Monday, June 30, 2014

Rascal Flatts Look To Examples Of Longevity To Keep Their Career Going

They have now been making music together for 15 years, and give credit for a lot of their success and staying power to their predecessors in country music who have had such tremendous longevity and staying power.

“Through the years [we] have had so much inspiration from other artists,” says Joe Don Rooney. “You look at the Reba McEntire’s of the world, the George Straits, the Tim McGraws and groups like Alabama that have had longevity. This genre has probably the biggest list of artists with longevity that there is, so we had that early on in our career to look up to and to have as inspiration. I believe that’s part of the reason we’re still here today.”

Rascal Flatts just celebrated the 15th #1 song of their career with “Rewind,” and they’re hoping their latest single, “Payback,” will be #16. They’re also spending their summer on the road on their Rewind Tour with Sheryl Crow and Gloriana.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Alan Jackson Celebrates 25 Years

June 26, 1989 – 25 years ago – a then-unknown singer-songwriter from the small town of Newnan, GA put pen to paper and signed his first major recording contract…and that “dream come true” moment set the stage for a career that Jackson – and those in the room with him – could only have imagined.

Twenty-five years later, Jackson is still going strong. He’s sold millions of albums, scored dozens of chart-topping hits, written songs that defined a generation, and entertained country music fans around the world...and he recently announced plans for a year-long celebration of his 25th anniversary in the music business. Jackson is working on new music that will be released in the coming months…a special 25-city, 25th anniversary tour is being planned for 2015…and on August 29th the Country Music Hall of Fame will unveil a new exhibit coinciding with Jackson’s role as the Hall’s next Artist-in-Residence.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Everyone Is Back For Amercian Idol Season 14

Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr. are all returning next season as judges on "American Idol," according to a statement from Fox.

Ryan Seacrest is also coming back as host for season 14. 

"Jennifer, Keith, Harry and Ryan are the very best in the business at what they do, and I’m absolutely ecstatic that they are returning to AMERICAN IDOL for another season. Each brings unique qualities and expertise to the team, but they all share the same passion for helping undiscovered singers achieve the American dream,” said David Hill, senior executive VP of 21st Century Fox

Auditions for the singing competition are underway and continue in New Orleans this week before moving to New York in July. The show's ratings have sagged in recent years to the lowest since the inaugural season and less than half that of its top years from 2005-2009.

Sarah Darling Advances to the Next Level on Rising Star Reaching 89% Positive Votes

She appears to becoming "America's Darling" taking 89% positive votes on ABC’s new competition series, Rising Star, including the three experts, Ludacris, Kesha and Brad Paisley. Rising Star premiered last night where artists performed with the chance of raising the wall and moving to the next round of the competition. Shining through the votes, Darling was one of six who raised the wall.

"What a rush," states Sarah after her performance. "It's truly an amazing opportunity and I'm so grateful for all the support. Now I can't wait to show the experts and America what I can do!"

Darling represented Country music as the only country-contestant performing Kacey Musgrave’s hit, "Merry Go Round."  Paisley had the first vote, thrusting his arm in the air with excitement soon to be followed by Kesha and then Ludacris. After the wall raised, the experts raved on their excitement to see Darling continue as she held back tears of joy.

Next week, Darling will be able to relax as new contestants take the stage.

Brantley Gilbert Has A “Small Town Throwdown” With His Good Buddies

Sometimes when artists collaborate on a song together it’s because they were put together or someone thought their voices would blend well together, but in the case of Brantley’s new song, “Small Town Throwdown,” featuring Thomas Rhett and Justin Moore, Gilbert says, “Those are two of my boys. I’m tellin’ you I’ve got the upmost respect for ‘em as people and artists, and writers. And they’re two funny cats. I love these guys.”

That respect and admiration extends outside of the music business for Brantley. He says, “These are people I actually consider a friend outside of … not just somebody I just know in the business, but dear friends. I’d follow either one ‘em down a dark alley.”

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Dierks Bentley Is Having A Blast On His "Riser" Tour

Bentley is having a blast as headliner on his 2014 Riser Tour. In addition to his fans, he owes a lot of that enjoyment to his opening acts – Jon Pardi, Chris Young and Chase Rice.

“I think back to when I was opening for Kenny [Chesney], and Keith Urban was the middle act, and I was the beginning act, and what that felt like just to have that camaraderie of guys, you know, and to be able to talk about things,” says Dierks. “Now I got one step further. Now I got three other guys out there with me. So, just great guys at all different levels in their career. Jon Pardi…reminds me a lot of myself back in those days. He’s just running wide open and just [a] great Honky Tonk singer, funny guy, just makin’ the most of this time out there. And then getting to know Chase, who’s just a really great guy as well, too. You know, he’s kinda forged his own path through, really through social media, I guess; and then, Chris Young just one of the best singers in this town and a great guy. So, we have a lot of fun. They’re all great hangs, and I’m having the best time of my life out there.”

His next stop is Thursday (June 19th) in Newport, Rhode Island. On Saturday (June 21st), he joins pal Luke Bryan at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the first of Luke’s stadium shows.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Brad Paisley Creates Father's Day Gift For His Firefighter Dad

Brad's dad Doug loved this musical tribute to the heroes of the profession.The country star wrote and sings the final song in the animated film Planes: Fire & Rescue, called All In, which highlights firefighter bravery and sacrifice. Paisley sings an additional song in the film due out July 18 and makes a voice cameo appearance.

Among All In's lyrics: Without hesitation in the face of fear and doubt/There's smoke and flames and everybody needs out/They're all in.

After performing songs on the animated hits Cars (2006) and Cars 2 (2011), Paisley became close friends with John Lasseter, the chief creative officer of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios

Lasseter suggested Paisley's role in the new film, about firefighting planes."The movie is essentially a tribute to firefighters told through these planes," says Paisley, 41. "When John pitched the idea, he said it was a way of paying tribute to my dad. My brother-in-law is also a firefighter in Tennessee.
These guys run toward the problem that everyone else is fleeing from." The follow-up to 2013's Planes features the main character Dusty Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook) training to fight fires at fictitious Piston Peak National Park

"We're obviously thrilled to have a three-time Grammy Aaward-winner performing two songs," says director Roberts Gannaway. "But the fact that he has this connection to the heart of our film, the firefighters, well that was just fantastic."

Monday, June 16, 2014

Florida Georgia Line Loves Wide Range of Fans Coming to Their Tour

In between Burn It Down Tour dates with Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line is headlining their own summer tour with special guest Nelly, and they say so far it’s going great. Nelly joins them every night on stage to sing “Cruise,” and Brian says, “We’ve had I think 12, 13, 14,000 people I think the first three nights.”

One thing he’s enjoying the most is seeing the wide range of fans who are coming out to their shows. “It’s pretty cool to see guys in cowboy hats and different kind of cultures, little kids, teenagers, college kids, grandparents, 40 year olds. It seems like everybody’s really packing in and it’s a really cool spot to be in,” says Brian. “We’re very blessed to have that wide of a fan base. Country’s everywhere. It’s pretty cool.”

The This Is How We Roll Summer Tour will be visiting baseball parks across the country through June 22nd.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Kenny Chesney's Upcoming Project Celebrates "How We Live"

He knew – when he took a year off – when he came back, he wanted his music to hit a whole new level; but he also wanted to make sure he was speaking to the people who have always invested their lives in his music. The result? “American Kids,” a multi-tempo celebration of the spirit of young America that packs not one, but two hooks and an innovative lyrical scan.

“When I heard it, I knew I was gonna cut it,” says the man whose won 4 consecutive Academy of Country Music and 4 Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year Awards. “It was unlike anything I’d ever heard – and I listen to a lot of songs. The rhythms, the images, the way the melody moved... It just grabs you and holds on, but even more importantly, it feels really good.”
While evoking iconics of a certain generation, the song also embraces the in-the-moment lifestyle of today’s teens and 20-somethings with complete abandon. And with a chorus that contains the line – “a little messed up, but we’re all alright” --  Chesney once again brings the indomitability of the human spirit to the forefront.

“Hey, life is hard,” Chesney says. “People work long hours, have all kinds of stuff going on in their personal lives. But if there’s one thing I’ve seen over the last ten years, looking out at the faces in the crowd: you can’t keep my fans down. These are people who no matter what are in love with life, and they’re gonna find the good times no matter what.

“It’s not a perfect world. We are all a little screwed up, but we’re all okay. I love the idea of the screw up as part of it, because honestly it makes the parts that’re great, that much better. You appreciate those things that much more.”

"American Kids," which ships to radio on June 20, will be available for purchase at digital retail on Monday, June 23.  Chesney is putting the finishing touches on his 16th studio release. With an emphasis on great songs, pushing the boundaries without betraying who he is, the man deemed “The King of the Road” by The Wall Street Journal is looking forward to playing a lot of the new songs on the road in 2015.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Thomas Rhett Recalls One Of The Coolest Moments Of His Career So Far

A lot has happened for for him in the last year, including two #1 songs, a headlining tour and getting to open for several other people on the road, but one of the moments that stands out to him is getting to play Sanford Stadium, home of the Georgia Bulldogs.

“You know, playin’ at Sanford Stadium was somethin’ that I will never forget,” says Thomas. “Obviously, ‘cause I was born in Georgia. My Dad played at the University of Georgia, my grand-daddy played at Georgia. So, you know, bein’ in the walls of Sanford Stadium and between the hedges was somethin’ that I’ll never forget.”

He even got a unique souvenir after he play there. He says, “They gave me a plant from one of the hedges in a Georgia plant box. Just bein’ in Athens that whole day was pretty cool to be there, especially with Luke Bryan and Jason here both from Georgia. We were the first concert ever to play in Sanford Stadium.”

Sunday, June 8, 2014

King George, 104,793 + 8 Special Guests Set Record

George Strait has set many records in his illustrious career: the most No. 1 singles of any artist in any genre, the only artist to chart a Top 10 hit every year for 30 years, and the most No. 1 albums, gold albums, and platinum albums in the history of country music to name a few. Tonight, Strait notched another career accomplishment breaking an indoor concert attendance record for North America initially set by The Rolling Stones in 1981*.

With 104,793 in attendance and the top names in country music joining him for the final ride of Quicken Loans Presents: The Cowboy Rides Away Tour, the reigning ACM and CMA Entertainer of the Year took fans on a three-hour journey of memories by way of 40 songs from throughout his storied career, including 20 of his massive 60 No. 1 hits.

Strait appeared on the stage after a warm welcoming introduction from good friend Ray Benson of opening performers Asleep at the Wheel. The King of Country appeared to be in awe of the sheer magnitude of the crowd, and after waiting for the applause to subside following his opening song “Check Yes Or No,” he addressed the crowd with his trademark grin and echoing his expression said, “I can’t tell you how excited I am to be here tonight, it’s been on my mind since we started this tour two years ago!”

Shortly after--a mere two songs in--he welcomed his first of eight special guests for the evening to the stage signifying the commencement of a historical musical journey showcasing over thirty years of Strait classics.

“In the 33 years since his auspicious 1981 debut album, Strait Country, the Frank Sinatra of country music has staunchly and elegantly reigned supreme over an ever-changing commercial landscape. While the country music industry struggled with its identity in an effort to increase its bottom line, Strait stayed the course. He made traditional country music without compromises and never fell out of favor with the fickle radio dial,” Dallas Morning News’ Mario Tarradell noted.

Strait told People Magazine, “I knew it would be kind of emotional but I was still a little surprised to feel it that strongly. The first three or four shows in 2013 were the toughest, but every night it was in the back of my mind to take it all in, because I probably wouldn’t ever come back there again. It made me want to put on the best show we’ve ever done there. I hope we did that. I feel like we did."
To add to the emotional charge filling the AT&T Stadium air was the retirement of Bruce Hardy who has also celebrated 30+ years in the industry as the general manager of Texas Stadium and the current home to the Dallas Cowboys and Strait’s tour farewell stage, AT&T Stadium. Hardy surely echoed Strait’s sentiment following the performance of “The Chair,” as the crowd roared and the superstar revealed, “That’s what I’m going to miss the most right there.”

Amidst the hits, Strait paused for a very special moment and continued his tour tradition of presenting a home as part of the Military Warriors Support Foundation (MWSF) “Homes 4 Wounded Heroes” (H4WH). Sergeant First Class Leroy Arthur Petry, a medal of honor recipient, and his wife Ashley were recognized as 51st recipients from the tour and received a million dollar home in the Dallas area.

The 2013-2014 H4WH home presentations were made possible through Strait’s longtime friend, Lieutenant General Leroy Sisco, U.S. Army (Retired). The homes made available for the program are donated to MWSF through partnerships and, as unveiled at Strait’s first 2013 show in Lubbock, Texas, were awarded to at least one service member at every tour stop on The Cowboy Rides Away Tour. In addition to the homes, all of the recipient families from the tour stops also received groceries for a year from Walmart, a flat screen television, and an entire George Strait CD collection.
In addition to the charitable contributions through H4WH, Strait also partnered with CID Entertainment to facilitate a charity auction at every 2013 and 2014 tour stop including front row Troubadour Package tickets, a meet-and-greet with Strait, and more. After the final 2014 tour stop in Dallas, the program has raised $1,325,619 for The Jenifer Strait Foundation ($239,302 in 2013 and $1,086,317 in 2014) with over 3,000 VIPs ticketholders hosted and 500 travel packages accommodated.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Singer Forced to Cancel Tonight’s Performance at LP Field for CMA Music Festival

After accidentally cutting his left hand with a kitchen knife while at home Thursday night, singer/songwriter Chris Young underwent surgery in Nashville yesterday to repair injured tendons.

As a result of the injury and surgery, the 28-year old is unable to perform as planned at LP Field tonight to play for tens of thousands of fans at CMA Music Festival in Nashville.

He is expected to fully heal and will return to playing guitar following his recovery and rehabilitation.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line Rumble in the Elevator

What happens in the elevator stays in the elevator? Sorry, Luke Bryan. That's not exactly true. Because, you know, surveillance cameras and the Internet and all that. So we saw what you did in that elevator with Florida Georgia Line on Wednesday night (June 4). And, we loved it.

Bryan and the duo's Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley put their own spin/spoof on the infamous elevator fight between Beyoncé's sister Solange Knowles and Jay Z that happened after the Met Gala in New York City on May 5.

While the country singers were inside the elevator, the grainy black-and-white image was captured of the three pushing and shoving. Kind of like fighting, but classier than the Knowles/Jay Z attack. (By the way, why was she so mad? It really makes you wish elevator cameras recorded audio.)
But the whole time Bryan, Hubbard and Kelley were going at it, the CMT Music Awards host Kristen Bell waited patiently for her elevator. Once the doors opened, the singers stopped fighting, and Bryan turned to Bell and said, "What happens in the elevator stays in the elevator."

It was all in jest, of course. Later in the show, Bryan and Florida Georgia Line's "This Is How We Roll" won the fan-voted award for best collaborative video. In his acceptance speech, Hubbard said, "I want to thank our fans, and I want to thank Luke Bryan for being part of this amazing ride with us and for letting us be a part of his ride."

The comic clip was part of a video skit poking fun at the fact that Bell had to host this year's show alone.

Check out the full opening segment from the 2014 CMT Music Awards.

2014 CMT Music Awards: The Winners - Find out who won big at the 2014 CMT Music Awards

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Gary Allan Postpones Fan Club Party Due To Vocal Strain

The fan club party scheduled for this evening at Nashville's Rocketown has been postponed due to vocal strain. He spent most of the day at the Vanderbilt Voice Clinic with Doctor Gaeyln Garrett who performed surgery to remove a polyp from his vocal chords several years ago. Doctor Garrett advised Allan to rest his voice for 48 hours and gave him the all clear to resume performing on +Thursday. Thankfully, the strain is temporary and does not require surgery or further treatment.

In other Gary Allan news:

“Wine Me Up” is not just a great song from Allan’s 1996 Used Heart for Sale album, but wine is also something of which he’s become quite the connoisseur. His favorite pick for a red is from Cakebread Cellars in Rutherford, California, and says it'll impress a date, as well.

“I think you can’t go wrong with Cakebread; that’s my favorite cabernet,” says Gary. “I think that’s a good one. That’s a good medium.”

Gary, who held his fan club party on Tuesday (June 3rd), has been in the studio working on the follow-up to Set You Free.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Rolling Stone Goes Country

Inside Rolling Stone's Country Issue:
  • launches online
  • Country's outsider and platinum pistol star on the cover 
  • The 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time
  • 30 Must-See Artists at CMA Fest 2014

Monday, June 2, 2014

Cassadee Pope: People Get What’s Coming To Them

Cassadee’s latest single is “I Wish I Could Break Your Heart,” and she says it’s about being in a relationship with someone who sort of has the upper hand emotionally. Some people interpret it as a song about wishing you could do to someone what’s been done to you.

Pope says when it comes to revenge she likes to believe that karma takes care of things. “I think there’s karma, definitely. I’ve always believed that people get what’s coming to them. If you put a bad energy out into the world and you hurt somebody bad enough, and you don’t care that you just hurt them, I think that it’ll come back to you.”

She does believe in cutting people some slack if they aren’t intentionally trying to hurt someone. She says, “If people make mistakes, then that’s different. Everybody makes mistakes, and if you truly feel sorry about it and you wanna change and better yourself, that’s different. But, the people that go around breakin’ hearts and don’t feel bad about it, they’ll get what’s comin’.”

You can catch Cassadee on the Sundown Heaven Town Tour with Tim McGraw this summer.