Toby Keith Says Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction Award Will Be the Only Trophy He’ll Display

Image Courtesy Show DogToby Keith has won several music industry awards and honors over the years, but his induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame tops them all. With all of his success as a touring and recording artist, Toby says he’s most proud to be a songwriter.

He explains, “It is what I take the most pride in. I am honored to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. It means the world to me and it is the only award that I will display on my desk.”

Toby also plans to perform at the Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony set for June 18 in New York City.


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Florida Georgia Line and Kip Moore Performing at 2015 Summer Spotlight Concert in New York City

Image Courtesy Republic NashvilleFlorida Georgia Line is co-headlining with Kid Rock at the 2015 Summer Spotlight concert, May 5 at New York City’s Irving Hall. Kip Moore is also performing at the show in celebration of May 5 being designated as the first-ever National Concert Day.

The special day recognizes the fans who buy concert tickets.  It also salutes the artists, managers and venue staff who make those shows possible.

For more details, go to LiveNation.com.


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Canaan Smith’s Debut Album, “Bronco,” Due Out June 23

Image Courtesy Mercury NashvilleCountry newcomer Canaan Smith will release his debut album, Bronco, on June 23. The project features his top-20 hit, “Love You Like That,” as well as all of the other songs on his current self-titled EP. The full track listing will be announced soon.

As for that album title, Canaan named the project after a song he wrote in memory of his brother, who died when Canaan was young.  Says Canaan, “He was my hero and I wanted to put out something in memory of him. I think it symbolizes his wild spirit and I’m really proud of it.”

Canaan will hit the road with Dierks Bentley‘s Sounds of Summer tour, starting June 5 in Raleigh, North Carolina.


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Dustin Lynch Premieres “Hell of a Night” Video; Explains Why He Does His Own Ironing on the Road

Image Courtesy Broken Bow RecordsDustin Lynch premiered his new video for “Hell of a Night” on ETOnline.com Thursday. The clip captures several different live shows from Dustin, including his dates on the road with Luke Bryan.

Dustin says, “I think it’s really cool ’cause it’s for the fans, and a lot of people will recognize their faces in this.”

When you watch the clip, be sure and take notice of how crisp Dustin’s shirts are on stage. He actually carries an iron and ironing board on his tour bus and does all the ironing himself. Luke Bryan has a staff member on tour who does all the ironing for him and his band, but Dustin hasn’t taken advantage of those services just yet.

Says Dustin, “I feel weird asking her. I’d rather iron my own stuff. It’s self-centering and gives me one of those moments to get collected before a show.”

Check out DustinLynchMusic.com to see where Dustin’s playing next.


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Dierks Bentley Headlining Stars for Second Harvest Benefit Concert June 9 in Nashville

Image Courtesy Nino Munoz/Capitol NashvilleDierks Bentley has signed on as the headliner for the 11th Annual Stars for Second Harvest benefit concert Tuesday, June 9 at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. Nashville cast members Charles Esten and Lennon and Maisy Stella are also on the bill.

Stars for Second Harvest raises money for the Second Harvest Food Back of Middle Tennessee.


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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockMartina McBride once sold t-shirts on the road for which country superstar before becoming his opening act? ANSWER: Garth Brooks.


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“Nashville” Recap: “Time Changes Things”

Image Courtesy ABC/Bob D’AmicoOn Wednesday’s Nashville, country superstar Rayna Jaymes stalked her boyfriend Deacon‘s bitter sister Beverly all over Biloxi, Mississippi, trying to convince her to give her dying brother a piece of her liver. Rayna’s compliments on Beverly’s performance of the song “Touble” at a rundown country bar didn’t help the cause. Beverly blames Rayna for breaking up her musical act with Deacon and shooting down any chance for Beverly to become a country star in her own right. In the end, Rayna offered a million-dollar check to Beverly as a last-ditch effort to get her to save Deacon.

Christina Aguilera‘s three-episode stint as pop star Jade St. John came to an end this week, as did her character’s love affair with country hunk, Luke Wheeler. After spending some time in Jade’s high-profile Los Angeles world, Luke decided he belonged back in Nashville. The fact that his teenage son, Colt, was caught in a compromising situation with Rayna’s daughter, Maddie, made Luke exit Los Angeles that much faster.

Mayor Teddy Conrad learned the feds were coming after him after his prostitute girlfriend, Natasha, turned him in for embezzling government funds and blackmailing a city official. Lucky for Teddy, one of his friends works in the prosecutor’s office and offered him immunity. We’ll find out next week what that friend wants in return for Teddy’s freedom.

Gunnar Scott‘s ex-girlfriend Kylie returned to Nashville, asking to her son, Micah, who is now living with his grandparents. You’ll remember Kylie left Micah with Gunnar, who was under the impression Micah was his son. Gunnar eventually found out Micah’s father was his late brother, Jason. In a tearful confession in Gunnar’s living room, Kylie revealed Micah was conceived when Jason raped her one night at a party. This development throws a wrench in Gunnar’s hopes of getting back together with his other ex-girlfriend, Scarlett.

New parents Juliette Barnes and Avery Barkley finally worked together to revive her country career with a surprise rooftop performance in downtown Nashville. Her performance of the new song, “Mississippi Flood,” was a big hit, and the parents shared a sexy moment in the elevator after the performance. All that excitement faded away as they returned home to their crying baby, Cadence.

Jonathan Jackson, who plays Avery, knows first-hand how hard it can be for parents to connect.

I have three kids of my own, so I know that children add a huge amount of intensity in different ways to your life, and responsibility,” Jonathan explains. “At the same time it mellows you out, so it’s kind of a paradox because you’re less concerned about your own ambitions and you’re kind of less wrapped up in your own world. You have something else and someone else to provide for and think about.”

Through all of the challenges, Jonathan looks forward to seeing Avery and Juliette grow as parents and as musicians.

He adds, “I think that it will probably add perspective for both of them, but at the same time, logistically, it makes life complicated sometimes.”

Juliette’s performance of “Mississippi Flood” will be included on the new The Music of Nashville: Original Soundtrack Season 3, Volume 2, due out May 12th.

Nashville returns with an all-new episode next Wednesday night at 10 Eastern on ABC.


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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockHank Williams, Jr. has signed a new deal with Nash Icon Records and will soon begin work on his 37th studio album. Look for the project to come out later this year.

Martina McBride sang “Over the Rainbow” on Fox’s American Idol Wednesday night. A studio version of her performance is now available at iTunes.

Brett Eldredge returns to his home state of Illinois for a pre-NASCAR race concert at the Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, September 20.

Florida Georgia Line has established a new publishing company, Tree Vibez Music. The name comes from the duo’s recording studio in a treehouse on band member Brian Kelley‘s Nashville property.

Congratulations to 78-year-old country legend Merle Haggard on being presented with an honorary high school diploma from his now-alma mater Bakersfield High School in California. According to the Bakersfield Californian, Merle dropped out of the school as a freshman after attending just nine days of the year.


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Darius Rucker Reunites with Hootie & the Blowfish on TV Tonight to Bid David Letterman Farewell

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleHootie & the Blowfish have been on hiatus for several years as lead singer Darius Rucker continues his successful country career, but the band does occasionally get together to perform — though not on TV.  That changes Thursday night, though, when Hootie — with Darius — will appear on The Late Show with David Letterman.  Why?  Turns out they want to say goodbye to Letterman, the man who they credit for their incredible success in the ’90s.

According to Darius, Letterman was directly responsible for turning the first Hootie & Blowfish single, “Hold My Hand,” into a hit, by booking the group on his show.  “It was the turning point of our careers,” he says, noting that initially, “Hold My Hand” wasn’t getting any significant airplay outside the South, until Letterman heard it by chance one day.

“One day in New York, David Letterman got off from work and was driving home and one of the DJs decided he was gonna play ‘Hold My Hand,'” Darius recalls. “Then, legend goes, Letterman heard the song and pulled over on the side of the road and called his bookers. It was a Tuesday and said, ‘I want this Hootie & the Blowfish band on my show as soon as we can.’ And we were on that Friday.”

After that exposure, Darius says, the band was off and running.

“That Friday morning, we were just another band trying to get on the radio, fighting grunge, having little success,” he says. “And after we played Letterman on Friday night, Monday morning we were on the way to being the biggest band in the world. It changed that overnight. It was crazy how quick it happened after that.”

But that Friday booking wasn’t the only support that Letterman gave the band: he continued to promote them in an unusual way.

“Every show for almost a year he said the name Hootie & the Blowfish,” laughs Darius. “Every show for almost a year. Every show. We’d watch it just to see how he was gonna say our name, but he said it every night. That was crazy!”

Letterman’s final Late Show is scheduled for Wednesday, May 20 on CBS.  Meanwhile, Darius has hinted that Hootie may be recording some new music and doing an extensive tour sometime in the next couple of years.


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Sam Hunt Says Wheels Up Tour Mates Lady Antebellum Really Delivered on Their Good Reputation

Image Courtesy Green Room PRSam Hunt didn’t meet his summer tour mates Lady Antebellum until earlier this year, when they did a photo shoot together for the Wheels Up trek, kicking off Friday night in Lubbock, Texas. Sam says he’d heard nothing but great things about the multi-platinum trio before that initial meeting.

Sam tells ABC Radio, “A lot of people had talked about how great they are and had told me about them and their personalities and how they did their tour and how great it was. So, they lived up to that expectation when I met them. They were more than nice.”

Hunter Hayes is also on the bill for Lady A’s Wheels Up tour.  Sam was also glad to see Hunter again at the photo shoot.  “That had been the third or fourth time I had hung around Hunter, and he was as great as always,” Sam says.

Check out SamHunt.com for a full list of tour dates.


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