Image Courtesy BJ Yeager/Red Bow RecordsJoeNichols got a surprise visit from Randy Travis over the weekend. Randy attended Joe's show at Billy Bob's Texas Saturday night in Ft. Worth, Texas. The two shared some barbecue, and Joe honored the country legend with an acoustic performance of Randy's song "Promises."
Joe and Randy sang a duet of "Tonight I'm Playin' Possum" in tribute to the late George Jones on Randy's 2013 album, Influence Vol. 1: The Man I Am. Randy hasn't made many public appearances since suffering a stroke and undergoing heart surgery last year.
Image Courtesy Webster PRBig& Rich will perform at the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Halftime Show in Memphis December 29. They'll also headline the President's Gala Dinner Dance at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis on December 28.
Big & Rich will also receive the Liberty Bowl's Outstanding Achievement Award at the dinner recognizing their achievements in the music world. Previous recipients include Clint Black, Alabama and Little Richard.
Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleSara Evans doesn't have any co-stars in her new video for "Put My Heart Down." The clip features Sara alone in Nashville's Riverside Mansion, surrounded by hundreds of lights, which are meant to signify the light coming on in her head that this relationship is over. Eventually, the lights explode, something Sara feels demonstrates the song's sad lyrics and happy melody.
She says, "You have such beautiful and pretty scenes with the soft lighting and beautiful mansion, contradicted by the exploding bulbs. I couldn't be happier with how it turned out.”
Sara premiered the video for "Put My Heart Down" exclusively at RollingStone.com. It's the latest single from her current album, Slow Me Down.
Image Courtesy Chris Hollo/Grand Ole OpryGarth Brooks is rescheduling as many TV appearances as possible this week, due to the riots in Ferguson, MO. This includes his planned appearance on Live with Kelly & Michael Tuesday, a Thursday night appearance on NBC's Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and a Friday morning appearance on NBC's Today. Garth is also slated to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which tapes in Los Angeles, on Tuesday afternoon. He taped that appearance Monday before the grand jury's decision was announced not to indict police officer Darren Wilson on murder charges in the death of Michael Brown.
Garth sent an email to fans Tuesday, saying, "We landed in New York last night to the news of the civil unrest that was going on in our nation. To spend the day promoting our stuff like nothing was wrong, seemed distasteful to me. I will gladly reschedule any or all appearances the networks will allow. Love one another...g"
We'll keep you posted on Garth's confirmed cancellations and rescheduled appearances.
Image Courtesy EckrichRandy Houser was the bearer of really good news for one military concert during a backstage visit at his show in Baltimore, Maryland, on Saturday night. Air Force Staff Sergeant Christopher Solso and his wife, Clare, were surprised with a meet-and-greet with Randy, who presented them with a voucher for a year of free groceries on behalf of Eckrich meats' Operation Inspiration campaign and Operation HomeFront.
Randy will also host the Solso family for a VIP trip to his December 14 concert in Tucson, Arizona. The husband and wife will tour the film studio in Tucson where Randy shot his latest video, "Like a Cowboy," before seeing Randy's show that night at the city's Fox Theater.
Randy says, "Being a part of Operation Inspiration and getting to meet with military families like Christopher and Clare Solso is such an honor. I am proud to have been a part of this surprise and can’t wait to see them again in December."
Image Courtesy Broken Bow RecordsDustin Lynch had a party in Nashville Monday night celebrating the first #1 hit of his career, "Where It's At." The song has elevated Dustin's career to a new level on the road.
"It's crazy to go in any town in the country and have that many faces looking back at you singing," Dustin says. "Our audience has grown tremendously over the course of the summer as this song has grown in numbers and in just energy that they're bringing to the show."
When Dustin has a big hit song like "Where It's At," his band and road crew feel the effects, too.
He explains, "We rely on hit songs to make a living and to pay for diapers, too. A hit song definitely benefits a lot more people than just myself out there."
Dustin's mom and dad drove into Nashville from their hometown of Tullahoma, Tennessee, about an hour outside of Music City. Dustin's sister, however, felt bad that she couldn't get away for the party since she has two kids.
Dustin says, "Since Thanksgiving starts tomorrow, I'm gonna see them tomorrow, so I told them not to worry about it."
Dustin has released the new song "Hell of a Night" as the follow up to "Where It's At." Both tracks are included on his sophomore album, Where It's At, out now.
Image Courtesy Show Dog/UniversalTobyKeith and Lady Antebellum will perform on CMT's Ultimate Kickoff Party Live from the College Football Playoff National Championship special. The show airs Friday, January 9, 2015 at 9 p.m. ET from Dallas, in connection with the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship. That's set for January 12, 2015 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.
Big & Rich and Brett Eldredge will also perform on the 90-minute special. More acts will be announced soon.
Image Courtesy Valory Music Co.Brantley Gilbert will tie the knot with his fiancée, Georgia school teacher Amber Cochran, at the end of June 2015. He revealed the date backstage at the American Music Awards Sunday night after winning Country Album of the Year for Just as I Am. Brantley and Amber met 10 years ago, and were together for five years before splitting up. They reconnected after Brantley got sober.
He says, "I had some things going on in my life that she wasn't really willing to be a part of. I understand that completely now, and I'm so, so thankful that that was the way it was."
Brantley has said Amber inspired several of his hit songs, including "More than Miles." Amber was with Brantley at the AMAs Sunday night.
Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLittle Big Town has scored another chart topper with their latest single, "Day Drinking," the lead single from their new album, Pain Killer. It's the first time the group's Karen Fairchild, Phillip Sweet and Jimi Westbrook have been co-writers on a #1 hit.
Jimi says, "This feeling will never get old. Thank you so much to the fans and country radio for making our first song from Pain Killer such a success."
"Day Drinking" has also been certified gold for 500,000 downloads and streams. The next single from Pain Killer is "Girl Crush." Listen for that track to hit the airwaves December 15.
New duo Maddie & Tae might take aim at some of the cliches about women in country music in their first top five hit, but the pair confess they are much more put together than any “Girl in a Country Song.” Furthermore, the duo is well-matched, since they’re both neat freaks.
“On the road, oh my gosh, it's so awesome,” Maddie says. “We both have our toiletry bag and then we've got our sections of PJs and jeans and… it's just really nice to not have clutter everywhere… We're both kind of weird in that. We love, like, to be organized.”
Image Courtesy Big Machine Label GroupIt seems the term “domestic goddess” might also apply to the two.
“I like to cook. It's one of my escapes. Like, working out, cooking, and this is weird, but cleaning really helps, too,” Maddie confesses. “Oh, cleaning. Organizing my closet is therapy,” Tae chimes in. “Like color-coordinating my clothes. Love it.”
And if you suspect that might mean they have expensive tastes, you’d be wrong.
“We're both, like, really frugal and kind of bargain Betties. I got, like, a bunch of my clothes, that either I just don't wear or don't fit or whatever. And I went and sold them and made, like, 20 bucks,” Maddie brags.
So far, “Girl in a Country” song has been certified gold, selling half a million digital downloads.
ABCLukeBryan was named Favorite Male Country Artist at the 2014 American Music Awards, which aired Sunday night on ABC from the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. Carrie Underwood was named Favorite Female Country Artist and Florida Georgia Line took home the trophy for Favorite Band, Duo or Group -- Country.
Brantley Gilbert won for Favorite Country Album for Just As I Am.
The only country music performance came via satellite from Greensboro, North Carolina. Garth Brooks was shown onstage live performing his new song "People Loving People."
George HolzBy the time his new single “Lay Low” started climbing the charts several weeks ago, Josh Turner already had more than ten years of chart success under his belt. The 37-year-old believes he owes at least part of his good fortune to those who came before him.
“I feel like you can learn a lot from artists who have had a really long career and that have had a lot of longevity,” he says. “The reason they've had that longevity is that they're willing to adapt and bend a little bit here and there, but at the same time, continue to make their music.”
Josh admits he’s been doing some bending and adapting himself, as he’s finishing up his forthcoming sixth studio album.
“Good music takes on a lot of different forms. So, I definitely pay attention to that and with Nashville and country radio being so song-driven, you know, I try to really just make sure that the songwriting and the pitch meetings and the listening and all that kind of stuff is a priority.”
Right now, Josh is already road-testing four of the new tunes from the new CD, due out next year.
Image Courtesy ABCWithout a doubt, Luke Bryan is the country torchbearer at this year's American Music Awards, as the only artist from the genre nominated in the all-inclusive Artist of the Year category. Luke confesses it's a little hard to believe he's up against the likes of Beyonce and One Direction.
"Anytime I'm in the room with all of music, I get really, really inspired. I'm very flattered. I always think about representing country music in the best way I know," he says. "I just love being in that room. It's always fun going out to the AMAs and seeing all of the talent in the room. And knowing that this year I'm nominated in the category of overall artist is really, really hard for me to wrap my head around. It's amazing."
Even though he's also competing against Jason Aldean and Blake Shelton for Favorite Male Artist in the country category, Luke vows he won't let the pressure get to him.
"I just wanna go out there and enjoy it. I love meeting all of the people in all of music. At the end of the day, I think we're all in there to make the art of music better. Hopefully, I can represent Nashville."
On the female side, Carrie Underwood squares off against Miranda Lambert and Kacey Musgraves for Favorite Female Artist - Country. Carrie says the fan-voted awards remind her of the beginning of her career.
"I'm excited to be nominated for an AMA. I see every day on my Twitter feed, people have been retweeting and doing all that stuff, which is really cool. They've always had my back, and seeing their enthusiasm about voting for me is something that is really cool because that's how I got here in the first place with American Idol," she remembers. "So, it makes me feel good to know that there are still people out there that are voting their fingers off."
Whether or not Florida Georgia Line is able to wrestle the country Band, Duo or Group trophy from Lady Antebellum and Eli Young Band, Tyler Hubbard thinks it's just fun to get to rub elbows with artists from other kinds of music.
"It's a huge honor, to be honest, to be a country artist and then to be able to be at an all-genre awards show feels great. It's definitely humbling, and so it's cool," he says. "And we're excited. You get to see a lot of cool people and meet a lot of nice people and see a lot of different, basically, music cultures. It's neat for us, you know. "
Garth Brooks, who's up for country's Favorite Album, is set to perform on the show, while his fellow nominee Brantley Gilbert will help hand out one of the trophies. You can find out who wins Sunday, November 23 at 8 p.m. E.T. on ABC.
The nominees in the country categories for the 2014 American Music Awards are:
Favorite Male Artist -- Country Jason Aldean Luke Bryan Blake Shelton
Favorite Female Artist -- Country Miranda Lambert Kacey Musgraves Carrie Underwood
Favorite Band, Duo or Group -- Country Eli Young Band Florida Georgia Line Lady Antebellum
Favorite Album -- Country Garth Brooks, Blame It on My Roots: Five Decades of Influences Eric Church, The Outsiders Brantley Gilbert, Just as I Am
Warner Bros. NashvilleAshley Monroe and Dan Shay are set to sing alongside Jennifer Hudson, Train, Earth, Wind & Fire and Katharine McPhee on the upcoming A Home for the Holidays special. This is the 16th year for the Christmas tradition that pairs musical performances with heartwarming stories of children adopted from foster care. The show airs Friday, December 19 at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.
Ashley also recorded a new version of the Amy Grant classic "Tennessee Christmas" for Amazon's new All Is Bright holiday playlist.
Sandbox EntertainmentThis holiday season, Kimberly Schlapman from Little Big Town wants you to lend a ham. The play on words is part of a campaign to inspire folks to donate food to feed hungry families.
"I'm excited to join Smithfield in their effort to lend a ham to those in need this season," Kimberly says with a wink. "Since I was a little girl, Smithfield has always been a part of my family's holiday tradition, and to now have the opportunity to help provide that to someone in need means the world to me."
For every act of kindness posted on Twitter or the Smithfield Facebook page with the hashtag #LendAHam, the company will donate a serving of protein to a local food bank. Kimberly also teamed up with Smithfield to surprise Thanksgiving shoppers with $100 gift cards, in hopes of inspiring them to do good deeds themselves. You can see the video that captures Kimberly going undercover as a grocery cashier on YouTube.
The campaign goes through Christmas Eve, with Smithfield planning to donate up to a million servings to help feed the hungry this holiday season.