Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockDolly Parton’s August 1 benefit for the Opry Trust Fund at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium sold out Thursday in less than 25 minutes. She added the second concert after seats for her July 31 date went in a matter of minutes a couple weeks earlier.

Kip Moore played a special concert for NASCAR fans before Sunday’s race at Daytona International Speedway.

Cole Swindell has signed on to play in Major League Baseball’s Legends & Celebrity Softball Game July 12 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

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Reba Wraps First Leg of Residency, Talks Comforts of Vegas

Greenroom PR/Russ HarringtonHaving just finished the first leg of her Las Vegas residency this past weekend, Reba gives the entire experience high marks, adding it’s actually quite ideal for a performer.

“You know where you’re gonna be. You’ve got the same hotel room, dressing room. It’s kind of like doing the TV show,” she says, recalling her hit sitcom. “Everything’s consistent. So, you don’t have to worry about your surroundings. You’re comfortable, and that comfort level really does help when you’re trying to be creative and give all you’ve got. You don’t have to worry about where you’re gonna step. Is the stage uneven? None of that kind of stuff. You just go and have fun.”

But just because she feels at home, don’t expect Reba to “hole up” in her room. “I don’t like to stay in a hotel room anytime except to sleep and eat and get on out,” she confesses. “I love to get out. I like to even go out to Mt. Charleston. I like to go to Hoover Dam. I like to go eat at the restaurants. Outside of Vegas. In Vegas. No, I’m a get-out-and-see-what’s-around-me person!” she asserts.

And when she does venture out, one of the places you might find the Country Music Hall of Famer is in the casinos. But Reba says she’s actually pretty conservative when it comes to gambling.

“Two-hundred dollars is my limit, and then I start begging for money from other people, and they give it to me, and then I spend their money,” she jokes. “I’ll sit there and play $25 chips at poker… I do gamble when it’s a group. I wouldn’t go down there and play by myself at all,” Reba reveals.

The “Going Out Like That” singer says her stepson Brandon Blackstock and his wife Kelly Clarkson have helped educate her about some of the new gambling attractions she wasn’t aware of before.  And if Reba really does run out of money, she says she knows where to turn. “Kelly. Yeah, she’s rich. She’s rich. And Janine Dunn. She’s rich,” she laughs, referring to Ronnie’s wife.

Reba and Brooks & Dunn pick up their Together in Vegas residency at Caesars Palace in December.

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Hunter Hayes Embraces the Green Screen in Video for “21”

Warner Music NashvilleHunter Hayes says shooting his new video for “21” was simply “the most fun I’ve ever had on set.” In the clip, the multi-instrumentalist and other revelers dance in silhouette against a green screen, all the while partying “like we just turned 21.” The greyhound Hunter recently adopted, Cole, even makes a cameo appearance at the end.

So far, “21” is only available for streaming or download, with no plans to release a physical copy for the time being. This summer, Hunter’s on the Wheels Up 2015 Tour with Lady Antebellum and Sam Hunt.

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Dierks Bentley Plans Powerful “Riser” Performance for NYC 4th

CMAThis Independence Day, Dierks Bentley marks an item off his bucket list, as he’s set to perform on Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular.

“I’ve watched it many times and seen all the acts on there,” he recalls. “You know, I’ve had a chance to perform at the Capitol building, which is amazing, in front of the steps of the Capitol for the 4th of July, but I’ve never had a chance to do it in New York City.  So, this is a big deal and a huge honor to be part of it. It’s going to be great.” 

When it comes to which songs he’ll sing, Dierks believes a couple tunes from his latest CD are only fitting. 

“You know, we’ll probably do a little ‘Drunk on a Plane’ ’cause you know 4th of July around here, people are having a few drinks. And probably do ‘Riser.’ Yeah, the song, being in New York, the backdrop, I’ve heard is — the city skyline is the backdrop. Think about all the city’s been through in the past 15 years,” he reflects. “Yeah, it should be pretty powerful.”  

Brad PaisleyKelly Clarkson and Meghan Trainor are also set to appear on the show, which includes a 25-minute fireworks display complete with 50,000 pieces of pyrotechnics. You can catch the show live Saturday at 8 p.m. Eastern on NBC.

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Trisha Yearwood Lives Up to Her Culinary Reputation on the 4th, Before Garth Makes Her Nervous With Fireworks

Image Courtesy RCA/GwendolynHaving written three best-selling cookbooks and hosting a hit show on the Food Network, it’s no surprise that Independence Day at Trisha Yearwood’s house sounds like it lives up to her culinary reputation. But the Peach State native says she tends to stick to family traditions, like her mother’s coleslaw. 

“4th of July at my house is one of my favorite holidays just because it’s all of my favorite summer foods,” she muses. “My dad was the grill master, and he used to make barbecue chicken for the whole town of Monticello, Georgia. We don’t make it for the whole town, but we do these ribs now that were a favorite of my mom that have kind of a thick, sweet sauce, and they’re part oven and part grill, and they say 4th of July to me.”

For dessert, Trisha tries to “go for something red, white and blue,” but often serves strawberry shortcake with whipped cream. In the afternoon, she’s a fan of the swimming pool, ahead of the evening’s pyrotechnics.

“My favorite part is watching the fireworks. Since marrying Garth (Brooks), we shoot off our own fireworks, which makes me a little bit nervous,” she admits. “But we also watch the whole town. You can see downtown fireworks in cities surrounding from our back porch. So, it’s pretty cool to just sit out and watch all the fireworks.”  

This Friday, the exhibit honoring Trisha, called “The Song Remembers When,” opens at Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

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Lady Antebellum Teams Up with EDM Producer for “Something Better”

Capitol NashvilleWith the release of their new song “Something Better” with EDM producer Audien, Lady Antebellum becomes the latest country band to join the Electronic Dance Music movement. 

“I wanted to push boundaries,” the progressive house/trance artist told Entertainment Weekly. “The song lends itself perfectly to call and response vocals and anthemic harmonies. Lady Antebellum aren’t just some of the best voices in country music, but in overall music. It was a shot in the dark, but fortunately they felt as passionately about the song’s uplifting theme as I did. The result is simply my favorite thing I’ve ever done,” he says.

Clearly, Lady A’s Charles Kelley agrees. “The first time we heard the song we knew we wanted to be part of it. We were immediately drawn to its great melody and powerful lyric,” he recalls. “Working with someone like Audien puts us a little outside of our comfort zone, but as a band, we’ve always been up for trying different things.”

You might recall that the vocal trio did just that at last month’s CMT Music Awards, performing a mash-up of songs with EDM superstar Zedd. Earlier this week, Swedish DJ/producer Avicii also leaked a new track featuring Zac Brown Band.


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Rascal Flatts Get Satisfaction as Rolling Stones’ Opening Act

Big Machine RecordsEven though superstars Rascal Flatts will be working this 4th of July as an opening act, the guys in the band couldn’t be more excited about it, namely because they’re opening for the legendary Rolling Stones on their Zip Code tour. 

“That was one you put on the bucket list and go, ‘OK, last resort.’ It’s a blessing. So, it’s gonna be incredible,” Gary LeVox says of the performance this Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Jay DeMarcus admits getting the phone call from Mick Jagger was pretty surreal. “I’m gonna tell you what. They’re wrong. You can get some satisfaction,” he jokes, referring to the band’s iconic song.  “We’re all huge Stones fans. So, it’s a dream that you shoot for, but you never know that it would ever become a reality. So, to get that phone call was just like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ Of course!”

“How did Mick sound on the phone when he called you? Was it like ‘Hey, Jay? Any chance you got the 4th of July off this year?’” Joe Don Rooney jokes, lapsing into a British accent. “No. My son is named Jagger, so I love the Stones,” he adds. 

 Rascal Flatts isn’t the only country act to take the stage with the Stones this year. Brad Paisley opened their Nashville date on the tour last month.

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockName Keith Urban‘s first hit on the Billboard Country Singles chart. ANSWER:  “It’s A Love Thing” climbed to #18 in 1999.

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Chris Young Commemorates Independence Day by Remembering Those Who’ve Fought and Served

RCA NashvilleOn the 4th of July, remembering the soldiers who’ve fought for America’s freedom is especially important to Chris Young, having played quite a few shows for the troops overseas and also having several close relatives in the armed forces.

“You know, I’ve got a lot of connection to the military in my family,” he says. “My brother-in-law is still in the Marine Corps. My sister was a Marine. So, it’s important to me, and it’s something that for sure, I, one, take a lot of pride in trying to do that as much as possible. But two, it’s something that is always fun for me to be able to go over there and play and just say thanks.”

So far, Chris has taken his music to Iraq, Germany, Kuwait, Japan and South Korea, bringing “a piece of home to military,” wherever they may be stationed.

While the “I’m Comin’ Over” hitmaker strives to lighten the load of the men and women in uniform, he finds they’re one of the most giving audiences he’s ever experienced.

 “People are just so gracious. It’s like, ‘No, no, we’re over here to thank you guys.’ And it’s probably the most gracious crowd that you’ll ever be in front of,” he observes.

Chris Young’s as-yet-untitled fifth album is expected later this year.

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Canaan Smith Remembers America’s Birthday in His Historic Hometown

UMG NashvilleFor newcomer Canaan Smith, Independence Day resonates with him in a special way, having grown up in a pivotal city in the Old Dominion.

“Williamsburg, Virginia’s a spectacular place for 4th of July ’cause it’s the birthplace of our nation,” he asserts. “Really started there.  So, when we celebrate our independence, that’s a big place to do it and a great place to do it.” 

The “Love You Like That” hitmaker says the city also lives up to its historic reputation when it comes to marking America’s birthday. 

“We would do fireworks. They have a massive fireworks display. We set up a blanket on the lawn out in front of the governor’s palace in downtown Colonial Williamsburg,” he recalls. “Just a lot of fun just taking in and celebrating our freedom.”

Canaan carries on with Dierks Bentley’s Sounds of Summer 2015 Tour close to home, playing Virginia Beach, Virginia on July 9. His debut CD Bronco is in stores now.

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