Cole Swindell Scores Dream Collaboration with Alan Jackson on “ACM Presents: Superstar Duets”

Image Courtesy Heather Wines/CBSCole Swindell teams up with his hero, Alan Jackson, to perform Alan’s big hit “Chattahoochee” on the new ACM Presents: Superstar Duets special Friday night on CBS. The special was taped last month in Dallas prior to the ACM Awards, and Cole was thankful he actually got to meet Alan before they went on stage together. The two stars interviewed each other in a segment for the show.

Cole says of that experience, “That was a little uncomfortable at first for me just sitting there, and they’re telling me, ‘Look at him,’ and I’m like, ‘I’m scared to look. It’s Alan Jackson.’”

Of all of Alan’s country hits, “Chattahoochee” holds a special place in Cole’s heart. He was just a kid when the song was a hit in the early ’90s.

“I know I drove my mom crazy singing that song,” Cole says. “All that practice paid off getting to do that.”

The ACM Presents: Superstar Duets concert was taped over two nights at Globe Life Park near Dallas, but second show went late into the night due to severe storms in the area. The rain didn’t dampen the audience’s excitement about seeing Alan, though.

Cole says, “They went nuts when he walked out there. I’m just like, I should probably not even go out when he calls me. I just want to watch him sing.”

Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Brett Eldredge, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Dierks Bentley, Reba, Brooks & Dunn, Darius Rucker, Sam Hunt and Brantley Gilbert are among the other stars performing on ACM Presents: Superstar Duets, premiering Friday night at 9 ET on CBS.


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Trisha Yearwood Exhibit Opening at the Country Music Hall of Fame on July 3

Image Courtesy Randee St. NicholasTrisha Yearwood once worked as a tour guide at the Country Music Hall of Fame, and now she’s getting her own exhibit at the museum in Nashville. “Trisha Yearwood: The Song Remembers When” will open at the Country Music Hall of Fame on July 3, featuring artifacts tracing her life from childhood in Georgia to her Grammy-winning rise to the top of the music world.

Of course, Trisha’s Emmy-winning gig as the host of her own cooking show, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen, will be covered in the exhibit along with her growing line of furniture and housewares.

“Trisha Yearwood: The Song Remembers When” will run through this December.


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Brad Paisley and Family Having a Love Affair with Atlanta

Image Courtesy CMABrad Paisley has been spending quite a bit of time in Atlanta lately. His wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, is filming a role in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip in the city, so they recently took their two young boys to LEGOLAND and the Georgia Aquarium.

Brad tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “The kids loved it. I’ve been wanting to go to the natural history place [Fernbank Museum of Natural History]. I’m a freak about dinosaurs and I hear they have a big one. It’s such a great city.”

Brad will headline Atlanta’s Shakey Boots Music Festival this Sunday night.


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Florida Georgia Line and Brett Eldredge Presenting Trophies at Sunday Night’s Billboard Music Awards

Dick Clark ProductionsFlorida Georgia Line and Brett Eldredge have joined the presenters lineup for this Sunday night’s 2015 Billboard Music Awards. They join previously-announced performers Little Big Town and Faith Hill, who will duet on LBT’s hit, “Girl Crush.”

The 2015 Billboard Music Awards broadcast live ABC Sunday night at 8:00 ET.



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Kip Moore’s Defiant Attitude on “I’m to Blame” Inspired by His Late Father

Image Courtesy MCA NashvilleKip Moore is open about his stubborn ways in his defiant new single, “I’m to Blame,” and it turns out that kind of behavior runs in his family. There’s a line in the song — “I come from a long line of bloodline that ain’t gonna change” — that was inspired by Kip’s late father, who was quite a character.

“He was the last of a dying breed,” Kip tells ABC Radio. “He was a gritty, down-and-dirty kinda guy. He would fight at the drop of a hat. Could be mean as a snake, but could also be the kindest, sweetest-hearted guy alive. But he had that kind of thing about him where people kinda either loved or hated him, and he didn’t apologize about it.”

Kip tapped into that stubborn spirit to write “I’m to Blame” during a frustrating time in his career. Instead of changing his music to fit country’s evolving sound, Kip says, “I didn’t want to ever sell out the kind of music that I felt like I was supposed to make just because certain stuff was trending. ['I'm to Blame'] was kind of my fist in the air saying, ‘I’m gonna do things my way, and I’ll die my own sword.’”

Regardless of how “I’m to Blame” fares on the country chart, Kip is proud to stick to his own rocking brand of country music. On a larger scale, Kip thinks it’s time more people grew a backbone and stood up for their beliefs in everyday life.

He says, “Everybody wants to fit in and be liked and be politically correct, and this song is kind of the opposite of all that. It’s like, ‘This is who I am. Take it or leave it.’”


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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockLady Antebellum collaborated with which member of Fleetwood Mac for a 2013 episode of CMT Crossroads? ANSWER: Stevie Nicks.


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Carrie Underwood Is the Lead Nominee for the 2015 CMT Music Awards

Image Courtesy CMTCarrie Underwood is the lead nominee for the 2015 CMT Music Awards with five nods, including two mentions in the Video of the Year category. Lady Antebellum announced the finalists in the Video of the Year, Male Video of the Year and Female Video of the Year categories Wednesday morning on NBC’s Today.

Luke Bryan and Carrie Underwood also announced additional categories — Group Video of the Year and Breakthrough Video of the Year — on their social media accounts. Fan voting is now underway at CMT.com.

The 2015 CMT Music Awards air live on CMT Wednesday, June 10.  Here are the nominees:

Video of the Year
Carrie Underwood, “Something in the Water”
Darius Rucker, “Homegrown Honey”
Dierks Bentley, “Drunk on a Plane”
Florida Georgia Line, “Dirt”
Jason Aldean, “Burnin’ It Down”
Kenny Chesney, “American Kids”
Lady Antebellum, “Bartender”
Lee Brice, “I Don’t Dance”
Luke Bryan, “Play It Again”
Maddie & Tae, “Girl in a Country Song”
Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood, “Somethin’ Bad”
Sam Hunt, “Leave the Night On”

Male Video of the Year
Dierks Bentley, “Drunk on a Plane”
Eric Church, “Talladega”
Jason Aldean, “Burnin’ It Down”
Keith Urban, “Somewhere in My Car”
Kenny Chesney, “American Kids”
Luke Bryan, “Play It Again”

Female Video of the Year
Carrie Underwood, “Little Toy Guns”
Carrie Underwood, “Something in the Water”
Lee Ann Womack, “The Way I’m Livin’”
Miranda Lambert, “Little Red Wagon”
RaeLynn, “God Made Girls”
Reba, “Going Out Like That”

Group Video of the Year
A Thousand Horses, “Smoke”
Eli Young Band, “Dust”
Lady Antebellum, “Bartender”
Little Big Town, “Day Drinking”
The Band Perry, “Chainsaw”
Zac Brown Band, “All Alright”

Breakthrough Video of the Year
Chase Rice, “Gonna Wanna Tonight”
Frankie Ballard, “Sunshine & Whiskey”
Kelsea Ballerini, “Love Me Like You Mean It”
Maddie & Tae, “Girl in a Country Song”
RaeLynn, “God Made Girls”
Sam Hunt, “Leave the Night On”

Duo Video of the Year
Big & Rich, “Look at You”
Brothers Osborne, “Rum”
Florida Georgia Line, “Dirt”
Florida Georgia Line, “Sun Daze”
Maddie & Tae, “Girl in a Country Song”
The Swon Brothers, “Later On”

Collaborative Video of the Year
Blake Shelton featuring Ashley Monroe, “Lonely Tonight”
Brantley Gilbert featuring Justin Moore and Thomas Rhett, “Small Town Throwdown”
Jennifer Nettles featuring Brandy Clark, “His Hands”
Kenny Chesney with Grace Potter, “Wild Child”
Miranda Lambert with Carrie Underwood, “Somethin’ Bad’
Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill, “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s”

CMT Performance of the Year
Bob Seger and Jason Aldean, “Turn the Page”
Brett Eldredge, “Beat of the Music”
John Legend and Lee Ann Womack, “You & I (Nobody in the World)”
Katy Perry and Kacey Musgraves, “Roar”
Keith Urban, “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World”
Kenny Chesney, “American Kids”
Lady Antebellum and Aloe Blacc, “Wake Me Up”
Lady Antebellum and Chris Stapleton, “Drink a Beer”


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Luke Bryan Premiering New Single, “Kick the Dust Up,” with Two Big TV Appearances May 19

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLuke Bryan is launching his brand-new single in a big way next week. It’s called “Kick the Dust Up,” and Luke will perform it on both The Ellen DeGeneres Show and NBC’s season finale of The Voice on Tuesday, May 19. The song also goes to iTunes and country radio that day.

“Kick the Dust Up” is also the first single from Luke’s upcoming studio album, due out this summer. His Kick the Dust Up tour is now underway.  Luke has been performing his new single to open the show.



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Kelsea Ballerini Entertaining Lots of Girls and Few Guys on Current Tour with Jana Kramer

Image Courtesy Black River EntertainmentKelsea Ballerini and Jana Kramer‘s CMT Next Women of Tour has been on the road for a few weeks, and the crowds have been full of girls ready to get down and have a good time. It’s not that the guys in the audience aren’t having a blast, though.

Kelsea tells ABC Radio, “There’s, like, maybe five guys in every crowd. But you know what? It’s so funny ’cause they’re like the ones that are in the front, phones out the whole time, totally just in it, which is so fun for us.”

Kelsea is happy to see big groups of girls get together for the shows.

“It’s a girl power tour,” she says. “That’s the whole theme of it, and so we’re having a blast.”

Jana and Kelsea make a point to watch each other’s sets every night on the tour, but they haven’t collaborated that much on stage.

Says Kelsea, “She brought me out to do a mashup with her one time, but I just enjoy kinda being a fan and getting to watch her.”

Look for Kelsea’s debut album, The First Time, to go on sale Monday, May 18. The project features her hit single, “Love Me Like You Mean It.”

Of note, Kelsea played her first headlining show in Nashville Tuesday night at 3rd & Lindsley. During her set, Kelsea brought out her pals Maddie & Tae for a trio performance of the Dixie Chicks classic, “There’s Your Trouble.”


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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockLady Antebellum‘s Charles Kelley and his wife, Cassie, are featured hosting a summer dinner party in the June issue of Southern Living magazine. Check it out at SouthernLiving.com.

In continuing his work on behalf of America’s troops, Toby Keith has announced plans to give a portion of the proceeds from sale of his Wild Shot Mezcal to the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S., or VFW. The 6,800 VFW posts in the United States will now carry Toby’s mezcal, too.


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