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Lady Antebellum Sits Down with Katie Couric to Launch New In-Depth Interview Series


Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLady Antebellum is the first act featured in a new music interview series from Yahoo, Live Nation and Citi called Backstage with Citi. Katie Couric conducts the interview, which is now available to Citi cardholders at CitiPrivatePass.com. The interview will go live on Yahoo Music this weekend.

Lady A's Hillary Scott always enjoys sitting down with Katie Couric. She says, ""Katie is so good about digging in and really asking about the stories that inspire the music -- from the studio to the stage. We always love chatting with her and think it's a fun way to complement the concert experience for the fans!"

Lady Antebellum's new single, "Freestyle," is included on their latest album, 747, in stores now.

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Country Star Trivia


Comstock/ThinkstockSam Hunt is a co-writer on which #1 Kenny Chesney hit? ANSWER: "Come Over."

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Lee Brice Trades the Beer Hall for the Boardroom in New Academy of Country Music Role


Image Courtesy Curb RecordsYou might not think of Lee Brice as the boardroom type, but he's just been elected to the Academy of Country Music's Board of Directors. The board is made up of music industry professionals, all of whom make decisions about the Academy's events and projects, including the ACM Awards.

On the music front, Lee is currently climbing the chart with his latest hit, "Drinking Class."

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"Nashville" Recap: "Road Happy"


Image Courtesy ABCOn Wednesday's Nashville, Gunnar Scott got a huge shock when he found out his first love, Kylie, had a son named, Micah, born just months after she mysteriously left him and disappeared from his life. Kylie admitted Gunnar was the child's father only after he pressed her on it.

Closeted country singer Will Lexington and his trainer/lover, Tony, had a big falling out on the road over a non-disclosure agreement Will wanted Tony to sign. Will's tour mate, Deacon Claybourne, became suspicious when he saw the couple fighting in the hallway. Later, Will was gay-bashed in a park when he went looking for a guy to hook up with after Tony left. Deacon saw a battered Will return to the hotel, and warned him to stay away from cruising parks for sex.

Meanwhile, Will's wife, Layla Grant, was unhappy with the sappy love songs her record label president, Jeff Fordham, was making her record. As you'll recall, she's threatening to out Will, who is also on Jeff's label, if she doesn't get to release her own country album that eventually gets certified gold. Later in the episode, Layla was suicidal as she contemplated downing a bottle of pills. She ended up shattering the bathroom mirror and cutting herself on the broken glass.

Rayna Jaymes felt guilty about leaving her kids at home while she was out on the road, so she flew them up with her fiancé, Luke Wheeler, for a day on the set of a car commercial. Later, Rayna's ex-husband, Teddy Conrad, let their older daughter, Maddie, get her hair highlighted while their younger daughter, Daphne, got her ears pierced. When Rayna got upset with Teddy about making those decisions without her, he made it clear Rayna would have to accept that she would miss things in the kids' lives. Teddy moved on from the death of his second wife, Peggy, with a little help from a Nashville socialite, too.

Juliette Barnes had to fend off her very angry ex-boyfriend, Avery Barkley, after he discovered she is pregnant with his child. Juliette was able to hide her pregnancy from everyone but her co-star on the set of the Patsy Cline biopic she is filming, but her baby was in jeopardy at the end of the episode as she stumbled offstage at a concert and passed out. Before she went dark, Juliette saw her backup singer, Zoey Dalton, step out into the spotlight to pick up her lead part on the song, "Tell That Devil." We have a feeling Zoey will pay for upstaging Juliette once the superstar gets better.

Chaley Rose plays Zoey Dalton on Nashville, and she's just as excited as the fans to discover those juicy plot twists. Her cast mate Sam Palladio, who plays Gunnar Scott, often gets the script before she does, so Chaley usually convinces Sam to email her the script. She then loads it into her Mac to find out what's happening.

Chaley explains, "You type your name into iBooks, like, my character name, so I can read my scenes first. And then I go in order of whose storyline I'm most interested in. Yeah, it is exciting to find out what's going to happen next."

Several country stars will appear on Nashville in the coming weeks. Look for Sara Evans to guest star as herself on next week's episode, Wednesday, October 29. On November 19, The Band Perry, Trisha Yearwood and Joe Nichols will all appear on Nashville to help them recreate the CMA Awards within the show.

As always, the new songs from Nashville, "Tell That Devil" and "Good Love," are available at iTunes.

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Sam Hunt Opens Up About His Unlikely Classic Country Influences


Image Courtesy David McClister/UMGSam Hunt's debut album, Montevallo, comes out Monday, and it's getting a lot of buzz for Sam's modern take on country music. Since he incorporates hip-hop and pop elements into his music, you might be surprised to learn about Sam's classic country influences. In fact, the first CD he ever owned was a Greatest Hits compilation from Country Music Hall of Fame member Conway Twitty, best known for '70s hits like "Hello Darlin'" and "I'd Just Love to Lay You Down."

Sam tells ABC News Radio, "Of course, Conway Twitty was before my time, but I remember sitting with my grandmother at her house, and an infomercial came on for Conway Twitty Greatest Hits. She's probably about like myself, kind of an impulse-buy type. She said, 'You need this Conway Twitty.'"

Sam spent a lot of time soaking up Conway's smooth singing style mixed with the occasional spoken word interlude. That influence might explain why Sam freely moves between speaking and singing his lyrics on Montevallo.

As for his songwriting, Sam was heavily influenced by Brad Paisley, whose early hit, "He Didn't Have to Be," had a big impact on Sam as a kid growing up in Georgia.

Says Sam, "I remember being at church on Wednesday night at Wednesday night supper, and getting the keys from my mom well before it was over to just go sit in the car and to turn the radio on and hopefully wait and catch that song."

Sam is well on his way to earning his first chart-topper at country radio with "Leave the Night On," which is included on Montevallo.

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Nashville Notes


Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockKellie Pickler appears on The Queen Latifah Show Thursday to discuss her voice role in the new animated feature film Beauty and the Beet.

Lady Antebellum co-starred with Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Murray in a hilarious skit called "The Mattress Firm" on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Wednesday. Check it out at EllenTV.com.

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Willie Nelson and Sister, Bobbie, Releasing Collaborative Album, "December Day," on December 2


Image Courtesy Sony LegacyWillie Nelson and his sister, Bobbie Nelson, will release a new collaborative album, December Day: Willie's Stash Vol. 1, on Tuesday, December 2.  The project features the siblings performing new versions of songs from Willie's catalog as well as covers of American standards from Al Jolson and Irving Berlin.

Bobbie has performed in Willie's band since 1973. Look for more installments in the Willie's Stash series soon.

Here is the track listing for December Day: Willie's Stash Vol. 1:

"Alexander's Ragtime Band"
"Permanently Lonely"
"What'll I Do"
"Summer of Roses"/"December Day"
"Nuages"
"Mona Lisa"
"I Don't Know Where I Am Today"
"Amnesia"
"Who'll Buy My Memories"
"The Anniversary Song"
"Laws of Nature"
"Walkin'"
"Always"
"I Let My Mind Wander"
"Is the Better Part Over"
"My Own Peculiar Way"
"Sad Songs and Waltzes"
"Ou-es tu, mon amour"/"I Never Cared for You"

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Luke Bryan Releasing New Single, "I See You," as 2014 That's My Kind of Tour Wraps Up


Image Courtesy CMALuke Bryan is releasing a sixth single from his latest album. It's titled, "I See You," and Luke co-wrote it with hit songwriters Luke Laird and Ashley Gorley.

The new single release comes as Luke wraps up his 2014 That's My Kind of Night tour this weekend with sold-out shows at The Hollywood Bowl and the Forum in Los Angeles. Look for ABC's Nightline to feature an in-depth look at Luke's life on the road Thursday night.

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Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson and Steven Tyler Added to "CMA Country Christmas" Lineup


Image Courtesy Arista NashvilleBrad Paisley and Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler have been added to the lineup for this year's CMA Country Christmas special. The show airs Monday, December 1 on ABC. Alan Jackson is also joining the bill along with previously announced performers Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Nettles, Sara Evans, Little Big Town and Hunter Hayes.

Tickets to attend the CMA Country Christmas taping on Friday, November 7 are still available through Ticketmaster. The show takes place at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

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Florida Georgia Line Earns Their First #1 on "Billboard" 200 Albums Chart with "Anything Goes"


Image Courtesy Republic NashvilleFlorida Georgia Line earns their first #1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart with their sophomore project, Anything Goes. The set sold 197,000 copies, according to NielsenSoundscan. Their debut album, Here's to the Good Times, has sold 2.1 million copies.

It's a great time for country music on the Billboard 200. Jason Aldean debuted at #1 last week with Old Boots, New Dirt, while Blake Shelton was #1 two weeks ago with his new project, Bringing Back the Sunshine.

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Jason Aldean Teaming Up with Bob Seger for CMT "Crossroads" Special November 28


Image Courtesy CMABob Seger recently showed up backstage at Jason Aldean's concert in Detroit. Apparently, they got along just fine: the two stars will team up for a new CMT Crossroads installment premiering on Black Friday, November 28 at 10 p.m. ET. Look for them to trade vocals on both of their biggest hits, including selections from Jason's latest album, Old Boots, New Dirt.

Jason and Seger will film the special next week, just outside of Nashville.

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Country Star Trivia


Image Courtesy Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is the radio-friendly title of Reba's most recent #1 hit from 2010? ANSWER: "Turn on the Radio."

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Sara Evans Releasing Her First Holiday Album, "At Christmas," November 17


Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleSara Evans will release her firs holiday album, At Christmas, on November 17. The project features Sara's modern take on Christmas classics like "Silent Night," "Oh Holy Night" and "Winter Wonderland." Her daughters Olivia, age 12, and Audrey, age 10, are also featured on Sara's version of "12 Days of Christmas."

The album's title track, "At Christmas," is described as an "upbeat original." Sara's Christmas album is now available for pre-order at Walmart.com. Look for Sara to perform a song from the project on the CMA Country Christmas special, airing December 1 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Dustin Lynch's Grandmother Was Onstage When He Got Hit by a Flying Beer Can


Image Courtesy Broken Bow RecordsDustin Lynch was hit in the face by a full beer can thrown by an unruly fan during a show in Florida last week, and his grandmother was there to see it all.

"She was sitting in a chair onstage and we had just finished singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to her -- myself and all the fans," Dustin says. "So it was a special night because she was there.  And also the crowd was electric.  It was, as a whole, one of the most electric crowds we’ve had in a while."

Even though he was bleeding quite heavily as a result of the beer can hitting his face, Dustin kept on singing until the show ended. He was then taken to a local hospital to get stitches.

Says Dustin, "I didn’t want this one clown to ruin a great night and a great memory for me and all the fans that came out to support us and, of course, my grandmother.  So I just decided to continue on with the show without missing a beat -- bleeding or not bleeding.”

Dustin is currently supporting his latest album, Where It's At, with a full slate of tour dates. Go to DustinLynch.com to see where he's playing next.

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Nashville Notes


Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockLook for Lady Antebellum to perform their brand-new single, "Freestyle," on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Wednesday.

Little Big Town will perform the national anthem prior to game three of the World Series Friday night in California.

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Chris Young Taking His A.M. World Tour to Australia and Europe in 2015


Image Courtesy Ben Enos/Monarch PublicityChris Young is hitting Europe and Australia on his 2015 A.M. World Tour, starting with a headlining show in Melbourne, Australia March 11. He'll continue on to Sydney and the CMC Rocks the Hunter Festival in Ipswich, Australia in the following days.

In fall 2015, Chris will headline a European trek starting with a September 14 show in London. He'll also play the Gstaad Festival in Switzerland this fall, but that date hasn't been announced yet. Look for more tour dates to be announced soon.

Here are Chris's 2015 A.M. World Tour dates so far:

3/11 -- Melbourne, Australia
3/13 -- Sydney, Australia
3/14 -- Ipswich, Australia, CMC Rocks the Hunter Festival
9/14 -- London, UK
9/17 -- Dublin, Ireland
9/19 -- Munich, Germany
9/20 -- Cologne, Germany
9/22 -- Berlin, Germany

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Jake Owen Hosting Annual Hometown Charity Concert Saturday in Vero Beach, FL


Image Courtesy Nick Rau/Sweet Talk PublicityJake Owen will close out his Days of Gold tour with his annual charity concert this Saturday in his hometown of Vero Beach, FL.

The annual event supports St. Jude Children's Research Hospital as well as charities in Indian River County, FL, including Autism Speaks, Hibiscus Children's Center, the Mardy Fish Children's Foundation, and Boys & Girls Club of Indian River County.

Jake has been hosting the charity concert for several years now. Last year's event brought in $125,000.

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Reba Almost Finished with a Brand-New Album, Due Out Next Year


Image Courtesy CMAReba is on the home stretch of recording a brand-new album, expected to come out in 2015. She announced plans for the project Tuesday morning in Nashville, saying fans can expect to hear her interpreting songs from Nashville's best songwriters on the new project.

"It's just a huge thrill for me to have this outlet to get these songwriters' stories out to the public," Reba says. "I’m always kind of like the water hose. I'm the conduit from the songwriters' heart and soul, what they write and conceive, and then to get it out to the fans. I love that part."

Though any songwriter would tailor-make a song for Reba, she took some chances on recording a few songs written from a male perspective. She pulled that off on her 1995 covers album, Starting Over, taking on material originally recorded by Glen Campbell, Ray Price, and Michael McDonald, among others. Still, Reba's husband and manager, Narvel Blackstock, was hesitant about some of the new songs at first.

Reba explains, "I'd play him this demo, and I'd say, 'What do you think?' He'd say, 'Uh huh. That's a guy song. I don't know how it's going to sound with you singing it.' I get in the studio, and he said, "OK. You made it your own.'"

The new album will feature a variety of moods and sounds, though. Says Reba, "We've got happy, sad, slow, fast. Got a drinking song in there. And for the first time in a long time, I've got a love song. A true, to the heart and soul love song."

The best part of this new project for Reba is giving her fans her first new album since 2010's All the Women I Am.

"They're gonna be very excited to have new music coming out," Reba explains. "They've been with me through thick and thin, Broadway, television, movies, back to music. They're my team. Glad to be a part of theirs."

We'll keep you posted when Reba announces more details about the new album release.

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Brantley Gilbert Engaged to Old Love Who Inspired Some of His Biggest Hits


Image Courtesy Valory Music Co.Brantley Gilbert is engaged to his old love who inspired his hit songs "More Than Miles" and "You Don't Know Her Like I Do." The couple parted ways a few years ago, but it looks like their love story will have a happy ending. Brantley hasn't revealed his fiancee's name, though.

Brantley recently moved back home to Georgia. He was engaged to fellow country star Jana Kramer, but they called it off in August 2013.

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2014 CMT Artists of the Year Honorees Announced; Ceremony Broadcasting Live December 2


Image Courtesy CMTJason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Miranda Lambert and Keith Urban will be honored as the 2014 CMT Artists of the Year. They'll be saluted on a live broadcast from Nashville coming up Tuesday, December 2 at 8 p.m. ET.

This is Keith's first time getting the CMT Artists of the Year honor. The other four acts are previous honorees. The artists are selected based on the impact they've had in country music throughout the year.

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