Randy Houser Surprises Military Family with $1,000 Grocery Gift Card in Association with Eckrich Meats

Image Courtesy EckrichRandy Houser surprised veteran James Jackson and his family with a $1,000 gift card for groceries at Randy’s concert in Michigan Tuesday night. He’s opening for Luke Bryan this year, and Randy brought James and his wife, Tracy, backstage before show time for a meet-and-greet and gift card presentation in association with Eckrich Meats. It’s all a part of the Eckrich Operation Inspiration campaign to “honor, thank and support” military personnel for their service through Operation Homefront.

Randy has taken been working on the campaign with Eckrich and Operation Homefront for the past year. He says, “Any time I can spend some of my time with a military family is special for me. These families have sacrificed so much so I can go out and perform and do what I love.”

For more information on Eckrich’s Operation Inspiration campaign, go to Facebook.com/EckrichMeats.


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Eli Young Band Releasing New Single and EP, “Turn It On,” Next Month

Image Courtesy Republic NashvilleEli Young Band is back with a new single, “Turn It On,” hitting the airwaves March 9. The next day, March 10, the band will release their Turn It On EP. While working on the follow-up to their last album, 10,000 Towns, the guys went into the studio to work on four songs. They turned out so great, Eli Young Band and their label decided to put out the new music as soon as possible.

Fans can get a taste of the new single, “Turn It On,” on the Eli Young Band’s Facebook page.

Here is the Turn It On EP track listing:

“Turn It On”
“Plastic”
“Your Place or Mine”
“Drink You Up”


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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhich member of Rascal Flatts guest starred as Gunnar Scott’s co-writer on ABC’s Nashville? ANSWER: Jay DeMarcus.


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Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard Planning a Summer Destination Wedding

Image Courtesy ABC/Dick Clark ProductionsFlorida Georgia Line‘s Tyler Hubbard will tie the knot with his fiancée, Hayley, this summer. The couple is planning a destination wedding, but it won’t be a very big affair. Tyler tells Us magazine, “We are doing a small type of thing just for our families and super close friends.”

Tyler adds, “I couldn’t ask for a better life partner than Hayley.”


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Johnny Cash Letter to June Carter Cash Voted Greatest Love Letter of All Time

ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty ImagesSure, you can buy your beloved a card for Valentine’s Day.  Even better, you can write him or her a note.  But you’re not likely to do much better than Johnny Cash, whose 1994 love letter to wife June Carter Cash on her 66th birthday has just been voted the greatest love letter of all time.

Cash was 62 when he wrote the simple, heartfelt letter, which begins and ends with “Happy Birthday Princess,” and calls his wife “the greatest woman I ever met…the object of my desire, the #1 Earthly reason for my existence.”  The couple had just celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary the previous March.

The poll was commissioned by the British life insurance company Beagle Street, according to the U.K. newspaper the Daily Mail.  Cash’s love letter, written to June while he was in Denmark, beat out love letters from British icon Sir Winston Churchill, 19th century English romantic poet John Keats, American literary great Ernest Hemingway and others, including fellow music legends Ludwig van Beethoven and Jimi Hendrix.

Here’s Johnny Cash’s letter to June Carter Cash, in its entirety:

“Happy Birthday Princess.  We got old and got used to each other.  We think alike.  We read each others [sic] minds.  We know what the other wants without asking.  Sometimes we irritate each other a little bit. Maybe sometimes take each other for granted.

“But once in awhile, like today, I meditate on it and realize how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met.  You still fascinate and inspire me.  You influence me for the better.  You’re the object of my desire, the #1 Earthly reason for my existence.  I love you very much. 

“Happy Birthday Princess.  John”

 

“Nashville” Recap: “I’ve Got Reasons to Hate You”

Image Courtesy ABC/Bob D’AmicoOn Wednesday’s Nashville, Edgehill Republic record label boss Jeff Fordham resorted to blackmail to save his struggling company and his job. Jeff believes 15-year-old Maddie Conrad has the talent and appeal to produce a hit album to turn his fortune around, but he knows his arch-enemy and Maddie’s mother, Rayna Jaymes,  would never allow him to sign her daughter to a recording contract. Jeff used the Tennessee law that only one parent has to sign a recording contract for a minor to hit up Maddie’s dad, Mayor Teddy Conrad, to sign the deal. When Teddy refused, Jeff threated to reveal the mayor’s short relationship with a call girl. Jeff told him, “I don’t think the good people of Nashville would take kindly to their mayor’s salary being used to pay for sex.”

Maddie is unaware of the backroom drama to secure her contract, but she feels she’s ready to be a recording star. Meanwhile, Maddie’s biological father, Deacon Claybourne, refuses to take her calls or continue teaching her guitar lessons. Maddie’s mother, Rayna, suspects Deacon pulling away from Maddie may have something to do with Rayna and Deacon’s complicated relationship . Neither of them knows Deacon has disappeared from their lives because he has an aggressive form of liver cancer brought on by his years of alcoholism.

Deacon’s cancer will claim his life unless he can find a donor to give him a portion of their liver. Since his niece, Scarlett, isn’t a match, she ends up calling her estranged and abusive mother, Beverly, to come to town without telling her about her brother Deacon’s medical condition. Beverly is furious that Scarlett only wanted to see if she could be a donor for Deacon. She eventually agrees to undergo testing, and it looks like Beverly might reconcile with Deacon and Scarlett after all.

After getting the test results, Beverly lies and tells Deacon and Scarlett she isn’t a match. Once Scarlett finds out Beverly is simply refusing to help Deacon, she goes off on her mother, who psychologically and physically abused her as a child.

The situation is full of drama, but Scarlett, Deacon and Beverly shared a sweet moment before the test results came back. Deacon and Beverly were singing an old song their mother taught them, “Friend of Mine,” while making dinner, and Scarlett came in and joined them to create a trio. For Charles Esten, who plays Deacon, that moment showed the power of music to create harmony in the midst of very tense situations.

Charles tells ABC News Radio, “Right in the middle of all that sadness and hard time that’s going on, this song does what a song can do, and it lifts the three of us out it, and it pulls the three of us together. So, that’s what  I really love about this one. “

Clare Bowen, who plays Scarlett, feels the lyrics about devotion to a close family member or friend capture the way her character feels about her uncle Deacon. The song applies to her personal life, as well.

Says Clare, “I sing it to a totally different person myself to who Scarlett sings it to. That’s good lyrics. It’s a universal thing.”

“Friend of Mine” is available for download at iTunes along with more music from Nashville. The show returns with an all-new episode next Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.


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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockKristian Bush will perform on TBS’s Conan Wednesday, February 18.

Blake Shelton‘s #1 country hit, “Neon Light,” got an R&B makeover when his fellow coach on The Voice, Usher, covered it during their co-headlining show in North Texas. The concert celebrated the 90th anniversary of the United Way.


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Little Big Town’s Kimberly Schlapman Releasing First Cookbook, “Oh Gussie!”

HarperCollinsLittle Big Town member Kimberly Schlapman‘s cooking skills have been on display for a few years now, thanks to her Great American Country show, Kimberly’s Simply Southern. Now she’s collected her favorite recipes and stories from her childhood growing up in North Georgia for the new book, Oh Gussie! Cooking and Visiting in Kimberly’s Southern Kitchen, due out April 14.

Kimberly can’t wait to share her labor of love with her fans.  “It’s gonna be different than your average cookbook,” she tells ABC News Radio. “It’s gonna be a lot about how I grew up. A lot of stories of how I grew up. Stories about my family and my grandmother, who I learned so much from cooking, and it’ll be some stories about on the road and recipes inspired by my family or  friends, and my home.”

Kimberly and her co-writer, Martha Foose, spent a lot of time on making the book look beautiful, too.

Says Kimberly, “When you open it up, I want you to feel like you’re home and cozy and a family member.”

As for the unique book title, Oh Gussie!, it’s a Southern expression Kimberly uses when she’s excited, which is quite often. Kimberly even uses @OhGussie as her social media handle for Twitter and Instagram. Fans can pre-order the book now at OhGussie.com.

On the music front, Kimberly is currently in Europe on tour with Little Big Town. They’re promoting their latest single, “Girl Crush,” from the album, Pain Killer.


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Scotty McCreery and Chase Bryant Appearing on “Sports Illustrated” Show “SI Now” Thursday

Image Courtesy Mercury NashvilleScotty McCreery will be talking about his two big passions — music and sports — on Sports Illustrated‘s online show, SI Now, Thursday at 1 p.m. ET on SI.com. Look for Chase Bryant to perform his hit, “Take It on Back,” on the show, too. The appearances are tied in with the Sports Illustrated Swimville Fan Festival taking place this week in Nashville.

Chris Young is also performing at the festival.


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Jake Owen, Lady A’s Charles Kelley Among Stars Playing in AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleJake Owen, Lady Antebellum‘s Charles Kelley, Rascal FlattsJoe Don Rooney, and Clay Walker are among the celebrities teeing off in Wednesday’s 3M Celebrity Golf Challenge in Pebble Beach, California. They’ll also take part in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Thursday through Sunday, playing with PGA pros.

All four artists have participated in the event in previous years. Larry the Cable Guy, Bill Murray, Huey Lewis, and Wayne Gretzky are also hitting the links at Pebble Beach this weekend.


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