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

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Carrie Underwood, Joe Walsh Join Brad Paisley During His Opening Set for Rolling Stones

CMACarrie Underwood joined Brad Paisley onstage to sing “Remind Me” during Brad’s gig opening for The Rolling Stones Wednesday night in Nashville. When Brad’s performance was announced, Carrie tweeted Brad, asking for tickets. He later said he would hook her up if she agreed to join him for the duet.

Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh also joined Brad during the set for a performance of Walsh’ solo hit “Life’s Been Good.”

Rascal Flatts will open for The Rolling Stones on July 4 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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Darius Rucker Reacts to the Church Shooting in His Hometown of Charleston

Capitol NashvilleUpon learning of the tragic shooting at the Emmanuel AME Church in his hometown of Charleston, South Carolina Wednesday night, Darius Rucker tweeted, “I don’t know what to say. I am in utter shock. Thoughts and prayers to our community & those families affected by this horrible tragedy.”

Nine people were killed in the shooting during a Wednesday night prayer meeting. The alleged shooter was taken into custody Thursday morning.

A few other country stars shared their prayers for the shooting victims via social media:

The Band Perry‘s Neil Perry: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” #PrayForCharleston #myheartishurting”

Mickey Guyton: “Praying for Charleston. My heart hurts.”


“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” #PrayForCharleston #myheartishurting

A photo posted by Neil Perry (@neilperry) on Jun 18, 2015 at 9:07am PDT

Praying for Charleston. My heart hurts. ??

A photo posted by Mickey Guyton (@mickeyguyton) on Jun 18, 2015 at 9:27am PDT


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Lady Antebellum Shares the Details on Their Collaboration with EDM DJ Audien

Capitol NashvilleIt turns out Lady Antebellum had already dipped their toe in the waters of electronic dance music before they teamed up with Zedd on last week’s CMT Music Awards. Earlier this year, the band recorded a song called “Something Better” with EDM DJ Audien that’s due out later this summer.

At first, Lady A was taken aback when Audien approached them about the song, but they ended up loving the track’s lyrics and melody.

Band member Charles Kelley says of his first listen to “Something Better,” “It was like, ‘This is one of the best songs I’ve heard in a long time,’ ’cause lyrically it was kind of powerful.”

Recording with an EDM DJ took Lady Antebellum out of their comfort zone, but they think that’s a very good thing.

“I think we’re learning as a band to not be too scared about things,” Charles says. “We’ll always stay true to the country genre, but it doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun and go, ‘Hey, we’ll be featured over here.'”

Charles points to tour mate Sam Hunt‘s recent crossover to pop with “Take Your Time” and Tim McGraw‘s 2004 collaboration with Nelly on “Over and Over” as examples of country stars flirting with other genres to great success.

Says Charles, “It’s like, come on! It’s Tim McGraw. George Strait‘s not gonna do that, but…”

Lady Antebellum is now climbing the country chart with “Long Stretch of Love,” the opening song from their album, 747.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockLady Antebellum sang backup on which one of Darius Rucker‘s #1 hits? ANSWER: “Wagon Wheel.”

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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockBrothers Osborne is showing off their favorite spots in Nashville for Airbnb’s Loval Lens series. You can check out their picks at

Look for A Thousand Horses to perform their new single, “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial,” on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live on Wednesday, June 24. The band’s debut hit, “Smoke,” has been certified gold for 500,000 downloads and streams.

Luke Bryan‘s son, Bo, caught a really big fish all by himself, and Luke tweeted a photo of the catch Wednesday.

Danielle Steel‘s new book, Country, is out this week telling a love story involving a fictional country star who performs at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas several times a year. Of course, real-life married couple Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood played the Wynn for several years before launching their current World Tour last year.

Sam Hunt has released the new video for his single, “House Party,” featuring footage of his life on the road so far this year.

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