Taylor Swift Brings One of her Favorite Stories to Life with Small, but Pivotal Role in “The Giver”

Image Courtesy The Weinstein CompanyTaylor Swift had several reasons to say yes to taking the small, but pivotal role of Rosemary in the new film, The Giver. On top of getting the chance to share a scene with Oscar winner Jeff Bridges, who plays her father, this acting gig allowed Taylor to help tell a story that had a profound impact on the way she sees the world.

The Giver is based on Lois Lowry‘s futuristic novel of the same name, and Taylor first read it in fifth grade. She says, “I didn’t do a lot of thinking about the distant future as far as our society goes at that point in my life. This really kind of switched that up for me, and it really kind of blew my mind in a way that stuck with me.”

In The Giver, society has done away with pain and sadness as well as happiness, music and love. One person, known as the Receiver of Memories, now absorbs all of society’s memories and emotions in case they are needed to make a decision. The story deals with the weight of carrying that burden while also imagining a world without emotional or artistic expression.

Taylor says, “It celebrates all the things that I hold really dear and the things that are most important to me —  like our history and our music and our art and our intellect and our memories. I think that that really had a great deal to do with why I wanted to be a part of this.”

Since Taylor writes songs about her own heartbreak and disappointment, a lot of fans reach out to her via social media to tell her about the tough times they’re facing. She thinks those fans will find a message of hope in The Giver.

“They can’t image that we can experience such great pain, such intense loss, such insecurity,” Taylor explains, “and the thing that I just wish I could tell them over and over again is that we live for these fleeting moments of happiness. Happiness is not a constant. It’s something that we only experience a glimpse of every once in awhile, but it’s worth it. And I think that’s what they’ll take away from this movie.”

Meryl Streep and Brenton Thwaites also star in The Giver, opening in theaters on Friday.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockKenny Chesney hails from which East Tennessee town? ANSWER: Luttrell.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockLook for Luke Bryan‘s cameo on ABC’s Nashville to air October 1. He filmed his part with Connie Britton last Friday at ABC’s Good Morning America.

Tickets for the 48th Annual CMA Awards, airing live on ABC on November 5,  and the CMA Country Christmas special, taping Friday, November 7, will go on sale to the public Saturday, September 6 through Ticketmaster. Both events take place at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

Carrie Underwood, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Jennifer Nettles and Martina McBride are among the country stars joining gospel music star Michael W. Smith on his new holiday album, The Spirit of Christmas, due out September 30. U2 front man Bono, Vince Gill, Michael McDonald and Amy Grant round out Michael’s guest list.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Kenny Chesney Reveals “The Big Revival” Track Listing, Releases “Flora-Bama” on iTunes

Image Courtesy Sony Music Nashville/Blue ChairKenny Chesney plays a headlining show at the Flora-Bama bar on Perdido Key on the Alabama-Florida line Saturday, and now he’s released a new track called “Flora-Bama” to fans who pre-order his new album, The Big Revival, on iTunes. The song is the second taste of Kenny’s new music after the hit lead single, “American Kids.”

“Flora-Bama” was inspired by a friend of Kenny’s who called him after spending an entire afternoon in that bar. Kenny explains, “He’d just ducked in for a beer, and six hours later, he’d emerged with a bunch of new friends, a great time and the sort of memory you keep going back to.”

Look for The Big Revival in stores on September 23.

Here’s The Big Revival track listing:

“The Big Revival”
“Drink It Up”
“Til It’s Gone”
“American Kids”
“Wild Child” (with Grace Potter)
“Beer Can Chicken”
“Rock Bottom”
“Don’t It”
“Save It for a Rainy Day”
“If This Bus Could Talk”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Brad Paisley Turned Air Force One into His Own Recording Studio

Image Courtesy Arista NashvilleBrad Paisley used his time very wisely while flying to Afghanistan with President Obama on Air Force One earlier this year. Instead of just grabbing some shut-eye on his way to entertain U.S. troops, Brad opted to put the finishing touches on a new song, “Me and Jesus,” while in the air over the Black Sea.

“It was 13 hours over and 16 back, plenty of time to mix the record,” Brad tells Billboard, “I had all the files and opened up the computer and thought, ‘I’ll get to work on this.’ It didn’t take too long. It’s only my voice a guitar.”

Brad also picked up several souvenirs from Air Force One, including shot glasses, matches, luggage tags and towels.

He says with a laugh, “Let’s just say I came back with a bag more full than I left here with.”

“Me and Jesus” appears on the deluxe edition of Brad’s new album, Moonshine in the Trunk, coming out August 26.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Alan Jackson Performing at Country Music Hall of Fame October 8 and 22

Image Courtesy Kristy Belcher/Schmidt RelationsAlan Jackson will perform as the 2014 Artist-in-Residence at the Country Music Hall of Fame’s CMA Theater in Nashville on October 8 and 22. Tickets for the Wednesday night shows will go on sale Monday, September 8 at CountryMusicHallofFame.org/Artist-in-Residence.

These shows coincide with the new Hall of Fame exhibition, Alan Jackson: 25 Years of Keepin’ It Country, opening August 29 and running through March 2015.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Garth Brooks Adds Two More Atlanta Dates; Tickets on Sale Saturday Morning

Image Courtesy Pearl RecordsGarth Brooks has added two more shows in Atlanta on Saturday, September 20 at 10:30 p.m. ET and Sunday, September 21, 7:30 p.m. ET at Philips Arena. Tickets for these dates will go on sale Saturday morning at 9 a.m. ET through Ticketmaster.com and 1-800-745-3000.

Garth met with Ticketmaster on Monday to address concerns about scalpers getting concert tickets while regular customers weren’t getting into the Ticketmaster system.

Garth says,”I couldn’t ask for a better partner. Ticketmaster’s scalper screening system is a wonderful idea…with that said, all I saw were tickets on every scalping site and the people that just wanted to come to the show could not get in.”

Garth goes on to say, “The folks at Ticketmaster were totally devoted to achieving our mutual goal ….that the on sale this Saturday runs faster and creates an easier process for people who want to come to the show.”

Garth is going forward with his three previously scheduled shows in Atlanta taking place on September 19 and 20. Go to GarthBrooks.com for more information.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Luke Bryan Hosting Crash My Playa Caribbean Concert Getaway in January

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLuke Bryan is taking his beachfront concerts to a new level with the Crash My Playa musical event, January 23 through 27, 2015 in Mexico. Florida Georgia Line, Cole Swindell, Dustin Lynch, and Eric Paslay are among the other stars performing at the destination event in Riveiera Maya on the Yucatan Peninsula.

The five-days, four-night package is all-inclusive, with resort accommodations, entrance to each night’s beachfront concert, and a beach towel and beach bag. For more information, go to CrashMyPlaya.com. Citi card members can also take part in a pre-sale starting August 19 at CitiPrivatePass.com.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockLady Antebellum sang backup on which one of Darius Rucker‘s #1 hits? ANSWER: “Wagon Wheel.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Jake Owen Remembers to Count His Blessings with Latest Single, “What We Ain’t Got”

Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleJake Owen knows he’s a lucky man to have a successful career, a loving wife and a healthy baby girl, but his latest single, “What We Ain’t Got,” reminds him to stop and appreciate those blessings. That’s not always easy for Jake to do, though.

“I still find that I want more, ’cause I’m competitive,” Jake explains. “Sometimes it just takes takin’ a minute to sit there and realize that what we have right in front of us is just as satisfying as anything that we could ever want — and sometimes it takes a little three-minute song like this one to make you remember that.”

“What We Ain’t Got” is a complete 180 from Jake’s summer anthem, “Beachin’.”

He says, “It’s just myself and a piano and a steel guitar, but it’s the kind of song that, like, will pull your heart strings.”

Jake recently debuted “What We Ain’t Got” with a stripped-down performance on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! The song is included on his latest album, Days of Gold.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio