Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockDarius Rucker will sing the national anthem at the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race May 16 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina.

Hunter Hayes performs on ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman Friday. He’ll then set off on his attempt at breaking the Guinness record for most concerts played in multiple cities in 24 hours. Keep up to date on Hunter’s social media accounts.

Little Big Town‘s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman say the band’s dream duet partners are Sir Paul McCartney and Dolly Parton.

Kacey Musgraves is posting a lot of pictures on Instagram this week from the Key West Songwriters Festival in Florida.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Cole Swindell Wants Fans to Get to Know His Other Side on Debut Album

Warner Music NashvilleJudging from Cole Swindell’s first two singles, “Chillin’ It” and “Hope You Get Lonely Tonight,” you might assume he only writes about partying with the ladies. Cole encourages fans to discover the other side of his writing style on his self-titled debut album.

“I’m a real dude that’s just living life like they are,” Cole tells Billboard. “I hope that’s what [people] get when they hear the album. I’ve been through the heartbreak stuff. I love to write songs that hit ya too, not just songs that make you feel good.”

Cole writes about both the good and bad times in life, thanks to some advice he got from his friend and mentor, Luke Bryan.  Cole explains, “I once asked him [in an email], ‘What do I have to do to write better songs?’ He wrote back, ‘Live.’”

Cole is on the road with Luke Bryan all year long. Go to ColeSwindell.com for dates.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Zac Brown Welcomes Fifth Child and First Son, Alexander Frost

Zac Brown band via FacebookCongratulations to Zac Brown and his wife Shelly on the birth of their fifth child and first son, Alexander Frost. The baby was born May 5 weighing 11 pounds, seven ounces and measuring 22.5 inches long.

The couple’s four other children range in age from three to seven. Zac heads out on the Great American Road Trip tour with Zac Brown Band starting May 24 in Lincoln, NE.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Lady A, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan & More Playing “Good Morning America” Summer Concert Series

Capitol NashvilleLady Antebellum will kick off Good Morning America‘s Summer Concert Series May 23. Look for Keith Urban to headline the series on July 11 followed by a performance from Luke Bryan on August 8. Florida Georgia Line will play GMA on August 15.  Brad Paisley closes out the series on August 29, performing songs from his new, as-yet untitled studio album, due out August 26.

Jennifer Lopez, Kings of Leon, Demi Lovato and 50 Cent are among the other acts playing ABC’s Good Morning America Summer Concert Series.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Shania Twain Lends Her Voice to Help Preserve Earth’s Wild Leopard Population

Sandbox EntertainmentShania Twain famously wore a leopard print costume in her “That Don’t Impress Me Much” video back in the late-’90s. Now she’s teamed up with cat conservation organization Panthera to help protect wild leopards. The big cats are shrinking in number due to expanding human populations in their habitats. The campaign is called Project Pardus, and Shania has signed on as the effort’s Global Ambassador.

“The image and spirit of the leopard is an inspiration to millions around the world, including myself,” Shania says. “That it is also the most oppressed of the big cats is almost unknown. If we’re to save this animal in the wild, we have to get ahead of the curve before it suffers the same fate as so many other species that we once felt to be secure in their numbers.”

For more details on Project Pardus, go to Panthera.org.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhat does Dierks Bentley call his beloved 1994 Chevy truck? Big White.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Dierks Bentley Launches His Biggest Tour Ever Tonight in North Carolina

ABC News RadioDierks Bentley launches his biggest tour ever Thursday night in North Carolina, and he’s ready to deliver a rocking show for his fans all-summer long. The new stage show features a giant projection screen Dierks calls “the wave” that allows him to connect with audience members sitting in the very back of the venue.

Dierks says, “I think about going to amphitheaters as a kid when I was 17, loving country music. Every band comes through, and you want to make your show stand out and be different and be unique.”

Dierks is stepping up the video elements of his live show, and fans at this weekend’s show will get a sneak peek at video footage from his latest single, “Drunk on a Plane,” which doesn’t premiere until Monday. It’s all part of Dierks’ effort to keep the audience’s attention throughout the night.

“You know, off the stage, I really don’t seek attention, but on the stage, I like to have everyone’s attention all the time until I walk off,” he explains. “I try to design a show that’s going to keep everyone really focused and engaged.”

Fans can feel free to photograph or tape any part of Dierks’ show, but they should be warned he doesn’t take any selfies with fans’ phones until the end of the show.  Dierks is dumbfounded by how many people actually throw their iPhones onstage trying to get him to take a photo on it.

Says Dierks, “People are literally throwing $400 iPhones up on stage.  Like, ‘That’s your phone, man! All your contacts. Your pictures.  That cost $400. You just tossed it up here on stage.’”

Chris Young, Jon Pardi and Chase Rice join Dierks on the Riser tour this summer. Go to Dierks.com for dates.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

“Nashville” Recap: All or Nothing with Me

ABCNashville paid tribute to the troops Wednesday night with Rayna Jaymes and Luke Wheeler staging a concert at Fort Campbell just north of Music City. They decided to stage the show after Luke was injured by a roadside bomb while in Afghanistan to entertain servicemen and women overseas. First lady Michelle Obama showed up with a pre-taped message, thanking the military personnel for their service before the show began. Kellie Pickler was also on hand to sing her song, “Closer to Nowhere.”

While everyone was all smiles onstage at the concert, plenty of drama was going on in the wings. Neither Rayna’s current beau, Luke, or her ex-husband, Teddy, were happy to see ex-love interest Deacon Claybourne singing onstage with Rayna and her two daughters, including Deacon’s biological daughter, Maddie. Deacon continued working through his guilt and anger for not being in Maddie’s life when she was young due to his alcoholism.

The fallout from Juliette Barnes‘ tryst with her former record label president, Jeff Fordham, continued. Jeff wants Juliette back on his record label, and he hinted he might tell her boyfriend, Avery, about her indiscretion. Juliette also revealed her father died in a military training accident when she was young and later teamed up with Luke for a duet of “Don’t Put Dirt on My Grave Just Yet.”

Will Lexington felt the walls closing in as he and new wife, Layla, began filming a reality show in their home. After knocking one of the wall-mounted cameras down in a rage, the closeted Will slipped off to call a sexy trainer named Tony he met at the gym.

There was a little bit of good news on Nashville as Zoey Dalton landed a job as Juliette’s backup singer for her upcoming tour. Chaley Rose plays Zoey, and she tells ABC News Radio Zoey’s journey to becoming a professional singer mirrors her own in a way. Not everyone in Chaley’s life supported her dreams.

“When I was in high school, it was like, I sat my mom down. It was like coming out. I was like, ‘Mom, I’m going to be a singer,’” Chaley explains.  ‘Cause she didn’t want me to. I mean, she just worried about me being in the business.”

Chaley spent awhile in New York and Atlanta pursuing a music career while enduring unwanted sexual advances from music producers. She also struggled to feed herself at times.

Chaley says, “I’m telling you, I ate a lot of peanut butter.”

Eventually, Chaley began to focus on her acting career, and her role as Zoey on Nashville is a perfect hybrid of her two passions. Fans often come up to her and says they enjoy hearing her sing songs like “Done Runnin’” on the Nashville soundtrack.

“It’s awesome,” says Chaley. “And I can’t wait for that feeling for when it’s a song I’ve written. Because it’s cool enough that it’s a song that I’m singing, and to kind of put my own thing into.”

Chaley is featured on the Nashville soundtracks albums, now available online. The show’s second season finale airs next Wednesday night at 10 ET on ABC.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockListen for a brand-new Lady Antebellum single to hit the airwaves in the next week or so.

Tim McGraw kicks off his Heaven Down Sundown Town tour Thursday night in Fresno, CA.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio