Zac Brown Band Bassist Says Their Music Goes Well Beyond the Country Genre

Southern GroundMembers of Zac Brown Band have long stated they are much more than a country group, and the band’s new bass player echoes those sentiments.

In an interview with Access Atlanta, Matt Mangano says, “I kind of put Zac’s music out of the genre of country and into the genre of good. We go from a country song to a hard-rocking song to a reggae-ish song to a bluegrass-y song. It’s fun.”

Matt worked as the director at Zac’s Southern Ground Studios in Atlanta before formally joining the band this year. This isn’t his first time performing in a band with Zac, though.  Matt says, “I played with Zac in the early configuration of the band. It wasn’t called the Zac Brown Band then. But we were playing some of the songs we’re playing now.”

Zac Brown Band will be playing for the country fans at CMA Music Festival Sunday night in Nashville.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Lee Ann Womack Performing “I Hope You Dance” at Maya Angelou’s Funeral Saturday

Sugar HillLee Ann Womack will perform “I Hope You Dance” at Maya Angelou’s funeral Saturday. Angelou was a big country music fan, and the 2000 hit “I Hope You Dance” was her favorite song. The poet and author gave Lee Ann high praise about the song when they met one time in Chicago.

Lee Ann tells Rolling Stone, “I was honored, moved and thrilled about everything she said to me about the song and my singing. But all these years later, the song remained? That says so much about the power of music and poetry: the way the human condition can be filtered down in a song.”

Lee Ann will perform “I Hope You Dance” with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for Maya Angelou’s funeral Saturday at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Gary Allan Postpones Fan Club Party Due to Vocal Strain

MCA NashvilleGary Allan has postponed his annual fan club party in Nashville from Tuesday to Thursday, on doctor’s orders. The singer has been experiencing vocal strain, so his physician at the Vanderbilt Voice Clinic told him Tuesday to rest his voice for 48 hours.

Gary underwent surgery to remove a polyp from his vocal cords several years ago, but this new vocal strain won’t require surgery or further treatment.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Final Nominees Announced for CMT Music Awards Video of the Year

CMTThe final six nominees in the Video of the Year category have been announced for tonight’s 2014 CMT Music Awards.

Blake Shelton featuring Pistol Annies and Friends made the cut with “Boys ‘Round,” along with Carrie Underwood‘s “See You Again.” Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan‘s collaboration on “This Is How We Roll” is nominated against Luke’s solo clip, “That’s My Kind of Night.” Miranda Lambert is a final nominees list with “Automatic,” and Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban earn a nod for “Highway Don’t Care.”

Fan voting for Video of the Year is now open at The winner will be revealed on the 2014 CMT Music Awards tonight at 8 ET.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Taylor Swift Wins International Solo Artist Honor at “Glamour” Women of the Year Awards

Bret Hartman/CBSTaylor Swift is currently touring Asia, making it a fitting coincidence that on Tuesday night, she was named International Solo Artist of the Year at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards in London.

Due to her tour, Taylor couldn’t be in London in person, but she did accept the award via video link.  Other winners at the event included Naomi Campbell, Modern Family star Sarah Hyland, Nicole Kidman, Orange Is the New Black star Taylor Schilling, Revenge star Emily VanCamp, and Helen Mirren.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockJason Aldean‘s blockbuster duet with Kelly Clarkson on “Don’t You Wanna Stay” appeared on which one of his studio albums? ANSWER: My Kinda Party.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Jana Kramer Shares the “Love” with Brand-New Single

Warner Music NashvilleJana Kramer‘s new single, “Love,” is now available for download at iTunes. It’s the lead release from her upcoming, sophomore project.

“I can’t wait to share the love with my new single,” Jana says. “I’ve been spending a lot of time in the studio working on my new album and I’m so happy to be releasing new music to fans and can’t wait to hear what people think about the song.”

Jana will perform “Love” during her concerts this summer. Go to for tour dates.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Even in an Emergency, Miranda Lambert Goes Platinum

Sony Music NashvilleMiranda Lambert is taking the title of her new album Platinum to heart, even in life-threatening situations.

On Instagram last night, the singer wrote, “Our plane had an emergency landing in Clarksburg WV. But don’t worry, we found platinum fire suits. Yes!” She added the hashtag “#platinum.”  She illustrated that with a photo of herself and three other women, all smiling and wearing silve-colored fire-fighting suits and massive visors.  The photo appears to have been taken in a firehouse, based on the equipment placed on a shelf behind them.

Miranda’s rep told the Nashville paper The Tennessean that the plane was forced to land after it “lost pressure” and spent three hours on the ground.  Miranda and her pals passed the time hanging out with firefighters; hence, the photo.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio 

Taylor Swift Donates $50K to Philadelphia Children’s Hospital

Big Machine RecordsTaylor Swift has donated 50 thousand dollars to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The money will be used to create programming for cancer-stricken teens receiving treatment at the hospital’s cancer center — including a “high-tech music therapy cart” that will allow them to create and produce music.

Lamia Barakat, the director of the Psychosocial Services Program at CHOP’s Cancer Center, says in a statement, “Taylor Swift’s music is an inspiration to so many of our teen patients.”

Barakat adds, “We can think of no better way to use her gift than to grow our Adolescent and Young Adult initiative designed to support the emotional well-being of our teens with cancer.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio 

Tonight’s 2014 CMT Music Awards Will Feature More Performances than Ever Before

CMTThe 2014 CMT Music Awards will be jam-packed with more music than ever before Wednesday night with actress Kristen Bell returning for a solo turn as host. Five-time nominees Florida Georgia Line and their pal Luke Bryan kick off the night collaborating with pop star Jason DeRulo on his hit “Talk Dirty to Me.” Jennifer Nettles is teaming up with R&B star John Legend for a duet version of his hit “All of Me,” arranged by Hunter Hayes. Those cross-genre collaborations make the CMT Music Awards unique according to FGL’s Brian Kelley.

He says, “A lot of different people outside of the genre kinda show up too, so you never know what’s gonna happen. It kinda feels sometimes like a multi-genre awards show, which can be really fun.”

Brian adds, “Maybe Garth [Brooks] will show up on a hologram or something, or show up in general. That’d be cool.”

Miranda Lambert is this year’s lead nominee with six nods, and she’ll reprise her duet with Carrie Underwood on “Somethin’ Bad” for Wednesday night’s show. While Miranda is nominated for the video to her latest single, “Automatic” from the just-released project, Platinum, she thanks her fans for following her in the three years since she put out her last album, Four the Record.

Speaking to the CMT Music Awards’ fan-voted element, Miranda says, “It means a lot. You know, I still am in touch with them and what they want from me. That’s the most important thing of all. None of this matters if the fans don’t wanna hear it anymore.”

Miranda’s husband, Blake Shelton, will perform on the CMT Music Awards for the first-time ever Wednesday night. He says the timing just hasn’t worked out for him to perform on the show before.

“We barely had the opportunity to do this performance this year,” Blake says, “I’m glad it worked out, because next week we start working on The Voice again.”

Blake will perform outdoors on the Pepsi stage, and he has a suggestion for a new soft drink he’d like to see the company put into production.

Says Blake, “Like, maybe a grape flavor? Pepsi Grape would be great.”

Randy Houser will walk the red carpet as a first-time nominee at this year’s CMT Music Awards. He’s up for Male Video of the Year for “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” against superstars like Eric Church, Blake Shelton, Jason Adean and Luke Bryan.

Randy says, “I think the world of all those guys. I’m glad to be in there. It means somebody actually cares what’s going on a little bit. That’s good. That’s good stuff.”

Dierks Bentley will perform his latest hit, “Drunk on a Plane,” at this year’s CMT Music Awards. The party anthem is turning out to be a big hit on his Riser tour, too.

“People are just, like, singing it back to us louder than I can actually sing it to them, and I have the advantage of a huge P.A. system,” Dierk says.

We hear the pilot from Dierks’ “Drunk on a Plane” video may make an appearance on the CMT Music Awards red carpet, too. Check it out on the red carpet special airing on CMT at 7 p.m. ET.

As for the CMT Music Awards broadcast, look for Jake Owen to sing his latest hit, “Beachin’,” on the outdoor stage, and Little Big Town will keep the party vibe going with the debut performance of their new single, “Day Drinking.” Lady Antebellum will sing “Bartender,” and Kacey Musgraves and Lee Ann Womack will perform a tribute to Alan Jackson. Carrie Underwood will present Alan with a special trophy recognizing 25 years of hit videos.

Brantley Gilbert, Eric Church, Keith Urban, Brett Eldredge, Cole Swindell, David Nail, Dan + Shay, Thomas Rhett and Tyler Farr are among the other performs on the show. Rascal Flatts, Cassadee Pope, Eli Young Band, Jason Aldean, Kip Moore, Lionel Richie, Sara Evans, The Band Perry and rocker Vince Neil will be handing out trophies.

Viewers can also expect plenty of surprises  when the 2014 CMT Music Awards broadcast live from Nashville Wednesday night at 8 ET.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio