Taylor Swift Buys NYC Penthouse for Nearly $20 Million

ABC/Richard HarbaughThere’s been much speculation over the past week as to whether or not Taylor Swift really laid out close to $20 million for a swanky New York City residence.  Well, E! News has confirmed that the singer did, in fact, splash out on a fancy penthouse — two of them, in fact.

According to E!, Taylor spent $19.9 million to buy not one but two penthouse apartments in a building in New York’s trendy Tribeca neighborhood.  Together, they total more than 8,000 square feet.  By comparison, the mansion she purchased in Rhode Island last year for close to $18 million was just 3,000 square feet larger.

Taylor’s new Manhattan neighbors include Beyonce and Jay Z and Gwyneth Paltrow, according to E!.  The singer’s been spotted out and about in the Big Apple over the last two weeks, shopping and hanging out with friends.

Despite owning residences in Los Angeles, Rhode Island and, now, New York, Taylor recently told Time magazine that Nashville, where she also owns a condo, will always be her real “home.”  She says she likes it because she’s not bothered by paparazzi as she is in other cities.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Tim, Taylor and Keith Could Sweep the ACM Awards with “Highway Don’t Care”

CMATim McGraw, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban are up for Single, Vocal Event and Video of the Year at this Sunday’s ACM Awards for their collaboration on “Highway Don’t Care.” Recording with Tim and Keith was a real full-circle moment for Taylor.

“Those are two huge influences of mine musically,” Taylor explains. “And to get a call from one of them and say, ‘Hey, want to sing the pre-chorus on this song, and Keith’s gonna play on it?’ Like, it was the most exciting thing because my career started out with a song called ‘Tim McGraw’ when I was 16.”

Tim knew having Taylor and Keith on his song would probably make it a hit, but he’s quick to point out that “Highway Don’t Care” is a well-crafted song.

Tim says, “I think the record, the video, the feel of the song, the performance that Keith did on the guitar, the performance that Taylor did on her vocals, it’s just a very cinematic sort of project, and I think that just rings bells for everybody.”

Find out if “Highway Don’t Care” takes home any hardware this Sunday night when the 49th Annual ACM Awards broadcast live on CBS starting at 8 ET.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Taylor Swift Sets New Chinese Record for Fastest Ticket Sell-Out

ABC/Chris HolloHere’s something you don’t see every day.  Taylor Swift now holds the record for the fastest show sell-out in Chinese history.

According to her label, tickets for Taylor’s May 30 show at Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena sold out in just one minute after they went on sale Thursday.  The show is one of seven Asian dates that Taylor added to her RED tour just last month. 

If you were hoping to see Taylor in Asia, you’re too late: all of the dates are now sold out.

For more info on the RED tour, visit Taylor’s website.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Scotty McCreery Headlining Kentucky Derby Festival May 2

Mercury NashvilleScotty McCreery is off to the races.

He’s set to perform at the Kentucky Derby Festival in Louisville on May 2 with special guest Cassadee Pope. The Fray will headline the night before. Tickets are available at KDF.org.

Next up, Scotty takes his show to Scranton, PA on Tuesday, April 8.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton to Duet on “ACM Presents: An All-Star Salute to the Troops”

ACMMiranda Lambert and Blake Shelton will duet on the ACM Presents: An All-Star Salute to the Troops special. Eli Young Band, Rascal Flatts and Craig Morgan have also been added to the lineup. George Strait, Florida Georgia Line, Lee Brice, Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood, Hunter Hayes and Merle Haggard are among the previously-announced performers.

The show tapes Monday night in Las Vegas and airs Tuesday, May 20 at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockHow many times has Taylor Swift won ACM Entertainer of the Year? ANSWER:  Twice.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

ACM Awards Co-Hosts Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan Open Up About Each Other’s Shortcomings

ACMBlake Shelton and Luke Bryan return for a second turn as co-hosts of the ACM Awards this Sunday night. Now that they’ve got the first year of sharing emcee duties under their belts, the country superstars know what to expect going into this year’s show.

Blake says, “I think the biggest thing I learned last year is I can’t depend on Luke as much as I would like to be able to say that I can. I intended for him to lean on me a little bit being that it was his first year. But that favor’s really not one that’s returned often when I need his help.”

Luke adds, “It’s fun being at the reins, and this year will be fun for me, because I know what he’ll mess up. I do know that he can read. He showed me that last year.”

In all seriousness, Blake and Luke are looking forward to this year’s ACM Awards and all the events surrounding the big night in Las Vegas. Luke will co-host the Cabela’s Great Outdoor Archery Event with Justin Moore Saturday at The Linq. Look for that competition to be streamed live at 12:45 p.m. ET at Cabelas.com/ACMArchery.

The 49th Annual ACM Awards broadcast live Sunday night at 8 ET on CBS.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

ACM Entertainer of the Year Nominee Miranda Lambert Is Looking for a Date to Sunday’s Show

Sony Music NashvilleMiranda Lambert loves watching her husband, Blake Shelton, co-host the ACM Awards with Luke Bryan, but his gig leaves her in a bind the night of the show.

“I gotta find a date!” Miranda says with a laugh. “I don’t ever see my husband that night.”

Miranda is tied with Tim McGraw as a lead nominee going into Sunday night’s ACM Awards with seven nods each. She is up for the night’s top prize, Entertainer of the Year, and that mention is a huge pat on the back for Miranda.

She says, “It means so much to me because it’s one that I haven’t been nominated for hardly at all. It’s about what we’re doing out there, the grind every year for all these years. It’s playing to the people, and all the stuff that it’s built around is touring. That’s our life.”

Fan-voting for the Entertainer of the Year award continues through Sunday at VoteACM.com.  Miranda is also nominated twice in the Vocal Event category thanks to her Keith Urban duet, “We Were Us,” and her collaboration with her band, Pistol Annies, and Blake, on “Boys ‘Round Here.”

Miranda will join George Strait in paying tribute to Merle Haggard on the ACM Awards, too. The show airs Sunday night at 8 ET on CBS.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockVince Gill, Ricky Skaggs and Lee Ann Womack will perform at the grand opening of the new expansion to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville on April 15.

Tim McGraw will share personal life lessons on a new episode of Oprah’s Master Class airing June 8 on OWN.

Darius Rucker will perform the national anthem prior to the NCAA Men’s Final Four championship game Monday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. The game airs live on CBS.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

“Dueling Banjos” Composer Authur “Guitar Boogie” Smith, Dead at 93

GAB Archive/RedfernsThe man who wrote the #1 Billboard instrumental hit “Dueling Banjos” has died.  Arthur Smith passed away at his Charlotte, North Carolina home Thursday at age 93, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Smith was already known as a gifted and successful musician and composer before “Dueling Banjos” became a hit.  He wrote and recorded the instrumental standard “Guitar Boogie” in 1945, a combination of rockabilly and swing rhythms that’s credited by many as one of the first true rock and roll records, if not the first.   It went on to sell over three million copies, and earned Smith the moniker Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith.

Smith wrote and recorded “Dueling Banjos,” then known as “Feudin’ Banjos,” in 1955, and even performed it on a 1963 episode of TV’s The Andy Griffith Show.  When producers of the 1972 hit film Deliverance used it, the song — arranged and performed by Eric Weissberg — became an immediate hit, holding the #1 spot on the Billboard AC chart for two weeks in February of 1973, and cracking the top five on the Hot 100 and country singles charts.  However, Smith was neither consulted about nor credited for the song’s use in Deliverance — an oversight he remedied by successfully suing Warner Brothers, receiving both credit and royalties.

Smith was also a longtime North Carolina television presence, with his own local and syndicated variety shows.  He’s survived by his wife, three children, and 17 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio