Miranda Lambert Lifts the Curtain on Star-Studded “Platinum”

Sony Music Nashville(NOTE LANGUAGE) With three new ACM wins to her credit, including a record-setting fifth trophy for Female Vocalist, Miranda Lambert is lifting the curtain on her new album, Platinum. With guest vocals from Carrie Underwood, Little Big Town and The Time Jumpers, it’s an all-star affair.

Miranda calls the track “Somethin’ Bad” a “rocker” perfect for a “bad*ss singer” like Carrie. “To me, this song meshes our styles,” she says. “It gives her time to be ‘Before He Cheats’ Carrie, and it gives me time to take off running and jump to hit some of those high notes.”

“Smokin’ and Drinkin’” is a song Miranda and Little Big Town both wanted, but she got it first. The idea for a collaboration came backstage at last year’s CMT Awards.

Karen [Fairchild] told me, ‘You have a song I want!’ So I said, ‘If I cut it, will y’all sing on it?’” Miranda remembers. “When I went in to record it, I thought, ‘If Little Big Town wants to sing on my record we are damn sure taking advantage of it!’ I can’t even imagine what it would sound like without them.”

Miranda discovered the Tom T. Hall composition “All That’s Left” while listening to the radio driving back from a Beyonce concert in Dallas. She decided to give it a western swing feel by adding renowned band The Time Jumpers, of which Vince Gill is a member.

The sixteen-song set arrives June 3.

Here’s the Platinum track list:

“Girls”
“Platinum”
“Little Red Wagon”
“Smokin’ and Drinkin’”
“Priscilla”
“Automatic”
“Bathroom Sink”
“Old Sh!t”
“All That’s Left”
“Gravity Is a B**ch”
“Babies Makin’ Babies”
“Somethin’ Bad”
“Holding On to You”
“Two Rings Shy”
“Hard Staying Sober”
“Another Sunday in the South”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Toby Keith Turns Auctioneer to Help Kids with Cancer

Show Dog/UniversalOn May 16 and 17, Toby Keith will show off his skills as both an auctioneer and a golfer, as he raises money for families dealing with pediatric cancer.

The 11th Annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic starts with an invitation-only event Friday night where Toby himself will auction off everything from an African safari to a black-and-white crystal chandelier. Saturday morning, he hits the links with 200 golfers for a day that ends with one of them winning a new Ford truck.

Money from the event helped build the OK Kids Korral in Oklahoma City, a facility that provides a home-away-from-home for families of kids dealing with cancer. Since opening in January, it’s hosted more than 75 stays for families, ranging from one day to eight weeks.

You can find out more about the Golf Classic at www.tobykeithfoundation.org.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan Return to Helm ACM’s 50th Anniversary

ACMEven though viewership for Sunday’s ACM Awards was down 23 percent from last year’s 12-year high, the show still easily won the night for CBS. More than 14 million people watched the show, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Now, the Academy of Country Music turns its attention to the 50th anniversary celebration next year.  Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan will return to host the 2015 show live on CBS from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Sunday, April 19.

Festivities kick off the previous Friday, as ACM Party for a Cause:  50 Years of Music & Memories takes over nearby Globe Life Park. The concert event promises more than 30 artists performing on multiple stages on April 17 & 18, 2015.

Tickets for the 50th Anniversary events go on sale April 15 at ACMCountry.com.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhere were the ACM Awards held before they moved to Las Vegas? ANSWER: Los Angeles.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Luke Bryan’s Wife Caroline Surprised at His Now-Famous Backside

AMA/Dick Clark ProductionsLuke Bryan‘s hip-shaking stage moves are a big reason female fans flock to his concerts. No one is more surprised about Luke’s now-famous backside than his wife, Caroline.

He tells Parade, “My wife and I laugh about it, because she always thought I had a flat [rear end] until I started working out.”

Coming up with those dance moves was essential to keeping the crowd’s attention back when Luke was playing bars in college.

“Look, when you roll into a college bar bringing country music, you better have something else going on,” Luke explains. “I’ll shake it all night long.”

A lot of Luke’s dance moves were inspired by Michael Jackson. Thriller was the first cassette Luke owned as a kid.

He adds, “At school I could moonwalk all the way to the pencil sharpener and back.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockThompson Square teamed up with Blues Traveler onstage in Las Vegas Saturday night to sing “Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About.”

Gary Allan performed a small private show for the media and music industry insiders Saturday night at the House of Blues Foundation Room atop Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Darius Rucker, Lady Antebellum‘s Charles Kelley, Scotty McCreery, Cole Swindell and Jake Owen were among the stars playing golf at TPC Las Vegas Saturday for the 2014 ACM Lifting Lives Celebrity Golf Classic. Proceeds go to the Diane Holcomb Emergency Relief Fund to help music-related organization and individuals in times of need.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Taylor Sends Special Birthday Wish to Abigail, Inspiration for Her Hit, “Fifteen”

ABC/Jon LeMayTaylor Swift may be one of the biggest stars in the world, but she doesn’t forget her old friends.  One of her oldest, Abigail Anderson, received a very special birthday wish from Taylor, and she showed it off on Instagram and Twitter on Sunday.

Taylor fans may recall that “red-headed” Abigail inspired Taylor’s hit song “Fifteen,” which was about their freshman year of high school at Hendersonville High School in Tennessee, and how they both fell in love and experienced heartbreak for the first time.  It contains the line, “Abigail gave everything she had to a boy who changed his mind/And we both cried.”  The song was so personal and specific that Taylor asked Abigail for permission to record it and use her name; Abigail granted it.

On Sunday, Abigail posted a photo of a framed, handwritten, handpainted note reading, “Once upon a time, there lived a girl named Abigail, whose spirit was as fiery as her hair. She never did anything the way they told her to, fell hopelessly in love, and turned 24 without one single regret. Happy Birthday. Love, Taylor.”

Abigail captioned the photo, “Words cannot describe how grateful I am for your friendship (and the absolutely breathtaking package of presents I just received). You truly are the most wonderful human being. From the bottom of my heart…thank you @taylorswift I love you.”  Taylor retweeted Abigail’s message.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

ACM Awards 2014 Backstage Report

ABC News RadioGeorge Strait won his first ACM Entertainer of the Year trophy back in 1989 before fellow nominee Taylor Swift was even born. After taking the top category Sunday night, George said of fellow Entertainer nominees Taylor, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan and Miranda Lambert, ” A lot of those people… most of ‘em are friends of mine, you know I’ve worked with ‘em and they’re all deserving of this award.”

George thanked his fans for giving him the Entertainer of the Year trophy as he looks towards wrapping up his final tour this summer.

“I couldn’t have written this you know,” George said. “No way I couldn’t have dreamed it like that.”

Miranda Lambert made a point to acknowledge all of her fellow Female Vocalist nominees when she accepted her fifth-consecutive trophy in that category, but she forgot to mention nominee Taylor Swift. Miranda revealed backstage she’d cleared it up with Taylor.

“She’s kind of like her own animal. She’s ridiculous,” Miranda said of Taylor.  “I talked to her, and she’s cool. Taylor’s cool anyway, but we’re cool with it.”

Jason Aldean was surprised to win his second-consecutive Male Vocalist of the Year trophy going up against show hosts Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton. Jason said backstage, “It doesn’t get much hotter than those two guys so the fact that you know we were able to come there and pull that off is… I was probably the most shocked person in the room.”

The Band Perry spent the past 11 days in Las Vegas perfecting their opening performance of “Chainsaw.” Lead singer Kimberly Perry was happy to see a man with a shocked face on the front row as they sang. She said backstage, “When we started working on it we said, ‘I just want people to say what the heck is going on up there.’”

Band mate Neil Perry added, “The opening performance is a lot of pressure and we put a lot more on the three of us just ’cause that’s what we do and we worked a long time on this performance. We wanted to give this show the energy it deserved.”

New Artist of the Year winner Justin Moore fought back tears after winning his first ACM trophy. He said,”I wanted this so bad I mean, I really, really did. This was not make or break in our career, we’ve put out three albums two of which have gone gold, the next one’s about to, we’ve had a lot of hit records but this was very very important to me and my team.”   

Since that category is fan-voted, Justin was quick to give credit to his followers for the win.

“Anytime my fans are in the fold, any time my fans are involved, any time they have a voice, they got a big freakin’ voice man,” he said.

Album of the Year winner Kacey Musgraves actually crashed the press room during George Strait’s interview session to declare her love for the country legend.

She said backstage, “Growing up in Texas, George Strait has been a huge influence on me. He has stayed so true to what he is since day one. He has never wavered. It’s just quality.”

Kacey added, “He’s just so classy, and he’s not hard to look at either.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

ACM Awards: The Performances

ACMViewers could be forgiven for thinking that the 49th annual Academy of Country Music Awards telecast Sunday night wasn’t an awards show at all, since the first award wasn’t given out until an hour had passed.  The three-hour show was definitely all about the music, and there were 24 performances in all. Here’s a rundown of who played what:

The Band Perry opened the show with “Chainsaw,” which ended with tons of confetti falling from the ceiling and covering everyone.  It led co-hosts Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton to joke that $20 million worth of hairdos had just been ruined.  Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood were among those spotted with confetti all over their hair.

Florida Georgia Line performed “Stay”

Brad Paisley performed the song “Riverbank” at the pool at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where the awards show took place.  While he was singing, he managed to grab a fan’s phone, take a photo of the crowd, and then hand it back to her.

Blake Shelton sang “My Eyes,” sitting on a stool and playing guitar.

New Artist nominee Brett Eldredge sang “Beat of the Music.”

George Strait performed “I Got a Car.”

Lee Brice Sang “I Drive Your Truck,” which won Song of the Year.

Eric Church gave a powerful performance of “Give Me Back My Home Town.”

New Artist nominee — and eventual winner — Justin Moore sang “Lettin’ the Night Roll.”

Fellow Voice coaches Blake Shelton and Shakira got together for “Medicine,” their duet on Shakira’s new self-titled album.

Lady Antebellum teamed up with their friend Stevie Nicks for “Golden,” and then Stevie’s classic, “Rhiannon.”  If you thought the lyrics sounded different, you were right: they sang the slightly different version that Stevie and her band Fleetwood Mac performed on their 1997 live album The Dance.

Keith Urban gave a rockin’ performance of “Even the Stars Fall 4 U” — he had not one, not two, but three drummers backing him up.

New Artist nominee Kip Moore sang “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck.”

Luke Bryan sang “Play It Again.”

Jason Aldean performed “When She Says Baby.”

Miranda Lambert sang “Automatic.”

Tim McGraw, joined by wife Faith Hill on harmonies, sang “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s.”

Florida Georgia Line teamed with Luke Bryan for “This Is How We Roll,” as motocross racers did crazy tricks on ramps behind them, and flames shot all over the place.

Toby Keith had everyone’s heads bobbing to “Shut Up and Hold On.”

Hunter Hayes sang his emotional ballad “Invisible.”

Darius Rucker and Lady Antebellum sang “Wagon Wheel,” and at one point, Darius had the entire arena sing along a cappella.  Taylor Swift was dancing in the front row, singing her heart out.

George Strait and Miranda Lambert paid tribute to Crystal Milestone winner Merle Haggard by performing, respectively, “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive” and “Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down.”

Rascal Flatts sang “Rewind.”

Dierks Bentley teamed with Sheryl Crow for “I Hold On.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

“King” George Crowned Entertainer, Miranda Wins Record Fifth Consecutive Female Vocalist Trophy at 49th ACM Awards

Francis Specker/CBS“King” George Strait took another victory lap Sunday night at the 49th annual ACM Awards, held Sunday night in Las Vegas.  After picking up his third Entertainer of the Year trophy at the CMAs this past November, the retiring country legend won the same award from the Academy of Country Music. “I’ve always said I had the best fans in the world,” George said at the podium. “I hear this was a fan-voted thing, so…I rest my case!”

The night’s big winner, however, was Miranda Lambert, who took home three trophies, including her history-making fifth consecutive Female Vocalist of the Year trophy.  She and Reba McEntire had previously been tied with four straight wins each; now Miranda holds the record.  “I can’t believe this; I really didn’t expect it, y’all,” she told the crowd. “I’m so grateful and thankful and humbled….I love my job!”  She dedicated that award to a friend who she said was “going through a hard time.”  Miranda also won Vocal Event of the Year for her duet with Keith Urban, “We Were Us,” and Single of the Year for “Mama’s Broken Heart.”

Speaking of “Mama’s Broken Heart,” the woman who co-wrote it, Kacey Musgraves, won the Album of the Year award for Same Trailer, Different Park.  “I just wanna say that I’m really proud to be a woman representing country music,” said the singer, who was the lone female nominated in that category, and who beat out Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line and Tim McGraw to take home the prize.

A female-fronted band — The Band Perry — took home the trophy for Vocal Group of the Year; it was their first win in that category.  Onstage, Kimberly Perry said, “This is a mountaintop moment in the life of The Band Perry, because we started at the bottom of the mountain.”  Recalling their early days playing in venues where the band members outnumbered the audience members, Kimberly said their grandfather always told them, “Kids, this ain’t no hill for a climber,” and then added, “We accept this for the climbers tonight!”

As for the men, Jason Aldean won his second consecutive Male Vocalist of the Year Award.  “It’s been one helluva ride,” he said at the podium. “I hope it doesn’t end any time soon.”  Florida Georgia Line won Duo of the Year, while Justin Moore picked up the trophy for New Artist of the Year.  Song of the Year went to “I Drive Your Truck,” recorded by Lee Brice.  The trio who wrote the song took the stage to accept, and one of the writers, Connie Harrington, said in her emotional acceptance speech, “To every person in America who knows what it’s like to live the words of the song day in and day out: God bless you!”

Garth Brooks led a tribute to country legend Merle Haggard, whose 77th birthday happen to fall on Sunday night.  He received the Crystal Milestone Award, and the entire audience serenaded him with “Happy Birthday.”  George Strait and Miranda Lambert also paid tribute to Hag by performing “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive” and “Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down,” respectively.

Taylor Swift was front row during the telecast, and presented the Vocal Group of the Year award, but only took home one trophy: Video of the Year, for “Highway Don’t Care,” her collaboration with Tim McGraw and Keith Urban.

Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan returned to host the awards, and provided a steady stream of jokes and insults throughout the night.  When Luke told the audience they were in for a great night of live music, Blake cracked, “And if you don’t like live music, you need to go down the block and see Britney Spears.”   There were also the now-standard jokes about Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, as well as jokes about a couple of hot topics: same sex marriage and the legalization of marijuana. Blake joked,  “I thought same-sex marriage meant after you got married, you had the same sex, over and over again.”  Blake said that to buy marijuana in the past, you used to have to go to an official marijuana dispensary.  “We call it Eric Church‘s dressing room,” Luke joked.

The two also called attention to the presence of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in the audience, and announced that next year’s 50th anniversary installment of the ACM Awards will take place in Dallas, Texas, at Cowboy Stadium.  When Blake said, “That’s great, you never see an awards show at Cowboy Stadium!” Luke snarked gleefully, “You never see a playoff game there, either!”

When Luke asked Blake about competing against his wife Miranda Lambert for Entertainer of the Year, Blake said, “As far as Miranda’s concerned, I’m already Entertainer of the Year.”  To which Luke responded, “More like Entertainer of the Minute, and I’m spotting you 30 seconds!”

The one thing some viewers found disappointing about the telecast is that it literally took an hour for the first award — Vocal Duo of the Year — to be handed out.  Some 90 minutes into the three-hour show, just two awards had been presented.  As usual, the show was all about the music, showcasing an unbelievable 24 performances in those three hours.  In addition to songs from most of today’s biggest country stars and promising newcomers, fans also got to see unexpected pairings like Lady Antebellum and Stevie Nicks, and Blake Shelton with Shakira.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio