Darius Rucker Reunites with Hootie & the Blowfish on TV Tonight to Bid David Letterman Farewell

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleHootie & the Blowfish have been on hiatus for several years as lead singer Darius Rucker continues his successful country career, but the band does occasionally get together to perform — though not on TV.  That changes Thursday night, though, when Hootie — with Darius — will appear on The Late Show with David Letterman.  Why?  Turns out they want to say goodbye to Letterman, the man who they credit for their incredible success in the ’90s.

According to Darius, Letterman was directly responsible for turning the first Hootie & Blowfish single, “Hold My Hand,” into a hit, by booking the group on his show.  “It was the turning point of our careers,” he says, noting that initially, “Hold My Hand” wasn’t getting any significant airplay outside the South, until Letterman heard it by chance one day.

“One day in New York, David Letterman got off from work and was driving home and one of the DJs decided he was gonna play ‘Hold My Hand,’” Darius recalls. “Then, legend goes, Letterman heard the song and pulled over on the side of the road and called his bookers. It was a Tuesday and said, ‘I want this Hootie & the Blowfish band on my show as soon as we can.’ And we were on that Friday.”

After that exposure, Darius says, the band was off and running.

“That Friday morning, we were just another band trying to get on the radio, fighting grunge, having little success,” he says. “And after we played Letterman on Friday night, Monday morning we were on the way to being the biggest band in the world. It changed that overnight. It was crazy how quick it happened after that.”

But that Friday booking wasn’t the only support that Letterman gave the band: he continued to promote them in an unusual way.

“Every show for almost a year he said the name Hootie & the Blowfish,” laughs Darius. “Every show for almost a year. Every show. We’d watch it just to see how he was gonna say our name, but he said it every night. That was crazy!”

Letterman’s final Late Show is scheduled for Wednesday, May 20 on CBS.  Meanwhile, Darius has hinted that Hootie may be recording some new music and doing an extensive tour sometime in the next couple of years.

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Sam Hunt Says Wheels Up Tour Mates Lady Antebellum Really Delivered on Their Good Reputation

Image Courtesy Green Room PRSam Hunt didn’t meet his summer tour mates Lady Antebellum until earlier this year, when they did a photo shoot together for the Wheels Up trek, kicking off Friday night in Lubbock, Texas. Sam says he’d heard nothing but great things about the multi-platinum trio before that initial meeting.

Sam tells ABC Radio, “A lot of people had talked about how great they are and had told me about them and their personalities and how they did their tour and how great it was. So, they lived up to that expectation when I met them. They were more than nice.”

Hunter Hayes is also on the bill for Lady A’s Wheels Up tour.  Sam was also glad to see Hunter again at the photo shoot.  “That had been the third or fourth time I had hung around Hunter, and he was as great as always,” Sam says.

Check out SamHunt.com for a full list of tour dates.

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Garth Brooks Explains Why We He Hasn’t Yet Released a Third Single from “Man Against Machine”

Image Courtesy Pearl RecordsGarth Brooks is selling out concerts coast-to-coast on his current tour, but plans for marketing his latest album, Man Against Machine, are now on hold when it comes to country radio. Garth partnered with Sony Music Nashville for the release last fall, but the label’s head, Gary Overton, left the company a few weeks back. That leaves plans for a new single up in the air until a new leader takes over at Sony.

Garth tells Rolling Stone, “My thing is, allow them the freedom to make that transition and get a plan, and nobody’s heard anything about that yet.”

Garth has already released two singles from Man Against Machine — “People Loving People” and “Mom.” The album’s been certified platinum for sales of one million copies.

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The Band Perry to Appear on ABC’s “We Day” Broadcast August 21

Image Courtesy Republic NashvilleThe Band Perry is joining Nick Jonas, Selena Gomez, Paul Rudd, Jennifer Hudson and others for the first-ever national broadcast of We Day, coming up August 21 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. The We Day event shines a light on young people taking action on pressing issues like bullying, body image and equality. Students across the country attend We Day events by pledging to become involved with causes to bring about change.

Colbie Caillat, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Oscar-winner Common are also appearing on the We Day special.

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is Kenny Chesney‘s middle name? ANSWER: Arnold.

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Chris Stapleton Performing on “The View” in Support of New Album, “Traveller”

Image Courtesy UMGChris Stapleton has written songs recorded by everyone from Miranda Lambert and Adele to George Strait and Keith Urban. Now he’s stepping out with his debut album, Traveller, coming out Tuesday, May 5. The project includes Chris’s bluesy version of the George Jones classic, “Tennessee Whiskey,” which he’ll perform on ABC’s The View Tuesday before playing a show at New York City’s Mercury Lounge that evening.

Chris will round out his album release week with a two-night stand at Nashville’s Cannery Ballroom May 8 and 9. He’ll hit the road with Eric Church for a few shows next month, too.

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Garth Brooks Reveals Eight Houston Shows, Adds Knoxville Show

Nancy Seltzer & Assoc.Garth Brooks will bring his world tour to Houston, TX, for eight shows over nine days, beginning in June.

Garth will play two shows each on Friday and Saturday, June 26 and 27, and again on Friday and Saturday, July 3 and 4, at the Houston Toyota Center.  Tickets go on sale starting May 8 at 10:00 a.m., local time. 

Garth’s also added a Friday, May 28 show to his already announced dates at Knoxville, Tennessee’s Thompson Boling Arena.  Tickets for the new show go on sale Friday, May 1 at 10:00 a.m., local time.

As always, you can find more information at GarthBrooks.com.

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Thompson Square Rebuilding Their Alabama Dream Home Following Devastating Flood

Image Courtesy Stoney CreekThompson Square‘s Keifer and Shawna Thompson are rebuilding their dream home in Alabama after a water leak in the upstairs bathroom flooded the entire house a few weeks ago. Water spewed throughout the house for six days while the duo was on the road.

Keifer tells ABC Radio, “[Shawna's] mother went to the house to let somebody in to do some work, and she stepped into ankle-deep water. Literally destroyed the house. It’s all down to studs. It’s been a nightmare.”

To make matters worse, the people cleaning up the flood backed their truck into the home and destroyed the front porch.

Says Keifer, “I’m just like, just burn it down. What else is next? I’m waiting for lightning to strike.”

Keifer and Shawna had only been in the house for a year-and-a-half, and they’d just gotten all the furniture and rugs into place when the flood happened. They’ll be able to salvage their ACM and CMA Awards, but the envelopes announcing Thompson Square as Duo of the Year winners of those trophies were destroyed in the flood.

The Thompsons are keeping perspective on losing their possessions, though.

Shawna says, ” It was so cute. One of the guys that came out to help us clean it out, he was like, ‘I can’t believe stuff like this happens to people like Thompson Square!’” She adds, “We’re just normal people like everybody else!”

Keifer adds, “There’s nobody avoiding that. It’s gonna happen to anybody.”

Of course, Thompson Square is on the road with back-to-back shows in support of their new single, “Trans Am,” so they were already planning to spend a lot of time on their tour bus this summer.

Keifer says with a laugh, “It’s not like we were gonna see the house anyway!”

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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockMiranda Lambert and Blake Shelton will play a rare, co-headlining concert July 3 in Fairlea, West Virginia, as part of the annual Greenbrier Classic PGA tournament. For ticket information, go to GreenbrierClassic.com.

Kenny Chesney is co-producing a new studio album for “Dust on the Bottle” singer David Lee Murphy. Kenny made the announcement at a #1 party in Nashville Tuesday honoring “American Kids” and “‘Til It’s Gone,” which was co-written by David Lee.

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Little Big Town’s Phillip Sweet Recovering from a Broken Hand; LBT Christmas Album on the Way

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLittle Big Town‘s Phillip Sweet is on the mend after breaking a bone in his right hand. He sustained the injury when he accidentally hit his hand on a wood door at his Nashville-area home. Phillip was packing for the ACM Awards at the time, so he ended up performing on the show without realizing how seriously he was injured.

Phillip explains, “I’ve never had a broken bone in my whole life, so I didn’t know what it felt like.”

Thankfully, Phillip can still play guitar and only has to wear a brace on the hand when he’s not performing.

“All will be well,” he says. “No surgery required.”

Phillip will be playing some guitar next month as Little Big Town begins work on a Christmas album. It’s still too early to tell how the holiday project will shape up, but fans can expect LBT to put their spin on some familiar Yuletide favorites.

“I think you have to really address the classics,” Phillip says. “I think that’s what people want to hear. Of course, we want to do some originals.”

No matter what they record, Little Big Town’s Christmas album will include some unexpected moments just like their studio albums.

Phillip adds, “We always want to do something a little different, but always still fresh but at the same time familiar and beautiful.”

Little Big Town’s latest single, “Girl Crush,” is shaping up to be one of the top-selling country songs of the year so far. It’s included on their latest album, Pain Killer.

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