Brett Eldredge Leading the Toy Drive at Friday Night’s “CMA Country Christmas” Taping in Nashville

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleThe CMA Country Christmas special tapes this Friday night at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, and Brett Eldredge is leading the CMA’s efforts to collect toys for kids in the Nashville area prior to the show. Brett is teaming up with several U.S. Marines and Tennessee Titan Delanie Walker to encourage fans attending the show to bring a new, unwrapped toy to the taping. Those will be donated to the Marines’ Toys for Tots program.

The CMA Country Christmas special airs on Monday, December 1 on ABC with Jennifer Nettles returning as host.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Cole Swindell to Perform on 88th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleCole Swindell has signed on to perform on the 88th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade airing live on NBC November 27 at 9 a.m. ET. Pretty Little Liars star-turned-country singer Lucy Hale also will perform on the three-hour broadcast.

For more information, go to

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Hunter Hayes, Jennifer Nettles, Doobie Brothers, Cole Swindell Added to CMA Awards Lineup

CMAThe lineup for the CMA Awards continues to grow.  The latest performers added to the bill include Hunter Hayes, Jennifer Nettles, Thomas Rhett, Cole Swindell, Michael McDonald and The Doobie Brothers. In addition, Ashley Monroe will take part in Blake Shelton‘s performance.

As previously announced, the CMA Awards will also include performances from Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert, George Strait, The Band Perry, Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church and the show’s hosts, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood.

Newly announced presenters at the event include Brantley Gilbert, Darius Rucker, Lee Brice, Martina McBride, Kip Moore, Brett Eldredge, Dan + Shay, Brandy Clark and supermodel Lilly Aldridge.

The 48th Annual CMA Awards will air this Wednesday night on ABC, starting at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Brad Paisley Launching 2015 Leg of Country Nation World Tour January 17 in West Virginia

Image Courtesy Chris Hollo/Grand Ole OpryBrad Paisley will launch the winter leg of his Country Nation World Tour January 17 in Morgantown, West Virginia. Parmalee and The Swon Brothers join Brad on the bill. He’s got shows announced through a March 6 date in Lubbock, Texas.

Here are Brad’s 2014 Country Nation World Tour Dates:

1/17 — Morgantown, WV, WVU Coliseum
1/22 — Southaven, MS, Landers Center
1/23 — Pensacola, FL, Pensacola Civic Center
1/24 — Estero, FL, Germaine Arena
1/29 — Green Bay, WI, Resch Center
1/30 — Cedar Rapids, IA, U.S. Cellular Center
1/31 — Brookings, SD, Swiftel Center
2/5 — DeKalb, IL, Northeastern Illinois University
2/6 — Springfield, MO, JQH Arena
2/7 — Youngstown, OH, The Covelli Center
3/4 — Colorado Springs, CO, Colorado Springs World Arena
3/5 — Las Cruces, NM, Pan American Center
3/6 — Lubbock, TX, United Supermarkets Arena

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood Ready for Seventh Turn as CMA Awards Co-Hosts

Image Courtesy ABCBrad Paisley and Carrie Underwood are hosting the CMA Awards together for a seventh time Wednesday night, so they’re feeling pretty confident as the clock ticks down to show time.

Brad says, “Our roles are established where as she holds down the fort as extremely eloquent and funny and brilliant up there, and I’m an idiot. And it really does work that way. It really kind of feels like that’s the role that we’ve fallen into in a good way.”

Even though the headlines have been intense lately with the Ebola scare dominating the news cycle, Brad and Carrie have found ways to include current events in their monologue as usual.

“It’s the angle that’s the most important thing,” Carrie explains. “Like, there’s certain things that you can’t just make fun of, but there’s certain things about them you can go at from a side angle. You know, people’s reactions to different things and not the things themselves.”

Carrie’s pregnancy will undoubtedly come up throughout the night, and it’s been rumored her baby bump will prevent Carrie from making as many costume changes as usual this year. Brad is willing to help keep the fashion aspect of the show alive, though.

“I’ll wear a couple of her [outfits],” Brad says. “I hate to see something that she paid for not get showcased properly on television. No, I’ve got a little baby bump myself. It’s fine.”

Carrie adds, “He’s been gaining sympathy weight.”

Look for Brad to perform his latest single, “Perfect Storm,” on the CMA Awards. Carrie is also expected to sing her new song, “Something in the Water.” The 48th Annual CMA Awards air live from Nashville Wednesday, November 5 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhich country star collaborated with Zac Brown Band on their hit song, “As She’s Walking Away?” ANSWER: Alan Jackson.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockZac Brown made a surprise appearance at the Foo Fighters‘ Friday night show at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. According to The Tennessean, Zac joined the band for a cover of Black Sabbath‘s “War Pigs.”

Miranda Lambert dressed up like “Rosie the Riveter” for Halloween and posted a picture on Instagram of herself recreating the iconic “We can do it!” poster from World War II.


Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line Featured on Tonight’s “15 Songs That Changed Country Music” Special

Image Courtesy CMARobin Roberts‘ new ABC special, Countdown to the CMA Awards: 15 Songs That Changed Country Music, premieres Monday night featuring performances from Lady Antebellum, Hunter Hayes, Kacey Musgraves and Martina McBride. Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Tim McGraw and Dierks Bentley also appear on the special giving their commentary on what makes these 15 songs so essential to the evolution of country music.

While the complete list is being kept under wraps until the show airs, we can tell you Alan Jackson‘s “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” made the cut along with Kenny Rogers‘ classic, “The Gambler.”

Luke Bryan talks about that track on the special. He says, “I remember having an 8-track player in my room listening to the “The Gambler” as a kid. Kenny Rogers was just the man. Nobody was cooler. Nobody was smoother. Nobody had it figured out quite like Kenny Rogers did.”

Florida Georgia Line pays tribute to Garth Brooks‘ “Friends in Low Places” on the special.

The duo’s Brian Kelley says, “That’s a drinking, party, country music anthem. ‘Friends in Low Places.’ We haven’t really played many covers when we got going. We just kinda started writing our songs and playing them out. But if we ever had to throw a cover in, you bet it was ‘Friends in Low Places.'”

In compiling the list, Robin Roberts and her team consulted with country music insiders and today’s country stars on which songs should be included. Things got pretty heated as they decided on the final 15 songs.

Robin tells ABC News Radio, “It’s all open for debate. But what we do like is that we really know that it has really touched upon classic songs, contemporary songs and crossovers. So, it really has a little bit of something for everybody.” 

Lady Antebellum sings the #15 song on ABC’s Countdown to the CMA Awards: 15 Songs That Changed Country Music, airing Monday night at 10 ET. The 48th Annual CMA Awards air live Wednesday, November 5 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Kix Brooks Looking for the Perfect Steak in New TV Special Airing Sunday Night

Image Courtesy Arista NashvilleKix Brooks owns the Arrington Vineyard winery just south of Nashville, so he’s always on the lookout for a great steak to go with his glass of red. Now, Kix has taken that search on the road for the new Cooking Channel special, Steak Out with Kix Brooks. Restaurants in Louisville, Chicago and Nashville will be featured on the show.

He says, “I really think that local steakhouses say a lot about the personality of their community, so this show was a great way to get to know a few towns and their people better over a great steak dinner and a glass of wine.”   

Steak Out with Kix Brooks airs Sunday, November 2 at 8 p.m. ET on the Cooking Channel.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thomas Rhett Honored to Be in the Running for New Artist of the Year at the CMA Awards

Image Courtesy CMAThomas Rhett was on tour in Toronto with no cell phone service or WiFi access the morning the CMA Awards nominations were announced. He had to go old school and call his manager from a land line to listen to the nominations TV broadcast over the phone. Things got tense when they started calling out the finalists in the New Artist of the Year category.

Thomas recalls, “They were called out in alphabetical order, and obviously my name starts with a ‘T,’ so it was towards the end. I was like, ‘We didn’t get it! We didn’t get it!’ Then at the end they did call my name, which made me kind of jump in my pants.”

He quickly adds, “I didn’t mean for that to come off weird if that sounded weird.”

Thomas is proud to share in the New Artist nomination with his pals Cole Swindell, Kip Moore and Brett Eldredge along with singer/songwriter Brandy Clark.

He says, “Just to be a part of that award is the coolest thing in the world. It makes you feel like the past three years of touring 300 days-a-year actually did pay off.”

Four of the five New Artist nominees have scored multiple #1 hits, and there are even more country newcomers who fit that criteria that didn’t make the cut this year.

“You know, you got Tyler Farr and people like Dustin Lynch who I felt like definitely should have be in the category, but it’s just how the cards fall,” Thomas says. “I’m just pumped to be a part of that group. And whoever wins, I’ll be pumped for ’em.”

See who win New Artist of the Year on the 48th Annual CMA Awards Wednesday night at 8 ET on ABC.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio