Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhat did Brett Eldredge do to celebrate his first #1 single, “Don’t Ya?” ANSWER: Went skydiving.

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Brett Eldredge’s Country Stardom Doesn’t Stop Him from Partying on Nashville’s Lower Broadway

Warner Music NashvilleBrett Eldredge may the reigning CMA New Artist of the Year, but he isn’t letting his rising star status go to his head.

“That is so weird to even think about being a celebrity now,” Brett says. “My buddies will be like, ‘Dude, you’re famous. Is that weird?’ I’ll be like, ‘I don’t feel any different than I ever did.'”

Brett is so down-to-earth, he still likes to go hang out with the bar patrons and visitors on Nashville’s Lower Broadway.  While he doesn’t get hammered down there like he did on his 21st birthday, Brett still enjoys having a few drinks and mixing it up with the people who are now buying his albums and concert tickets.

Says Brett, “I’m still that same kid. I still like to go down there and have fun, and I get up on stage and sing with people and whatever. I’m still the same old Brett and living life and playing music and dreaming every day and that’s what I try to do.”

Brett is gearing up to release his sophomore album, Illinois, on September 11. The project features his latest hit, “Lose My Mind.”

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Thomas Rhett Weighs the Advantages of Headlining His Own Shows Versus Being an Opening Act

CMAAs one of country’s hottest rising stars, Thomas Rhett has started to play his own headlining shows here and there. He’s spent most of this year on the road opening for his pals Florida Georgia Line, and Thomas sees advantages to both approaches to touring at this point in his career.

“They’re just different,” Thomas explains. “You know, when we do our own shows, we play longer. You don’t really have to start at a certain amount of time, and you don’t have to really end at a certain amount of time. So, I would say, when you do your own shows, there’s a lot more freedom.”

On the other hand, Thomas enjoys the comradery of hanging out with his pals FGL when they’re on the road together. He also admires the way the duo runs their touring operation.

Says Thomas, “They treat everybody the same whether you’re crew or whether you’re an opening act. Everyone gets treated the same. Those two guys have become my best friends, so there’s really no way that I couldn’t have a blast touring with two of my best buddies out on the road.”

In the next few years, Thomas hopes to be headlining full-time now that he’s got a taste of playing sold-out shows of his own.

He says, “It is a lot of fun going and knowing that when you do sell out a place, you know that your name sold it out. And you weren’t just a part of selling it out. Like, you were the reason a lot of people came.”

After his stint with FGL is finished, Thomas is hitting the road with Brett Eldredge this fall. Look for Thomas’s new album, Tangled Up, to come out September 25.

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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockKelsea Ballerini has been added to the lineup for the annual New Year’s Eve Bash on Broadway in downtown Nashville. She joins previously announced headliners Kings of Leon on the bill.

Congratulations to Gloriana‘s Tom Gossin, who is expecting his first child with his wife, Jamie, in February 2016.

Craig Morgan will host his second annual Billy’s Place 5K August 22 at Montgomery Bell State Park in Dickson, Tennessee. Proceeds go to the Dickson County Craig Morgan Foundation to help foster children in Middle Tennessee. Go to for details.

Randy Houser‘s new video for “We Went” features car chases, explosions and a lot of stunts, as seen in the sneak peek just released this week. Look for the clip to premiere on CMT Hot 20 Countdown Saturday morning.

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We Went Behind The Scenes from Fitz Hart on Vimeo.


Scotty McCreery Premiering New Single, “Southern Belle,” During Friday Morning TV Performance

Eric Adkins/Mercury NashvilleScotty McCreery will premiere his new single, “Southern Belle,” on Fox News’s Fox & Friends Friday morning. Scotty is performing on the show’s All-American Summer Concert Series during the 8 a.m. ET hour. The full concert and additional interview footage will stream live on

“Southern Belle” is the lead single from Scotty’s upcoming third studio album, due out in early 2016. The song will go to country radio in late August.

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Garth Brooks Tops “Forbes” Country Cash Kings List with $90 Million Payday

Pearl RecordsGarth Brooks tops this year’s Forbes Country Cash Kings: 2015: The Top 15 Earners list with an estimated $90 million in earnings, thanks in large part to his current World Tour. That total is the biggest single-year amount Forbes has ever recorded for a country act.

Toby Keith is second with $53 million coming in from his shows and various business interests. Jason Aldean is third with an estimated $43.5 million payday.

Forbes‘ Country Cash Kings list is compiled using data from Pollstar, Nielsen, industry insiders and artists themselves to estimate income from concert tickets, merchandise, publishing and other business interests. The amounts only cover income earned between June 2014 and June 2015.

Here is the complete Forbes Cash Kings 2015 List:

1) Garth Brooks, $90 million
2) Toby Keith, $53 million
3) Jason Aldean, $43.5 million
4) Luke Bryan, $42.5 million
5) Kenny Chesney, $42 million
6) Tim McGraw, $38 million
7) Florida Georgia Line, $36.5 million
8) Zac Brown Band, $32 million
9) Miranda Lambert, $28.5 million (tie)
9) Blake Shelton, $28.5 million (tie)
11) Keith Urban, $28 million
12) Eric Church, $26 million
13) Brad Paisley, $24 million
14) Rascal Flatts, $19.5 million
15) Lady Antebellum, $17 million

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Hunter Hayes Performs with ACM Lifting Lives Campers at Special Olympics World Games Event

Warner Music NashvilleHunter Hayes teamed up with 10 campers from the ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp Tuesday night to perform at a special event at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles. The performance took place at the Family’s Picnic in the Park at Grand Park LA, a private event for Special Olympics athletes and their families.

“It was an honor to support such a fantastic cause and get to perform for all of these athletes and their families,” Hunter says. “I had the opportunity to meet the ACM Lifting Lives music campers earlier this summer, and it reminded me how pure and powerful music can be. Being part of this event tonight and getting to perform with them again was an experience I won’t forget.”

The ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp offers musical enrichment opportunities for individuals with Williams Syndrome and is held each summer in Nashville.

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is the title of Brantley Gilbert‘s first #1 hit as an artist? ANSWER: “Country Must Be Country Wide.”

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A Thousand Horses Guitarist Zach Brown Reveals the Tim McGraw Album That Turned Him on to Country

Republic NashvilleA Thousand Horses guitarist Zach Brown is heavily influenced by rock acts The Rolling Stones and The Smashing Pumpkins. He might not have found his way to country music if it weren’t for Tim McGraw‘s 1999 album, A Place in the Sun, which includes the hits “My Best Friend,” “Please Remember Me,”  “Something Like That,” and “My Next Thirty Years.”

“It was the first country album I ever bought,” Zach tells Country Aircheck. “I was in high school and I came late to country music, because I grew up with all my parents’ classic rock records. But all the girls in school listened to country music, so I figured I should get in on that. After I heard that album, I was hooked.”

A Thousand Horses is currently climbing the Country Airplay chart with “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial.” It’s the follow up to their #1 debut hit, “Smoke.” Both songs are included on A Thousand Horses’ debut album, Southernality, available now.

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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockJewel teamed up with Dolly Parton for the new song “My Father’s Daughter.” The track will appear on Jewel’s new album, Picking Up the Pieces, due out September 11.

Scotty McCreery shows off his hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina on the CNN Travel Insider segment airing Thursday, July 30 during the 10 a.m. ET hour on CNN.

Alabama will release their new album, Southern Drawl, on September 18. The project marks the band’s first album of original material since 2001.

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