Cole Swindell’s Fraternity Experience Prepared Him for Country Stardom

Warner Music NashvilleCole Swindell may not have become the chart-topping country star he is today without his experience in the Sigma Chi fraternity at Georgia Southern University. Though he admits he did his fair share of partying with his frat brothers, Cole also picked up the people skills that have proven invaluable to his music career.

Cole tells ABC News Radio, “I think the thing is just networking and being in Nashville, that’s what it’s all about is getting your name out there and just [learning] how to treat people and how you’d want to be treated.”

Since a lot of the fraternity’s alumni still lived closed to campus, the guys in Sigma Chi were always held to pretty high standards.

“It’s helped me being an artist now, I’m held to a different standard,” Cole explains. “People watching everything I do, and it’s good to know that I was raised right and been around good people. It makes it easier to keep your head on straight.”

In spite of those life lessons he picked up in the frat, Cole still found plenty of inspiration for the party songs on his self-titled debut album.

“We did party and have fun,” Cole says, “but I wouldn’t have wrote songs like ‘Brought to You by Beer’ if I hadn’t went to Georgia Southern and lived like I did. It was such a blast.”

Look for Cole to perform on ABC’s Good Morning America Tuesday.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Darius Rucker Hosting Fifth Annual Darius and Friends Benefit Concert June 2

Capitol NashvilleDarius Rucker will host his fifth annual Darius and Friends benefit concert in Nashville on Monday, June 2 at the Wildhorse Saloon. Proceeds go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and tickets go on sale Wednesday at The artist lineup will be announced soon.

Darius will also host the Darius and Friends Celebrity Golf Tournament on June 3. Go to for more details.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Jason Aldean Started Dating Brittany Kerr After Split from Wife

Greenroom PRJason Aldean and former American Idol contestant Brittany Kerr are an item. Jason’s rep confirms to ABC News Radio the two started dating after Jason split from his wife, Jessica. He filed for divorce last May.

According to several reports, Brittany has been spotted at Jason’s shows in the past few months. Jason and Brittany were first photographed getting cozy at a Los Angeles bar in September 2012. He went home in a cab without Brittany that night.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Brantley Gilbert Reveals Cover and Track Listing for “Just As I Am,” Due Out May 19

Valory Music Co.Brantley Gilbert‘s new album, Just as I Am, comes out May 19 featuring the debut hit, “Bottoms Up.” Fans recently unlocked the album cover at Brantley’s website by using the hashtag #JustAsIAm on Facebook and Twitter. The cover photo shows Brantley in a contemplative stance, with his head bowed and hands folded.

Brantley had a hand in writing every song on Just As I Am, which is his first new album in more than four years.  “I have always said that each of my albums has told a story… my story, and this album is no different,” Brantley says. “This one picks up where Halfway to Heaven left off.”

He adds, “I have gone through a lot the past few years… a lot of highs and lows and all of that is reflected in this project. My fans know I’m a straight-shooter, so I didn’t leave anything out.”

A deluxe edition of Just as I Am will be released exclusively at Walmart, featuring the bonus tracks, “G.R.I.T.S.,” “Read Me My Rights,” and “Grown Ass Man.”

Here’s the Just as I Am track listing:

“If You Want a Bad Boy”
“17 Again”
“Bottoms Up”
“That Was Us”
“I’m Gone”
“My Baby’s Guns N’ Roses”
“Lights of My Hometown”
“One Hell of an Amen”
“Small Town Throwdown”
“Let It Ride”
“My Faith in You”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockHillary Scott of Lady Antebellum is married to their band member, Chris Tyrell. Which instrument does he play? ANSWER:  Drums.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Eric Paslay Embraces His Role as Country Music’s Resident Leprechaun

NRA CountrySince he has a red beard and fair complexion, Eric Paslay is embracing his role as country music’s resident leprechaun. The title even helps him book gigs.

Eric says, “I know that I got booked a long time in advance for a St. Patty’s Day show since I’ve started joking about being a giant leprechaun.”

Eric really played up his Irish looks at a recent Halloween show. He discovered a giant, eight-foot guitar backstage before the concert at one of Toby Keith’s Bar & Grill restaurants.

“I went and ran out and bought a giant green top hat and came out on stage with that giant guitar, and I looked like a leprechaun,” Eric says. “So, maybe I’ll have to do that on St. Patty’s Day.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockBlake Shelton and Miranda Lambert performed at the Grand Ole Opry Saturday night to help the show celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville.

Keith Urban and Willie Nelson performed on the final night of the iTunes Music Festival Saturday at South by Southwest in Austin, TX.

Matt Sherwood and Clint Summers won top place in the 32nd Annual George Strait Team Roping Classic this weekend in San Antonio. More than $1 million in cash and prizes was given out. Strait’s team roping event continues to be the largest open roping event in the United States.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Jake Owen Sharing Excitement of Days of Gold Tour with His Twin Brother, Jarrod

ABC News RadioJake Owen flew his twin brother Jarrod up to Nashville Friday to check out rehearsals for Jake’s massive Days of Gold tour. The top-notch production is sure to impress fans with its state-of-the-art lighting and sound design to accent the beachy vibe of the set. Before he takes the show on the road, Jake wanted to make sure his brother saw how far he’s come since he left Florida for Nashville 10 years ago.

“I left college with nine hours of school left, and we lived in a little apartment together.  And he thought I was crazy,” Jake says of his brother. “And so, 10 years down the road for him to be here and see this and how much has gone into it — when you look at it, it’s a big monstrosity of things — we’ve come a long, long way.”

Jake’s tour rehearsals have been underway for the past month. He hopes his parents get to see the rehearsals too so they can get an idea of how much work goes into launching this kind of tour.

He says, “You know, they can come out and see the show on the road, but they don’t ever see the behind-the-scenes of what it takes to put this together, and the people it takes to facilitate this and the time and money.”

The Days of Gold tour is Jake’s biggest headlining trek to date. The first show is set for Thursday night in Brookings, SD with Thomas Rhett and The Cadillac Three in the supporting slots.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Shakira’s Mentor Miranda Lambert Looking to Make Hubby Blake Shelton Sweat on “The Voice”

Sony Music NashvilleMiranda Lambert hopes to make her husband Blake Shelton sweat with her new gig on The Voice. Miranda has signed on as a mentor for Shakira‘s team starting Monday night, and Miranda always gives her husband a hard time for breaking out in a sweat when he’s around the Colombian bombshell.

“If he does, like, a duet with her or whatever, he’s sweating,” Miranda says. “I’m like, ‘Now, you’ve got me and Shakira. You’d better sweat when I’m around now!’”

Shakira approached Miranda about joining her team, but they hadn’t met until they taped the mentoring sessions. Miranda quickly grew to respect Shakira’s artistry, business sense and her deep vocabulary.

Miranda explains, “Her English is so scattered, but when she says stuff, she says such big words. I’m like, ‘I don’t even know that word in English. How do you?’”

The Band Perry starts mentoring Blake’s team this week on The Voice, airing tonight at 8 ET on NBC.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Dierks Bentley Explains Why His Beloved White Truck Isn’t Featured in “I Hold On” Video

Photo Credit: Nino MunozDierks Bentley‘s 1994 white Chevy truck, named Big White, has appeared in several of his videos, and he directly references the vehicle in his latest hit, “I Hold On.” So, why is there a white Ford truck featured in the song’s video?

It turns out Dierks wanted the guy in the video to be a younger version of himself. He wanted the guy to be on a similar journey from playing honky tonks to eventually playing arenas, but Dierks wanted to draw the line between himself and the character in the clip.

Dierks tells ABC News Radio, “We kind of went out of our way to get a different guy with dark hair, and that’s why I got the Ford instead of the Chevy just to like not draw – - he’s having his own experience and not me. I’ve had a lot of people comment on that.”

In a larger sense, Dierks took pains to include elements of Americana to capture the line about “faith, love and freedom” in the song. It’s a nod to all the small towns Dierks has discovered touring the country on a bus in the last 10 years.

“You drive through small towns and storefronts and cafes and barber shops and American flags,”  Dierks says. “I wish I had started from very beginning taking pictures of American flags in these random locations I’ve seen them all over the country — on the sides of barns and in front yards and on silos.”

“I Hold On” is featured on Dierks’ latest album, Riser.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio