Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockBrad Paisley will play the Grand Ole Opry on Tuesday, March 24.

Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert performed a surprise duet of his hit, “God Gave Me You,” during her show in Oklahoma City over the weekend.

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Dustin Lynch Ramping Up the Energy for Opening Slot on Luke Bryan’s Tour

Image Courtesy Broken Bow RecordsDustin Lynch loves playing for the college-age crowds filling the seats on Luke Bryan‘s 2015 tour, but the drop in age group means Dustin has to rethink a few of his cover song choices from the early-to-mid 2000s.

He tells ABC Radio, “We did a really cool mash-up of Justin Timberlake‘s ‘Summer Love’ and we went into Ja Rule, ‘Mesmerize,’ and we went straight into ‘Where It’s At.’ And after the first three shows, we were like, nobody here knows these songs.”

Dustin estimates a lot of the fans at the Luke Bryan show weren’t even teenagers when those songs came out, so he’s mixing it up with more current cover songs like one from Drake. It’s all an effort to get those Luke Bryan fans to also become Dustin Lynch fans.

He says of the Luke Bryan crowd, “They might have heard ‘Where It’s At” or “Cowboys & Angels” at some point, but they don’t have a clue who we are. So, hopefully [we're] out there making some new fans. When we come back to town, they’ll want to come see our whole show.”

Even though he just has a 25-minute set, Dustin is taking full advantage of his time on stage.

“We’re slamming. It’s non-stop.”

Dustin is keeping busy with a lot of headlining shows before Luke’s Kick the Dust Up tour launches May 5 in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

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Emmylou Harris to Be Honored as a Laureate at Sweden’s Polar Music Prize Gala in June

Image Courtesy Vector ManagementEmmylou Harris is being honored with what some call the “Nobel Prize of Music.” She’s one of two artists recognized as this year’s Laureates for The Polar Music Prize and will be recognized June 9 at a gala ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Polar Music Prize recognizes one artist from the contemporary music world and one classical music artist each year for their achievements in music, and for breaking down musical boundaries. Emmylou says, “I was both surprised and honored at the news of this most prestigious award, and am now looking forward to once again returning to your beautiful country where I was first so warmly welcomed those many years ago.”

Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and Ray Charles are among the former laureates honored with the Polar Music Prize.

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Chase Rice to Perform New Single, “Gonna Wanna Tonight,” March 23 on “Good Morning America”

Image Courtesy Jon-Paul Bruno/EB MediaChase Rice will perform his new single, “Gonna Wanna Tonight,” on ABC’s Good Morning America Monday, March 23. The appearances takes place just days before Chase joins Kenny Chesney for The Big Revival Tour. The trek kicks off March 26 and 27 at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

Chase is excited to hit the road with one of his heroes. “There are only a few entertainers that continuously set the bar both musically and on stage, and Kenny has always been that guy for me,” Chase says. “The fact that we’re going out on tour with him this year is still surreal.”

Chase adds that he’s going to give it everything he’s got for the tour and the GMA performance.

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Carrie Underwood Celebrates 32nd Birthday with Baby Boy; Gets Parenting Tips from Kelly Clarkson

Image Courtesy Chris Hollo/Grand Ole OpryCarrie Underwood rang in her 32nd birthday early Tuesday morning hanging out with her newborn baby, Isaiah Michael, who came into the world on February 27. Carrie took to Twitter to capture the moment, saying, “My 1st present = late night date with a tiny semi-bald chubby dude who likes to grunt & cry & pass gas! #bestgiftever”

Fellow American Idol alum and mother Kelly Clarkson replied to Carrie’s Tuesday morning with some words of advice for the new mom.

“He will grow so fast!” Clarkson wrote Underwood. “Everyone says that but it’s so true! Pictures, pictures, pictures:) & Happy B-day!”

Kelly’s daughter, River, was born last June.

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is the title of Luke Bryan‘s 2007 debut single? ANSWER: “All My Friends Say.”

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Lady Antebellum Releases “Bold, Upbeat and Fresh” New Single, “Long Stretch of Love”

Image Courtesy Capitol Nashville/Joseph LlanesLady Antebellum has released “Long Stretch of Love” as the new single from their album 747. The song already has hit the airwaves in Europe, and Lady A has been testing out the song on their international tour dates this past week.

Says group member Hillary Scott, “‘Long Stretch of Love’ sounds like we feel right now…it’s bold, upbeat and fresh.  It’s the perfect song to go into a new tour with.”

Lady A will kick off their Wheels Up tour in the U.S. this May with special guests Hunter Hayes and Sam Hunt.

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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockKeith Urban performs on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! Tuesday.  His fellow cast mates from American IdolHarry Connick, Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Ryan Seacrest — are also slated to appear.

Mickey Guyton‘s postponed performance on ABC’s Good Morning America has been rescheduled for Monday, March 16.

Country newcomer Kelsea Ballerini got a big thumbs up from Taylor Swift Monday. The pop superstar tweeted, “Driving around with the Kelsea Ballerini EP on repeat.. SO lovely.” Kelsea posted a screenshot of Taylor’s tweet to Instagram with the caption, “This just happened and I can’t even.”

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Brett Eldredge Planning for Decades-Long Music Career

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleBrett Eldredge is on his way to scoring his third consecutive #1 hit with “Mean to Me,” but the reigning CMA New Artist of the Year has his sights set far beyond just scoring the new big hit.

“I want to be like Willie Nelson when I’m 80 and still hopping on that tour bus and heading to the next town and singing, ’cause that’s all I love to do,” Brett tells ABC Radio.

Brett is going on the road with another road warrior, Darius Rucker, who has been touring for more than two decades as a country singer and with his rock band, Hootie & The Blowfish. That kind of longevity is inspiring for Brett.

He says, “To see people like Darius still out there plugging along, having fun with it every single day and still out making great music, that’s awesome.”

Brett begins performing on Darius’s Southern Style tour May 14 in New Jersey.  In the meantime, Brett is almost finished recording his sophomore album. The lead single from that project is expected to follow “Mean to Me” at country radio.

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Luke Bryan Says Goodbye to Spring Break Shows with New Album, “Checkin’ Out”

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLuke Bryan‘s new spring break album, Checkin’ Out, is now on sale as he gears up for his final spring break shows in Panama City Beach, Florida. The two-day event at Spinnaker’s Beach Club attracted more than 230,000 fans last year, and it isn’t easy for Luke to say goodbye to the spring break celebration.

He says, “It’s always been one of the highlights of my year going down there and doing the show, just ‘cause it’s hard to turn down that much fun. It gives me a sadness to have to let it go. But we feel it’s time.”

At age 38, Luke recognizes he’s kept the spring break party going a lot longer than normal.

He says with a laugh, “I feel like I’ve done a lot better than my other buddies, because they certainly haven’t been going to spring break and partying with a bunch of college kids.”

The crazy crowds at these shows have given Luke a creative boost, too.

Luke explains, “It’s been amazing to be able to go down there and do the spring break shows every year and get inspiration for new songs and new tours and tour ideas and stuff like that.”

Luke’s final spring break shows take place Wednesday and Thursday.

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