Brad Paisley Launching 2015 Leg of Country Nation World Tour January 17 in West Virginia

Image Courtesy Chris Hollo/Grand Ole OpryBrad Paisley will launch the winter leg of his Country Nation World Tour January 17 in Morgantown, West Virginia. Parmalee and The Swon Brothers join Brad on the bill. He’s got shows announced through a March 6 date in Lubbock, Texas.

Here are Brad’s 2014 Country Nation World Tour Dates:

1/17 — Morgantown, WV, WVU Coliseum
1/22 — Southaven, MS, Landers Center
1/23 — Pensacola, FL, Pensacola Civic Center
1/24 — Estero, FL, Germaine Arena
1/29 — Green Bay, WI, Resch Center
1/30 — Cedar Rapids, IA, U.S. Cellular Center
1/31 — Brookings, SD, Swiftel Center
2/5 — DeKalb, IL, Northeastern Illinois University
2/6 — Springfield, MO, JQH Arena
2/7 — Youngstown, OH, The Covelli Center
3/4 — Colorado Springs, CO, Colorado Springs World Arena
3/5 — Las Cruces, NM, Pan American Center
3/6 — Lubbock, TX, United Supermarkets Arena

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood Ready for Seventh Turn as CMA Awards Co-Hosts

Image Courtesy ABCBrad Paisley and Carrie Underwood are hosting the CMA Awards together for a seventh time Wednesday night, so they’re feeling pretty confident as the clock ticks down to show time.

Brad says, “Our roles are established where as she holds down the fort as extremely eloquent and funny and brilliant up there, and I’m an idiot. And it really does work that way. It really kind of feels like that’s the role that we’ve fallen into in a good way.”

Even though the headlines have been intense lately with the Ebola scare dominating the news cycle, Brad and Carrie have found ways to include current events in their monologue as usual.

“It’s the angle that’s the most important thing,” Carrie explains. “Like, there’s certain things that you can’t just make fun of, but there’s certain things about them you can go at from a side angle. You know, people’s reactions to different things and not the things themselves.”

Carrie’s pregnancy will undoubtedly come up throughout the night, and it’s been rumored her baby bump will prevent Carrie from making as many costume changes as usual this year. Brad is willing to help keep the fashion aspect of the show alive, though.

“I’ll wear a couple of her [outfits],” Brad says. “I hate to see something that she paid for not get showcased properly on television. No, I’ve got a little baby bump myself. It’s fine.”

Carrie adds, “He’s been gaining sympathy weight.”

Look for Brad to perform his latest single, “Perfect Storm,” on the CMA Awards. Carrie is also expected to sing her new song, “Something in the Water.” The 48th Annual CMA Awards air live from Nashville Wednesday, November 5 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhich country star collaborated with Zac Brown Band on their hit song, “As She’s Walking Away?” ANSWER: Alan Jackson.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockZac Brown made a surprise appearance at the Foo Fighters‘ Friday night show at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. According to The Tennessean, Zac joined the band for a cover of Black Sabbath‘s “War Pigs.”

Miranda Lambert dressed up like “Rosie the Riveter” for Halloween and posted a picture on Instagram of herself recreating the iconic “We can do it!” poster from World War II.


Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line Featured on Tonight’s “15 Songs That Changed Country Music” Special

Image Courtesy CMARobin Roberts‘ new ABC special, Countdown to the CMA Awards: 15 Songs That Changed Country Music, premieres Monday night featuring performances from Lady Antebellum, Hunter Hayes, Kacey Musgraves and Martina McBride. Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Tim McGraw and Dierks Bentley also appear on the special giving their commentary on what makes these 15 songs so essential to the evolution of country music.

While the complete list is being kept under wraps until the show airs, we can tell you Alan Jackson‘s “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” made the cut along with Kenny Rogers‘ classic, “The Gambler.”

Luke Bryan talks about that track on the special. He says, “I remember having an 8-track player in my room listening to the “The Gambler” as a kid. Kenny Rogers was just the man. Nobody was cooler. Nobody was smoother. Nobody had it figured out quite like Kenny Rogers did.”

Florida Georgia Line pays tribute to Garth Brooks‘ “Friends in Low Places” on the special.

The duo’s Brian Kelley says, “That’s a drinking, party, country music anthem. ‘Friends in Low Places.’ We haven’t really played many covers when we got going. We just kinda started writing our songs and playing them out. But if we ever had to throw a cover in, you bet it was ‘Friends in Low Places.’”

In compiling the list, Robin Roberts and her team consulted with country music insiders and today’s country stars on which songs should be included. Things got pretty heated as they decided on the final 15 songs.

Robin tells ABC News Radio, “It’s all open for debate. But what we do like is that we really know that it has really touched upon classic songs, contemporary songs and crossovers. So, it really has a little bit of something for everybody.” 

Lady Antebellum sings the #15 song on ABC’s Countdown to the CMA Awards: 15 Songs That Changed Country Music, airing Monday night at 10 ET. The 48th Annual CMA Awards air live Wednesday, November 5 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Kix Brooks Looking for the Perfect Steak in New TV Special Airing Sunday Night

Image Courtesy Arista NashvilleKix Brooks owns the Arrington Vineyard winery just south of Nashville, so he’s always on the lookout for a great steak to go with his glass of red. Now, Kix has taken that search on the road for the new Cooking Channel special, Steak Out with Kix Brooks. Restaurants in Louisville, Chicago and Nashville will be featured on the show.

He says, “I really think that local steakhouses say a lot about the personality of their community, so this show was a great way to get to know a few towns and their people better over a great steak dinner and a glass of wine.”   

Steak Out with Kix Brooks airs Sunday, November 2 at 8 p.m. ET on the Cooking Channel.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thomas Rhett Honored to Be in the Running for New Artist of the Year at the CMA Awards

Image Courtesy CMAThomas Rhett was on tour in Toronto with no cell phone service or WiFi access the morning the CMA Awards nominations were announced. He had to go old school and call his manager from a land line to listen to the nominations TV broadcast over the phone. Things got tense when they started calling out the finalists in the New Artist of the Year category.

Thomas recalls, “They were called out in alphabetical order, and obviously my name starts with a ‘T,’ so it was towards the end. I was like, ‘We didn’t get it! We didn’t get it!’ Then at the end they did call my name, which made me kind of jump in my pants.”

He quickly adds, “I didn’t mean for that to come off weird if that sounded weird.”

Thomas is proud to share in the New Artist nomination with his pals Cole Swindell, Kip Moore and Brett Eldredge along with singer/songwriter Brandy Clark.

He says, “Just to be a part of that award is the coolest thing in the world. It makes you feel like the past three years of touring 300 days-a-year actually did pay off.”

Four of the five New Artist nominees have scored multiple #1 hits, and there are even more country newcomers who fit that criteria that didn’t make the cut this year.

“You know, you got Tyler Farr and people like Dustin Lynch who I felt like definitely should have be in the category, but it’s just how the cards fall,” Thomas says. “I’m just pumped to be a part of that group. And whoever wins, I’ll be pumped for ‘em.”

See who win New Artist of the Year on the 48th Annual CMA Awards Wednesday night at 8 ET on ABC.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Little Big Town, The Band Perry and Lady Antebellum All Hoping for CMA Vocal Group of the Year Win

Image Courtesy CMAReigning CMA Vocal Group of the Year Little Big Town landed their first performance slot on the CMA Awards nearly a decade ago, but the ceremony still brings out a sense of wonder in the four band members.

LBT’s Karen Fairchild tells ABC News Radio, “The CMA Awards are so special. They really are, just from growing up and watching the CMA Awards and then just pinching ourselves standing up on that stage, much less to have won one or two or three. Thank you, Jesus.”

Karen and her husband/band mate Jimi Westbrook display their CMA trophies in the office at their house, and the group’s Kimberly Schlapman has a special case for her CMA hardware.

She tells us, “My husband built shelves for mine. Love ‘em.”

Little Big Town is nominated for Vocal Group of the Year again at this Wednesday night’s ceremony along with Eli Young Band, Zac Brown Band, The Band Perry and Lady Antebellum.

Just getting a nomination is a big thrill for The Band Perry‘s Reid Perry. He tells ABC News Radio, “The CMAs are always great ’cause, you know, voted on by your peers, so it’s already an honor to be in the category voted on by peers, but to also win that award would be nice.”

Lady Antebellum won that Vocal Group trophy in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Now that they’re back at the top of the country chart with “Bartender,” Lady A’s Charles Kelley has his fingers crossed for another win.

“To have a little time with not winning that award, it’s gonna be sweet if we can get that again,” Charles says. “But we’re gonna focus on performing like we always try to.”

Lady A and The Band Perry will perform on the CMA Awards Wednesday night at 8 ET on ABC. Look for Little Big Town to team up with pop star Ariana Grande on the live broadcast, too.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Cole Swindell Meets His Hero, Reba; Announces “Down Home Sessions EP” Coming November 17

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleCole Swindell got to meet his hero, Reba, on Thursday in Nashville while trying on clothes for next week’s CMA Awards. Cole was in the middle of a wardrobe fitting at his manager’s office, which is located inside Reba’s Starstruck building on Music Row, when Reba herself suddenly walked in.  The whole episode was captured on video and posted to YouTube.

She told him, “Good thing I didn’t come in here when you was stark naked.”

Cole bent over in shock when he realized Reba was in the room. He then told her how much her shows meant to him growing up after his parents  divorced. Cole was in fifth grade at the time and moved with his mother to Albany, Georgia. A farmer in town, named Ronnie Lee, took a young Cole to see Reba every year in Albany, and those shows helped spur Cole’s passion to pursue a music career.

He told her, “I got to see everybody that ever toured with you. It was so awesome. So, I’ve been waiting to meet you.”

Cole will be dressed to kill at the 48th Annual CMA Awards Wednesday night at 8 ET on ABC. He’s up for New Artist of the Year.

In other Cole Swindell news, he’s releasing the new Down Home Sessions EP on November 17 in conjunction with the launch of his Down Home Tour. The five-song digital project is designed to get as many songs out to the fans as possible, even between albums.

He says, “I’m always writing and I have lots of songs that I want my fans to hear. As a songwriter that’s what you want, but everything can’t always make it onto your album so I decided the best way to release this music was to put together the Down Home Session EP.”

Here’s the Down Home Sessions EP track list:

“The Way You’re Lovin’ Me Now”
“Workin’ on Me”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Carrie Underwood’s “Greatest Hits: Decade #1″ Track Listing Revealed

Jeremy Cowart/Arista NashvilleCarrie Underwood‘s releasing her first best-of compilation, Greatest Hits: Decade #1, December 9 featuring her current hit, “Something in the Water.”  That song’s just one of 25 songs included in the two-CD set, according to the official track listing, released today.

“Something in the Water” is also one of two new tracks Greatest Hits: Decade #1, the other being “Little Toy Guns.”  Those songs lead off disc one, while disc two ends with never-before-released versions of familiar hits, including a live version of Carrie’s duet with Vince Gill on the gospel standard “How Great Thou Art,” and in-progress “worktape” versions of “So Small,” “Last Name,” and “Mama’s Song.”

You can pre-order Greatest Hits: Decade #1 at all the usual digital outlets beginning Tuesday, November 4, five days ahead of the official release date.

Here’s the track listing for Greatest Hits: Decade #1:

Disc 1
“Something in the Water”
“Little Toy Guns”
“Inside Your Heaven”
“Jesus, Take the Wheel”
“Don’t Forget to Remember Me”
“Before He Cheats”
“So Small”
“All-American Girl”
“Last Name”
“Just a Dream”
“I Told You So” (feat. Randy Travis)

Disc 2
“Cowboy Casanova”
“Temporary Home”
“Undo It”
“Mama’s Song”
“Remind Me” (duet with Brad Paisley)
“Good Girl”
“Blown Away”
“Two Black Cadillacs”
“See You Again”
“How Great Thou Art” (with Vince Gill) (Live from ACM Presents: Girls’ Night Out)*
“So Small” (writing session worktape 1/24/07)*
“Last Name” (writing session worktape 1/22/07)*
“Mama’s Song” (writing session worktape 2/5/09)*

* = never-before-released version.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio