Hunter Hayes’ Sophomore Album, “Storyline,” Debuts at #1 on “Billboard” Country Albums Chart

Warner Music NashvilleHunter Hayes‘ sophomore album, Storyline, bows at #1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the project sold 69,000 copies for a #3 debut on the overall Billboard 200 Albums chart.

Storyline features Hunter’s latest single, “Invisible.” It’s also his second #1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart following his self-titled debut album.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Darius Rucker Announces Lineup for Darius and Friends Benefit Concert and Golf Tournament

Capitol NashvilleDarius Rucker has a big lineup set for his fifth annual Darius and Friends benefit concert June 2 at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon. Eli Young Band, Thompson Square, David Nail, Kenny Rogers and Clint Black will perform at the sold-out show with proceeds going to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

On Tuesday, June 3, Darius hosts his annual Darius and Friends Celebrity Golf Tournament, also benefitting St. Jude. Lady Antebellum‘s Charles Kelley, Thompson Square‘s Keifer Thompson, David Nail, Dustin Lynch, Eric Paslay and Jon Pardi are set to tee off for that event.

Darius says, “St. Jude does such amazing work for young cancer patients and their families, and I’m grateful to all my fellow artists and friends for coming together to have some fun and support such a great cause.”

The Darius and Friends event have raised more than $225,000 for St. Jude in the past few years.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Tim McGraw Keeps the Hits Coming with New Album, “Sundown Heaven Town,” Coming September 16

Big Machine RecordsFans heading to Tim McGraw‘s Sundown Heaven Town tour this summer will get a chance to hear a few songs from his new album of the same name, due out later this year. Tim’s prior album, Two Lanes of Freedom, just came out last year, but he just couldn’t get this new music out fast enough.

Tim tells The Arizona Republic, “I’m just in a really creative space, with new energy and new focus. You get working, your juices are flowing, you have great songs. It’s just one of those things where it was pouring out of me. I had to get it done.”

As for what fans can expect on Sundown Heaven Town, Tim adds, “There’s a great mixture of music because I get bored pretty easily. I certainly get bored with myself. I love to stretch myself and go down avenues. I maybe go a little further on this album with a few songs.”

Tim’s latest single, “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s,” features wife Faith Hill on harmony vocals. It’s included on his new album, coming out September 16.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Sara Evans Got an Early Start with Her Career Thanks to Her School Music Program

Sony Music NashvilleSara Evans got an early start with her singing career thanks to the music education program in her hometown of New Franklin, Missouri. In addition to playing clarinet in the band, Sara sang in the choir all through high school.

She tells CMA Close Up, “Our school was so small that we didn’t even have football, so we would march in the town’s parades. I was always the assistant teacher. Sometimes I would get to direct the band.”

Sara also gives a shout out to her two music teachers, Mrs. Burnett and Mrs. Nugent.

She says, “[They] were both really sweet and fabulous as teachers.”

Sara now supports the CMA’s Keep the Music Playing campaign to benefit school music programs in Middle Tennessee.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Miranda Lambert Hopes to Inspire the Next Generation with Country Music Hall of Fame Exhibit

Country Music Hall of FameMiranda Lambert is the subject of a new exhibit opening Friday at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Miranda Lambert: Backstage Access highlights the singer’s remarkable 2013 with her costumes from the CMA Awards and the “Mama’s Broken Heart” video shoot among the items going on display. Miranda will be on hand for an invitation-only preview party for the exhibit Wednesday night.

“It’s so crazy to think that there’s an exhibit that celebrates my stuff and my tour in the Hall of Fame,” Miranda says. “I don’t really know how I’m going to react. I mean, I think it’s all kind of been like just emails and finding stuff for the Hall of Fame until now. It’s not really real.”

Miranda visited the Country Music Hall of Fame herself when she was a young girl dreaming of becoming a country star. She hopes her exhibit inspires a new generation of country music hopefuls.

Says Miranda, “They’ll see my road cases and my corsets and guitars on display, and it’s like, ‘I’ll be in here one day.’ Just like I thought when I was little, and there I am already. I mean, just for a time, but still. I can say I’ve been in the Hall of Fame now.”

When she was a kid, Miranda was star struck to see Dolly Parton‘s flashy costumes on display. She was also amazed to realize how tiny Dolly is based on those ornate dresses. That experience led Miranda to make one request for her own exhibit.

Miranda says, “I’m like, ‘Suck my corsets in a little more. Make sure those mannequins are little!’”

For more information, go to Miranda’s new album, Platinum, comes out June 3.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockScotty McCreery returns to American Idol to perform his new single, “Feelin’ It,” Thursday night on FOX.

Randy Houser will debut his new single, “Like a Cowboy,” on CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman, Wednesday night.

Blake Shelton and Taylor Swift have donated items for the new Grammy Foundation and MusiCares charity auction. Go to between now and May 22 to check it out.

Keith Urban interviews American Idol‘s music supervisors and band leaders for the new installment of his Idle Chatter video series.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Craig Morgan Appearing on “The Talk” and “ACM Presents: An All-Star Salute to the Troops” Next Week

Monarch PublicityCraig Morgan has two big TV appearances lined up next week starting with an appearance on CBS’s The Talk Monday at 2 p.m. ET. Craig is set to display his culinary skills in a cooking segment with the show’s co-hosts.

On Tuesday, May 20, Craig appears as a presenter on the ACM Presents: An All-Star Salute to the Troops special at 9 p.m. ET on CBS. As an Army veteran, Craig is always proud to see the country music community rally behind service men and women.

He tells ABC News Radio, “I’m so proud of the fact that our format works so hard to pay so much respect to those men and women that are serving. This is just another way for them to do it.

On the music front, Craig is close to scoring another top 10 hit with this latest single, “Wake Up Lovin’ You.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Taylor Swift Rep Says Singer Is Not Dating Zach Braff

CMATaylor Swift and Zach Braff apparently are not a couple, despite a rumor to the contrary.

Taylor’s rep tells Us Weekly the singer “has never been on a date with Mr. Braff” and the former Scrubs star “has never even set foot” in Taylor’s home.

The gossip website Sugarscape reported Tuesday that the pair was spotted hanging out together in New York, where Braff is starring in the Broadway show Bullets Over Broadway.

The website also claimed Braff had visited Swift’s NYC apartment and the two had even gone to a Manhattan farmers’ market together.

Taylor’s rep insists neither is true, telling Us, “Despite the rumors, Taylor has never been on a date with Mr. Braff, and he has never been to her home.”

The rep then added, “Like, never. Ever.” The teasing remark was apparently a nod to Swift’s 2012 hit, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”

Swift, 24, has been previously linked to actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Taylor Lautner, The Jonas BrothersJoe Jonas, and One Direction’s Harry Styles.

Braff, 39, split up with his girlfriend, model Taylor Bagley, last March after a five-year relationship.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio 

Taylor Swift Wishes “Magical” Friend Lena Dunham a Happy Birthday

Image Courtesy Taylor Swift via TwitterTaylor Swift is Lena Dunham‘s biggest fan.  The singer took to Twitter on Tuesday to wish the Girls creator a happy 28th birthday, writing,Happy Birthday to my favorite person to have picnics with.. the magical, kind-hearted, wondrous @lenadunham.” 

She illustrated her post with a photo of Lena, and a photo of herself, presumably taken at the same time.  The photos appear to be taken on the rooftop deck of a building — Lena is lying on a quilt with some pillows around her, and Taylor is wrapped up in a quilt, with some pillows near her as well.

Lena and Taylor first connected with one another on Twitter, but they’ve since become fast friends.  Taylor recently told E! News that Lena is her fashion inspiration, because she always tips her off to the hottest blogs and the coolest stores.  Taylor’s friendship with Lena even extends to her boyfriend, Jack Antonoff of fun.: the two wrote the Golden Globe-nominated song “Sweeter than Fiction” together.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Darius Rucker Appearing on Hall and Oates Singer Daryl Hall’s Show, “Live from Daryl’s House”

Photo Credit: Ian JohnsonDarius Rucker is teaming up with Daryl Hall of Hall and Oates fame for a new installment of the series Live from Daryl’s House. The guys shot this episode in Darius’s hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, and they learn to shuck oysters on camera in addition to swapping vocals on Darius’s hits “Come Back Song” and “Wagon Wheel.” Daryl and Darius also duet on the Hall and Oates song, “Do It for Love,” which was a dream come true for the country star.

Darius says, “Daryl is one of those singers that made me want to sing one day. I can remember laughing to his voice and crying to his voice. To actually get to perform with him was one of the highlights of my career. Daryl is a great artist and better guy!”

The episode of Live from Daryl’s House featuring Darius Rucker premieres Thursday on Palladia and May 24 on

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio