Thomas Rhett and His Fan Club Members Package Food for the Hungry in Middle Tennessee

Photo Credit: Jamie VessThomas Rhett gave back to his fans with an acoustic performance and a meal at his annual fan club party, but everyone at the event gave back to those in need, too. For the third year in a row, Thomas and his fan club members volunteered with Hands on Nashville and Second Harvest Food Bank to package more than 5,000 pounds of food for the hungry in Middle Tennessee.

Thomas has been working with the Outnumber Hunger campaign in the past few years, and that prompted him to get his fans involved in helping feed the hungry.

He says, “It’s been an eye-opener to find out one in six Americans go hungry so I really wanted to do something with my fans that encourages us all to give back. It’s cool to share in this experience with my fans and these two great organizations!”

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Carrie Underwood Learning to Ride Motorcycle Miranda Lambert Gave Her

Arista NashvilleCarrie Underwood hasn’t quite graduated to riding the “big, serious” motorcycle Miranda Lambert gave her for singing on their new duet, “Somethin’ Bad.” But she’s getting there.

Carrie tells Rolling Stone Country, “I’m starting with a dirt bike. I know I can hurt myself on a dirt bike, but it won’t be as much as I could hurt myself on that motorcycle.”

In the meantime, Carrie expects her husband, Mike Fisher, to get plenty of riding time on the new bike.

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Chris Young Cancels CMA Music Festival Autograph Session After Injuring Left Hand

Sony Music NashvilleChris Young canceled his planned four-hour signing session at CMA Music Festival Friday after accidentally cutting his left hand Thursday night. Chris was making dinner at home when he injured himself and was taken to a hospital.

Though he can’t sign autographs right now, Chris is still scheduled to perform at the CMA Music Festival concert Saturday night at Nashville’s LP Field.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Justin Moore Announces 2014 Winner of Crown Royal’s Your Hero’s Name Here Program

Valory Music Co.Justin Moore has been involved in Crown Royal’s Your Hero’s Name Here program for the past three years, and he’s proud to announce this year’s winner is Green Beret John Wayne Walding. As a result, the soldier’s name will be included in the title of next month’s NASCAR race, Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Powered by

During Wednesday night’s CMT Music Awards, Justin presented John Wayne Walding with a custom-made Gibson guitar with the official race logo bearing Walding’s name on it. Says Justin, “We’ve had the opportunity to meet so many amazing heroes over the years and are looking forward to honoring John Wayne at the Brickyard this summer.”

John Wayne Walding is an Army veteran with 12 years of service, including tours in the Middle East. In 2008, he was involved in a fire fight and lost the lower part of his leg. Since then, Walding has gone on to graduate from Special Forces Sniper School and complete the Army 20 miler on foot. He also completed the 2009 Boston Marathon using a hand cycle within a year of losing his leg.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThnkstockLuke Bryan had a hand in writing which one of Billy Currington‘s #1 hits? ANSWER: “Good Directions.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Fans Pack Nashville’s LP Field for Night One of CMA Music Festival

ABC/Matt BrownThe 2014 CMA Music Festival is now in full swing with Luke Bryan, Rascal Flatts, Brantley Gilbert, Tim McGraw, Alabama and Dierks Bentley entertaining fans at Thursday night’s sold-out show at Nashville’s LP Field.

Luke had a very late night singing karaoke with Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Dierks Bentley and Lady Antebellum‘s Charles Kelley after the CMT Music Awards Wednesday, but he rallied to turn in a great set at the opening night of the CMA Music Festival concerts Thursday. Though he enjoyed performing for his fans at the big show, Luke regrets he couldn’t do more for his diehard followers.

“It’s been a fun week,” Luke says. “I’m just a little regretful I haven’t been able to do my fan club party, but we’re gonna solve that next year.”

Brantley Gilbert brought Thomas Rhett and Justin Moore onstage to perform their new single, “Small Town Throwdown.” Brantley compares playing the CMA Music Festival to performing in his hometown.

He explains, “You’ve got a bunch of people coming out that you’ve known for a long time and trying to find tickets and time for all of ‘em. But it’s a blessing to be here.”

Brantley is signing autographs and hosting his fan club party this weekend. That kind of quality time with fans helps Brantley stay connected to the reason he makes music in the first place.

“You can have a conversation during that and find out, hear people say the things that matter, like ‘This song on this new record helped me through this situation,’” Brantley says. “That makes it all worth the while for me. I’d take that over a check any day of the week.”

He adds, “I don’t require a whole much. I buy motorcycles and guns, other than that I’m happy.”

Dierks Bentley refers to the crowd at CMA Music Festival as the “all-stars of country fans.” He says, “These are the hard-core, the most hard-core fans that have traveled a long ways to get here, spent a lot of money to be here, have been getting sunburned all day to be here.”

In addition to playing a 25-minute set at LP Field Thursday night, Dierks also gave the fans a chance to get an up-close look at his 1994 Chevy truck, also known as “Big White.” It’s on display all weekend long at Fan Fair X at the Music City Center, and Dierks says, “She might draw more fans than I am. So, I’m a little concerned about that, but it’s OK. We’re covering two places at once.”

The 2014 CMA Music Festival continues through Sunday in Nashville. Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Florida Georgia Line, Little Big Town, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum and Hunter Hayes are among the stars playing the concerts at LP Field this weekend.

Fans who can’t make it to Nashville can catch a lot of the action of the CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock special airing Tuesday, August 5 on ABC.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockLuke Bryan had a party at Nashville’s Bridge Building Thursday afternoon to celebrate four of his latest #1 hits, including  “Crash My Party,” “That’s My Kind of Party,” “Drink a Beer” and “Play It Again.” As part of the celebration, Luke was presented with an old sign from a dive bar he played  before making it big.

Miranda Lambert‘s Pink Pistol boutique has opened a pop-up shop on 3rd Ave. North in Nashville for CMA Music Festival.

Wednesday night’s 2014 CMT Music Awards scored the second-best ratings in the show’s 13-year history.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

George Strait Saying Goodbye to His Touring Career with Massive Show Saturday Night

EB Media PRGeorge Strait closes out his 30-plus year touring career with a massive, star-studded show Saturday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Alan Jackson, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Faith Hill and Martina McBride are among the stars slated to perform with King George as he says goodbye to his two-year The Cowboy Rides Away tour.

He says, “We’re gonna have, like, 110,000 people there, and all these great artists. So, it’s gonna be a fun night.”

As for choosing the set list for this last show, George simply selected his favorite songs from his record-setting career.

“Not all of ‘em have been hit records,” George says. “Not all of ‘em even been radio singles, but they’re just favorite songs of mine off the many years of records that I’ve had.”

Most of the artists joining George for this show have opened dates on his final tour over the past two years. To hear those stars talk, George is up there with Hank Williams, Sr., Johnny Cash and George Jones as one of the all-time greatest artists in country music history.

While trying to process that kind of adoration, George says, “I gotta feel like maybe it’s something like the way I looked up to George Jones and Merle Haggard. Not that I’m comparing myself to them at all. You know, ’cause I’m not. Nobody can do that, but if it’s some kind of a little piece of that, then I’m flattered by it.”

Kenny Chesney has gotten to know George through touring and recording together over the years, so he expects Saturday night’s show to be emotional.

Says Kenny, “There’s your hero up there, and you know, he’s walkin’ away from something that he loves to do; that’s all he’s known.”

Eric Church is also prepared to feel some bittersweet emotions at George’s last show, but he’s excited to join his legendary friend on stage one last time.

“I’ve got a chance to get to know George and hang out with George and [his wife] Norma,” Eric explains, “and it’s just one of the coolest things that has ever happened in my career to get to know more than just the guy you see on stage.”

Sheryl Crow and Vince Gill are also on the bill for George’s final stop on The Cowboy Rides Away tour Saturday night.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

The Band Perry Lets Fans See the View from We Are Pioneers Tour Stage

Republic NashvilleThe Band Perry came up with a fun way to say thank you to their fans at their annual fan club party Thursday in Nashville. Attendees got to stand on The Band Perry’s stage from the We Are Pioneers tour and see what the Perry siblings see every night on tour.

Before the party, Kimberly Perry said, “It’s a really neat perspective being up where we are during the sing-alongs and seeing their energy. So, today, they’re going to see what the world looks like from our eyes.”

The group’s backing band and crew were onstage with the fans to tell them stories and give them some idea of what they experience on the road.

“They were really excited to tell, like, some road stories,” Kimberly said of the band and crew members. “So, we didn’t get to vet them before so who knows what kind of stories that are going to come out of today.”

The Band Perry is also on the bill for the CMA Music Festival’s Friday night show at LP Field.

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Gary Allan Forced to Cancel Fan Club Party Altogether Due to Vocal Strain

MCA NashvilleGary Allan was forced to cancel his fan club party altogether Thursday due to ongoing vocal strain. The event was postponed from earlier in the week on doctor’s orders, but Gary’s voice didn’t recover in time for the rescheduled Thursday party and performance.

He tweeted, “This is one of my favorite events of the year, and I am just as disappointed as all of you. Thank you for all of your support and well wishes.”

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