Kellie Pickler: My Grandmother Died the Day After Her Lung Cancer Diagnosis

Image Credit: Richard AshcroftKellie Pickler says the fight against lung cancer is very “near and dear” to her heart.

Pickler recently joined with Lung Force, an initiative sponsored by CVS, to raise awareness and money for lung cancer research.

“My grandmother, Faye Pickler, she’s the one that raised me and the woman I called Mom,” Pickler told ABC News. “She was diagnosed with lung cancer back in January 2002 and she died the very next day, she died the very next morning.”

Pickler, 27, said that loss woke her up and made her take lung cancer seriously.

“It was very sudden, there’s no way to prepare for that,” she added. “The generation of women she grew up with, they didn’t know the long-term effects smoking would cause. She was a smoker and she was only 66 when she passed away.”

The singer continued, “I was shocked to find out, you don’t even have to be a smoker to be diagnosed with lung cancer.”

Pickler added that lung cancer is the number-one cancer killer in women, and that 72,000 women in the United States will die this year from the disease.

The American Idol alum and Dancing with the Stars champion married Kyle Jacobs in 2011, and on a lighter note, added she’s very happy.

“I love my husband, but I actually really like him too,” she said. “Yeah, we actually really like each other. We are doing great, can’t complain in that department.”

As for having children, Pickler said that isn’t on the horizon anytime soon.

“I have a band, so that’s kind of like having kids,” she joked. “We are just happy with it being just us right now. We are not working into that at this moment. I feel like we are newlyweds, we have so much to do and enjoy just the two of us.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio 

“Nashville” Recap: On the Other Hand

ABCRayna Jaymes had offers of marriage on the table from her current love, Luke Wheeler, and her ex Deacon Claybourne as the curtain closed on Nashville‘s second season Wednesday night.

After singing their hit duet, “Ball and Chain,” Luke popped the question in front of 60,000 fans at Rayna’s album launch party at Nashville’s LP Field and she accepted. Deacon got teary-eyed watching the proposal from the audience. At the end of the episode, Deacon showed up at Rayna’s house saying he couldn’t move on from her, especially now that he knows they share a daughter, Maddie. We’ll have to wait until next season to see who Rayna ends up marrying.

Closeted country singer Will Lexington‘s album launch went downhill after Rayna sabotaged his deal with a big-box retailer. The implosion of his album sales made Will wonder why he was lying about his sexuality to everyone to preserve his career. After talking it over with his pal Gunnar Scott, Will went back home to his wife, Layla, and admitted he is gay. Little did he know a small camera mounted in a clock in the room taped the confession for the couple’s upcoming reality show.

Avery Barkley found out his girlfriend, Juliette Barnes, cheated on him with her former record label president, Jeff Fordham. Avery abruptly broke things off with Juliette, but he later came back to say he believed her apology. Juliette admitted she doesn’t feel like she deserves love and ruins all of her relationships as a result. She begged Avery not to leave her while she sought help to work out her issues.

Avery performed the song “One Light Shining” on Wednesday night’s episode, and fans can look forward to hearing more songs from Avery, played by Jonathan Jackson, in Nashville‘s upcoming third season. Jonathan made the move to Music City with his family a few years back, and they look forward to staying on now that Nashville has been renewed.

While he loves all the songwriters and music venues Nashville has to offer, Jonathan is a big fan of the people there, too.

He says, “I think it’s just the people here are really great. There is something about the southern hospitality and the warmth and the kindness that’s here that I know myself and my family have really appreciated.”

You can hear Jonathan singing on the just-released The Music of Nashville Season 2 Volume 2 soundtrack, available now online. Nashville‘s third season premieres this fall.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockEric Paslay‘s #1 hit, “Friday Night,” has been certified gold.

Brad Paisley tells Billboard his new album, due out August 26, is titled Moonshine in the Trunk.

Martina McBride‘s new video for “Come See About Me” premiered this week on CMT.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Luke Bryan Reveals the Song He and His Wife, Caroline, Played Again and Again in College

CMAAfter getting serious with his latest hit, “Drink a Beer,” Luke Bryan is lightening things up with the sweet love song, “Play It Again.” He thinks fans identify with the fun story of a couple falling in love to a song on the radio.

Luke says, “I think the reaction that the girl has, ‘Oh my God, this is my song,’ that’s such a real reaction and that’s what makes the song work.”

Luke and his wife, Caroline, had a song they wanted to play again and again all through college — Lenny Kravitz‘s “Can’t Get You Off My Mind.”

“I’m not even sure it was a Lenny Kravitz single, but that’s kind of Caroline’s, ‘Oh my God.’ That’s her song,” Luke says.

“Play It Again” is the latest single from Luke’s album Crash My Party, available now.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Hunter Hayes’ Sophomore Album, “Storyline,” Debuts at #1 on “Billboard” Country Albums Chart

Warner Music NashvilleHunter Hayes‘ sophomore album, Storyline, bows at #1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the project sold 69,000 copies for a #3 debut on the overall Billboard 200 Albums chart.

Storyline features Hunter’s latest single, “Invisible.” It’s also his second #1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart following his self-titled debut album.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Darius Rucker Announces Lineup for Darius and Friends Benefit Concert and Golf Tournament

Capitol NashvilleDarius Rucker has a big lineup set for his fifth annual Darius and Friends benefit concert June 2 at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon. Eli Young Band, Thompson Square, David Nail, Kenny Rogers and Clint Black will perform at the sold-out show with proceeds going to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

On Tuesday, June 3, Darius hosts his annual Darius and Friends Celebrity Golf Tournament, also benefitting St. Jude. Lady Antebellum‘s Charles Kelley, Thompson Square‘s Keifer Thompson, David Nail, Dustin Lynch, Eric Paslay and Jon Pardi are set to tee off for that event.

Darius says, “St. Jude does such amazing work for young cancer patients and their families, and I’m grateful to all my fellow artists and friends for coming together to have some fun and support such a great cause.”

The Darius and Friends event have raised more than $225,000 for St. Jude in the past few years.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Tim McGraw Keeps the Hits Coming with New Album, “Sundown Heaven Town,” Coming September 16

Big Machine RecordsFans heading to Tim McGraw‘s Sundown Heaven Town tour this summer will get a chance to hear a few songs from his new album of the same name, due out later this year. Tim’s prior album, Two Lanes of Freedom, just came out last year, but he just couldn’t get this new music out fast enough.

Tim tells The Arizona Republic, “I’m just in a really creative space, with new energy and new focus. You get working, your juices are flowing, you have great songs. It’s just one of those things where it was pouring out of me. I had to get it done.”

As for what fans can expect on Sundown Heaven Town, Tim adds, “There’s a great mixture of music because I get bored pretty easily. I certainly get bored with myself. I love to stretch myself and go down avenues. I maybe go a little further on this album with a few songs.”

Tim’s latest single, “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s,” features wife Faith Hill on harmony vocals. It’s included on his new album, coming out September 16.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Sara Evans Got an Early Start with Her Career Thanks to Her School Music Program

Sony Music NashvilleSara Evans got an early start with her singing career thanks to the music education program in her hometown of New Franklin, Missouri. In addition to playing clarinet in the band, Sara sang in the choir all through high school.

She tells CMA Close Up, “Our school was so small that we didn’t even have football, so we would march in the town’s parades. I was always the assistant teacher. Sometimes I would get to direct the band.”

Sara also gives a shout out to her two music teachers, Mrs. Burnett and Mrs. Nugent.

She says, “[They] were both really sweet and fabulous as teachers.”

Sara now supports the CMA’s Keep the Music Playing campaign to benefit school music programs in Middle Tennessee.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Miranda Lambert Hopes to Inspire the Next Generation with Country Music Hall of Fame Exhibit

Country Music Hall of FameMiranda Lambert is the subject of a new exhibit opening Friday at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Miranda Lambert: Backstage Access highlights the singer’s remarkable 2013 with her costumes from the CMA Awards and the “Mama’s Broken Heart” video shoot among the items going on display. Miranda will be on hand for an invitation-only preview party for the exhibit Wednesday night.

“It’s so crazy to think that there’s an exhibit that celebrates my stuff and my tour in the Hall of Fame,” Miranda says. “I don’t really know how I’m going to react. I mean, I think it’s all kind of been like just emails and finding stuff for the Hall of Fame until now. It’s not really real.”

Miranda visited the Country Music Hall of Fame herself when she was a young girl dreaming of becoming a country star. She hopes her exhibit inspires a new generation of country music hopefuls.

Says Miranda, “They’ll see my road cases and my corsets and guitars on display, and it’s like, ‘I’ll be in here one day.’ Just like I thought when I was little, and there I am already. I mean, just for a time, but still. I can say I’ve been in the Hall of Fame now.”

When she was a kid, Miranda was star struck to see Dolly Parton‘s flashy costumes on display. She was also amazed to realize how tiny Dolly is based on those ornate dresses. That experience led Miranda to make one request for her own exhibit.

Miranda says, “I’m like, ‘Suck my corsets in a little more. Make sure those mannequins are little!’”

For more information, go to Miranda’s new album, Platinum, comes out June 3.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockScotty McCreery returns to American Idol to perform his new single, “Feelin’ It,” Thursday night on FOX.

Randy Houser will debut his new single, “Like a Cowboy,” on CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman, Wednesday night.

Blake Shelton and Taylor Swift have donated items for the new Grammy Foundation and MusiCares charity auction. Go to between now and May 22 to check it out.

Keith Urban interviews American Idol‘s music supervisors and band leaders for the new installment of his Idle Chatter video series.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio