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Reba Takes Fans Behind the Scenes of "Pray for Peace" Recording Session


Image Courtesy StarstruckReba's new song and video, "Pray for Peace," has racked up more than 340,000 views since it went live. Now Reba is giving fans a look at the making of "Pray for Peace" in a new video at Billboard.com.

In the clip, Reba gives direction to the musicians on how she wants the song to sound and then goes in to record the track at her studio in Nashville. The video also shows Ronnie Dunn adding his ad lib parts at the end of the song.

"Pray for Peace" is now available as a free download at Reba.com.

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Cole Swindell Getting a Head Start Writing His Sophomore Album


Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleCole Swindell's second single, "Hope You Get Lonely Tonight," is still climbing the country chart, but he's already laying the groundwork for his sophomore album. Following up the success of his #1 debut hit, "Chillin' It," is a little intimidating for the Georgia native.

"As of last weekend, I had a writer out on the road with me in order to get back into the writing thing,” Cole tells Playback STL. “I’m proud of this [album] and my first single, but it puts pressure on you to follow all that up. It’s never too early to get started in my opinion, so I’m excited to get going.”

Cole is opening for Luke Bryan this weekend with back-to-back shows in Atlanta.

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Kelly Clarkson's Hubby Trumps Every Guy Who Ever Sent You Flowers


Image Courtesy RCA RecordsWhat's that? You say your husband sent you a bouquet of flowers "just because"?  Well, too bad he -- and every other guy -- has just been totally owned by Kelly Clarkson's husband, Brandon Blackstock.

Kelly posted a photo of a beautiful field of flowers, and then tweeted, "Brandon surprised me with a 10 acre field of sunflowers on our land. This is my heaven :)."

Perhaps Brandon wanted a special way to thank Kelly for delivering their baby girl, River Rose, who arrived June 12, and who Kelly calls "the greatest thing on the planet."

One fan responded to Kelly's posting by referring to the singer's previous troubles finding love, tweeting, "Six years of being single sure pays off," to which Kelly replied, "yes it does! Hold out for the right one :)."   But the posting also inspired some jealousy as well.

"Seriously! help a sister out, he's got to have ONE single relative of some sort!" wrote one woman, adding the hashtag #sosweetsojealous."  Kelly's reaction?  "hahaha! Best response :)."

Kacey Musgraves also retweeted Kelly's photo with the caption, "ATTN ALL MEN: Learn."

Brandon surprised me with a 10 acre field of sunflowers on our land. This is my heaven :) pic.twitter.com/4g0Ok5Dy0W

— Kelly Clarkson (@kelly_clarkson) July 24, 2014

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The Band Perry to Appear on Teen Choice Awards August 10


Image Courtesy CMAThe Band Perry has signed on to appear at Teen Choice 2014 airing live on Fox Sunday, August 10. They're up for Choice Country Group at the fan-voted awards show. Teenagers can cast their ballot now at TeenChoiceAwards.com.

Look for actress and country star Lucy Hale to appear on Teen Choice 2014, too.  The show begins at 8 p.m. ET and is tape-delayed in Pacific time.

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Taylor Swift Pleases Photo-Snapping Fans in NY's Central Park


Big Machine RecordsTaylor Swift wrote recently that autographs are obsolete, and all people want from her these days are photographs.  It's no surprise, considering how accommodating the superstar is when fans request them.

The New York Daily News reports that when Taylor was strolling in New York's Central Park recently, she was spotted by excited fans, all of whom wanted a picture with her.  She obliged them, and even waited patiently for one to get out a rowboat in one of the park's lakes so she could pose with her.

That same day, the News reports, Taylor, who was wearing sky-high pink heels and a crop top with a matching miniskirt, was spotted dropping $20 into a street musician's hat.

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Garth Brooks Is Now Playing 10 Shows in Chicago


Image Courtesy Pearl RecordsGarth Brooks is now playing 10 shows at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois, starting September 4. He'll do two shows on September 6, 12 and 13 with single shows also slated for September 5, 11 and 14.

Trisha Yearwood is opening all dates on Garth's World Tour, and he's expected to announce another tour city soon. Tickets for the Chicago shows are on sale through Ticketmaster.

Garth will announce each city on his World Tour individually at GarthBrooks.com. We'll keep you posted where he's playing next.

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Billy Currington Has the Crowds Going Wild with "We Are Tonight"


Image Courtesy Mercury NashvilleBilly Currington had his concert crowds in mind when he recorded his latest hit, "We Are Tonight." Now that fans are screaming the lyrics back to him, Billy is seeing his vision for "We Are Tonight" come to life.

"When I heard the song, I was like, 'Now there is an anthem for the live show,'" Billy explains.  "As I grew to know the song better and better, and, of course, when I finally recorded it, I just started envisioning everybody chanting the 'We Are Tonight.'"

The song is now getting the biggest response of any number in Billy's set, so he's pushed "We Are Tonight" towards the end of the show.

Says Billy, "People are singing it as loud as they can, probably louder than any song that I have right now. I don’t know if it’s just ‘cause it’s current and they’re hearing it a lot, but, boy, they sing it loud."

"We Are Tonight" is the title track of Billy's current album, available in stores and online now. Look for him on the road with Lady Antebellum through August 31.

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Country Star Trivia


Comstock/ThinkstockChase Rice is a co-writer on which one of Florida Georgia Line's #1 hits? ANSWER: "Cruise."

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Nashville Notes


Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockChase Rice will perform "Ready Set Roll" on NBC's Late Night with Seth Meyers Wednesday, August 6. The appearance marks Chase's late-night TV debut. His full-length album, Ignite the Night, comes out August 19.

Montgomery Gentry's new single, "Headlights," hits the airwaves next month.

Miranda Lambert tells People she named her latest rescue dog Bellamy after one of hubby Blake Shelton's favorite groups, The Bellamy Brothers. She says, "I figured naming him that might soften the blow of a sixth puppy!"

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Is Garth Brooks Planning a Mini-Residency in Chicago?


Image Courtesy Chris Hollo/Schmidt RelationsTickets for Garth Brooks' first World Tour stop in Chicago go on sale Friday morning. So far, he's only announced a Thursday, September 4 date at Allstate Arena, but fans can expect more shows to be added once that show sells out.

As it stands now, Garth's show is the only event taking place at the Allstate Arena for a three-week period, starting August 24 and running through September 16. That means Garth's Chicago engagement could potentially turn into a mini-residency.

Garth will announce future tour cities individually.  His wife Trisha Yearwood is set to open all shows.

Fans can expect to hear new music from Garth, as well as his signature hits like "Friends in Low Places" and "The Thunder Rolls." He performed a full-band show at the Wynn Las Vegas this past New Year's Eve, and Garth says all of those '90s hits stood the test of time when he played them for the Sin City crowd.

"Now, the people's voice will tell me if that happens when we go out on tour," Garth says, "but from an artist looking at the music, I feel very lucky to be associated with songs like those."

A new single from Garth is expected at radio in the coming weeks, with a new double-album coming out around Thanksgiving. In addition, his back catalog will be available digitally for the first time soon at GarthBrooks.com.

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Taylor Swift Jammed with Oscar Winner Jeff Bridges on "The Giver" Movie Set


Courtesy The Weinstein CompanyTaylor Swift is one of the stars of the much-anticipated movie The Giver, in which she appears opposite such acting heavyweights as Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep.  Not only did she bond with Bridges on set, but according to the Oscar-winning actor, they got to spend some of their downtime jamming.

Bridges is also a musician who's recorded a few albums and toured.  He told reporters at Comic-Con in San Diego this week, "Taylor was so terrific. Our scenes we had together, a lot of [them] were at a piano. So, we [both being] lovers of music, we talked a lot about music, and we got to pick a little between set-ups and stuff."

So what did Bridges think of Taylor's performance in The Giver? She plays Rosemary, a small but crucial role, and her character has a deep connection to The Giver, played by Bridges.  "She's so, so sweet and such a good actress," he said. "And, of course, a phenomenal songwriter and musician."

So, does he think Taylor has a future as an actress?  "Oh, I think so. Yeah!" he replied.

The Giver is Taylor's third film: her first was 2010's Valentine's Day.  She also voiced a role in the 2012 animated film The Lorax.  On TV, she's appeared on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and New Girl, and has hosted Saturday Night Live.

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Kenny Rogers Giving In-Depth Interview at Country Music Hall of Fame August 16


Image Courtesy Webster PRKenny Rogers will sit down for an in-depth interview at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville August 16 to celebrate the new exhibit, Kenny Rogers: Through the Years. If you can't attend, you can watch the event live that day at 3:30 p.m. ET at CountryMusicHallofFame.org/streaming.

Kenny's exhibit opens August 15 and runs through June 14, 2015.

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The Band Perry and Miranda Lambert Performing on "Fashion Rocks" September 9


Image Courtesy Republic NashvilleThe Band Perry and Miranda Lambert will celebrate the connection between style and music when performing at this year's Fashion Rocks concert on CBS. The show airs live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Tuesday, September 9. Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull, Usher and KISS are among the other stars on the bill.  Ryan Seacrest will host.

Look for even more stars to join the lineup in the coming weeks. If you want to be there in person, tickets go on sale Friday, August 1 through Ticketmaster.

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New ACM Sweepstakes Lets Fans Play Fantasy Football with Darius Rucker, Florida Georgia Line and More


Image Courtesy ACMFootball fanatics Darius Rucker, Florida Georgia Line, Chris Young and Little Big Town's Jimi Westbrook are among the stars heading up fantasy football leagues this fall, and ACM Lifting Lives is giving you a chance to get in on the action.

The Academy of Country Music has partnered with CBSSports.com for a new celebrity fantasy football sweepstakes. One $5 donation to ACM Lifting Lives, the Academy's charitable arm, is good for one entry into the sweepstakes. A few lucky winners will then be invited to join the games with country stars serving as league commissioners.

Sara Evans, Jana Kramer, Love and Theft and Montgomery Gentry are also taking part in the sweepstakes. Go to ACMLiftingLives.org now through Saturday, August 9 for your chance to win.

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Country Star Trivia


Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is the name of Carrie Underwood's Oklahoma hometown? ANSWER: Checotah.

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Jack White, Dave Matthews, Neil Young, John Mellencamp & Willie Nelson to Headline Farm Aid 2014


Farm AidThis year's Farm Aid benefit show will take place on September 13 in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the lineup includes all the usual suspects, plus one new face: Jack White.

White will join Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews and Neil Young on the bill at the event, which takes place at Raleigh's Walnut Creek Amphitheater.  Tickets go on sale August 1 at 10 a.m. ET.  Others on the bill include country star Jamey Johnson, the Preservation Jazz Hall Band, and the group Delta Rae.

In a statement, Willie Nelson, Farm Aid's president, says, "In North Carolina and across the Southeast, family farmers have struggled to stay on the land, but they have also pioneered new roads to economic sustainability. This region knows the value of its farmers and offers increasing opportunities for new farmers to build a strong regional food system."

He adds, "On the Farm Aid stage Saturday, September 13, we'll celebrate family farmers and the healthy communities they're growing for all of us."

Mellencamp added in a statement that Farm Aid has a "fair-like feeling," explaining, "All day long, people are performing onstage and food from family farmers is being served. It’s a great occasion for families to come listen to great music and teach their children about where their food comes from."

Farm Aid was inspired by something Bob Dylan said at Live Aid in 1985: he noted that he hoped some of the money raised would go to help farmers who were in danger of losing their farms because they couldn't pay their mortgages.  Later that same year, the first Farm Aid concert was held in Champaign, Illinois, with a massive lineup of performers, including Dylan, Mellencamp, Nelson and Young, plus Bon Jovi, Bonnie Raitt, Lou Reed, Carole King, Huey Lewis, Roy Orbison, Billy Joel and dozens more.  Since then, Farm Aid events have raised $45 million to support family farmers.

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Keith Urban Raises 'Em Up with Birthday Boy Jerrod Niemann and Pal Brett Eldredge Starting Tonight


Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleKeith Urban's Raise 'Em Up tour takes its name from the Eric Church duet on his latest album, Fuse. Keith felt the song's anthemic feel and empowering lyrics captured how he feels about performing for his fans.

Says Keith, "I thought the essence and spirit of that song is really what playing live is all about for me. It's a sense of community. It's a sense of oneness. It's a sense of optimism."

Unfortunately, Eric won't be on hand to sing "Raise 'Em Up" with Keith on this tour, but Jerrod Niemann and Brett Eldredge will bring fans plenty of excitement as the opening acts. Jerrod's stint on the tour starts in New Hampshire Thursday night, which just happens to be his 35th birthday.

Jerrod calls opening for Keith "the best birthday present ever." He says, "Just want to say thank you to him for letting me and my buddy Brett Eldredge come out and spend a summer with him. It's gonna be a blast."

Go to KeithUrban.net to see the complete list of Raise 'Em Up tour dates.

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Nashville Notes


Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockHunter Hayes and band and crew took the bullet train from Osaka to Tokyo Tuesday on his current tour of Japan.

Carrie Underwood is playing both shows at the Grand Ole Opry this Friday night.

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Kenny Chesney's Latest Hit, "American Kids," Will Be a Cornerstone of His Upcoming Concert Set Lists


Image Courtesy Blue Chair/Sony Music NashvilleKenny Chesney will most likely return to the concert trail in a big way next year, and his latest hit, "American Kids," will be a centerpiece of his new live show. The song excites Kenny because it sounds unlike anything he's put out in the past.

"It's fun to have a melody that you may not have had before," Kenny says. "It was kind of the same way I felt about 'Somewhere with You' when that first came out. I knew exactly where I was gonna put that song in the show, and how it was gonna make our show a little bit different with a few more twists and turns. And I feel that way about 'American Kids.'"

Kenny can't tell you exactly where the new single will fall in his 2015 set list, but he can't wait to see his fans have a good time singing along with it.

Says Kenny, "It's such a fun, summer song. It's going to be a song that I feel like that is gonna be a part of our life for a long time. I can't wait to see how it comes across."

Kenny will be performing "American Kids" at his one-off show August 16 at the Florida-Alabama line on Perdido Key. His new album, The Big Revival, comes out September 23.

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Alan Jackson Exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame Opening August 29


Image Courtesy Kristy Belcher/Schmidt RelationsAlan Jackson's new exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville opens August 29.

"Alan Jackson: 25 Years of Keepin' It Country" gives museum visitors a look at memorabilia including the water skis Alan wore in the "Chattahoochee" video, the guitar he played on the 2001 CMA Awards debuting "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" and the Harley-Davidson he posed with on the cover of his 1992 album A Lot About Livin' (and a Little 'bout Love).

Alan will also perform a few Artist-in-Residence shows at the Country Music Hall of Fame later this year. His exhibit runs through March 2015.

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