The Swon Brothers Keep Their Brotherly Love Alive as They Achieve Country Stardom

Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleThe Swon Brothers have made the leap from finalists on NBC’s The Voice to the top 20 on the country chart with their debut single, “Later On.” It’s taken a lot of hard work to get this point, and the duo’s Zach Swon tells ABC News Radio he wouldn’t have gotten this far if not for his partnership and friendship with brother, Colton Swon.

Says Zach, “We live together, we’re on a bus together, we fly in planes together, but I think it makes us better. ‘Cause I wouldn’t want to do this, nor do I think I would succeed as a solo artist, and I think he feels the same way.”

While it’s easy for Colton and Zach to focus on the daily demands of getting their country career off the ground, they make a point to maintain their relationship as brothers and best friends, too.

Colton explains, “We’re running a business together, but you’ve also got to take time just to be brothers, like, out on the road. Laugh, enjoy it. And just take time doing brother stuff, you know, making fun of each other. Playing video games.”

Zach and Colton spend a lot of time just talking on their tour bus when they’re not playing the game Catch Phrase with their band members. 

Zach says, “We’re pretty tame. It’s not really a party bus, or anything.

Colton adds with a laugh,” And by tame, he means lame. We are lame. We like to sleep.”

Look for The Swon Brothers’ self-titled debut album to come out October 14.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Zac Brown Band Jumped at the Chance to Record “Black Water” with The Doobie Brothers

Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleZac Brown Band teams up with The Doobie Brothers for a new version of “Black Water” on the new Doobie Brothers country collaborations album, Southbound. Zac Brown admits he jumped at the chance to perform that classic song from The Doobie Brothers catalog.

“I have seen a lot of people, including myself, make a lot of tip money because of ‘Black Water,’ so this is a full circle moment,” Zac says. ““To collaborate and recreate this iconic song is just an amazing moment as an artist.  As a new generation vocal band, it is an absolute honor to get to play with them.”

Fans can now pre-order Southbound at iTunes or Amazon and get an instant download of The Doobie Brothers and Zac Brown Band’s version of “Black Water.” The full album comes out November 4.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Dierks Bentley Takes Friend Battling Cancer Out for a Spin in His ’67 Camaro

Image Courtesy Nino Munoz/Capitol NashvilleDierks Bentley often returns to Nashville’s famed bluegrass club, the Station Inn, to catch a show or even sit in with some of his musical heroes. Over the years, Dierks has become close friends with Ann Soyers, the woman who collects cover charges and books talent at the Station Inn. According to The Tennessean, Ann was an early supporter of Dierks’ music before he became a staple of country radio. Now that she’s battling cancer, Dierks has kept a regular vigil at her hospital room in west Nashville. He even took her out for “one last ride” in his vintage ’67 Camaro this week.

Dierks posted a picture on Instagram of their ride. The caption says, “She’s hanging tough. Enjoying good friend and music.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Miranda Lambert Taking Annual Cause for the Paws Event to Las Vegas Friday

Image Courtesy Becky FlukeMiranda Lambert is taking her seventh annual Cause for the Paws festival to Las Vegas this Friday in conjunction with the first-ever Route 91 Harvest Festival. Miranda will headline the Friday night show, and all proceeds from her appearance will go to her charity, the MuttNation Foundation, to help homeless dogs get a new lease on life.

Miranda says, “I am so excited to be playing Vegas to raise money for a cause so dear to my heart. With your donations, we are able to watch happy, healthy dogs being given a second chance at life through adoption.”

The Cause for the Paws event also includes a sold-out VIP cocktail party prior to Miranda’s show, complete with a live and silent auction of items from Miranda and her husband, Blake Shelton. An online auction will go live on eBay to coincide with the event.

Miranda’s Cause for the Paws raised more than $400,000 event last year in Oklahoma. Overall, the MuttNation Foundation has generated $1.5 million to help dogs in need in the past seven years. For more information, go to

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Brantley Gilbert Carries a Fleet of Harleys on His Let It Ride Tour

Image Courtesy Valory Music Co.If Brantley Gilbert ever starts feeling cooped up on his tour bus, he’s got his choice of five Harley-Davdison motorcycles on the road with him all the time. His pal, Harley-Davidson dealership owner Ricky Kelley, actually gave Brantley three motorcycles to take with him on tour, but Brantley couldn’t leave his own hogs at home.

He says, “My newest one and my ’99, I’m so addicted to ’em, that I end up bringing them out anyway.”

Over the past few years, Brantley has become friends with bikers all over the U.S. who are glad to show him around when he’s in their city.

Brantley explains, “If we don’t know a lot of road systems around there and what roads are good to ride and what’s got a good bit of scenery, these guys will show up and we’ll kind of follow ’em around and get a good ride during the day.”

Brantley is on the road with his Let It Ride tour through December 13.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockBig & Rich continue promoting their new album, Gravity, with a performance on The Queen Latifah Show Thursday.

Eric Paslay has released “She Don’t Love You” as the new single from his self-titled debut album.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is the title of Lady Antebellum‘s 2007 debut hit? ANSWER: “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott Brings a Much-Needed Female Perspective to Their New Album, “747”

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLady Antebellum‘s new album, 747, comes out this week featuring something most of this fall’s other major country releases don’t have — a female voice. In fact, Lady A’s Hillary Scott sings lead or duet vocals on most of the new album’s 11 tracks, including the lead single, “Bartender.”

It’s not that the group made 747 in response to combat the lack of women in country music.  Hillary tells ABC News Radio , “It just kind of fell that way. I think a lot of songs that we cut that were outside songs weren’t originally duets, and then we made them into duets, which ‘Lie with Me’ was one of those, and then ‘Damn You Seventeen’ another one.”

While “Bartender” is a drinking song,  it’s written and performed from the point of view of a woman. Hillary was especially glad to be the voice singing that song as it topped the country chart.

“It was at such a time where there was so few female songs on radio,” Hillary says. “So, having that female perspective is so important. That’s the majority of who is listening to our music on a daily basis driving in their car. You know, you have to have that voice, that perspective.”

Fans of Lady A’s other lead singer, Charles Kelley, will find plenty of vocals from him on 747, too. Lady Antebellum performs on NBC’s Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Wednesday night.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Blake Shelton Finds Inspiration in His Early Hits on New Album, “Bringing Back the Sunshine”

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleFans of Blake Shelton‘s early hits like “Austin” and “Ol’ Red” should be very happy with his new album, Bringing Back the Sunshine, available now. While Blake is happy with the progressive sounds of his recent hits “Doing What She Likes” and “Boys ‘Round Here,” he wanted to find a way to incorporate his early country sound in the new music.

Says Blake, “I think we did that. ‘Neon Light,’ I think, is a perfect example of staying true to who I’ve become as an artist but also tipping my hat to that old honky-tonk sound that I started with.”

Blake points to the crowd reaction to his older hits, including “Some Beach,” during his live shows as a big reason for going back to his musical roots.

“They get as big of a reaction still today as ‘Boys ‘Round Here’ and whatever other current song I’ve had,” Blake explains. “So, it shows me that that’s still alive —  that sound, that type of music is still alive.”

In keeping with the theme of going back to his roots, Blake sent his team to his hometown of Ada, Oklahoma, to take photographs for the new album’s artwork. They ended up using a shot of the town’s water tower on the cover of Bringing Back the Sunshine because Blake says, “I’m tired of seeing pictures of myself!”

He adds, “I’ve been looking at that water tower my whole life. It may not be iconic to everyone out there, but it is to me. When I see it, it takes me back to being a kid.”  

Look for Blake to promote Bringing Back the Sunshine with an appearance on Live with Kelly & Michael on Thursday.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

George Jones Museum Coming to Downtown Nashville

Image Courtesy Webster PRThe George Jones Museum is coming to Second Avenue in downtown Nashville soon featuring a gift shop, restaurant, event space and music venue. George’s widow, Nancy Jones, will unveil plans for the museum very soon.

She says, “We hope that this will draw George’s friends and fans worldwide to our great city.  George and I made this our home, and he would be happy to know that we found a home to continue his legacy in the heart of Music City.”

George Jones died in April 2013. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio