Willie Nelson Enjoys Highest Chart Ranking Since 1982 with Latest Album, “Band of Brothers”

Shock InkWillie Nelson‘s new album, Band of Brothers, bows at #5 on the Billboard 200 chart this week giving the Country Music Hall of Famer the third top 10 solo set of his career on that tally. It’s his highest ranking on the Billboard 200 since Always on My Mind spent two weeks at #2 in 1982. Willie’s last album, To All the Girls, debuted at #9 last November.

Willie’s Band of Brothers debuts at #1 on Billboard‘s Country Albums chart, too.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Trace Adkins Inducted into Louisiana Music Hall of Fame

Sunshine SachsTrace Adkins was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame last Saturday night during his show in Baton Rouge, LA. During the presentation, Trace was given a membership award and a signed statement from Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.

Trace gave a shout-out to his hometown of Sarepta, LA by naming his band the Sarepta Gentleman’s Club. He’ll play a concert in Sarepta on Saturday, July 5.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Sunny Sweeney Lays It All Out There on New Album, “Provoked,” Due Out August 5

Jon-Paul PhotographySunny Sweeney is back with her third album, Provoked, due out August 5. It’s the follow-up to her album Concrete, which produced the top 10 hit, “From a Table Away.” “Bad Girl Phase” is the lead single from Provoked, and it’s already racing up the iTunes download chart.

As for the full album, Sunny says fans can expect to hear all about her mistakes and the road to recovery she’s been on in the last few years.

“The album is a journey from nearly hitting bottom and losing everything personally to regaining my footing and being able to find not only my true self again, but real happiness,” Sunny explains.

As part of her effort to pay it forward and inspire others, Sunny is donating a portion of the proceeds from Provoked to CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates for children in the legal system.

Here’s the Provoked track list:

“You Don’t Know Your Husband”
“Bad Girl Phase”
“Second Guessing”
“Carolina on the Line”
“Find Me”
“Can’t Let Go”
“Front Row Seats”
“My Bed”
“Sunday Dress”
“Used Cars”
“Backhanded Compliment”
“Everybody Else Can Kiss My Ass”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Florida Georgia Line Performing at First-Ever Kids’ Choice Sports Awards

Republic NashvilleFlorida Georgia Line‘s Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard both grew up playing sports, so it’s a natural fit for them to perform at the first-ever Kids’ Choice Sports Awards next month. According to Us Weekly, FGL will appear on the live broadcast Thursday, July 17 at 8 p.m. ET on Nickelodeon.

Says Tyler, “To be a part of celebrating kids’ favorite players is awesome.”  Brian adds, “I played baseball up through college, and my coaches, teammates and pro-players were some of the most-influential role models in my life.”

Live! Co-host Michael Strahan will host the first-ever Kids’ Choice Sports Awards.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

The Band Perry Salutes Michael Jackson’s Influence on 5th Anniversary of His Death

Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImageWednesday marks the fifth anniversary of Michael Jackson‘s death, and The Band Perry‘s Kimberly Perry remembers exactly where they were when they got the news of his passing.

She says, “We were actually in Manhattan, Kansas the day that he passed away, and we were performing at the festival there. It was just this crazy feeling about the passing of an era.”

While they never got to see Michael Jackson perform live, their mother often talked about getting to see him in concert. She even played his music for them as kids.

“I can remember in second grade waiting for the school bus, my mom would put on her Michael Jackson vinyl, and we would dance waiting for the school bus,” Kimberly recalls. “I think what was so special about him is not only was he a songwriter and a creator, but his entertainment, in my opinion, is still unmatched.”

As they became performers themselves, the Perry siblings studied footage of Michael Jackson’s live shows for ideas on how to entertain a crowd.

Reid Perry adds, “We’ve looked at everything from his fashion to even, you know, how he pops out of a toaster onstage and will stand there for five minutes while the crowd just goes wild and just kinda see how he was able to do so much that he was able to.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhich country legend joined Zac Brown Band on the hit “While She’s Walking Away?” ANSWER: Alan Jackson.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockZac Brown Band will appear on the 2014 Music Midtown festival September 19 and 20 in Atlanta.

Kristian Bush‘s new country single, “Trailer Hitch,” goes to radio and iTunes on July 28.

Josh Thompson performs at the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Hot Nights at the Hall concert series on July 10.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Brantley Gilbert Opens Up About His Friends and Collaborators, Justin Moore and Thomas Rhett

CMAWhen fans listen to Brantley Gilbert‘s collaboration with Justin Moore and Thomas Rhett on “Small Town Throwdown,” they’ll hear the camaraderie between the three guys front and center. In fact, Brantley considers Justin and Thomas to be as close as some of the friends he grew up with back home in Georgia.

Brantley says, “I don’t just consider ‘em friends because we’re label mates or business partners or whatever — those dudes are cool as hell.”

While Brantley loves Justin’s sense of humor, he also looks up to Justin as a true family man.

“I got the chance to get close to him and become friends with him and hang out with him around his kids and around his wife and see that he’s a good husband and a good father,” Brantley says of Justin. “That speaks a multitude, man. It makes it a lot easier to tie up with somebody and have fun and go out on the road and do songs with somebody when you know they’re a good person.”

Brantley has been watching Thomas Rhett grow as an artist and songwriter ever since he first took the stage with his dad, Rhett Akins, a few years back.

Says Brantley, “I think there are a few of us, a select few of us, that saw it then, and he’s done nothing but raise the bar from what we expected. I’ve been on tour with him a lot. His dad’s a great friend of mine. He’s a great friend of mine and [I] love his wife to death.”

“Small Town Throwdown” is included on Brantley’s latest album, Just as I Am, in stores now.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Kip Moore Teases Sneak Peek of CMT on Tour Trek Wednesday Afternoon in Nashville

MCA NashvilleKip Moore is giving fans a sneak preview of his upcoming CMT on Tour 2014: Up in Smoke trek Wednesday afternoon at 1 CT on the pedestrian bridge in downtown Nashville. Kip is on the tour with Charlie Worsham and newcomer Sam Hunt, but his message about the special performance didn’t specify exactly who would be performing Wednesday.

The show stops at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on October 17.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Little Big Town Reveals New Album Title, “Pain Killer”

Capitol NashvilleLittle Big Town‘s new album, Pain Killer, will be out this fall featuring their latest single, “Day Drinking.” They’ve already been performing several songs from the album in their live shows, including the title track.

LBT’s Karen Fairchild tells Rolling Stone Country, “We knew the record was going to be called Pain Killer way on into the process because we love that song. That song is really kind of tongue-in-cheek — ‘be the person that numbs my pain.’ We started talking about tying that thread through the whole record, to ease your pain.”

The group’s Kimberly Schlapman shows off some very sassy vocals on the song “Save Your Sin,” while another new track, “Turn the Lights On,” has become Little Big Town’s show-opener this summer. The band experimented with new sounds on Pain Killer, but Karen thinks fans will recognize Little Big Town’s stamp on it.

“The record is bold and provocative and yet it’s very fun,” she says. “It’s not a departure, it’s the next step.”

Look for Little Big Town’s “Day Drinking” video to premiere on People.com Wednesday. They shot the clip in multiple locations in Miami.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio