Image Courtesy Broken Bow RecordsCountry artists will be performing across the nation this weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July, so we asked a few stars which patriotic songs they'll be working into their sets.
Dustin Lynch usually goes for the classic, "God Bless the U.S.A." He says, "I'm trying to get my Lee Greenwood channeled here."
Eric Paslay has a bit of experience performing the national anthem at Major League Baseball games, but it still makes him nervous to take on that big song.
"It's such a scary song because we all know it, quote-unquote," says Eric, "and then you start thinking, just the language it was written in, you get it mixed up easy. I haven't mixed it up yet"
Thompson Square traveled the world earlier this year entertaining troops in Australia, Japan and a few other spots. During those shows, the duo adopted Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" as their anthem for the soldiers. Thompson Square isn't actually performing his Fourth of July, but they plan to carry on an Independence Day tradition in Chicago.
The duo's Keifer Thompson tells ABC News Radio, "We always end up in Chicago on the Fourth. We have a hotel that we all stay at. We park the buses out in the parking lot and we grill out, and we shoot some fireworks off. Last three years, and this year again, we're gonna be there."
Image Courtesy Vinyl RecordingsMartina McBride has earned rave reviews for her R&B-inspired covers album, Everlasting, but she didn't just wake up one day and decide to make this unique project. The landscape of today's country radio doesn't quite fit her style, so she eventually decided to strike out in a new creative direction.
Martina tells Utah's The Park Record, "I'm not able to do that bro-country thing. So what do I do? Do I sit around and wait for the next trend or do I make a record? This made sense to me at this time to dive into a musical project without worrying about singles or sales."
Martina's bet paid off when Everlasting debuted at #1 on Billboard's Country Albums chart earlier this year. She's now on the road with a big production and an 11-piece band performing songs from Everlasting. Go to MartinaMcBride.com to see where she's playing next.
Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleBlake Shelton is teaming up with JCPenney to raise money for America's servicemen and woman during his Ten Times Crazier tour this year. The retailer has agreed to donate a dollar, up to $200,000, to the USO for every fan who tweets using #JCPandBlake4USO with the tag @JCPenney. Blake has taped a public service announcement promoting the campaign that will run prior to his concert through the rest of the year.
Military personnel can also take advantage of 20 percent off their JCPenney purchases now through July 6. Go to JCPenney.com/Military for details.
Christopher Polk/ACA2012/Getty ImagesJewel and her rodeo star husband, Ty Murray, are getting a divorce.
The singer makes the announcement on her website in a post titled "Dear World." She writes, "Ty and I have always tried to live the most authentic life possible, and we wanted our separation as husband and wife to be nothing less loving than the way we came together. For some time we have been engaged in a private and difficult, but thoughtful and tender undoing of ourselves."
Jewel says she and Ty are both seeking to grow as individuals, which they couldn't as a couple. "We truly believe we can find greater happiness apart than together," Jewel explains, "and this is why we are taking the enormous and heartbreaking step of divorce."
She adds, "We have chosen the much more difficult task of undoing ourselves stitch by stitch, and releasing each other with love so that we may take on our new form: dear friends and devoted co-parents of our beloved son Kase."
The letter also includes a note from both Jewel and Ty saying, "Our dedication to our son is unwavering and we are both committed to being the best partners in raising our son."
Jewel and Ty Murray got married in the Bahamas in 2008. Their son, Kase, was born in 2011.
Image Courtesy Republic NashvilleBrantley Gilbert plans to make music for the rest of his life, but he's found a rather uncommon interest to occupy the rest of his time: deer farming. It seems Brantley has been searching for something he might enjoy doing as he gets older, and his recently-retired hunting buddy, Wayne Green, turned him on to deer farming.
Thinking back on a recent hunting trip, Brantley says, "My tour manager Jeff asked Wayne, he says, 'Wayne, what are you gonna do with the rest of your life now that you've retired and everything?' and Wayne said, 'Well Jeff, I’m gonna hunt and sell deer semen.'"
That conversation got Brantley thinking that breeding bucks might be a great way to continue his passion for deer hunting well into his senior years. "I wouldn’t wanna be a major player in it," Brantley says of the buck-breeding business, "but I found a place that’s, like, 275 acres, which is manageable. But, it’s already high-fenced and stuff. We’re gonna raise some big bucks and breed ‘em and that sorta thing. Pretty excited about that."
Brantley has plenty of years left before he retires to the farm, though. He's currently on the Let It Ride tour promoting his new, hit album, Just As I Am.
Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleTyler Farr celebrates a big milestone this week with his first network morning show appearance. Look for him to perform "Whiskey in My Water" on the fourth hour of NBC's Today with hosts Kathie Lee and Hoda.
"Whiskey in My Water" is the follow-up to Tyler's debut hit, "Redneck Crazy." He's singing both of those songs on the road with Jason Aldean's Burn It Down tour through this fall.
Image Courtesy MCA NashvilleDavid Nail was going through a tough time a few years back when a friend invited him to help coach a summer high school baseball team just outside Nashville. Since he'd just lost his first record deal, David took the job.
He says, "I went out to help him and just fell in love with all of the kids and really just credit for kind of getting me through that period of time."
Since David wanted to be a baseball player himself at one time, he's been living vicariously through those players, who have now gone on to play college and minor league baseball. One of the players, Taylor Hill, just got called up from the minor leagues to play for the Washington Nationals this summer.
Says David, "It’s neat to see other people, especially something that’s so difficult and the odds are so against you in that, I guess, business, to see them work their rears off from the very, very low rungs of the minor leagues, to climb that ladder and to achieve that dream."
Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockJoe Nichols just passed the one million likes mark on his official Facebook page.
Eric Church celebrated his latest #1 hit, "Give Me Back My Hometown," with a party in Nashville Tuesday. Eric's publisher presented him with a custom wooden plaque of his home state of North Carolina with his hometown of Granite Falls marked on it.
Kenny Rogers has a little fun with his signature hit, "The Gambler," in a new Geico commercial explaining why it gets old fast to play cards with the Country Music Hall of Fame member.