Brett Eldredge Stays Centered with Visits to His Tiny Illinois Hometown

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleBrett Eldredge is rarely in the same town for more than a day or two at a time, thanks to his tour schedule, but he heads back to his hometown of Paris, Illinois every few months to get his feet back on the ground. The city has just 9,000 residents, so it retains that small-town feel.

"There are cornfields and cow pastures and a lake right in the middle," Brett tells the Chicago Tribune. "It never changes. And that’s what I love about it. I love going back. It gives me a sense of normalcy in the crazy world I live in, where I’m traveling so much.”

Brett hits the road with Keith Urban's Raise 'Em Up tour later this month.


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Blake Shelton Finishing Up New Album in the Coming Weeks

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleBlake Shelton has new music coming soon. He tweeted Monday, "Finishing up my last album in the next couple weeks." Don't worry -- we don't think Blake is going to stop making music. He's said in the past he likes to make each album as if it's his last one ever.

Blake certainly hit it out of the park with his last "last" album, Based on a True Story. The project won CMA Album of the Year and produced five #1 hits.


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Florida Georgia Line to Perform “Dirt” on “The Tonight Show” and “Live with Kelly & Michael”

Image Courtesy Jeremy Cowart/Republic NashvilleFlorida Georgia Line will premiere their brand-new single, "Dirt," on NBC's Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Tuesday night. The song also hits radio and digital retailers Tuesday. Look for FGL to sing "Dirt" and "This Is How We Roll" on Wednesday's Live with Kelly & Michael, too.

"Dirt" is the lead single from Florida Georgia Line's sophomore album. Their debut project, Here's to the Good Times, has been certified double platinum for sales of two million copies.


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Garth Brooks Making Announcement at Thursday Morning Press Conference

Image Courtesy Pearl RecordsGarth Brooks will hold a press conference this Thursday at 12pm ET.  Garth has said he is launching a world tour in 2014, and he's apparently recording new music according to several songwriters and publishers in Nashville. More details on those projects are expected Thursday morning.

You can watch the press conference live at GarthBrooks.com.

In the meantime, Garth's shows in Ireland remain up in the air after two of the five concerts were canceled due to permit issues. If all the concerts are scrapped, the city of Dublin could lose 50 million Euros, or $68 million, according to the Irish Mirror.


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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWho is Brad Paisley's duet partner on the CMA Award-winning hit, "Whiskey Lullaby?" ANSWER: Alison Krauss.


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Keith Urban Shares His Feelings on Fellow “American Idol” Judges Harry Connick, Jr. and Jennifer Lopez

Image Courtesy FOXKeith Urban feels the American Idol judges panel is very solid going into this summer's audition process. The country star has gotten to know fellow judge Harry Connick, Jr. quite well over the past season.

Keith tells Rolling Stone Country, "He feels like a brother to me. We're very different as people, but I love his heart and I love his musicality. I love his sense of humor."

As for American Idol's resident diva, Jennifer Lopez, Keith applauds her for always taking care of business in her successful career.

"I think the word 'diva' gets misused a lot of times by people," Keith says, "because my definition of it is someone who knows exactly what is required to protect and keep healthy and guide and safe-keep the gift and what they have to offer."

Look for Keith, Harry and Jennifer at the judges' table when American Idol returns this January on FOX.


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Lee Brice Reveals the Lessons He Learned from Garth Brooks

Image Courtesy Curb RecordsLike many modern country stars, Lee Brice probably wouldn't be making music if he hadn't gone to see a Garth Brooks concert as a teenager.

Lee tells Kentucky's Lexington Herald-Leader, "I was way up in the top of the stands and felt like he was talking to me. At that moment was when I knew I wanted to do this. That was what I was trying to follow."

Now that he's playing arenas and stadiums on the road with Luke Bryan, Lee still tries to give his fans that feeling he got from Garth.  "One of the most special things is that moment of connection," Lee says, "like trying to look somebody in the eye all the way in the very, very back."

Lee's new album, I Don't Dance, has several songs designed to connect with fans in big arenas. Look for that project to hit stores September 9.


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Jerrod Niemann Thanks His Parents for Supporting His Dreams of Country Stardom

Image Courtesy Arista NashvilleWhen he first moved to Nashville more than a decade ago, Jerrod Niemann became fast friends with other aspiring country stars like Luke Bryan, Lee Brice, Randy Houser and Billy Currington. As they all got to know each other, Jerrod began to realize not all of his singer/songwriter pals had their parents' support in chasing their dreams.

Says Jerrod, "I noticed that most of my friends, their parents were really upset with 'em for moving to Nashville. They thought it was a cop out that they didn't want to actually do something with their lives."

Luckily, Jerrod's parents never asked him to come up with a plan B should his dreams of country stardom not come true. In fact, they even sacrificed to give Jerrod financial support in the early years.

"We definitely didn't come from a rich, wealthy background," Jerrod says. "They've worked their whole lives and at times when they certainly probably didn't need to be giving me money or helping me out or just making sure that we got a starter in the van fixed that we're hauling around the country."

He adds, "Just things like that they'd help [with] along the way really helps you get from point A to point B over all those years."

Jerrod's parents recently came to Nashville to help him celebrate his latest #1 hit, "Drink to That All Night." Jerrod is now back on his way to the top of the charts with his brand-new single, "Buzz Back Girl."

Look for the remix video of "Drink to That All Night" featuring Pitbull now on Vevo.


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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockBrad Paisley's new album, Moonshine in the Trunk, has been moved up one day for a Monday, August 25 release.

Florida Georgia Line's debut album, Here's to the Good Times, has been certified double platinum for sales of two million copies.

The Swon Brothers perform their debut single, "Later On," and a few other songs on Yahoo! Music's Ram Country.


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Parmalee Premieres New Video for “Close Your Eyes”

Image Courtesy Stoney Creek RecordsParmalee's new video for "Close Your Eyes" is now airing exclusively at Vevo. It's the follow-up to the band's debut hit, "Carolina."

Lead singer Matt Thomas says, "It’s all about that first kiss. I think everybody remembers where they were with that special girl or guy and they went in for that first kiss.”

Both tracks are available on Parmalee's debut album, Feels Like Carolina.


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