Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockKenny Rogers will reunite with the original members of The First Edition for a panel discussion at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville Saturday, January 17. The program is being presented in conjunction with Kenny’s current Hall of Fame exhibit, Kenny Rogers: Though the Years.

Zac Brown Band will debut their new single, “Homegrown,” on ESPN’s College Football Playoff Championship Tailgate on Monday, January 12.

According to Billboard, Luke Bryan‘s name was the most-searched subject of 2014 on Ticketmaster’s website.

Singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc will join Lady Antebellum for a special performance on the CMT Ultimate Kickoff Party Live from the College Football Playoff National Championship special. The show premieres Friday night at 9 ET on CMT.

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Tim McGraw Loves Seeing Keith Urban Represent Country Music on “American Idol”

Image Courtesy Big Machine RecordsTim McGraw has served as country music’s ambassador to the mainstream many times through his work in movies or performances on multi-genre TV shows. So, Tim’s endorsement of his “Highway Don’t Care” collaborator Keith Urban as a judge on American Idol carries some real weight.

“He’s one of my favorite people,” Tim says of his pal Keith. “He’s a really good guy, and as far as somebody who represents country music and the face of somebody, and the music of somebody that you would want out there representin’ what you do, he’s certainly somebody that I would want to hold up and put a light on, for us.”

Look for Keith to return to American Idol Wednesday night at 8 ET on Fox.

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Maddie & Tae Look to Marilyn Monroe and Dolly Parton for Career Inspiration

Image Courtesy Dot RecordsIt looks like country duo Maddie & Tae are laying the groundwork for a long-lasting career, based on the women they look up to for career guidance. Tae Dye points to the late screen legend Marilyn Monroe as the person she’d most like to chat with, because of her her intelligence and beauty. Tae feels Marilyn’s status as a timeless, yet curvy beauty ties in nicely with their debut anthem, “Girl in a Country Song.”

Tae says of the Marilyn, “Back then, she was beautiful and perfect and now days she’d be considered a plus-size model, which is ridiculous.”

Tae’s duo partner, Maddie Marlow, wants to meet up with another larger-then-life blonde for advice.

“I really wanna sit down with Dolly Parton,” Maddie says, “and just see how she has been so poised throughout her whole entire career, but still like a strong, take-no-prisoners, very strong, independent woman. I would love to get some advice from her.”

Maddie & Tae have just released their brand-new single, “Fly,” to country radio. It’s the second release from their self-titled EP, available now.

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Toby Keith’s Restaurant Chain Closes Three Locations, Announces Plans for Three New Markets

Image Courtesy Show Dog/UniversalToby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill is going through some strategic changes with plans to open three new locations in College Station,TX; Lansing, MI; and Phoenix, AZ in the first quarter. The announcement comes as the restaurant’s parent company, Boomtown Entertainment, closed locations in Houston, TX; Folsom, CA; and Newport News, VA, over the holiday as part of a restructuring.

Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill currently operates in 14 cities.

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Florida Georgia Line, Kacey Musgraves Make “Forbes” 30 Under 30 in Music List

Image Courtesy Dick Clark Productions/ABCFlorida Georgia Line and Kacey Musgraves have made Forbes magazine’s annual 30 Under 30 in Music list for 2015. As always, the list includes the most influential and successful music acts under 30, although musicians who made the list in previous years, like Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars, weren’t eligible for repeat appearances this time around. That means new faces — including pop acts Ed Sheeran, Meghan Trainor, Sam Smith and Iggy Azalea — are also among those making the list for the first time.

Florida Georgia Line, who earned an estimated $24 million last year, leads this year’s pack with a full interview accompanying the 30 Under 30 countdown. The guys are definitely honored to be on the Forbes‘ radar.

“It’s a huge honor to be named one of the 30 Under 30. For us, it’s something that if you’d asked us three years ago, we would’ve laughed at you,” says FGL’s Tyler Hubbard. “We had about negative $30 in our bank account about two years ago. I’m not really exaggerating.”

Tyler’s duo partner Brian Kelley adds, “Forbes is one of those prestigious outlets, you feel like can’t touch it, you can’t get near it. It’s well respected, it’s big time. So it is an honor. Very, very surreal for us to be a part of anything Forbes.”

Florida Georgia Line will take their unique brand of country music overseas to the U.K. and Australia this year. Their Anything Goes tour launches January 15 in Toledo, OH.

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Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard Still Not Able to Fully Grasp Their Runaway Success

Image Courtesy Republic NashvilleFlorida Georgia Line has been one of the hottest acts in country music since their debut hit, “Cruise,” took over the airwaves in 2012.  Now that it’s 2015, you’d think they’d be used to fame and success — but the duo’s Tyler Hubbard insists they’re still blown away by it all.

“We’ve been tryin’ to wrap our mind around just what’s goin’ on,” Tyler says of their success.  “It’s been a dream come true and a huge blessing for us and somethin’ that we could have never imagined.”

Tyler credits FGL’s fans for making all their success possible.

He says, “It’s a huge testament to our fans that have made our dreams come true and sold out all these shows and just showed up and spread the word. We see it every night, it’s unbelievable.”

Of course, country radio has gotten Florida Georgia Line’s music out to those fans, and Tyler applauds the programmers for taking a chance on the duo’s hip-hop influenced sound.

Says Tyler, “Country radio has been amazing to us and truly accepted us for who we are and what we wanna do and our sound, and a sound that we believe in, and kind of a ‘get out of the box’ a little bit — it’s a beautiful thing.”

Florida Georgia Line is racing up the country chart with their latest hit, “Sun Daze.” It’s the follow-up to their #1 hit ballad, “Dirt.” Both songs are included on the duo’s sophomore album, Anything Goes, out now.

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockSam Hunt‘s debut album, Montevallo, is named for a town in which southern state? ANSWER: Alabama.

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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockFlorida Georgia Line‘s Brian Kelley is man enough to get a pedicure with his wife, Brittany. He posted an Instagram photo of himself in the nail salon with the caption, “Gotta freshen up my feet for the beach!”


I let @bcole429 talk me in to getting a pedicure. Gotta freshen up my feet for the beach!

A photo posted by Brian Kelley (@playbkplay) on Jan 1, 2015 at 12:23pm PST


Garth Brooks is spending a sixth non-consecutive week at #1 on Billboard‘s Country Albums chart with his latest project, Man Against Machine.

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Chase Bryant Thankful He Got to Release Debut EP on His Own Terms

Image Courtesy Red Bow RecordsCountry newcomer Chase Bryant is kicking off 2015 with his debut hit, “Take It on Back,” all over the radio. The song is the lead single from Chase’s self-titled debut EP, and the 22-year-old singer/songwriter/guitarist wants fans to know just how intimately involved he was in making the new music.

Chase tells ABC News Radio, “If you listen to that record, you know it’s me because I’m singing it, I’m playing it, I’m producing it, I’m writing it. It’s the Chase Bryant record. It’s like, that, for me, is something I hold close, I cherish.”

Chase signed his record deal in the summer of 2013, and immediately began work on his EP. He says he’s thankful his record label gave him creative control over the project, despite his rookie status.

Says Chase, “I’m very happy that I got the leeway, and got to run and grow my wings, as just a musician and as an artist.”

Chase gets back on the road January 23 with a show in Madison, WI.

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Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Sell 131 Acres of Farmland for $3M

Red Light ManagementTim McGraw and Faith Hill have sold 131 acres of their 750-acre farm in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee, for $3 million, the Tennessean reported Friday.

The new owners, Brian and Carin Terp of Houston, plan to build a home on the land.

The remaining 621 acres are available for $18.5 million, or as separate 353-acre and 268-acre tracts for $10 million and $8.5 million, respectively, realtor Steve Fridrich told the newspaper. The 353-acre track includes a log home, 12-stall barn and caretaker residence.  The 268 acres includes an antebellum home.

Tim and Faith purchased all 750 acres 13 years ago for $13.75 million and used the farm as a second home before putting it up for sale last year, according to The Tennessean.

Fridrich noted that while “the owners would’ve liked to sell it as one…the demand seems to be stronger from something smaller than 750 acres.”

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