Thomas Rhett Learned the Ropes of Songwriting from His Father

Big Machine Label GroupThomas Rhett didn’t have to look very far for a mentor to help him write his first songs. His dad is ’90s country star-turned-hit-songwriter Rhett Akins.

Thomas tells the Erie Times-News, “Probably the first 20, 30 songs I wrote were with my dad. That was just a starting ground for me.”

Thomas went on to write with other songwriters in Nashville and had a hand in writing hits for Florida Georgia Line and Lee Brice.  Even so, Thomas’ first #1 hit as an artist, “It Goes Like This,” was a co-write with his dad.

“To share my first number-one as an artist with my dad was one of the coolest things in the world,” Thomas says.

Of note, Thomas co-wrote his latest hit, “Get Me Some of That,” with rising country star Cole Swindell and guitarist Michael Carter.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Craig Morgan Explains Why Listeners Are Connecting with “Wake Up Lovin’ You”

Black RiverCraig Morgan didn’t have a hand in writing his latest hit, “Wake Up Lovin’ You,” but he immediately felt a connection to the song when he first heard it.

I just love the way the song sings,” Craig tells Billboard. “It allows me to show off my vocal range a little bit, and it’s just an emotional song. I can feel the lyric in this song, and those are rare jewels to have.”

Craig thinks fans really sympathize with the song’s character, who’s going through an intense breakup.  He says, “This song is so picturesque in its definition of heartache that regardless of whether you’ve been there…there’s a sense of sorrow for the person  in this song.”

“Wake Up Lovin’ You” is included on Craig’s latest album, The Journey (Livin’ Hits), available now.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Dierks Bentley Offering Fans the Chance to Upgrade Their Concert Tickets

Greenroom PRDierks Bentley is giving fans attending his Riser tour concert dates the chance to upgrade their tickets with the Rise Up Line Up promotion. Concertgoers can earn points to move to the front of a virtual line to get better seats.

Dierks is glad to give his fans this kind of opportunity.  “When I was in my 20′s, I could only afford a lawn ticket to the big shows because I had to save my money for beer once I got in the gate,” he says. “I just can’t wait to get out there and get it going.”

Go to for more details on the Rise Up Line Up promotion. The Riser tour launches May 9 in Charlotte, NC.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Kenny Chesney Playing Benefit Concert for Famous Friends’ Charities

Sony Music NashvilleKenny Chesney is set to perform at a benefit concert for Matthew McConaughey and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees‘ charities May 17 in New Orleans. The show takes place at the House of Blues and will mark Kenny’s first concert appearance of 2014. He’s taken the year off the road to focus on working on his new album.

Kenny tells The Tennessean, “If I can go play songs and help them raise money for their foundations, which do so much good, I’m happy to. When you factor in that I’ve been cooped up, not really playing, and I’m ready to get out there with some people.”

He adds, “We’re gonna have a ball, and no one will get out of there without a smile on their face.”

Tickets for the concert are available through Ticketmaster.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWho is Brad Paisley‘s duet partner on the hit, “Whiskey Lullaby?” ANSWER: Alison Krauss.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Dierks Bentley Looks Forward to Doing Guy Stuff with Baby Boy, Knox

Greenroom PRDierks Bentley is having a blast with his first son, Knox, who was born late last year. Though he looks forward to doing guy stuff with Knox at some point, Dierks hasn’t noticed much difference between the little boy and his older sisters when they were at this age.

“The whole boy-girl thing, it’s hard at this point,” Dierks explains. “He’s just a little dude. Reminds me a lot of the girls at that age, but he’s really happy. I mean, I can get him to smile at any moment that I want him to. He’s ready to engage.”

Dierks had Knox beside him while barbecuing earlier this week, and he expects his little guy will pick up some musical instrument like his two sisters along the way.

As for having three kids at home, Dierks says, “I’d tell anyone that has two, two’s a fine number. Three’s a lot.”

Dierks heads out on the Riser tour starting May 9 in Charlotte, NC. Chris Young, Chase Rice and Jon Pardi join Dierks for the trek.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Brad Paisley Recalls His Days of Living on the “River Bank”

Arista NashvilleWhen Brad Paisley sings about enjoying some fun on the “River Bank” in his latest single, he’s drawing from his childhood experiences back home in West Virginia.

Brad says, “I grew up maybe a thousand yards from the Ohio River, if that, and that was where we spent every day when it was nice. My family had a boat. I learned to ski on that river.”

Looking back on that time, Brad is most fond of the time he got to spend with his dad and grandpa out on that boat.

“There’s something about that as being, in my opinion, the answer to happiness,” Brad explains.

“River Bank” is now available for download. Brad premiered the song last month on the ACM Awards.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockJoshua Scott Jones of Steel Magnolia fame will release his solo debut album, The Healing, in June 3.

Brantley Gilbert co-wrote the Jason Aldean hits “Dirt Road Anthem” and “My Kinda Party.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Brantley Gilbert Honoring Troops with Motorcycle Ride from Athens to Arlington Starting May 21

Valory Music Co.Brantley Gilbert is celebrating the launch of his new album, Just As I Am, with a Harley-Davidson ride from Athens, GA to Arlington, VA. Harley and the military charity Folds of Honor are sponsoring the trek kicking off May 21. Brantley will perform a kick-off concert May 20 at Athens’ Georgia Theater, which is one of the first big venues Brantley played when he was staring his career.

Earlier this month, fans were asked to submit names of their friends and family members who lost their lives in military service. Those names will cover a bus following Brantley on the ride from Athens to Arlington.

More details on the ride will be announced the week of May 12. Just As I Am is due out May 19.

Here’s a list of stops on Brantley’s motorcycle ride:

Tuesday, 5/20
Athens, GA, The Georgia Theater

Wednesday, 5/21
Athens, GA, Album signing breakfast & ride kick-off event
Atlanta, GA, Best Buy in-store album signing
Augusta, GA, Album signing event

Thursday, 5/22
Columbia, SC, Walmart in-store album signing event
Greenville, SC, Best Buy in-store album event

Friday, 5/23
Gaffney, SC, Harold’s
Charlotte, NC, Best Buy in-store album signing

Saturday, 5/24
Forest City, IA, Tree Town Music Festival

Sunday, 5/25
Charlotte, NC, Coca Cola 600 pre-race concert at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Greensboro, NC, Album signing event

Monday, 5/26
Washington, D.C., Arlington National Cemetery Ceremony

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Miranda Lambert Admits She Was a “Real Goody Two-Shoes” in High School

Photo Credit: David McClisterJudging from her hits “Gunpowder and Lead” and “Fastest Girl in Town,” you might assume Miranda Lambert was a wild child in school. In reality, Miranda describes herself back then as a “real goody two-shoes.”

She tells Entertainment Weekly, “I was a cheerleader. I sang in church, and was just straight down the middle. Then I started playing bars at 19 and was like, ‘Oh! There’s a world.’”

Miranda even made her own merchandise — Texas cowboy hats — for those early bar gigs.

She explains, “I would buy them in bulk at Walmart, paint them like the Texas flag, crimp them around the edges, and then sell them for gas money to get home.”

Miranda sings about those simpler days in her latest hit, “Automatic.” It’s the lead single from her new album, Platinum, due out June 3.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio