Miranda Lambert and Hunter Hayes Performing on Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular

NBC UniversalMiranda Lambert and Hunter Hayes have signed on to perform on the Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular special on NBC. The show airs live from New York City that night with the Brooklyn Bridge as the backdrop. Lionel Richie and pop star Ariana Grande are also on the bill for the two-hour special which starts at 8 p.m. ET on July 4. Nick Cannon serves as host.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Alan Jackson Announces 25th Anniversary Tour

EMIIt’s not that many artists who stick around long enough to stage a 25th anniversary tour.  Alan Jackson is one of them.

The country legend just announced he’s hitting the road next year, though there aren’t any specific dates or cities announced yet.  Jackson will reportedly play two nights a week on the trek — a pretty easy schedule that might make some wonder if this is a retirement tour.  Jackson, who’ll be 56 in October, responded during Thursday morning’s Nashville press conference, “I don’t know what I’d retire from.  I don’t work much now.”

Jackson may be slowing down a bit, but he’s not letting up.  He’ll be the Country Music Hall of Fame’s artist in residence this October, performing two shows, on October 8 and 22.  The Hall also revealed they’re opening an Alan Jackson exhibit August 29, which will remain open through the following spring.

Jackson released his first album, the multi-platinum Here in the Real World, in February of 1990.  His most recent studio album was last year’s The Bluegrass Album, which topped the Billboard Top Bluegrass Albums chart and peaked at #3 on the Country Albums chart.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio 

Randy Travis Makes Rare Public Appearance at Dolly Parton Concert in Oklahoma

Webster PRRandy Travis made a rare public appearance attending Dolly Parton‘s concert in Oklahoma on Saturday. Randy suffered a stroke after undergoing brain surgery and experiencing heart failure last year.

Dolly visited with Randy backstage after the concert. She tells People, “It was so great to have Randy at my show. He was looking good and doing great.”

Randy also attended a Neal McCoy concert in Dallas back in January.


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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhat does the CMA in CMA Music Festival stand for? ANSWER: Country Music Association.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockSheryl Crow hosted an intimate after-party at her Nashville farm Tuesday following the Rolling Stone Country launch party. Sheryl, Vince Gill, Darius Rucker, Wynonna, Ashley Monroe, Kix Brooks, Keith Urban and Martina McBride took part in an impromptu jam session at the party.

Alan Jackson played a surprise show at The Stage in downtown Nashville Wednesday night following his appearance on the 2014 CMT Music Awards.

Craig Morgan just passed the one-million likes milestone on Facebook.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Stars Staying in Touch with Their Inner Fan at This Weekend’s CMA Music Festival

CMAThe 2014 CMA Music Festival kicks off Thursday with hundreds of country stars performing on 11 stages in downtown Nashville through Sunday night. More than 100,000 country fans invade the city for the annual event, which Keith Urban describes as a country music “summer camp.”

Keith first began performing at the CMA Music Festival back in the late ’90s when it was called Fan Fair and held at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. He says, “Since Fan Fair, it’s just been that sort of week-plus of energy, the whole town just explodes, and what it is that we love about this genre and the community aspect of it. I always love it.”

Lady Antebellum‘s Hillary Scott grew up going to Fan Fair back at the fairgrounds with her mother, CMA Award winner Linda Davis.

Hillary tells ABC News Radio, “I would actually take photos of her with her fans going through the line.”

Now, Hillary is on the other side of that camera meeting Lady Antebellum fans along with her band mates Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood. They’ve been performing and signing autographs at CMA Music Festival since 2007, and Charles is still in awe of how dedicated their fans are year after year.

He says, “It’s the most diehard fans. They’re really passionate about country music, so to get to see kind of the top of the top, so to speak, of the fanbase of country music, it means a lot.”

Blake Shelton attended this event as a fan when he moved to Nashville 20 years ago. As a hardcore country fan himself, Blake was ecstatic to meet any artist he’d ever seen on TV, including ’90s acts Ronna Reeves, John and Audrey Wiggins and country legends The Bellamy Brothers.

“I was just running around crazy trying to meet all these people, get ‘em to sign something and take a picture with me,” Blake remembers. “Now, when I come back, I remember that feeling because I see these people walking by. They’re having that same feeling.”

Cole Swindell is taking part in his first CMA Music Festival since scoring a #1 hit with “Chillin’ It.” This time last year, Cole didn’t even have a record deal, but he knew all about the event because of his work as one of Luke Bryan‘s merch guys.

Says Cole, “When I worked for Luke, I remember him throwing his fan club parties and just getting a chance to be around the fans, the people that keep you in the business.”

Now that he’s got a lot of fans of his own, Cole adds, “It’s just gonna be cool to get to hang with them and just tell ‘em how much I appreciate ‘em.”

The biggest event at CMA Music Festival is always the nightly concerts at Nashville’s LP Field. The big shows start Thursday night with performances from Brantley Gilbert, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw and Alabama. Go to CMAFest.com for a complete list of who’s appearing where this weekend.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Carrie Underwood Wins Fifth Video of the Year Trophy at 2014 CMT Music Awards

CMTCarrie Underwood won her fifth Video of the Year trophy at the 2014 CMT Music Awards Wednesday night for “See You Again.”  It was her third-straight win in that category. She took it last year for “Blown Away,” and in 2012 for “Good Girl.”

Florida Georgia Line welcomed Jason DeRulo and Luke Bryan to open the show with a mashup of “This Is How We Roll” and Jason’s song “Talk Dirty.”  FGL and Luke even joined Jason and his crew for a dance breakdown. ZZ Top performed their hit, “La Grange,” at the top of that opening performance and later joined the entire crew for a sing-along of “This Is How We Roll.” The new version of “This Is How We Roll,” featuring Jason, was released to radio immediately after the performance.

The Band Perry won Group Video of the Year for “Done.” Breakthrough Video of the Year went to Cassadee Pope for “Wasting All These Tears.” She happily accepted the trophy from her mentor from The Voice, Blake Shelton. Blake won Male Video of the Year for his hilarious clip, “Doin’ What She Likes,” and later sang “Boys ‘Round Here” on the outdoor Pepsi stage.

Luke Bryan shared the CMT Performance of the Year trophy with Lionel Richie for their duet on “Oh No/All Night Long” from the 2013 CMT Artists of the Year concert. Luke also took the Collaborative Video of the Year category with Florida Georgia Line for “This Is How We Roll.” FGL won the Duo Video of the Year category for “Round Here” as well.

Miranda Lambert accepted Female Video of the Year for “Automatic” before teaming up with Carrie Underwood for a red-hot performance of “Somethin’ Bad.”

Kacey Musgraves and Lee Ann Womack performed “Livin’ on Love” in honor of Alan Jackson, who was given the CMT Impact Award for his 25 years of hit videos. Carrie Underwood presented the trophy to Alan, and he thanked CMT for playing his videos all these years.

Little Big Town premiered their new single, “Day Drinking,” wearing all-white on an all-white set with a full drum line backing them up. When the song went into a drum-and-whistle breakdown, paint began coming out of the drums when the drummers hit it, and dry paint engulfed the band. LBT was wet with paint but very happy at the end of the performance.

Hunter Hayes arranged a new, guitar version of John Legend‘s pop hit, “All of Me,” and joined John and Jennifer Nettles onstage as they performed the song as a duet. Hunter also got the crowd rocking his new single, “Tattoo.”

Keith Urban gave a solo performance of “Cop Car” from Nashville’s Bluebird Café, but halfway through the song, the Bluebird’s walls were rolled off to reveal Keith was actually performing in the arena. A barefoot Jake Owen took over the plaza at Bridgestone Arena to sing his summertime hit, “Beachin’.” Lady Antebellum‘s Hillary Scott gave off a brunette bombshell vibe for the group’s outdoor performance of “Bartender.”

Eric Church brought Lzzy Hale out to trade big, screaming vocals on “That’s Damn Rock & Roll” from his latest album, The Outsiders. Dierks Bentley recruited a crew of hot stewardesses to dance onstage as he sang “Drunk on a Plane,” and Brantley Gilbert brought a taste of his Let It Ride tour to the stage with “Bottoms Up.”

Danielle Bradbery, Tyler Farr, Thomas Rhett, Cole Swindell, Dan + Shay, David Nail and Brett Eldredge all performed snippets of their hits on the Nationwide Insurance stage throughout the night.

Kristen Bell returned for a third turn as host, but it was her first time helming the show solo. She had help from her celebrity pals Cheryl Hines and Malin Ackerman in the opening skit trying to find a new co-host to replace her previous sidekicks, Jason Aldean and Toby Keith. They introduced her to the co-host dating app, Hollr, a country version of Tindr, and it connected her with her husband, Dax Shepard, Tom Arnold and Sean Hayes as bad potential co-hosts. Malin and Cheryl ultimately convinced Kristen to go it alone.

As Kristen made her way to the stage, she got not-so-helpful advice from Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley and Alan Jackson. The camera then cut to Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan all fighting in an elevator in a spoof of Jay-Z and Solange Knowles‘ infamous elevator fight. FGL and Luke straightened up when they saw Kristen was about to get in the elevator, and Luke told her as he got off, “What happens in the elevator staying in the elevator.”

During the monologue, Kristen poked a little fun at Luke for falling off the stage at a concert last weekend, and Luke was then shown seated in the audience with yellow caution tape wrapped all around him.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

CMT Music Awards Winners List

CMTHere are the winners of the 2014 CMT Music Awards, held in Nashville on Wednesday night:

Carrie Underwood – “See You Again”

Blake Shelton – “Doin’ What She Likes”

Miranda Lambert – “Automatic”

The Band Perry – “Done”
Florida Georgia Line – “Round Here”
Cassadee Pope – “Wasting All These Tears”
Florida Georgia Line featuring Luke Bryan – “This Is How We Roll”
Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie – “Oh No/All Night Long” from 2013 CMT ARTISTS OF THE YEAR

Alan Jackson

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“Swollen and Miserable” Kelly Clarkson Ready for Her Baby Girl to Get Here Now

Peter Kramer/NBCAs she heads into the final stages of her first pregnancy, Kelly Clarkson feels the same way many women do at this point: she just wants it to be over, already.

“Okay my baby girl needs to come on out ASAP. Mama is tired, swollen and miserable hahaha!” Kelly tweeted on Wednesday.  When a fan responded that they understood how she felt, but then added that her own baby arrived three weeks early, Kelly replied, “lucky!! 3 weeks early, I’m so jealous!!”

When another fan commented, “Bad news, you will be just as tired, miserable and swollen, but good news: you’ll be able to hold that sweetie!” Kelly replied, “Totally get it but I’m ready for a different kind of miserable ha! AND I want to hold her in my arms.”

When yet another fan asked her if she’d looked into ways she might be able to induce labor, Kelly said she was way ahead of her.

“Girl, I have tried everything! I’m still trying everything,” Kelly tweeted, adding resignedly, “She has set up camp and is comfy, I guess.”

It’s thought that Kelly’s baby — her first with husband Brandon Blackstock — is due this month.  The couple announced they were expecting late last year.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Zac Brown Band Bassist Says Their Music Goes Well Beyond the Country Genre

Southern GroundMembers of Zac Brown Band have long stated they are much more than a country group, and the band’s new bass player echoes those sentiments.

In an interview with Access Atlanta, Matt Mangano says, “I kind of put Zac’s music out of the genre of country and into the genre of good. We go from a country song to a hard-rocking song to a reggae-ish song to a bluegrass-y song. It’s fun.”

Matt worked as the director at Zac’s Southern Ground Studios in Atlanta before formally joining the band this year. This isn’t his first time performing in a band with Zac, though.  Matt says, “I played with Zac in the early configuration of the band. It wasn’t called the Zac Brown Band then. But we were playing some of the songs we’re playing now.”

Zac Brown Band will be playing for the country fans at CMA Music Festival Sunday night in Nashville.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio