Merle Haggard Responds to Bob Dylan’s MusiCares Person of the Year Diss

Image Courtesy Capitol RecordsBob Dylan‘s 35-minute speech as the guest of honor at Friday night’s MusiCares Person of the Year event included a mention of his 2005 touring partner, Merle Haggard. Bob said “Merle Haggard didn’t even think much of my songs. I know he didn’t. He didn’t say that to me, but I know way back when he didn’t.”

Merle took to his Facebook page to disagree with Bob’s statement. The post says, “Bob Dylan I’ve admired your songs since 1964. ‘Don’t Think Twice’ Bob, Willie [Nelson] and I just recorded it on our new album.”

Bob said Merle’s Bakersfield, California contemporary Buck Owens did like Dylan’s songs, and he’d rather have Buck’s blessing than Merle’s anyway.



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Hunter Hayes Loves Rubbing Shoulders with the Legends at the Grammy Awards

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleHunter Hayes debuted his song “Invisible” on last year’s Grammy telecast, and now he’s earned a Best Country Solo Performance nomination for his recording of the song. Looking back on his experience attending the Grammy Awards last year, Hunter recalls being starstruck by all the big names he met at the show.

“I just so happened to run into Sir Paul McCartney backstage and talked to him last year,” Hunter says. “That’s not the kind of stuff that happens at any other show, you know? So, it was special.”

Hunter loves being in the audience for all the big Grammy performances, and he’s quick to let his fellow artists know when he’s enjoyed what they did on stage.

Says Hunter, “I got to tell Imagine Dragons how much I loved their performance last year. Stuff like that, you know? You gotta love that.”

Hunter will be on hand for the 57th Annual Grammy Awards airing Sunday night at 8 ET on CBS.


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Brandy Clark Was Rushing Through Airports When She Learned of Her Grammy Nominations

Image Courtesy EB Media PRBrandy Clark spends a lot of time on planes lately, so it’s no surprise she found out about her two Grammy nominations while passing through multiple airports. Brandy was flying from Nashville to New Mexico for a concert the morning the Grammy nominees were announced. After getting through airport security, Brandy got a text from her publicist telling her she’d received a Best Country Album nomination for 12 Stories.

Brandy tells ABC News Radio, “I opened it and there’s a picture of the Best Country Album nominations and 12 Stories is right in the middle, and I started shaking and crying. I just was overwhelmed, and it was so great because I wasn’t expecting it.”

Once she landed in Dallas to change planes, Brandy turned her phone on to find more than 90 text messages. One text from her songwriter friend, Jessie Jo Dillon, stood out because it was all capital letters.

“I clicked on hers, and it was, ‘Holy…’ a whole bunch of [expletives], ‘You’ve been nominated for Best New Artist over all genres,’” Brandy recalls. “And I thought, ‘She’s wrong about that. That’s not correct. She’s confused.’”

Another text from her publicist confirmed Brandy was nominated against the likes of Sam Smith and Iggy Azalea for Best New Artist.

As for the Best Country Album nod, Brandy adds, “I believe in 12 Stories so much and believe it deserves the recognition of that nomination. I know that probably sounds arrogant, but I really just believe it is in the top five country albums. I’m not saying I think it’s number one, but I think it deserves to be in that pool.”

Brandy will perform with Dwight Yoakam on the Grammy Awards Sunday night at 8 ET on CBS.

In other Brandy news, she has co-written a new musical with her frequent collaborator Shane McAnally, loosely based on the classic TV series, Hee Haw. Moonshine: That Hee Haw Musical is a musical comedy, and it’s set to premiere at the Dallas Theater Center in Texas on September 2 and run through October 11. For more information, go to DallasTheaterCenter.org.


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Country Stars Offer Autographed Guitars and VIP Experiences for Grammy Charity Online Auction

Image Courtesy The Recording AcademyMiranda Lambert, Tim McGraw and Keith Urban are among the stars who have autographed guitars for the Grammy Charity Online Auction, running now through February 19.

Florida Georgia Line is also offering a VIP concert and meet-and-greet package in the auction.

The 57th Annual Grammy Awards broadcast live on CBS Sunday night.  Performers on the show, including Miranda and Eric Church, will be autographing additional items for the auction this weekend.

To check out the items up for bid, go to Ebay.com/Grammy. Proceeds go to the Grammy Foundation and MusiCares.


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Willie Nelson Playing 30th Annual Farm Aid Concert September 19

Image Courtesy Shock InkThe 30th Annual Farm Aid Concert will take place September 19. As always, Farm Aid board member Willie Nelson will be a part of the organization’s annual show.

Willie recalls, “The first Farm Aid concert featured more than 50 artists on one stage. In the 29 years since, hundreds more artists have given their time and talent to support family farmers. This year, we would like to invite even more artists to join us onstage as we celebrate family farm agriculture.”

John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews and Neil Young are also on the Farm Aid board. We’ll keep you posted on the details for Farm Aid 2015 as they are announced.

Farm Aid has raised more than $45 million for family farmers across America since that first concert in 1985.


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Dierks Bentley and Keith Urban Join Presenters at Sunday’s Grammy Awards

Image Courtesy The Record AcademyDierks Bentley and Keith Urban have been added to the presenters lineup for this Sunday night’s Grammy Awards. Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Jamie Foxx, Shia LaBeouf, Gwyneth Paltrow and Stevie Wonder are also handing out trophies on the show.

Miranda Lambert, Eric Church, Brandy Clark and Dwight Yoakam are set to perform on the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, airing Sunday night at 8 ET on CBS.

Here are the Grammy nominees in the country categories:

Best Country Album
Riser, Dierks Bentley
The Outsiders, Eric Church
The Way I’m Livin’, Lee Ann Womack
12 Stories, Brandy Clark
Platinum, Miranda Lambert

Best Country Song
“American Kids,” Kenny Chesney, songwriters Rodney Clawson, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally
“Automatic,” Miranda Lambert, songwriters Miranda Lambert, Nicolle Galyon, Natalie Hemby
“Give Me Back My Hometown,” Eric Church, songwriters Eric Church, Luke Laird
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” Glen Campbell, songwriters Glen Campbell, Julian Raymond
“Meanwhile Back at Mama’s,” Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill, songwriters Tom Douglas, Jaren Johnson, Jeffery Steele

Best Country Solo Performance
“Give Me Back My Hometown,” Eric Church
“Invisible,” Hunter Hayes
“Automatic,” Miranda Lambert
“Something in the Water,” Carrie Underwood
“Cop Car,” Keith Urban

Best Country Duo or Group Performance
“Gentle on My Mind,” The Band Perry
“Meanwhile Back at Mama’s,” Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill
“Raise ‘Em Up,” Keith Urban featuring Eric Church
“Day Drinkin’,” Little Big Town
“Somethin’ Bad,” Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood



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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhich country act fired Eric Church as the opening act on their tour after he played over his allotted amount of time? ANSWER: Rascal Flatts.


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Frankie Ballard Chosen as NRA Country Artist for the Month of February

Image Courtesy Sweet Talk PublicityFrankie Ballard has been chosen as the NRA Country artist for the month of February due to his love for the great outdoors. Frankie often discovers new places while riding his motorcycle on the open road, but his passion for spending time outside dates back to his childhood.

Says Frankie, “I just love to get out into some fresh air and get my heart pumpin’! Ever since my cowboys and Indians days, I’ve been itchin’ to get outside!”

Fans can check out an exclusive video from Frankie and enter to win Frankie Ballard prize pack at NRACountry.com. Florida Georgia Line, Lee Brice and Eric Paslay are among the stars featured in the NRA Country program.


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Brad Paisley Announces Crushin’ It World Tour

Arista NashvilleBrad Paisley has announced a North American tour that will launch this May.

The Crushin’ It World Tour will begin May 15 in Philadelphia and will see Brad travel across the U.S. and Canada for more than four months. The final stop is currently scheduled for West Palm Beach, Florida, in early October.

He’ll be joined on the trek by Justin Moore and Mickey Guyton. More information is available on BradPaisley.com.

The Crushin’ It World Tour is named after the current single off Brad’s most recent album, Moonshine in the Trunk.

Here are the tour dates:

5/15 — Susquehanna Bank Center, Philadelphia, PA
5/16 — Walnut Creek Ampitheatre, Raleigh, NC
5/17 — Shaky Boots Music Festival, Atlanta, GA 
5/30 — Blue Ridge Music Festival, Salem, VA 
5/31 — PNC Music Pavilion, Charlotte, NC
6/4 — Ak-Chin Pavilion, Phoenix, AZ
6/5 — Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA
6/6 — Sleep Train Amphitheatre, San Diego, CA
6/12 — Sleep Train Amphitheatre, Sacramento, CA
6/13 — Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA
6/20 — Windy City LakeShake Festival, Chicago, IL 
6/26 — First Niagara Pavilion, Pittsburgh, PA
6/27 — FarmBorough Country Music Festival, New York, NY 
6/28 — Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, Darien Center, NY
7/17 — Blossom Music Center, Cleveland, OH
7/18 — Faster Horses Country Music Festival, Brooklyn, MI 
7/24 — Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, NY
7/25 — XFINITY Theatre, Hartford, CT
7/26 — Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY
7/31 — Mountain Home Country Music Festival, Mountain Home, ID 
8/1 — Camrose Regional Exhibition, Camrose, AB
8/7 — Boots & Hearts Music Festival, Oro-Medonte, ON 
8/9 –Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion, Gilford, NH
8/21 — Texas Thunder Country Music Festival, Gardendale, TX 
8/22 — Winstar Casino, Thackerville, OK                     
8/28 — Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati, OH
8/29 — Klipsch Music Center, Indianapolis, IN
8/30 — Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, St. Louis, MO             
9/17 — Isleta Amphitheater, Albuquerque, NM
9/19 — USANA Amphitheatre, Salt Lake City, UT
9/25 — XFINITY Center, Boston, MA
9/26 — Jiffy Lube Live, Washington, D.C.
9/27 — Farm Bureau Live, Virginia Beach, VA
10/2 — MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre, Tampa, FL
10/3 — Cruzan Amphitheatre, W. Palm Beach, FL


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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo/ThinkstockChris Young has signed on to perform as part of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Music and Fan Festival on Nashville’s Lower Broadway. The event runs February 11 through 12.

Lee Ann Womack will perform her single, “The Way I’m Livin’,” on TBS’s Conan on Wednesday, February 11.


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