Kenny Chesney and His Team Working to Accommodate Fans for Tour-Opening Nashville Dates

Image Courtesy Sony Music/Blue ChairTicket demand for Kenny Chesney‘s two-night stand in Nashville remains extremely high. That’s why Kenny and his team have opened up several hundred more seats for the sold-out Music City dates, coming up March 26 and 27. These shows mark the beginning of Kenny’s The Big Revival tour, and he’s very excited to see his fans grabbing up the concert tickets so fast.

Says Kenny, “To me, it’s about the passion the people who love this music bring. They give us the fuel to really push — and I promise we’re working on creating a really rocking show!”

The newly-released tickets are now on sale at Ticketmaster, but they aren’t expected to last long.


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Thomas Rhett Finds Worthy Competition in RaeLynn & The Cadillac Three

Image Courtesy CMAAs Thomas Rhett prepares to release his sophomore CD later this year, he says he’s happy to be competing with a group of new artists who are constantly upping the ante– among them, the trio of Music City natives known as The Cadillac Three.

“I’m obsessed with The Cadillac Three, I’m sure that everybody in Nashville is, but they are the funnest people in the world to watch, to me,” he confesses. “So, I wish the best for those guys. They inspire me. We’ve done shows with them a bunch and they — when you have somebody that opens for you that really like sets that bar, makes you appreciate somebody a whole lot. When somebody can get on stage before you and, you know, I’ve been in that spot. We’ve opened for people and we really just try to get out there and slaughter somebody. That’s just what you do.”

 At the end of the day, Thomas says all the competition is friendly.

“It’s fun to be in competition with each other and at the end of the day you’re all best friends and The Cadillac Three have done that for me. They’ve definitely made me step up my game a lot of nights and they’re super-talented and they do it with just three people, which blows my mind.”

When it comes to female artists, Thomas says he has his eye on former Voice contestant RaeLynn.

“I think that RaeLynn is super talented. I’ve written with RaeLynn and me and Rae have gotten to know, we’re on the same record label, and all that kinda stuff, and I’ve seen her play a bunch a little songwriters nights and stuff, and I just think that girl’s a superstar. I love her single ‘God Made Girls.’ I think she’s great.”

Right now, Thomas Rhett is on the Anything Goes tour with Florida Georgia Line and Frankie Ballard.

 
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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhich Keith Urban hit was written by Sam Hunt? ANSWER:  “Cop Car.”


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Nashville Notes

Image Courtesy Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockSam Hunt celebrates the number one success of his hit “Leave the Night On” with a party Monday at Nashville’s Rocketown.

Scotty McCreery and his dad Mike were at Gillette Stadium last week to watch the controversial game that sent the New England Patriots to the Super Bowl.

Garth Brooks welcomed Lee Brice onstage Saturday night in Boston to perform “More Than a Memory.” Lee co-wrote the song, and Garth took it to #1 in 2007.

 
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Sam Hunt Admires the Evolution of Taylor Swift

Image Courtesy UMG NashvilleWhile some fans may have been disappointed at the lack of a country single on Taylor Swift’s latest album, newcomer Sam Hunt says he can’t help but admire her evolution as an artist.

“I can definitely relate to her progress,” he says. “She’s somebody who I’ve always had a whole lot of respect for. Even though I didn’t necessarily relate personally to her songs, always, I always had a huge respect for her songwriting.”

Taylor’s album has spent eight non-consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard album chart, it’s currently #2, and Sam believes he understands her motivations.

“She doesn’t want to make the same record over and over again, and there’s an evolution. You know, she’s influenced by other genres of music. As much as, I’m sure, she loves country music, I’m sure that if she has the ability, she wants to continue to write things that inspire her, and I feel the same way.”

Even though Sam only has his debut album Montevallo under his belt, he hopes fans will notice similar progress from song to song.

“You can see that, not with multiple albums, but you can see that on this specific album. Over the course of a nine month period, I felt the same way. You know, every time I’d write a song, I’d want to push it a little more with the next one. There are several songs you can see the progression with.”

Sam is currently climbing the country charts with his latest single, “Take Your Time.”

 
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Blake Shelton Brings Country Music to “Saturday Night Live”

Image Courtesy Dana Edelson/NBC

Blake Shelton brought country music to Saturday Night Live in a big way as the host and musical guest this past weekend.

In addition to performing his #1 hits “Neon Light” and “Boys Round Here,”, Blake recreated the “Picking and Grinning” segment from the classic country variety show Hee Haw for his monologue. Several SNL cast members, dressed in gingham and overalls, joined Blake onstage for the Hee Haw bit, but his attempts at teaching them about G-rated country humor went south very quickly.

 

 

Next up, Blake wore a blonde wig and moustache to look like Alan Jackson for the ’90s-inspired music video, “Wishin’ Boot,” co-starring Aidy Bryant as a version of Wynonna and Kate McKinnon dressed up like Reba. The inspirational song parody told the story of a boot that mysteriously appeared to grant wishes for the down-and-out.

The country theme continued with Blake playing an Iowa farmer looking for love in “Farm Hunk,” a version of ABC’s The Bachelor. He actually played himself in a Celebrity Family Feud sketch with the SNL players in the role of Blake’s fellow coaches from The Voice taking on the American Idol judges. Later, Blake played a singer/songwriter performing a disturbing love song he had to write for his landlord. He closed out the show with turns as a Texas parole board officer and a heckler at a magic show.

Blake joins a short list of country stars to host Saturday Night Live, including Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash.


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Canaan Smith Shares a Frigid Moment with Dierks Bentley

UMG NashvilleWhen tickets go on sale Monday for the Sounds of Summer tour, newcomer Canaan Smith will already have a major bonding moment under his belt with headliner Dierks Bentley — one he calls “the worst experience of my life.” Dierks enlisted his tourmates, including Kip Moore and Maddie & Tae, to take part in his annual Polar Plunge this January.

“It was so freaking cold. The ride out to the middle of the lake on the pontoon was miserable enough, and then when we took our clothes off and jumped in subzero water, that was another thing,” Canaan recalls. “Then riding back against the wind to the shore was the cherry on top,”

He’s looking forward to performing his latest hit, “Love You Like That,” in a warmer climate, when Dierks’ tour kicks off June 5 in Raleigh, North Carolina.


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Kip Moore Remembers How Ronnie Dunn Inspired Him During Lean Times

Image Courtesy MCA NashvilleKip Moore recalls how Ronnie Dunn inspired him to keep pursuing his dreams, in the latest installment of the YouTube series Backstage at the Ryman.

“Ronnie Dunn played here, doing a solo acoustic thing one time… It was right when I first moved to town. Ronnie Dunn blew me away in this building, like blew me away, his voice was so magical,” Kip remembers. “That was probably the second year I’d been living here and I’d never had the money the first year to get in, so I remember how hard that hit me in the chest and just being like, ‘Gosh I gotta get on that stage, somehow.’”

Last October, Kip realized his dream, as he delivered his own sold-out show at the Ryman Auditorium. Now that he’s successful, Kip admits you’ll still find him hanging out at the same bar near Music Row as he did when he was struggling.

“When I do come home, I spent so much time in the back room of Losers, playing shuffle board and drinking a few beers, long before we started traveling a lot. It’s always fun to go back in there,” he says. “A lot of the same characters are in there, propped up at the bar, they’re playing a lot of the classic music on the jukebox and stuff. It’s a cool place.”

You should start hearing Kip’s new single, “I’m To Blame,” on country radio next month.


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Hit Songwriter Chris Stapleton Releases First Solo Album

Becky Fluke/Mercury Records NashvilleWith five number ones already under his belt and album cuts by artists as diverse as Adele and Brad Paisley, writer Chris Stapleton is set to release his first album as a solo artist this spring. Though you may not be familiar with his voice, Chris has penned hits like Kenny Chesney’s “Never Wanted Nothing More,” “Drink a Beer” by Luke Bryan, and George Strait’s “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright.”

Though he’s most often hit the road with his bluegrass band The SteelDrivers, Chris sets out on the Pain Killer Tour with Little Big Town in March, before heading out with Eric Church in May. His album, Traveller, comes out May 5. Fans can preview the record on Vevo now.


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Hunter Hayes Plots Collaboration with Ed Sheeran

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleHunter Hayes is dying to collaborate with British hitmaker Ed Sheeran, and he’s hoping he might have the chance to bring it up at this year’s Grammys. Sheeran, known for his hits like “Don’t,” is set to sing on the show, while Hunter is up for Best Country Solo Performance for “Invisible.”

“There’s tons of people who want to work with him who are way more capable than I am, so how do you even sell it? Do you bet him? Or bribe him? I might have to bribe him,” he jokes to Yahoo Celebrity.

But it turns out the two have met before.

“It was after the Grammys, the first year that I went because afterwards I went to a Justin Timberlake concert and he was there, so we shook hands and talked a little bit,” he recalls. “Probably the place I talked to him the most was after that, when he joined Taylor Swift on her Red tour. So we know each other and we are acquainted so we will see what happens. Still, there’s no pressure, Ed.”

While Sheeran collaborated with Taylor as she was developing more of a pop following, Hunter says he’s not necessarily looking to cross over.

“I’m absolutely country at heart, and that’s just me,” he says. “It’s not necessarily a choice kind of thing, but it is a home.”


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