Sara Evans Puts Her Stamp on the Holidays with New Album, “At Christmas”

Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleSara Evans‘ first full-length holiday album, At Christmas, is now on sale. Instead of hiring a bunch of orchestras, Sara opted to take her own country sound and adapt it to holiday classics like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Winter Wonderland.” The project came together rather quickly since her record label only asked her to make the album a few months ago.

In an interview with ABC News Radio, Sara says, “In a way, that was great, because I didn’t obsess over it. I just kind of let [my producer] Mark go in, and I guided him on the phone. Like, ‘Let’s make it sound like Sara Evans’ music, but it’s Christmas songs.’”

Sara went in to record the vocals for At Christmas in a studio in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. She brought a few special guests along with her for the recording sessions, too.

“My girls sang on one song with me, on ‘The 12 Days of Christmas,’” Sara says. “It’s really precious.”

Here’s the track listing for At Christmas:

“At Christmas”
“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
“The Twelve Days of Christmas” (featuring Olivia and Audrey)
“Silent Night”
“Winter Wonderland”
“O Holy Night”
“Run Rudolph Run”
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas”
“Go Tell It on the Mountain”
“O Come All Ye Faithful”


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockCarrie Underwood won American Idol in which year? ANSWER: 2005.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockLauren Alaina debuted two new songs, “Doing Fine” and “Breathe Again,” during her Saturday night performance at the Grand Ole Opry. It was her first public performance since undergoing vocal cord surgery in August.

Brantley Gilbert has been added to the presenters lineup for Sunday night’s American Music Awards airing at 8 ET on ABC.  Garth Brooks is slated to perform.

Vince Gill and Lyle Lovett will launch a four-date run of shows together January 27, 2015 starting in Glenside, Pennsylvania.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Carrie Underwood, The Band Perry and Trisha Yearwood Adding Star Power to “Nashville’s” CMA Awards Episode Tonight

Image Courtesy ABCFans tuning in to ABC’s Nashville Wednesday night might experience a little déjà vu if they also caught the CMA Awards earlier this month. Nashville‘s version of the CMA Awards airs Wednesday with engaged couple Luke Wheeler and Rayna Jaymes squaring off in the Entertainer of the Year category. Real-life CMA Awards hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley actually filmed a cameo for this episode of Nashville in the days leading up to actual ceremony.

“In between our hosting meetings and duties and running through things, we were able to go up there and quickly shoot that for ‘em,” Carrie says. She adds with a laugh, “It’s not any major, life-changing role or anything. We’re just doing what we do!”

The Band Perry also appears on Nashville‘s version of the CMA Awards, and lead singer Kimberly Perry admits she was excited to see Luke and Rayna on set.

Says Kimberly, “I’m such a fan of the show, so I was a little bit star struck when I walked in and saw these actors who in my mind are kind of like country music singers, ’cause that’s what they are on the show.”

The Band Perry’s Neil Perry got up close up and personal with Connie Britton, who plays Rayna, during one scene.

He gushes, “She looked at me and I was able to kiss her on the cheek. That’s all I can say. I love just leaving it there by the way.”

Trisha Yearwood jumped at the chance to play herself as a CMA Awards presenter on Nashville. While she was late to catch on to the show, Trisha doesn’t miss an episode of Nashville these days.

She tells ABC News Radio, “It was a good representation, I thought, of the way the music business works. I mean, it’s dramatized, but a lot of it is real. So, I loved it, and then you get sucked into the storyline, and you’re just all about it.”

Since she shot her part about a month ago, Trisha found out about a few plot twists in advance.

She says with a laugh, “The hardest part for me, being on the set, was knowing what’s coming in a few episodes and knowing that I want to talk to the writers about some changes that I’d like them to make. Things I don’t like.”

The CMA Awards episode of ABC’s Nashville airs Wednesday night at 10 ET.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Maddie & Tae Reach Gold Status with “Girl in a Country Song”

Image Courtesy Kevin White/Dot RecordsMaddie & Tae‘s top five debut hit, “Girl in a Country Song,” has been certified gold for 500,000 downloads and streams. The song has caught on as an answer to all those guys singing about girls wearing cut-off shorts dancing on tailgates and drinking next to a bonfire in the woods.

“We had no idea people would respond like this,” says the duo’s Maddie Marlow. “We wrote a song where we looked at how the girl in these songs must feel… It’s hard, being expected to be in those Daisy Dukes and that bikini top all the time… Tae and I wanted to show people the other side.”

“Girl in a Country Song” is included on Maddie & Tae’s self-titled EP, available for download now.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Will Reba Launch a Caesars Palace Residency in 2015?

Image Courtesy CMAA female country star with multiple #1 hits is gearing up for a residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in 2015. According to the Las Vegas Sun, some of the names bouncing around for the spot include Reba and Dolly Parton. Shania Twain will welcome the new headliner to the Colosseum at Caesars Palace before she wraps up her Shania: Still the One residency next month.

We’ll keep you posted on the big announcement.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Jerrod Niemann’s Version of “Holly Jolly Christmas” Inspired by a Childhood Santa Doll

Image Courtesy Arista NashvilleJerrod Niemann went with a mellow feel for his new version of “Holly Jolly Christmas,” available now at iTunes. The song reminds Jerrod of his childhood holidays with his family growing up in Kansas.

He says, “I recall “Holly Jolly Christmas” always would play on a small Santa doll every time anyone would walk by it. When I hear the song, it takes me home for the holidays. That’s what made me so eager to record it.”

Jerrod’s current single, “Buzz Back Girl,” is included on his latest album, High Noon. His Get Your Buzz Back Girl tour is on the road though early December.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhich instrument does Hillary Scott‘s husband Chris play in Lady Antebellum‘s touring band? ANSWER: Drums.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Lady Antebellum Getting 2015 Artist Humanitarian Award from Country Radio Broadcasters

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLady Antebellum is getting the Country Radio Broadcasters Artist Humanitarian Award at the 2015 Country Radio Seminar in Nashville. The honor will be presented during the event’s opening ceremonies February 25.

Lady Antebellum gives back to multiple charities and worthy causes through their LadyAID organization, which helps raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, Children’s Miracle Network, and myLIFEspeaks. They’ve also led big fundraisers to rebuild schools damaged by natural disasters, and recently fulfilled seven wishes in seven days through their 7FOR7 campaign.

Past recipients of the CRB Artist Humanitarian Award include Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Brad Paisley, Toby Keith, Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn, and Reba.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Carrie Underwood and Hubby Mike Fisher Just Knew They Were Having a Baby Boy

Image Courtesy Arista NashvilleCarrie Underwood and her husband, Mike Fisher, both had a feeling they were having a baby boy, but they didn’t want to find out in the doctor’s office during her sonogram.

Carrie explains, “It’s kind of a sterile place. We got to see all the pictures and everything. It was really cool to see that, but whenever she’d get near, near those parts we would look away.”

Instead, Carrie and Mike took the envelope containing the news of the baby’s sex with them out to a nice restaurant.

“[It was] just the two of us in a nicer setting, but we both knew,” Carrie says. “So, that was just confirming our suspicions. We didn’t really speak of it before, ’cause we were both just like, ‘Whatever. It’s all good.’ But we knew it was a boy.”

Of course, Carrie’s CMA Awards co-host Brad Paisley told the world she was having a boy during the show earlier this month. Carrie planned to announce the baby’s sex during the show, but she didn’t let Brad in on the secret until the very last minute.

Carrie says with a laugh, “Brad’s got loose lips. He’s a blabber mouth. So, I was like, ‘I’m not gonna tell you until we’re ready for the rest of the world to know, ’cause I know you’ll tell people.’”

Carrie has another big delivery — the double-disc compilation Greatest Hits: Decade #1 — due out December 9. The lead single from that project, “Something in the Water,” is already a big hit at country radio.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio