Capitol NashvilleDarius Rucker spends almost as much time raising money for charitable causes as he does making music these days. He and his wife, Beth, are currently chairing the committee to raise $50 million for a new children’s hospital at the Medical University of South Carolina in their hometown of Charleston. At one time, Darius would have never believed his celebrity could help raise that much money, but years of performing benefit shows and playing in charity golf tournaments have changed his tune.
“I’m never surprised at the generosity of the American people,” Darius says. “You know, now, with all the stuff that’s happened, and all the things I’ve been involved with charitably, I really see how things like that can really happen, and all the sudden you have a miracle and there’s that goal that seemed unattainable is actually being attained.”
Darius’s charity work for kids continues Monday night with his Sixth Annual Darius and Friends concert to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The show takes place at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon with special guests Little Big Town, A Thousand Horses and Brett Eldredge on the bill. Darius looks forward to adding to the nearly $500,000 raised from the previous five Darius and Friends concerts.
EB Media PRKenny Chesney teamed up with his special guest Miranda Lambert for two collaborations during his Saturday night show at Soldier Field in Chicago. After her opening set, Miranda joined Kenny during his show to sing Grace Potter‘s part on “You and Tequila.” They also delivered a cover of George Strait‘s 1996 hit, “Carried Away.”
Look for Kenny to perform on Wednesday night’s CMT Music Awards, airing live at 8 ET.
Capitol NashvilleKeith Urban‘s new single, “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16,” will be released to radio Tuesday, and he’ll debut the song on the 2015 CMT Music Awards Wednesday night at 8 ET.
Keith first performed the song for industry insiders at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville earlier this year. He says, “There’s no doubt their response that day helped make it the first single from what will be my next album.”
As for the song itself, Keith adds, “It’s the poetic use of the three Johns and what each represents to me.”
You can stream or download “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” tonight at midnight ET.
Mercury NashvilleKacey Musgraves has lined up two big TV appearances to promote her upcoming sophomore album, Pageant Material. Look for Kacey to perform her current single, “Biscuits,” on NBC’s Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Tuesday, June 9. She’ll follow it up with a performance of the album cut, “Family Is Family,” on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers on Wednesday, June 10.
Jason Merritt/LP5/Getty Images for TASLittleBig Town made a surprise appearance at Taylor Swift‘s 1989 World Tour stop in Pittsburgh on Saturday night.
The group joined Taylor on stage at Heinz Field for a rendition of their hit song “Pontoon.” Taylor later tweeted a photo of the scene and wrote, “Tonight my friends @littlebigtown surprised the #1989TourPittsburgh crowd with ‘Pontoon’ and it was SO MUCH FUN!!”
Little Big Town shared photos on Instagram, as well as a video clip of them singing “Girl Crush” with Taylor backstage.
Taylor has made a tradition of inviting guests to her shows. Late last month, Imagine Dragons‘ Dan Reynolds sang his band’s tune “Radioactive” at her concert in Detroit.
Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockThe 2015 CMT Music Awards Red Carpet special airs Wednesday, June 10 at 7 p.m. ET prior to the live broadcast of the ceremony on CMT and CMT.com.
Kix Brooks is the host of a new series, Steak Out with Kix Brooks, premiering July 14 at 9 p.m. ET on the Cooking Channel. The show features Kix traveling from city to city looking for the country’s best steakhouses.
Thomas Rhett premiered his retro video for “Crash and Burn” at People.com Friday.
Capitol NashvilleLittle Big Town is in Nashville this week for the CMA Music Festival, but there’s still no word on whether or not the quartet will return as hosts of the festival’s annual ABC TV special later this summer.
LBT’s Karen Fairchild tells ABC Radio, “We are not saying, because we’re not supposed to say what we’re doing.”
While Little Big Town is keeping mum on the TV hosting gig, they are very vocal with their feelings about playing the CMA Music Festival’s nightly concerts at LP Field.
“That crowd is infectious,” says the group’s Kimberly Schlapman. “There’s no other crowd all year long like the CMA Fest crowd. I mean, by far.”
The CMA Music Festival’s nightly concerts at LP Field kick off Thursday night and run through Sunday.
BMLGReba and Darius Rucker are featured in new episodes of Fandango’s I Love Movies video series, set to premiere at the CMA Music Festival’s nightly concerts next week at Nashville’s LP Field. In the clips, Darius and Reba explain how movies have shaped their lives and music.
Says Darius, “It’s joyous to see something meaningful on the big screen, providing important moments in your life. I remember the first time I saw Purple Rain, I was instantly changed. I’m getting chills just thinking about it.”
Reba adds, “Music and movies have inspired me in so many ways. Both are not only significant parts of my career but my life. A great lyric or line from a film has the ability to take your mind somewhere new.”
After the clips premiere at the CMA Music Festival, you can check them out on Fandango’s Movieclips YouTube channel. Look for more country stars to participate in Fandango’s I Love Movies video series this fall in the weeks leading up to November’s 49th Annual CMA Awards.
Mercury NashvilleKacey Musgraves keeps an eye on the sky to avoid one of her biggest fears — alien abductions. In a new feature with Us Weekly, Kacey shares 25 things you may not know about her, and her “irrational fear” of alien abductions is at #2 on the list. She also admits, “I’ve seen several UFOs.”
Kacey goes on to reveal that she’s never broken a bone, and she actually framed a joint Willie Nelson once rolled for her.
On the music front, Kacey’s sophomore album, Pageant Material, is due out June 23 featuring the lead single, “Biscuits.”
Republic NashvilleAs new group A ThousandHorses prepares to release their debut album, Southernality, next week, the band members are riding high with their debut single, “Smoke,” sitting atop Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart. The runaway success of that song is still surreal for the guys.
Lead singer Michael Hobby tells Rolling Stone, “‘Smoke’ has blown our minds with how well it’s done and how fast it went. To see the fans react to it, that’s what really connects for us. It’s all a whirlwind right now.”
Southernality includes several other songs that have become staples in A Thousand Horses’ live shows, and the band is anxious to see how the record-buying public reacts to the project.
Michael says of their approach to making music, “You write a song, you record a song, you put it out to the public and you hope that they like it too.”
A Thousand Horses is currently on the road with Darius Rucker‘s Southern Style tour.