Little Big Town Joins Taylor Swift at Pittsburgh Show

Jason Merritt/LP5/Getty Images for TASLittle Big Town made a surprise appearance at Taylor Swift‘s 1989 World Tour stop in Pittsburgh on Saturday night.

The group joined Taylor on stage at Heinz Field for a rendition of their hit song “Pontoon.” Taylor later tweeted a photo of the scene and wrote, “Tonight my friends @littlebigtown surprised the #1989TourPittsburgh crowd with ‘Pontoon’ and it was SO MUCH FUN!!”

Little Big Town shared photos on Instagram, as well as a video clip of them singing “Girl Crush” with Taylor backstage.

Taylor has made a tradition of inviting guests to her shows. Late last month, Imagine DragonsDan Reynolds sang his band’s tune “Radioactive” at her concert in Detroit.

 

Backstage sing alongs with @taylorswift, @kelseaballerini & @rachelplatten. #GirlCrush #1989TourPittsburgh #pressplay

A video posted by Little Big Town (@littlebigtown) on Jun 7, 2015 at 8:18am PDT

 

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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockThe 2015 CMT Music Awards Red Carpet special airs Wednesday, June 10 at 7 p.m. ET prior to the live broadcast of the ceremony on CMT and CMT.com.

Kix Brooks is the host of a new series, Steak Out with Kix Brooks, premiering July 14 at 9 p.m. ET on the Cooking Channel. The show features Kix traveling from city to city looking for the country’s best steakhouses.

Thomas Rhett premiered his retro video for “Crash and Burn” at People.com Friday.

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Little Big Town Playing Coy About Returning to Host This Year’s CMA Music Festival TV Special

Capitol NashvilleLittle Big Town is in Nashville this week for the CMA Music Festival, but there’s still no word on whether or not the quartet will return as hosts of the festival’s annual ABC TV special later this summer.

LBT’s Karen Fairchild tells ABC Radio, “We are not saying, because we’re not supposed to say what we’re doing.”

While Little Big Town is keeping mum on the TV hosting gig, they are very vocal with their feelings about playing the CMA Music Festival’s nightly concerts at LP Field.

“That crowd is infectious,” says the group’s Kimberly Schlapman. “There’s no other crowd all year long like the CMA Fest crowd. I mean, by far.”

The CMA Music Festival’s nightly concerts at LP Field kick off Thursday night and run through Sunday.

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Reba and Darius Rucker Featured in Fandango’s I Love Movies Video Series

BMLGReba and Darius Rucker are featured in new episodes of Fandango’s I Love Movies video series, set to premiere at the CMA Music Festival’s nightly concerts next week at Nashville’s LP Field. In the clips, Darius and Reba explain how movies have shaped their lives and music.

Says Darius, “It’s joyous to see something meaningful on the big screen, providing important moments in your life. I remember the first time I saw Purple Rain, I was instantly changed. I’m getting chills just thinking about it.”

Reba adds, “Music and movies have inspired me in so many ways. Both are not only significant parts of my career but my life. A great lyric or line from a film has the ability to take your mind somewhere new.”

After the clips premiere at the CMA Music Festival, you can check them out on Fandango’s Movieclips YouTube channel. Look for more country stars to participate in Fandango’s I Love Movies video series this fall in the weeks leading up to November’s 49th Annual CMA Awards.

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Kacey Musgraves Believes Aliens Could Abduct Her at Any Moment

Mercury NashvilleKacey Musgraves keeps an eye on the sky to avoid one of her biggest fears — alien abductions. In a new feature with Us Weekly, Kacey shares 25 things you may not know about her, and her “irrational fear” of alien abductions is at #2 on the list. She also admits, “I’ve seen several UFOs.”

Kacey goes on to reveal that she’s never broken a bone, and she actually framed a joint Willie Nelson once rolled for her.

On the music front, Kacey’s sophomore album, Pageant Material, is due out June 23 featuring the lead single, “Biscuits.”

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A Thousand Horses Living in a Whirlwind with Success of #1 Hit, “Smoke”

Republic NashvilleAs new group A Thousand Horses prepares to release their debut album, Southernality, next week, the band members are riding high with their debut single, “Smoke,” sitting atop Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart. The runaway success of that song is still surreal for the guys.

Lead singer Michael Hobby tells Rolling Stone, “‘Smoke’ has blown our minds with how well it’s done and how fast it went. To see the fans react to it, that’s what really connects for us. It’s all a whirlwind right now.”

Southernality includes several other songs that have become staples in A Thousand Horses’ live shows, and the band is anxious to see how the record-buying public reacts to the project.

Michael says of their approach to making music, “You write a song, you record a song, you put it out to the public and you hope that they like it too.”

A Thousand Horses is currently on the road with Darius Rucker‘s Southern Style tour.

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The “’80’s Lady” K.T. Oslin Returns with New Album, “Simply”

K.T. OslinK.T. Oslin is back with her first album in nearly 15 years, titled Simply. The project features sparely produced versions of K.T.’s Grammy and CMA Award-winning signature song, “80’s Ladies,” as well as other hidden gems from her back catalog.

For those not familiar with K.T.’s story, 1987’s “80’s Ladies” became an anthem for women juggling the decade’s demands of motherhood, career, marriage and divorce.  The song went on to win CMA Song of the Year and earned K.T. the Female Vocalist of the Year titles from both the CMA and ACM, too. A string of #1 hits followed, including 1988’s “Do Ya” and 1990’s “Come Next Monday,” but K.T. walked away from it all in her late fifties after releasing her 2001 album, Live Close By, Visit Often.

After more than a decade out of the spotlight, K.T. returned to the stage late last year with a cabaret-style show including new versions of her hits as well as lesser-known songs from her platinum-selling discography. The concerts in Nashville and Austin played to sold-out crowds, and the idea for Simply was born out of those shows.

She tells ABC Radio, “I realize that the business has changed so much. You’ve got to have something to sell, if it’s foot cream or what. You’ve got to sell something! So, I said, ‘Well, why don’t we just make a little album and sell it at the dates?'”

Using the three musicians who back her up on stage, K.T. went in to record Simply to capture the new, stripped-down song arrangements.

“What you see on stage is what is on the record,” K.T. explains. “I don’t have horns and violins and people swinging from the roofs on the record and then I can’t reproduce that live. I want you to get the same effect.”

To be clear, Simply is not a re-recording of K.T.’s greatest hits. Instead, K.T. wanted to feature some of her lesser-known songs,  like the sassy “Younger Men” and the breakup anthem, “New Way Home.”

She says of her obscure song selections, “I didn’t want it to die away. I didn’t want it to shrivel up and die on the vine. I wanted to expose it somehow through the dates to a new audience. Possibly a younger audience that would go, ‘Hey, I like this.'” (AUDIO IS ABC 1-ON-1)

K.T.’s album, Simply, also features a brand-new song, “Do You Think About Me.” It’s now available at iTunes and Amazon.

Here’s the Simply track list:

“Do You Think About Me”
“Younger Men”
“Hold Me”
“I Can’t Remember Not Loving You”
“Live Close By, Visit Often”
“New Way Home”
“She Don’t Talk Like Us No More”
“Maybe We Should Learn to Tango”
“80’s Ladies”

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Lady Antebellum Teaming Up with Pop/EDM Star Zedd for CMT Music Awards Performance

Capitol NashvilleLady Antebellum is teaming up with pop/EDM star Zedd on next Wednesday’s CMT Music awards. According to Billboard, they’ll perform a mashup of Lady A’s current single, “Long Stretch of Love,” and Zedd’s  “Beautiful Now.” Lady A recently dabbled in EDM during their European tour performing a cover of Avicii‘s “Wake Me Up.”

Jason Aldean, Carrie Underwood, Sam Hunt, Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan are among the other stars performing on the CMT Music Awards Wednesday, June 10 on CMT and CMT.com.

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockDierks Bentley‘s white dog has appeared in several of the singer’s videos as well as on the cover of Dierks’ debut album. What is the pup’s name? ANSWER:  Jake.

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Billy Currington Plans to Sing Along to Tim McGraw’s Set Every Night This Summer

Mercury NashvilleIf you catch Tim McGraw‘s Shotgun Rider Tour this summer, keep an eye out for special guest Billy Currington watching Tim’s headlining set from the side stage. Billy caught one of Tim’s shows last year before he secured the spot on this year’s tour, and he couldn’t believe how many hits Tim packed into the two-hour set.

Billy tells ABC Radio, “Wow. That’s all I can say. Like, every song is just a smash. And then at the end of the show, I was like, ‘Wait! Wait! What about this song, and that song and that hit and that #1?’ He’s got so many, he can’t put ’em all in his show.”

Over the past decade, Billy has toured with just about everyone in country music, but he’s never sung along quite as much as he did watching Tim’s show.

Billy adds, “It’s quite amazing.”

Tim’s Shotgun Rider tour kicks off Friday night in Little Rock, Arkansas with Chase Bryant joining Billy and Tim on the bill.

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