A Thousand Horses, Kelsea Ballerini and More Playing Free Shows at CMA Music Festival

Image Courtesy Republic NashvilleA Thousand Horses, Keslea Ballerini, Brothers Osborne, CAM, Chris Janson, Jana Kramer and Michael Ray are among the new artists performing at the CMA Music Festival’s Bud Light Plaza Stage outside Nashville Bridgestone Arena. These concerts are free and open to the public during each day during the festival which runs from June 11 through 14.

Lauren Alaina, Greg Bates, Nashville star Chris Carmack and Sunny Sweeney are on the bill for the Belk Park Stage at Walk of Fame Park that weekend, too.

Go to CMAFest.com for a full list of talent performing free shows during CMA Music Festival this June in Music City.

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Randy Houser Releases Progressive New Single, “We Went,” to Country Radio

Image Courtesy Joseph Llanes/Stoney CreekRandy Houser‘s new single, “We Went,” has been delivered to country radio and will be available for download on Monday, May 18. It’s the lead release from Randy’s upcoming studio album, the follow up to his hit 2013 project, How Country Feels.

As for the new single, Randy tells Rolling Stone, “The song is about hanging out, a little bit of danger, running from the cops — all things I grew up doing (well, maybe avoiding the cops is more accurate). But rhythmically and lyrically it’s more progressive than what I’ve ever done.”

Randy will be performing “We Went” on the road with Luke Bryan‘s Kick the Dust Up tour starting this Friday night.

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Eric Church Admits It Took Him Awhile to Adjust to Playing Arena Shows

Image Courtesy CMAEric Church feels right at home headlining arenas on The Outsiders World Tour, but he admits he didn’t handle his first arena tour very well. His third album, Chief, had just broken through to country radio when he started playing those big rooms in early 2012.

Eric tells the Asbury Park Press, “We came from where we were really in our element in these bars, clubs, theaters, and we just owned those places. And then all of a sudden we’re an arena act. And what I found is I was a little insecure in the fact that I didn’t know how to play an arena.”

Eric only had a few country radio hits at the time and didn’t realize fans were also coming to hear him sing his notable album cuts, like “These Boots” and “Pledge Allegiance to the Hag.” Now, those songs get just as much reaction from the crowd as his #1 hits “Springsteen” and “Talladega.”

Says Eric, “With this tour, we’ve just been more confident to go out and play things that maybe people haven’t heard as much of, those album cuts. The real fans that are there, they know everything.”

Eric continues The Outsiders World Tour Thursday night in Boston.

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhat was the name of Tim McGraw‘s 2014 tour? ANSWER: Sundown Heaven Town tour.

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Miranda Lambert in No Hurry to Move on from Her ACM, CMA and Grammy-Winning Album, “Platinum”

Image Courtesy RCA RecordsMiranda Lambert‘s latest release, Platinum, will be a hard act to follow since it’s been named ACM and CMA Album of the Year and won the Best Country Album Grammy in the past few months. Since she’s only on the third single form the project, “Little Red Wagon,” Miranda is in no hurry to start work on her next album, anyway.

She says, “I definitely am still riding out Platinum. I’m not even close to being tired of it yet. I feel like it’s brand-new, even though it’s been out a year.”

Miranda is proud of the impact Platinum has had on women in country music, too. The second single, “Somethin’ Bad” with Carrie Underwood, is  a rare country duet between two female acts. She recently shared Song of the Year honors at the ACM Awards with her “Automatic” co-writers Natalie Hemby and Nicolle Galyon, too.

“I guess I’m inspired because of everything that’s going on in country music right now,” Miranda syas. “Winning Song with Natalie and Nicolle, it’s three female songwriters and artists in their own right, and that makes me really excited for the future of females in country music.”

Miranda is playing select shows this summer, including a June 6 date at Soldier Field in Chicago with Kenny Chesney‘s The Big Revival tour.

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Eric Paslay and Fiancée Tie the Knot

UMG NashvilleEric Paslay is a married man. He tied the knot with music publisher Natalie Harker at Front Porch Farms in Charlotte, Tennessee, on Sunday, according to People magazine.

The couple exchanged vows in front of 200 guests.

Commenting on her champagne-colored Vera Wang wedding dress, Harker tells People, “This was one of the only dresses I saw that had that old-world elegance to it. I think it’s just really, really beautiful.”  

Paslay says of his bride, “[The best part] is knowing that my best friend is the steady star in my sky, and knowing that she’ll always be there.”

They will spend their honeymoon in Italy.

Paslay and Harker, both 32, got engaged last December. They had dated for two years but had been friends for seven.

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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockDierks Bentley was on hand for the opening of the new George Jones Museum in Nashville Thursday night.

Garth Brooks has added a Thursday, May 28 show at Thompson Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee to his previously-announced shows there May 29, 30 and 31.

Look for Lee Brice to sing “Drinking Class” on NBC’s The Voice Tuesday night.

Randy Houser released a snippet of a new song on Instagram Friday. The caption reads, “New music coming soon! #WeWent.”

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New music coming soon! #WeWent

A video posted by Randy Houser (@randyhouser) on Apr 24, 2015 at 1:23pm PDT


Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott Refuses to Live in Fear Following Recent Bus Fire

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLady Antebellum‘s Hillary Scott didn’t think twice about getting on board another tour bus after her bus was destroyed in a fire on April 16 on the way to the ACM Awards in Dallas. Everyone on board the bus got out OK, and Hillary turned down her tour manager’s offer to put her on a flight back to Nashville from Texas.

Hillary says, “We all bussed back from Dallas, and I was intentional with getting back on, because it’s like, when you fall off a horse, you get back on the horse. You know, that’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing to happen, and I don’t want to live in fear. I refuse to.”

Hillary plans to hold on to that fearless attitude as Lady A launches their Wheels Up tour this Friday night in Lubbock, Texas.

When asked if she plans to change anything about the way she travels for this trek, Hillary says, “I mean, other than I think everybody, all the bus drivers will be checking the buses a lot more. But the things is, though, with [the bus fire], I think it was just such a fluke accident.”

Lady Antebellum is taking Hunter Hayes and Sam Hunt along on the Wheels Up tour. Check out a full list of tour dates at LadyAntebellum.com.

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Dierks Bentley Expects Latest Hit, “Say You Do,” to Be Big with Audiences on His Sounds of Summer Tour

Image Courtesy Nino Munoz/Capitol NashvilleDierks Bentley‘s latest hit, “Say You Do,” was still pretty new at country radio when he closed out his Riser tour. Now that the song is closing in on the top of the country chart, Dierks expects it to be a huge hit with audiences when he hits the road again in June.

“Getting back out there on the Sounds of Summer Tour and seeing what’s happened to this song is going to be a huge surprise for us,” Dierks says. “[It’s] something we’re really looking forward to.”

Dierks says his fans have always reacted strongly to “Say You Do,” but that excitement has been growing in the past few weeks.

He says, “I’ve had a little taste of that in a few shows we’ve done — just one-offs.”

“Say You Do” is included on Dierks’ latest album, Riser. His Sounds of Summer tour kicks off June 5 in Raleigh, North Carolina with special guests Kip Moore, Maddie & Tae and Canaan Smith.

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Sam Hunt Hoping to Live Some Life Off the Road Before Writing Next Album

Image Courtesy McClister/MCA NashvilleSam Hunt is happy to have a non-stop tour schedule these days, but he admits all that traveling is cutting into his time as a songwriter.

Sam tells Entertainment Tonight, “I have not been writing at all. I just haven’t had any time to do that, but I’m excited to get back in the studio.”

While he hopes to start writing new songs this fall, Sam knows he needs to get out of the bubble he’s been in while living on a tour bus.

“There is a lot of life that I’ve experienced that will inspire writing,” Sam says, “but I think I’m gonna have to find some time to do some living outside of the road to find some new experiences and new inspirations for new songs.”

Sam heads out with Lady Antebellum‘s Wheels Up tour starting Friday, May 1 in Lubbock, Texas.

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