Miranda Lambert Leading the Celebration on “Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular” Friday

Image Courtesy David Giesbrecht/NBCMiranda Lambert is leading the celebration on Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular live from New York City’s Brooklyn Bridge Friday night. She’s set to perform along with Hunter Hayes and Zac Brown Band on the annual special.

“Getting to bring joy through my music to people, to come together and celebrate music and celebrate our country is such a great feeling,” Miranda says. “To see the flags waving in the air in the crowd, it makes you smile. Just a permanent smile on my face.”

Look for Miranda to sing her new songs “Platinum” and “Priscilla” on the special. Her husband, Blake Shelton, won’t be performing with her, but Miranda plans to spend some time with him on Independence Day.

She says, “One of us tries to not be working so we can be together on the Fourth, and there’s always sparklers involved on the Fourth for me. That’s my big thing. I gotta have sparklers.”

Miranda goes on to say Fourth of July is one of her favorite holidays, but she always takes a moment to reflect on the reason for the celebration.

“It’s about freedom, and freedom is what we get to have by living in this country,” Miranda explains, “and we get to do what we love and be who we are without fear ’cause we live in a free country. We need to celebrate all the people that fought for us and that serve our country to let us live this amazing life.”

Nick Cannon hosts the two-hour Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular special at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line and Eric Church Dominate Mid-Year Country Sales Numbers

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLuke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line and Eric Church dominate the 2014 mid-year album and single sales figures, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Luke and FGL’s single, “This Is How We Roll,” is the #1 digital track so far with more than 1.5 million copies sold. Luke’s “Play It Again” is at #2 on that list with just under 1.3 million downloads.

Eric Church‘s The Outsiders is country’s biggest-selling album so far, with 642,000 units scanned. Luke’s Crash My Party is second, with 455,000 copies sold this year, while Brantley Gilbert follows at #3, selling 412,000 copies of his latest album, Just As I Am.  

Albums sales and digital download figures are down significantly this year as fans switch from purchasing music to streaming it.

Here are the top 10 best-selling country albums so far this year:

1) Eric Church, The Outsiders
2) Luke Bryan, Crash My Party
3) Brantley Gilbert, Just As I Am
4) Florida Georgia Line, Here’s to the Good Times
5) Miranda Lambert, Platinum
6) Cole Swindell, Cole Swindell
7) Dierks Bentley, Riser
8) Blake Shelton, Based on a True Story
9) Jennifer Nettles, That Girl
10) Johnny Cash, Out Among the Stars

Here are the top 10 best-selling country digital songs so far this year:

1) Florida Georgia Line featuring Luke Bryan, “This Is How We Roll”
2) Luke Bryan, “Play It Again”
3) Brantley Gilbert, “Bottoms Up”
4) Jake Owen, “Beachin’”
5) Keith Urban, “Cop Car”
6) Eric Church, “Give Me Back My Hometown”
7) Luke Bryan, “Drink a Beer”
8) Jerrod Niemann, “Drink to That All Night”
9) Thomas Rhett, “Get Me Some of That”
10) Rascal Flatts, “Rewind”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Taylor Swift’s RED Tour is Now the Highest-Grossing Trek in Country Music History

Image Courtesy Ash Newell/13 ManagementTaylor Swift‘s RED tour raked in more than $150 million in the last 15 months, making it the highest-grossing tour in the history of country music, according to Billboard Boxscore. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill‘s Soul2Soul tour had the previous record with $141 million earned in 2006 and 2007.

Taylor’s latest trek hit four continents with 86 shows in 12 different countries. More than 1.7 million fans around the world saw the RED Tour, which kicked off March 13, 2013 in Omaha, Nebraska and wrapped up June 12, 2014 with a final show in Singapore. In addition to the Asian and North American dates, Taylor also hit Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Two of Garth Brooks’ Five Dublin Concerts Canceled Due to Permit Issues

Image Courtesy Pearl RecordsTwo of Garth Brooks‘ five sold-out shows at Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland have been canceled, and now the promoter says it’s “up in the air” if any of Garth’s shows will take place at all.

According to the Irish Independent, the Dublin City Council only approved licenses for three of the dates, so the July 28 and 29 dates are now scrapped. At this point, the shows on July 25, 26 and 27 are scheduled to proceed as planned, but that arrangement is reportedly in breach of the contract Garth signed with the promoter for five concerts.

In other Garth news, he’s expected to make a big announcement Monday.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Brantley Gilbert Reflects on His Arlington National Cemetery Experience

Image Courtesy Valory Music Co.Brantley Gilbert tries to include the U.S. military in just about every major project of his career, which explains why he teamed with Folds of Honor for his recent Just as I Am album launch. That organization helps the families of fallen or disabled soldiers, and Brantley was proud to have them play a major role in his recent motorcycle ride from Athens, Georgia, to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Brantley says, “I can’t speak for soldiers, but I would imagine if I were to pass away, that’s the main thing I would want taken care of is my family. So, it was awesome to be a part of.”

As for wrapping up his bike ride with a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Brantley adds, “Being involved with something like that, it was awesome to be able to take the attention from a record release and shine it on something that really, really matters. Those guys have paid the ultimate sacrifice and lost limbs and lives.”

For more information on Folds of Honor, visit FoldsofHonor.org.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockSara Evans and her husband, Jay, live in which southern city? ANSWER: Birmingham, Alabama.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Little Big Town Treating the Troops to Some “Day Drinking” This 4th of July

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLittle Big Town has a pair of shows performing for troops in Louisiana and Oklahoma this weekend, and they hope the service members can kick back and do some “Day Drinking” as they enjoy the music.

LBT’s Karen Fairchild says, “We’ll entertain and watch them day drink, and then I’m sure we will participate at some point out of pressure.”

The group’s Kimberly Schlapman hopes to get in a little libation while watching the fireworks, too. Litlte Big Town’s tour dates are all available at LittleBigTown.com.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockSara Evans will perform on PBS’s A Capitol Fourth special Friday at 8 p.m. ET.

Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town have contributed vocals to gospel star Michael W. Smith‘s upcoming Christmas album.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Stars Share Their Go-To Patriotic Songs This 4th of July

Image Courtesy Broken Bow RecordsCountry artists will be performing across the nation this weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July, so we asked a few stars which patriotic songs they’ll be working into their sets.

Dustin Lynch usually goes for the classic, “God Bless the U.S.A.” He says, “I’m trying to get my Lee Greenwood channeled here.”

Eric Paslay has a bit of experience performing the national anthem at Major League Baseball games, but it still makes him nervous to take on that big song.

“It’s such a scary song because we all know it, quote-unquote,” says Eric, “and then you start thinking, just the language it was written in, you get it mixed up easy. I haven’t mixed it up yet”

Thompson Square traveled the world earlier this year entertaining troops in Australia, Japan and a few other spots. During those shows, the duo adopted Tom Petty‘s “I Won’t Back Down” as their anthem for the soldiers. Thompson Square isn’t actually performing his Fourth of July, but they plan to carry on an Independence Day tradition in Chicago.

The duo’s Keifer Thompson tells ABC News Radio, “We always end up in Chicago on the Fourth. We have a hotel that we all stay at. We park the buses out in the parking lot and we grill out, and we shoot some fireworks off. Last three years, and this year again, we’re gonna be there.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Martina McBride Reveals Why She Took a Left Turn with Hit Album, “Everlasting”

Image Courtesy Vinyl RecordingsMartina McBride has earned rave reviews for her R&B-inspired covers album, Everlasting, but she didn’t just wake up one day and decide to make this unique project. The landscape of today’s country radio doesn’t quite fit her style, so she eventually decided to strike out in a new creative direction.

Martina tells Utah’s The Park Record, “I’m not able to do that bro-country thing. So what do I do? Do I sit around and wait for the next trend or do I make a record? This made sense to me at this time to dive into a musical project without worrying about singles or sales.”

Martina’s bet paid off when Everlasting debuted at #1 on Billboard‘s Country Albums chart earlier this year. She’s now on the road with a big production and an 11-piece band performing songs from Everlasting. Go to MartinaMcBride.com to see where she’s playing next.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio