Colt Ford Named NRA Country Featured Artist of the Month for July

Image Courtesy Average Joe'sColt Ford has been named NRA Country's featured artist for the month of July. As a tie-in with his just-released album, Thanks for Listening, NRACountry.com is now streaming Colt's new songs "Farm Life" with Justin Moore and "Cut Em All" with Duck Dynasty's Willie Robertson.

Speaking about his partnership with NRA Country, Colt says, "America was built on hard work, love of God, family and friends - these are the core values that I grew up with and that I instill in my own family. I'm proud to share these same ideals with my NRA Country family and am honored that I can be a role model for all of our nation's kids."

Look for Colt to take part in a Twitter chat with NRA Country on Thursday, July 17 at 5 p.m. ET.


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Trace Adkins Returns Home to Louisiana for Muddin’ for the Military Celebration Saturday

Image Courtesy Sunshine SachsTrace Adkins returns to his hometown of Sarepta, Louisiana, on Saturday night as part of the city's Muddin' for the Military Fourth of July celebration at Muddy Bottoms ATV & Recreation Park.

Trace says, " It’ll be nice to come back home and see something that’s not only great for the area and the folks who live there, but also puts Sarepta on the map because it’s the biggest, baddest mud park in the country.”

According to the Shreveport Times, the Muddin' for the Military celebration raises money for Lone Star Warrior Outdoor to provide hunting and fishing trips for wounded war veterans.


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Miranda Lambert Leading the Celebration on “Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular” Friday

Image Courtesy David Giesbrecht/NBCMiranda Lambert is leading the celebration on Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular live from New York City's Brooklyn Bridge Friday night. She's set to perform along with Hunter Hayes and Zac Brown Band on the annual special.

"Getting to bring joy through my music to people, to come together and celebrate music and celebrate our country is such a great feeling," Miranda says. "To see the flags waving in the air in the crowd, it makes you smile. Just a permanent smile on my face."

Look for Miranda to sing her new songs "Platinum" and "Priscilla" on the special. Her husband, Blake Shelton, won't be performing with her, but Miranda plans to spend some time with him on Independence Day.

She says, "One of us tries to not be working so we can be together on the Fourth, and there's always sparklers involved on the Fourth for me. That's my big thing. I gotta have sparklers."

Miranda goes on to say Fourth of July is one of her favorite holidays, but she always takes a moment to reflect on the reason for the celebration.

"It's about freedom, and freedom is what we get to have by living in this country," Miranda explains, "and we get to do what we love and be who we are without fear 'cause we live in a free country. We need to celebrate all the people that fought for us and that serve our country to let us live this amazing life."

Nick Cannon hosts the two-hour Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular special at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.


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Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line and Eric Church Dominate Mid-Year Country Sales Numbers

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLuke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line and Eric Church dominate the 2014 mid-year album and single sales figures, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Luke and FGL's single, "This Is How We Roll," is the #1 digital track so far with more than 1.5 million copies sold. Luke's "Play It Again" is at #2 on that list with just under 1.3 million downloads.

Eric Church's The Outsiders is country's biggest-selling album so far, with 642,000 units scanned. Luke's Crash My Party is second, with 455,000 copies sold this year, while Brantley Gilbert follows at #3, selling 412,000 copies of his latest album, Just As I Am.  

Albums sales and digital download figures are down significantly this year as fans switch from purchasing music to streaming it.

Here are the top 10 best-selling country albums so far this year:

1) Eric Church, The Outsiders
2) Luke Bryan, Crash My Party
3) Brantley Gilbert, Just As I Am
4) Florida Georgia Line, Here's to the Good Times
5) Miranda Lambert, Platinum
6) Cole Swindell, Cole Swindell
7) Dierks Bentley, Riser
8) Blake Shelton, Based on a True Story
9) Jennifer Nettles, That Girl
10) Johnny Cash, Out Among the Stars

Here are the top 10 best-selling country digital songs so far this year:

1) Florida Georgia Line featuring Luke Bryan, "This Is How We Roll"
2) Luke Bryan, "Play It Again"
3) Brantley Gilbert, "Bottoms Up"
4) Jake Owen, "Beachin'"
5) Keith Urban, "Cop Car"
6) Eric Church, "Give Me Back My Hometown"
7) Luke Bryan, "Drink a Beer"
8) Jerrod Niemann, "Drink to That All Night"
9) Thomas Rhett, "Get Me Some of That"
10) Rascal Flatts, "Rewind"


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Taylor Swift’s RED Tour is Now the Highest-Grossing Trek in Country Music History

Image Courtesy Ash Newell/13 ManagementTaylor Swift's RED tour raked in more than $150 million in the last 15 months, making it the highest-grossing tour in the history of country music, according to Billboard Boxscore. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's Soul2Soul tour had the previous record with $141 million earned in 2006 and 2007.

Taylor's latest trek hit four continents with 86 shows in 12 different countries. More than 1.7 million fans around the world saw the RED Tour, which kicked off March 13, 2013 in Omaha, Nebraska and wrapped up June 12, 2014 with a final show in Singapore. In addition to the Asian and North American dates, Taylor also hit Australia, New Zealand and Europe.


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Two of Garth Brooks’ Five Dublin Concerts Canceled Due to Permit Issues

Image Courtesy Pearl RecordsTwo of Garth Brooks' five sold-out shows at Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland have been canceled, and now the promoter says it's "up in the air" if any of Garth's shows will take place at all.

According to the Irish Independent, the Dublin City Council only approved licenses for three of the dates, so the July 28 and 29 dates are now scrapped. At this point, the shows on July 25, 26 and 27 are scheduled to proceed as planned, but that arrangement is reportedly in breach of the contract Garth signed with the promoter for five concerts.

In other Garth news, he's expected to make a big announcement Monday.


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Brantley Gilbert Reflects on His Arlington National Cemetery Experience

Image Courtesy Valory Music Co.Brantley Gilbert tries to include the U.S. military in just about every major project of his career, which explains why he teamed with Folds of Honor for his recent Just as I Am album launch. That organization helps the families of fallen or disabled soldiers, and Brantley was proud to have them play a major role in his recent motorcycle ride from Athens, Georgia, to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Brantley says, "I can't speak for soldiers, but I would imagine if I were to pass away, that's the main thing I would want taken care of is my family. So, it was awesome to be a part of."

As for wrapping up his bike ride with a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Brantley adds, "Being involved with something like that, it was awesome to be able to take the attention from a record release and shine it on something that really, really matters. Those guys have paid the ultimate sacrifice and lost limbs and lives."

For more information on Folds of Honor, visit FoldsofHonor.org.


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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockSara Evans and her husband, Jay, live in which southern city? ANSWER: Birmingham, Alabama.


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Little Big Town Treating the Troops to Some “Day Drinking” This 4th of July

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLittle Big Town has a pair of shows performing for troops in Louisiana and Oklahoma this weekend, and they hope the service members can kick back and do some "Day Drinking" as they enjoy the music.

LBT's Karen Fairchild says, "We'll entertain and watch them day drink, and then I'm sure we will participate at some point out of pressure."

The group's Kimberly Schlapman hopes to get in a little libation while watching the fireworks, too. Litlte Big Town's tour dates are all available at LittleBigTown.com.


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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockSara Evans will perform on PBS's A Capitol Fourth special Friday at 8 p.m. ET.

Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town have contributed vocals to gospel star Michael W. Smith's upcoming Christmas album.

 

 
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