English Professor Gives Taylor Swift’s “Wall Street Journal” Op-Ed a B-Minus

ABC/Todd WawrychukTaylor Swift made waves not long ago by penning an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal about the future of the music business.  Most people focused on Taylor’s optimism about the industry, but now, her actual writing ability has been put under a microscope.

Entertainment Weekly invited Margo Mifflin, a professor of English at the City University of New York, to “grade” Taylor’s essay and point out any flaws.  Professor Mifflin’s opinion?  “She has a strong, effervescent writing style,” she told the magazine. “But the piece has serious focus problems. It skids all over the place.”  She gives Taylor a B-minus.

Taylor’s essay includes her thoughts about how artists need to surprise fans constantly and take musical risks, how albums can become best-sellers if they connect emotionally with listeners and how autographs and distinctions between musical genres are both obsolete.

For comparison’s sake, Mifflin also critiqued a piece by George Clooney, in which he expressed his anger and frustration over a story in a British tabloid claiming that his future mother-in-law opposes him marrying her daughter.  She gave Clooney’s effort an A-minus, saying that his writing was “pointed” and “persuasive,” but “a little too concise.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Lady Antebellum Owes a Lot of Their Success to Tight Jeans and Chest Hair

Image Courtesy: Capitol NashvilleLady Antebellum‘s Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood‘s names always come up in discussions about the sexiest men in country music. Their band mate, Hillary Scott, has revealed the secret to Charles and Dave’s sex appeal: “Tight jeans and chest hair.”

She tells them with a laugh, “It’s true, and you always show it.”

Charles claims to be a pioneer among male country stars who are now painting on their pants. He says, “We were wearing tight jeans before Luke [Bryan] did. Let’s just say that. No, I’m just kidding. I just bust on him.”

Dave adds, “We have more chest hair than Luke.”

Charles agrees, saying, “He doesn’t have any chest hair.”

Lady A’s new album, 747, is due out September 30 featuring their latest hit, “Bartender.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Kip Moore Kicking Off CMT Summer Concert Series Saturday on “Hot 20 Countdown”

Image Courtesy MCA NashvilleKip Moore is kicking off CMT’s Summer Concert Series this Saturday on CMT Hot 20 Countdown premiering at 11 a.m. ET on CMT.  David Nail will be featured on the series’ July 26 installment, and Chris Young follows on August 9.

Dierks Bentley will close out the series with a performance at the Bristol Motor Speedway airing September 6. Dierks will also appear on all four Summer Concert Series bringing fans exclusive videos and features on his ongoing RISER tour.

Look for additional videos from the CMT Summer Concert Series to air on CMT.com, too.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Reba to Unveil “Pray for Peace” Video Monday on Facebook

Image Courtesy Starstruck EntertainmentReba asked her fans to turn in videos of themselves praying around the world for her new “Pray for Peace” video. Now it looks like that clip is going live Monday at 12 p.m. ET at Facebook.com/Reba.

Reba posted a short video of the song playing on bagpipes on Instagram Thursday. Several celebrities are expected to pop up in the “Pray for Peace” video, too.

Reba encourages fans to use the hashtag #prayforpeace when posting about the song and video on social media.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Shania Twain Named Best Resident Performer on “Las Vegas Weekly” Best of Vegas 2014 List

Image Courtesy Sandbox EntertainmentShania Twain has picked up a big honor for her Vegas show, Shania: Still the One.

Las Vegas Weekly just named Shania the “Best Resident Performer” on their “Best of Vegas 2014″ list. That means she beat out fellow headliners Britney Spears, Celine Dion, Elton John and Olivia Newton-John for the win.

Shania is playing select dates at Caesars Palace this month. Go to ShaniainVegas.com for tickets.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Taylor Swift Trespasser Sentenced to Probation

Image Courtesy Sarah Barlow/Big MachineA Massachusetts man has been sentenced to probation on willful trespass and disorderly conduct charges stemming from a series of incidents outside Taylor Swift‘s Rhode Island mansion.

According to Rhode Island’s Westerley Sun, Daniel P. Cole, also has been ordered to have no contact with the star. He was arrested in March after attempting to drive onto Taylor’s property despite a standing no-trespass order issued in December 2013. Officers say the man resisted arrest, but he claims he only swore at them a few times when they asked him to get out of his truck and show his hands.

Prior to his charges of trespassing on Taylor’s property, Daniel Cole had two charges of driving under the influence in Massachusetts in the 2000s.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Lady Antebellum’s New Album, “747,” Set for Takeoff September 30

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLady Antebellum will release their fifth album, 747, on September 30 featuring the hit title track “Bartender.” That up-tempo lead single is an indication of what listeners can expect on the rest of the project.

Lady A’s Hillary Scott says, “We are pushing ourselves as a band and as songwriters…taking ourselves out of our comfort zone and not taking ourselves too seriously.  There’s an urgency and an energy to it that we’ve never released before.”

The band members contributed several songs to 747 while also finding quite a few tracks written by other writers. The group took some chances with the songs during the recording process, too.  Lady Antebellum’s Dave Haywood says, “As we took them into the studio, we changed our approach and challenged ourselves to try some new things that were outside of what we’d done before.”

Here’s the 747 track listing:

“Long Stretch of Love”
“Lie with Me”
“Down South”
“One Great Mystery”
“Sounded Good at the Time”
“She Is”
“Damn You Seventeen”
“Just a Girl”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Jason, Miranda, Blake, Dierks and Brantley Headlining Route 91 Festival in Las Vegas

Image Courtesy Greenroom PRJason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley, and Brantley Gilbert are headed to Sin City for the Route 91 Harvest festival October 3 through 5. The event takes place at The Lot across from Luxor Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

Tyler Farr, Randy Houser, Dustin Lynch, Dwight Yoakam, Dan + Shay, and Nashville‘s Charles Esten and Clare Bowen are also on the bill.

Tickets go on sale Friday, August 1 at RT91Harvest.com.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is Taylor Swift‘s young brother’s name? ANSWER: Austin.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Keith Urban Is Ready to Compete with Garth Brooks on the Concert Trail

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleGarth Brooks is returning to the road this September, and he’s put all other country artists on notice that he’s ready to raise the stakes when it comes to the live concert experience. That challenge is not news to Keith Urban, though.

“You won’t find a country artist who thinks that’s not the case,” Keith tells ABC News Radio. “We all know that. It’s Garth, you know? He hasn’t toured in thirteen years. So, the anticipation and expectation — all of that’s phenomenal. He’s a phenomenal live performer. People know that. It’s gonna be a behemoth tour for sure.”

Keith goes on to call Garth “creative,” “original” and “an icon.”

As for his own Raise ‘Em Up tour, Keith is keeping things fresh by changing up the set list every night. Fans have also requested a heavy dose of songs from his latest album, Fuse.

Keith explains, “The level of requests we get for songs off this particular album, off Fuse, has been exponential for the last couple of albums. So, I’m so happy about that.”

Keith expects to sing classics like “Somebody Like You” and “Better Life” during his shows, too. Even though he wrote those songs about a decade ago, Keith still finds ways to relate to the lyrics as the years go by.

“They take on a new meaning,” he says. “Why I wrote them may not be this sort of place that I sing from these days, but they take on new meaning.”

Keith has Jerrod Niemann and Brett Eldredge on the road with him this summer. Keep up with his tour dates at KeithUrban.net.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio