Rascal Flatts and CMA Foundation Make Big Donation to Help Fund Music Education

Image Courtesy CMA/Greenroom PRRascal Flatts surprised a group of students at Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles with a special delivery of new musical instruments. The Flatts teamed up with the CMA Foundation to announce a $150,000 donation to Little Kids Rock, an organization donating music teacher training, instruments and other resources to public school districts facing budget cuts.

Rascal Flatts guitarist Joe Don Rooney says, “With all three of us having children ourselves, organizations like Little Kids Rock really resonate with us. To be able to give back to young music makers and to do it with our friends at the CMA Foundation is really humbling and the best part of what we do.”

The students at Miramonte Elementary in L.A. are among the kids at 1,300 schools nationwide benefiting from the efforts of Little Kids Rock.

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Chris Young Hosting 14th Annual Fan Club Party June 10 at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House

Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleChris Young will hold his 14th Annual Fan Club Party at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville the morning of Wednesday, June 10. Tickets go on sale Monday, February 23 to current and new members of Chris’s fan club at ChrisYoungCountry.com. The party includes a performance, a meet-and-greet with Chris, and a guided backstage tour of the Opry House.

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“The Voice” Coaches Open Season 8 with “Are You Gonna Go My Way” Performance

Image Courtesy Trae Patton/NBCThe Voice coaches are kicking the new season off with a bang. Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams and returning coach Christina Aguilera are set to open the season eight premiere with a rousing performance of Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way.”

Entertainment Weekly has an exclusive clip of the show-stopping number. The coaches all take turns singing while Blake rocks out on guitar. Christina, who will guest star on ABC’s Nashville in the coming weeks, belts out the tune with her trademark powerhouse vocals. All together, the group brings the audience to its feet.

The Voice’s new season begins February 23 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

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Eric Church and Wife, Katherine, Welcome Second Son, Tennessee Hawkins Church

Image Courtesy John Peets/EMI NashvilleCongratulations to Eric Church and his wife, Katherine, on the birth of their second son, Tennessee Hawkins Church. The little boy, who they plan to call Hawk, was born on Sunday, February 15 weighing six pounds, 12 ounces and measuring 21 inches long.

Eric says, “I’m thrilled that Hawk and his mom are doing well. We aren’t sleeping very much, but we are enjoying every part of this incredible journey.  I’m very blessed and thankful.”

Hawk joins Eric’s older son Boone McCoy in the family.

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Jason Aldean Says Relationship with His Fiancée, Brittany, Feels “Better than It Ever Has”

Image Courtesy CMAJason Aldean is looking forward to a drama-free 2015 as he continues his Burn It Down Tour this weekend with a hometown show in Nashville. He got engaged to girlfriend Brittany Kerr last year after finalizing his divorce from his first wife, Jessica Ussery. Jason was caught kissing Brittany in 2012 while he was still married, but it looks like they’re putting that situation behind them now.

“Honestly, it feels a lot better than it ever has,” Jason tells The Tennessean. “I think that people see [my relationship with Brittany Kerr] is something real and legitimate. It wasn’t some random crazy thing. It feels different than it ever has now, and it allows us to actually enjoy it a little bit and not walk around with our helmets on.”

Tickets for Jason’s Saturday night show in Music City are sold out. Tyler Farr and Cole Swindell are in the opening slots.

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Brad Paisley Designs T-Shirt to Raise Money for Firefighters Nationwide

Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleBrad Paisley makes his living singing and playing guitar, but he comes from a family full of firefighters. That’s why he’s teaming up with Diageo-Guinness USA to help raise $1 million for firefighters across the country by St. Patrick’s Day 2015.

Says Brad, “My father was a volunteer firefighter and showed me at an early age the sacrifices made every day by firefighters and how important what they do is to their communities.”

Brad teamed up with the company’s fundraising initiative by designing a T-shirt for sale at GuinnessGivesBack.com as well as at more than 1,700 in-bar events across the country. Proceeds will benefit The Leary Firefighters Foundation to help provide resources, training and technology to firefighters.

Brad adds, “I’m so excited to be a part of the Guinness initiative knowing their work with The LFF has such an impact on the safety, effectiveness and overall lives of firefighters.”   

Brad’s custom-designed t-shirt will be available for a $20 donation through St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWho was Kenny Chesney‘s duet partner on the 2007 single, “Shiftwork?” ANSWER: George Strait.

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Additional Tickets Going on Sale for ACM Awards and ACM Party for a Cause Friday

Image Courtesy ACMA few more tickets for the 50th Annual ACM Awards are going on sale Friday through Ticketmaster.com for the 50th Annual ACM Awards April 19 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Additional tickets are going on sale for the ACM Party for a Cause festival April 17 and 18 at Globe Life Park in Arlington, too. The new seats were made available thanks to creative stage designing for the events.

A limited number of VIP packages are also available for the 50th Annual ACM Awards by calling 1-817-892-4400.

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Lady Antebellum Donates Music Instruments to Canadian School

Capitol NashvileLady Antebellum surprised an Ontario, Canada, elementary school on Tuesday night with new instruments for its music program.

With the help of their record label, Universal Nashville, and other organizations, the band donated more than 35 instruments to staffers of Fitch Street Elementary School in Welland, Ontario, backstage at their concert at Niagara Fallsview Casino.

The donation was a continuation of Lady A’s 7FOR7 campaign, during which they spent a week traveling the country granting wishes for fans. The campaign was named after their most recent album, 747.

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“Nashville” Recap: “I’m Lost Between Right and Wrong”

Image Courtesy ABCThe truth came out about Mayor Teddy Conrad‘s brief relationship with a prostitute on Wednesday’s Nashville. In light of that revelation, Rayna Jaymes decided their daughters, Maddie and Daphne, would no longer be allowed to stay at Teddy’s house. Edgehill Republic record label president Jeff Fordham had used Teddy’s affair as leverage to get him to sign his oldest daughter, Maddie, to a recording contract with Edgehill. When she found out about the signing, Rayna went into Jeff’s board meeting with the chairman of the label to expose Jeff’s underhanded dealings in Maddie’s record deal. The chairman voided the deal and fired Jeff, who sought comfort from young singer Layla Grant at the end of the episode.

Sadie Stone‘s abusive ex-husband, Pete, tracked her down to the recording studio in Nashville despite her restraining order against him. Sadie was later served with papers that Pete is suing to enforce a management agreement they signed years ago. Pete continued stalking Sadie outside the recording studio, but he left when Sadie reminded him the security cameras would prove he was in violation of the restraining order. Sadie and her producer, Avery Barkley, then went on to create a great recording of her new song, “Sad Song,” inspired by her situation with Pete.

In his ongoing efforts to get over Rayna jilting him on their wedding day, Luke Wheeler invited Gunnar Scott and Will Lexington for a boys’ night out on the town. After a night of drinking and dancing with random girls, the guys woke up with rough hangovers.  Gunnar went on to burn old pictures of himself with his late brother, Jason, and his ex-girlfriend, Kylie. You’ll recall Kylie cheated on Gunnar with Jason, and it turns out Jason is the father of Kylie’s child, Micah. As he tossed the photos in the fire, Gunnar told Will, “I look at these smiling faces. All I see are lies now.”

In real life, Sam Palladio, who plays Gunnar Scott, has nothing but happy memories of the music he’s helped create on Nashville over the last three seasons. The cast has produced seven albums’ worth of material since the show premiered in 2012, and Sam admits he often goes back and listens to some of the songs from earlier seasons.

Sam tells ABC News Radio, “They come on my shuffle quite a lot. I’m like, ‘Oh, this one was great!'”

He especially loves going back to the song he sang on the show’s first season, “Shine,” which was written by his friend Trent Dabbs and rising country star, Ashley Monroe.

Sam continues,  A lot of the season one material stood out — The Civil Wars, “If I Didn’t Know Better,” the very first song is always going to have a real place on the mantelpiece as a moment in  time and a song that really helped all our careers sort of get this far as it closed that pilot episode.

Gunnar’s songs performed with his ex-girlfriend Zoey and pal Avery, collectively known as ZAG, were also highlights for Sam.

“We get a new incarnation of that band in the latter half of this season coming up, ’cause Zoey went and dumped Gunnar,” Sam says. “He’s always having somebody dump him or reject him. Or finding out that his new little love of his life, little Micah, that’s not his. Oh, it’s heartbreaking. Oh, dear!”

Music from all three seasons of Nashville, including this week’s featured track, “Sad Song,” is available on iTunes. Nashville returns with a brand-new episode next Wednesday night at 10 ET on ABC.

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