Darius Rucker Added to “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” Lineup

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleDarius Rucker has been added to the lineup for NBC’s Christmas in Rockefeller Center special airing Wednesday night. He joins previously announced performers Trisha Yearwood, LeAnn Rimes, Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett and Idina Menzel. Mariah Carey will open the show singing “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”

Christmas in Rockefeller Center airs Wednesday night at 8 ET on NBC.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

RaeLynn Performing “God Made Girls” on “The Voice” Tuesday Night

Image Courtesy Susannah Barber/ValoryRaeLynn will perform “God Made Girls” on NBC’s The Voice Tuesday night. She competed on the show’s second season and has gone on to perform on coach Blake Shelton‘s song “Buzzin'” from his latest album, Bringing Back the Sunshine.

RaeLynn will tour with Blake’s wife, Miranda Lambert, in 2015.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockCarrie Underwood starred in a live performance of which classic musical last December on NBC? ANSWER: The Sound of Music.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockCarrie Underwood will perform on the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville December 13.

Zac Brown Band will perform on PBS’s A Tribute to Bruce Springsteen Friday, December 5.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

The Holiday Season Officially Kicks Off with Tonight’s “CMA Country Christmas” on ABC

Image Courtesy ABC/CMAThe star-studded CMA Country Christmas special airs Monday night on ABC. Jennifer Nettles returns as host and teams up with Idina Menzel for a duet of the smash hit from Frozen, “Let It Go.” Carrie Underwood sings her duet with Michael W. Smith, “All Is Well,” which is included on his new holiday album, The Spirit of Christmas.

Carrie says, “This is the first time that we’ve performed it in a live setting in front of people. So, I’m really looking forward to it.”

For his part, Michael admits he was nervous to sing with Carrie, since she’s such a vocal powerhouse. He tells ABC News Radio, “You gotta bring the A-game. But you know what, I think it turned out great on the record. [Taping] the special was a magical moment. I’ll never forget it.”

Little Big Town also teamed up with Michael W. Smith for a rendition of “Silent Night,” along with their own performance of “I Pray on Christmas.”

Steven Tyler jumped at the chance to join Brad Paisley for a collaboration on “Run Run Rudolph,” which happens to be Steven’s favorite Christmas song. When he got the call to join the CMA Country Christmas lineup, Steven says, “I just hit the ceiling, and I said, ‘I’m in.’ We just did it, and the proof is in the pudding — Christmas pudding, that is.”

Brett Eldredge, Hunter Hayes, Sara Evans, Alan Jackson, LeAnn Rimes, and Lucy Hale are among the other stars performing on CMA Country Christmas, Monday night at 8 ET on ABC.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Rascal Flatts Back to Vocal Acrobatics with Brand-New Single, “Riot”

Image Courtesy Big Machine RecordsRascal Flatts lead singer Gary LeVox shows off his impressive vocal chops on the band’s latest single, “Riot.” The guys recorded the song at bass player Jay DeMarcus‘s house, where it took quite a bit of effort for Jay and band mate Joe Don Rooney to add harmonies to Gary’s high notes.

Joe Don tells Rolling Stone, “Luckily, Jay has an oxygen tank in the house.”

Jay is excited for fans to hear the new single as it climbs the charts at country radio. “‘Riot’ is one of the songs that we felt strongest about from the first day on the record,” he says. “We’re thrilled that that one is going to have a chance to see the light of day. Once people hear it, they’ll figure out what an incredibly crafted song it is.”

“Riot” is included on Rascal Flatts’ latest album, Rewind, available now.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Kip Moore’s Writing for the Love of Music Again

Image Courtesy MCA NashvilleKip Moore knows his fans are waiting impatiently for the follow-up to his 2012 debut album, Up All Night. The first two singles he’s released from the sophomore record — “Young Love” and “Dirt Road” — stalled out on the charts. He’s now back in the studio recording new songs while trying not to overthink the music-making process.

Kip tells The Oakland Press, “I might have gone a little too aggressive or too intense with what I was doing. What I had to do was quiet thinking and just enjoy writing again and let it go from there.”

Kip expects to release his new single, and hopefully his new album, in 2015.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Carrie Underwood Avoids Holiday Shopping Crowds at All Costs

Image Courtesy Arista NashvilleYou won’t find Carrie Underwood anywhere near a mall this holiday season.

“I do not do crowds,” she says. “Never have.”

Growing up in Oklahoma, Carrie went with her mother to Walmart just about every Black Friday, and the experience seriously freaked her out.

She explains, “I’d have to leave the store because I would hyperventilate and need to get out.”

These days Carrie ends up looking for good deals online instead of in stores.

She says with a laugh, “I like the online shopping. I’m more of a Cyber Monday kinda girl.”

Carrie has a gift for her fans this holiday season. Her double-disc Greatest Hits: Decade #1 compilation comes out December 9 featuring her latest hit, “Something in the Water.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Miranda Lambert Appearing on Shelter Pet Adoption Special Thanksgiving Night

Image Courtesy Becky FlukeMiranda Lambert is one of the stars appearing on Fox’s Cause for Paws: An All-Star Dog Spectacular Thanksgiving night. The special is designed to raise money for and awareness of shelter pets, and that’s a cause very dear to Miranda’s heart. She just opened a no-kill shelter, Redemption Ranch, in her hometown of Tishomingo, Oklahoma.

As for appearing on the Fox special, Miranda says, “I’m thankful for anybody that’s willing to put something together to celebrate shelter pets. That’s what I do.”

Pedigree is one of the show’s sponsors, and Miranda has worked extensively with the dog food company to help get shelter pets adopted.

“Pedigree renovated 48 shelters this year and gave 500,000 pounds of food away, including pallets and pallets of it to my shelter,” Miranda says. “So, when I’m not doing music, I’m doing something with animals. It’s my other passion.”

Jane Lynch and Hilary Swank co-host Cause for Paws Thursday night on Fox. Scarlett Johansson, Betty White, Kristen Bell, Fergie and Pink are among the other stars appearing on the special.

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Cole Swindell Says Performing on Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade “Doesn’t Even Seem Real”

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleCole Swindell usually heads back home to Georgia for Thanksgiving, but he’s making an exception this year to sing at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Cole grew up watching the parade every year, and he’s having trouble processing that he’ll actually be a part of the event on Thursday.

He says, “That doesn’t even seem real. Especially from, you know, the folks where we’re from, we’ve all watched that. Even New York is bigger than we’ve ever imagined.”

Cole expects he’ll be getting a lot of texts and phone calls from friends and family back home that day.

“My family’s gonna be gathered around and waching,” Cole says. “It’s gonna be fun.”

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade airs Thursday morning on NBC. Dan + Shay will perform during the parade, too.

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