Thomas Rhett Has Chris Stapleton’s New Album, “Traveller,” on Repeat

Image Courtesy CMAThomas Rhett‘s new single, “Crash and Burn,” was co-written by Nashville singer/songwriter Chris Stapleton, who has an album of his own coming out Tuesday. It’s called Traveller, and Thomas has been wearing out his advance copy of the project.

“I love listening to the guy sing,” Thomas tells West Virginia’s Charleston Gazette, “and there’s something for everybody on that record.”

As for the other artists on Thomas’s current playlist, he says, “I’m a huge fan of Eric Church, and his Outsiders record is amazing. Meghan Trainor is kind of a guilty pleasure for me, but her album has been on repeat.”

Thomas is currently finishing up work on his as-yet-untitled sophomore album, due out later this year.

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Zac Brown Band Has Some Surprises Lined Up for Tonight’s Tour Opener in Nashville

Image Courtesy Danny Clinch/ShorefireZac Brown Band kicks off their new tour tonight at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena in support of their brand-new album, Jekyll + Hyde. Fans can expect a few surprises throughout the night, too.

Zac says, “We do have some guests planned. We are gonna be playing the new album from front to back. We’re playing every song on the new album at the show and then a few of our old songs. But it’s primarily getting to show everybody this new stuff that we made.”

While most bands would be intimidated to kick off their tour in Music City, Zac says they’re ready for the challenge.

“It’s not intimidating playing Nashville,” Zac says. “Some of the people there are kind of discerning and there’s some pretty amazing music that goes around Nashville so you’ve got to bring it.”

Zac Brown Band’s new album, Jekyll + Hyde, is now in stores and online, featuring the #1 hit, “Homegrown.”

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Little Big Town Performing “Girl Crush” with Faith Hill at 2015 Billboard Music Awards

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLittle Big Town‘s “Girl Crush” is shaping up to be their biggest hit since the 2011 smash “Pontoon.” Now the quartet is teaming up with Faith Hill for a special performance of “Girl Crush” at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards.

The show broadcasts live Sunday, May 17 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Lady Antebellum Explains Why Wheels Up Tour Is Their Favorite Show Yet

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLady Antebellum has been headlining their own tours for several years now, but their new Wheels Up trek is their favorite for several reasons. First of all, the lighting and stage design are the most advanced Lady A has ever taken on the road.

During a recent break in their tour rehearsals in Nashville, the group’s Dave Haywood explained, “This staging is just blowing us away. You know, we saw it and worked on it, designing it on the computer and on paper and ideas, and to see it here in person is amazing.”

Lady Antebellum also has enough radio hits at this point to fill their entire set, which is a big milestone for any band.

Dave adds, “It’s fun to also have one or two kind of album cuts for a lot of the super fans and big fans out there. But, what’s great is to be at a point to have this many singles to pack into a show, and it’s a real, I think, special moment for that reason.”

Lady Antebellum’s Wheels Up tour with special guests Hunter Hayes and Sam Hunt begins Friday night in Lubbock, Texas.

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockDustin Lynch graduated from Nashville’s Lipscomb University before launching his country career. What was his major? ANSWER: Biology/Pre-med.

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Miranda Lambert Bringing Back Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars Tour with All-Female Lineup

Image Courtesy CMAMiranda Lambert is bringing her Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars tour back this fall with an all-female lineup. Her longtime pals RaeLynn and Ashley Monroe will join Miranda on the bill, along with newcomer Clare Dunn, whom Miranda first saw perform at this year’s Stagecoach Festival.

Miranda says of Clare, “I hadn’t seen her before — but I’m a fan now. You don’t see that many women who get up there and really slay a guitar and play some real rock ‘n’ roll country.”

Brand-new artist Courtney Cole will also join the tour, performing songs from her debut acoustic EP, #NoFilter.

Miranda says of the women-only trek, “I really support female artists in any genre, especially country music right now. I’ve taken girls on tour for a long time and I want to continue to do that because I feel like I can give them a platform.”

Exact tour dates will be announced soon, but we already know the cities for the Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars tour:

Missoula, MT
Billings, MT
Rapid City, SD
Mankato, MN
Augusta, GA
Fayetteville, NC
Roanoke, VA
Huntsville, AL
Tupelo, MS
Jonesboro, AR
Lacrosse, WI
Ft. Wayne, IN
Moline, IL

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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockToby Keith‘s daughter, artist Krystal Keith, is expecting her first child with husband Andrew Sandubrae. The little one is due this October.

Dustin Lynch tells Entertainment Tonight he wants to release the song “Mind Reader” as a single from his latest album, Where It’s At, before he moves on to another project.

Thomas Rhett, Cole Swindell, Craig Campbell, Lee Brice and Lauren Alaina are performing at the 2nd Annual Georgia on My Mind concert May 12 at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. The show is hosted by hit writers and Georgia natives Rhett Akins, Dallas Davidson and Ben Hayslip — collectively known as The Peach Pickers. Proceeds go to the Georgia Music Foundation.

Trisha Yearwood and her sister, Beth, will perform a song in memory of their late mother on Live with Kelly and Michael coming up May 8.

Toby Keith was honored with the Distinguished Leadership Award at the international affairs think tank Atlantic Council’s annual gala Thursday night in Washington, D.C. The honor recognizes Toby’s work in support of U.S. troops around the world.

Randy Houser shares the details on why he recorded his latest single, “We Went,” in the new installment of his YouTube series, House Band TV.

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Jason Aldean and Kenny Chesney Take Their Friendship to the Concert Stage Starting Saturday Night

Image Courtesy EB Media/Green RoomIf you go check out one of Kenny Chesney and Jason Aldean‘s joint stadium shows this summer, you’ll get to witness a unique collaboration between two of country’s hottest superstars.

Jason explains, “It’s gonna be different. I don’t think it’s gonna be the thing of I do my show, he does his show, and it’s over. I think it’s going to be a lot more interactive than that.”

That fact that Jason and Kenny are only performing a handful of dates together makes these shows one of the hottest country tickets of 2015.

“To me, that makes it more of an event,” Jason says. “More so than just, you know, you throw in a bunch of shows in there and doing it all year. It’s like, ‘This is only gonna happen a few times, so you’ve only got a few chances to check this out.'”

It turns out Jason had another tour with Kenny in the works a few years ago, but those plans fell through and helped turn Jason into one of country’s top touring artists.

Says Jason, “I was going to go out and open for him, and he decided to take a year off, which actually ended up being a great thing for us, ’cause we went out and headlined our own stuff, and it was kind of the jump-start for us on that end.”

Jason and Kenny co-headline their first joint stadium show Saturday in San Francisco. They’ll play 10 stadium dates in all before wrapping things up August 28 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

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Darius Rucker Reunites with Hootie & the Blowfish for “Late Show” Appearance

Chuck ArlundDarius Rucker took a break from his country career Thursday night to reunite with Hootie & the Blowfish in a rare TV appearance on the CBS Late Show with David Letterman.

They performed “Hold My Hand,” harkening back to their TV debut on the CBS program back in 1994, when they played the same song. It was the band’s way of saluting Letterman, who is stepping down as Late Show host later this month.

Rucker has credited Letterman for launching his group to superstardom after it was invited to perform “Hold My Hand” on the Late Show two decades ago.

Hootie & the Blowfish have been on hiatus for several years, while Darius concentrates on his country music career.

Letterman’s final Late Show is scheduled for Wednesday, May 20.

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Little Big Town, Vince Gill and More Playing in City of Hope Celebrity Softball Game June 13

Image Courtesy Monarch PublicityLittle Big Town, Vince Gill, Love and Theft and Lauren Alaina will be taking the field for the 25th Annual City of Hope Celebrity Softball Game June 13 at Nashville’s brand-new First Tennessee Park. The event is a long-standing part of the activities surrounding the CMA Music Festival, and raises money for City of Hope’s ongoing fight against cancer.

The full team rosters will be announced soon. Tickets are now on sale through Ticketmaster.

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