Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockAccording to the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp., country fans spent more than $60 million in Music City during last month’s CMA Music Festival.

Willie Nelson has been named the next recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. He’ll accept the honor this November.

Kenny Chesney will host ABC’s Robin Roberts at his show in Philadelphia this weekend. Look for Robin’s behind-the-scenes look at Kenny’s touring operation to run on Good Morning America next week.

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Luke Bryan Isn’t Getting Too “Artsy” on New Album, “Kill the Lights,” Due Out August 7

Capitol NashvilleLuke Bryan is filling stadiums this summer thanks in large part to his up-tempo, party anthems like his latest hit, “Kick the Dust Up.” Though he balances that lightheartedness with more serious tunes on his new album, Kill the Lights, Luke makes no apologies for recording songs that make people want to have fun.

He says, “I feel like who I am as a person is get up and smile and have a good time and do that on stage. So, my music will always lean toward that, but I do feel like it has to gradually mature in ways, too.”

While Luke always looks to grow with each new album, you shouldn’t worry that he’ll abandon his plainspoken, country roots.

“I will never sit down and do an album for, like, critical acclaim or just to be artsy,” Luke explains. “I don’t want to do start doing all these weird lyrics, because that doesn’t speak to who I want it to speak to. You know, that doesn’t speak to my fans that come to know my music.”

As he’s always done, Luke simply stayed true to himself and recorded his favorite songs for Kill the Lights. There isn’t some grand scheme at work on the album to take the country format in a radically different direction.

He says, “I think the second you try to do it, if you try to record a pop song because you’re so popular that it’s time to do that, then you sound like a country singer that tried to record a pop song.”

Since he is the reigning ACM and CMA Entertainer of the Year, Luke knows whatever songs he puts out will have an influence on where the country format goes next. He doesn’t take that responsibility lightly.

Says Luke, “I’m amazed to be in a situation where I can make music take new routes, and I’ll try my best to do it. But then you’ll hear some other new kid come along that he don’t even know he’s [changing country music]. And he’s doing it, and that’s pretty amazing to see.”

Kill the Lights goes on sale Friday, August 7. Luke’s Kick the Dust Up tour pulls into Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville this Saturday night with special guests Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Randy Houser and Dustin Lynch.

Little Big Town Enters the History Books with Their 11-Week #1 Hit, “Girl Crush”

Capitol NashvilleLittle Big Town‘s “Girl Crush” has entered the history books as the longest-running #1 ever by a group on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. The song has topped the chart for 11 weeks, passing The Browns‘ 1959 record of 10 weeks at the top with their hit “Three Bells.”

“Girl Crush” is included on Little Big Town’s latest album, Pain Killer, available now.

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Alan Jackson Lines Up TV Appearances to Promote New Album, “Angels and Alcohol”

Capitol NashvilleAlan Jackson‘s new album, Angels and Alcohol, comes out July 17, and he’s lined up several TV appearances to promote the project.

Look for Alan to be profiled on CBS Sunday Morning July 12. He’ll perform on NBC’s Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon Wednesday, July 15, then close out next week with a Friday release date performance on NBC’s Today as part of the show’s Toyota Summer Concert Series.

Angels and Alcohol is Alan’s first studio album of all-new music in three years.

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Michael Ray Releasing Self-Titled Debut Album August 7

Warner Music NashvilleCountry newcomer Michael Ray will release his self-titled, debut album on August 7. The project features his top-10 hit “Kiss You in the Morning,” which has established Michael as one of country’s hottest new acts of 2015.

He says, “Coming from the kid that grew up in Eustis, Florida in a double-wide trailer on ten acres of land to releasing my debut album worldwide is such a surreal and ‘I can’t believe it’s happening’ feeling. Many people have put a lot of hard work into making this a reality and I hope everyone enjoys the record.”

You can pre-order Michael’s debut album starting July 17 at

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockKenny Chesney produced which one of Willie Nelson‘s studio albums? ANSWER: Moment of Forever.

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Lady Antebellum’s Dave Haywood Loves Slowing Things Down on Wheels Up Tour

Capitol NashvilleLady Antebellum is delivering a high-energy show to their fans on their Wheels Up tour, thanks to their recent uptempo hits like “Compass,” “Downtown,” “Bartender,” and their latest single, “Long Stretch of Love.” With so many fast songs, Lady A has to space out their slower hits “Just a Kiss” and “Dancing Away with My Heart” throughout the night.

Band member Dave Haywood relishes those more intimate moments during their show.  He tells The Arizona Republic, “If it was up to me, I would play ballads for two hours. We love writing ballads. I think it’s just what comes naturally to us as songwriters.”

Of course, Lady Antebellum’s biggest hit ever was a ballad.  “My favorite moment in the show would still have to be the eruption when you kick into ‘Need You Now,'” Dave says. “There’s nothing like that feeling.”

Lady A plays San Diego Friday night with special guests Sam Hunt and Hunter Hayes.

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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockEaston Corbin‘s third album, About to Get Real, bows at #1 on Billboard‘s Country Albums chart.

Kenny Chesney‘s video for “Save It for a Rainy Day” goes live exclusively at Thursday morning.

Look for Hunter Hayes to appear on CBS’s The Talk Thursday.

Dierks Bentley apparently offers furniture moving services. He posted a picture on Instagram Wednesday showing a piece of his late father’s furniture in the bed of his truck, Big White. The caption reads, “cruising around nashville with my dad’s old lazy boy in the back if anyone needs a lift….”


cruising around nashville with my dad’s old lazy boy in the back if anyone needs a lift….

A photo posted by Dierks Bentley (@dierksbentley) on Jul 8, 2015 at 2:25pm PDT


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Jason Aldean Says Having Multiple Country Stadium Tours Is “a Good Sign for Everybody”

CMAJason Aldean is playing the nation’s biggest stadiums with Kenny Chesney all summer long, but they’re not the only country acts headlining those massive venues. Luke Bryan and Zac Brown Band also are playing stadium dates this summer, and Jason is very happy to see his peers selling so many concert tickets.

He says, “If you’ve got a few guys that can go out and are filling stadiums, that’s a good sign of where the business is — the touring side of it for sure in country music. That’s a good sign for everybody.”

Jason is about to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his self-titled debut album hitting stores. He points out that his fellow superstars Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Eric Church and Carrie Underwood all came out as new artists around the same time. He goes on to explain that it takes about a decade to get enough hits to join the ranks of country’s touring elite, like his tour mate Kenny Chesney.

“I go out and listen to Kenny’s show, and he plays two hours, and I know every song’s been a #1,” Jason says. “It’s like, we haven’t had that luxury except for just recently.”

With newer acts like Florida Georgia Line selling out amphitheaters with their own headlining tour, Jason sees a bright future for country music on the road.

He says, “I think it’s in a good place. It’s fun to be a part of it.”

Check out to see where he’s playing next.

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Trisha Yearwood Says Her New Country Music Hall of Fame Exhibit Is a Career “Milestone”

Country Music Hall of FameTrisha Yearwood worked as a tour guide at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville when she first moved to town, so having her own exhibit at the museum is a real “milestone” for the singer.

Trisha tells ABC Radio, “I loved walking through and seeing all the artifacts from all the country artists that came before. I love that museum. So, to be a part of it and to have an exhibit in there, I can’t even describe how much it means to me.”

The exhibit, titled Trisha Yearwood: The Song Remembers When, features awards and stage clothes from Trisha’s career, as well as both dresses she wore for her 2005 wedding to Garth Brooks. Several of the outfits were made by Trisha’s late mother, Gwen, who’s responsible for a lot of the items in the exhibit.

“My mom, who was the president of my fan club, she saved everything,” Trisha says. “So, going back and finding things to put into this exhibit has been really fun. And to see everything that she saved has been pretty amazing.”

Trisha was on hand for the exhibit opening last week at the Country Music Hall of Fame, and she returns Thursday afternoon for an in-depth interview and performance at the museum’s CMA Theater. Trisha has enjoyed sharing the display with her family and friends, and she looks forward to seeing what you have to say about it, too.

Trisha adds, “To the fans that have supported me over the years, I’m hoping that they’ll get a chance to go to the Hall of Fame and see it for themselves.”

Trisha Yearwood: The Song Remembers When will be on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame through December.

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