Canaan Smith Picks Up Gold Certification for “Love You Like That”

UMG NashvilleCanaan Smith‘s debut hit, “Love You Like That,” has been certified gold after reaching the 500,000 download mark. The song has been streamed online a whopping 33 million times, and currently sits in the top 10 on the country airplay chart.

“Love You Like That” is the lead single from Canaan’s debut album, Bronco, due out this Tuesday. He says of the project, “As an album, I wanted Bronco to tell my story of who I am, and lead the listener through my life and what I’m all about. I am so grateful for this experience and am really proud of the way the album has taken shape. My hope is that the fans can relate and find pieces of themselves in this music.”

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Dierks Bentley Encouraging His Three Kids’ Love for Music

Nino MunozAll three of Dierks Bentley‘s kids are showing signs of musical inclination. His oldest daughter, Evie, plays the piano, while his middle daughter, Jordan, plays the violin.

Dierks jokes, “I keep telling her it’s the fiddle. She’s like, ‘It’s the violin!’ I’m like, ‘It’s the fiddle!'”

His baby boy, Knox, loves to blow on his little harmonica, too. Dierks looks forward to seeing his kids continue studying music.

He says, “We’re fortunate where they’re going to be in school where they can play music — you know, [they] have that possibility to do that.”

Of course, Dierks’ kids are around music all the time when they visit their dad on the road. This year’s show features a lot of pyrotechnics, so Dierks and his wife, Cassidy, are taking steps to protect the little ones’ hearing.

“It’s a big show this year,” Dierks says. “We’ve got the headphones for the kids. They’ll probably be using them a little more.”

Dierks admits he’s still not used to having all those fireworks going off during his live show. He says, “I’m still scared up there sometimes. Not exactly sure when it hits even though we’ve done all these rehearsals. It still kind of shocks me when some of the bigger stuff explodes.”

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Thomas Rhett Planning Belated Father’s Day Hang at Dad’s Sunflower Farm

Valory Music Co.Thomas Rhett won’t be able to see his dad, Rhett Akins, on Father’s Day due to his tour schedule. Since Rhett was a country star in the ’90s, Thomas thinks his dad will understand his absence. He plans to spend time with Rhett very soon, though.

Thomas tells ABC Radio, “Hopefully when we get home on Monday, we’ll probably, honestly, just go out to his farm and look at the sunflowers he planted. He bought a farm and planted a billion acres of sunflowers. He loves to go just sit and look at ’em.”

Thomas plays Chicago’s Windy City LakeShake festival Sunday night.

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockThomas Rhett says his wife is so popular among his fans she should have her own fan club. What is her name? ANSWER: Lauren.

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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockThe new stage production, MOONSHINE: That Hee Haw Musical, will open at the Dallas Theater Center in Dallas on September 2. Justin Guarini, the runner-up to Kelly Clarkson on season one of American Idol, has been cast in a starring role.  

Kacey Musgraves performs on ABC’s Good Morning America Tuesday, the same day her new album, Pageant Material, hits stores. She’ll perform on ABC’s The View on Wednesday.

Zac Brown Band will headline the third and final day of New Orleans’ Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, scheduled for the weekend of October 30-November 1. Ticket info is available on WorshipTheMusic.com.

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Little Big Town’s Jimi and Phillip Talk About the Gift of Fatherhood

Capitol NashvilleLittle Big Town‘s Jimi Westbrook and Phillip Sweet love to hear the roar of an adoring crowd, but nothing is sweeter to their ears than the sound of their kids’ voices. Jimi and wife/band mate Karen Fairchild have a little boy named Elijah. Jimi tells ABC Radio, “That little man looking up at you and calling you daddy, there’s nothing better than that in the world. It’s the greatest thing ever.”

Phillip feels the same way about his daughter with his wife, Rebecca.

He says of fatherhood, “It’s just the greatest gift. You know, it teaches me every day to be a better person, and I couldn’t imagine life without my sweet Penelopi.”

As previously reported, Little Big Town has canceled or rescheduled all concert dates and appearances through July 30 as Jimi recovers from surgery to remove a polyp from his vocal cord.

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Toby Keith Inducted Into Songwriters Hall of Fame: “This Is the Only Award I Ever Wanted”

Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of FameCountry music played a big part in the annual Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony, held in New York City on Thursday night.  Toby Keith and legendary songwriter Bobby Braddock were both inducted, while Jennifer Nettles and Zac Brown showed up to perform in honor of the night’s inductees.

“If I wouldn’t have been an artist, I still would’ve been a songwriter. I’d have shoved those songs down somebody’s throat,” Toby told ABC Radio on the red carpet. “But I have a great vehicle. I happen to be an artist too.”

“I don’t know if people know that I wrote all that stuff, but I outworked everybody,” he added. “I put a[n] album out every year, I wrote 99 percent of it and this is the reward you get. And this is the only award I ever wanted. Entertainer of the Year and all the other stuff I got — Album of the Year, Vocalist of the Year — I don’t care. This is the one I wanted.”

Zac Brown was at the event to salute not a country songwriter, but late Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia and his lyricist partner, Robert Hunter.  On the red carpet, Zac told reporters about the influence the legendary rock band had on him.

“I’ve been covering Dead songs since ,y’know, I was probably 15, 16,” he said. “I read the book Dark Star, which is a lot of stories…around what Jerry has done and what they did. They basically invented outdoor P.A. systems — from that, to the culture they made with their fans…the connection is there: the legacy that they made and created is very inspiring and definitely influential on me.”

Jennifer Nettles was on hand to pay tribute to one of the night’s other inductees, Bobby Braddock, who wrote or co-wrote hits for George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Tracy Lawrence, Toby Keith, Mark Chesnutt, Billy Currington and more.  On the red carpet, Jennifer gushed to ABC Radio about Braddock’s most famous song, the George Jones classic “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”

“It is the quintessential, most beautiful, most heartbreaking country song, I think, that has ever been written,” she said. “And so, for me to get to sing it tonight, I mean…I have such vivid memories of being a little girl and listening to this song and realizing what it was about and, of course, he dies, which is perfect for country!” 

She laughed, “Spoiler alert, he dies, folks! Welcome to country! So, it’s just gorgeous.” 

The night’s other inductees included Cyndi Lauper and Linda Perry, the former frontwoman of the ’90s group 4 Non Blondes, who went on to pen hits like Christina Aguilera‘s “Beautiful.”

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Billy Currington Mixing Music and Sports with New Single, “Drinkin’ Town with a Football Problem”

Mercury NashvilleThough he hasn’t played football since high school, Billy Currington is still a huge fan of the sport. He’s thinking his brand-new single, “Drinkin’ Town with a Football Problem,” might land him some great college or NFL football tickets this fall.

Billy tells Billboard, “We played quite a few football after-shows or before-the-football-game shows in the past that I really connected with and really loved. Hopefully during football season this song will lend itself to getting some of those type of gigs.”

“Drinkin’ Town with a Football Problem” is included on Billy’s latest album, Summer Forever, available now.

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Blake Shelton Rescues Oklahoma Man from Flash Flood

Warner Music NashvilleBlake Shelton was on his way to the airport Wednesday night in Ardmore, Oklahoma when he noticed Roho Hartman stranded on the side of the road in a flash flood. According to All Access, Blake sprang into action, pulled the man out of the high water and brought him home.

A picture of Roho Hartman and Blake is now going viral after a friend of Roho’s posted it on Facebook.

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Dolly Parton Playing Benefit Concert at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on July 31

Webster PRDolly Parton will return to Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on July 31 for her first Music City concert in more than a decade. The show, called Dolly Parton: Pure and Simple, is a special one-night-only benefit for the city’s W.O. Smith School of Music, through the Dustin Wells Foundation’s Gift of Music program.

“The ‘Gift of Music’ is something that runs deep within my kin folks,” Dolly says in a statement. “I love and cherish The Ryman and I am really excited to perform there to help raise money for the Dustin Wells Foundation. This goes to help many young kids that are part of the W.O. Smith School of Music.”

She adds, “Through all of us working together, we can make a difference in helping a child feel the magic in making music.”

Tickets for Dolly’s show go on sale Saturday, June 20 at Ryman.com.

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