Rascal Flatts Gets “Happy,” Little Big Town Measures Tim McGraw’s Body Fat on “CMA Music Festival” Special

Image Courtesy ABC/CMAVirtually every country star on the charts right now will appear on the CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock special Tuesday night on ABC. The three-hour event features quite a few collaborations, including Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood singing “Somethin’ Bad” and Tim McGraw and Faith Hill teaming up for “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s.”

Look for Brantley Gilbert, Justin Moore and Thomas Rhett to sing their hit, “Small Town Throwdown,” and Justin is also teaming up with Motley Crue‘s Vince Neil and Nikki Sixx for a cover of their rock hit “Home Sweet Home.” Bon Jovi‘s Richie Sambora joins Zac Brown Band for “Wanted Dead or Alive,” and Rascal Flatts goes a capella for a cover of Pharrell Williams‘ pop hit “Happy.”

Flatts band member Jay DeMarcus tells ABC News Radio, “They asked us to do that on the show, which was kind of a surprise. I guess the producer of the show saw it on YouTube, and wanted us to do that. So, it should be pretty fun.”

Little Big Town returns for a second go-around as hosts of the special, but they still haven’t gotten completely comfortable interviewing their fellow country stars. In fact, LBT’s Kimberly Schlapman and Karen Fairchild admit to just about losing their composure while interviewing the super-fit Tim McGraw.

Karen says with a laugh, “Kimberly and I were so bad with the Tim McGraw interview. I don’t know how they’re gonna edit that. We just turned into giggly schoolgirls.”

Karen and Kimberly even measured Tim’s body fat during the interview, but they got Faith’s blessing before taking stock of his fitness.

“She gave us a little insight,” Karen says of Faith. “She said he didn’t have any body fat.”

Little Big Town’s Jimi Westbrook handled the Luke Bryan interview this year. He even got the country hunk to autograph a copy of the People Country issue naming Luke Country’s Sexiest Man.

Jimi says with a laugh, “He gave it to me. He said, ‘Keep working. You’ll get there.’”

Blake Shelton, Hunter Hayes, Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Cole Swindell, The Band Perry and Keith Urban are among the other stars performing on CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock, airing Tuesday night at 8 ET on ABC.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockEaston Corbin will perform at the Chicago White Sox’s  Country Music Night in conjunction with the Grand Ole Opry on Friday, August 15 before the team’s home game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Brad Paisley has added the bonus track “Me and Jesus” to his upcoming album, Moonshine in the Trunk, due out August 26. He posted a preview of the song in recognition of Dr. Kent Brantly, the American man who contracted Ebola while in Africa.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Keith Urban Plays Nashville Tour Guide for Fellow “American Idol” Judges Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr.

Image Courtesy Michael Becker/FOXKeith Urban welcomed his fellow American Idol judges Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr., to his hometown of Nashville Sunday and Monday to tape the show’s Music City audition round.

Though they had little free time, Keith was full of suggestions about which Nashville hotspots Jennifer and Harry might want to check out. His recommendations included Robert’s Western World on Lower Broadway and Pinewood Social, a restaurant with a bowling alley and private karaoke rooms. Keith also wanted them to check out the Country Music Hall of Fame, but he was mostly thankful the weather was pretty while his pals were in town.

“It’s been really nice,” Keith said Monday before getting back to the auditions. “Yesterday and today’s been great. I love people seeing Nashville right now. It’s just humming and buzzing right now. It’s really, really fun. “

As for why he gels so well with Jennifer and Harry on the judges’ panel, Keith adds, “There’s just a good synergy, I think. I mean, we genuinely love being together. It’s easy to be together.”

Though they all have different tastes in music, Keith says it’s very special when they all agree on an undeniable talent.

“Boy, when that one comes in, and we do unanimous three yeses, that’s good,” Keith says. “That’s a good moment.”

Highlights from the Nashville auditions will be shown on the next season of American Idol, premiering next year.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Taylor Swift Performs for Six-Year-Old Leukemia Patient at Boston Hospital

ABC/Richard HarbaughTaylor Swift delivered a performance on Sunday that will make your heart melt.

Taylor performed an acoustic version of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” for six-year-old Jordan Nickerson at Boston Children’s Hospital. According to Jordan’s Brave Page, a Facebook page dedicated to the boy, Jordan was recently diagnosed with leukemia. When he was younger, he was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that has caused him physical and developmental disabilities, and battled a severe heart condition.

In a video that’s been posted on YouTube, Taylor is seen performing “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and dancing around, as Jordan sings along with the chorus.

During her visit, which is documented on Jordan’s Brave Page, Taylor also played air hockey with the boy and chatted with him about his favorite superhero, Spider-Man.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Jake Owen Taking Over Your TV Tuesday Night with Three Different Appearances

Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleLook for Jake Owen to premiere his brand-new single, “What We Ain’t Got,” on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. He’ll also sing “Beachin’” on ABC’s CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock special Tuesday night. Look for Jake to appear on E!’s Chelsea Lately Tuesday night, too.

“Beachin’” and “What We Ain’t Got” are both included on Jake’s current album, Days of Gold.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Brantley Gilbert Teams with “Hell on Wheels” for New Sweepstakes

Image Courtesy Valory Music Co. Brantley Gilbert has teamed up with AMC’s Hell on Wheels to offer fans a chance to win passes to see him in Nashville.

Brantley and his pals are performing a private acoustic show and meet-and-greet, and the grand prize includes tickets to that show, along with airfare and hotel accommodations in Music City.

Go to AMCTV.com to register for the sweepstakes. Hell on Wheels airs Saturday nights at 8 ET on AMC.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Lady Antebellum Performing at Grand Ole Opry Birthday Bash Kickoff October 10

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLady Antebellum will help the Grand Ole Opry kick off their Birthday Bash Weekend with a performance Friday, October 10. The party continues all weekend long with Opry stars Craig Morgan and Trace Adkins also slated to perform.

Go to Opry.com for tickets to the Birthday Bash shows.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Jason Aldean Named Most Downloaded Male Country Artist in History

Image Courtesy Broken Bow RecordsJason Aldean has been named the Top Male Country Artist in the history of the Recording Industry Association of America’s Digital Gold and Platinum Awards, with 21.5 million song downloads and on-demand streams.  He was presented with a plaque recognizing the milestone at a recent tour stop on his Burn It Down tour.

Jason says, “This is such a huge honor, and one that everyone on my team earned together. I love country music, and I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else…there was never a Plan B for me. I can’t thank the RIAA or country music fans enough for helping us get to this level. It’s unbelievable!”

Jason’s latest single, “Burnin’ It Down,” is already shaping up to be a big seller. Look for a new album from Jason later this year.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Taylor Swift Posting Cryptic Videos on Instagram; New Music on the Way?

Image Courtesy Sarah Barlow/Big Machine RecordsTaylor Swift has posted the first of several cryptic posts on Instagram, and some fans are speculating it could all point to a new music from the superstar.

In that first clip, Taylor’s finger is repeatedly pressing an elevator button for the 18th floor, but the button won’t stay lit. The caption reads, “So, here’s your first clue.”

We’ll keep you posted on what becomes of Taylor’s Instagram guessing game.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Frankie Ballard Launching Light ‘Em Up Tour October 16

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleFrankie Ballard heads out on his Light ‘Em Up tour starting October 16 in Minneapolis. New band A Thousand Horses joins Frankie on the bill.  David Nail will co-headline a few dates with Frankie, too.

“So pumped to be taking my full show on the road this fall,” Frankie says. “Killer venues, all my buddies and no rules … I feel like somebody gave me the keys to the castle!”

Frankie’s tour continues through a December 13 show at the House of Blues in Los Angeles.

Here are Frankie’s tour dates:

10/16 — Minneapolis, MN, Varsity Theater
10/17 — St. Louis, MO, The Pageant
10/23 — Cincinnati, OH, Bogart’s
10/24 — Louisville, KY, Mercury Ballroom
10/25 — Indianapolis, IN, Egyptian Room (with David Nail)
10/30 — Cleveland, OH, House of Blues
11/1 — Detroit, MI, Fillmore
11/8 — Boston, MA, House of Blues (with David Nail)
11/13 — Philadelphia, PA, Theater of the Living Arts
11/14 — Charlotte, NC, Fillmore
11/15 — Washington, D.C., Fillmore
11/19 — Houston, TX, House of Blues
11/20 — New Orleans, LA, House of Blues
11/22 — Dallas, TX, House of Blues
11/28 — Orlando, FL, House of Blues
12/6 — Seattle, WA, Neptune
12/11 — San Diego, CA, House of Blues
12/12 — Anaheim, CA, House of Blues
12/13 — Los Angeles, CA, House of Blues

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio