50th Annual ACM Awards, airing six commercials during the live broadcast from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX April 19.

Jerrod Niemann takes Fox News Channel on a tour of Music City in the debut installment of Road Trip w/ Anna Kooiman Friday at 7:20 a.m. ET on Fox & Friends.

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Blake Shelton Fails at "The Whisper Challenge" During "Tonight Show" Visit

Warner Music NashvilleBlake Shelton visited NBC's The Tonight Show Thursday to plug this weekend's appearance on Saturday Night Live as host and musical guest. He also joined Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon for a new game called "The Whisper Challenge."

The premise of the game is one person wears headphones with loud music playing that prevents him from hearing the other person say a random phrase. The person wearing the headphones has to guess what the other one is saying by reading lips.

The 38-year-old singer didn't do well at the game. When he donned headphones and Fallon said "Pumpkin Spice Latte," Blake thought he said. "My pee pee's stretched out."

Blake also couldn't figure out that Fallon was saying "Cobra Kai" -- the name of the gang that continually tormented Ralph Macchio's character in The Karate Kid.

When Fallon wore the headphones, he was able to figure out the phrases Blake was saying.

Blake also revealed the two songs he'll be performing during his SNL appearance: "Neon Light" and "Boys 'Round Here."

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Carrie Underwood's "Something in the Water" Is Now Her Longest-Running Chart Topper

Image Courtesy Sony Music/Jeremy CowartCarrie Underwood’s latest single, “Something in the Water,” has passed a milestone. This week, it spends a seventh week atop Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, giving her the longest run at #1 of her career, besting her debut single.  Nine years ago this week, “Jesus, Take the Wheel” was midway through its six-week run on that same chart. But aside from her chart success, Carrie says she has first-hand knowledge of how her hits are affecting the fans.

“I guess they feel like they know me, especially those that have been with me for 10 years. They definitely have a tendency to write me letters or tell me things that are very, very personal. I think it's really amazing that they can relate to my stuff in that way. It's not gonna fix their problems. It's not gonna make their lives magically any better, but it might make them feel better for a little bit. It's pretty cool,” she reflects.

But Carrie is careful to make sure all her songs aren’t as deep as “Something in the Water” and “Jesus, Take the Wheel.”

“If I wrote and sang, like really heavy songs all the time, like, that would weigh heavily on my heart, you know, giving that every single night song after song after song. So, it's important to have fun stuff in there, too, every once in a while that's just for the sake of being fun,” she says.

"Something in the Water” is up for Best Country Solo Performance at this year’s Grammys.

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Jason Aldean Celebrates Engagement with Super-Secret Nashville Party

Image Courtesy Broken Bow RecordsJason Aldean celebrated his upcoming wedding to Brittany Kerr with a swanky party at a secret location in Nashville last weekend, according to Us Weekly. Upon their arrival, guests were personally greeted by Jason and his bride-to-be and served champagne. Close to one hundred people attended, including Luke Bryan, Eric Church and family members.

The “Just Gettin’ Started” hitmaker laid aside his trademark hat, sporting instead a black suit with a white shirt, while his fiancée wore a silver-beaded gown. A six-tiered white cake was the centerpiece, while the party also boasted a photo booth and a logo that featured the couple’s initials between a pair of antlers. The celebration lasted well into Sunday morning.

Though they’ve yet to publicly reveal the exact date, Jason and Brittany are set to tie the knot later this year.

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Miranda Lambert Grows "Roots and Wings" for Ram Trucks

Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleThere’s new music today from Miranda Lambert, thanks to her partnership with Ram Trucks. Miranda composed “Roots and Wings” especially for Ram's latest ad campaign. It’s also the focus of a new music video shot at significant locations in Miranda’s life. The YouTube clip showcases many of Miranda's personal family photographs.

Miranda set out to create a song that would represent what the brand stands for: “being who you are, working hard, staying true to your roots.” “’Roots and Wings’ is personal to me about where I come from and where I am going,” she says. “I hope it speaks to people the way it does to me."

In November, Ram donated a Laramie Longhorn truck that raised close to $55,000 for Miranda’s MuttNation Foundation dog charity. A similar truck tows Miranda’s Airstream to and from each venue on her Certified Platinum tour, and is on display alongside the trailer she named “Wanda the Wanderer.” This weekend, Miranda and her convoy stop in Knoxville, Tennessee and Charleston, West Virginia. 

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Shania Twain to Release "SHANIA: Still the One Live from Vegas" March 3

Mercury NashvilleIf you never got to Las Vegas to see Shania Twain perform during her residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, no problem.  You'll be able to see and hear it in the comfort of your own living room this March.

March 3 sees the release of SHANIA: Still the One Live from Vegas, exclusively at Walmart.  It's available as either a CD, or as a DVD that captures Shania's full Vegas production, as well as behind-the-scenes footage of rehearsals, costumes, training and more.  The elaborate show featured a 13-piece live band, horses, a flying motorcycle and, of course, Shania's numerous hits.

In a statement, Shania says, "This show has been my labor of love for over three years. It has meant so much to me and was such a privilege to live out my visions on that stage, and it is so exciting to now get to share the whole experience with the fans all over the world!”

Here's the track list for the CD and DVD of SHANIA: Still the One Live from Vegas:

1.  "I’m Gonna Getcha Good!"
2.  "You Win My Love"
3.  "Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)"
4.  "Up!"
5.  "I Ain’t No Quitter"
6.  "No One Needs to Know"
7.  "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?"
8.  "Any Man of Mine"
9.  "That Don’t Impress Me Much"
10. "Honey, I’m Home"
11. "(If You’re Not In It for Love) I’m Outta Here"
12. "Come On Over"  (Acoustic)
13. "Love Gets Me Every Time"  (Acoustic)
14. "Rock This Country!"  (Acoustic)
15. "Today Is Your Day"  (Acoustic)
16. "You’re Still the One"
17. "From This Moment On"
18. "Red Storm"
19. "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!"

1.  Opening
2.  "I’m Gonna Getcha Good!"
3.  "You Win My Love"
4.  "Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)"
5.  "Up!"
6.  Good, Bad And Sexy (Interlude)
7.  "I Ain’t No Quitter"
8.  "No One Needs to Know"
9.  "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?"
10. "Any Man of Mine"
11.  Shania Style (Interlude)
12. "That Don’t Impress Me Much"
13. "Honey, I’m Home"
14. "(If You’re Not In It for Love) I’m Outta Here"
15. "Carrie Anne"
16. "Come On Over"
17. "Love Gets Me Every Time"
18. "Rock This Country!"
19. "Today Is Your Day"
20.  Black Horse, White Horse (Interlude)
21. "You’re Still the One"
22. "From This Moment On"
23.  Red Storm (Interlude)
24.  "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!"
25.  "Rock This Country!"  (Live from Calgary) & Credits

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Blake Shelton Admits He Hasn't Actually Seen "American Sniper"

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleBlake Shelton tells TMZ even though he hasn’t actually seen American Sniper, he has no problem speaking out against the film’s critics.

“I defend our military,” Blake told a paparazzo as he got into a limo outside 30 Rock, where he’ll host Saturday Night Live this weekend. “I don’t like people that talk some sh*t about our military, no matter what arm or leg it is.”

Earlier this week, The Voice star tweeted it “Sickens me to see celebrities or anybody slam the very people who protect their right to talk sh*t,” adding the hashtag #truecowards. Blake was responding to actor Seth Rogen’s post saying the film about the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history reminded him of a fake Nazi propaganda movie in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. Rogen has since clarified that he’s actually a fan of the movie and didn’t mean any disrespect.

“I want to see the movie real bad,” Blake told the photographer, between signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans.

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Rascal Flatts to Sing National Anthem Before Nevada's Largest Sporting Event

Image Courtesy Big Machine RecordsRascal Flatts will sing the national anthem before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 8.  More than 100,000 fans are expected to turn out for the Kobalt 400, Nevada's largest sporting event.

The trio's patriotic performance takes place during their nine-show residency at The Joint inside Vegas's Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The Rascal Flatts Vegas Riot! shows start Wednesday February 25 and runs through Saturday, March 14.

The guys kick of their Riot Tour 2015 May 29 in St. Louis, with Scotty McCreery as the opening act.

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhat was Luke Bryan's first hit? ANSWER:  His debut single, "All My Friends Say," went to #5 in 2007.

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Nashville Notes

Image Courtesy Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockLook for Florida Georgia Line on Access Hollywood Live on Thursday, discussing the sold-out opening weekend of their Anything Goes Tour 2015. Check local listings for details about the syndicated show.

Love And Theft will join Jerrod Niemann for his January 27 Chords For A Cause Benefit at Nashville's Dan McGuiness Irish Pub, to raise money for Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.

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Zac Brown Says It's All About the People

Image Courtesy Southern GroundZac Brown Band's new single, "Homegrown," is the first venture in the band's partnership between their own Southern Ground Records, fashion designer John Varvatos' record label and Nashville-based Big Machine Records. Zac believes the kind of people he surrounds himself with has been crucial to the band's success.

“It’s all about the people," he reflects. "It’s all about the help that I have, and I’ve got brilliant, passionate people that I try to instill the way that I would answer or to do things. We have our philosophy behind it, but that’s the only way it gets done, with all of our people.”

The new album from Zac Brown Band is due in stores and online this spring.

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Blake Shelton Taunts Adam Levine in SNL Promo

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleIt appears that Blake Shelton is taking his rivalry with Voice co-star Adam Levine to Saturday Night Live. Blake shot several SNL promos ahead of his appearance on the show this weekend, taking the opportunity to taunt his fellow Voice coach and Maroon 5 front-man.

In one of the promos, SNL cast member Cecily Strong asks Blake if his rivalry with Adam on The Voice is real or fake. “It’s real,” he says. “I mean, it’s so real. In fact, that guy is such a punk.”

Blake then looks directly into the camera and says, “I actually have a message for you Adam. Hey Adam, look who’s hosting SNL now, pretty boy? Hot shot!” He stops himself when he realizes he can’t cuss on TV. “Oh, well I’m done then,” he says. To which Cecily adds, “Me too. Levine.”

Blake will be the host and the musical guest on Saturday night’s edition. Adam hosted SNL back in 2013.

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Vince Gill Hits the Road with Ashley Monroe and Charlie Worsham

Image Courtesy CMAVince Gill and Ashley Monroe will take a break from working on her new CD to set out on a unique mini-tour in March. Charlie Worsham and Vince's daughter Jenny will join them for four "Vince Gill & Friends" shows, which the Country Music Hall of Famer says may not be what you'd expect.

“This won’t be a ‘guitar pull,' where one person sings while the others listen and wait for their turn," Vince explains. "We’ll all be pitching in, picking and singing harmony for each other and doing each other’s songs. It will be a musical collaboration -- not a headliner with opening acts.”

Vince produced Ashley's current album, Like a Rose, and the two are collaborating on the follow-up, as Ashley enjoys the top 10 success of "Lonely Tonight," her duet with Blake Shelton.

Here are the dates for the Vince Gill & Friends tour:

3/19 -- El Dorado, AR, El Dorado Municipal Auditorium
3/20 -- St. Louis, MO. River City Casino
3/21 -- Cincinnati, OH, Taft Theatre
3/22 -- Milwaukee, WI, Milwaukee Theatre

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Miranda Lambert Set to Perform at Grammys

Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleMiranda Lambert has joined the ranks of superstars like Madonna and AC/DC who are set to perform at this year's Grammy Awards ceremony at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Miranda potentially could take home four trophies:  Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song for "Automatic," Best Country Album for Platinum, as well as Best Country Duo/Group Performance for "Somethin' Bad" with Carrie Underwood.

As previously reported, Eric Church will also sing on the live telecast, even though it's right around the time his wife is expecting their second child. He competes in the same four categories as Miranda, receiving nods for "Give Me Back My Hometown," his album The Outsiders and "Raise 'Em Up" with Keith Urban.

Sam Smith, Pharrell Williams, John Legend, Usher and Ariana Grande are among the other artists confirmed for the February 8 show. It starts at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

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