Little Big Town Returning as Hosts of ABC’s CMA Music Festival Special

Capitol NashvilleLittle Big Town will return for their third turn as hosts of the CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock special on ABC. The special will be recorded this weekend at the CMA Music Festival in Nashville and broadcast Tuesday, August 4.

LBT’s Jimi Westbrook says, “We are honored to host this incredible party for another year. We look forward to this week all year long, and being able to spend all four days with the fans is just incredible. Big thanks to ABC and the CMA for having us back!”

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is the title of Dierks Bentley‘s bluegrass-inspired album from 2010? ANSWER: Up on the Ridge.

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Brett Eldredge Paid His Dues to Earn a Slot on the CMA Music Festival’s Biggest Stage

Warner Music NashvilleBrett Eldredge will realize his dream of playing a full set at the CMT Music Festival’s nightly concerts at LP Field this weekend. He’s been performing at the festival for years now, and Brett says he’s definitely paid his dues to get to the big stage.

“I’ve played all the little stages around here,” Brett tells ABC Radio of his past CMA Fest experiences. “Several different ones every day of the week. Signed at every booth, met every fan that I could and sweated out every single sweat drop I could possibly sweat out and learned a lot from every experience.”

Though he was frustrated he didn’t start out getting to play for the tens-of-thousands of fans at LP Field, Brett now realizes it means more to have worked his way up through the ranks.

He says, “You take all these steps, but you learn so much about yourself as an artist. I wouldn’t have been ready to be at LP when I really wanted to be there in the first place.”

For a full list of who’s playing at this year’s CMA Music Festival, go to CMAFest.com.

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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockWillie Nelson and Merle Haggard bow at #1 on Billboard‘s Country Albums chart with their latest duets project, Django and Jimmie.

Martina McBride has received the Beacon of Hope Award from Covenant House in recognition of her work on behalf of the organization’s homeless and struggling youth. Previous recipients of the award include Jon Bon Jovi and former First Lady Laura Bush.

Season four of ABC’s Nashville will premiere Wednesday, September 23 at 10 p.m. ET.

Kacey Musgraves describes her new video for “Biscuits” as “Hee Haw meets Pee-wee’s Playhouse meets Wes Anderson.” Check it out on Vevo.

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Thomas Rhett Freaked Out When He Found Out Where He Was Playing at CMA Music Festival

Valory Music Co.Thomas Rhett is on the bill at the CMA Music Festival’s nightly concerts at LP Field this weekend, and he doesn’t take that performance slot for granted.

Thomas tells ABC Radio, “Last year, when we got the call that we were gonna play [LP Field], me and my band just freaked out.”

He adds, “I guess it just means that something in our career is going right. So, hopefully it continues to go in that direction and hopefully we get to continue to play LP Field.”

Of course, the nightly concerts are taped for a big ABC TV special airing later this summer.

Says Thomas, “It’s one of the coolest things to not only get to play there, but then to watch it on tape back on TV and get to see all those people in that stadium.”

The air date for this year’s CMA Music Festival special on ABC will be announced very soon. For a full list of who’s playing at this year’s event, go to CMAFest.com.

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Carrie Underwood Wins Big at the 2015 CMT Music Awards

CMTCarrie Underwood was the big winner at Wednesday night’s CMT Music Awards, taking home three belt-buckle trophies, including her sixth Video of the Year win for “Something in the Water.” The show also marked Carrie’s first major appearance since giving birth to her son, Isaiah, earlier this year. As she accepted the Female Video trophy for “Something in the Water,” Carrie said her little man has already inspired a lot of new music. Her dynamic performance of “Little Toy Guns” came towards the end of the broadcast.

Lady Antebellum opened the show with their latest single, “Long Stretch of Love,” before welcoming pop/EDM star Zedd to the stage for a joint performance of his pop hit, “Beautiful Now.”  Darius Rucker entertained thousands of fans on Lower Broadway with his hit, “Homegrown Honey,” and Reba made her return to the CMT Music Awards stage for the first time in 10 years to sing “Going Out Like That.”

Jason Aldean delivered his sexy current single, “Tonight Looks Good on You,” with his wife, Brittany, singing along in the audience. Eric Church performed “Like a Wrecking Ball” in the round with a drummer and organist backing him up as he played electric guitar.  

Luke Bryan worked the crowd with “Kick the Dust Up,” and Jake Owen showed off some fancy footwork during a highly-choreographed performance of his new song, “Real Life.” Zac Brown Band was on hand to sing their #1 hit, “Homegrown,” and Keith Urban premiered his brand-new single, “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16.” Kenny Chesney gave the final outdoor performance of the night, singing his hit, “American Kids.”

Sam Hunt recalled attending the CMT Music Awards as a fan as he accepted the Breakthrough Video trophy for “Leave the Night On.” He later took selfies with fans in the crowd while performing “House Party.” Florida Georgia Line accepted the Duo Video of the Year trophy for “Dirt” and later took over the outdoor stage to debut their new single, “Anything Goes.”

In the night’s most surreal moment, Arnold Schwarzenegger drove show hosts Erin Andrews and Brittany Snow around Nashville in an Uber-alternative called Guuber. Other Guuber drivers included Steven Tyler, who drove Alan Jackson, and talk show host James Corden, who drove Justin Bieber as they both confessed their love for Luke Bryan and sang Luke’s song “Country Girl (Shake It for Me).”

New country stars RaeLynn, A Thousand Horses, Frankie Ballard, Kelsea Ballerini, Chris Janson, and Maddie and Tae all played snippets of their biggest hits throughout the night.

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CMT Music Awards Winners List

CMTHere’s a list of winners for the 2015 CMT Music Awards, held at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Wednesday night:

Video of the Year

Carrie Underwood, “Something in the Water”

Male Video of the Year
Luke Bryan, “Play It Again”

Female Video of the Year
Carrie Underwood, “Something in the Water”

Group Video of the Year
Lady Antebellum, “Bartender”

Breakthrough Video of the Year
Sam Hunt, “Leave the Night On”

Duo Video of the Year
Florida Georgia Line, “Dirt”

Collaborative Video of the Year
Miranda Lambert with Carrie Underwood, “Somethin’ Bad”

CMT Performance of the Year
Bob Seger and Jason Aldean, “Turn the Page”

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Kelsea Ballerini Looks Back on Attending the CMA Music Festival as a Fan

Black River EntertainmentKelsea Ballerini is one of the hottest new stars appearing at this weekend’s CMA Music Festival, but it wasn’t that long ago she was waiting in line to meet her heroes at the annual event.

Kelsea tells ABC Radio, “I came to CMA Fest twice as a fan, and the first year, I waited in line to meet Taylor Swift and Lady A, and waited in line for, like, hours.”

On Friday morning, Kelsea will host a fan club breakfast in Nashville to share some stories and songs with her biggest followers. Kelsea has hosted the party for the past few years.

She adds, “It’s cool to see every year it grow a little bit. It’s my favorite part of the year, and so I’m really looking forward to it.”

For a full list of who’s playing at this year’s CMA Music Festival, go to CMAFest.com.

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Thomas Rhett and Brett Eldredge Teaming Up for CMT on Tour Outing This Fall

CMA/Warner Music NashvilleThomas Rhett and Brett Eldredge and hitting the road together this fall for the Boots & Suits Tour. The co-headlining trek is part of the CMT on Tour franchise and exact dates will be announced soon.

Thomas and Brett are great friends, but they did have a little battle over which one of them would be the opening act on the shows. That discussion played out in a YouTube video posted Wednesday.

Danielle Bradbery is joining Thomas and Brett for their fall tour.

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A Thousand Horses Celebrating Album Release with CMA Music Festival and Bonnaroo Performances

Republic NashvilleA Thousand Horses is celebrating the release of their debut album, Southernality, this week with a performance on tonight’s CMT Music Awards followed by multiple appearances at the CMA Music Festival in Nashville. The big week comes on the heels of A Thousand Horses’ debut single, “Smoke,” recently hitting #1 at country radio.

The group’s Graham DeLoach says, “It feels like the perfect storm.” Band mate Zach Brown adds, “I don’t know who timed it like that, but it worked out real good.”

Following their CMA Music Festival performances, A Thousand Horses realizes another big dream playing at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee this Sunday. The guys saw Dierks Bentley play the multi-genre event several years ago, and they’re honored to represent country music at this year’s festival.

A Thousand Horses front man Michael Hobby says of that Dierks set at Bonnaroo, “It was one of the best shows of the weekend, because we’re such huge country fans. To be doing CMA week and playing all the shows and then CMT Awards and everything like that, and then to go do Bonnaroo, it’s like this is what we wanted to do when we saw Dierks in 2007.”

In addition to their festival appearances, A Thousand Horses is a special guest on Darius Rucker‘s Southern Style tour all summer long.

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