Nashville Notes

Image Courtesy Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockThe Swon Brothers are NRA Country’s featured artist for the month of November. Go to more details.

Country trio The Henningsens will release their holiday album, Our Family Christmas, digitally on November 17, featuring a collaboration with Jerrod Niemann on the song “Christmas Kissin’.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Luke Bryan Named Entertainer of the Year, Miranda Lambert Sets Female Vocalist Record at 48th Annual CMA Awards

ABCIf you had to wait for several years to finally win your first-ever CMA award, it might as well be for Entertainer of the Year.  That’s what happened to Luke Bryan Wednesday night at the 48th Annual CMA Awards, which aired live from Nashville on ABC.

Luke, who’d been nominated numerous times but had never won, was named the winner of the night’s biggest and most prestigious award, and was handed his trophy by none other than Garth Brooks, making a much-anticipated return appearance to the CMA stage.  “First of all, I’ve never met Garth,” Luke joked. “Hey, Garth!  Can I hug you again?” 

But the singer soon got serious, thanking “everybody in my world that’s put this moment in my life together.”  That included his family, his friends, and, as he said, “all my heroes in the front row” — the other superstar artists he has toured with and learned from over the years.  He also mentioned his late brother and sister as his “angels in heaven, making this night possible for me.”  He finished, though, with a grin, declaring, “We’re gonna have a goood time tonight!”

Luke’s triumph aside, it was a very good night for women in country music — in particular, one woman: Miranda Lambert.  Not only did she take home her second Album of the Year trophy for Platinum and her first-ever Single of the Year award for “Automatic,” she shared the Musical Event of the Year award with Keith Urban for “We Were Us.”  But most significantly, she won her fifth Female Vocalist of the Year award, making her the all-time winner in that category. Martina McBride and Reba McEntire have each won four times.

During her acceptance speech, Miranda said, “I can’t believe this is my life.  This is what I get to do for a living. This is my JOB! Thank you, fans for that.”  Tearing up, she laughed, “Dammit, I cry every time!”  She added, “Thank you for letting me live my dream and for believing in my art. It means the world to me.”

Miranda also performed her new single “Smokinand Drinkin‘” with Little Big Town, and duetted with Nashville-based pop star Meghan Trainor on her #1 smash “All About That Bass.”

But Miranda wasn’t the only female winner: Kacey Musgraves nabbed the Song of the Year trophy for “Follow Your Arrow,” which had initially raised eyebrows for its lyrics, “Make lots of noise/Kiss lots of boys/Or kiss lots of girls/If that’s something you’re into,” as well as its invitation to “Roll up a joint/or don’t.”  At the podium, Kacey marveled, “Do you guys know what this means for country music?  I’m so honored.”  As progressive as her music might be, though, Kacey proved she could be traditional, too, by duetting with the legendary Loretta Lynn on Lynn’s hit “You’re Lookin’ at Country.”

Little Big Town, which is 50 percent female, won their third straight Vocal Group of the Year trophy.  At the podium, Kimberly Schlapman said, “I don’t know why we’re the recipient of all these blessings coming down from heaven, but I tell you, we don’t take it for granted for a second!”  The group also turned in one of the night’s best performances, singing “Day Drinking,” backed up by a huge drum corps while wearing outfits with neon piping that changed color throughout the song, and then duetting with similarly-attired pop star Ariana Grande on her hit “Bang Bang.”

Miranda’s husband Blake Shelton also came out on top, taking home his fifth Male Vocalist of the Year trophy — which means that they each have five in their respective categories…how cute!  “I love you!” yelled Blake at the podium, before revealing that he was convinced Luke Bryan was going to win this year.  He also noted that the artist who he calls his “all-time-hero” — singer Earl Thomas Conley — had never won a CMA Award.  “This one right here’s for you, brother,” he said, dedicating the award to Conley.

As for the men, Florida Georgia Line won their second Vocal Duo of the Year trophy, while Brett Eldredge was named New Artist of the Year.  Dierks Bentley took home the Music Video of the Year Award for “Drunk on Plane.”  Vince Gill was given the prestigious Irving Waugh Award of Excellence, which has only ever been given to one other person: Johnny Cash.  Vince, who hosted the CMA Awards for 12 years, paid tribute to Waugh, a TV and radio executive who was instrumental in putting country music on television.  He also complimented the current generation of country stars, saying that he admired their camaraderie, and how much they all loved and supported each other.  “I’m envious of it,” he admitted. “It’s a beautiful thing to watch.”

Brad Paisley and a pregnant-but-barely showing Carrie Underwood hosted the show once again and turned the revelation that Carrie is expecting a boy with husband Mike Fisher into a comic routine.  The two also poked fun at the Ebola crisis, turning Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” into “Quarantine,” and complaining that President Obama isn’t doing enough to combat PPTSS — Post Partum Taylor Swift Disorder.  “I’m pretty sure that’s why the Democrats lost the Senate,” said Carrie, to loud, enthusiastic cheers.  But Brad invited Taylor back to country music any time she wanted, saying, “There’s always a seat for you right here.  It’s Blake’s — we’ll kick him out.”

The show ended with a big jam session featuring The Doobie Brothers — including Michael McDonald — performing “Takin’ It to the Streets” with Jennifer Nettles, Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley and others.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

The 48th Annual CMA Awards: The Performances

ABCWednesday night’s CMA Awards, which aired live from Nashville on ABC, packed in the maximum number of musical performances possible over three hours, with nearly every big star taking a turn in the spotlight, and some unexpected collaborations providing highlights.  Here’s who sang what:

The show opened with Kenny Chesney singing “American Kids,” with a Day-Glo painted bus in the background and many people dressed like hippies frolicking around the stage.

Miranda Lambert and Meghan Trainor, both wearing short party dresses, duetted on Meghan’s eight-weeks-at-#1 pop hit “All About That Bass,” and sounded great together.  Later, co-host Brad Paisley told Meghan to come over to country music by changing the title to “All About That Bass” — as in the fish.

Lady Antebellum sang “Bartender,” followed by Florida Georgia Line doing a stripped-down version of “Dirt,” during which B.K. and Tyler both sat on stools and played guitar.

Keith Urban performed “Somewhere in My Car” with some impressive stage lighting and video effects.

The Band Perry paid tribute to the legendary Glen Campbell with a version of his classic, “Gentle on My Mind.”

Kacey Musgraves teamed up with the legendary Loretta Lynn for a run through of Loretta’s hit “You’re Lookin’ at Country.”

Jason Aldean sang “Burnin’ It Down.”

Little Big Town put on a terrific performance of “Day Drinking,” wearing clothing accentuated with light-up neon piping that changed colors throughout the song.  Behind them were a series of risers that contained a large drum corps, whose outfits were synced to the group, color-wise.  Then, pop star Ariana Grande, clad in a silver two-piece outfit with the same light-up piping, showed up to sing her hit “Bang Bang,” which was originally a three-way collaboration between herself, British singer Jessie J and rapper Nicki Minaj.  There was no rapping, but the Little Big Town women sounded great singing with Ariana, and everything looked great, as the colors changed from red to white to a variety of other colors.

Tim McGraw sang “Shotgun Rider.”

Cole Swindell did a brief performance of “Chillin’ It.”

Dierks Bentley did a great job with “Drunk on a Plane,” while video screens flashed arrivals and departures, and at one point made it look like he was standing on a runway in front of an actual plane.

Co-host Brad Paisley sang “Perfect Storm,” and Blake Shelton and Ashley Monroe duetted on “Lonely Tonight.”

Co-host Carrie Underwood sang her latest hit “Something in the Water,” backed by effects that looked like crashing waves; she was also joined by a gospel choir.

Luke Bryan sang “Roller Coaster,” and wood coaster tracks were partially built around the stage set.

Miranda Lambert teamed up with Little Big Town for “Smokin’ and Drinkin’,” and Miranda’s vocals blended perfectly with those of Kimberly and Karen.  She looked like the fifth member of the group.

George Strait and Eric Church teamed up for a duet on “Cowboys Like Us.”

Thomas Rhett sang a snippet of “Get Me Some of That.”

The Doobie Brothers, who recently released a new album, Southbound, that features them reworking their classics with today’s country stars, sang “Listen to the Music” with Hunter Hayes, Jennifer Nettles and Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum.  After Luke Bryan won Entertainer of the Year, they closed the show with “Takin’ It to the Streets,” sung by Michael McDonald.  The Nashville resident is no longer a member of the Doobies, but he rejoined them for the Southbound project.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

CMA Awards Winners List

Image Courtesy CMAHere are the winners of the 48th Annual CMA Awards, held in Nashville Wednesday night:

Entertainer of the Year
Luke Bryan

Album of the Year
Platinum, Miranda Lambert

Female Vocalist of the Year
Miranda Lambert

Male Vocalist of the Year
Blake Shelton

Vocal Group of the Year
Little Big Town

Vocal Duo of the Year
Florida Georgia Line

New Artist of the Year
Brett Eldredge

Single of the Year
“Automatic,” Miranda Lambert

Song of the Year
“Follow Your Arrow,” Kacey Musgraves

Music Video of the Year
“Drunk on a Plane,” Dierks Bentley

Musical Event of the Year
“We Were Us,” Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert

Musician of the Year
Mac McAnally

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Carrie Underwood Expecting a Boy

Image Courtesy Arista NashvilleCarrie Underwood is having a boy.

A publicist for Carrie confirmed to ABC News Radio on Wednesday night that the pregnant singer is expecting a boy with her husband, NHL player Mike Fisher.

Brad Paisley appeared to reveal the gender of the baby during his opening monologue with Carrie at the CMA Awards in Nashville earlier on Wednesday night. He asked her to tell him whether she’s having a boy or a girl. She whispered into his ear; later, he suggested, “We can name him Garth,” after Garth Brooks. Carrie responded, “What are you doing? Well, you kept that secret for a whole two minutes.”

Carrie announced the pregnancy on Twitter September 1.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Martina McBride’s R&B-Inspired Album, “Everlasting,” Earned Her a Surprise CMA Female Vocalist Nod

Image Courtesy Vinyl RecordingsMartina McBride didn’t expect to hear her name called as a nominee for Female Vocalist of the Year at this year’s CMA Awards. She holds the records for most wins in that category with four trophies along with Reba and Miranda Lambert, but Martina’s career took a left turn this year with her new album, Everlasting. The project features a throwback R&B vibe not geared towards country radio, but the CMA voters seemed to love Martina’s new material anyway.

She says with a laugh, “I just thought that it would be an off-year.  So, when I got the news, I was so excited and appreciative and grateful and blessed. It’s a neat thing. It’s a great thing.”

Martina is a presenter on the 48th Annual CMA Awards airing Wednesday night at 8 ET on ABC.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Sam Hunt Scores #1 Country Album with Debut Project, “Montevallo”

Image Courtesy Universal Music GroupSam Hunt‘s debut album, Montevallo, lands at #1 on Billboard‘s Country Albums chart with sales of 70,000 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen Soundscan. The project bows at #3 on the overall Billboard 200 albums chart.

Montevallo includes Sam’s debut hit, “Leave the Night On.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Brett Eldredge Imagines What He’ll Feel When His CMA Awards Category Comes Up Tonight

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleBrett Eldredge doesn’t expect to be a nervous wreck when his name is called as a nominee for New Artist of the Year at Wednesday night’s CMA Awards.

Imagining himself in that moment, Brett says, “It’s like, at this point, whatever happens happens. Everybody has worked really hard to get to that point, and I know that everybody that I’m sitting next to have all fought and had sleepless nights.”

He adds, “We’ve all been in this fight together.”

Brett would love to share a New Artist of the Year win with his fans, family and all the other people who have supported his dreams of country stardom. His parents and brother will be in the audience, too.

Look for Brett to also present a trophy on the 48th Annual CMA Awards Wednesday night at 8 ET on ABC.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Miranda Lambert’s Partnership with Ram Trucks Kicking Off with MuttNation Foundation Auction

Image Courtesy Becky FlukeMiranda Lambert has begun a partnership with Ram Trucks, starting with the auction of a customized Laramie Longhorn truck to benefit Miranda’s MuttNation Foundation. The bidding is now underway through November 15 at

“I have lived my entire life surrounded by trucks even to this day,” Miranda says. “I have also written songs that mention trucks, so I am so happy to be partnering with Ram. And I’m thankful for their generosity in allowing me to auction off a Ram Laramie Longhorn for MuttNation Foundation. It’s a cause so close to my heart!”

You can also bid on Miranda concert tickets and autographed guitars on eBay. Miranda’s partnership with Ram Trucks will continue into 2015.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Faith Hill Returning to the Movies in Indie Crime Drama, “Dixieland”

Image Courtesy Ida Mae Astute/ABCFaith Hill is returning to the big screen after a decade away in a new independent crime drama, titled Dixieland.

According to Deadline, Faith plays the mother of a young man released from prison in Mississippi. He moves back in with his mom and falls for the troubled girl next year. Magic Mike star Riley Keough and The LefotversChris Zylka have the lead roles.

Faith made her last film appearance in 2004’s Stepford Wives with Nicole Kidman.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio