Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium Undergoing Expansion and Renovation Project

Photo Courtesy Hastings Architecture Associates LLCThe Mother Church of Country Music is getting a makeover. Owners of Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium announced on Thursday a $14 million renovation and expansion project that will add an event space and a state-of-the-art tour attraction that will share the Ryman’s history with visitors. A café and expanded retail space also will be added to the Ryman, but the actual auditorium will remain unchanged.

The Ryman Auditorium was the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974 and is now one of the most celebrated concert venues in the country. The renovation project should be completed by June 2015.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Alan Jackson Signed His First Recording Contract 25 Years Ago Today

Schmidt RelationsThursday is the 25th anniversary of the day Alan Jackson signed his first recording contract with Arista Records. His publicist sent out a photograph of a young Alan signing the papers next to his former record label president Tim DuBois [doo-BWAH] and former manager Barry Coburn.

Alan is celebrating his 25th anniversary in the country music business with a 25-city tour launching next year. On August 29, a new exhibit spotlighting Alan’s career will open at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. He’s also set to be the Hall’s Artist in Residence, giving a series of intimate performances at the museum. Dates and other details on those shows will be announced soon.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Lee Brice Hitting the Studio with His Mom and Aunts This Summer for Gospel Album

CurbLee Brice grew up listening to his mother and her sisters sing gospel music, and the ladies even recorded an album of gospel material in Nashville at one point. Now, Lee is helping them capture that magic on tape once again.

He tells Rolling Stone, “I’m going to send a tour bus to pick them all up in South Carolina in July and bring them here to my house, and I’m going to make a new record on them. We’re going to sing classic gospel songs and have them sing in the background. I cannot wait.”

While it’s not clear if Lee’s family gospel project will be released commercially, Lee’s new solo album, I Don’t Dance, is due out September 9 featuring the hit title track.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockCarrie Underwood once covered which Motley Crue classic to serve as the exit theme song on American Idol? ANSWER: “Home Sweet Home.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Hunter Hayes Performing at 75th Anniversary of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Museum Concert

Warner Music NashvilleHunter Hayes is stepping up to the plate for a concert celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Museum on August 2. The show takes place at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, NY with Paul Simon also on the bill. Hunter will perform three songs with the Boston Pops.

Hall of Fame members Rod Carew, Rollie Fingers and Ozzie Smith are slated to make appearances, too. Ticket information is now available at

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockDierks Bentley taped a performance with hit writers Jim Beavers, Ross Copperman, Brett James and Jon Randall Wednesday night in Nashville celebrating the 10th anniversary of the CMA Songwriters Series. Look for it to air on Public Television’s Front and Center this fall.

Tim McGraw‘s new music video for “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s” featuring Faith Hill premieres Thursday on ABC’s Good Morning America. The clip features footage of Tim and Faith relaxing on their family farm in Tennessee.

According to a tweet from Sunday Night Football, Carrie Underwood worked on the opening for the NBC football franchise’s upcoming season Wednesday.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Little Big Town Had the Weather on Their Side for Sunny “Day Drinking” Video Shoot

Capitol NashvilleLittle Big Town had just one day to film their new sun-soaked video, “Day Drinking,” in Miami, but the forecast wasn’t in their favor leading up to the big shoot.

The group’s Jimi Westbrook says, “We thought it was gonna rain. Like, all week it had said 60 percent chance of rain, 75 percent chance of rain. And even that morning when we got up, it was supposed to be, but it turned out perfect and beautiful.”

LBT’s Kimberly Schlapman thinks the video director’s positive thinking may have held off the clouds.

Thinking back to their dinner the night before the shoot, Kimberly says, “Somebody said, ‘OK, what are we gonna do if it rains tomorrow? And [our director] wouldn’t even entertain the thought. Did you notice? He was like, ‘I can’t think about that. That’s not gonna happen. That’s not gonna happen.’ And it didn’t!”

The “Day Drinking” video includes scenes of Little Big Town cruising in a classic Cadillac, drinking on the beach and taking in the lovely Miami views.

The group’s Phillip Sweet adds, “Spending a day on the beach is not a bad way to shoot a video.”

Little Big Town’s “Day Drinking” video is now posted at It’s the lead single from their upcoming album, Pain Killer, due out this fall.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Dustin Lynch Ready to Release Sophomore Album, “Where It’s At,” on September 9

Broken Bow RecordsSince Dustin Lynch graduated pre-med from Nashville’s Lipscomb University, it’s easy for him to compare finishing his upcoming sophomore album, Where It’s At, with finishing a big exam or turning in a massive paper.

He tells ABC News Radio, “I think there’s a weight off your shoulders, but what I learned after the first album, you get it done, you turn it in, you’re like, ‘Wow, it’s finally done.’ Which is a good feeling, but then you realize. ‘Oh no! I’ve gotta start making the next one at some point.’”

Dustin is walking a little lighter these days now that Where It’s At is finished and ready to come out on September 9. He revealed the album cover, release date and track listing on Rolling Stone Country this week, and Dustin’s very excited to see the title track, “Where It’s At,” race up the country charts as the summer temperatures continue to rise.

“I’ve not really had a big summer hit yet, just the way my singles have worked,” Dustin explains. “‘Cowboys and Angels’ was my first one. It did pretty good over the summer, but it wasn’t a summertime-feeling song. It was kind of a ballad, so, it’s nice to have a summerish song out during summer.”

Expect to hear a lot more up-tempo tracks on Dustin’s new album.

Here’s the Where It’s At track list:

“Hell of a Night”
“To the Sky”
“After Party”
“Where It’s At”
“Mind Reader”
“Right Where We Want It”
“She Wants a Cowboy”
“World to Me”
“Sing It to Me”
“All Night”
“Middle of Nowhere”
“What You Wanna Hear”
“Your Daddy’s Boots”
“American Prayer”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Willie Nelson Enjoys Highest Chart Ranking Since 1982 with Latest Album, “Band of Brothers”

Shock InkWillie Nelson‘s new album, Band of Brothers, bows at #5 on the Billboard 200 chart this week giving the Country Music Hall of Famer the third top 10 solo set of his career on that tally. It’s his highest ranking on the Billboard 200 since Always on My Mind spent two weeks at #2 in 1982. Willie’s last album, To All the Girls, debuted at #9 last November.

Willie’s Band of Brothers debuts at #1 on Billboard‘s Country Albums chart, too.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Trace Adkins Inducted into Louisiana Music Hall of Fame

Sunshine SachsTrace Adkins was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame last Saturday night during his show in Baton Rouge, LA. During the presentation, Trace was given a membership award and a signed statement from Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.

Trace gave a shout-out to his hometown of Sarepta, LA by naming his band the Sarepta Gentleman’s Club. He’ll play a concert in Sarepta on Saturday, July 5.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio