Darius Rucker Shares the Spotlight with His Dog, Shula, on New Christmas Album, “Home for the Holidays”

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleFans who pick up Darius Rucker‘s new Christmas album, Home for the Holidays, will notice an adorable little white dog sitting next to Darius on the back cover photo. It turns out that’s Darius’s four-year-old pup, Shula, who was just hanging out at the house when Darius did the quick photo shoot for the new album.

“We’re on the back porch and we’re taking pictures, and Shula just comes up and stands next to me,” Darius explains. “My wife was like, ‘Shula! Come here!’ [The dog] looked at her like, ‘I’m gonna be in this picture.’ She just sat there, so we took it.”

Darius ended up loving that photograph with Shula, who he describes an “awesome dog.”

Says Darius, “She’s one of the smartest dogs I’ve ever dealt with in my life. She’s just so smart. But yeah, she’s a great dog.”

Look for Darius to sing “White Christmas” on NBC’s Christmas in Rockefeller Center Wednesday night at 8 ET. Trisha Yearwood and LeAnn Rimes are also on the bill.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Jason, Luke, Miranda, Florida Georgia Line and Keith Urban Honored as “CMT Artists of the Year”

Image Courtesy CMTJason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Florida Georgia Line and Keith Urban were honored Tuesday night as CMT Artists of the Year in a televised special broadcast live from Nashville.

Jason Aldean kicked off the CMT Artists of the Year 2014 special, singing his brand-new single, “Just Gettin’ Started,” with a little help from rocker Chris Cornell of Soundgarden on guitar and background vocals. Kenny Chesney was on hand to present his pal Jason with his Artist of the Year trophy.

During his speech, Jason sent out his thoughts and prayers to fellow Artist of the Year honoree Luke Bryan, who was unable to attend the event due to the death of his brother-in-law. Lady Antebellum stepped in to perform an acoustic version of Luke’s hit, “Drink a Beer,” with the songwriter, Chris Stapleton.

Luke tweeted after their performance, “That was amazing. Truly. Thank you Charles, Dave, Hillary and Chris! Beautiful!!! Thank you fans for your love.”

Miranda Lambert sang “Holding on to You” from her latest album, Platinum, and she even had Nicole Kidman singing along in the audience. Miranda’s friends, Ashley Monroe and NASCAR driver Danica Patrick, were on hand to pay tribute to Miranda.

Florida Georgia Line delivered their latest hit, “Sun Daze,” before accepting their Artist of the Year trophy from hip-hop star Wiz Khalifa.

Keith Urban performed James Brown‘s R&B classic “It’s Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” backed up by an all-female band. Chris Cornell returned to the stage to present Keith with his trophy.


The evening closed out with Eric Church, Ashley Monroe and T-Bone Burnett performing “Workin’ Man Blues” in musical tribute to the first-ever CMT Artist of a Lifetime recipient, Merle Haggard.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockTim McGraw has been inducted into the Headwear Association’s Headwear Hall of Fame this year in recognition of his signature, black cowboy hat.

Reba, Little Big Town, Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown Band and Dolly Parton are among the stars who have decorated Christmas trees now on display at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville. Fans can bid on the trees now through December 31 at OprylandParadeofTrees.com. Proceeds will benefit a charity of the artist’s choosing.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Lucy Hale Launching The Road Between Tour January 29, 2015 in Boston

Image Courtesy Monarch/Sasha EisenmanLucy Hale heads out on The Road Between tour starting January 29 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Pretty Little Liars star-turned-country singer will perform songs fromm her debut album, The Road Between, including the singles “You Sound Good to Me” and “Lie a Little Better.”

Lucy says, “It’s been a dream come true for me to have released my first album this year. To be able to hit the road and perform is so exciting. I look forward to seeing everyone in 2015!”

Here are Lucy’s 2015 tour dates:

1/29 — Boston, MA, Paradise
1/30 — New York, NY, Gramercy Theatre
1/31 — Philadelphia, PA, Trocadero Theatre
2/3 — Washington, D.C., The Fillmore
2/4 — Charlotte, NC, The Fillmore
2/5 — Nashville, TN, 3rd & Lindsley
2/7 — Atlanta, GA, The Loft

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Dan + Shay Announce Dates for Where It All Began Tour Starting in February 2015

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleDan + Shay will kick off their Where It All Began tour February 28, 2015 in Knoxville, Tennessee. The trek features newcomer Canaan Smith in the opening slot and will continue through late April. More dates will be announced soon.

Fans can also catch Dan + Shay performing on CBS’s Home for the Holidays December 19 at 8 p.m. ET. They just released a special holiday video for “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” as a thank you to fans, as well.

Here are the Where It All Began tour dates:

2/28 — Knoxville, TN, Cotton Eyed Joe’s
3/1 — Charlotte, NC, Amo’s Southend
3/3 — Raleigh, NC, Lincoln Theatre
3/5 — Columbia, SC, Music Farm
3/11 — Fayetteville, AR, George’s Majestic Lounge
3/12 — Baton Rouge, LA, Varsity Theatre
3/13 — Houston, TX, House of Blues
3/14 — Dallas, TX, House of Blues
3/17 — El Paso, TX, Whiskey Dick’s
3/19 — San Diego, CA, House of Blues
3/20 — Anaheim, CA, House of Blues
3/21 — Las Vegas, NV, Brooklyn Bowl
3/23 — San Francisco, CA, The Regency Ballroom
3/24 — Sacramento, CA, Ace of Spades
3/25 — Portland, OR, Wonder Ballroom
3/27 — Spokane, WA, Knitting Factory
3/28 — Seattle, WA, Showbox at Market
3/29 — Vancouver, BC (CAN), Commodore Ballroom
4/1 — Boise, ID, Knitting Factory
4/2 — Salt Lake City, UT, The Depot
4/3 — Denver, CO, Ogden Theatre
4/4 — Kansas City, MO, Arvest Bank Theatre @ Midland
4/9 — Pittsburgh, PA, Stage AE
4/11 — Sayreville, NJ, Starland Ballroom
4/12 — Boston, MA, Paradise Rock Club
4/14 — Toronto, ON (CAN), Mod Club
4/15 — Buffalo, NY, Town Ballroom
4/21 — St. Louis, MO, The Pageant
4/24 — Royal Oak, MI, Royal Oak Music Theatre
4/25 — Chicago, IL, Joe’s on Weed Street

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Kenny Chesney and Zac Brown Band Headlining 2015 Tortuga Music Festival

Image Courtesy Taryn Pray PRKenny Chesney and Zac Brown Band have signed on to headline the 3rd Annual Tortuga Music Festival April 11 and 12, 2015. The event takes place in Fort Lauderdale with Little Big Town, Jake Owen, Sam Hunt, Maddie & Tae, Frankie Ballard, Chase Rice and David Nail also on the bill.

Tickets are on sale this Friday morning at TortugaMusicFestival.com. The festival seeks to raise awareness about conservation efforts to protect the world’s oceans. Last year’s event raised more than $100,000 towards that cause.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Tim McGraw Can’t Get Enough Football This Time of Year

Image Courtesy Big Machine RecordsTim McGraw is glued to the TV these days watching as much football as possible. His love spans professional, college and even high school football. In fact, Tim is a regular at Ensworth High School’s football games in Nashville.

Says Tim, “You know, our daughter’s a cheerleader — Maggie. So, we try to make all the games. We rarely miss one, although I had to miss a few because I’m working.”

When Tim isn’t watching football, he’s usually watching football coverage.

He says, “Now if I’m gonna watch anything about what happened in football that I missed, I’m certainly gonna have it on ESPN.”

On the music front, Tim is climbing the country chart with “Shotgun Rider,” the latest single from his album, Sundown Heaven Town.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is Luke Bryan‘s wife’s name? ANSWER: Caroline.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockMiranda Lambert‘s Platinum comes in at #5 on Rolling Stone‘s list of the 50 Best Albums of 2014. Eric Church’s latest offering, The Outsiders, also made the cut at #21.

Craig Campbell has signed a new deal with Red Bow Records and will release new music in 2015.

Kip Moore will kick off his 2015 headlining tour January 27 in Missoula, MT.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Brad Paisley’s Moonshine Spirit Clothing Line Now on Sale at Boot Barn

Image Courtesy Boot BarnBrad Paisley‘s new clothing line, Moonshine Spirit, is now available at Boot Barn’s 165 locations. The clothes were inspired by Brad’s latest album, Moonshine in the Trunk, as well as his concept of what country music is all about.

Says Brad, “What we were trying to do was create clothing that is the kind of things I want to wear, that I want to look like, that is the image that I think of as country and modern and a little bit progressive and a little bit rugged and all of those things that you think of when you think of modern country music.”

Brad collaborated with the designers at Boot Barn to create the clothing line, and he thinks they got it just right.

“The folks that put this together came up with some of the coolest clothing I’ve ever seen, and it’s exclusive to Boot Barn,” Brad says. You’ve got to go there to get it.”

The clothing line includes boots, shirts, jeans, T-shirts, ball caps and a leather jacket.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio