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Little Big Town Refused to Play It Safe Making Their New Album, "Pain Killer," in Stores Now


Image Courtesy Capitol Records NashvilleLittle Big Town's new album, Pain Killer, is now in stores featuring their funky hit, "Day Drinking." While there are a few tender moments on the album, Little Big Town didn't play it safe when it came to turning up their guitars and rocking out in the studio.

LBT's Kimberly Schlapman tells ABC News Radio, "It felt good, and it felt sassy. The whole record felt sassy."

The band members and their producer, Jay Joyce, didn't set any boundaries on how they wanted the album to sound, so there was a sense of freedom during the recording process. Band member Jimi Westbrook says there was a rebellious spirit in the studio, though they weren't rebelling against anything in particular.

Describing their approach in the studio, Jimi says, "Let's not put boundaries, and let's just make some music and not be afraid to take it to a different place and to push it and go further and see what happens."

Some of Little Big Town's musical experiments got a little bizarre, but the group's Karen Fairchild explains those detours were essential to finding the right sounds for the album.

Karen says, "It's fun to be in there and expressing ourselves. And yeah, sometimes we take it too far in the studio, and the moments that go too far, you don't hear."

That creative approach led to the distinct whistling and marching band sounds on "Day Drinking," which is an indication of how much fun LBT still have creating music together.

"There are moments that are full of tension," Jimi admits, "and you're trying to figure out things, and you've got a lot of people in the room that care, and have different opinions, so it can be tension, but I love that part of it. And that is fun to me."

It looks like all that hard work paid off for Little Big Town according to some of their famous friends who got an advance listen to Pain Killer. Martina McBride called the album "absolutely brilliant" while David Nail tweeted it "sounds like one of the coolest records I've heard." Blake Shelton weighed in saying, "I just heard some what WILL be one of the most important albums in county music history… Congratulations and thank you @littlebigtown!!!"

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Nashville Notes


Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockTrisha Yearwood will be in Kansas City Tuesday night to perform the national anthem at the first game of the 2014 World Series between the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants, a Fox spokesperson confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.  Little Big Town will perform the national anthem before Game Three in San Francisco.  The World Series is being broadcast on Fox.

The Swon Brothers have released "Pray for You" as the follow-up to their debut hit, "Later On."

Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley stop by NBC's Late Night with Seth Meyers on Monday, October 27.

Kristian Bush fights off zombies in his new video for "Trailer Hitch," now posted at CMT.com.

 

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Jason Aldean Announces 2015 Burn It Down Tour Cities


Image Courtesy Broken Bow RecordsJason Aldean has announced the tour cities for the 2015 leg of his Burn It Down tour. The trek kicks off February 12 with special guests Cole Swindell and Tyler Farr.

Says Jason, "Cole and Tyler are two of the hottest up-and-coming artists out right now, and I really dig what they do in their live shows. They are also just great friends, so it'll be cool to have them out and see what kind of trouble we can get into together.”

The tour announcement comes just days after Jason's new album, Burnin' It Down, topped the Billboard 200 Albums chart with more than 280,000 copies sold.

Here are Jason's 2015 tour cities:

Greenville, SC
Greensboro, NC
N. Charleston, SC
Bossier City, LA
Tupelo, MS
Nashville, TN
Toledo, OH
Peoria, IL
Cedar Falls, IA
Wichita, KS
Tulsa, OK
Little Rock, Ar
Bozeman, WA
Spokane, WA
Eugene, OR
Grand Rapids, MI
Louisville, KY
Ft. Wayne, IN
Corpus Christi, TX
Beaumont, TX
Charleston, WV
Hartford, CT
Hershey, PA

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Garth Brooks Hosting Basketball Camp for Kids in Kentucky November 1


Credit: Mark TuckerGarth Brooks and his charity organization Teammates for Kids will host a Basketball Pro-Camp for 100 youth in Lexington, Kentucky, on November 1.

The camp coincides with Garth's run of concerts at Rupp Arena in Lexington. He's lined up University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari to lead the camp, and Garth will meet with the basketball campers, too.

Garth's Teammates for Kids and Pro-Camps are hosting these sports clinics in each city on Garth's World Tour.

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Miranda Lambert Performing with "All About That Bass" Singer Meghan Trainor on CMA Awards


Image Courtesy CMA"All About That Bass" singer Meghan Trainor will sing that song as a duet with Miranda Lambert on the 48th Annual CMA Awards airing live November 5 on ABC. As previously reported, pop star Ariana Grande will perform on the show with Little Big Town. Pretty Little Liars actress-turned-country singer Lucy Hale will present an award on the broadcast, too.

Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Florida Georgia Line and Keith Urban are among the other stars performing on the CMA Awards. Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood return as hosts.

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Alan Jackson Launching 25th Anniversary Tour January 8


Image Courtesy Kristy Belcher/Schmidt RelationsAlan Jackson will launch his 25th Anniversary KEEPIN' IT COUNTRY tour January 8, 2015 in Fort Myers, FL.

Jon Pardi and Brandy Clark are taking the opening slots on the trek, which includes a stop at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver on May 17 as well as dates in Los Angeles, Dallas and Phoenix. More dates will be added soon.

Here are Alan Jackson's 2015 tour dates:

1/8 -- Fort Myers, FL, Germain Arena
1/9 -- Tampa, FL, USF Sun Dome
2/20 -- San Diego, CA, Valley View Casino Center
2/21 -- Laughlin, NV, Laughlin Events Center
2/27 -- Los Angeles, CA, Nokia Theatre LA Live
2/28 -- Phoenix, AZ, Ak-Chin Pavilion
3/6 -- Dallas, TX, Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
3/27 -- Augusta, GA, James Brown Arena
3/28 -- Greenville, SC, Bon Secours Wellness Arena
4/9 -- Wilmington, NC, Cape Fear Community College
4/17 -- Kansas City, MO, Independence Events Center
4/18 -- Enid, OK, Enid Event Center
4/24 -- Roanoke, VA, Civic Center Auditorium
5/1 -- Sioux City, IA, Tyson Events Center
5/2 -- Brookings, SD, Swiftel Center
5/8 -- Green Bay, WI, Resch Center
5/9 -- Bloomington, IL, US Cellular Coliseum
5/16 -- Salt Lake City, UT, USANA Amphitheatre
5/17 -- Denver, Co, Red Rocks Amphitheatre

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Little Big Town Performing with Ariana Grande on the CMA Awards; Announces Major TV Appearances


Capitol NashvilleLittle Big Town is teaming up with one of pop music's hottest stars, Ariana Grande, for a performance at the 48th Annual CMA Awards. The show broadcasts live from Nashville November 5 on ABC.

The appearance is just one of many LBT will be making in support of their new album, Pain Killer, in stores Tuesday. Look for the group to perform on ABC's Good Morning America Tuesday. They'll sing on ABC's The View on Thursday and close out the week performing with The Roots on NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Friday.

Following their CMA Awards performance with Ariana Grande, Little Big Town will kick off the Pain Killer tour November 8 in Youngstown, OH with special guests Brett Eldredge and Brothers Osborne.

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Country Star Trivia


Comstock/ThinkstockWhich two members of Little Big Town are married to each other? ANSWER: Jimi Westbrook and Karen Fairchild.

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Jerrod Niemann's Latest Hit, "Buzz Back Girl," Is a Real Crowd Pleaser


Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleJerrod Niemann has scored multiple #1 singles, so he knows what it feels like to perform a hit song in concert. That's why he's feeling great about his latest single, "Buzz Back Girl."

Jerrod says, "Since the first day we put "Buzz Back Girl" in the set, it just seems to be one of those songs that connects with the crowd."

Even though Jerrod felt like "Buzz Back Girl" would be a big hit, he's learned you can't predict how an audience will react to a song when they first hear it.

"You never know when you get on stage what songs will do that and what won’t," Jerrod explains, "and it’s always fun whenever the songs that you care about the most are the ones that the crowd cares about the most."

"Buzz Back Girl" is featured on Jerrod's latest album, High Noon, available now.

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Nashville Notes


Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockFlorida Georgia Line's album release date for Anything Goes is chronicled in a series of photographs now posted at People.com.

Look for Reba to make a big career announcement Tuesday morning.

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Little Big Town Officially Inducted as the Grand Ole Opry's Newest Members


Image Courtesy Grand Ole Opry/Chris HolloLittle Big Town was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry Friday night. Opry members Vince Gill and Little Jimmy Dickens were on hand to welcome the group into the Opry fold. The quartet started their performance singing "Bring It on Home" with just an acoustic guitar. They then performed their breakthrough hit, "Boondocks," and closed out their set singing Kris Kristofferson's "Why Me."

Backstage before their performance, Little Big Town reflected on how much the Opry has meant to them over the years. Their first public performance ever took place on the show in 1999, and band member Kimberly Schlapman's grandparents could only pick up the Grand Ole Opry radio broadcast on their car stereo. Since Kimberly had no idea when they were going on, her grandparents had to sit in the car for hours waiting to hear Little Big Town.

Kimberly said Friday night, "My papa had to go to the bathroom. So, he went into the bathroom, and, of course, we came on. So, my grandmother laid down on the horn -- just laid down on it. And my papa comes out pulling up his pants trying to make it to the car. He made it in time.

She added with a laugh, "He's in heaven with his pants on, I'm sure, watching tonight."

Grand Ole Opry member Reba surprised Little Big Town onstage at the Opry earlier this month to extend the membership invitation. She walked out unannounced singing the "motorboating" line of "Pontoon" during LBT's set.

Group member Karen Fairchild said, "We've replayed Reba singing 'motorboating' over and over and over. I don't know if anything could ever beat that."

The Opry induction kicked off a big week for Little Big Town. Their new album, Pain Killer, is coming out Tuesday featuring the hit single, "Day Drinking."

LBT's Phillip Sweet commented before their Opry appearance, "I feel like more people are gonna hear the music than ever before, and I really am proud that they're gonna hear this record. I think we're so honestly proud of it. It's all Little Big Town."

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Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Member Paul Craft Dead at 76


Strictly Country RecordsSongwriter Paul Craft, who penned such hits as Moe Bandy's "Hank Williams, You Wrote My Life," Bobby Bare's "Dropkick Me, Jesus (Through the Goalposts of Life)," Mark Chesnutt's "Brother Jukebox," and Ray Stevens' "It's Me Again, Margaret," died Saturday "after years of deteriorating health," the Tennessean reports. He was 76 years old.

Craft, who also wrote songs that were recorded by Alison Krauss, the Eagles and Linda Ronstadt, died at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital in Nashville.

Craft was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame on October 5 after being nominated numerous times. The Tennessean reports Craft posed for photos with other inductees and was then rushed to the hospital after falling ill.

The Tennessean notes that Craft was a member of American Mensa, a group for people whose IQ is in the top two percent of the population.

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Dustin Lynch Injured by Flying Beer Can During Friday Night Show


Image Courtesy Broken Bow RecordsGet well wishes go out to Dustin Lynch, who was hit in the face with a full beer can during his Friday night show in Niceville, FL. Dustin was taken to the hospital and got stitches to close the wound. The guy who threw the can was not apprehended.  

Dustin tells People, "It's not cool. This guy caused an incident that almost ruined a great night. The crowd was insanely loud and supportive and that's why I wanted to finish my show [despite the bleeding]. I didn't want to get off the stage until I had to."

TMZ has posted video of the incident.

Dustin was back onstage Saturday night in Georgia.

 

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Kip Moore Rocking New Songs on His Up in Smoke Tour This Fall


Image Courtesy MCA NashvilleKip Moore has been playing a ton of new music on his CMT Up in Smoke tour, including the rocking song, "Wild Ones." Even though the lyrics were inspired by the rowdy fans Kip sees in the crowd every night, he hesitated about adding the song to his set list.

Kip tells The Tennessean, "So much of me wanted to hold this song back because I knew how slamming this song was and how excited people would be about it, but I couldn't. It’s just too much fun.”

Kip is also encouraging fans to write obscure song requests on posters when they come to his shows. He'll pick one and try to play it through with his band. Go to KipMoore.net for tour dates.

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Thomas Rhett Headlining NASCAR Truck Series Post-Race Concert at Talledega Superspeedway


Image Courtesy CMAThomas Rhett headlines the Fred's 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series post-race concert at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama Saturday. Getting to play a show at the legendary race track is a big deal for Thomas.

He says, "Talladega is one of those iconic places that you grow up knowing about, whether you follow NASCAR or not. So, to be able to go there and perform…that definitely goes on the 'Things I'll tell my grandkids' list." 

To see the rest of Thomas's tour dates, go to ThomasRhett.com.

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Pistol Annies' Angaleena Presley Is Hiding Nothing on Her Solo Debut, "American Middle Class"


Image Courtesy Blu Sanders/ShoreFireYou know Angaleena Presley as the brunette in Pistol Annies, the band she formed in 2011 with Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe. Now, Angaleena is stepping out with her debut album, American Middle Class, in stores now. As she did with the Annies, Angaleena is brutally honest in the lyrics of her new songs. "Pain Pills" takes on the epidemic of prescription medicine abuse in her native Kentucky while "Life of the Party" details the effects of getting drunk night after night. "Knocked Up" gives a look at the situation surrounding Angaleena's out-of-wedlock pregnancy.

Angaleena tells ABC News Radio, "You know, my mom doesn't like me telling all this, but God wants me to. So, I just have to tell it. But it's just growing up, and sometimes you really have to grow up 'cause you see two little blue lines staring at you in the face."

If you're thinking this all sounds like the exact opposite of "bro country," you're right. That doesn't mean Angaleena has a beef with all the guys dominating country radio with songs about about trucks, girls in short-shorts and binge drinking.

She explains, "It doesn't make me mad because we're all singing about the same thing. We're all singing about the party. It's just some of us are singing about the party, and some of us are singing about the next day when you wake up pregnant in a pool of your own vomit."

Angaleena performed the title track from American Middle Class on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman earlier this week.  While critics are raving about her new music, Angaleena knows it's not always easy to get people to pay attention to your music no matter how good it is.

She adds, "I'm just gonna keep writing these songs and just hoping that they find their way."

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Garth Brooks' Rep Shoots Down Reports He's Playing Ireland in 2015


Image Courtesy Pearl RecordsDespite reports to the contrary, Garth Brooks is not playing shows in Ireland in 2015. His rep tells ABC News Radio the news stories coming from across the pond are just rumors. Garth is expected to continue his World Tour well into the new year.

As previously reported, Garth canceled five planned shows in Dublin over the summer because of issues with concert permits.

Go to GarthBrooks.com for a full list of tour dates.

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Reba Headlining Lung Cancer Benefit Concert Just Outside Nashville


Image Courtesy CMAReba will headline a benefit concert in Gallatin, Tennessee, on Sunday, November 30 to fund lung cancer research at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville. The show is organized by Dawn Sears, who is currently battling lung cancer. She is a member of The Time Jumpers western swing band along with Vince Gill.

Tickets for the benefit show are now available at DawnSearsandFriends.com.

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Country Star Trivia


Comstock/ThinkstockDustin Lynch studied pre-med at which Nashville college before launching his country career? ANSWER: Lipscomb University.

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Sam Hunt Bonding with Tour Mates Kip Moore and Charlie Worsham on Up in Smoke Tour


Image Courtesy McClister/UMGSam Hunt plays Nashville's Ryman Auditorium Friday night opening for Kip Moore on the CMT on Tour: Up in Smoke trek. Charlie Worsham is also on the bill, and Sam has had a blast getting to know those guys in the past few weeks.

Sam tells ABC News Radio, "We all get along so well. They have good people on their team, and we have good people on our team. I think good people just get along together."

A lot of that bonding has taken place at the pre-show meals backstage.

Says Sam, "There's a lot of time spent during the afternoon before the actual show happens that we get to hang out."

Kip and his team usually find a place to work out before shows, and Sam is hoping some of that commitment to fitness rubs off on him soon.

"I go through phases," Sam admits. "I'll do two or three weeks where I’m pretty good, and then I lose my discipline and I fall off for a little while and then I get inspired to go back. So, I'm back and forth."

Sam's debut album, Montevallo, is due out October 27 featuring his hit single, "Leave the Night On."

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