Tim McGraw Scores 15th #1 on “Billboard” Country Albums Chart with “Sundown Heaven Town”

Image Courtesy Big Machine RecordsCongratulations to Tim McGraw on scoring his 15th career #1 on Billboard‘s Country Albums chart this week with Sundown Heaven Town. The project features his hit “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s” with Faith Hill, and the new single, “Shotgun Rider.”

“Meanwhile Back at Mama’s” is up for Single of the Year and Musical Event of the Year at the 48th Annual CMA Awards airing live on ABC Wednesday, November 5.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockFlorida Georgia Line‘s Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley met while attending which Nashville college? ANSWER: Belmont University.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Big & Rich Celebrate Their 10th Anniversary with Hit Song, “Look at You,” and New Album, “Gravity

Image Courtesy Big & Rich RecordsBig & Rich celebrate the 10th anniversary of their breakthrough hit, “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)” and their multi-platinum debut project, Horse of a Different Color, with a brand-new album, Gravity, in stores this week. The project features the duo’s latest top-20 country hit, “Look at You,” which the duo’s Big Kenny says has made a big impact on their fans, right out of the box.

“That song to me, as well as some others on this record, was a place that we hit a uniquely Big & Rich sound on it, vocally,” Kenny tells ABC News Radio. “Insanely well-written song — great melody, a great production.”

Kenny’s duo partner, John Rich, agrees that they’re firing on all cylinders with Gravity.

“The songs on this record, I think, are probably some of the best lyrics and sonics that Kenny and I have ever done,” John says. “Really, they should be. You should continue to get better at your music.”

Kenny compares the past 10 years of their career to going to high school then on to college as far as songwriting goes.  He says, “You get to 10 years, you’re starting to get your Ph.D. in songwriting.”

John adds with a laugh, “And the next thing you know, you’re in adult diapers, which is where we’ll probably be on the next record.”

In addition to “Look at You,” Gravity includes a duet with Big & Rich’s pal Tim McGraw on a song titled “Lovin’ Lately.”

Look for Big & Rich to promote Gravity with appearances on NBC’s Today on Thursday and ABC’s The Chew on Friday. They’ll appear on FOX News’ Huckabee this Saturday, too.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Garth Brooks Announces Minneapolis Concerts Coming Up November 14 and 15

Image Courtesy CMAGarth Brooks has announced four shows in Minneapolis on Friday, November 14 and Saturday, November 15.

The concerts will start at 6:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. local time each night, but Garth could add even more dates after tickets on go on sale Friday, October 3 at AXS.com/Garth or 1-855-411-4849.

These concerts mark Garth’s first time playing in Minnesota in more than 16 years. Of course, his wife Trisha Yearwood is also on the bill.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

ABC’s “Nashville” Returns Tonight Featuring Two Live Performances and a Florida Georgia Line Cameo

Image Courtesy ABC/Mark LevineThe third season of ABC’s Nashville premieres Wednesday night featuring two live performances during the hour-long broadcast. Chris Carmack, who plays Will Lexington, and Charles Esten, who plays Deacon Claybourne, will actually perform twice Wednesday night — first for the east coast and then again two hours later for the west coast. They’ll have a live audience watching the performance at the show’s Nashville-area soundstage.

Even though Charles has plenty of experience doing improv with his former gig on Whose Line Is It Anyway?, he’s not taking this live prime-time performance lightly.

“This is a little bit different,” Charles tells ABC News Radio. This is pretty ‘up there without a net.’  But I’m surrounded by these incredible musicians — the same musicians that I did the recording of the song with. It will be on iTunes and everywhere else. So, I know I’m in good company surrounded by the best.”

Florida Georgia Line is also making a cameo on the Nashville premiere Wednesday night, but the big question of the night is which suitor Rayna Jaymes will choose to marry? She’s already accepted a proposal from her superstar boyfriend, Luke Wheeler, but her long-time love, Deacon, has also stepped up and asked for Rayna’s hand in marriage. That act of courage makes Charles Esten proud of his character, who was at rock bottom at the beginning of season two.

Says Charles, “He climbed his way back and crawled his way back through recovery and through doing all the things you do one step at a time, one day at a time to the point that he felt like he didn’t have to walk away when he saw Luke ask Rayna to marry him.”

ABC’s Nashville premieres Wednesday night at 10 ET. Look for Luke Bryan and Sara Evans to appear in upcoming episodes.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Carrie Underwood to Make Big Announcement on “Today” Friday Morning

Image Courtesy Arista NashvilleCarrie Underwood will appear on NBC’s Today Friday morning to reveal some big news to her fans. She’ll also talk about her Saturday performance at the Global Citizen Festival in New York City’s Central Park. Carrie joins Jay-Z, No Doubt, fun., The Roots and Tiesto on the bill. MSNBC will carry the full concert that day, and an edited version of the concert will air on NBC Saturday night.

The Global Citizen Festival celebrates the work towards ending extreme poverty by 2030.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Brad Paisley, Eric Paslay and Others Help the Opry Celebrate 25 Years of Country Cares for St. Jude Kids

Image Courtesy Arista NashvilleBrad Paisley, Eric Paslay and Maddie & Tae were among the stars celebrating the 25th anniversary of Country Cares for St. Jude Kids at the Grand Ole Opry Tuesday night. The organization brings together country radio and the stars of the format to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

Prior to headlining the Opry show, Brad Paisley said, “I’m just proudest of this format at times like this when we are doing good things.”

He goes on to describe the hospital saying, “The energy is different from any hospital you’ve ever been in because it’s children. And it’s decorated for children and completely inhabited by children who don’t stop being children because they’re sick. They ride tricycles up and down the hallways wearing oxygen masks.”

Eric Paslay has visited St. Jude with Country Cares as well, and he agrees that the positive environment at the hospital is essential to healing.

“All the people that work there are the most hopeful people because they see the research, and they see things getting done,” Eric says. “Donate whatever you can. Any income level, I feel like, most anyone can donate to St. Jude.”

More than $500 million has been raised through Country Cares for St. Jude Kids since Alabama‘s Randy Owen founded the organization in 1989. Randy was on hand for the event Tuesday night. Go to StJude.org/CountryCares to see how you can help.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockSam Hunt makes his national TV debut Wednesday night on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Willie Nelson will perform at the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year Gala honoring Bob Dylan in Los Angeles on Friday, February 6.

Lady Antebellum will promote their new album, 747, in the U.K. with an October 14 concert date at Brooklyn Bowl at The O2 in London. 747 comes out across the pond on October 6, but fans in U.S. can get it next Tuesday.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Jake Owen, Kip Moore, Joe Don Rooney and Joe Nichols Join Lady A Georgia Fundraiser Lineup

Image Courtesy RCA NashvilleJake Owen, Kip Moore, Rascal FlattsJoe Don Rooney and Joe Nichols are joining Lady Antebellum for their benefit concert in Augusta, Georgia, on October 27. The show and a celebrity golf tournament also set for that day are being spearheaded by Lady A’s Charles Kelley, who hails from Augusta, and his brothers, musician Josh Kelley and real estate developer John Kelley.

Proceeds will benefit local charities, including an endowment named for their father, who’s a retired cardiologist.  Tickets are available now at TheKelleyBrothers.com.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Kip Moore Already Selling Out Shows for Up in Smoke Tour, Launching Thursday

Image Courtesy MCA NashvilleKip Moore launches his headlining trek, CMT on Tour:  Up in Smoke, Thursday with a sold-out show at the Best Buy Theatre in New York City. He’s also sold out upcoming shows in Nashville, Boston and Minneapolis as well as two nights in Chicago. Charlie Worsham and Sam Hunt are coming along to open the shows.

Kip says, “I’m floored that dates are already sold-out.  We’ve been working hard to make sure that the fans get their money’s worth and we’re going to put everything we have on stage every single night to do just that.” 

Fans can check out a video of Kip’s new song, “Heart’s Desire,” now at KipMoore.CMT.com.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio