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RCA NashvilleIt was a whirlwind week for Jake Owen, as real life took him from the Waffle House to the White House. After releasing his new single, also titled “Real Life,” Jake invited his Twitter followers to meet him at a Nashville location of the restaurant famous for its scattered, smothered and covered hash browns, even offering to buy. Soon after, he Instagrammed a video from inside the restaurant mentioned in the song, showing a standing room-only crowd with a line stretching outside.

The next day found Jake in Washington, D.C., posting a video of himself standing outside the White House declaring, “Yesterday I was at the Waffle House, today I’m at the White House.” Later that evening, Jake performed at the Columbia, Maryland stop on Kenny Chesney’s Big Revival tour.

Jake also found time to squeeze in some work on his new album. “Real Life” is the first single from his fifth CD, due out later this year.

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Image Courtesy Sandbox EntertainmentShania Twain may be wrapping up her career as a touring performer, but she has new music planned for fans this fall.

Shania tells the Las Vegas Sun's Robin Leach that she's almost finished writing songs for her new album and she’ll start recording it in the fall after she finishes her upcoming tour.

Having wrapped up two weeks of rehearsals in Sin City, Shania kicks off her final road tour on Friday, June 5 in Seattle and winds things down in Toronto in October. She promises to play all her hits on tour, but warns the production will be tilted toward the rock side, including a new version of “Party for Two,” her hit duet with Billy Currington. She’s still entertaining the idea of debuting some of her new material on the road.

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MCA NashvilleKip Moore’s second album will be called Wild Ones, and in a new video preview of the album, Kip says it was inspired by “the traveling circus that our life has become” and the folks who come to his concerts.

“I think the fans had so much to do with this record because I now know who my fanbase is,” he says in the video, posted to YouTube. “I refused to make a record that doesn’t represent who we are and what they want to hear.”

The “Somethin’ ‘Bout A Truck” hitmaker co-wrote all of the album’s 13 tracks, including the lead single “I’m to Blame,” as well as “Lipstick,” a tune that namechecks the cities Kip has visited while playing 200 dates a year.

Here’s the track list for Wild Ones, which comes out Friday, August 21:

“Wild Ones”
“Come and Get It”
“Girl of Summer”
“Magic”
“That Was Us”
“Lipstick”
“What Ya Got On Tonight”
“Heart’s Desire”
“Complicated”
“I’m to Blame”
“That’s Alright With Me”
“Running for You”
“Comeback Kid”

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Image Courtesy: Katie Storr/Stuart Cove's Dive BahamasBrett Eldredge continues to live up to his reputation as an adrenaline junkie -- and this time, he took two lucky fans along for the ride. Lindsay Bade says she entered Muck Boot’s Facebook contest every day to win the chance for her and her fiancé to zipline with Brett at AdventureWorks in Kingston Springs, Tennessee.

While being on stage remains Brett’s number-one thrill, he admits ziplining at 30 miles an hour, 90 feet off the ground is a pretty close second.

"That one was the most scary and the most fun! The only other time I had that feeling was when I went skydiving," Brett tells People. "That leap into the air is so scary, but it's also the time you feel most alive. You don't want to do it, but then you do it and you feel so alive. Sometimes you just have to let go and take the jump, the leap of faith."

The country heartthrob built his daredevil reputation on celebrating each of his number ones with a new feat. Brett jumped out of a plane for “Don’t Ya” and swam with the sharks to mark “Beat of the Music.” Next up, he’ll eat dinner on a table suspended 300 feet above ground by a crane to commemorate “Mean to Me.” “I’m thinking baby back ribs,” he quips.

Monday night, Brett performs his latest hit, “Lose My Mind,” on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Myers.

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Image Courtesy Big Machine RecordsWhen Rascal Flatts kicks off their Riot tour this weekend, fans don’t have to worry about whether or not the band will be playing the songs that made them famous.

“That’s what we all hope and dream to do when we stand in front of the mirror with our Goody comb and sing into it, is to have a bunch of songs that have touched people so much that they want to hear ‘em every night,” Jay DeMarcus says.

But he admits performing their hits night after night can be redundant.

“While it does, fifty shows in, get old singing ‘God Bless the frickin’ Broken Road,’” he jokes, “I’m so happy that we have that song to do it, and I’m so thrilled that people care enough to wanna pay money to see us sing that every year,” he reflects.

Jay believes having so many hits can be both a blessing and a curse, but ultimately, he knows how he feels about it.

“It kinda limits what you’re able to do with your live show and you can only switch it up and change it up so many different ways. But, when I stop and think about it when we’re off the road, I actually miss playing those songs ‘cause they’ve been such a big part of people’s lives.”  

Rascal Flatts’ first stop on their summer tour is tonight at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in St. Louis.

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Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockBrett Eldredge will be the musical guest Monday, June 1 on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

You can watch the video for Love & Theft’s latest single “Whiskey On My Breath” at People.com.

Rascal Flatts’ Joe Don RooneyJana KramerChuck WicksJ.T. Hodges, and Rae Lynn will take part in Eric & Jessie Decker’s first annual charity casino night. Proceeds from the June 16 event in Nashville will benefit charities that help the military, veterans and animals.

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Image Courtesy Big Machine RecordsIt’s no surprise that Tim McGraw likes all kinds of music, having recorded songs far afield from traditional country as his collaboration with rapper Nelly on his hit “Over and Over.” But Tim says he wanted to cut his latest single, “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools,” because it reminds him of the songs he listened to when he was just a kid.

“I grew up loving country music, and I'm a country music singer. I'm like everybody else. I love all kinds of music, and I love incorporating all kinds of music into what I do. I'm a fan. I grew up being a fan of the Eagles, and there's a big Eagles influence in the music that I do. I was a Merle Haggard fan and a George Strait fan. So, when a song comes along that's just a really great story, country song, it's fun for me to record,” he reflects. “I’ve had a couple of those throughout my career, and it's always fun to have those. It just has a grittiness to it that I really love, and I love to sing it.”

Your next chance to hear Tim live comes June 5, as he brings the Shotgun Rider tour in Little Rock, Arkansas. Meanwhile, you can see him co-starring alongside George Clooney in the new film Tomorrowland.

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RCA NashvilleChris Young’s sexy video for his latest single “I’m Comin’ Over” debuted Thursday on CMT. The new clip, shot entirely in Nashville, depicts Chris in a fling with a scantily-clad barista who left her number on his coffee cup.

“I’m Comin’ Over” is Chris’s thirteenth career single, and the first from his fifth album, due this fall. More than 70,000 people downloaded the song the first week it was available. You can watch the video now at CMT.com.

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David Giesbrecht/NBCMiranda Lambert, Jennifer Nettles and Martina McBride seem more than ready to match wits with the Texas-based radio consultant who recently compared female country artists to tomatoes.

In an article for trade publication Country Aircheck, Keith Hill extolled the virtues of playing fewer women on the radio, going so far as to say “If you want to make ratings in country radio, take females out.”

“Trust me, I play great female records and we’ve got some right now; they’re just not the lettuce in our salad,” he went on to say. “The lettuce is Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and artists like that. The tomatoes of our salad are the females.”

Hill’s salad analogy provoked a firestorm of comments on social media.

Jennifer Nettles’ Twitter comments threatened to match Hill in the controversy department.

“Don't worry babe.  I see an opportunity here. [A] big ole vagina shaped opportunity. #yesisaidvagina #trynottofaint,” she tweeted.

Martina McBride asked her Facebook followers if they agree with an assertion Hills made in the article that female listeners would prefer to listen to male artists.

“Wow.....just wow,” she commented. “Do you not like to hear other women singing about what you are going through as women? I'm really curious. Because to me, country music is about relating. Someone relating to what you are really going through on a day to day basis in your life. Did you girls (core female listeners) know you were being 'assessed' in this way? Is this how you really feel? Hmmm....”

Perhaps Miranda Lambert came closest to having the final word on the subject, in a series of tweets. “This is the biggest bunch of B*LLSH*T I have ever heard,” adding “I am gonna do everything in my power to support and promote female singer/songwriters in country music. Always.”

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Image Courtesy Sony/Blue ChairKenny Chesney’s The Big Revival Tour is summer’s hottest country concert, according to StubHub. The list is based on the site’s ticket sales from Labor Day through Memorial Day, with Kenny ranking ahead of major acts like Rush, Foo Fighters, Billy Joel and Ed Sheeran.  U2, The Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead and One Direction all finish ahead of Kenny, with country alum Taylor Swift claiming the top spot.

This Saturday night, The Big Revival tour pulls into Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, with Eric Church, Brantley Gilbert, Chase Rice and Old Dominion joining Kenny for the date.

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CMAAs the son of '90s country star Rhett Akins, Thomas Rhett has grown up knowing country superstars like Reba. As a kid, Thomas remembers dressing up for a few Halloween parties at Reba's house, and his dad toured as her opening act for a few years. That connection between Thomas and Reba continues to this day.

Says Thomas, "You know, we're on the same record label now, which is crazy, and dad wrote her latest single that's out, ['Going Out Like That']. So, Reba has, in strange ways, been a part of my life since I was a young kid."

Now that Thomas is a country star in his own right, he's come to rely on Reba's advice as he works on his upcoming, sophomore album.

"She came and saw me in the studio the other day and was hanging out and listening to new songs," Thomas says. "She's always just been great at, like, giving great, knowledgeable advice just about the music business and how to sustain yourself in the music business."

On top of her status as a country legend, Thomas says Reba really does have a heart of gold, too.

He adds, "She's the sweetest, most down-to-earth, kind human being, and she's played a huge role in me kind of evolving through this."

Thomas's as-yet-untitled sophomore album will be out later this year. He's currently climbing the country charts with the new single, "Crash and Burn."

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Comstock/ThinkstockBlake Shelton and Miranda Lambert first met when they sang one of country's all-time greatest duets for a CMT special in 2005. What was the duet? ANSWER: "You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma."

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Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockDierks Bentley has been named an honorary co-chairman of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Foundation's Hat in the Ring Society, which supports the Foundation's Air Safety Institute. Morgan Freeman and Harrison Ford are among the other co-chairmen.

Miranda Lambert, Brantley Gilbert, Jake Owen, Josh Turner and Trace Adkins are on the bill for the first-ever NIFI Festival at the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky August 28 through 30.

Montgomery Gentry's new video, "Folks Like Us," is now live at CMT.com.

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Black River EntertainmentKelsea Ballerini recently played her first arena concert as an opening act for Lady Antebellum. The gig was even sweeter since Kelsea is a huge Lady A fan and stood in line to meet them a few years ago at the CMA Music Festival in Nashville. Kelsea was thinking about that meeting when she joined Lady A on stage for a joint performance during the band's headlining set.

Kelsea tells ABC Radio, "It's like one of those moments where you're just like, 'Life is so cool.' That was a very cool moment for me."

Though they've only recently shared the stage, Kelsea and Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott have been friends for two years now. They meet through a mutual songwriter friend, Ryan Griffin, and Hillary quickly took Kelsea under her wing.

"She has just kind of encouraged me," Kelsea says. "So, to be able to do a first [arena] show like that with a friend like that is really cool."

Kelsea is riding high on the country radio chart with her debut single, "Love Me Like You Mean It." Her debut album, The First Time, is on sale now.

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Valory Music Co.Brantley Gilbert's Platinum Edition re-release of his album, Just as I Am, has landed the project at #1 on Billboard's Country Albums chart. The set also hits the top 10 on the overall Billboard 200 tally. The expanded version of the project includes the song "Just as I Am" as well as a remix of Brantley's hit single, "Bottoms Up," with rapper T.I.

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CMADierks Bentley's decade of success as a country star means most everyone knows how to pronounce his unique first name. That wasn't always the case, though.

"I’ve seen it spelled and pronounced wrong so many times," Dierks tells Glamour.

Though many suspect "Dierks Bentley" is a stage name, Dierks is actually the maiden name of the singer's great-grandmother. Not that anyone would know that when they criticize it, which they apparently do.

Says Dierks, "People tell me it’s a horrible name! Like maybe I should have gone by Buck Bentley?"

Dierks Bentley's Sounds of Summer tour kicks off June 5 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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Capitol NashvilleThe lineups for the 25th Annual City of Hope Celebrity Softball Game have been announced, with members of Little Big Town on opposing teams. Jimi Westbrook and Kimberly Schlapman are playing for one team, while Phillip Sweet and Karen Fairchild are batting for the other squad. Nashville's Charles Esten, plus Lauren Elaina, Love and Theft and newcomers Lindsay Ell and Doug McCormick are also stepping up to the plate at this year's event.

This year's Celebrity Softball Game takes place at Nashville's First Tennessee Park on June 13. Proceeds from the game benefit City of Hope in their fight against cancer.

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Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is the name of Jake Owen's twin brother? ANSWER: Jarrod.

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Dove Wedding Photography/CMHOFThe Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville will present an impressive list of stars performing and signing autographs during the 2015 CMA Music Festival.  The festivities kick off Wednesday, June 10 with appearances from Chase Bryant and Old Dominion. Kelsea Ballerini, Danielle Bradbery and RaeLynn are among the artists performing at the Hall of Fame on Thursday, June 11 for CMT's Next Women of Country showcase.

Eric Paslay, Trisha Yearwood and Montgomery Gentry are among the other stars signing autographs at the Country Music Hall of Fame through Saturday, June 13.

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Nancy Seltzer & Assoc.Garth Brooks will bring his Man Against Machine world tour to New Orleans, LA, for two shows in July.  The stop marks Garth's first stop in Louisiana in 18 years.

The shows will be Friday and Saturday, July 10 and 11, 7:00 p.m. at the Smoothie King Center.  Garth's wife Trisha Yearwood will join him for the shows.  Tickets go on sale via Ticketmaster Friday, June 5.

Garth's next shows take place this Thursday through Sunday at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN.  There are apparently still some tickets available for the Thursday night show -- the others are sold out.

As always, you can find more information at GarthBrooks.com.

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