Country Stars Raise Big Money for Charity During CMA Music Festival

Republic NashvilleCountry’s top stars raised a lot of money for charity last week during the CMA Music Festival. Florida Georgia Line‘s appearance at the Stars for Second Harvest benefit concert brought in more than $142,000 for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. The concert is now in its 10th year and has raised more than $750,000 to help feed the hungry in the Nashville area.

Darius Rucker‘s fifth annual Darius and Friends benefit concert and golf tournament brought in more than $122,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, to help them offer free care to children fighting cancer. Lady Antebellum‘s Charles Kelley, Dustin Lynch, Thompson Square, David Nail, Eli Young Band, Cassadee Pope, and Kenny Rogers were among the stars taking part in Darius’s events during CMA Music Fest week.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Lee Brice Announces Details on New Album, “I Don’t Dance,” Due Out September 9

CurbLee Brice will release his new album, I Don’t Dance, on September 9. The project features the hit title track, which Lee wrote for his wedding dance with wife, Sara.

Making the album was a real labor of love for Lee.  He says, “I wanted to have control over every drumbeat, every lick. It was a lot of really sitting down and thinking about every little piece that goes into a song.”

Lee even played every instrument on the song “Girls in Bikinis,” and played banjo for the first time on an album on the track, “Sirens.”

I Don’t Dance is the follow-up to Lee’s gold-selling album, Hard 2 Love.

Here’s the I Don’t Dance track listing:

“I Don’t Dance”
“No Better than This”
“Show You Off Tonight”
“Always the Only One”
“Good Man”
“Drinkin’ Class”
“That Don’t Sound Like You”
“Girls in Bikinis”
“Somebody’s Been Drinkin’”
“The Airport Song”
“My Carolina”
“Panama City”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is the title of George Strait‘s 1981 debut album? ANSWER: Strait Country.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Taylor Swift Touts “The Giver” in New American Library Association “READ” Poster

Photo Credit: Sarah BarlowTaylor Swift loves to read, and now she’s encouraging others to do the same. She appears on a new poster for the American Library Association’s Celebrity READ project, sporting a red dress, red lips and holding a copy of Lois Lowry‘s classic young adult book The Giver.

That’s no accident, of course, since Taylor appears in the movie version of The Giver, which opens August 15.  Her co-stars include Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges and Katie Holmes.  Some of Taylor’s other movie work has had literary connections: she contributed two songs to the soundtrack of the first Hunger Games movie, and she voiced a character in the animated version of the Dr. Seuss classic The Lorax.

On its website, the ALA notes, “Taylor Swift is a passionate supporter of literacy and libraries. Partnering with Scholastic Books, Taylor has made generous book donations to the public library in her home town of Reading, Pennsylvania, as well as the public library in Nashville, Tennessee where she currently resides.”

You can purchase the Taylor READ poster for 18 bucks at the ALA website. The Celebrity READ campaign, which started in 1985, has featured more than 200 celebrities on its posters, which are meant to be displayed in classrooms, libraries, schools and universities.  Proceeds from sales of the posters support the ALA.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Chris Young Undergoes Hand Surgery, Cancels CMA Music Festival Performance

Image credit: Randee St. NicholasChris Young underwent surgery Friday to repair tendons in his left hand after cutting himself with a kitchen knife while home a day earlier.

The injury forced the 28-year-old singer to cancel his CMA Musical Festival performance Saturday night at Nashville’s LP Field.

According to a press release, Young “is expected to fully heal and will return to playing guitar following his recovery and rehabilitation.”

Young’s newest single, “Who I Am With You” from his recently-released album A.M., is working its way up the country charts.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

George Strait Breaks Indoor Concert Attendance Record at Final Tour Stop in Texas

MCA NashvilleGeorge Strait set a new record for indoor concert attendance in North America Saturday night when 104,793 fans saw him perform at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the final stop on his The Cowboy Rides Away tour.

The old record was set in 1981 when The Rolling Stones performed for 87,500 fans at the New Orleans Superdome.

George performed some 40 songs, during his three-hour concert, which featured a number of special guests, including Vince Gill, Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Sheryl Crow, Martina McBride, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert, and Kenny Chesney.

During a break in the performances, George presented a million-dollar home in the Dallas area to Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry and his wife, Ashley.  Sgt. Petry is a Medal of Honor recipient. The home was presented in partnership with the Military Warriors Support Foundation’s “Homes 4 Wounded Heroes” initiative.

All the musical guests joined George for an encore that included “All My Ex’s Live in Texas,” “Folsom Prison Blues” and “The Cowboy Rides Away.”

Here’s George Strait’s set list from the June 7 show at AT&T Stadium:

“Check Yes or No”
“A Fire I Can’t Put Out”
“Lovebug” with special guest Vince Gill
“Does Ft. Worth Ever Cross Your Mind” with special guest Vince Gill
“River of Love”
“Lead On”
“Fool Hearted Memory” with special guest Jason Aldean
“Nobody in His Right Mind Would Have Left Her” with special guest Jason Aldean
“Arkansas Dave”
“I Saw God Today”
“Cowboys Like Us” with special guest Eric Church
“Easy Come Easy Go” with special guest Eric Church
“The King of Breaking Hearts”
“Marina Del Rey”
“Here for a Good Time” with special guest Sheryl Crow
“When Did You Stop Loving Me” with special guest Sheryl Crow
“I Can Still Make Cheyenne”
“Drinkin’ Man”
“Jackson” with special guest Martina McBride
“Golden Ring” with special guest Martina McBride
“Give It Away”
“I Got a Car”
“A Showman’s Life” with special guest Faith Hill
“Let’s Fall to Pieces Together” with special guest Faith Hill
“I Believe”
“Blame It on Mexico”
“Amarillo by Morning” with special guest Alan Jackson
“Murder on Music Row” with special guest Alan Jackson
“The Chair”
“Give It All We Got Tonight”
“How ‘Bout Them Cowgirls” with special guest Miranda Lambert
“Run” with special guest Miranda Lambert
“You Look So Good In Love”
“I’ll Always Remember You”
“Ocean Front Property” with special guest Kenny Chesney
“The Fireman” with special guest Kenny Chesney

Encore (Strait was joined by all special guests):
“All My Ex’s Live In Texas”
“Folsom Prison Blues”
“The Cowboy Rides Away”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio 

Star-Studded CMA Music Festival Wraps Up in Nashville

CMAThe CMA Music Festival fans at Nashville’s LP Field demonstrated their dedication to country music Saturday night when severe thunderstorms delayed the nightly concert’s start time by two hours. Instead of heading back to their homes or hotels to dry off, the rain-soaked fans packed the stadium to see Keith Urban, Florida Georgia Line, Little Big Town and Darius Rucker perform.

This isn’t the first time Darius has seen fans wait out severe weather at CMA Music Festival. A few years ago, the show was delayed for three hours due to heavy rain and lightning. Darius wasn’t sure anyone would be left when he went onstage for his late performance.

“I’ll never forget stepping on that stage and seeing the whole stadium full. I was like, ‘Where were y’all, you know? You’re still here,’” Darius recalls. “But it was awesome. That’s dedication. They plan their year around this week. This is their week off from work. So, they’re going to take everything in and love it, and I love being a part of that.”

Florida Georgia Line took to the field at Nashville’s Greer Stadium Saturday for the annual City of Hope Celebrity Softball Game. While the duo’s Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard got a few turns at bat, they mostly spent time signing autographs and taking photos with the fans in the stands.

Says Tyler, “On weeks like this, we get to give back and we’re not always going a 110 miles an hour where we can’t spend too much time with ‘em. It’s a good week for us. We enjoy it for sure.”

Miranda Lambert‘s new album, Platinum, came out last Tuesday just before CMA Music Festival kicked into high gear. To celebrate the release, Miranda’s Airstream trailer, Wanda the Wanderer, was parked right across from the Country Music Hall of Fame for fans to enjoy all weekend long. She also opened a temporary branch of her Pink Pistol boutique in downtown Nashville.

Miranda says, “I’ve never released an album during CMA Fest. I mean, what better time to release a country music album than the time when all the country music fans are in one place in Nashville. So, it feels really good. It’s like this positive energy. “

Even though Miranda has heard nothing but great things about her new album from fans this week, her husband, Blake Shelton, knows she’s going to be exhausted after this weekend.

Blake says, “By the time a week like this is over, an album launch mixed with CMA Fest, she’s just gonna be a zombie.”

That’s why Blake went down to their marina on Lake Texoma near their home in Tishomingo, OK to get the boat ready for this week.

“I know that when she gets back she’s gonna want to do something like that,” Blake explains. “Just to go and just float around and drink or get pulled on the tube or something. She’s gonna want some time like that.”

Miranda did bring her pal Carrie Underwood out to sing their duet “Somethin’ Bad” over the weekend, and Tim McGraw welcomed his wife Faith Hill to sing “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s.” Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild joined Keith Urban to sing Miranda Lambert’s part on “We Were Us” Saturday night.

Speaking of Little Big Town, they were busy this weekend filming spots to host the CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock special on ABC airing August 5. LBT also brought out a full drum line to perform on their new single, “Day Drinking,” and fans at LP Field were already singing along to the brand-new song.

Little Big Town’s Jimi Westbrook says, “I had some family that was in the back that said everyone around them was singing it as if they’d known it for a long time. So, that was kind of cool.”

Thomas Rhett was on the bill at LP Field Sunday night, but he and wife Lauren actually attended other CMA Music Festival concerts as fans this year.

“We came and we got to see Tim McGraw play the other night, and what a superstar he was, or he is still,” Thomas says, “And it makes me want to be at that point someday. We always try to get the best CMA experience that we can.”

Zac Brown Band brought Richie Sambora on as a surprise guest Sunday night, and Brad Paisley gave the night’s final performance at LP Field. Fans can make plans to attend the 2015 CMA Music Festival June 11 through 14. Go to for ticket information.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio  


Brad Paisley Says New Album, “Moonshine in the Trunk,” Goes “Down Fairly Smooth”

Arista NashvilleBrad Paisley branched out to include a rapper, a rocker and several other unexpected elements on his last album, Wheelhouse. Now that he’s tried all that, Brad is back to just making the best album he can make with his upcoming release, Moonshine in the Trunk.

Brad tells Rolling Stone Country, “I hope [Moonshine in the Trunk] is something that you can put in your car and you’ll remember a lot of things about it right first listen, and it’ll also go down fairly smooth. But at the same time, I think you’ll see the creativity, too. There’s not phoning anything in on this record.”

“River Bank” is the lead single from Moonshine in the Trunk, due out August 26.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Florida Georgia Line, Scotty McCreery Suiting Up for Charity Softball Game Saturday in Nashville

City of HopeFlorida Georgia Line, Scotty McCreery, Sara Evans, Dustin Lynch and Jana Kramer are among the stars taking the field at Nashville’s Greer Stadium Saturday for the 2014 City of Hope Celebrity Softball Game. The event has been a mainstay of the CMA Music Festival for many years now, and proceeds go to the City of Hope charity organization in its fight against cancer.

Lauren Alaina, Danielle Bradbery, Chase Rice, Jamie Lynn Spears and Nashville star Charles Esten are also suiting up for the softball game.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thomas Rhett and His Fan Club Members Package Food for the Hungry in Middle Tennessee

Photo Credit: Jamie VessThomas Rhett gave back to his fans with an acoustic performance and a meal at his annual fan club party, but everyone at the event gave back to those in need, too. For the third year in a row, Thomas and his fan club members volunteered with Hands on Nashville and Second Harvest Food Bank to package more than 5,000 pounds of food for the hungry in Middle Tennessee.

Thomas has been working with the Outnumber Hunger campaign in the past few years, and that prompted him to get his fans involved in helping feed the hungry.

He says, “It’s been an eye-opener to find out one in six Americans go hungry so I really wanted to do something with my fans that encourages us all to give back. It’s cool to share in this experience with my fans and these two great organizations!”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio