Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts and Toby Keith Win Off-Camera ACM Awards

ACMCarrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts and Toby Keith are among the off-camera winners for the 49th Annual ACM Awards. Carrie will receive this year’s Gene Weed Special Achievement Award, thanks to her gigs singing the NFL Sunday Night Football theme and starring in NBC’s live production of The Sound of Music.

The Flatts are getting the Jim Reeves International Award for their work in promoting country music around the world. Toby Keith and Ronnie Milsap are both getting the Career Achievement Award, while this year’s Poets Awards go to songwriting legends Dean Dillion, Kris Kristofferson, the late Jack Clement and the late Buck Owens.

The trophies will be presented during the 8th Annual ACM honors September 9 in Nashville. The 49th Annual ACM Awards will be handed out Sunday, April 6 at 8 p.m. ET live on CBS.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is the name of Jake Owen‘s twin brother? ANSWER: Jarrod.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Tim McGraw Taping “Live from the Artists Den” Performance March 30 in Houston

Big Machine RecordsTim McGraw is taping an appearance for Live from the Artists Den in Houston on March 30, and you could be in the audience. Fans interested in attending can sign up for their chance to win tickets. The show will air later this year on Live from the Artists Den on PBS and other outlets.

Tim’s performance is in support of his upcoming album, due out later this year. The lead single, “Lookin’ for That Girl,” is now climbing the country chart.

Copyrihgt 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockJake Owen launched his Days of Gold tour Thursday night in Brookings, SD with Thomas Rhett and The Cadillac Three in the opening spots.

Zac Brown Band will perform at Boston’s Fenway Park on June 28.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Dierks Bentley Reveals the Song He Had to Cut from CMT “Crossroads” with OneRepublic

Photo Credit: John RussellDierks Bentley‘s CMT Crossroads concert with OneRepublic premieres Friday night, but fans won’t be hearing their planned cover of the Avicii pop hit, “Hey Brother,” on the show. During rehearsals, OneRepublic front man Ryan Tedder kept singing different lyrics to the song to crack Dierks up. For example, Ryan replaced, “Hey brother, do you still believe in one another?” with “Hey brother, did you know your sister is your mother?”

Dierks tells ABC News Radio, “I was like, ‘You’re ruining [it]. We’re never gonna be able to sing the song now ’cause we’re gonna be cracking up the entire time.’”

Dierks has since added “Hey Brother” to his concert set list, but fans can expect to hear him and OneRepublic swapping vocals on each other’s hits, including “I Hold On” and “Counting Stars.” The show also includes a cover of the U2 hit, “Pride (in the Name of Love).”

Dierks says of working with OneRepublic, “I always loved the CMT Crossroads, and always wanted to do it, but hard to find that right band. That was the only band that I really wanted to do it with, and it happened.”

CMT Crossroads with Dierks Bentley and OneRepublic premieres Friday night at 10 ET.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Kacey Musgraves Wants to Picket Fred Phelps’ Funeral

Credit: Kelly Christine MusgravesKacey Musgraves wasn’t sad to learn about the passing of Fred Phelps, the founder of the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church. In fact, she tweeted Thursday afternoon, “Who wants to picket Fred Phelp’ funeral?”

The 84-year-old Phelps died Wednesday in Kansas. His church regularly picketed the funerals of gays, lesbians and even military personnel in their crusade against homosexuality.

In other Kacey news, she’s headed back to Europe this summer for another run of shows. The trek kicks off in Manchester, England on June 27 and wraps up on July 10 in Dublin. She’ll hit Amsterdam, Oslo, London and Glasgow in between.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Love and Theft Shares Their March Madness Picks

Sony Music NashvilleLove and Theft’s Eric Gunderson and Stephen Barker Liles have formed an NCAA March Madness bracket group for themselves and a few guys in their crew, but the name of the group takes some explaining.

The guys just returned from a tour of Australia, and Stephen says, “We named [bracket group] ‘Lee Kernaghan,’ ’cause he’s the Garth Brooks of country music in Australia.”

Eric adds, “We’re new fans, so everything we do involves Lee Kernaghan.”

Odd bracket group name aside, Stephen and Eric have some pretty solid picks for this year’s college basketball tournament.

Says Stephen, “I picked Oklahoma. My brother-in-law is one of the coaches. They’re number-five seed. They’ve been ranked in the top 20 for the better part of the year, so they got a good team.”

Stephen also expects big things from Louisville and Kentucky this month. Eric, who hails from North Carolina, doesn’t expect the Tarheels to go very far in the tournament.

He says, “I have Iowa State going pretty far. Wichita State going to Sweet 16, so we’ll see what happens.”

On the music front, Love and Theft’s new single, “Night That You’ll Never Forget,” has just been released to radio. Look for a new album to follow soon.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Johnny Cash’s Great-Niece Murdered in Tennessee Home

JohnnyCash.comJohnny Cash‘s great-niece was found stabbed to death and stuffed in a box Wednesday in Baxter, TN, 100 miles east Nashville. According to Nashville ABC affiliate WKRN, Courtney Cash was killed in an altercation early Wednesday morning. Her boyfriend, Austin Johnson, managed to escape and drive himself to the hospital. He has been transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The couple’s young daughter was in the home at the time of the attack, but she was uninjured.

Wayne Gary Masciarella has been charged with first degree murder and is now in custody.

Tommy Cash, Johnny Cash’s youngest brother, released a statement on behalf of the family saying they are “completely heartbroken.”

He says, “Courtney and her boyfriend are beloved members of my family and like you we have a lot of questions and emotions that we are beginning to sort through today. We ask for you to respect our privacy and appreciate all the support that the public and media has always offered my family, as we handle the loss of my granddaughter, pray for the father of my great grandchild and journey through the search for justice on this violent act. “

The statement continues, “It is a time like this that we are grateful for our faith and trusting the loving guidance of God.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Clay Walker Recruits Montgomery Gentry and Dustin Lynch for Chords of Hope Benefit Concert

C2 Media RelationsClay Walker will host his 5th annual Chords of Hope Benefit Concert Tuesday, June 3 at Nashville’s 3rd & Lindsley. Montgomery Gentry and Dustin Lynch join Clay on the bill, with proceeds going to raise money and awareness in the fight against multiple sclerosis.

Clay, who was diagnosed with MS in the mid-’90s, says, “Chords of Hope is my chance to raise awareness of MS in the Nashville community and come together with amazing artists to put on a great show.  With Montgomery Gentry and Dustin Lynch’s help, this is sure to be our best one yet!”

Tickets for the concert are now on sale at

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Merle Haggard to Be Honored with New Tribute Album, ACM Crystal Milestone Award

MerleHaggard.comLuke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Toby Keith and Dierks Bentley are among the stars singing Merle Haggard classics on the new compilation, Working Man’s Poet: A Tribute to Merle Haggard. The project comes out April 1, just before Merle receives the Crystal Milestone award on the ACM Awards April 6. A multi-artist tribute segment is planned for the broadcast that night on CBS recognizing Merle’s 50th anniversary in country music.

Working Man’s Poet will be available everywhere digitally, but you can only buy a physical copy of the album at Walmart. The physical version includes Garth Brooks‘ version of Merle’s “The Bottle Let Me Down,” which Garth included on his Blame It All on My Roots box set last year.

Luke and Dierks teamed up to recreate Merle’s 1983 hit with Willie Nelson, “Pancho and Lefty.” Instead of going with the original “Spanish-Mexican” feel, Dierks and Luke gave their version of  “Pancho and Lefty” a Mumford & Sons vibe.  Luke describes it to USA Today as “something with some edge that moves along pretty good. It’s an interesting take.”

Jake Owen, Randy Houser, Joe Nichols and Thompson Square are also featured on Working Man’s Poet.  Here’s the track listing for Working Man’s Poet: A Tribute to Merle Haggard:

“Misery and Gin,” Randy Houser
“Footlights,” Joe Nichols
“Going Where the Lonely Go,” Jason Aldean
“Today I Started Loving You Again,” Kristy Lee Cook
“Carolyn,” Toby Keith
“Pancho and Lefty,” Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley
“Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down,” Garth Brooks (Walmart edition only)
“You Take Me for Granted,” Thompson Square
“Mama Tried,” Ben Haggard
“That’s the Way Love Goes,” Dustin Lynch
“Make Up and Faded Blue Jeans,” Jake Owen
“I’m a Lonesome Fugitive,” James Wesley
“Workin’ Man Blues,” Parmalee
“Are the Good Times Really Over,” Jason Aldean
“Let’s Chase Each Other Around the Room,” Thompson Square
“I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink,” Dustin Lynch
“The Fightin’ Side of Me,” James Wesley
“My Favorite Memory,” Joe Nichols
“Ramblin’ Fever,” Randy Houser
“Sing Me Back Home,” Ben Haggard

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio