Kristian Bush’s Role in Sugarland Becomes Clear Listening to His Solo Debut, “Southern Gravity”

Image Courtesy Streamsound RecordsKristian Bush proved he could sing lead on a country hit with his top 20 single “Trailer Hitch.” Now, the founding member of Sugarland is stepping out in an ever bigger way with the release of his solo debut album, Southern Gravity. If you are a fan of Sugarland’s uptempo hits like “All I Want to Do” and “Stuck Like Glue,” you’ll find plenty of familiar elements when you listen to the new project.

Kristian tells ABC Radio, “I would say that the departure for anybody would be that you’re listening to me sing for the first time, but I would say that the consistency is that you’re listening to records that I make, and you’ve been listening to them for a while.”

Sugarland’s last album, The Incredible Machine, was released in 2010, and Kristian looks forward to listeners getting a better sense of what he brought to the duo as they listen to Southern Gravity.

“You start to understand that I produced those Sugarland records and that I wrote those songs with my friends and with Jennifer [Nettles],” he says. “So, as you listen to this, there are a lot of [familiar] rhythms. There’s a lot of [that same] attitude about how to make records.”

So, is Southern Gravity an idea of what Sugarland might sound like in 2015?

Kristian answers, “I mean, it’s where I am now. It’s what I did the moment we stopped running the bus. This is the next set of music that was made.”

Country fans will hear another familiar voice, Little Big Town‘s Kimberly Schlapman, singing harmony with Kristian on the song “Waiting on an Angel.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Trace Adkins Signs New Record Deal; Plans to Release New Music Soon

Image Courtesy Kristin Barlowe/SunshineSachsTrace Adkins has signed a new record deal with BBR Music Group and plans to have new material out later this year. The move makes Trace a label mate of Jason Aldean, Dustin Lynch, Randy Houser and many others.

Trace says of the deal, “When you’ve been doing this as long as I have, you don’t always get the feeling that the sky’s the limit. I feel that way right now. When I sign up for something, I go all-in.”

Trace is currently in the recording studio working on his 13th studio album.

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Steven Tyler Signs with Nashville-Based Big Machine Label Group

Image Courtesy Zack WhitfordAerosmith front man Steven Tyler has officially signed a record deal with Nashville-based Big Machine Label Group, led by American Idol mentor Scott Borchetta. Tyler confirmed he was releasing a country album during a surprise appearance on the Grand Ole Opry last week. That project is due out later this year on Big Machine’s imprint, Dot Records.

Steven says, “My earliest influences put me somewhere between the Everly Brothers and The Carter Family and this project is all about me paying homage to my country roots. I’ve been working with some f**king epic Nashville songwriters, getting my feet wet with their style and groove.”

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Luke Bryan “Spring Break Checkin’ Out” Concert Special Premiering Sunday, April 12

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleIf you didn’t make it Luke Bryan‘s recent spring break concerts on the Gulf Coast of Florida, you’ll be able to get a taste of the shows on the new AXS TV special, Luke Bryan Spring Break Checkin’ Out. The concert special premieres Sunday, April 12 at 8 p.m. ET with exclusive performance and interview footage from this year’s concerts in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Clips from Luke’s previous spring break concerts will be included as well.

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Alan Jackson’s Mother-in-Law, Nell Brown Jackson, Dies at Age 94

Image Courtesy Schmidt PRAlan Jackson‘s mother-in-law, Nell Brown Jackson, passed away Friday, April 3 at age 94. Her obituary in the Newnan Times-Herald declares, “The glorious voices of the heavenly choir will be made all the more sweet by her lilting soprano voice.” 

Mrs. Jackson ‘s survived by three children, including Alan’s wife, Denise Jackson, as well as eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

A visitation with the family will be held Monday night in Newnan, GA, with a service to follow on Tuesday, April 7.

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Country Star Trivia

Image Courtesy Comstock/ThinkstockWhich member of Florida Georgia Line hails from Florida? ANSWER: Brian Kelley.

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Country Newcomer Kelsea Ballerini Gives a Tutorial on How to Pronounce Her Last Name

Image Courtesy Jeremy Ryan/Black RiverCountry newcomer Kelsea Ballerini is making a splash at country radio with her debut hit, “Love Me Like You Mean It,” so we thought it was time you learned how to pronounce her last name. She recently embarrassed herself in front of a songwriter in Nashville explaining how to say her last name and earned a new nickname in the process.

Kelsea tells ABC Radio, “I saw him in the hallway, and he goes, “What’s your name again?” And just without even thinking I go, ‘Kelsea Ballerini. Like Tortellini. Like a noodle.’ So, my nickname is [now] ‘Noodle.’”

Some people pronounce Kelsea’s last name as “ballerina” on first glance, which is appropriate since she studied ballet as a kid. Kelsea also had a spot on a competitive hip-hop dance team.

She says, “[It's] is hilarious now. But I loved it, and I think that, honestly, helped me, like, appreciate grooves and beats and stuff like that and movement.”

While Kelsea still loves to dance, she doesn’t feel quite as confident busting a move during her concerts.

“On stage now, you can tell that I really try, but it’s not cute anymore,” Kelsea says with a laugh.

Kelsea releases her debut album, The First Time, on May 19.

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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockLook for Darius Rucker to perform on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Monday.

Reba will perform on NBC’s Today April 14, the day her new album, Love Somebody, comes out.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Justin Moore Building New House for His Growing Family in Arkansas Hometown

Image Courtesy Valory Music Co.Justin Moore plans to live in his hometown of Poyen, Arkansas, until the day he dies, so he and his family are making plans to build a brand-new house on his family’s property. Justin and his wife, Kate, welcomed their third daughter, Rebecca Klein, last summer, and their current home just isn’t big enough for the growing family.

Justin tells ABC Radio, “We live in, like, a 25-hundred square-foot house. So, we’re busting out at the seams for lack of a better way of explaining it. I tell you what, it’s crazy when you’ve got five of us in that tiny a space.”

The new house will sit on the land Justin recently bought from his grandfather, which was passed down from Justin’s great-great-grandfather.

“It’s been in our family since the late 1800s, so it ain’t no sellin’ it,” Justin says. “You don’t go build a nice house in a town of 300 people and expect to be able to get a return on your investment. That ain’t gonna happen.  So, we’re gonna be there forever.”

Justin is letting Kate make all the decisions about decorating the main residence, but he is heavily involved in designing their new pool house.

Says Justin, “We’re gonna do a bar in it. Like, a real bar that’ll have eight or 10 stools and taps and big screens all over the place. Like, a sports bar kinda thing.”

On the music front, Justin is currently working on his next studio album and expects to have a brand-new single on the radio in time for summer.

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Sam Hunt Explains How Playing College Football Helped Prepare Him for Country Stardom

Image Courtesy MCA NashvilleSam Hunt played college football as a student at the University of Alabama Birmingham before graduating in 2007. While on the field, Sam learned a lot of lessons that have served him well in his country career.

He tells Birmingham magazine, “I don’t think I’m conscious of most of the things I’ve drawn from football, because they’re so ingrained in me now … understanding the discipline and the routine and the regimentation to be successful. I was able to really see that connection as a football player where success requires a lot of hard work and eff­ort, physically and mentally.”

Sam is applying all of those skills as the headliner on his Lipstick Graffiti tour. Check out for tour dates.

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