Rascal Flatts’ Gary LeVox Featured on the Cover of “Petersen’s Bowhunting” Magazine

Image Courtesy Chris Hollo/Grand Ole OpryRascal Flatts lead singer Gary LeVox is widely recognized as one of country’s best vocalists, but now he’s getting some attention for his other passion — hunting. Gary is on the cover of Petersen’s Bowhunting magazine, and opens up about his love of the sport in the cover story.

Gary says, “A lot of people in my position are musicians who became hunters. I was a hunter who just happened to become a musician. Music is truly what I do, and hunting and the outdoors is truly who I am.”

Gary is also taking part in a Bowhunting magazine’s Country Superstar Sweepstakes. The winner gets a set of Bowtech Prodigy bows, three sets of SCENTLOK hunting apparel and a custom Ephiphone Les Paul electric guitar autographed by Gary. The sweepstakes is open now through February 28 at BowhuntingMag.com/Country.


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“Nashville” Recap: “I’m Not That Good at Goodbye”

Image Courtesy ABCABC’s Nashville returned Wednesday night with Layla Grant on the mend following her brush with death on the winter finale. You’ll recall Layla took a lot of pills and was discovered floating face down in the pool at her record label president Jeff Fordham‘s house. Once she regained consciousness in the hospital, Layla told her closeted country star husband, Will Lexington, his secret was literally killing her.

Since Jeff Fordham gave Layla the pills that led to her overdose, he negotiated a deal with the TV producer blackmailing Will and Layla into continuing their hit reality series to let the miserable couple out of their contract. With that hurdle out of the way, Will agreed to divorce Layla. Jeff was keeping watch over Layla in her hospital room, so sparks may be flying between the two of them soon.

Gunnar Scott went to court seeking custody of Micah, the son of his ex-girlfriend, Kylie, and his late brother, Jason. Since Kylie left town, Gunnar has been raising Micah as his son, so Gunnar was shocked to learn the truth about Micah’s paternity thanks to a court-ordered DNA test. Micah’s grandparents came to Nashville, won custody and ended up taking the boy back to Arizona. Micah felt betrayed when Gunnar turned out to be his uncle instead of his father, but it looks like they will be able to mend fences over time.

Deacon Claybourne struggled to come to terms with his liver cancer diagnosis brought on by his years of heavy drinking. The love of his life, country superstar Rayna Jaymes, called off her wedding to fellow superstar Luke Wheeler, but that didn’t mean she was ready to run back to Deacon just yet. Rayna showed up at Deacon’s house at the end of the episode to confess her love for him. When Rayna asked for more time to deal with her feelings, Deacon told her to take all the time she needs. Unfortunately, Deacon has a very aggressive form of cancer that will claim his life if he doesn’t find a liver donor soon.

After Rayna broke off the engagement, Luke Wheeler went over to Deacon’s house for a confrontation that led to a brawl on Deacon’s front lawn. A neighbor posted a video of the fight online, and Rayna saw it once it went viral. She went back to Luke’s house just hours after she jilted him to smooth things over, but Luke accused her of using their relationship to get her stalled singing career back on track.

Instead of throwing out all the alcohol and food for the wedding, Luke invited his fans to come to his place for an impromptu party and concert later that night. The song he sang for the fans, “If I Drink This Beer,” captured the hurt Luke was feeling over the breakup. Will Chase, who plays Luke, tells ABC News Radio he was glad to see that vulnerable side of his character come out in the song.

“This song is more about, ‘You know what? If I have one beer too many, I’m probably gonna call you up and tell you actually how I feel from my heart’,” Will says. “I love that moment. There’s the anger in it, but there’s also this finally getting to see some of that heartening stuff for Luke, which I get to do more of in this second half of this season.”

Will is quick to praise songwriter Jonathan Singleton for writing and recording the demo version of “If I Drink This Beer.”

Will says, “I tried to mimic his voice, ’cause his voice is so cool. And it fit the moment absolutely perfectly.”

“If I Drink This Beer” is now available at iTunes. Nashville returns with another new episode next Wednesday night at 10 Eastern time on ABC.


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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockCole Swindell shot the video for his latest single, “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey,” Wednesday night at the Silver Dollar Saloon in Nashville.

Reba and Kelly Clarkson were in the audience for the Nashville stop for the touring production of the Broadway musical Kinky Boots earlier this week. Reba even took a photo with the cast.


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Grammy Nominee Miranda Lambert Has a Lifelong Fascination with Awards Shows

Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleMiranda Lambert is up for four Grammy Awards at this Sunday night’s ceremony in Los Angeles. While she’s been a regular on awards shows like the Grammys for about a decade now, Miranda’s fascination with these events dates back to her childhood in Texas.

She recalls with a laugh, “I used to watch all the awards shows. I would get a yellow tablet and write down all the nominees and circle who I thought was gonna win, and sit in front of the TV and, like, bet myself on if I was right or not.”

Miranda won the Best Female Country Vocal Performance Grammy in 2010 for “The House That Built Me.” Look for her to perform on the 57th Annual Grammy Awards this Sunday night at 8 ET on CBS.


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Hunter Hayes Introduces Fans to His New Greyhound Pup, Cole

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleHunter Hayes has adopted a new dog named Cole. The retired racing Greyhound is Hunter’s new “bus dog,” but his band didn’t know about the new addition to their tour crew until Hunter posted a YouTube video about it earlier this week.

In the clip, Hunter says Cole can run really fast, has incredible sight and is very mellow and patient. He got the pup from Greyhound Pets of America in Nashville.

Hunter will most likely leave Cole at home as he attends this Sunday’s Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. He’s up for Best Country Solo Performance for “Invisible” this year.


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Luke Bryan Takes In His 13-Year-Old Nephew, Til, Following Brother-in-Law’s Untimely Death

Image Courtesy CMALuke Bryan is opening up about the aftermath of his brother-in-law Ben Lee Cheshire‘s unexpected death last November.  Ben was married to Luke’s late sister Kelly, who died in 2007. Now, Luke and his family are helping Kelly and Ben’s three children deal with the devastating loss. Their youngest son, 13-year-old Til, has come to live with Luke and his wife, Caroline, in Nashville. It’s been quite an adjustment for the entire family as Til joins Luke and Caroline’s young boys, Bo and Tate, in the household.

Luke says, “I went from having two boys in the house to having a 13-year-old boy in the house, which is a whole ‘nother set of learning that you have to do.”

Til has two older sisters, and Luke is thankful he has the means to fly them up to see their brother on a regular basis.

Says Luke, “It’s every day on the phone all day trying to talk with the family and figure out what to do, but it’s what you gotta do.”

Luke admits he and Caroline are exhausted at the end of every day figuring it all out, but Luke tries to stay positive and remember this is all part of God’s plan.

He admits, “It’s not what I want at all. I think we just rally around as a family.”

Luke has drawn support from the country music family, too. His friends in Lady Antebellum teamed up with songwriter Chris Stapleton to perform “Drink a Beer” on the CMT Artists of the Year special in early December. Luke recorded that song in memory of his sister Kelly and his brother, Chris, who was killed in a car accident in the mid-’90s. That performance aired live the same day as Ben’s funeral.

Luke says, “That night we were, as a family, watching all of that on TV and watching Lady A and Stapleton sing that. It was a big-time healing moment.”

As he continues to cope with the loss of his brother-in-law, Luke hopes his story will help people going through similar situations.

“We feel like if we just stay positive through this, maybe we’ll be a positive inspiration for people that had these things happen to ‘em,” Luke says. “You just have to plow on and play the hand that’s dealt.”

Luke’s music career continues in high gear with the 2015 leg of his That’s My Kind of Night tour launching next week. He’ll release the new album Spring Break…Checkin’ Out on March 10. The release features five new songs as well as all six tracks from last year’s Spring Break EP.

Here is the track listing:
“My Ol’ Bronco” — new song
“Games” — new song
“She Get Me High”
“Spring Breakdown” — new song
“Good Lookin’ Girl”
“Checkin’ Out” — new song
“You and the Beach” — new song
“Night One”
“Like We Ain’t Ever”
“The Sand I Brought to the Beach”
“Are You Leaving with Him”


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Martina McBride Adds More Dates to Everlasting Tour

Image Courtesy BMLGFresh off her ACM Awards nomination for Female Vocalist of the Year, Martina McBride has announced a new round of dates for her Everlasting Tour. The trek features a full band, complete with a horn section and three backup singers, performing on selections from her covers album, Everlasting. She’s also put a new spin on her biggest hits, including “A Broken Wing” and “Anyway.”

Martina says, “We are enjoying the fresh take on our hits of the last 20 plus years as well as being able to play so much of the new album because it’s familiar music to my fans. I think we are all wishing this tour really would last forever!”

Martina’s tour continues Tuesday, February 10 with a show in Oklahoma.  Here are the new Everlasting Tour dates:

2/10 — Midwest City, OK, Hudiburg Chevrolet Center
2/12 — Davenport, IA, Adler Theater
2/13 — Brookings, SD, Swiftel Center
2/26 — Coachella, CA, Spotlight 29 Casino
3/26 — Austin, TX, Rodeo Austin
3/27 — Biloxi, MS, Beau Rivage Theatre
3/28 — Ft. Worth, TX, Billy Bob’s Texas
5/15 — Merrillville, IN, Star Plaza Theater
5/16 — Wisconsin Dells, WI, Crystal Grand Music Theater
6/6 — Chattanooga, TN, Riverbend Festival
6/18 — Burlington, IA, Burlington Steamboat Days
7/3 — Myrtle Beach, SC, Alabama Theater
7/22 — Helena, MT, Last Change Stampede & Fair
7/25 — Medicine Hat, AB (CAN), Medicine Hat Stampede
7/28 — Rock Springs, WY, Sweetwater County Fair
8/13 — Aberdeen, SD, Born County Fairgrounds
10/2 — Minot, ND, Norsk Hostfest


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Miranda Lambert’s Mutt Nation Foundation Donates More than $200,000 to Animal Shelters Nationwide

Image Courtesy Becky FlukeMiranda Lambert continues her work on behalf of the shelter pets across the country through her Mutt Nation Foundation organization. The charity donated more than $206,000 to shelters in all 50 states last month as part of their 50 States/50 Shelters initiative. The Mutt Nation board researched and rewarded the shelters based on their adoption rates, fiscal responsibility, and a few other factors. Each shelter received at least $3,000.

Miranda says, “I feel so passionately about helping all animals and I’m thrilled that we have once again been able to give to phenomenal shelters all across the country.  The people at these shelters do such amazing work day-in and day-out and are truly heroes for the animals.”

See a complete list of shelters receiving grants from Miranda’s organization at Facebook.com/MuttNation.



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Brandy Clark to Perform with Dwight Yoakam on This Sunday’s Grammy Awards

Image Courtesy EB Media PRBrandy Clark has joined the performers lineup for the 57th Annual Grammy Awards this weekend. The Best New Artist nominee will sing a duet with two-time Grammy winner Dwight Yoakam. The two artists recently shared a bill as special guests on Eric Church‘s The Outsiders World Tour.

Nominees Miranda Lambert and Eric Church are also scheduled to perform on the Grammy Awards, airing live at 8 p.m. ET Sunday night on CBS.


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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is Kenny Chesney‘s middle name? ANSWER: Arnold.


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